The Garage - Rear Cab
Complete Rear Interior Compartment Remake!

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Last Updated: 12/3/2013
Rear Cab

Summit Racing Equipment
Address: P.O. Box 909
Akron, OH 44398-6177
Phone: 800-230-3030
Fax: 330-630-5333
The Order Line is open 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week.
Click here to visit their website.

FatMat Sound Control Inc.
Address: 20 Park rd.
Painesville OH 44077
Phone: 1-877-FAT-50600
Click here to visit their website.

Various Others:
Sonic Electronix, OnlineMetals, Tap Plastics, TigerDirect, Automotive Interiors Inc.,, the local ACE Hardware store, the local 41 Lumber store, ebay, and a view more...

The fabrication, modifications and designs you see on this web site are completed by myself. If you duplicate these modifications you do so at your own risk. I do not endorse or make any claims to their safety, performance, On-road or off-road worthiness. Any "Product Reviews" are my sole and personal opinion. These reviews are on items purchased from or provided by reputable aftermarket suppliers. All registered trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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The total cost for this project at completion came out to approx. $1120.00
Quite some time ago I threw out the third row seats from my Durango as I didn't have any need for it with only seating three family members total. This allowed me to gain additional space which I utilized frequently for transporting the gear needed for fishing, hunting, or simply camping. I was planing on creating bins for storage and re-flatten the section where the 3rd row seats have been torn from but life threw me a curve ball called cancer in 2009 and as many of you who followed up on my site know, put everything on the back burner. Well, three years later and one year after transplant. I am back and I was in good enough shape to tackle this project. It went on for weeks, lots of labor, brain storming, and much time went on waiting for parts. Besides the fact that it was an awesome project, I really enjoyed acquiring new knowledge and the techniques to get the job done. Spending time with my son during his summer break before school starts was the best part, though!

The plan was to create two additional storage spaces with lids. One large but slightly shallow compartment which would be located directly below where the third row seats where once installed, while the second one would be placed on the passenger side where the legroom has been for that seat row. On the driver side I would build a subwoofer box to enhance the acoustics of my Durango. I wanted a dedicated amplifier for the new 12" JBL subwoofer which would reside in the sealed enclosure.

Although I am more then capable in electrical matters, I am not an audio expert or audiophile and thus I have spent countless hours on the net finding out what would work and what not. What subwoofer size for the speaker box size and the difference of having the box ported or sealed, what speaker brand, Dual vs. Single Voice Coil, etc. After figuring this all out and having a solid plan for the car audio, I needed to find out what type of material to use and which tools would be required to purchase for the project.
I am sure you can tell that this projects shopping list has a completely different layout then in my other projects and the reason for this is that it turned more or less into a giant nightmare, an endless seeming list of parts and tools. The cost, frankly went far beyond what I wanted to spend on it. Well, no crying over spilled milk.

Here are the majority of decisions I made for this project:
Project Category Conceptualization
  • The rear cab is completely stripped, cleaned, and lined with FatMat acoustic matting.

  • A dedicated Kenwood KAC-8105D subwoofer amplifier will be installed hidden beneath the driver side rear cargo interior panel,

  • A single 12" JBL Dual Voice Coil subwoofer wired in at 2 Ohm takenresidence in a sealed subwoofer enclosure, utilizing high quality wiring (oxygen free, stranded pure copper)

  • A distribution block (brass), and separate fusing with Mega Fuses in a BlueSea Systems Fuse holder.
Storage Compartments

  • Compartment 1: Divided from Storage Compartment 2 and the Subwoofer enclosure utilizing thick gauge sheet metal which is bent into a U-Channel turned upside down, sealed with RTV, and installed using steel rivets.
  • Compartment 2 and Subwoofer Enclosure: Fabricated from 3/4" thick MDF (Medium Density Fiber) board and secured to the cab using 6061aluminum angle purchased from OnlineMetals and steel rivets, black Permatex 82180 RTV Ultra Black Silicone Adhesive Sealant will prevent moisture from creeping up and will add to the structural integrity. The top of the subwoofer enclosure and the lid for compartment 2 are fabricated from MDF as well.
    The lid for Compartment 1 and the original lid from the Durango's cargo compartment (where the tools for a spare tire change are normally stored) will be created from 3/4" ply-wood. The OEM cargo lid will be discarded after removing the lid latch.
    All lids are fastened via Stanley piano hinges and receive a Storage Bin Lid Latch (Mopar# 5GK82DX9AB) just identical to the original latch from the OEM cargo lid. All compartments are lined with black Trunk Felt and the top section is then lined with waterproof and UV resistant automotive carpet in OEM Taupe color.

