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Old 08-18-2012, 04:42 PM   #1
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Overhead CB rack I made....writeup

I told another member I would post a writeup, so here it is. I didn't catch pictures of everything, but I think you can get the idea. Hopefully I'm not too wordy.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve put together an overhead CB rack for my TJ. It is built from a section of Rubbermaid FastTrack, which has pre-drilled holes and a nice plastic cover that slides over it. I purchased it at Lowes. From the store, it is bare galvanized (I think) metal, with a black plastic cover.
Keep in mind that this isn’t an “oh @#$t” bar. If your buddy grabs onto it and hangs, it will bend. However, it is perfectly strong to hold a CB and other electronic gear with no problem, and is stable.

I used the 84” Fasttrack. It also comes in a 48” size, but I wanted to securely mount it to the door mount holes in the factory rollbar, near the front windshield, and 48” isn’t quite enough. You really need 50”, which is what I cut the 84” Fasttrack to.
My pictures skip a few steps: I cut the Fasttrack to length (50”), then drilled a hole on both sides to put a bolt through for the rollbar. You can see one of the mounting holes I drilled here.

I also cut some slots on both sides, to mount some LED strips as courtesy/map lights. I don’t remember where I got the lights…..it was a bargain sale ($2 each) somewhere online and I wasn’t sure what I would use them for….but now I found a use! As you can tell, after I did all the cutting, I sprayed the track with primer/etcher, then with Rustoleum Truck Bed coating:


LED strip powered up. It’s not too bright inside the TJ….just about right. I used silicone to glue them in place:

Once the paint dried, I did a test mount with the CB bolted up. It holds the CB just fine, but there was some “front to back” jiggling of the CB (torsional twisting of the rack), so I made a bracket that screws in place at the center of the windshield (using the windshield/safari top factory tie-down), and then bolts to the track itself. This fixed the problem. I didn’t get a specific pic of this bracket, but hopefully you can get the idea from this pic:

Here are a few more pics after I bolted it all up, ran my wiring (I did an antenna coax run from the back tire carrier, and had to run power for the CB and a power wire from the current courtesy lights at your feet).
Bolted down:

Courtesy light wiring (I ran the CB power and antenna coax into the other side):

Finished look:


One additional note: I saw on one thread or webpage, where you could run power/wires through the door channel that goes down each side of the windshield. BIG NO GO on my TJ. On my 98 TJ, those channels have almost zero space for wires. It may look like they have a lot of space, but they do not. I did manage to squeeze the courtesy light wiring in the driver’s side one, but I’m not happy with it. For the CB power, I ran down along the bottom of the passenger door, up to the rollbar, and under the rollbar cover. That worked fine. While I was at it, I also wired a small switch on the driver’s side to turn off the overhead LEDS, just in case they were too bright (which they are not), and also did the “doors off” switch / fusebox mod on the passenger side.
So that’s it. The track costs about $20 (84”). Most of the other stuff (paint, wiring, coax, metal bracket material, etc) I already had.

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Old 08-18-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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Very cool and a great way to mount a CB. I especially like how you have it anchored in three places with the center of it being secured to the windshield frame above the mirror. It's a very nice design with a good writeup and great photos!

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Old 08-18-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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Thanks Jerry.....your esteemed feedback is highly valued!

As I mentioned, the middle bracket was added after I did the test mount. The track itself is more than strong enough to hold the CB without it, but the torsional "wiggle" would have driven me nuts (and would be really bad offroad). It also added to the overall strength. I'm pleased with the outcome.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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Very nice. Can you post a picture of the led lights/the underside of the CB mount? Very good idea. Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:45 PM   #5
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would this mod cause a soft top to not clip back into place? I like the idea but having a soft top it looks like it wouldnt work
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:49 PM   #6
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From the way it looks, soft top should be no problem. Very similiar to the Arizona Rocky Road one, only that one mounts through the door surround bolts (the big knobby ones up top).
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:59 PM   #7
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That is excellent engineering! Be nice if you could manage to add some padding around the radio front coners to prevent dents in the forehead should you ever bounce around more than you anticipated!
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:03 AM   #8
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SandDevil.....I'll see if I can get a shot you're looking for tomorrow; too dark now.

98Wrang....no problem with a soft top. That's all I have and mine's on now. I do think it may cause a problem with my safari top, since it wraps snug around my rollbar, but so far all overhead racks I've seen have this potential problem. This was the main reason I chose the FastTrack: it's very low profile, so I'm sure there are ways to work around it.

Saltriverfolk: the CB is very far forward and in the center. I don't see any way I could hit it, even in extreme situations. I just did a quick measurement: in my standard sitting position, my head is 18" away from the nearest corner.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:32 AM   #9
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A quick nighttime shot, to show the overhead lights. This picture makes it seem much brighter, but it's really a nice level of light. Since I installed a switch, I can always turn off the overhead lights.

