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Unread 03-03-2010, 04:32 PM   #1
Sir_Ken
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Low cost hardtop roof rack for 2-Dr JK

Jeep parts being transferred to another Jeep.

I am going to skip past the debate on whether I should or shouldn’t be mounting a roof rack to my hardtop. Please allow me to alter my BRAND NEW Jeep how I want (no matter how stupid my wife thinks I am).

I sold my Cherokee and bought this 2010 2-door Wrangler Sport hardtop with automatic transmission and A/C, this being the only options I could afford. It took one road trip with the wife and child and luggage to figure out, this isn’t going to be enough room. I loved my Cherokee and its luggage rack with the SURCO basket, not to mention, it was a 4-door SUV with lots more room.



A trip to the junk yard with $40.00 should fix my dilemma. The yard crew removed the parts I needed from a 1998 Cherokee 4-door (not Grand Cherokee). I left with $2.00 in my pocket and the roof rails and cross bars. Be careful when you remove the plastic end pieces, they are going to be fragile from baking in the sun. There is a clip that has to be removed with a small screwdriver. Slide the screwdriver under the clip to release it.





I laid out where I wanted to mount the luggage rack and started by cutting down the first roof rail. I wanted to have a ¼ inch of space at the front, right before the front panel of the hardtop. I wanted the same ¼ inch before the seem at the rear of the hardtop. Remove the vinyl edging from the metal part of the roof rail. The vinyl part will have to be cut separately. Each roof rail ended up being 32 1/8 inches (thirty-two & an eighth inches) long. Make sure you remove the length from the second roof rail from the opposite end, leaving each roof rail with one factory end (so they’re symmetrical).





I then did the other roof rail using the first one as a guide line. I got both roof rails out of one of the original roof rails. I still have one full rail just in case I mess this one up. I cut down the vinyl edging so that it would line up with the plastic end pieces of the roof rails.




Don’t forget to that the vinyl edging on the roof rails will need to be cut smaller than the roof rails themselves. This will allow for the end pieces to slip into place. My vinyl pieces ended up being 29 ¾ inches long (twenty-nine & three quarter inches).




I then put both roof rails in the location that I wanted them and laid the cross bar across the ends that I had since removed. You can see that the ends are spring loaded and will compress once they are bolted into place. I centered the cross bar so that I would be able to cut an equal amount from both ends of the cross bar so that the curve would be even, once mounted in place. That ended up being 3 7/16 inches (three & seven sixteenths inches) off of each end of each cross bar. You’ll end up with 4 equal pieces when you are done.




Of course once I had the first one cut to size, it was just a matter of cutting the second cross bar to the same length. You can see that I will have to drill a hole to match the original mounting place to secure the ends back onto the cross bars.





You can also see that I’ll have to drill a matching hole so that the cut end of the roof rail will match the factory end (allowing the end pieces to snap into place).



Everything cut equally and laid out to get a decent idea of how the finish product will look.





Still have to sand the metal parts down and repaint everything nice and pretty. Not to mention drill the holes in the hardtop. I am running out of light and will finish tomorrow. So far, I have about 2 hours invested and $40.00 bucks. I know I could have bought a brand new roof rack system but this is the route I picked. I'll post the final install tomorrow.


Last edited by Sir_Ken; 03-03-2010 at 04:50 PM..
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Unread 03-03-2010, 04:42 PM   #2
Sir_Ken
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I forgot to mention, to remove the vinyl part of the roof rails from the metal part, there are small plastic pins (for lack of a better word). Take your time removing them and they can be reused. All of mine came out without breaking, I assume since they are mounted underneath the roof rail, they are not brittle from the sun.



