XJ Roof Rack DIY - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-08-2014, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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XJ Roof Rack DIY

After much debate and realizing the only way to gain more cargo space in the JKUR was to add some sort of luggage rack. I decided to pursue an option that would allow me to use it throughout the year, for skiing, camping, extended vacation and keep the hitch open for our jetski.

I found a used Yakima Rocketbox on Craigslist that came with the towers and cross bars for a Jeep Grand Cherokee (WJ). The box is 7ft long and has more than enough room for a couple sets of skis, a snowboard and other luggage to keep the interior of the Jeep clutter free. Because this already had the WJ/XJ/ZJ towers I decided to pick up a used XJ rack after reading this article:
http://jeep.off-road.com/jeep/tech/j...ack-53450.html

As you see in the article the opted to place the rails just outside the last rib support on the hard top. In the last photo you can see the crossbars are slightly stretched, I would not feel comfortable running the load on bars this way.

Here is what I did instead, I placed them on the last rib and used Yakima Crossbars with backing plates.

The crossbars on the XJ system could be cut, and I may do it in the future, but the Yakima mounts are just so much more solid.
XJ

Yakima


On the Cherokee rails there are 5 holes, I opted not to drill the middle one as it goes through the main support on the roof


I made some backing plates for mine out of 1 1/4" x 1/4" steel, but should have used aluminum. I aligned the holes with the XJ rails then drilled and tapped them. They are coated in Flexidip rubberized paint to help make them feel more at home.


Here is the backing plates installed, I plan on cutting the bolts flush with the plate to hide them from the underside.


Here is the overall end result, you can see the XJ cross bar is sitting slightly over the rail, I won't be using those right now, however I do have to say the Cherokee cross bars make it almost factory looking.


There is a slight (1/16") gap at the end caps, some black RTV will help hide this. I did use RTV at each screw and rubber washers on the underside hopefully that will be enough to keep the water out. I am thinking with the backing plates I should be able to use this to lift the hard top off the Jeep as well. Once the hard top is back on the JK for the season, I will add a photo of the Jeep and one with the rocket box up there.

Last edited by TSE_Pete; 08-08-2014 at 06:57 AM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-10-2014, 02:58 AM
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Is there any curve in the XJ rack rails that bolt to the roof? I seem to remember the ones on my 90 XJ had some roof conture.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-10-2014, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akpostal View Post
Is there any curve in the XJ rack rails that bolt to the roof? I seem to remember the ones on my 90 XJ had some roof conture.
There is a slight contour on the XJ roof, but the rails seemed to be straight, the ZJ had more of a curve but I believe the rails all of the rails are interchangeable. They sat flat on the JK roof. Keep in mind some of the later model XJ's (99-01) used a shorter rail so that may be part of the difference. For the XJ rack to use on the JK you need to use the shorter ones or cut the longer ones to fit.

Last edited by TSE_Pete; 08-11-2014 at 06:32 AM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-13-2014, 03:59 AM
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Thanks.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-01-2017, 03:40 PM
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no pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by TSE_Pete View Post
After much debate and realizing the only way to gain more cargo space in the JKUR was to add some sort of luggage rack. I decided to pursue an option that would allow me to use it throughout the year, for skiing, camping, extended vacation and keep the hitch open for our jetski.

I found a used Yakima Rocketbox on Craigslist that came with the towers and cross bars for a Jeep Grand Cherokee (WJ). The box is 7ft long and has more than enough room for a couple sets of skis, a snowboard and other luggage to keep the interior of the Jeep clutter free. Because this already had the WJ/XJ/ZJ towers I decided to pick up a used XJ rack after reading this article:
Jeep JK Rubicon Recycled Roof Rack: Off-Road.com

As you see in the article the opted to place the rails just outside the last rib support on the hard top. In the last photo you can see the crossbars are slightly stretched, I would not feel comfortable running the load on bars this way.

Here is what I did instead, I placed them on the last rib and used Yakima Crossbars with backing plates.

The crossbars on the XJ system could be cut, and I may do it in the future, but the Yakima mounts are just so much more solid.
XJ

Yakima


On the Cherokee rails there are 5 holes, I opted not to drill the middle one as it goes through the main support on the roof


I made some backing plates for mine out of 1 1/4" x 1/4" steel, but should have used aluminum. I aligned the holes with the XJ rails then drilled and tapped them. They are coated in Flexidip rubberized paint to help make them feel more at home.


