Storage Platform


This platform is based on Msgail's platform. I ended up modifying the design for semi-permanent use, which added considerably to the weight, cost, complexity, parts count, and labor involved.


Figure 1 shows the platform opened to its full seven-foot length. Now not only can I sleep in my car, I can stretch out!

This configuration is compatible with the Honda cabana and Sportz SUV tent, which work with the hatch and tailgate open.

The legs in both extensions retract.

The entire unit can be broken down without tools into a fairly small bundle of subassemblies.
Figure 1

With the front extension lowered, the seats can tilt reasonably far, even in their full-aft positions (Figure 3).

The front seats are slid and tilted forward to make room for the front extension (Figure 2). Note: Front seats on 2007 and later Elements do not tilt forward, so I don't know if this will work on those cars.

Figure 3
Figure 2

Figure 4: Platform in normal driving configuration. As the lid over the rear storage area is raised past 90°, the extension forms a triangle that allows the section to stand up without need for a brace. Rear lower bracket keeps back end of unit aligned. Center section holds items up to 9" x 9" x 52".

Figure 4

Each front and rear compartment has a hinged bulkhead that closes (Figure 5) to prevent cargo from rolling into a middle compartment, or opens (Figure 6) to accommodate longer items. Bulkheads are stayed with Velcro.

Figure 5
Figure 6

Figure 7: looking aft; middle compartments with driver's side bulkhead open, passenger's side closed

Figure 7

Figure 8: looking forward; rear compartments, passenger's side bulkhead closed

Figure 8

Figures 9, 10: Emergency gear in spare tire well is accessible through doors cut into cover.

Figure 9
Figure 10

Dimensions and Construction

The platform is based on MsGail's design [PDF plans] but is 6" shorter (not counting the extensions), which allows my driver's seat to slide back farther than standard and the front seats to recline more.

Figure 11: Spare tire well cover. The underside of the middle third of the front edge is beveled 45° to clear a fillet in the floor.

Figure 12: Upper panels. 1/8" thick, 1 1/2" aluminum angle and 1/16" thick, 1" aluminum square tube are indicated, in profile, along left edge.

  • Panels colored gray do not move.
  • Dashed lines indicate hinges that move up (blue) or down (red).
  • The front crossbar has hinged legs (Figure 23), as do the front and rear extensions (Figures 1–3).

Figure 11
Figure 12


Figure 13: elbow catch on front lid
Figure 14: from left, hold-down for center section of front lid; front crossbar and hold-down for front and middle lids; draw hasp for middle lid

Figure 15: Spring catches hold down outer corners of middle lid, prevent rattling.
Figure 16: Bed rail brackets secure front of box structure to upright.
Figure 17: Hold-downs prevent unit from sliding forward.

Figure 18: Cover protects rear extension's legs.

Figure 19: Cover open, legs ready to deploy.
Figure 20: Hasp secures front edge of front section's center panel.
Figure 21: Back end of rear section can be locked down if desired.
Figure 22: Magnetic catches set into rear bulkheads hold open doors over spare tire well. Knobs are 1/4"-20, wide-shoulder, flathead steel furniture bolts, can be removed in a jiffy.

Figure 23: Folding legs support outside front corners of middle compartment and outside rear corners of front compartments.   
Figure 24: Sliding locks hold up rear extension panel for sleeping with the tailgates closed. Inset, closeup of a slide lock engaged with a slot in the side garnish, designed for the OEM cargo cover. Anti-skid tape allows operation with the lock's knob removed; Teflon tape on the slide mechanism prevents rattling.   

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