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Thread: Sub/Utility Box

  1. #1
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    Default Sub/Utility Box

    One of the first projects I tackled after getting my XJ in late 2011 was to fabricate a subwoofer box. I'd been driving around for a couple months with a big enclosure floating around in the cargo area and was growing tired of having to remove or reposition it every time I needed to use the space for... stuff. I looked all over the interwebs in search of an elegant solution but never really found anything that didn't look like a hack job or an incomplete attempt. So, I designed and built my own. That doesn't mean there aren't some great designs out there, I just never found any that fit my needs.

    The first step was to determine the amount of volume needed for my 12" Eclipse sub with a sealed enclosure. 1.2 ft³ was the answer. In order to achieve that volume I would have to utilize the space within the rear fenderwell which meant I would have to trim the inner quarter panel, something I wasn't thrilled about.

    Next up, I created hard-board templates for all the complex curves of the metal structure behind the plastic quarter panel. Then it was time to start fabricating.



    It was tedious work. The box was to serve three purposes. First was the sub enclosure which would have to be acoustically isolated and sealed from the rest of the structure. Second was that I wanted it to incorporate a standard 120v outlet that would be linked to my 1000w inverter and finally, I wanted at least a little storage space for all those little things that tend to rattle around back there without a home.

    I built the sub enclosure so that it hugged the inner wheel well and extended to within about 1 inch of the outer fender skin, that was the only way to get the volume I needed.

    This was my first test fit so I guess I was pretty close with my template...




    I had to notch the top a little to accommodate the rear seatback.


    Inside the storage area.


    Storage lid closed...


    Storage lid open (my old, bulky, inconvenient sub enclosure can be seen taking up all my cargo space)...


    I cut the trailing edge of the lid at an angle so that when it was open it perfectly matched the forward-swept angle of the D pillar and would open into the window space without hitting the pillar. It doesn't necessarily look that way in this picture but further down you can see the matching angle with a more straigh-on view of the open lid.

    With the fit confirmed, it was time to make it pretty. I used flat black rattle can to paint the areas where carpet seams would be. That way my lack of carpeting skills would be less obvious and if there was a tiny gap in fit the black paint would hide the seam.



    Here's a closer look at the assembled sub enclosure area (from the back)


    I then covered the whole thing with a roll of black interior carpet I picked up at O'Reilly's for around 15. I used 3M spray adhesive to attach it. A year later and my feet still stick to the garage floor in the area where I sticky-sprayed the project. I recommend laying out newspaper or felt paper before spraying.

    After I got the carpet stuck on, I focused my attention on the 120v outlet. I used a standard single-gang old work box. I considered using a GFI outlet but the inverter has GFI protection built in so it would be redundant and more expensive. Why bother?



    Here is the final product...




    With the inverter hooked up, this picture is lit by fluorescent photo lights plugged into the outlet located in the box.


    The box is made from 3/4" ULMDF (ultra light MDF) and weighs just 9 pounds (without the sub, obviously). All joints are glued and screwed. I didn't bother filling the screw holes knowing they would be covered by the carpet but if you were going to bedline it or paint rather than carpet you could fill the holes for aesthetics or leave them exposed for a more industrial look. The project took about 50 hours to complete and total materials cost was about 100 including: 4'x8'x3/4" ULMDF, 2 LB. 1 5/8" ceramic coated deck screws, Krylon flat black rattle can, black carpet, 3M spray adhesive, quick-connect speaker terminals, single-gang old work electric box and single gang 120v outlet with cover plate.

    My next project will be to make a matching-ish box for the other side that will be dedicated to storage. I've since purchased a 2000w pure sine wave inverter that's too large to mount anywhere in my Jeep. I'll also be incorporating an insulated compressor compartment for my future lockers and general storage. It will also allow me to install a small, retractable sun shade between the two boxes to cover the cargo area.

    Sadly, there is a lot of free-style creativity in this project so I don't have any plans drawn up but if you're creative and ambitious enough to tackle something similar, I hope the pictures and write-up will be of value.
    Last edited by F1Addict; 08-25-2013 at 09:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    look good thank you got me thinking now for the back. I was thinking about storage but a sub would be good.

  3. #3
    bad luck is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    Wow! it looks like you did a great job on that, I bet it sounds fantastic.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    Very nicely done. About the only thing that concerns me about a sub back there is punching something through it. Oh and with my mountaineering rack it wouldn't fit...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    From one installer to another, I can you've done this sort of thing before..... those kind of box building and MDF fabrication skills dont just happen over night.
    What's you're trade? ....and good job by the way.... nice attention to detail.
    Oh, and give yourself some credit, that looks like a pretty decent carpeting job if you ask me.
    5" lift, 33's. Armored, Lighted, Chipped, & Locked up Front. Soon to come: winch, gears, axle shafts, and more...
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    The sub is definitely vulnerable there but a sturdy grill would solve that.