Here is the backing plates installed, I plan on cutting the bolts flush with the plate to hide them from the underside.


Here is the overall end result, you can see the XJ cross bar is sitting slightly over the rail, I won't be using those right now, however I do have to say the Cherokee cross bars make it almost factory looking.


There is a slight (1/16") gap at the end caps, some black RTV will help hide this. I did use RTV at each screw and rubber washers on the underside hopefully that will be enough to keep the water out. I am thinking with the backing plates I should be able to use this to lift the hard top off the Jeep as well. Once the hard top is back on the JK for the season, I will add a photo of the Jeep and one with the rocket box up there.


- the pictures are no longer available. can you fix this? i am doing this to my jk and need all the visuals i can get
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-01-2017, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepjkgrrl View Post
- the pictures are no longer available. can you fix this? i am doing this to my jk and need all the visuals i can get
um, you're talkin to a member who's last activity of any sort was three weeks after posting these ( August of 2012) , his only two posts. No harm, you did not look or did not know how.
Anyway, I presume you saw that at least the URL to the original ( been around forever) post at off-road.com was in that comment you quoted, right? That is one of many if you google search.

Jeep JK Rubicon Recycled Roof Rack: Off-Road.com



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post #7 of 11 Old 10-09-2017, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post
um, you're talkin to a member who's last activity of any sort was three weeks after posting these ( August of 2012) , his only two posts. No harm, you did not look or did not know how.
Anyway, I presume you saw that at least the URL to the original ( been around forever) post at off-road.com was in that comment you quoted, right? That is one of many if you google search.

Jeep JK Rubicon Recycled Roof Rack: Off-Road.com

I think it was a problem with the mobile app. because I found it fine after the fact. Also, I installed this on the JKU back in Aug. and used nutserts instead of the t-nuts and used black RV seal.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepjkgrrl View Post
I think it was a problem with the mobile app. because I found it fine after the fact. Also, I installed this on the JKU back in Aug. and used nutserts instead of the t-nuts and used black RV seal.
as you can maybe discern from my sig line , I have a vetted / long- standing and ongoing relationship with an ‘11 jku and a ‘95 XJ Upcountry ( I was installing a new headliner after 22years just last nite) so this is something I’ve always considered as I’ve seen 3-4 guys online do it.
The roof cargo rack from this era XJs is simple, light, strong and attractive. Also fits the four door freedom top perfectly. I’m sure you’re happy and we’d love pix

Good thinkin on nutserts and RTV instead of screws and silicone . Were nutserts not difficult to get to spread within fiberglass composite JK top material w/out cracking it ?

Picts, plz!




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post #9 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 12:05 PM
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I wonder if any of the new Grand Cherokee roof racks would fit. I would love to have one of these for the occasional bag to be up there. Just something so you can fit 4 people inside a 2 door, but still be able to carry you backpacking bag, tent, etc with you.

2010 2 door manual sport
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treader View Post
I wonder if any of the new Grand Cherokee roof racks would fit. I would love to have one of these for the occasional bag to be up there. Just something so you can fit 4 people inside a 2 door, but still be able to carry you backpacking bag, tent, etc with you.
@Treader - why do I feel like I have seen recently this very combo? I swear I want to say I have seen someone adapt a GC rack to a FreedomTop online. I do not , however, know for sure that it was off of one of the new-er models.

I will hunt and see but sure rings a visual , web-browsing bell...

regardless, they are cool racks+ that'd be a good project. I bet they are expensive as heck, unlike late 80s / 90s roof racks for Cherokees.


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post #11 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 04:21 PM
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D-I-Y XJ roof basket

When I had my '98 XJ, I used part of a 4'x8' piece of plastic-dipped wire cloth with 1/2" mesh to form a 4'x4' basket with about 5-6 inch sides. I think the wire was, maybe 3/32. I would set it onto the factory bows and fasten it with aircraft-style (stainless screw-type) clamps. It caught a fair amount of wind, but carried loads well.

Unfortunately, I cannot give a source for the wire cloth, as it came from the place where I used to work. They used it to make safety separators around manufacturing work cells.

The material was rigid enough that no frames or floor were necessary. I still have the basket, but no photos of it on my XJ.
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