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Unread 10-16-2012, 01:47 AM   #1
danielbuck
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making a roof rack directly to TJ cage?

So my TJ is a soft top, but I NEVER take the top down. I always just take the doors, side windows, and rear window out, I never actually take the very top part down. I like the air and shade, not direct sun.

I've been wanting a roof rack for a while now, but didn't want to get one because I had to park in parking structures at work. Well, now I don't have to, I don't drive the TJ to work anymore, so it's time for a rack!


One thing I hate about just about every roof rack I see on a wrangler, are the ugly bars going down the A a C pillars.

So I'm thinking about making a rack, that ties into the roll cage, but punches THROUGH the soft top. It would never go down any pilar, it would just tie to the top of the roll cage. Since I never raise back the soft top, I'll probably just epoxy around the tubes that puncture the soft top so that they don't let water through (it hardly ever rains where I live, but I do take long road trips in it sometimes, so I'd rather in not leak profusely). I have no problem cutting holes in the soft top.


I've got two main questions:

First, what size tubing would be best for a roof rack that doesn't need to hold the weight of a person, just luggage? Is 1x1" square tubing that's 1/16" thick in a simple design sufficient? I have alot of this tubing, because I've been making furniture with it. My gut tells me that it would be plenty strong enough.

So asusming my gut is right, now lets say I DID want it to hold the weight of a person, would 1x1" square tubing still be sufficient, if it's welded good? I guess that depends entirely on how it's designed. I'm going to start working on a design in the computer very soon.

Second, I'd like to make the rack removable. Doesn't have to be a slick design, I'm thinking about just having short pieces of tubing that are slightly thicker (slides over the 1x1") that stick up a few inches from the soft top (welded to the roll cage), and each part of the rack slides down into that tubing and a bolt goes through each connection. Would this be a good way to make it removable? With it removed, there would be just 4 (or possibly 6) tubes sticking out top of the soft top, maybe an inch or so. I'd only make it removable in case there's ever some odd reason when I would need to remove the soft top, I could take a razer blade to the glue that seals the holes in the soft top so that it would then lift back like normal. But I doubt this will happen, I've removed the top only twice now, once when I first got it to see how to do it, and then once again when new parts of the cage went in. My consern with making the rack removable, is rattling.


Will post up images of my first design shortly, for some critiques from you metal fab folks

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Unread 10-16-2012, 06:11 AM   #2
Kettles
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Back in school we made numerous tree stands out of 1"x1" square tubing with 1/16" wall, and they all were very sturdy. From my experience that will be plenty, and IIRC its what many people make their roof racks out of. Of course design is what makes it strong, you could make it out of straws and toothpicks if you had he right design, lol.

On your concerns with possible rattling with your design to be removable, if you tighten your bolts sufficiently then it would squeeze the tubing and clamp it onto the uprights. It may make removal/re-install difficult though. You could something similar to like my receiver hitch I have does, and weld a nut into the tubing that goes on the inside (so the rack side of the joint, if I read your design right). Then the bolt threads into the rack and tightens it to the cage. Like my awesome art shows:


Alternatively you could change the design completely, Weld the nut into the end of the down piece tubing from the rack, and then sleeve your cage (or not, just drill holes all the way through) and bolt though the cage into the bottom of the rack. Very secure, requires only really small holes in your soft top, and if done right, the clamping of the rack to the cage on the top could seal it (you could use some rubber gasket material in there). And if you want to run without the rack, just put a bolt and nut on through and its sealed!
I like that idea.
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Unread 10-16-2012, 08:43 AM   #3
danielbuck
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aah, I see that, I bet that would work! I was thinking the bolt to go all the way though, but it would not sandwich the two to gether like your drawing. I'm glad I ask :-)

Hm, yea I'd have to see how close the soft top is to the cage bars, squishing the soft top inbetween the cage and the rack with only a hole large enough for the bolt, that would probably work. Would also look cleaner if I ever were to remove it for whatever reason.

Thanks for the ideas! I'm goign to start working on the design in the computer tonight after I get home from work.
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Unread 10-18-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
aTX427
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I used wakeboard tower mounts and 1.25 schedule 60 aluminum. It's strong as heck.

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Unread 10-19-2012, 10:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by aTX427 View Post
I used wakeboard tower mounts and 1.25 schedule 60 aluminum. It's strong as heck.

You ride is looking gorgeous. Can you upload some more photos?
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Unread 10-19-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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yea good looking rig!
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Unread 10-20-2012, 09:14 PM   #7
Michaelgoesrawr
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If welding a nut on the inside of the bars mounted to your cage would be too difficult, you could always make the internal bar just short enough so that the rack cross bars sit on top of the bars that are welded to your cage. If the clearances are there of course. That would eliminate alignment problems too. Weld everything together and set it in place, then you can drill holes through both sections at the same time.
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Unread 10-21-2012, 07:36 AM   #8
takirc02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielbuck
Second, I'd like to make the rack removable. Doesn't have to be a slick design, I'm thinking about just having short pieces of tubing that are slightly thicker (slides over the 1x1") that stick up a few inches from the soft top (welded to the roll cage), and each part of the rack slides down into that tubing and a bolt goes through each connection. Would this be a good way to make it removable?
If you go with this instead of the sandwich thing, I'd recommend making smaller tubes extend up from the cage that the rack tubes slides over instead of the reverse. That way it doesn't turn into a water collection point...I know you said it doesn't rain much but...

Actually you could combine this with the sandwich thought and have the weight of the rack resting directly on the cage (with soft top in between, and a rubber gasket of some sort) and just have the guide posts there to keep it from moving around. Rack bolted to the guides of course as illustrated above. Similar to the bolt through the roll cage except you wouldn't have to drill through your roll cage.
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Unread 10-21-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
aTX427
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I designed the rack to work with no top using wakeboard tower mounts and I cut holes in my mesh top, which would work the SW on a soft top. The mounts stay mounted and so not interfere with the hard top, so I can swap back and forth in minutes. The hard top mounts are 1/4" x 2" wide aluminum with billet bungs welded, then machined to fit the contour of the roof. I have another strip on the inside that sandwiches the top, providing a strong platform. I can also remove the rack and attach bars for kayaks, snowboards, or whatever.









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Unread 10-21-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
wolfcreek
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^ Nice Jeep! What skid is that?
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Unread 10-22-2012, 06:09 AM   #11
takirc02
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Originally Posted by wolfcreek View Post
^ Nice Jeep! What skid is that?
x2! And are those fenders purchased or fabbed?

Sorry OP for getting off topic... Now that I understand what the wake board tower mounts are all about, I would prefer that option as opposed to welding or drilling on the cage. Still need to put holes in your soft top of course but you said you didn't mind that.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
polk1337
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sexy jeep
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Unread 11-12-2012, 05:47 PM   #13
CoastieShep
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http://www.idgsupply.com/item-detail...idge?re=brands
Use this stuff to glue around the holes. It will never leak, and your soft top will probably tear around it. It's some strong stuff. I've seen it in action on some boats that take lots of abuse.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 04:10 PM   #14
Molonlabemike
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Weld a nut to the cage then make it so you just screw a bolt down into it up secure the rack on place?

Whatever you do please make a build thread as you have sparked my interest
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Unread 11-27-2012, 02:27 PM   #15
danielbuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molonlabemike View Post
Weld a nut to the cage then make it so you just screw a bolt down into it up secure the rack on place?

Whatever you do please make a build thread as you have sparked my interest
Yea, I'm probably going to start on it after the new year, I've got a few furniture projects to get out of the way first.
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