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Lexus GX470 - Project TraiLex, Part 4

Organizational skills: adding a Tuffy cargo drawer.

Ned BaconPhotographer

We've been enjoying our Project TraiLex as a daily driver for more than a year now. As with any well-used vehicle, we noticed the once-spacious interior was getting increasingly cluttered with trail tools, recovery gear, and camping and sports equipment that seemed to have found a permanent home within the Lexus' confines. Not only was it getting hard to find a seat, but our once whisper-quiet ride seemed to be full of rattles from all the stuff lying around. Some organizational skills were in order.

When it comes to sturdy, secure storage in a vehicle, we know where to go. A quick look at Tuffy Security Products' Web site (www.tuffyproducts.com) revealed Cargo Drawers. Originally designed to fit in the tub of a Jeep, these sturdy drawers are also just the ticket for storage of bulky items behind the back seat of an SUV like our Lexus. We ordered the drawer (PN 058), which measures 30 inches long by 35 3/8 inches wide by 5 inches tall. Another drawer (PN 063) has the same dimensions, except it is 13 inches tall. These sizes should fit almost any midsize or fullsize SUV and still leave plenty of room on top of them for all those groceries, soccer balls, and spare kids. Check out the photos to see how we organized TraiLex.

This sure beats having all this stuff rattling around in the back of TraiLex. The lockable Tuffy Cargo Drawer keeps everything organized, clean, out of the way, yet easy to find. The drawer rolls out on large ball-bearing rollers and can hold pounds of stuff. The Lexus' back door swings far enough out of the way for easy access. SUVs equipped with tailgates or hatches shouldn't have any fitment problems, either. Tuffy does offer some riser brackets for mounting the drawers up off the floor for clearance issues, or for additional storage underneath. The company also sells a divider kit so you can make cubby holes within the drawer for even more organization. We tried these but found just having one big drawer gave us the best space for our stuff.

Here is a look at all the stuff we had to stash. Once the drawer was mounted, it created areas all around itself for bigger, bulky things like a tent, a sleeping pad, snowshoes, and a backpack with cold-weather gear. All the smaller goodies fit into the drawer.

Mounting the Tuffy Drawer was almost too easy. It was almost like Tuffy designed the thing to fit into a Lexus. The four factory tie-downs were mounted exactly the correct distance apart in the Lexus' floor to provide solid mounting points. We quickly removed the OE tie-downs and made some simple L-shaped brackets that bolted into the four mounting pockets left by the removed tie downs.

We then drilled holes in the sides of the drawer and bolted it to the installed brackets. The job was done, and we were ready to organize TraiLex's interior.

Shown is the completed project with the drawer shut and all of our stuff securely stowed.

We soon found that the gas can was not going to work in an enclosed vehicle. It was removed and we made this carpeted plywood shelf that sits on top of the drawer and makes a comfortable place for our friends.