So I saw this thread
and really liked the fit of the Harbor Freight Haul Master Cargo Carrier #66983
. I'd seen other racks that were made for a Cherokee that came with legs but they weren't in the right place to tie down easily in the cargo slots. They were also about $200 more expensive than the HF carrier.
So I got one shipped to my door for $66.
I cut off the 2" square tubing that came with the rack so it is flush with the rack before I assembled it.
I sourced the 3/4" (19mm) square tubing for the cargo rack legs from the legs of an old office chair. The tubing fits perfectly in the slot of the cargo area.
I made the legs 23 1/2" long for the front end of the rack and 24 1/2" long for the hatch end of the rack because the cargo area slopes about 1". I attached them 35 3/4" on center to the rack with 2" long 1/4"-20 bolts. After using this setup I'd make the legs 1/2" longer, a 20# propane bottle just barely fits under the rack. I reused the plastic feet off the chair to cap the ends of the tubing, but they're beat up and a couple like to fall out. I ordered a set of these blanking caps
to replace them, $4 for 10 pieces.
I welded 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 1/8" angle iron (an old bed frame) onto the legs 1 1/8" up from the bottom of the feet to the bottom of the angle iron. These could easily have been bolted on, but I wanted to try MIG welding them.
I made four tie down pieces out of the 3/4" square tubing. The tubing was cut 1 1/2" long. I used 1" long 1/4"-20 bolts.
The tie down is dropped into the slot in the cargo area and turned 90°. The bolt that sticks out of the tubing goes into the hole drilled in the angle iron.
I used the rack like this for a while. It's plenty strong, you can grab it and shake the Xterra back and forth with it.
I decided I wanted to rivet .050" thick 5052 aluminum sheet on the sides to keep stuff away from the storage compartment in the floor. Cross braces were added to support the top of the aluminum. The legs didn't need the brace for strength, but then it didn't hurt either.
The rack makes the best use of cargo area I could come up with. Tools and oddball stuff can be stored out of the way on the sides of the rack. It's the Linus Edition because I just keep soft stuff like blankets on top of the rack. I figure stuff I don't want smacked in the back of the head with can live captured under the rack.