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Old 03-08-2013, 02:02 AM   #1
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Roof Rack thoughts and input please.

Looking for a roof rack, and of the various things I've located via this forum and others, it seems there isn't anything that meets the 'middle' needs. Hopefully members can point me to an option that would fit my (and perhaps others) wants/needs.

- A rack in which no drilling is required.
- Must have a low profile to fit in the garage.
- Versatility: Use with a basket, or snowboard/ski rack
- Easily removed
- Not looking for a Super Heavy Duty rack that connects to the windshield mounts or rear bumper.
- Fits behind the Freedom Panels of a JKU.

I like how the ARB roof rack utilizes a 'no drill' system in which clamps to the gutter system. However the racks in which I have seen are the length of the full entire roof, and the basket is 'up-front' versus the 'back' of the hard-top.

As for the Gobi racks, they are more than what I am looking for. I don't have a need for a ladder, and don't want to utilize the windshield mounting brackets or connect anything to the rear bumper.

I've seen and heard about some Yakima/Thule racks, however they're not low profile (that I know of), and from what I have seen; I don't care much for the cross-brace extending past the width of the gutter-clamps and vehicle. Something that looks more OEM would be nice.

The closest I have seen is the Garvin Sport Series roof rack. It fits on the rear end of the hard-top (all the space I need), uses gutter clamps towards the front of the JKU, however you have to drill towards the rear for additional support. Close but no Cigar.

Hard-Top Specialty Rack, 07-12 JK Wrangler Hard-Top - JK Specialty Racks - Specialty Racks

I also like the size and look of the 'Off-Camber' rack, however drilling is required.

Some racks have parts of what I need, unfortunately I haven't seen anything that encompasses all. I don't mind spending the $, assuming it fits my needs. (Which is really for luggage, coolers, etc. Don't need it for use with those tents).

Hope some people can point me in the right direction. It would greatly be appreciated, as I plan on having a trip soon!

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Old 03-08-2013, 02:29 AM   #2
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I think you will need to give up some of your requirements. This is my favorite roof rack but requires drilling.

http://www.quadratec.com/products/12049_3000_07.htm

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Old 03-08-2013, 03:22 AM   #3
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I've seen the AEV also, very nice rack - however covers the Freedom Panels (albeit they do offer a shorter one), and at that cost I can go with the ARB that doesn't require drilling and has the Sam load bearing capacity.

Still would appreciate some input - even if it is from people whom fabricated different mounts/baskets/etc to either existing or aftermarket hardware.

I've seen one exact example, however uncertain if it was fabricated, or purchased. Unfortunate as I can't find that example anymore. There has to be somebody out there in Jeep land that is familiar. I'm certain I'm not this niche market that roof rack manufacturers are unaware of.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipmonk66gt View Post
I think you will need to give up some of your requirements.
^^ This.

Your requirements negate all the racks I've seen. Might have to fab something yourself, or have a shop do it...but unless it's done right, it probably won't look nearly as professional.
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:19 AM   #5
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I've ordered front and rear receiver hitches for the JKU that is also yet to be imported.

My thinking is that I will use an inexpensive light bar ( $ 125) that attaches to the existing windshield fittings. I'll fabricate a T shaped rack that uses the 2" receiver hitch. So I'll only have the rack on when I need it. The light bar will be there full time and might look funny with no lights on it, but so be it.

When I need to carry something longer, like our 18 ft. tandem kayak, I can put a second T shaped rack in the front receiver hitch.

In this scenario, the rack setup won't obstruct the Freedom Top thing, but of course anything you put on it will, since the forward support structure will be at the windshield.

What's your objection to the Yakima rack system? Garage clearance?

Even if you only have a couple inches of clearance, it wouldn't be that difficult to fabricate a low profile version of a Yakima-"style" rack. Use some spacers, bolts, and flat stock for the cross bars. You could do it in 2" of height.

Have you considered Noodles with ropes through them? Looks dorky, yeah, but hey it's cheap,. removable, and it works. Krylon them noodles black.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:31 AM   #6
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Although not officially supported, as you're not supposed to attach anything to the hard top's rain gutters, that is what I am doing.

THULE 300 (I think) rain gutter footpack with 58" THULE load bars. ONLY attached to the rain gutters on the hard top - never on the freedom panel gutters (although I've seen that done, but can't recommend it)

Have put a Yakima Skybox 16 up there no problem, and packed it to the gills (within the 125lb weight limit of course). Yes, it's noisy as heck on the highway, but anything you throw up there will be.

I've also used it with THULE 883 Glide and Set kayak saddles with it.

I like because it is easily removable.

I'll repeat - this is not an officially sanctioned use of the hard top rain gutters, but to each their own!
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:15 AM   #7
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Here are a couple of options.

Look for a junkyard Jeep XJ and pull the roof rack off it. You should be able to pick up the rack and tracks for less than $100. This will fit the JK, but does require drilling the top.

