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Unread 03-12-2014, 08:25 PM   #1
SSRx7
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Roof Rack

I was pricing roof racks for my hard top and discovered something. If they were made of gold, they would be cheaper, because they must be made out of unobtanium.

New Yakima racks are over $300 new, and not much better on craigslist. In fact finding a decent roof rack at all on the cheap is not easy so I looked for an alternative.

My wife has a 95 Grand Cherokee with a factory roof rack. I looked at that and figured it would work good. So I found one on craigslist for $40.

I got it and having previously measuring the length of it, I cut 14 inches from the front end of each rail. The angled end caps slide off and you have to trim the rubber base as well. An air powered cut off wheel worked perfect for this.



The factory torx screws that came with the rack are not long enough to go through the fiberglass hard top, so I went down to the hardware store and bought 10 1/4 x 1" stainless steel allen drive button head screws, 20 1/4 lockwashers, 10 1/4 nuts, and 10 1/4 x 1" flat washers. I also bought a role of putty tape, found in the plumbing section.




I measured and squared up the rack on top of the jeep and drilled 10 1/4" holes. Then I lay down a 5 foot length of putty tape for each rail (The RV industry uses this same exact stuff for sealing in anything bolted or screwed to the exterior rv walls and works great). I then put a lockwasher on each screw and pushed it through the drilled holes. I then put a short piece of putty tape on the back side of each flat washer, then another lock washer and finally the nut. As you tighten each nut it will press the putty into any gaps and also squeeze out from under the washers and the rails, for a great water proof seal.



It was extremely easy, and now all I have to do is find a good cargo basket..... or make one.
Hope this gives you an idea for your rig.

Bill

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Unread 03-12-2014, 08:27 PM   #2
robert-yj
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Now that's a great idea! I will defiantly try this when I get a hard top in the future!
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Unread 03-12-2014, 08:37 PM   #3
bigbossd1030
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Did the same, got mine off a 95 cherokee or something of the sort. Same deal though. Worked out perfectly.
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Unread 03-12-2014, 08:57 PM   #4
Anticanman
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I did one from a '00 Rodeo.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 04:44 AM   #5
superj
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i was going to use an xj rack but decided i never would carry anything up there.

great write up though. some people will definitely use it as they do carry stuff
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Unread 03-13-2014, 10:45 AM   #6
Reno72
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I saw a guy use a older Nissan Xterra rack that came out nice. I guess the question is how do you support it underneath? I would not expect the fiberglass roof to like too much pressure on four little points, i'd be concerned about it pulling out at higway speed.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 11:53 AM   #7
RATBASTIRD
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Can you post up a pic of what it looks like from the interior?

I've been waiting for the warmer weather to start so I can get starting on making mine.
I was going to use a rack from a Ford Explorer and put a small basket.

Purpose isn't to carry anything more then 40lbs total...Burley trailer for the kids, sleds, other kid crap that doesn't fit inside.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 04:18 PM   #8
SSRx7
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Reno72, The Grand Cherokee rack has rails that lay on the roof, and there are five bolts on each rail about a foot apart for a total of ten bolts. My hard top is off a CJ and is very strong and thick compared to some YJ and later hardtops that I have seen It is at least 3/8" to 7/16" thick, and double layered. I used 1" flat fender washers. It's not going anywhere, and the rails distribute the weight over the whole roof along near the sides where it is thickest and strongest. Other that rolling the jeep, which would probably break the roof anyways, I don't see it coming loose at all. I can grab one of the rails from the side and hoist myself up, and I'm 6'!" and 260lbs.

Ratbastird, I will post some pics up shortly.

I was actually thinking about getting 2 pieces of 1" flat iron about 5' long and bolting them inside to sandwhich the fiberglass, and also to build some over head interior racks for CB/ storage and such, but I don't know yet. It is much, much stronger the way it is than I thought it would be.
I can sit on my hardtop and it doesn't give at all. A friend of mine has a newer YJ and I was looking at his, and it looks like the top was built in sections. You can see seems all over the inside and on the out side between the side window and the door opening. Mine has no seams whatsoever.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 05:08 PM   #9
SSRx7
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Here are some pics of the finished rack:
From the back:


Front end:


Side from front to rear:


Interior bolts close up:


Interior bolts in a line I couldn't get all of them in one shot):
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Unread 03-13-2014, 08:25 PM   #10
plym49
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Really nice. So the Cherokee rails conformed to the curvature of the CJ top? Do they happen to have the same curve, or do they just match the curve as you tighten them down?
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Unread 03-13-2014, 09:00 PM   #11
SSRx7
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Grand Cherokee and they were very close... Within 1/4 - 1/8 inch.
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Unread 03-13-2014, 10:16 PM   #12
Reno72
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Looks good, Yakima makes a really nice basket that would attach to the cross rails. They are pretty expensive new but if you check Craigslist you can find a bargain, I sold mine on there for $200
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Unread 03-14-2014, 10:45 AM   #13
SSRx7
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I'm looking for a bigger basket, about 62" long by 48-50"wide. Walmart. com has one for $109 + $35 shipping, but it is a screw together one. I may end up making my own out of 1/2" square tubing.
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Unread 03-14-2014, 12:36 PM   #14
NHfireYJ
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Just one question.... Whats a hard top?

Nice mod...
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Unread 03-14-2014, 04:05 PM   #15
SSRx7
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A hard top is one of those things used to put roof racks on.

Thanks.
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