I've seen a lot of good ideas on here for do-it-yourself cargo covers, and they inspired me to create my own. I wanted to build something that was secure, easily removable, and looked good. I didn't want to see any exposed fasteners or hardware, so it would have to attach from the bottom. I built it out of 3/4" plywood, and covered it with Monstaliner roll-on truck bedliner. The side sections stay mounted to the Jeep, while the large center section can be unlatched from the underside and removed. The front edge of this cover is supported by my subwoofer box which holds two shallow 12" Kenwoods... but one could also be built with just a plywood panel instead.
Tools you will need: circular saw, jigsaw, router, sander, drill, and patience!
The first challenge was getting the plywood home! I had Home Depot cut a 4'x8' sheet of 3/4" plywood into a 4'x4' piece, and two 2'x4' pieces, which I was able to fit into the Jeep.
The 2'x4' pieces end up becoming the side panels. Once I determined where I wanted the inside edge to sit (I lined it up with the tailgate opening), I notched out for the roll bars. I made sure to save the pieces I cut out of there, because they get used to fill in around the roll bar. This was probably the hardest part of the whole project - getting those weird curves cut out accurately. I left about 1/4" clearance around the roll bar for weatherstripping to fit into. Then I secured the plywood in place for the next step. Notice how there is extra plywood overlapping the edge of the Jeep... this will be trimmed off.
Next step: I measured between the plywood pieces clamped to the jeep to make sure they were EXACTLY where I wanted them. Then, I took a pencil and traced underneath the plywood and against the Jeep to get the exact curve of the Jeep's body. After cutting off the excess, and then notching the plywood pieces to accommodate my Trektop's tailgate bar and clamps, here is what it looks like:
These pieces of plywood will be attaching to the Jeep from the underside, and here's how it's going to happen. The fasteners are called tee nuts and they accept a threaded screw (I used 3/8"). I used the existing holes in the top of the Jeep, and marked their location from the underside with a pencil onto the plywood. There are several holes to choose from - you don't need a fastener in every one. Use ones that you can get the easiest access to... this part was a PITA for me when I assembled everything. Then I drilled the plywood for the tee nuts, and used a spade bit to recess the tee nut into the plywood.
Once installed, the tee nuts will be covered up with wood filler and sanded smooth.
The center section is supported by some 3/16" x 3" wide aluminum stock. It is attached to the underside of the plywood side panels with the same recessed tee nuts. Next, I used a router to finish the edge of the plywood... I did mine with a 45* bevel because it somewhat matches the contours of the Jeep, but a round over would probably look good also. I then cut out the center section, leaving room on the sides for weatherstripping. After filling all the tee nut recesses with wood filler, I sanded everything and did a test fit, making sure that the attaching screws that I was going to use would not be too long and push through the top of the plywood through the filler.
Next step: Monstaliner! This is a roll-on truck bedliner which I like because the texture is a little smoother than some spray-on bedliners that I've seen. After 2 coats and letting it dry thoroughly, it was time for final assembly. Here's some shots of the aluminum which the center section sits on (with weatherstripping in place), and the latches I used:
You may notice in one of the above photos that there are no seams in the Monstaliner by the roll bar. I used the small curved piece that I cut out of there originally, coated it with Monstaliner when I did everything else, attached it to the aluminum plate, and then during final assembly I touched up the joints with some more Monstaliner. I carpeted the underside of the center section, added weatherstripping where needed, installed two latches on each side, and two more which attach to the back side of the sub box:
The sub box was built out of MDF, and a piece of red Lexan was glued to the front which is almost a perfect match to the Flame Red paint on the Jeep. Since the woofers I am using are shallow 12's, the box is under 10" deep at the base, which leaves me around 24" of cargo space depth in back, which is *just* enough to get my half door uppers in there.
That's pretty much it... if I've overlooked any details please ask! Here's a couple more finished shots: