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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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 square 19mm 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.



If I'd known about them at the time I'd have made the tie down pieces out of channel spring nuts as described by Mr. Bills here.

An inexpensive way to add tie-downs in the factory tracks is to use 3/8" channel spring nuts, found in the electrical section of Home Depot ($4.31 for a 5-pack)
The tie down is dropped into the slot in the cargo area and turned 90°. The bolt that sticks out of the tie down 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.



 

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Nice work man. I love the easy access to your storage compartment too and the little hook to hold the lid up. Good attention to detail. Now you should get some molle panels on the windows for protection and a Raingler pet net to serve as a bulk head to protect from flying cargo in case of rapid deceleration.
 

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awesome!! & a no-weld rack too....right up my alley ;) Just when I thought I was gonna be done with adding stuff to Rivet, you go & give me something else to add to the list ;)
 

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looking good! I was drooling over all the racks like this at Spring Fling. But I would need one that comes out easily. I use the back of my x a LOT to haul stuff
 

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Discussion Starter #8
looking good! I was drooling over all the racks like this at Spring Fling. But I would need one that comes out easily. I use the back of my x a LOT to haul stuff
I'd say I can get the rack in or out in about a minute, two at most. I originally tried using wing nuts to hold it down but I couldn't get it tight enough. If I'd used star knobs I think I could get it tight enough and it would be quicker.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
awesome work! i'd be up for one of these if I didn't have the dog
The dog rides in the back seat with the boy. I use one of these to keep their funk-a-funk footprint to a minimum. It actually fits even better now that it can attach to the rack instead of just the headrests. When I'm carrying both of them I just don't attach it to one of the front passenger head rests and they're both comfortable in their fortress of filth :grin:
 

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And my legacy continues!

I improved mine with a similar tie-down concept to yours, except using sprint nuts and studs. Wing nuts amd fender washers are working for me right now, though my track is getting some warping (damn my cantilever design, what a showoff...).

My beef with mine is that it's not easy to wrestle out of the rear. If I narrowed it by eliminating the center tube I could work it, but I'd have to cut and reweld everything else.
 

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Great job on that rack!
I have something very similar (bought from a forum member here) and though it was outstanding on my last road trip I have a couple of issues with it.
It's too F'ing heavy! How heavy is this one? I haven't weighed mine but it's a monster and super hard to get in and out without scratching the hell out of the cargo area plastic. I have some ideas I'm toying with to make it lighter.
I don't have anything on the floor of the rack except a couple crossbars. Stuff tends to work it's way down beneath the crossbars (like that green cloth in your picture). After a few hundred miles of jostling stuff drops down and gums up the works of pulling out, and sliding back in, my fridge and cooler which is stored underneath. I was thinking of adding something like the 'expanded metal floor' on the DepHep racks to keep that from happening. I also love your idea of the aluminum sideplates to keep stuff from coming under the rack. I'll add that to my possible list of rack mods. Unfortunately, both of these mods will bring up the weight. Dang, it ain't enough to mod the X, now I gotta start mod'ing the mods!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great job on that rack!
I have something very similar (bought from a forum member here) and though it was outstanding on my last road trip I have a couple of issues with it.
It's too F'ing heavy! How heavy is this one? I haven't weighed mine but it's a monster and super hard to get in and out without scratching the hell out of the cargo area plastic. I have some ideas I'm toying with to make it lighter.
I don't have anything on the floor of the rack except a couple crossbars. Stuff tends to work it's way down beneath the crossbars (like that green cloth in your picture). After a few hundred miles of jostling stuff drops down and gums up the works of pulling out, and sliding back in, my fridge and cooler which is stored underneath. I was thinking of adding something like the 'expanded metal floor' on the DepHep racks to keep that from happening. I also love your idea of the aluminum sideplates to keep stuff from coming under the rack. I'll add that to my possible list of rack mods. Unfortunately, both of these mods will bring up the weight. Dang, it ain't enough to mod the X, now I gotta start mod'ing the mods!!
Thanks!

Going off the shipping weight of the HF rack and figuring I've added about 3# to it I'd guess my rack weighs about 35# as it sits.

It's not hard to get in and out. With the rounded corners on the rack I don't have any problems with gouging the plastic. The hardest part is getting the bolts up through the legs, not that tough but it doesn't just drop in.

I've considered putting a floor in my rack but haven't gotten a round tuit yet. If what you're putting on top of your rack is light I'd sheet the floor with .032" aluminum and keep it light. If you've got heavier stuff up there use the .063" thick stuff, it's pretty tough.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003JKJCC0/
 
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