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Tuffy Security Center Console Install - Lockable Storage

Installing A Tuffy Middle Console

Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

Recently we picked up this former Henderson, Nevada, police Chevy Tahoe as the base for a family wheeler/JK fighter type project rig. Something about former fleet vehicles we have always found attractive, whether it be a former military rig, fire, forest service, or police car. There’s just something about an old service rig.

Our ’05 Tahoe has a long way to go before it is a real off-road rig ready for family fun. In fact, as of right now our Tahoe is 2WD. That’s intentional. We decided to skip the part of your standard Chevy 4x4 build where you try to make the IFS live (we’re going right to a straight front axle). We are gonna skip the fight with electronic gremlins associated with electronic shift T-cases (and go right to a ’case with shift levers). We’ll share more details on exactly what we are doing in the future.

You have to start every project somewhere, and after driving the cop car a few times we quickly realized that sooner rather than later we needed a middle console. You see, our police car had been stripped down when it was retired from the force, including the removal of the police package communications center console. So there was just a big gap between the two front seats. Sure, we could have tracked down a junkyard Tahoe center console, but even if they are lockable, a bunch of plastic is only gonna slow a perp down so much. Instead we did what we here at 4-Wheel and Off-Road do best. We got the item we wanted with several upgrades. After calling up our friends at Tuffy Security Products we quickly got a hold of a Series II Security Console 12½ inches wide in Charcoal (PN 016-03, $264). The console makes for a quick and easy install, and in the end we have cupholders, a place to rest our arms, and plenty of secure lockable storage.

Installation of this Tuffy was as easy as pie—er, eating a doughnut. Basically we set the console where we wanted it to make the cupholders easy to use and the lid easy to open. Once you are happy with the location, mark the mounting holes through the floor of the console. The Tuffy Console came with a bracket for the rear of the box, but we didn’t need it. Once the mounting-hole locations were marked we just cut through our vinyl floor covering with a box cutter and drilled three 3⁄8-inch holes through the transmission tunnel of the truck. Just be sure you are not drilling into any fuel tank, fuel lines, electrical wires, or vacuum lines that could be running just under the floor. Once the holes were drilled we grabbed the top of the included Grade 8 hardware with locking pliers. That allowed us to crawl under the Tahoe and tighten the nuts without even asking for help.

This middle console has lots of features, including this durable yet easy-to-use pushbutton latch and lock mechanism. Both the button and lock move cleanly with positive feel of a quality product. The Charcoal powdercoat is durable, matches our interior pretty well, and should hold up as long as the rest of the truck does. Under the Charcoal finish is 16-gauge steel. That ought to keep any thieves out of our stuff even if they break into the truck. Plastic would not last long, but it’s going to take time for them to hack into the steel.