Shopping List
Category Description
Audio JBL GT5-12D, 1100 Peak / 275W RMS, 12" Dual 4 ohm GT Series Dual Voice Coil subwoofer
Audio Kenwood KAC-8105D Class D Mono Power Amplifier 1000 Watts Max. Power
Audio Lightning Audio Car Distribution Block (1) 4 8 Gauge Input to (4) 8 AWG Outputs
Audio Rubber Edge Trim, Metal Subwoofer Grill, Speaker Cloth, Connectors, RCA cable
Electrical BlueSea Systems #7721 MEGA Safety Fuse Blocks (2) and Fuses (4)
Electrical 2/0 ga., 4 ga., 8 ga., High quality oxygen free stranded copper wire & solder lugs
Cab FatMat 50 Sq Ft. FatMat Bulk Pack, 1 Roll 33.5' L X 18" W (Thickness 50 mil nominal)
Cab MDF 48" x 96" x 3/4", Plywood 48" x 96" x 3/4", Stanley Hinges, Rivets, Screws
Cab Wood Glue, RTV Silicone, Carpet Glue, Aluminum Angle 6 feet, T-Brackets
Cab 15ft x 4ft black TRUNK LINER + 2 Cans <313> instant tack glue
Cab Automotive Interiors Inc., 2 1/2 Yards 907 Taupe POLY BACK (16008) Carpet
Cab Storage Bin Lid Latches (2), Mopar Part#5GK82DX9AB (Upper Latch Half)
Tools Plunge Router & Bosch 1/2" bit, High Power Professional Riveter, Utility Blades
Other In addition would be a few more items such as sheet metal, a bunch of scuffing pads, brushes, paint, a handful of bolts and a fair amount of Phillips screws which all I took from my parts binand thus I didn't have to spend more money on these.
Prices are rounded up or down and include all shipping and handling costs. I tried to remember all parts I have purchased for this project but I am sure I am missing a few in the below list.
The basic procedure of this project is to strip the rear cab from all panels and interior and prep the entire area for lining it with FatMat sound dampener matting. Building integrated storage compartments with lids, lining those out with trunk felt, and building a compartment for a 12" subwoofer. Finishing the project with the hidden install of a subwoofer amp, laying new carpet, and re-installing panels & interior into the cab.

Getting Started:
I removed all interior panels from the rear of the cab and cut out and removed the carpet. This was also the perfect time to get rid off the rear seat belt pouches and mechanism which haven't been removed when I tossed out the third row seating and are just dead weight.This wasn't as easy as I had thought because I needed to remove the top half from the rear air condition and heating unit.
After cleaning everything extremely well using a vacuum cleaner, compressed air, and mild solvents I prepped the area for the FatMat install utilizing Dupli-Color paint prep spray to get rid of any oily substances to allow the mat to adhere well to the metal.

My son was all business helping with the FatMat install, we shared the workload while I was cutting and laying it down, he used the wood roller to adhere it to the metal and getting all air bubbles out which was lots of fun. This took the entire afternoon and it had of course nothing to do with that fact that we were goofing off most of the time!

I wanted to add a U-Channel from heavy gauge sheet metal which would serve as the divider between storage compartment one and two but realized that I lacked the proper tools. I called my friend Neil. Always ready to help out, my friend jumped in and we were able to get this done using a large shear and bending brake at his former workplace he retired from. It just came out just as I had it envisioned. Awesome, Thanks Neil!

Let me tell you, it's a lot easier if you have the right tools for the job. I also enjoyed learning something new, like setting up a hydraulic bending brake which could bend a Z-shape in your leg if needed :-)

After a quick test fit, I proceeded with drilling the panel for the steel rivets I am going to use for mounting the U-Channel permanent into place. I primed and painted the panel on the inside using POR-15 and used Dupli-Color truck bed coating to finish it. I then placed the channel into position, drilled the holes through the cab for the rivets and riveted everything in place using generously RTV silicone to seal it up. It all took a little more then a day and a half for the RTV silicone to cure completely through.

It was time to prep the U-channel for paint by sanding and cleaning it as good as possible considering that I have no access to it after it's covered with FatMat. I primed the channel and went on to paint using POR15 and finishing it with Dupli-Color truck bed coating. It came out nice, and this is a very durable approach from my past experiences on other projects using this method of rust prevention. The trick here is to apply the truck bed coating while the POR15 is still a bit tacky. I now wait for 24 hours before applying FatMat over it.. It's time to get to the lumber store choosing the right wood for the storage compartments. I also need to purchase a Plunge Router to be able to create a channel in the compartment lids for the carpet to pulled in and fastened. I also have to use the router to create cut-outs and pockets for the Mopar Lid Latches to sit in.

I went ahead and applied FatMat onto the newly created compartment divider. It took two layers on the floor in front of the divider to get an even surface.

Stripping the rear cab from all interior.

