2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Build - Page 6 - JeepForum.com
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post #76 of 89 Old 10-24-2018, 05:56 PM
GCOVLD4X4
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That is an awesome build you have going! Excited to see what else is in store. Tent looks really nice up there! I really like the Chief setup on the front as well.

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post #77 of 89 Old 11-05-2018, 10:21 AM
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hi Ryan, i just picked up a 2018 GC TH, granite. Love the color with the red TH accents. did you need spacers to run Falken 265-65's?

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post #78 of 89 Old 11-16-2018, 01:42 PM
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Very technical build - awesome work - i am just down the road from ya in Maine, let me know if you are headed north to wheel!
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post #79 of 89 Old 11-21-2018, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCOVLD4X4 View Post
That is an awesome build you have going! Excited to see what else is in store. Tent looks really nice up there! I really like the Chief setup on the front as well.
Thanks! Next year should bring some new changes, but for now she's being run as the exceptionally comfortable and capable rig that she is Chief set-up up front takes the aggressive look to a whole other level. I'm really happy with it, and rest easier knowing the front end is protected by more than the OEM plastic fascia.

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hi Ryan, i just picked up a 2018 GC TH, granite. Love the color with the red TH accents. did you need spacers to run Falken 265-65's?
Welcome to the club! Glad you love it, I too find it to be the best color! Truth be told I cannot confirm nor deny *needing* spacers. I put them on over a year before getting the new Falken tires, simply to give the Jeep a better stance, but they have been helpful with the 265/65 Wildpeaks as well. Sorry to not have better info.


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Very technical build - awesome work - i am just down the road from ya in Maine, let me know if you are headed north to wheel!
Thanks Flyrod! I'll be sure to do that!

'17 WK2 Trailhawk Expedition Build

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post #80 of 89 Old 08-26-2019, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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It was brought to my attention on another forum that I never posted about the tire carrier, so here we go!

Wilco Hitchgate Solo

The Wilco Hitchgate came to my attention almost two years ago now when I began to research building a Trailhawk into a capable overland vehicle. Since at the time almost no information existed about really overhauling a WK2, I found myself with a ton of dead ends, and compiling information from different truck/SUV builds for future reference. Coming from the world of a Wrangler where there were a billion and a half aftermarket accessories, one of the most impressive non-vehicle specific parts I found was the Wilco Hitchgate, a trailer-hitch mounted spare tire carrier for ANY vehicle.

I booked-marked their website and kept it in the back of my mind as my Trailhawk build progressed. Once it came time to install a second battery in the trunk space, I knew that the spare tire was in need of a new (and more accessible) place to live. Revisiting Wilco’s online store and pricing out the needed add-ons, I finalized my order and eagerly awaited delivery day. One of the most impressive things about Wilco is that they are a proudly owned and operated American company, with all of their customer service, sales, and welding being done out of a southern California warehouse.


Wilco Hitchgate Solo Arm by 2180miles


Made In USA by 2180miles


The production time took a little longer than I expected, and ultimately arrived just days before we left for a week-long overland trip through northern Maine’s remote Allagash Wilderness. For reference, I placed the order on May 12thand it was delivered on July 5th…. They make an exceptional product but the wait-time can be somewhat substantial, especially in the world of Amazon Prime where we all expect things in two days time, ha! Needless to say it was without a doubt worth the wait. The welds are gorgeous, the powder coating robust, and the product itself worthy of the acclaim it receives.

Of the three Hitchgate Solo models available (Standard, High-Clearance, and XL) I specifically chose the high-clearance version. From what I’ve seen on social media I’m in the minority with this decision, but it was made deliberately in order to not block my recessed Rigid SRM reverse lights in the rear bumper. After having friends take measurement of their WK2s I was able to roughly guesstimate that the top of the main bracket’s steel boxing would line up with the lip of the rear bumper where the tailgate opens… good news – as you can see in the photos, it’s a PERFECT fit.


Hitchgate Solo Lower Arm by 2180miles


Proprietary Wiggle-Free Bolt by 2180miles


Swing Arm Installed by 2180miles

​The Hitchgate Solo is comprised of two main pieces, a lower arm that fits into the trailer hitch receiver and a tire-carrying-swing-arm with an impressive bushing for the lower arm mounting. Inserting the lower arm into the receiver, a socket set and extension arm allow you to tighten down their proprietary WedgeLock system, responsible for keeping the whole assembly tight when you’re cruising down the highway or crawling over some tricky terrain.

Greasing the supplied hardware and fitting the swing-arm bushing into the lower arm’s bracket, I tightened down the bolt and lock-nut to an appropriate tension to allow a “just right” amount of tension when swinging the tire carrier open. Mounting the add-on RotoPax fuel carrier bracket and license plate bracket, I took my time and was done with the install in about 45 minutes… a pretty quick project with a great return on investment!



