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Old 10-22-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
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Roof Rack Options

Hi folks, Liberty owner noob here considering JKUR; please don't send me -> if this has been asked before. I googled but didn't find great responses.

Basically all my searching suggests that one possibility for roof rack would be to use a rain-gutter mounted rack. If I understand right, this works great on the hardtop. Any one here has experience with these? Any gotcha's with this option?

Also, would the rain-gutter work with the soft-top? (My guess was it doesn't). If not, what are the best options (beside taking the top down, and using the frame) which works with the soft top? Anything that will work with both soft & hard tops?

I should mention I'm not considering the rear bumper to front windshield mount complete rack system. That would be overkill for me. My purpose really is to carry a couple of kayaks.. (maybe a book shelf or some piece of furniture once in a while would be a good add-on, but not necessary).

Thanks
/matt

PS: the roof rails on the Liberty is gonna be missed badly if I upgrade..

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Old 10-22-2012, 10:15 PM   #2
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I went from a Liberty to a JKU this past summer and faced the same issue. I wanted to transport kayaks as well as a rocket box for skis or camping gear. I considered using my old Yakima raingutter towers but there are two potential problems. First the gutters are not structural and while they probably would hold up, they might not and to be safe you would have to severely limit the load. Second, the gutters are very far forward (they only extend to the back of the rear doors) and if you mounted a box on top it would extend well forward of the windshield. SO despite warnings that you should never drill the top that is what I did. I went to a local rack shop (Rack n Road) that offers a lifetie warranty and had them slap on some Yakima rails. I then added the standard rack system (landing pads/control towers/crossbars). Through rain and carwashes there has not been a single leak. On an extended camping trip I carried a big box up there with family gear and no problems. Plus, the control towers are really quick to remove so you can cut down on drag and wind noise when you don't need the rack. Hope that helps.

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Old 10-22-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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I'm going through the same thing.

Honestly, there are a LOT of features that I'm going to miss on my Libby...and yeah...lack of a roof rack is a big one. I looked at several....but the best ones that don't require drilling and let you remove still remove the hard top or freedom panels cost a grip. I don't know what I'm going to do. Use my trailer more I guess.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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I was thinking of the same thing about the raingutters not being structural. And "laziness" is a motivating factor.. I don't want to have to switch out my soft-top and get the hard-top just to have the rack on.

Drilling the hard-top was one option I looked at too.. But isn't the top fiber-glass (I don't want the body color top; considering I plan Gecko, that would be a lot of gecko)? Can it bear a lot of weight? Did you rig anything to spread the load onto the structural roof-bars (those that's left on top when the roof is taken off - what are they called?) from the hard-top?

It looks like I might just cave in and go for a proper roof system.
This one (Kargo Master 5035-1 - Kargo Master Congo Cage for 07-13 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited JK 4 Door - Quadratec) from Quadratec looks reasonable - and I can use my existing cross bars with them I guess..
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:42 AM   #5
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Been using rain gutter Thules since February. Principally for hauling 'yacks, but have hauled a bunch of pressure treated 4x4's from the lumber yard. Works well, removes quickly and not too expensive.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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I'd like to get a roof rack too for my HT JKU....But lots of bucks...
These guys had a post a while back , the system looks pretty good, but they can't seem to get their website going.... "BH"

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Old 10-24-2012, 12:26 PM   #7
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This is the way I chose to do it. It was installed by Rack Attack. It works beautifully, requiring lifting the kayak only to waist level. Much better than trying to get it all to roof level.

Basic Thule rack & crossbars with the mounts attached for the Hullavator:


Hullavator mount close-up attached to cross bar:


Hullavator attached to mounts:


Inside thumb mounts, 6 on each side. One is hidden by roll bar:



Kayak loaded on driver side, ready to be lifted into position. Very simple to do:


View from front. 4" clearance from fenders when loaded:


View from rear. 4" clearance from fenders when loaded:


Overall installation from the side:


Overall Installation from the rear:
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:28 PM   #8
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How about the AEV roof rack? Has anyone tried it?
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:55 PM   #9
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You see the Thule option above. I went with Yakima because I have always had Yakima racks, but they are mounted in the same way and can do the same things. To answer the questions about support, the roll cage does not support the large rear portion of the 3-piece Freedom Top. The entire structure is strong enough to carry what you need.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:25 AM   #10
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I like the Yakima and Thule options. I have about 5" clearance between my roof and garage door and wondered if either of these are low enough to fit.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailer Park Boys View Post
I like the Yakima and Thule options. I have about 5" clearance between my roof and garage door and wondered if either of these are low enough to fit.

The basic rack with cross rails fit into my garage with a standard double width door, but not with the Hullavator attached. It only takes a couple of minutes to remove the Hullavator from it's mounts. See above.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:46 AM   #12
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Thanks!

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