The FatMat is installed.

The right tools for the job.

Installing the bushing into the pod.

The paint and RTV silicone are cured.

Removing the old seat belt & pouches..

Yep, this stuff sticks to everything!

Making a bushing for the mounting bolt.

The compartment divider is installed.

FatMat sound dampening mat installed.

Time to close up for this day. Next morning I checked on the divider making sure that the paint and the silicone have cured completely through, and it was!

My research revealed that many car audio installers use MDF as their preferred material. It is easy to work with and has good acoustic properties for speaker boxes. For the storage compartment lids a carpenter suggested Plywood over MDF in case it would get wet, considering the amount of rain and snow we get here, Plywood doesn't swell this much as MDF and is stronger were the material gets thinner like at those locations where the Storage Latches going to be installed..I will be using MDF for the speaker box containing the subwoofer and for the rear storage compartment next to it. I will be using the same thickness plywood for all lids except for the top of the subwoofer box.

I made a trip to my local lumber store and bought MDF (Medium Density Fiber board and Plywood in 8 x 4 feet sheets and a 3/4" thickness to create the storage compartment and the subwoofer enclosure.
I also picked up contractor strength wood glue and various hardware and parts for the project. This stuff isn't cheap!
I created the first new storage compartment and the sub woofer enclosure from 3/4" MDF. I bolted the MDF to the floor utilizing 3/16" thick angled aluminum I have purchased from and used self tapping screws to fasten it. I sealed everything with black RTV gasket maker. I used this stuff between the aluminum angles and the chassis as well as between the aluminum angles and the MDF.
For wood to wood I used industrial strength carpenter wood glue I purchased at the local lumber store and wood screws.All in all I used 5 tubes of the RTV silicone for this area to seal everything up what was left and exposed. I gave the section a 3 day break to allow the silicone to completely cure through. I then used plenty of FatMat for both compartments

The new storage and sub woofer box .

I proceeded with cutting the inner fender panels so that they would fit the new created area for which I used a green crayon from my son to mark the cutting line and tin snips to cut the two panels into the shape needed. This entire job was done in 15 minutes and worked better then expected.

Cutting the panels with tin snips.

...and then the one on the left side.

First the panel on the right....

I cut trunk liner, an extremely durable felt type carpet which stands up to heavy use. It is easy to cut, fit, and molds to desired shape or size without much effort.

This great stuff resists stains, mold, and mildew, has a high resistance to gas, oil, and salt and is treated with a solution for UV protection. All in all just what the doctor ordered for this type of use. I got it on ebay and it included 2 cans of web type spray adhesive.
First the panel on the right....
Cutting the panels with tin snips.

With this part accomplished I went on to the install of the new Kenwood amplifier dedicated for my new JBL sub woofer. I decided to install the amp below the driver side rear fender panel. It wood get enough cooling at this spot, doesn't take any valuable space up, and can't be seen which is always a plus for theft discouragement. I had to cut off the front legs from the amp to make it fit below the panel. I also had to trim the inside of the panel and remove the rear Power Outlet which I never once have found myself using. I fabricated the brackets from scrap aluminum to mount the amp angled to the chassis. I ran all the wiring from the battery and the car stereo dash unit along the driver side. I used 4 gauge pure copper wire for the positive power which comes from my BlueSea Systems 150 amp MegaFuse fuse block located beside the battery and 6 gauge copper wire to the chassis in the rear for negative power. I used high quality RCA cable coming from the head unit for the Line In ports, a 14 gauge remote wire for turning the amp on when the dash unit operates, and 10 gauge speaker wire to my Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer.

In the pictures to the right you can see my MegaFuse fuse blocks. Picture (1) shows the fuse block for the Durango's audio system only. The outer picture (2) shows both blocks re-installed, the inner block is the fused power for the electric radiator fan. I created the panel in the location where the EGR valve originally was located. I moved the valve further up on the fender right next to the brake systemThe amp install and wiring took all of yesterdays afternoon.

This morning I lined the subwoofer box with carpet padding I had laying around. I used the same spray adhesive as for the trunk liner. This stuff is very fast setting and sticks like crazy glue to everything. I drilled a hole for the speaker cable, put the cable through, and again sealed everything up with RTV ...and while this was now ready for a speaker test, I needed to start with routing the circle cut into the top MDF plate which would house the subwoofer.

I was a bit of nervous because this will be my first time using a wood router, in a matter of fact I purchased an 2HP electric plunge router exclusively for this purpose. I picked up a 1/2" bit for it at my local ACE Hardware store and machined a pin for the router extension to serve me for a circle cut on my desktop lathe.