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Old 08-19-2012, 04:54 AM   #10
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I really like this setup, do you think it can work with a hard top too?
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:50 AM   #11
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very nice job! love the lights!
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwill8751 View Post
I really like this setup, do you think it can work with a hard top too?
I had someone in my local jeep club ask the same question. Since I don't have a hard top (and never did....some previous owner must have sold it), I don't really know. But from what I understand, the original hard top / soft top door surrounds bolt in this same spot, so it might not work. I run a Bestop Supertop and hard full doors, and with that setup it's not problem. I know it will interfere with my safari top, since it wraps snug around the rollbar at this spot, but I think I can cut it's wrapping fabric a little as a workaround. I'm thinking about getting a Spiderwebshade anyway, which I'm pretty sure will be ok.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandDevil93 View Post
Very nice. Can you post a picture of the led lights/the underside of the CB mount? Very good idea. Thanks!
Is this the pic you are looking for?


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Old 08-19-2012, 01:08 PM   #14
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Regarding the hard top question, I sure don't see any problem with his rack since it uses a common bolt to hold it to the rollbar. To the best of my recollection, there would only be an issue for the hard top if he used the large knob used for the boomerang door jambs that would interfere with the hard top's closer fit in that area.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:34 PM   #15
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Yes! Pictures are great and really show details nicely. Thanks!!
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:57 PM   #16
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Do you think it would be sturdy enough to have 4-5 radios mounted to it?
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:10 PM   #17
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Good job !!!!

I enjoy a piece of nice work, and you did one.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:16 PM   #18
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miketx,

Great thread!! Thanks for the posts and the photos. You made a neat project, simple to understand. Thanks.

Take care,
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:46 PM   #19
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So I really liked this idea so I decided to get on it but my problem was that I use the Half door "boomerangs" What I did was use the 48" fast track, cut off about 2 1/2 inches, and use thin pieces of metal to extend it long enough to reach those same holes. I just let It rest on top of the boomerang mount and put the giant hand screw right through the strip of sheet metal. now the half doors work great. Only problem is that the clips are tough to get open far enough to secure the soft top. I think I have a solution to that problem though. Hopefully the pictures help
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:03 PM   #20
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Fantastic job man
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:42 PM   #21
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Nice writeup and VERY cool ( and inexpensive ) CB mount!!!
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #22
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silver rubi: 4-5 radios....hmmm, i guess it depends how heavy, but I don't see why not. The middle bracket really makes a difference.

Jeep tin man, 1SAS, wtbiv73, TnDz TJ: thanks guys!

thedaringmove: Awesome.....you did exactly what my plan A was. I first bought the 48" and thought about cutting it and adding flat extensions, just like you did. Good to see it worked out! Great job!
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:07 PM   #23
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Just noticed that Lowe's has the 48" Fasttrack on sale for $5.48 (50% off) until 9/9/2012. That's cheap!
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:12 PM   #24
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Nice! thinking about something like this myself. I want to use something like it to tighten a safari top so I don't have a swimming pool on top of the JEEP every time it rains and so that I could mount a light. Would this work? Also, could Thedaringmoves extra metal idea be used if it was shaped like a hook to wrap around the roll bar? Can it be placed on the back door surround bolt, or would it get in the way?
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:39 AM   #25
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I guess it depends on how your safari top mounts. Mine wraps around the rollbar so I'm going to need to make a few cuts in it for it to mount ok, but I don't think it's a problem. I knew that when I built the rack.

Why would you want to wrap the metal around the rollbar? So you don't have to use the factory door surround bolt holes? One solution is to use a ring gear hose clamp, like this guy Build a Jeep Wrangler Overhead Console for Equipment - OmniNerd I don't like the hose clamp look, but it is an alternative.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:58 PM   #26
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Hey thedaringmove, what was your fix for the soft top latches? I have the same issue on my 98 TJ.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:09 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKTJ0124
Hey thedaringmove, what was your fix for the soft top latches? I have the same issue on my 98 TJ.
So I totally didnt see this question and I guess it's way too late to answer now but here goes. I just installed two more if these mounts for two of my friends. I ran into the latch-clearance problem on their jeeps (guess every jeeps different). What I did was put in a plate of aluminum that was proll 3"x5" instead of the chincy thin piece of metal on the sides. That way we could drill the hole for the door surrounds farther back making the latches easier to deal with.
Ill see if I can put up a pic sometime...

Side note, we had to replace the door surround fastener with longer bolts because the oem ones didn't reach because the aluminum was fairly thick.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:02 PM   #28
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Very good idea...think I'll use it, but maybe relocate the oem center footman loop to the top of the center bracket so I still have an attachment point for my spiderweb top.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:09 PM   #29
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Haven't checked in for a while. Dennis, I have a spiderweb shade also....i just wrapped the bungie around the bracket...seems to hold just fine.

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