Needed some extra room in the JK for my second annual Rubicon trip this year. Last year my rig held my Son and I and there was plenty of room for gear, chuck box and coolers. This year I was setting out with four people in the JK and I had to come up with a new solution. Here’s what I did.
As some of you know, I’ve been working on a design for accessory bars that will attach to my Hi-Lift Jack Mount kit. Using the prototype accessory bars, I was able to support the front of an aluminum storage rack. I had to make up some side support bars but that was not difficult. I purchased an aluminum storage rack from Harbor Freight for $79. The rack originally came with a trailer hitch support bracket attached. I drilled out the rivets and removed the bracket support bolts. This left the makings of a very large aluminum storage rack. I would guess that the rack weighs less than ten pounds. Using Duplicolor spray on bed liner, I painted the rack. Though I scuffed all of the exposed surfaces, it is not sticking very well. In hind-sight, I would have painted it with a regular semi-gloss paint. The black color looks much better than the original silver and orange.
For the 500 mile drive up, I mounted the rack upside down. This moved the rack below the roofline and cut down on some windage. I could still strap light items to the rack, even when upside down. For the drive home, I removed the sleeping bags and left the rack in the upper position. I didn’t notice any new wind noise.
The rack carried four large sleeping bags, two tents, folding toilet, privacy tent, two sleeping pads, one inflatable mattress and one large backpack. All together, I carried about forty pounds of bulky gear. It would probably support more, but I haven’t tested it with more. The downside to this system, is ease of access to the Hi-Lift. To get to the Jack, I would have to remove everything from the rack and the rack itself. I’ve run the Rubicon before and did not anticipate any need for the Hi-Lift.
With the use of some more fasteners, the rack can still be used as a trailer hitch cargo rack. For this trip, I used a ratchet strap to attach my shovel, pick handle and axe. I plan to integrate Quick Fists to the accessory bars and I’ll then ditch the ratchet strap to hold these tools.
Here’s the list of parts that I used.
Hi-Lift Jack Mount Kit
Hi-Lift Jack Mount Accessory Bars
Harbor Freight Trailer Hitch Cargo Rack Item #92655
Side Support Bars, made from 1” square tubing welded to 1.5” X 4” X 1/8” steel plate.
I welded the steel plate to the 1” tubing, then drilled a ½” hole in the plate so I could attach the support bars to the rear roll bar. Just above the lowest part of the roll bars, is a hole that can be threaded with a ½” fine thread tap. This allowed me to attach the support bars using ½” X ¾” long fine thread bolts.
Here are a couple of pics. I'll take better ones and post next week.