Installed and Mounted by 2180miles


Rear View - No Jerry Can by 2180miles


________________________________________


Long Term Review:

After a year and nearly 10,000 miles with the Hitchgate Solo fully loaded – 32” spare tire set-up, 3 gallons of fuel in a Rotopax, and a steel HiLift jack, the Wilco unit has performed phenomenally. Even on the worst washboard roads, even with standing on the cantilevered end of the swing-arm, even with using the main brace to help load the roof-top tent, the Wilco has without a doubt been worth every single penny I spent on it. Having a spare tire on the rear end of the vehicle not only makes it look infinitely more bad-***, but also is one of the most practical moves any overlander can make. Easy access to the spare tire, especially when compared to digging it out of the trunk space when we’re fully loaded, makes a world of a difference when stuff hits the fan and you’re left needing to swap in a spare deep in the backcountry.



Wilco Hitchgate Solo - Loaded Up by 2180miles
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'17 WK2 Trailhawk Expedition Build

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post #81 of 89 Old 08-27-2019, 11:24 AM
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I do agree that it looks much more aggressive with that spare on the rear.

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post #82 of 89 Old 10-08-2019, 11:29 PM
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I <3 this thread

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post #83 of 89 Old 10-28-2019, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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I do agree that it looks much more aggressive with that spare on the rear.
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I <3 this thread
Thanks guys!!

'17 WK2 Trailhawk Expedition Build

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post #84 of 89 Old 10-28-2019, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Chief Products Announcement by 2180miles

'17 WK2 Trailhawk Expedition Build

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post #85 of 89 Old 11-13-2019, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack Installation

Itís with great enthusiasm that I sit down to scribble this install write-up about the brand new Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack. A long awaited release from Chief, this rack steps in as one of few contenders in the industry for modern Grand Cherokees looking to move gear to the roof to save space inside. Boasting an unprecedented and engineer certified 330-pound dynamic weight rating and 1,332-pound dynamic rating, this rack is build to securely and safely handle whatever you can throw on it.

Whether youíre looking to store a spare tire, fuel canisters, LED bars, awnings, or a Roof Top Tent of any kind, the WK2 Roof Rack is the solution a great many people have been looking for. A very important thanks to my friend Nick for helping with the initial day of installation of the rack.


Chief Products Arrived! by 2180miles


WK2 Roof Rack Packaging by 2180miles

Shipped to me directly from Chiefís warehouse in Australia, the entire aluminum rack (listed on their website as the ďFull Roof Rack SystemĒ) came immaculately packaged and wrapped in more protective bubble wrap than even Amazon sends out. Each piece of the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy was perfectly powder coated, each piece of individual hardware bagged and labeled for assembly. If Iíve learned one thing over the years of working with Chief, itís that they put thought into each and every aspect of the process, from unboxing to install to customer service, itís all there.

To start the install of the WK2 Roof Rack I needed to remove my roof top tent and existing Rhino Racks and Thule Traverse crossbar, along with the OEM roof rails. Great news - all of this can be done with a simple T-30 torx bit. With all of that put down on the ground behind the Jeep, I washed two years of grime and dirt accumulation off the roof, and we got to work.


Rhino Rack Crossbar Removal by 2180miles


RTT / Crossbars Removed by 2180miles


OEM Roof Rails Removed by 2180miles


Cleaning OEM Nutserts by 2180miles


Bare Bones Configuration

The first step was loosely fastening the small angled brackets to the Mounting Rails in preparation for their installation on the roof. Each bracket mounts with two 10mm bolts and lock washers which, in true Chief Products fashion, sit securely into grooves pressed into the Mounting Rails themselves. Once these 10 brackets were finger tight on the two Rails, we placed the driverís side up on the roof of the Trailhawk. Utilizing the factory T30 fasteners and an angled bit driver, we installed the bolts into the factory nutserts along the roofline, making sure to leave the whole system semi-loose so that it could wiggle around as the rest of the rack was installed over top of the Mounting Rails. We repeated the process on the passenger side of the vehicle before returning to the pile of parts on the garage floor (placed gently overtop of the shipping bubblewrap!) to continue the installation.


Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack by 2180miles


Mounting Rail Fasteners by 2180miles


Mounting Rail Pressed Grooves by 2180miles


Angle Brackets Installed by 2180miles


Securing To OEM Nutserts by 2180miles


Driver's Side Mounting Rail by 2180miles


Initial Tightening of Angle Brackets by 2180miles


Both Mounting Rails Installed by 2180miles


Depending on which multiple Roof Rack configurations you buy from Chief, there are a variety of methods of installation. While I was ultimately working with the Full System configuration, I wanted to ensure that people were able to see the variety of possibilities, so we went forward with installing what Chief refers to as the ďBare BonesĒ configuration. This consists of the Mounting Rails and two of the Plank crossbars.

The beauty of the Chief rack is the modular nature of the product, allowing these Planks to be placed almost anywhere up and down the length of the Mounting Rails. The full system comes with 6 planks for a complete installation, but is configurable with anywhere from one to all six of them depending on your needs. I figured most people would use a two-plank configuration, so we placed them in positions 2 and 6 to illustrate this set-up. Youíll notice the awesome end caps that flank the crossbar planks, machined out in the famous 7-slots that pay tribute to decades of Jeep history.

