The Roof Rack List (JL / JLU Wrangler)

tlindell

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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but can anyone please explain to me the dynamic / static weight loads on racks / the car itself? I have a gutter mounted Expedition One mule ultra roof rack and their website says it has dynamic / static weight load of 250lbs / 500lbs. What is the weight capacity on the roof if it is gutter mounted rack? The rack weights ~50lbs. Will I be able to get a RTT?





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BroncoHound

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I'm gonna get a little wordy here, so I've broken your question up into two parts:

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but can anyone please explain to me the dynamic / static weight loads on racks / the car itself? I have a gutter mounted Expedition One mule ultra roof rack and their website says it has dynamic / static weight load of 250lbs / 500lbs. The rack weights ~50lbs. Will I be able to get a RTT?
The static load rating is the amount of weight, including the rack itself, that the system can hold when the vehicle is sitting still. The dynamic load rating is the amount of weight the system can support while the vehicle is moving under "normal" use. Many companies also have an offroad dynamic rating which is what the system can hold under offroad use.

Essentially what this means is that the stresses put on the mounting points and the system itself are greater when the vehicle is in motion. Wind deflection, g-force stresses, body flexion, and load shift are all taken into account when looking at dynamic load ratings. A general rule of thumb is a dynamic load rating should be about 1/2 the static load rating and the offroad dynamic rating should be about 1/3 the static load rating, though each manufacturer of a roof rack or cargo system will determine their own ratings.

So in the case of your Expedition One rack, you've got a 250lbs dynamic load rating. The rack itself is 50lbs, so you have 200lbs to play with. Most RTT's are between 120-180lbs, so you should still be within the racks dynamic load rating, so long as the tent is properly mounted and secured and you haven't added much more weight to the rack system. Once you park and set up camp, you'll have 320-380lbs of static rating so you'll just have to make sure you, your passengers (wife, kids, dogs, cats, etc), and whatever gear you bring into the tent with you don't weigh more than that combined, which would be kinda tight if you were camping with more than just yourself.

The offroad dynamic load rating for that rack is probably ~167lbs, which you'll likely be over with all but the lightest of RTTs so, if you chose to mount a RTT, you probably don't want to do much (if any) off roading with the tent installed. That kinda defeats the purpose of putting a RTT on a Jeep, I know, which is why most folks getting into "overlanding" opt for a rack that has higher load ratings.

All that said, I'd say you could probably safely mount and use a RTT with that current rack with the following restrictions: you chose a lighter-weight tent, you camped alone (or are pretty light and have passengers that are also pretty light), and you did very light to no-offroading. If those three main criteria don't fit with what you want to do with your Jeep, I think you'd be better off to sell the Expedition One rack and look into the heavier roof racks with higher ratings so you can safely mount the tent you want and maintain the capacity and capability you want out of your Jeep.

What is the weight capacity on the roof if it is gutter mounted rack?
As far as I know, Jeep hasn't published any official weight ratings for rain gutter-mounted hardware. However the rain gutter mount is certainly the reason the weight ratings on yours (and the other gutter-mounted racks) are so low. Unlike most other vehicles with steel roofs formed into the body and steel welded or molded rain gutters, the Jeep's roof is fiberglass and detached from the body. That means that, when you mount the rack exclusively to the rain gutters, that small surface area of bonded fiberglass is holding the entirety of the static and dynamic loads from the rack. Coming down off a rock with your front right tire and the whole body of your Jeep shifts relatively violently to the right? All the weight of that tent, the rack, and the kinetic force they've generated while the vehicle is shifting to the right is solely being focused on the 4 gutter mounts and the ~2" of fiberglass each one is holding onto.

From what I've seen for the Jeep JL platform, there looks to be 3 different general methods of solving this problem and providing a rack with a greater load capacity than gutter-mounting can provide. Each have their own pros and cons:

- Exoskeleton style: Gobi and Garmin are the two main brands of this style. With these, they don't mount to the roof at all but instead provide rails that run down the a-pillar to bolt into the body and run over the back of the hard top to bolt into the rear bumper mounts (or sometimes the bumper itself). The pros of this is obviously it can hold a BUNCH of weight since it is all body/frame mounted with no stress being placed on the roof. The downsides are they are heavier, bulkier, and have a look that some enjoy but others don't care for.

- Drill through style: Rhino Rack, Maximus-3, Front Runner, and JCR all come to mind here. Their solution is to provide gutter mounts for stability but to drill through the roof and provide interior bracing that mounts to the body and roll bars of the Jeep. This takes the load off the gutters and the roof itself and transmits the load to the frame and body. Again, these can be super strong but since they are still partially mounted to the roof and gutters, they aren't quite as strong as the exoskeleton style. And, since they require drilling through the fiberglass roof of your Jeep, it's far more permanent a modification and one some folks will flat out refuse. Drilling through also brings potential leak paths.