I went ahead and measured out for the location of the speaker drilled a hole in the center of it, connected my shop vacs hose to the router port and the fun started!
However, with only little of actual planing ahead, zero previous wood routing skills, I really didn't think that this would work out to well but to my surprise, my expectations weren't only met but far exceeded beyond anything I could have hoped for. Why did I not purchase a plunge router before? I can think of many times this tool would have made my day a lot easier. Anyway, all went well and I felt like a pro!

I soldered the sub woofer up, test fitting it into the enclosure, marking the spots for the screws to hold it in place, and pre-drilled all of them. Before I glued the top in place and sealing everything up, I filled the enclosure with the synthetic plastic fiber stuff for speakers which I used to build home audio speaker boxes some time ago. Everything was ready for the subwoofer, but before I could finalize the install there was still some carpet waiting in the corner of the garage.

I had to complete cutting out all my storage lids from plywood before anything else could be done. It only took a few hours to get this done and with my new acquired routing skills I had no problems creating the cutouts for the latches. I used my old trunk storage lid from the Durango as a template for routing the latches. I painted all lids using satin black acrylic paint purchased at Walmart. A simple brush was the tool for the job. I let it dry overnight.

Next morning I covered any areas with trunk liner which weren't already done. I cut and installed 1 1/2" wide plywood strips to the chassis and then mounted the lids to it with Stanley piano hinges which I cut to the proper length. I fastened them all with the supplied screws. I masked off all areas on which I didn't want any glue using masking paper and tape, I cut and glued trunk liner on top of all storage lids, and I finally was ready for final carpeting. The trunk lid was last as I needed it to be carpeted before install for a seemless look.
I then installed into each storage bin lid a OEM Durango latch which I purchased directly from Factory Mopar Parts Online. I only ordered the Upper Latch halves (5GK82DX9AB) and omitted the lower retainer half because the uppers are 31 bucks and the lower retainer would have been an additional 31 bucks for a piece a plastic I would likely replace at later point with an aluminum cover anyway.

However, I did had to fabricate three catches for the storage lid latches. I was using T-Brackets I have purchased from ACE Hardware to do this. Aligning them was a snap and fine tuning was done with a metal file.

I had to take care of the hole I left in the rear panel when I removed the OEM Power Outlet to fit the subwoofer amplifier behind the rear fender panel.
I thought it would be a good idea to install something useful instead of just plugging the hole up. Browsing the Mopar catalog gave me the idea of installing some sort of vent into the panel.

The only vent cover I thought of which could be retrofitted for this purpose was from a '98 Durango's dash, I didn't want to pay full retail at my Dealer or at Mopar Parts and therefore I spent some time browsing on ebay.
I found the part used from a seller on ebay for 10 bucks shipped and went for it.

I made a small template for the enlargement required to fit the vent into the panel. My trusty Dremmel made quick work of this part of the project. After test fitting it a few times and was satisfied with the result, I cleaned it very well, painted it in the OEM color which was perfectly matched at my local auto parts store, and all was good.

With the vent cover in place I finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now I could clean and re-install the rear seats, pop all panels back into their place, fasten the bolts for the adjustable triangular shoulder seat belt guides, put the covers for them back in place and checking every bolt and nut for safety. The interior is now back together.
Cutting off the mounting points.

Wiring the amp up with quality cable.

(2) The second fuse block is also reinstalled

The new plunge router.

Test fit, it worked out just awesome.

...Small Cargo Lid.

Rear lids are in, ready for carpet.

..All lids are in!

The Dremmel does the job well.

The modded speaker grille.
Mounting it with fabricated brackets.

(1) Mega Fuse block for audio only.

Lining the speaker box.

Plunge Router in action!.

Cut, routed, and painted..

Installing the piano hinges

The carpet looks great & matches the old one.

Rear lids are in, ready for carpet.

Ready for prime time.

..A perfect spot for the MagLite!

Small finish work included adding a metal subwoofer speaker grille which I modified to my liking. The grille mounts also needed some TLC and have been filed down to fit the height of the speaker grille. I added speaker corner protectors to the box which I also painted in the OEM interior color. The project was coming to an end by finding the ideal spot to mount my 5 D-Cell MagLite which only took a few minutes. After a bit of vacuuming the new interior I was happy how everything came out and I can hardly wait firing the whole system up with some Classic Rock.
The next morning I went into the garage, took a deep breath and realized that my "creating more storage" project has certainly been finalized" and after testing the audio system to it's core with some good rock, the sound quality improved tremendously!

This has been the longest and most involved project I have done to my Durango. All I have left to say is WOW! as it looks great, came out exactly as I had invisioned, and I didn't take any shortcuts to do it! All the work in this Rear Cab Remodel has certainly paid off.

I celebrate mission accomplished as I slurp on my mocha-shake listening to a good sound. I had more fun with this project then one should be allowed to have!
Call me Happy!

This project was completed on 10-12-2012

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