  7. #7
    denverd1's Avatar
    denverd1 is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    a grille could be easily added to protect it. Looks great.
    Wheelin' East Texas in a RED XJ

    RED 98 XJ with 4.5" lift, ZJ steering, front and rear locked on 33's
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    Quote Originally Posted by NW99XJ View Post
    From one installer to another, I can you've done this sort of thing before..... those kind of box building and MDF fabrication skills dont just happen over night.
    What's you're trade? ....and good job by the way.... nice attention to detail.
    Oh, and give yourself some credit, that looks like a pretty decent carpeting job if you ask me.
    I'm a carpenter. Thanks for the kind words, it was a fun project and it's served me well for over a year.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    Quote Originally Posted by F1Addict View Post
    One of the first projects I tackled after getting my XJ in late 2011 was to fabricate a subwoofer box. I'd been driving around for a couple months with a big enclosure floating around in the cargo area and was growing tired of having to remove or reposition it every time I needed to use the space for... stuff. I looked all over the interwebs in search of an elegant solution but never really found anything that didn't look like a hack job or an incomplete attempt. So, I designed and built my own. That doesn't mean there aren't some great designs out there, I just never found any that fit my needs.

    The first step was to determine the amount of volume needed for my 12" Eclipse sub with a sealed enclosure. 1.2 ft³ was the answer. In order to achieve that volume I would have to utilize the space within the rear fenderwell which meant I would have to trim the inner quarter panel, something I wasn't thrilled about.

    Next up, I created hard-board templates for all the complex curves of the metal structure behind the plastic quarter panel. Then it was time to start fabricating.



    It was tedious work. The box was to serve three purposes. First was the sub enclosure which would have to be acoustically isolated and sealed from the rest of the structure. Second was that I wanted it to incorporate a standard 120v outlet that would be linked to my 1000w inverter and finally, I wanted at least a little storage space for all those little things that tend to rattle around back there without a home.

    I built the sub enclosure so that it hugged the inner wheel well and extended to within about 1 inch of the outer fender skin, that was the only way to get the volume I needed.

    This was my first test fit so I guess I was pretty close with my template...




    I had to notch the top a little to accommodate the rear seatback.


    Inside the storage area.


    Storage lid closed...


    Storage lid open (my old, bulky, inconvenient sub enclosure can be seen taking up all my cargo space)...


    I cut the trailing edge of the lid at an angle so that when it was open it perfectly matched the forward-swept angle of the D pillar and would open into the window space without hitting the pillar. It doesn't necessarily look that way in this picture but further down you can see the matching angle with a more straigh-on view of the open lid.

    With the fit confirmed, it was time to make it pretty. I used flat black rattle can to paint the areas where carpet seams would be. That way my lack of carpeting skills would be less obvious and if there was a tiny gap in fit the black paint would hide the seam.



    Here's a closer look at the assembled sub enclosure area (from the back)


    I then covered the whole thing with a roll of black interior carpet I picked up at O'Reilly's for around 15. I used 3M spray adhesive to attach it. A year later and my feet still stick to the garage floor in the area where I sticky-sprayed the project. I recommend laying out newspaper or felt paper before spraying.

    After I got the carpet stuck on, I focused my attention on the 120v outlet. I used a standard single-gang old work box. I considered using a GFI outlet but the inverter has GFI protection built in so it would be redundant and more expensive. Why bother?



    Here is the final product...




    With the inverter hooked up, this picture is lit by fluorescent photo lights plugged into the outlet located in the box.


    The box is made from 3/4" ULMDF (ultra light MDF) and weighs just 9 pounds (without the sub, obviously). All joints are glued and screwed. I didn't bother filling the screw holes knowing they would be covered by the carpet but if you were going to bedline it or paint rather than carpet you could fill the holes for aesthetics or leave them exposed for a more industrial look. The project took about 50 hours to complete and total materials cost was about 100 including: 4'x8'x3/4" ULMDF, 2 LB. 1 5/8" ceramic coated deck screws, Krylon flat black rattle can, black carpet, 3M spray adhesive, quick-connect speaker terminals, single-gang old work electric box and single gang 120v outlet with cover plate.

    My next project will be to make a matching-ish box for the other side that will be dedicated to storage. I've since purchased a 2000w pure sine wave inverter that's too large to mount anywhere in my Jeep. I'll also be incorporating an insulated compressor compartment for my future lockers and general storage. It will also allow me to install a small, retractable sun shade between the two boxes to cover the cargo area.

    Sadly, there is a lot of free-style creativity in this project so I don't have any plans drawn up but if you're creative and ambitious enough to tackle something similar, I hope the pictures and write-up will be of value.
    This box is incredible. By far the best custom cubby box I've seen. I've been wanting to try my hand at something similar for a 10.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    I moved some pictures around in my Photobucket which, unfortunately, broke the links. The edit window for my original post expired long ago so here are all the pictures I have of the box. Several people have asked if I could build them one... I can't, for a number of reasons. 1. I simply don't have the time 2. I had to modify some of the interior sheetmetal to maximize the space and it would be impossible to convey those modifications to someone attempting to install this box. I really hope that the pictures will help inspire you to try something similar. It was a fun project.
























  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    very nice. i like the actualy utility of it, outlet and all.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    If anyone is willing to try to duplicate this, I'm willing to pay so much money to have something so well-crafted especially since most cubby options don't have the volume necessary for my 10" sub (I need about 1 cu ft ideally)
    Last edited by mschi772; 12-06-2014 at 03:57 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sub/Utility Box

    something used to be made and you can still find them around. they were actualy options for the XJ. it was a trunk box right in that location. above the wheel well. some even said JEEP on them. i forgot who made them. not anymore. but i have seen them around for like 40

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