Or, for more versatility and no drilling required, buy a 4x8 trailer from Harbor Freight. It will haul more than any roof rack on the market for around $300.

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Old 03-08-2013, 11:48 AM   #8
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I am with kbwwolf -- your requirements negate each other. What are you really looking to use the rack for? I went with Gobi as I had similar requirements as you list.. but the drop dead for me was no drilling and something that would carry at least 300 lbs off road
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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What about a setup that uses the rear trailer hitch as a load point (think tall pole with a T at the top), similar to what I see hang gliders use on the front, but this time in the rear, then use the gutters on the top for the front bar. This way 1/2 of the load is removed form the Jeep top.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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I'm going with the Garvin Adventure Rack....eventually. It is no drill install, the adventure is only a half basket though you can get a full basket, you can take off your freedom top panels and enjoy the wind/sun, it allows you to tilt it back if you have a soft top on to open the top fully, it is not terribly expensive, etc....

Garvin Industries 44412 - Garvin Industries Adventure Rack Basket for 07-12 Jeep® Wrangler & Wrangler Unlimited JK - Quadratec
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbwwolf View Post
^^ This.

Your requirements negate all the racks I've seen. Might have to fab something yourself, or have a shop do it...but unless it's done right, it probably won't look nearly as professional.
Was thinking the same thing. Perhaps utilizing the ARB roof/gutter attachments with some Yakima cross-braces. Hoping to see some ideas - so I can follow their lead (perhaps change some too).
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 2Gringos View Post
I've ordered front and rear receiver hitches for the JKU that is also yet to be imported.

My thinking is that I will use an inexpensive light bar ( $ 125) that attaches to the existing windshield fittings. I'll fabricate a T shaped rack that uses the 2" receiver hitch. So I'll only have the rack on when I need it. The light bar will be there full time and might look funny with no lights on it, but so be it.

When I need to carry something longer, like our 18 ft. tandem kayak, I can put a second T shaped rack in the front receiver hitch.

In this scenario, the rack setup won't obstruct the Freedom Top thing, but of course anything you put on it will, since the forward support structure will be at the windshield.

What's your objection to the Yakima rack system? Garage clearance?

Even if you only have a couple inches of clearance, it wouldn't be that difficult to fabricate a low profile version of a Yakima-"style" rack. Use some spacers, bolts, and flat stock for the cross bars. You could do it in 2" of height.

Have you considered Noodles with ropes through them? Looks dorky, yeah, but hey it's cheap,. removable, and it works. Krylon them noodles black.
Sounds like the fabrication route will be the way to take. I'm just weary as my welding skills are lacking - the finished product is FAR from pretty. Do you by chance have pictures of yours?
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drshaws View Post
Although not officially supported, as you're not supposed to attach anything to the hard top's rain gutters, that is what I am doing.

THULE 300 (I think) rain gutter footpack with 58" THULE load bars. ONLY attached to the rain gutters on the hard top - never on the freedom panel gutters (although I've seen that done, but can't recommend it)

Have put a Yakima Skybox 16 up there no problem, and packed it to the gills (within the 125lb weight limit of course). Yes, it's noisy as heck on the highway, but anything you throw up there will be.

I've also used it with THULE 883 Glide and Set kayak saddles with it.

I like because it is easily removable.

I'll repeat - this is not an officially sanctioned use of the hard top rain gutters, but to each their own!
DRSHAWS, any issues perceived issues with the weight? Bending? etc? Would love to see some photos if you had some. Your idea is probably the route I'm going to take (assuming the ARB clamps are less expensive than that of Thule)
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:27 PM   #14
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Thanks Mike, it's a No Go on the trailer - that would mean my friends would be looking to me to tow their Jet Ski's also. LOL
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetraveller View Post
Here are a couple of options.

Look for a junkyard Jeep XJ and pull the roof rack off it. You should be able to pick up the rack and tracks for less than $100. This will fit the JK, but does require drilling the top.

Or, for more versatility and no drilling required, buy a 4x8 trailer from Harbor Freight. It will haul more than any roof rack on the market for around $300.

Mike
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I am with kbwwolf -- your requirements negate each other. What are you really looking to use the rack for? I went with Gobi as I had similar requirements as you list.. but the drop dead for me was no drilling and something that would carry at least 300 lbs off road
Really just for luggage, snowboards, ski's etc. I do like the Gobi, but don't want to deal with the drilling. If drilling wasn't an issue - I would go with the AEV, or other I referenced.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jeeps_and_Boats View Post
What about a setup that uses the rear trailer hitch as a load point (think tall pole with a T at the top), similar to what I see hang gliders use on the front, but this time in the rear, then use the gutters on the top for the front bar. This way 1/2 of the load is removed form the Jeep top.
Oooh, K this might be an option also. Perhaps use some pivot links so I can fold the rack when not in use?
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by oOoYTSEJAMoOo View Post
I'm going with the Garvin Adventure Rack....eventually. It is no drill install, the adventure is only a half basket though you can get a full basket, you can take off your freedom top panels and enjoy the wind/sun, it allows you to tilt it back if you have a soft top on to open the top fully, it is not terribly expensive, etc....

