Roof crossbars or racks with soft top?

  1. Rubidozer

    Rubidozer Well-Known Member

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    I’m thinking of trying to carry my kayak on some roof crossbars for my soft top. Hard top rain gutter rails and soft top rails seem similar but soft top rails are bolted closer together. Seems solid enough to hold.
    A roof rack or platform would hold it together tighter like a hardtop.
    The hard top material can break/crack and seems weaker than the soft top gutter material.
    ...Note for all those that will warn of dangers: I would first attempt it in my driveway, then on closed neighborhood streets, then parking lot at night, on and on. I’d use safety straps like climbing ropes just in case...
    Any one tried it yet?
     
  2. Gee-pah

    Gee-pah Well-Known Member

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    Hey @Rubidozer :

    There's a couple of areas of Wrangler knowledge I consider myself better versed on than others. Roof racks is one of them...don't ask me about lifts.

    This said, I know of no method to attach crossmembers on to the soft top of a Wrangler: OEM Premium Basic or 3rd party alike.

    Of course that doesn't say they don't exist--and maybe you've come across some for the JL--but even so, I would be very interested in knowing how they affix to the vehicle.

    As far as hard tops go--sure--they provide the rain gutters to attach crossmembers to (MOPAR or Thule), but are limited in the weight they can support (read: skis and light gear, not tents.)

    Another option is a roof rack that doesn't interface with the roof. There are many, at different price points, some require drilling, some don't, and some drill in inconspicous spaces (e.g. LOD). They can carry more weight and are priced for doing so.

    Since you seem to be weighing hard top options, several racks drill through the top and bolt on to the Sports Bar. Installed correctly they're leak proof and last. They put no pressure on the hard top but commit you to using the hard top when "racking" and "leave a mark" from the drilling.

    I can show you a YouTube video of a vendor lifting his rig via crane by his hard top bolted rack: not recommended, but an example of strength.

    There are some excellent threads on this subject on the board that I could refer you to, but before I do I think it might be useful if you express your budget, intentions (and future intentions) of above rig storage, willingness to drill, and willingness to commit to hard top only when "racking," etc.

    Then again--maybe you have some soft top install I've yet to see that will impress all of us.

    Cheers.:)
     
  3. cbrenthus

    cbrenthus Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts:

    If I wanted to carry a kayak locally I'd have no issue putting some foam above the soft top cross members, then the kayak, and strapping the kayak down with a good strap around the entire top and through the inside of the Jeep. With ratchet straps around the inner roll bars, you'd most likely be fine at higher speed but it could bend your cross members. The bottom line is that a properly secured load, strapped to the vehicle and not the rack, isn't going anywhere, but could damage your vehicle.

    As mentioned, you could also get a rack that doesn't mount to the roof, but there can be issues with this. I had a Garvin Wilderness rack on my JK and wished I didn't - It was a major pain to put the soft top up your down, it was actually easier to just remove it, and even when it was off I didn't like all the bars blocking my overhead view.

    Another roof agnostic option is to get a light bar for the front window, then a trailer hitch rack, like these:

    Windshield bracket for a JK (I can't find one like this for a JL): https://www.quadratec.com/products/12028_6100_07.htm

    Hitch rack (note, the picks show it in the lower position but it can be flipped and ill be at the roof - look at user pics): https://www.harborfreight.com/truck-bed-extender-69650.html



    However, I found this in a parking lot and took a pic - I would love this rack but the owner just told me he got it off he internet. I think this is a great option and would love to find it!:

    IMG_6281.JPG
     
  4. Gee-pah

    Gee-pah Well-Known Member

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    @cbrenthus

    That device which secures to the tub seems really ingenious.

    Towards your idea with the hitch rack, you got me thinking about the OP having two hitches, front and rear, and going with something like this:

    a Darby Extend-a-Truck--available from the manufacturer or vendors like etrailer.com

    https://darbyindustries.com/product/extend-a-truck/

    Alternatively, some roof rack vendors make their portion of their rack that attaches in front avaiable for purchase for less $ than the entire rack, and one Darby Extend-A-Truck can be on the back hitch.
     
  5. Gee-pah

    Gee-pah Well-Known Member

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    @cbrenthus: do you recall if that rack that attaches to the cargo tub that you provided a picture of above was on a JL or JK?

    That soft top, FWIW, JL or JK, with its two side windows doesn't seem like it would be a factory top.....

    I simply don't know how such a device would work on a JL and factory soft top as the bottom of the side soft windows on the JL work themselves into a channel on the body of the rig to help keep the windows secure that extends the entire window's width.

    But just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist for the JL.:)
     
  6. cbrenthus

    cbrenthus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the extend a truck that you linked to is just a different version of the Harbor Freight link I provided, great minds huh ;). I have no idea how the one in the pic I posted is attached and how the top works with it, I was just able to snap a pic before the owner left.
     
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  7. daveprice7

    daveprice7 Well-Known Member

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    I believe that's a JK (2-dr) side window, which has a fabric divider. If I'm not mistaken, it just requires clipping the little insert on the soft sides where the mount is. This might be the "Highrock Overhead Rack" from Bestop (for JK), which is no longer available. There is a similar (JK) rack from here:
    http://sharpwrax.com/
     
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  8. cbrenthus

    cbrenthus Well-Known Member

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    To clarify, that is a JK that I took a pic of.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    Rubidozer

    Rubidozer Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think some of you understood my first post.
    The rain gutters are on all Wranglers.
    Hard tops have them formed into the Fiberglass top.
    Soft tops have them on the door surrounds and are made from Nylon. The nylon is stronger and less brittle than fiberglass, and they are bolted directly onto the roll bars in more places than a hard top.
    I’m not asking what products are out there to attach to the body or hitch because I’m aware of those options.
    .....
    I’m asking if anyone has tried to attach crossbars or a roof rack to those door surround gutters.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Rubidozer

    Rubidozer Well-Known Member

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    Here are pics for understanding:B2AC8D1C-3867-46DD-82AC-45FE66ADD65D.jpeg CA673463-FD0B-49F2-8090-6905CB39F0E7.jpeg
    D4B60158-9BDB-4A2A-AEDA-19866FDF2A0B.jpeg
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Rubidozer

    Rubidozer Well-Known Member

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    As far as support strength, I can hang my 190 pound body from one side over the front door. The rear ones over the rear doors are even stronger because they continue down and bolt again into the body tub.
     
  12. itstotalbacon

    itstotalbacon Well-Known Member

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    Check out the exposed racks --- https://www.smsparts.com/

    Crossbars that are covered by the soft top -- seems great for topless days.
     
  13. OP
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    Rubidozer

    Rubidozer Well-Known Member

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  14. cbrenthus

    cbrenthus Well-Known Member

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    Jeez, sorry for trying to help you. :facepalm:

    But OK, looking at your original post, no, i haven't clipped a roof rack to soft, plastic rails that are found with the soft top. Although, having put roof racks on many vehicles, I can say that in my experience all of the ones I dealt with sat on the hard top and then just clipped to the rails to stay in place, which I don't think would work on a soft top, but if you use a rack that specifically clips to the rails with no feet, then maybe, but I personally wouldn't feel comfortable with it.
     
  15. daveprice7

    daveprice7 Well-Known Member

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    Someone has...

    https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/using-a-thule-roof-rack-with-a-soft-op.36024/
     
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