Here’s some other views:





Still lots to complete… going to sweat drilling that first hole tomorrow but it needs to be done. Looks like I’ll have 3 of the original mounting hole in each roof rail but I may drill a forth hole near the cut end of the roof rail… just in case.
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Unread 03-03-2010, 05:41 PM   #3
JLC08JK
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Looks good
Very resourceful and good step by step procedure.
I have had around 200 lb's of plywood and lumber on my 4 door JK without a rack and had no problems. I wouldn't recommend this as an everyday practice as it does flex the top down but I think the cage crossbar would stop it before any significant damage could occur.
When you bolt thrue the top it would be best to add some fender washers or backing plates on the inside to prevent the wind from ripping them out.
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Unread 03-03-2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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very nice......!!!!!!!

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Unread 03-03-2010, 11:02 PM   #5
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that is very resourceful...
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Unread 03-04-2010, 06:36 AM   #6
krutj
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Nice job!!!!!I like it
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Unread 03-04-2010, 07:20 AM   #7
mattman8706
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cool man. nice work.
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Unread 03-04-2010, 10:36 AM   #8
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Well… 6 holes later, there is no turning back now.




Sanded down the roof rails and plastic end pieces with some 400 grit sandpaper. Hit them with some gloss black paint to make them look new.




The cross bars are coated with a vinyl wrap so there is no need to paint them, they clean up with a little soap and water. I may hit them with some armor-all to make them shine. Drill some 1/8 inch holes in the cross bars for the ends to screw back into. I used the same screws that I took out.




Don’t forget the cross bar ends, they have been sitting in the sun for over 10 years. Some soap and water and a couple of quick hits with some WD-40 to loosen them up.




Good grief, I had no idea how expensive stainless steel was. That’s over $20.00 worth of screws, fender washers, and nuts. Of course the bolts, washers, and nuts come 5 to a bag and I needed 6... go figure.

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Unread 03-04-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
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Clean off the hard-top with some Windex and let dry. First thing is to ring each hole with some clear silicone caulking. Put the bolts through the roof rails and set down on top of the caulking.




Turns out you can use the original bolts for the back 4 holes; fender washers and some #6 metric nuts and your good.




The front 2 bolts are right at a section of the hard-top that is 2 layers thick. These bolts are ¼ - 20 stainless with fender washers and locking nuts. I had to take the 3 bolts out above the drive’s head to lower the sound bar. That way I can get my hands in there to put the locking nut and washer on. The sound bar will flex down enough to accomplish this, no need to remove it. Put the bolts back in above the driver’s head before doing the passenger side. That way you can keep things lined up when reassembling.



All done:






I plan on installing a Surco roof basket onto this, probably a 50” x 50” or a 50” x 40” the smaller one wouldn’t overhang the front 2 panels of the hard-top. You could still take the front 2 panels of the hard-top off either way.



I’ll post again once I order/receive the Surco basket. Thanks for reading.
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Unread 03-05-2010, 10:14 AM   #10
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This is REALLY well done. If you could figure out a way to cap/cover the bolts it on the inside, it would look factory.

Great job.
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Unread 03-05-2010, 01:42 PM   #11
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Nice Work!

Do the rails all sit flush on the top? If so you could run a strip of aluminum on the underside (even paint it white) to strengthen things up.
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Unread 03-05-2010, 07:39 PM   #12
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That's true, if I could put white caps on the threaded part of the bolt, it would hardly be seen. I thought about a single strip of metal on each side for strength but I would have to replace the factory bolt... not that it would be a big deal.

Thanks for the input people.
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Unread 03-06-2010, 12:10 PM   #13
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Nice Clean Job Ken
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Unread 03-09-2010, 01:19 AM   #14
Sir_Ken
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Still shopping for the right basket. Lots of choices out there but I guess I'll stick with Surco and their attachment options for the highlift jack, lights, shovel, blah, blah, blah.
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Unread 03-09-2010, 10:22 AM   #15
Lenny7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir_Ken View Post


I plan on installing a Surco roof basket onto this, probably a 50” x 50” or a 50” x 40” the smaller one wouldn’t overhang the front 2 panels of the hard-top. You could still take the front 2 panels of the hard-top off either way.



I’ll post again once I order/receive the Surco basket. Thanks for reading.
So how much weight do you think you can comfortably carry up there? Would it how a spare tire?
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