Garvin Industries 44412 - Garvin Industries Adventure Rack Basket for 07-12 Jeep® Wrangler & Wrangler Unlimited JK - Quadratec
WAIT!! Are you sure there isn't any drilling? I was on the Garving website (with the link in the original message) and it shows this rack that requires a drilling point near the rear tail lights? Although this rack is longer (assuming there isn't any drilling), I don't see why I couldn't use the rear of this system combined with Garvin's gutter clamps.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
WAIT!! Are you sure there isn't any drilling? I was on the Garving website (with the link in the original message) and it shows this rack that requires a drilling point near the rear tail lights? Although this rack is longer (assuming there isn't any drilling), I don't see why I couldn't use the rear of this system combined with Garvin's gutter clamps.

I think the Garvin Adventure rack does not require drilling but their Expedition rack does. The Gobi is no drilling but hurts the wallet a lot more. I got the Gobi Stealth because it had the lowest profile for getting in the garage.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:31 PM   #19
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cant you just screw on some tube mounts to the lower windshield frame support gussets, where there are already machine screw threads at a good spacing to add these? I'm also sure some thin clever strap clamp between rear window and hardtop
could affix a rear mount. Then just fabricate a frame from Al. tubing/joints you can buy from any sporting goods store. You'd have a home made, easy detach frame you made yourself, and had fun doing it!
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:34 PM   #20
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I live my.Thule gutter mount racks and basket plus kayak mouths.

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Old 03-08-2013, 09:59 PM   #21
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Gobi is the way to go!
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:49 AM   #22
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Really just for luggage, snowboards, ski's etc. I do like the Gobi, but don't want to deal with the drilling. If drilling wasn't an issue - I would go with the AEV, or other I referenced.
drilling? with the gobi? not so - bolts right up
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:18 AM   #23
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WAIT!! Are you sure there isn't any drilling? I was on the Garving website (with the link in the original message) and it shows this rack that requires a drilling point near the rear tail lights? Although this rack is longer (assuming there isn't any drilling), I don't see why I couldn't use the rear of this system combined with Garvin's gutter clamps.
I found the installation instructions, and it doesn't show any drilling (just removal of bumper and taillights). http://www.quadratec.com/Assets/Installation/159287.pdf
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:36 PM   #24
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These were on my phone - blizzard pics.

Have better ones somewhere with the box installed.

Haven't noticed warping in the load bars.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:31 PM   #25
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OK guys, finally decided. My wants for a roof rack are impossible to fulfill at this time (funny, as you think it would be a marketable product). In any case, I'm going with the FrontRunner SlimLine II. Some minor drilling, low profile, versatile, and strong.

Front Runner Vehicle Outfitters Search Results

Any issues you may have heard of? Or something I haven't thought about? Pulling the trigger next weekend!
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:44 PM   #26
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I have gutter mounts and a large basket with folding kayak holder I love it all Thule and easy to take off when.I.want.to.go.top less.

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Old 05-24-2013, 10:52 PM   #27
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No drilling also great rack lol.

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Old 08-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
OK guys, finally decided. My wants for a roof rack are impossible to fulfill at this time (funny, as you think it would be a marketable product). In any case, I'm going with the FrontRunner SlimLine II. Some minor drilling, low profile, versatile, and strong.

Front Runner Vehicle Outfitters Search Results

Any issues you may have heard of? Or something I haven't thought about? Pulling the trigger next weekend!
Did you end up getting the Front Runner Rack?? I shipped a ton in the last few months...
I'd love to see some pics, throw them up on our instagram perhaps. Let me know how you like it and if you have any questions.....

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Old 08-19-2013, 07:11 PM   #29
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Hey Blake! Been so hectic! Have already spoke with Steve and another. Hopefully picking it up the beginning of September (amongst some other things). Super excited!
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:33 PM   #30
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My choice also

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
OK guys, finally decided. My wants for a roof rack are impossible to fulfill at this time (funny, as you think it would be a marketable product). In any case, I'm going with the FrontRunner SlimLine II. Some minor drilling, low profile, versatile, and strong.

Front Runner Vehicle Outfitters Search Results

Any issues you may have heard of? Or something I haven't thought about? Pulling the trigger next weekend!
This rack system would be my choice also. However i can't even get a Wrangler yet. They're dragging their a$$es with the Granite Crystal color. and the roof rack system will be down the list after Teraflex leveling kit, new wheels, 33" tires, new bumpers and an interior storage system after removing the rear seat. i still have a little over a year before i plan to do some serious road trips so the roof rack won't be needed until then. Post lots of photos and give us a good write up about installation. thanks.

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