Alright, the rack build was successful. So I originally wanted a mountaineer rack from Olympic 4x4 Products to retro-fit into my WJ. Unfortunately, the rack has been back ordered and no one including O4x4 was giving me an answer when they will be available again. I have a camping trip coming up and my cargo area was full and I was running out of time.
Here's what I had in the cargo area to give you an idea:
I went to Harbor Freight and picked up an ATV hitch mounted cargo rack. This rack came in 3 sections, a left side, a right side and the receiver tube that bears the load of the rack and plugs into your 2" receiver. You're supposed to sandwich each side to the 2" square tube and bolt it together. I tossed the 2" tube and used some 3/8"x1" nuts and bolts and simply bolted the two sides together. Here's the rack to give you a visual:
I don't have any pictures of the supports I made, they are pretty much just 3/4" square tubing and rest on the plastics on each side. The rack weighs about 30 pounds and my gear up top is roughly 100-120 lbs between the 3 action packers. I have a little bit of bowing of the plastic, but once it bows itself straight (the panels on each side are beveled a little, if that makes any sense) they are plenty strong for support. You can hardly tell the plastics are bowed unless you point it out or someones looking really hard for a flaw. It doesn't bother me and I'm an OCD freak. Like I said, the panels are more than enough support for probably 150 lbs. I put some tie downs on the under side of the rack, towards the middle and used the 4 cargo loops on the sidewalls of the compartment to hold it down. They are 1/4" turn buckles that extend to 7.5". Make sure you make all your measurements and dry fit everything before drilling all your holes and mounting your tie downs to the rack. You want all 4 turn buckles to point towards the MIDDLE of the rack for the tightest fit.
Here's some pictures of the finished product. I gained about half of my cargo space back, and everything is nice and strapped down on the rack. Also, the rack cost me $46 and I spent about another $50 on steel and hardware. I like my design much better than Olympic's, plus I didn't have to start drilling holes in my floor.
nice setup. a while back i was looking into getting the O4x4 rack for my dub. but i couldnt get it together enough to actually get it. i would like to do something like this with mine now. report back with the results after the trip thanks for the idea
So my home made rack didn't end up working out. There was no structure under the plastic trim and it was starting to bow it on both sides. So back to square one. I finally was able to order Olympics Mountaineer Rack. Fitment was near perfect, but the mounting was the hard part. They supply you with four bolts that have threads on the inside. You're supposed to drill your holes, bolt in these threaded bolts and you're done. Being that this rack is made for an XJ, I ran into one big problem. All four holes I drilled ended up inside my frame rails and I had no way to get the nut on from the underside. I had to drop the bolts in place and weld them in place.
They supply you with some clamps and knobs so you can take the rack in and out very easily, but I decided on bolting the rack down in place after the fact. I had to get some spacers between the bottom of the clamp and the carpet so I had a nice tight hold to the floor. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just drilled four holes in each corner of the rack and bolted straight through the legs to the floor.
Here's some pictures of the install and final look.
I have been thinking where I can put my two recovery bags when the seats are folded down and I am filled with camping gear. I thought it would be a perfect fit for them behind the driver and passenger seats, however, in the WJ the lower section of seat folds forward and occupies that space. After a little JF browsing I found a couple threads for the WJ rear seat mod. Check it out -
I started by unbolting the brackets from the floor and then removed the brackets from the seat bottoms. In a vice, I carefully drilled out the mushroom side of the rivet pin with a 21/64" bit.
I tapped out the rivet pin and bored all 8 holes to 21/64":
I used 5/16"x2.75" wire lock pins for a means of quick disconnect when I want to utilize all the cargo room. Perfect spot for my recovery bags, and leaves the entire back of the Jeep open for gear!
I really like how it all mounted up. I wish the metal above the tail light was thicker or had a little more rigidity to it. The mount flexes ever so slightly when there's leverage on the antenna. Not enough for it to loosen up or snap the bracket though. Here's the install pics:
The Cobra 75WXST came with a remote mounted reciever box that was small enough to mount under the dashboard.
Here's some finished pictures of the CB and tablet. The mount for the CB was bought from a company called Panavice and could be mounted on either side of the radio. I did have to drill a hole in the bracket to accommodate the CB clip.