- Gutter mounts with additional bracing: Dee-Zee and SMS Exposed racks are the only two that come to mind here. Their solution is a standard gutter mount but with additional contact points made with the roof through rubber feet to evenly distribute the load. While this does, in theory, reduce the load bearing of the gutter mounts, I personally don't find this to be a full-strength solution, as the Jeep roof is still an independent fiberglass unit so if you isolate all your static and dynamic loads to just the roof, you are still placing force loading on a few isolated places (namely where the roof mounts to the body) so rear bolts and the front freedom panel latches are essentially holding everything together that's mounted to your roof. And it is still fiberglass which, while it is tough, still isn't anywhere near as tough as steel. Personally I wouldn't feel comfortable mounting a heavy tent and going offroad with a rack of this design, but it does fill a nice niche in the product line between folks that want to haul more than a couple duffel bags but aren't quite prepared to drill into their roofs or put a full exoskeleton on their Jeep.

My opinion on your setup (you didn't ask)? I think the Expedition One is maybe the best looking rack available for the Jeep JL and, if they offered it with a drill-through design that braced at the tub and roll bars, it would be number one on my list to purchase. As it stands, the JCR rack is currently at the top of my list because it has an aesthetic very similar to your Expedition One rack but offers a drill-through design and frame/roll bar bracing. If you are in love with your Expedition One rack and don't want to put any other kind of rack on your Jeep (I can't hardly blame you, it looks THAT good), then I'd reach out to Expedition One and ask them if they have worked towards the development of an additional bracing method. If not, it is definitely something a local fabricator could work out with you. After all, it isn't that difficult a design change from what you have; drill a couple holes, make some energy transfer plates for the rack, a couple fairly simple brackets for inside the Jeep, and voila!
 

tlindell

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I'm gonna get a little wordy here, so I've broken your question up into two parts:



The static load rating is the amount of weight, including the rack itself, that the system can hold when the vehicle is sitting still. The dynamic load rating is the amount of weight the system can support while the vehicle is moving under "normal" use. Many companies also have an offroad dynamic rating which is what the system can hold under offroad use.

Essentially what this means is that the stresses put on the mounting points and the system itself are greater when the vehicle is in motion. Wind deflection, g-force stresses, body flexion, and load shift are all taken into account when looking at dynamic load ratings. A general rule of thumb is a dynamic load rating should be about 1/2 the static load rating and the offroad dynamic rating should be about 1/3 the static load rating, though each manufacturer of a roof rack or cargo system will determine their own ratings.

So in the case of your Expedition One rack, you've got a 250lbs dynamic load rating. The rack itself is 50lbs, so you have 200lbs to play with. Most RTT's are between 120-180lbs, so you should still be within the racks dynamic load rating, so long as the tent is properly mounted and secured and you haven't added much more weight to the rack system. Once you park and set up camp, you'll have 320-380lbs of static rating so you'll just have to make sure you, your passengers (wife, kids, dogs, cats, etc), and whatever gear you bring into the tent with you don't weigh more than that combined, which would be kinda tight if you were camping with more than just yourself.

The offroad dynamic load rating for that rack is probably ~167lbs, which you'll likely be over with all but the lightest of RTTs so, if you chose to mount a RTT, you probably don't want to do much (if any) off roading with the tent installed. That kinda defeats the purpose of putting a RTT on a Jeep, I know, which is why most folks getting into "overlanding" opt for a rack that has higher load ratings.

All that said, I'd say you could probably safely mount and use a RTT with that current rack with the following restrictions: you chose a lighter-weight tent, you camped alone (or are pretty light and have passengers that are also pretty light), and you did very light to no-offroading. If those three main criteria don't fit with what you want to do with your Jeep, I think you'd be better off to sell the Expedition One rack and look into the heavier roof racks with higher ratings so you can safely mount the tent you want and maintain the capacity and capability you want out of your Jeep.



As far as I know, Jeep hasn't published any official weight ratings for rain gutter-mounted hardware. However the rain gutter mount is certainly the reason the weight ratings on yours (and the other gutter-mounted racks) are so low. Unlike most other vehicles with steel roofs formed into the body and steel welded or molded rain gutters, the Jeep's roof is fiberglass and detached from the body. That means that, when you mount the rack exclusively to the rain gutters, that small surface area of bonded fiberglass is holding the entirety of the static and dynamic loads from the rack. Coming down off a rock with your front right tire and the whole body of your Jeep shifts relatively violently to the right? All the weight of that tent, the rack, and the kinetic force they've generated while the vehicle is shifting to the right is solely being focused on the 4 gutter mounts and the ~2" of fiberglass each one is holding onto.

