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I’m so excited to finally introduce you to my newest project vehicle: a 1976 FJ Land Cruiser. My first big project for this cruiser is to make a grill on the go that will be attached to the spare tire on the back and it’s sponsored by Goodyear!

  1. The 1976 FJ Land Cruiser
  2. Fusion 360 the Grill
  3. Grill Mount
  4. Grill Mount Frame
  5. The Aluminum
  6. Problem Solving
  7. Problem SOLVED
  8. Grill on the Go

1.The 1976 FJ Land Cruiser

This cruiser needs a lot of work, there’s holes, rust, missing weather stripping, but the tires are brand new from Goodyear – they’re the Wrangler Workhorse HT tires from Goodyear. For this project, I wanted to focus on something fun since the cruiser is already running pretty consistently. I used the existing mounting points for the spare tire but wanted to attach a grill that can fold up and down.

2.Fusion 360 the Grill

First things first, I had to start in Fusion 360 to get the table and grill modeled out. I took all the real world measurements and put them into the program to find our best solution. From that, I was able to add and remove different pieces to really see where I needed to start. The mounting piece needed to be accomplished first in order to make the foldable table. 

3.Grill Mount

Using a protractor I was able to measure out the right circle to fit in the grill mounting section of the spare tire on a piece of steel. The holes for the mounting piece are kind of in a weird spot so figuring out those locations took some problem solving. Next, I traced the backside of the bolts to a piece of cardboard to find the right locations to cut in the steel. It was important for me to find the center points between all 3 mounting holes – it allowed me to find the right orientation to the top as I transferred that to the steel for the grill. 

4.Grill Mount Frame

Now to make the frame for the grill mount, I used some square steel tubing I already had on hand. After cutting that down to the sizes I needed, I welded them together in almost an upside down “T” shape. Last, I added gussets to keep that framing strong; I wanted to make sure the framing looked “finished” so I 3D printed some caps that will fit perfectly in the open tubing to seal it up. 

5.The Aluminum

To start, I used an 1/8 inch aluminum for the table. I don’t have a lot of experience with welding aluminum so this is where a ton of planning and patience came into play. First, I ripped the aluminum down to size and marked out the shape of the grill table top. Next, I wanted to fold a long piece of the aluminum into a “U” shape and honestly, I was procrastinating doing it – it was just going to be some tedious work.  Last, I used a metal break that I put together a while ago and it worked exactly how I needed it to to bend the aluminum. 

6.Problem Solving

Once I began welding the aluminum, I realized it just wasn’t going to work. The problem was that the more heat I put made it deform and wouldn’t hold the pieces together and I couldn’t get it to work. Before I even spent a lot of time practicing to weld the aluminum – but I really just didn’t have the skillset yet to weld such a large piece of aluminum. 

7.Problem SOLVED

I took a step back, took a deep breath, and made a plan. First, I decided to call my local steel yard and recreated the same thing with steel instead of the aluminum. I welded everything together exactly as I had planned for the aluminum. It ended up being heavier that I had wanted but it worked out. Next, I had to weld on a piece for the front to hold the grill in place and then I could connect the table to the mount. Last, I connected the tabletop and the mount together with a set of hinges.

8.Grill on the Go

By adding a few brackets I could add a strap to hold the grill and table top in place. To finish it off, I painting it black which really made the red grill pop. After mounting it to the cruiser, I headed to to the farm to test it out. It’s exactly perfect and the grill test was absolutely delicious – Anthony and Meighan approved. Big thanks to Goodyear for sponsoring this build – be sure to check out their new Wrangler Workhorse HT tires!