Each aluminum plank is drilled out for bolts to easily fall through them into the Mounting Rails where a bar with pre-welded nuts mates up to the bottom side. For those of us with larger hands it can be a bit of fun to hold the nut plates into place, but I found that getting one side relatively secure and then adding the second bolt made it a lot easier to get everything tight. Once all 4 bolts were tightened on the first plank we moved onto the second one, buttoning it up in just a few minutes after picking it up off the garage floor. At this point we were losing daylight in the Northeast, so I drove the Jeep back from Nickís house and tested the wind noise with the windows and sunroof both opened and closed. Iím happy to report that the existence of the rack was imperceivable at all rates of speed regardless of the window situation. Huge accolades to Chief for that accomplishment.



Plank Crossbar Installation by 2180miles


Tightening to Mounting Rails by 2180miles


2180miles Chief WK2 Roof Rack-21 by 2180miles, on Flickr


Rear Plank by 2180miles

'17 WK2 Trailhawk Expedition Build

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post #86 of 89 Old 11-13-2019, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Full System Configuration

The next day after checking in with Chief’s lead engineer Ben down in Australia, I moved forward with installing the Full System on the roof. The SINGLE most important thing to note here is that there’s a specific order to do this in to ensure that everything lines up appropriately. For the sake of this, let’s just jump forward to me having removed the two planks and standing in the driveway with just the Mounting Rails on the roof.


Roof Tray Corner Pieces by 2180miles


Complete Roof Tray by 2180miles


The first part of this process is to loosen all the fasteners holding the Rails down, including both the 10mm bolts attaching the angle brackets and the T-30 nuts into the roof nutserts. These all being loose (but not removed) is going to allow the whole set-up to shimmy around as the roof tray is placed overtop. The tray/surround itself is comprised of four straight pieces of aluminum and four rounded end-caps. The endcaps slide into the longer lengths and fasten with four small bolts per corner. Once the frame it assembled it weighs only a few pounds, adding to the beauty of this product where it’s entirely possible to install by yourself.

With the corner blocks tightened down I lifted it up onto the roof, following up by placing a plank in the first mounting position closest to the front of the Trailhawk. According to Ben the easiest way to get the entire tray lined up is to install the 1st and 4th position planks first, then to move forward with tightening down the mounting rails as the whole system is now in place to line up correctly. Once the rails and both planks were tightened down completely I lifted the rest of the planks into place and tightened them down accordingly. It’s worth noting that I did not re-install the 7-slot end-caps on the planks, as I don’t think they’ll fit in with the tray surround.


Roof Tray Installed by 2180miles


Front View by 2180miles


Front View - Planks 1 + 4 by 2180miles


Full Roof Rack by 2180miles


Antenna Clearance by 2180miles


Wrap-Up & Product Photos

With 6 crossbars into place and tightened down, I’d officially installed the Full System of the Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack. Total time, including figuring out how things went together and photographing as I went was around 2 hours. I can guarantee that in the future it will be much faster… I think I spent more time walking around the Jeep going back and forth between driver and passenger side than I did actually mounting and tightening hardware. The roof rack in the full configuration set-up did have some noise in the 200-250Hz range at highway speeds, but I’ve spoken to the guys at Chief and they’ve said that they have a fix for it and that it’s largely due to the rack being bare/empty at the moment. I’ll report back with updates.

Next week I’ll be heading back up to Maine’s Allagash Wilderness for a winter trip, and will be installing a new-to-the-market RTT to do some testing for the manufacturer. I’ll be stripping the WK2 Roof Rack down to their RTT configuration and will be truly looking forward to knowing that the tent, it’s weight, and me are 100% supported.

I’ll be back with more in the next few weeks, but for now, enjoy the photos and keep an eye out for Chief Product’s pre-order opening VERY soon for the incredible WK2 Roof Rack.


Questions? Comments? Let me know!



2180miles WK2 Side View by 2180miles


2180miles WK2 Front View by 2180miles


Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack by 2180miles


Chief WK2 Roof Rack: FM/Satellite Antenna Clearance by 2180miles


Chief Products WK2 Rear Corner View by 2180miles, on Flickr


Chief Products WK2 Underside View by 2180miles, on Flickr


Chief Products WK2 Rear Antenna View by 2180miles


Chief Products WK2 Rear Corner View by 2180miles


2180miles WK2 Rear View by 2180miles
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'17 WK2 Trailhawk Expedition Build

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post #87 of 89 Old 11-13-2019, 11:20 PM
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@ColdCase this should be in the build thread index

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post #88 of 89 Old 11-15-2019, 04:00 PM
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Looks great... You know its a company that takes quality seriously when they include Nord-Lock washers. Nice!
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post #89 of 89 Old 11-16-2019, 08:11 AM
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Seriously nice build you have going there, workmanship is on point.
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