Accessing the rear cargo area with a bike rack installed... - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Accessing the rear cargo area with a bike rack installed...

I'm not an owner, yet. But, I am considering a 2015 Unlimited with the stock hardtop as my next vehicle. It will be my daily driver.

I am also a pretty serious cyclist, and routinely carry up to four bikes on a platform - style rack. I'm trying to work out the best way to accomplish this with a Wrangler.

Right now, I'm leaning toward removing the stock spare & carrier from the swing gate. I like the look, and it should help a little with fuel economy, too. Since I never plan to do any serious off-roading (just gravel & dirt farm roads), I'm OK with the risk of not having a spare with me 100% of the time.

My current bike rack (and the one I'd like to transfer to the Wrangler) is a Thule T2. I believe this will work w/o a hitch extension if I remove the spare. (I don't want to use a hitch extension since it reduces the tongue capacity of the hitch by 50%.) I'm not sure if the swing gate will clear the rack (with no bikes installed), though.

Also, with the stock hardtop, can you access the cargo area w/o opening the swing gate (i.e. can you open the rear window with the gate closed)? If so, it doesn't really matter if the gate clears the rack. I can just use the window for access to the cargo area?

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Mickstar View Post
I'm not an owner, yet. But, I am considering a 2015 Unlimited with the stock hardtop as my next vehicle. It will be my daily driver.

I am also a pretty serious cyclist, and routinely carry up to four bikes on a platform - style rack. I'm trying to work out the best way to accomplish this with a Wrangler.

Right now, I'm leaning toward removing the stock spare & carrier from the swing gate. I like the look, and it should help a little with fuel economy, too. Since I never plan to do any serious off-roading (just gravel & dirt farm roads), I'm OK with the risk of not having a spare with me 100% of the time.

My current bike rack (and the one I'd like to transfer to the Wrangler) is a Thule T2. I believe this will work w/o a hitch extension if I remove the spare. (I don't want to use a hitch extension since it reduces the tongue capacity of the hitch by 50%.) I'm not sure if the swing gate will clear the rack (with no bikes installed), though.

Also, with the stock hardtop, can you access the cargo area w/o opening the swing gate (i.e. can you open the rear window with the gate closed)? If so, it doesn't really matter if the gate clears the rack. I can just use the window for access to the cargo area?

Thoughts?
I have aThule Apex Swing which works nicely. There are other swing carriers from Thule and Yakima, but I don't know of any platform swing carriers. I doubt removing the spare with help fuel economy, but if you like that look then go for it. You cannot open the glass without opening the swing gate. The Thule Spare rack is another popular option
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 08:57 AM
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My Thule T2 stays on my JK year 'round, sometimes with the extension on as well (to accommodate 4 bikes). I removed my spare (running a 37" spare would require a pretty long extension), and it works out great without an extension.

Regardless of the rack, the swing gate needs to be opened before the glass can be lifted. On the T2, pull the pin, drop the rack, whether the bikes are on or not, and you can open the gate far enough to lift the glass. It's not ideal, but it works.

I tend to access the rear cargo thru a folded down rear seat, as I think it's a little easier than going thru the back.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, blurredboy.

To confirm... The gate will not clear the rack (without bikes loaded) without dropping the rack all the way down (i.e. pulling the pin and tilting it down)?
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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In re-reading your post...

Did you mean that the gate won't fully open, even with the rack tilted down?

Any clearance issues folding the rack up?

Which hitch are you using? Is it flush with the bumper, or does it stick out (shin buster)?

Thanks, again, for all the info.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 10:40 AM
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I have the Thule as well. Here was my solution when the jeep was stock with the spare tire.

This pic shows interference with the spare. I fixed this by reversing the 2 holders (bike closest to jeep now points to the driver side) and then off setting them slightly. This allows the spare and gate to clear the rack when no bikes are on it.


As you can see it was a snug fit with the stock spare in the folded position



I then built the jeep and eventually a high & tight rear bumper. Which meant my rack blocked all access to opening the gate.


I fixed this by re-engineering the rack so that it is below the receiver hitch. This served 2 purposes. It keeps the bike below the roof line so I don't accidentally knock it off.... And when dropped, I can open the gate.




Not sure if I answered any of your questions, but I hope it helps.

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post #7 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 01:04 PM
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My gate does open fully when the rack is folded down; I don't have the spare mounted.

The rack folds up perfectly fine, no clearance issues whatsoever.

I'm running an Expedition One rear bumper, but it utilizes the stock hitch, and it does not stick out any farther than the bumper does.

K1973: What you've done with your rack is genius. I'm running home to take mine apart and, ahem, re-engineer!
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-28-2015, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
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K1973: What you've done with your rack is genius. I'm running home to take mine apart and, ahem, re-engineer!
Thanks. It really was quite simple. Then really confusing and hard. Then simple.

I thought of how to do it in about 2 minutes of looking at it. Then a week later it took me about an hour to work it out again and explain it to my Dad, who has helped me with nearly all of the mods. Then we started doing it and confused ourselves one more time before getting it done.

If you need closeups of what I did, I can get those. I should have taken some while we did it. A Buddy of mine did the same to his and loves how it works.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-29-2015, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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I'd like to see a Cloe - up of what you did with the hinge mechanism on your rack, k1973. It looks like to somehow flipped it. I assume you sacrificed the folding capability (both up & down)?
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