From what I've seen for the Jeep JL platform, there looks to be 3 different general methods of solving this problem and providing a rack with a greater load capacity than gutter-mounting can provide. Each have their own pros and cons:

- Exoskeleton style: Gobi and Garmin are the two main brands of this style. With these, they don't mount to the roof at all but instead provide rails that run down the a-pillar to bolt into the body and run over the back of the hard top to bolt into the rear bumper mounts (or sometimes the bumper itself). The pros of this is obviously it can hold a BUNCH of weight since it is all body/frame mounted with no stress being placed on the roof. The downsides are they are heavier, bulkier, and have a look that some enjoy but others don't care for.

- Drill through style: Rhino Rack, Maximus-3, Front Runner, and JCR all come to mind here. Their solution is to provide gutter mounts for stability but to drill through the roof and provide interior bracing that mounts to the body and roll bars of the Jeep. This takes the load off the gutters and the roof itself and transmits the load to the frame and body. Again, these can be super strong but since they are still partially mounted to the roof and gutters, they aren't quite as strong as the exoskeleton style. And, since they require drilling through the fiberglass roof of your Jeep, it's far more permanent a modification and one some folks will flat out refuse. Drilling through also brings potential leak paths.

- Gutter mounts with additional bracing: Dee-Zee and SMS Exposed racks are the only two that come to mind here. Their solution is a standard gutter mount but with additional contact points made with the roof through rubber feet to evenly distribute the load. While this does, in theory, reduce the load bearing of the gutter mounts, I personally don't find this to be a full-strength solution, as the Jeep roof is still an independent fiberglass unit so if you isolate all your static and dynamic loads to just the roof, you are still placing force loading on a few isolated places (namely where the roof mounts to the body) so rear bolts and the front freedom panel latches are essentially holding everything together that's mounted to your roof. And it is still fiberglass which, while it is tough, still isn't anywhere near as tough as steel. Personally I wouldn't feel comfortable mounting a heavy tent and going offroad with a rack of this design, but it does fill a nice niche in the product line between folks that want to haul more than a couple duffel bags but aren't quite prepared to drill into their roofs or put a full exoskeleton on their Jeep.

My opinion on your setup (you didn't ask)? I think the Expedition One is maybe the best looking rack available for the Jeep JL and, if they offered it with a drill-through design that braced at the tub and roll bars, it would be number one on my list to purchase. As it stands, the JCR rack is currently at the top of my list because it has an aesthetic very similar to your Expedition One rack but offers a drill-through design and frame/roll bar bracing. If you are in love with your Expedition One rack and don't want to put any other kind of rack on your Jeep (I can't hardly blame you, it looks THAT good), then I'd reach out to Expedition One and ask them if they have worked towards the development of an additional bracing method. If not, it is definitely something a local fabricator could work out with you. After all, it isn't that difficult a design change from what you have; drill a couple holes, make some energy transfer plates for the rack, a couple fairly simple brackets for inside the Jeep, and voila!
Wow! Thank you very much for the detailed response, I really appreciate the thought you gave. I purchased my rack with the sole intention of wanting the full length and something that "looked cool". As I have explored the forums and gotten more and more into camping, the RTT was something that piqued my interest, which led to my question (and utter lack of knowledge / understanding). While it may be a little while before I gather the funds for a RTT, great idea on reaching out to Expedition One about a potential work around drill-through. If not, I guess I will be in the market to sell!

Again, really appreciate the detailed and thorough response. This is why the Jeep family is so awesome!
 

ChimpanZed

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I got these Rhino Rack Vortex SGs off of Craigslist for $180. They’re 98% good as new. I mounted my Thule and ready to see if we can fit all our stuff for (car) camping. I dig the setup so far.

BA91AC92-B435-4ED1-B946-CDB1506E9B93.jpeg
 

tlindell

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Looking to sell Expedition One Mule Ultra Roof Rack if anyone is interested. Only about 3 months old and in good condition. Not sure if this is the wrong place to post this. Thanks!
 

BroncoHound

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Looking to sell Expedition One Mule Ultra Roof Rack if anyone is interested. Only about 3 months old and in good condition. Not sure if this is the wrong place to post this. Thanks!
You'll probably get better exposure posting a classified ad down in the "Marketplace" section.

I'm guessing Expedition One didn't give you any indication of a drill-through option in the near future? What are you looking to replace it with?
 

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Does anyone know which external (exoskeleton, frame mounted) racks are compatible with a bestop Sunrider (this is non optional as the Sunrider is opened/closed multiple times a day), and can easily be removed (and reinstalled when required) for use with a soft top? I don’t want a hinge. I want to leave the installation hardware mounted but remove the rack completely when using the soft top.

