The Jeep Geek

The Jeep Geek's Blog
Apr 2012

Roof Racks

The Jeep Geek is often asked how one puts a roof rack on a Wrangler. This is an excellent question in light of the very bad options people choose.

Many folks choose to mount roof rails directly to the fiberglass top by drilling holes and mounting roof rails right on the top. There are several disadvantages to this approach:

  1. The Wrangler roof is not designed to support the weight or the flexing that will occur with skis, snowboards, or thule box mounted to cross rails on the hard top. The flexing from wind pressures will cause some cracks to form and may weaken the top, possibly leading to some leaks.
  2. This configuration may also make it difficult to operate the freedom panels over the front two seats. Part of the charm of the Wrangler’s hardtop is that those panes can be removed and provide an open air feel.
  3. This approach won’t work with the soft top installed. Imagine wanting to go camping when the weather is warm. You will have a lot of cargo to carry to the campsite, but no way to drop the top and enjoy the open air approach to Jeeping. The Jeep Geek removes his hardtop in the May timeframe and replaces it with the soft top. The process is reversed in the October timeframe. This makes it impossible to use this type of roof rack during this transition.

So what does The Jeep Geek recommend you might ask? A safari rack that mounts on the “A” pillar in the front, and to the frame of the Wrangler in the back. This approach will support the weight of a lot of cargo, and even enable a top mounted tent so you can sleep on top of the Jeep away from some animals that you might not want to be napping with.

There are numerous safari racks out there and any of them are better choices than mounting directly to the hard top. One in particular has caught The Jeep Geek’s attention...made by Gobi. Gobi is a local (Colorado) manufacturer and has a number of features that The Jeep Geek really appreciates.

  • All of the parts are welded together. The Jeep Geek has seen a number of manufacturers that screw all the slats and cross members together. This seems like a lot of parts that will eventually loosen and rattle, requiring a periodic retightening...not The Jeep Geek’s idea of a fun afternoon of preventive maintenance.
  • The rack doesn’t require any drilling through the body to mount. It bolts in the back behind the rear bumper directly to the frame, and in the front directly on top of the “A” pillar where there are already mounting holes. A pretty simple and very secure installation.
  • The rack has an integrated ladder that supports enables one to climb up on the rack to position cargo and more easily secure things. The Jeep Geek watched someone try to do this from the ground (on another manufacturers rack) and that didn’t look easy or secure. This ladder is designed to even support The Jeep Geek’s 1/8th of a ton body weight.
  • The top has a load capacity of 600 pounds. This enables one to stand on the roof rack to take pictures (or escape some menacing wild life).
  • Lights can be easily mounted on both the front and back of the rack.

Gobi makes two different models and they will fit either the two door or four door Wrangler. Give these folks a look if you are in the market for a top quality rack at a competitive price...or contact The Jeep Geek who would be happy to coordinate the installation for you.

The Geek abides