Front Runner Shelf Conversion for D90 - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 8th, 2016, 07:02 PM
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Carl Jonsson
1995 NAS D90 #219
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I originally had a D90 Front Runner rack that I ended up putting an Air Top tent on. The rack became redundant and needless extra weight so I took 3 cross bars and feet to match out of my rack and installed the Air top on that. A solid solution and much better handling. I've been wanting to build a shelving system for the rear of my D90 for years (ever since I took the inward folding seats out) but I've never got to it. So when I saw the rack that Brian (Defenders Northwest) installed for our friend Kevin I had the idea that perhaps I could take the "left overs" from my FR rack and assemble it into something that just might fit the rear of my D90 tub. I took the short sidewalls from the rack but I had to drill new holes in one of them (as they are not symmetrical) then I was able to assemble it into a short stubby rack that, turns out, fits perfectly in the rear with millimeters to spare. Front Runner actually makes many options for pick up truck load bed racks but since I didn't need the rack itself I figured I'd just make a mounting bracket that fits into the 8 mounting holes with insert nuts that already exists in the tub. It'll be cheaper and I don't have to drill new holes. If you are interested in trying to fit a load bed rack into your Defender definitely talk to Brian (Mybluett) as I can't speak to that bit of kit but that's definitely way to go if you are starting from scratch. I'm not however.

Once I realized the rack would fit length and width-wise the critical positioning would be the height. I wanted it tall enough that I could fit Scepter cans and a National Luna fridge on slider underneath but not too tall so I would have difficulty access the rack from my gull wing windows. Turns out that the rack sits pretty much mid-height in the rear door opening which is great for accessing both top and below. I'm on my third foam core mock up now and ready to submit the files for cutting. There will be 4 brackets, 2 on each side with a total of 8 mounting points. I'm stoked to finally be able to get this project and to do so without spending a small fortune which is what usually happens when I engage in a project.
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  #2  
Old January 8th, 2016, 07:08 PM
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That's awesome. Well done.
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  #3  
Old January 8th, 2016, 07:21 PM
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Charles Galpin
'94 D90 ST, '63 SeriesIIA
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Nicely done. Tell me more about the foam core mockup. Is that hot glued?
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  #4  
Old January 8th, 2016, 09:12 PM
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Carl Jonsson
1995 NAS D90 #219
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For something like this I build it in Solidworks as a sheet metal feature then I print out the flat pattern and spray mount it to a piece of foam core that has the same thickness as the intended material. Then I score at the folding lines and remove material so that I can hot glue the bends to the correct angle. It's relatively fast and very accurate. Generally I go through a couple of rounds before I submit it to have the part laser cut out of the final material.

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Nicely done. Tell me more about the foam core mockup. Is that hot glued?
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  #5  
Old January 8th, 2016, 09:42 PM
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Carl Jonsson
1995 NAS D90 #219
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"I like to do crafts. I work with glitter quite a bit. Don't worry, I make tough stuff like daggers and skulls. The thing about glitter is, if you get it on you, be prepared to have it on you forever 'cause glitter is the herpes of craft supplies." - Demitri Martin
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Old January 9th, 2016, 08:42 AM
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Hotglue is fantastic stuff. Interesting work!
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  #7  
Old January 10th, 2016, 10:25 AM
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Charles Galpin
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LOL. I'm crafty. I'm just your type (I'm sure Lavender would get the reference).
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  #8  
Old January 22nd, 2016, 10:51 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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I got the fabricated mounts back and they are perfect but I ran into a different snag. The door locks for the Gull wing windows protrude really far inside the vehicle and interferes with the side rail of the rack. They require quite a substantial clearance radius.

The only option I can think of now is to mount the slats without the side rails which would have the benefit of being considerably more lightweight. It would look like the attached picture. I'm hesitant because I just really like the idea of a sidewall rail on the rack as I was planning on cutting a stiff rubber mat to fit inside of it.

Slats only might be my best solution. Lowering the rack would clear it but that requires a different fitment solution and I would loose fridge access. Raising the rack wouldn't be practical due to the amount necessary to clear it. A cut out could work but would look stupid. I'll have to sleep on it and see if I can come up with more options.
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  #9  
Old May 27th, 2016, 06:46 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Here's an update to this project. Instead of using the FR frame I'm having one made. It is much lighter. Test fitting it today before having it welded. The Front Runner slats fits in there or I could make a floor for it. Anyone have suggestions for a metal floor? Plywood and diamond plate are not an option.
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  #10  
Old May 27th, 2016, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
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Plywood and diamond plate are not an option.

New signature line?
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  #11  
Old May 27th, 2016, 08:21 PM
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Chicken coop flooring ala mid 2000's Discoweb.

I think the answer really depends on what you plan to carry on top of it.
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  #12  
Old May 27th, 2016, 08:28 PM
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Mason Worley
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Carl, not knowing what your planing to put on that shelf but would guess kind of light. I might use additional stiffeners and maybe 3 panels of 1/4 to 3/8" honeycomb. Weighs nothing and provides a strong shelf to hold what's left. I'm just spitballin' here
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  #13  
Old May 27th, 2016, 08:42 PM
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Jason Rose
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Considering how lightweight they are and how much weight they can support, I would use the Front Runner slats.
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  #14  
Old May 27th, 2016, 09:09 PM
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Charles Galpin
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Buy some extruded aluminum that meets your needs
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  #15  
Old May 27th, 2016, 09:46 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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I may drop in the FR slats or I may fab something. Are you referring to Aluminum honeycomb, Mason? That sounds interesting.
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  #16  
Old May 27th, 2016, 10:07 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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I may put extruded aluminum braces lengthwise with the vehicle because I'm considering creating hinged doors inside the shelf flooring on either side of the wheel wells so that when the shelf is cleared I can lift up a door and access gear that is stored on top of each wheel well. The top of the wheel wells are the hardest locations to access, especially if the lower part of the tub is fully packed.
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  #17  
Old May 27th, 2016, 10:34 PM
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Mason Worley
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Carl, here is a source.http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant...652&top_cat=60 I found a place in California, but haven't re found that had/would make panels for you. Remember it's all about weight out their. Less weight- more stuff. Beer, horsepower, stuff like that there.
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  #18  
Old May 27th, 2016, 10:44 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Mason, I'm already all in on the lightweight approach. That's why honeycomb sparked my interest in the first place! Say, you didn't happen to be an aviation engineer in a past life, did you?
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  #19  
Old May 27th, 2016, 10:46 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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The reason I decided to make my own shelf is because the shortened Front Runner rack, even though it fit perfectly back there, it was just way too heavy.
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  #20  
Old May 27th, 2016, 11:03 PM
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Mason Worley
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Funny! Not an engineer. Just an 'ol A&P mechanic from the '70s and '80s. I'm still fascinated by the materials aviation engineers are using and wondering why we as off-roaders don't use more of them for all the same reasons.
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