For use with kayaks and skis. (No rooftop tent yet.)
 
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entropy

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Does anyone know which external racks are compatible with a bestop Sunrider (this is non optional as the Sunrider is opened/closed multiple times a day), and can easily be removed (and reinstalled when required) for use with a soft top? I don’t want a hinge. I want to leave the installation hardware mounted but remove the rack completely when using the soft top.

For use with kayaks and skis. (No rooftop tent yet.)
The exposed racks can remain on the hard top when you remove it. And they don't interfere with the bestop sunrider, I installed them on my 2 door and they don't interfere with my freedom panels. I can take off my freedom panels and still have the rack on the top. They're solid, and their click in system is pretty nice. They can also carry a lot of weight.

When you take the hardtop off you can either leave the rack on the hardtop. or you can get the roll bar brackets to install your rack on your naked jeep.

The other option for kayak/skis only is a hitchmount rack. The hitchmount rack goes on the hitch, you can take it on-off in less than 1 minute and works with hardtop, softop, naked.
 

TrailJoy

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The exposed racks can remain on the hard top when you remove it. And they don't interfere with the bestop sunrider, I installed them on my 2 door and they don't interfere with my freedom panels. I can take off my freedom panels and still have the rack on the top. They're solid, and their click in system is pretty nice. They can also carry a lot of weight.

When you take the hardtop off you can either leave the rack on the hardtop. or you can get the roll bar brackets to install your rack on your naked jeep.

The other option for kayak/skis only is a hitchmount rack. The hitchmount rack goes on the hitch, you can take it on-off in less than 1 minute and works with hardtop, softop, naked.
Thanks, Entropy! I don't want the rack left on (at all) when using the soft top, but the difference between the freedom top panels and the sunrider is the sunrider flips open like a tiny soft top. I need to make sure that the crossbars don't get in the way when I open it up (so they need to sit several inches BEHIND where the freedom panels go), AND that the side bars (the ones that run parallel to the doors) clear the top when lifting it open.

Thank you for your suggestion, but I've decided against a hitchmount rack. I definitely want an external roof rack. The problem is finding one that's compatible with my sunrider.
 

entropy

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Thanks, Entropy! I don't want the rack left on (at all) when using the soft top, but the difference between the freedom top panels and the sunrider is the sunrider flips open like a tiny soft top. I need to make sure that the crossbars don't get in the way when I open it up (so they need to sit several inches BEHIND where the freedom panels go), AND that the side bars (the ones that run parallel to the doors) clear the top when lifting it open.

Thank you for your suggestion, but I've decided against a hitchmount rack. I definitely want an external roof rack. The problem is finding one that's compatible with my sunrider.
So the ideal distance between the crossbars on the hardtop is between 28 and 30 inches. People often have crossbars too far apart!. I fit them on my 2 door, 30 inches apart so I can still take freedom panels off. If you have a 4 door, you will have no issues fitting them 30 inches apart. Take a measuring tape and see if you have enough clearance with the sunrider open. That's it. The exposed racks have no side bars.
 

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That's it. The exposed racks have no side bars.
Maybe I’m confused. Do you have a link? Is it not an exoskeleton (which is what I’m ISO)? How do they work with the soft top?

Edit. I googled. I should have clarified that I’m looking for an exoskeleton. I already have Thule gutter mount crossbars on my hard top. I want a solution for loading my kayak with both the hard top AND the soft top (on, not off) and with the ability to open my Sunrider at will.
 

entropy

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Maybe I’m confused. Do you have a link? Is it not an exoskeleton (which is what I’m ISO)? How do they work with the soft top?

Edit. I googled. I should have clarified that I’m looking for an exoskeleton. I already have Thule gutter mount crossbars on my hard top. I want a solution for loading my kayak with both the hard top AND the soft top (on, not off) and with the ability to open my Sunrider at will.
Tricky! lol. maybe gobi rack?
 

TrailJoy

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Tricky! lol. maybe gobi rack?
Yeah, I’m not a fair weather boater. I’ll iSUP or kayak in the rain, so highway driving with the top down isn’t what I’m looking for.

I’ve looked at a Gobi but NOWHERE tells me whether it’s compatible with a Sunrider OR if it’s easy to remove. I won’t order one until I know it will work, but which one will work??

I honestly don’t understand why this has been such a challenge to find an answer for!! This MUST exist... I’ve asked my local Jeep groups but they all drive JK’s (or older) and use racks that aren’t compatible with the Sunrider (side bars too far in). And none of them are kayakers, and the ones that are all have gutter mounted crossbars (like mine). And of course I’m the only one with a Sunrider...

I started a thread here too but got no replies.
 

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