Our new-to-us 2018 Rubicon Recon JKU will spend a lot of time with the doors removed. The Jeep already has a Tuffy under seat security drawer on the drivers side, so it was a no-brainer to go back to Tuffy for their JKU center console security safe for some additional locking storage.
To start, we took full advantage of the key-alike service when we ordered, so the new key matches the existing under seat drawer. This is a great feature that minimizes the size of you keyring. Once the unit was in hand, we saw how it works around the USB port and power plug on the inside of the console. This retains the stock look of the center console and most of the functionality. You only lose the secondary, shallow “drawer” below the main lid of the console. While we found that drawer somewhat handy (we were constantly using the wrong latch to try to get into it or the main console), the additional security of the safe is worth the sacrifice.
This is a straightforward installation, not requiring more than a 1/2″ socket, Torx 20 and some type of flat tool to pop out the trim panels. There’s an option to add two 3/8″ bolts for a more secure installation and these require a right-angle drill and bits to install.
Start by removing the stock console “mat” at the bottom of the console and popping out the plastic trim panel around the lid hinge. This exposes the four Torx 20 screws that hold the main lid on, which you remove and retain. This also provides room to spread the mounting ears on the shallow upper drawer under the main lid to remove it, it’s not able to be used with the safe installed. Popping off the rear panel of the console is required if you want to add the two optional 3/8″ bolts in the back wall of the safe. With all of that done, you drop the safe into the console, on top of the holes for the lid screws in the hinge.
At this point, you need to decide if you’re going to use the two holes in the back wall of the safe with the included 3/8″ bolts. These are optional, but they greatly increase the security of the installed unit. Getting the holes drilled for these requires some sort of reduced-access drill. We marked the holes through the back wall with a silver marker, pulled the safe out and used a right-angle cordless drill with a small bit to get pilot holes in. Then we could drill out to 3/8″ from the back side with a normal drill.
With that done, just drop the safe back in, add the 3/8″ bolts, washers and locknuts, reinstall the Torx 20 screws and stick on the two lid bumpers provided by Tuffy. You now have a truly secure center console storage area that you can technically double-lock with the Tuffy key and your ignition key.
We have had excellent experiences with Tuffy products in other Jeeps and this unit appears to be no exception. Since you drop this inside the existing console, you do lose a small amount of space, but here again, the additional security provided while maintaining the stock functions of the console are worth it. The key-alike service is brilliant and keeps us coming back to Tuffy whenever we add new units. This safe is seriously heavy-duty. It would be fun to install one of these in a junk Jeep’s console and then work to see what exactly it takes to get into it… maybe we’ll try that someday. For now, we’re just going to enjoy our new, secure center console.