Yakima Rail Rider towers/round bars on factory rails - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2010, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Yakima Rail Rider towers/round bars on factory rails

As promised, here is the write-up. I wanted to make the Yakima cross-bars work with my factory rails but Yakima does not offer a set of towers to work with our XK rails. My local Yakima dealer wanted to drill holes in the outside edge of the rails and install the 1A tower adapters. I did not want to drill any holes plus I wanted to be able to adjust the distance between the cross-bars for different accessories.

My solution was;

To make a set of plates that the Yakima Rail Rider towers could be bolted to and then clamped into the factory rails.

I got all of the hardware needed at the local hardware store, they are;

1) 1-1/2"x1/8"x48" long piece of flat aluminum
8) 1/4"x20x1" button head stainless steel bolts
8) 1/4"x20 stainless steel lock nuts
8) 5/16"x18x1-1/4" button head stainless steel bolts
8) 5/16"x18 stainless steel lock nuts
8) 5/16" I.D x 1/2" long nylon spacers
4) Yakima rail rider towers and 2 crossbars of your choice, mine are 64" I believe.

First, take the 48" piece of aluminum flat bar and divide it into (8) 6" long pieces and make your cuts. I used my horizontal metal saw but a hack saw will work.

Second, drill the plates equally. I clamped all 8 plates in my drill press vice and drilled the holes through all 8 plates at one time, you will need a hole at each end of the plate and centered on the plate, this hole needs to be 5/16" dia.
You will need (2) 1/4" holes drilled centered on the plates for the rail rider towers

The plates will look like this; Also note the nylon spacers in the pic, this is what you need to pick up at the hardware store.



Mount the rail rider towers to 4 of the plates like this;


Now mount the towers to the XK rails using the extra 4 plates under the lower lip of the XK rails. Use the nylon spacers to prevent over-tightening and crushing the rails. They should look like this installed;




I left everything loose until the crossbars were fed into the towers then tightened it all down. Here is the finished rack ready to haul our canoe and kayaks to the river.


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2010, 11:38 AM
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Great job ! Very ingenious.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2010, 11:43 AM
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Very nice! A lot more versatile than the stock or sport utility cross bars, and lower clearance too.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-29-2010, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Here it is with the canoe on one side and my fishing rod mounts on the other side. My son and i are going to take in a small lake this afternoon. I can fit 2 touring kayaks with the stackers on the drivers side if I want to. I mounted the canoe on the pass side so i can see stop lights easlily.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-30-2010, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Just a review from today. I hauled the canoe to the James River for some fishing/paddling. I had to run interstate (70 mph), back roads and even dirt/gravel roads getting to the river. The rack did fine and I was able to haul the canoe without any stern/bow straps. I kept a close watch on the canoe through the sunroof and there was some slight buffeting but it stayed tight and hauled easily. The Mad River canoe weighs about #90.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-30-2010, 10:54 PM
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good idea and great execution.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-31-2010, 04:03 AM
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love to see people making there own stuff instead of buying stuff off the shelf good job man


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2010, 05:38 PM
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The Commanders do look sweet all loaded up with goodies. I love driving up North on the way to camping with my mountain bikes on the rear rack and the canoe or kayaks on the top. You pass all the suckers that are up to nothing and you can sense their wishes that they were doing the same!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 05:56 PM
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Great Minds Think Alike?

I was simply shocked to find out Yakima didn't make towers. Since I've had a growing collection of round bars, towers, bike trays over the last 20 years and five vehicles (three Jeeps among them) I wouldn't know what to do without 'em: kayak, canoe, skis, bikes - where do you put 'em if not on the roof?

Holes in a new car roof? Really?

Anyway, I already had the rail riders (from my ZJ) and the same idea so I was really glad to see the detailed write-up on the inserts. Thanks for taking the time to post.

Yakima, are you paying attention?
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thank You! A year later now and the rack is still doing well with plenty of hauling miles on it. Another few weeks and it will be paddling weather again
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