How do roof racks work with regards to soft-tops and hard-tops?

baz

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Are they generally for hard-tops only? Are they permanently attached to the tops? Can you still switch between tops? Do they create limitations to know of?

For example I'm looking at the Maximus-3 JL Roof Rack System:
2018-jeep-wrangler-jl-jlu-maximus-3-roof-rack-system-long-.jpg


Thanks!





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higbyz

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We put the Rhino rack on. Its obviously removable and I put it behind the freedom panels , so they could still be removed.
IMG_0628(1).JPG

Damn, I love lookin at that thing! I know thats not what youre lookin for but I had to see a large pic.
 
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baz

baz

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We put the Rhino rack on. Its obviously removable and I put it behind the freedom panels , so they could still be removed.
IMG_0628(1).JPG

Damn, I love lookin at that thing!
Can you still put a soft top in summer? Does the rack stay attached to the hard-top when you take it off?
 

higbyz

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Can you still put a soft top in summer? Does the rack stay attached to the hard-top when you take it off?
It attaches to the hard top. It has to come off when the soft top is on. Check out .....hitchmount-rack.com for other ideas
 
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Rahneld

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Are they generally for hard-tops only? Are they permanently attached to the tops? Can you still switch between tops? Do they create limitations to know of?

For example I'm looking at the Maximus-3 JL Roof Rack System:
2018-jeep-wrangler-jl-jlu-maximus-3-roof-rack-system-long-.jpg


Thanks!
Roof racks that work for soft tops generally work for hard tops as well, as they attach to areas of the vehicle, like near, but not on the bumper, and cowl area in front, and don't interface with the top.

Roof racks that work with hard tops may be like the above, and likely to work with a soft top as well, but may also include the type that drill into the hard top, and thus hard top only racks.

Of those that work with the soft top there are two basic classes. Those that ride above the soft top but allow little if any ability to open that top, and those that do.

The Gobi rack https://www.gobiracks.com/product-category/jeep/jeep-jl/ is an example of a rack for both types of tops. It has the capability of disconnecting from its front supports and angling back to take down a soft top, and then put the rack back in place. Sunrider position for a soft top isn't normally doable (it rides too high) unless (I'm not certain) Gobi provides ability to keep enough of the rack on top open--(hard top Freedom Panel removal as well) in which case you're compromising storage capacity. The Gobi rack is made for both 2 and 4 door JLs.

I think this rack is one that allows top change, but doesn't facilitate opening/closing the soft top. Short of winches in both the front and rear I don't know how you'd lift and lower a rack with even firmly tied down heavy gear on it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

A rack that's literally days from this writing to offered that works with both tops and also allows the pieces of a top to be removed or taken down is the LOD Off road sliding rack.


https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/the-roof-rack-list-jl-jlu-wrangler.2665/

It uses "drawer slide" like hardware to allow the rack to fully cantilever to either side (I think depending on installation, but not birectionally) so as to change tops or take the soft top all the way down. Again, Sunrider position for the soft top is not doable unless, maybe you remove sections of the rack.

https://lodoffroad.com/products/jee...jl-destroyer-unlimited-sliding-roof-rack.html

I think this rack provides far greater capability for taking a soft top down, but no specs have been published yet as to how much weight this rack will hold in a fully cantilevered position: which is necessary for lowering a soft top. It will have, as the pictures show, vertical risers that may allow this fully cantilevered weight to be quite substantial--if not that of the snowmobile shown.

My chief concern with this rack "was" [off] road grime gunking up the ball bearings of the slide. I've heard that the manufacturer, who initially poo pooed my concerns, will now offer covers for the slides I've heard.

Check out the roof rack list official thread here https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/the-roof-rack-list-jl-jlu-wrangler.2665/ or hit me up with specific questions. There are other cheaper racks that angle back to facility top change, if not soft top opening.

Another considered important attribute of soft top capable racks, because of where they attach, particularly in the rear, is whether that attachment point is on the body or frame. The former is considered more desirable because the front is invariably attached to the body and particularly with off road use, you don't want to torque the rack connected in rear to the frame in odd directions as frame and body are not of unibody design (by (off road) design) in the Wrangler.
 
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Rahneld

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Rain gutter based racks will be limited in how much weight they can support and can't be used with the soft tops as far as I've seen because of the gutter-less design of the soft top. Some of the hard top drilled racks don't have full top coverage, which may be fine or even desired for you.

Best to determine the amount and weight of gear you want to take, not to mention your budget before buying a rack. No word yet on LOD's pricing. They've talked of an entry level model that is fixed in position. Like the higher end rack makers, they'll be lots of options for specific gear attachment, from axes and shovels to ladders, etc.
 

Rahneld

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If you go the route of the hard top specific rack I'd strong consider one that ties into the Sports Bar for the additional weight it will hold--again depending as @TheDirtyDangla said on your gear carrying needs.

 

Janne

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I have a Thule roof rack for my kayak Hullavator. It needs the rain gutter, so it will not work with the soft top. I have the rails behind the front panels for easy on/off with or without the kayak on. No noise from the bars
64C822C7-2A7A-4420-A11E-1A2ACCDC12E1.jpeg
 

Biohazard

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Really like my maximus-3 rack system. The hard top will come off, though it takes an extra 12 bolts of removal to do so, so I leave it on. More interested in carrying kayaks and letting my kids play on the roof :) open air for me comes from popping the doors off.

E73D2003-9DC6-4C7E-B738-65D22C2FE89A.jpeg
 
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