View Full Version : Cheap stock hi-lift roof rail mount

March 30th, 2005, 13:12
After having my Hi-Lift banging around the cargo compartment in two different XJs, I finally got annoyed enough to do something about it yesterday. Not having an aftermarket roof rack, mounting options were pretty slim. I ended up making mounts from two U-bolts, a couple of 34" (yes, thirty-four, not two feet) Versa-Straps (http://www.keepercorp.com/prod/ver.htm), and some wing nuts. And while I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this, I couldn't find a write-up anywhere on it, so figured it couldn't hurt to share.

Note that this is for a 48" jack on a 2000 Limited. 60" jacks or other years may or may not work or require modifications to the parts used in order to fit. As I don't have access to other XJs or larger jacks, I can't say whether or not this will work for everyone.

The U-bolts came from Home Depot and have a 3/8" thread, 3" inner diameter, and 3-11/16" outer diameter; this seemed to be the sweet spot to allow them to both fit through the holes in the jack's shaft as well as around the rails when locked in place. As for the Versa-Straps, they were the 34" length with round (not oblong) hook eyes in the strap itself. The anchoring ends for the hooks were used as spacers; the hooks themselves were tossed out as they're not needed here.

Tools: reversible power drill with 1/4", 5/16", and 3/8" bits; scissors; X-Acto knife.

Pictures have been linked to keep this dialup-friendly.

Here (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191500/original/01%20-%20Modified%20parts.jpg)'s what I ended up with after cutting up the straps and drilling holes (note: use the hanger plates as a template to get the bushing sizes and hole locations right).

Next (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191501/original/02%20-%20Lower%20hanger%20and%20feet%20in%20place.jpg), the feet were screwed on until they were past the thread, then pushed into place. They should be positioned so that the lower hanger plate is at its lowest point of travel, and the mount is able to stand upright when balanced on the lower pair.

Two (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191502/original/03%20-%20Lower%20bushings%20installed.jpg) of the bushings were then pushed down over the thread and into place on the hanger plate.

Here're (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191503/original/04%20-%20Spacers%20on.jpg) the spacers in place, just prior to test-fitting.

Test fit (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191504/original/05%20-%20Test%20fit.jpg). Note that the roof ribs are used for support and alignment of the mount. If the spacers won't let the mount fit flush against both edges of the rail, trim a little off with an X-Acto knife.

Once the test fitting's good, press another bushing (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191505/original/06%20-%20Rail%20bushing%20installed.jpg) down over the threads until it meets the rail.

Now (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191506/original/07%20-%20Jack%20bushing%20and%20upper%20hanger%20install ed.jpg) add the second bushing and upper hanger plate.

Fasten down (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191507/original/08%20-%20Compressing%20bushings.jpg) the wing nuts tightly enough to thoroughly compress all the bushings as shown. Make sure that the hanger plates are parallel with the roof.

To fit the jack, remove the wing nuts, upper hanger plate, and first bushing so that the mounts look like this (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191508/original/09%20-%20Ready%20to%20fit%20jack.jpg). Mount the base of the jack first, then the shaft. Once both sides are down, slide the bushing and hanger plate back over the u-bolt and tighten down the wing nuts until they can't go any further. Check for lateral movement of the mounts; there should be none.

Final shot (http://www.supermotors.org/getfile/191509/original/10%20-%20Clears%20the%20rear%20hatch.jpg) showing the amount of clearance available to open the rear hatch.

So there it is... Less than $11 in parts, and seems to be effective and relatively rattle-free (given that the baseplate's still on the jack) at up to 75MPH. The handle is kept in place with a Handle Hugger (http://www.4x4groupbuy.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=359&osCsid=c5aab2d00c6ac65f1783f20324aeea2f), definitely a worthwhile investment.