Custom Roof Basket - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Custom Roof Basket

I've been planning to put a roof basket on my XK for awhile, but the price kept me away. For $500, I could've bought a basket that would cover the rear section of the body, but nothing would follow the lines of the Jeep all the way to the windshield. I've seen baskets on Land Rovers that follow the lines of the truck, such as the Baja Rack for LR3 and LR4, and I've wanted something that fit the XK similarly. So I decided to build my own.

The first steps involved a lot of measuring and designing. I measured the roof to be 52" wide and 100" long. I also noted that 72" from the rear of the Jeep, the curve of the roof rails began, and the curve was around 6" long with a 3" drop. With these measurements in mind, I started designing my basket.

To start, I took an aerial view of the XK and drew some lines for a basic design. To simplify my bends, I decided to create two hoops and stack them on top of each other to create a basket. In the actual build, most of this design was simplified to speed up the process, but future iterations will likely incorporate more of the complexities.



With a basic design laid out, I made a list of supplies. I decided to make the outer hoops out of 3/4" EMT, and the inner rails out of 1/2" EMT. I figured on needing five 10 foot lengths of 1/2 EMT and six 10 foot lengths of 3/4 EMT. In reality, this build could be done with less, but I wanted to allow for some error in bending and cutting. I also used couplers to join the stretches of 3/4 EMT since I don't currently have access to a welder.

After picking up the supplies, I started bending the 3/4 EMT to form the outer hoops. The lower hoop incorporated some offset bends to follow the lines of the roof, while the upper hoop did not. It took some trial and error to get the bends exactly right on the lower hoop, but eventually it turned out to follow the roof pretty well.



The next step was to add the cross rails. I decided to run the 1/2 EMT inside the 3/4 EMT and use sheet metal screws to hold everything together. I used a 3/4" bi-metal hole saw to create holes to run the 1/2 EMT into. I also carefully tapped holes for the sheet metal screws to make sure everything was as precise as possible.




Once the cross rails were installed into the lower hoop, I tried another test fit. At this point I figured out that the roof of the XK isn't perfectly square. The front of the rails measures 52" wide, but the rear measures only 49" wide. To accommodate for this, I simply tapered my design down to 49" wide at the rear, cutting as needed to keep everything lined up. Another test fit revealed that everything worked out very well.



The next step was to join the upper and lower hoops. I used 1/2 EMT to join them, adding braces as I saw necessary. Unfortunately, by this point in the project I was tired and careless, so the braces didn't line up as I wanted. However, just wanting to finish the project, I kept going anyway.



With the hoops joined, the basket was starting to come together. The next step was to figure out a mounting solution. I decided on EMT hangers to grab the rack, with washers and bolts to grab the rails on the XK. I also added 2" wood spacers to prevent some rattling. I installed 4 on each side to ensure the basket was secure.

With my design complete, the final step was paint. I decided to use Plastidip for now, since I expect to be making more modifications in the future.



Finally, it was time to mount the basket. With everything secure, it definitely added some presence to the Jeep. An added benefit is that I can keep my spare fully inflated on top rather than deflated and shoved into the stock space. Interestingly, the spare tire sensor still seems to pick the spare up, since I don't have a low tire pressure warning.





This design ended up costing me less than $100 in materials. It's still the first iteration, and I expect future iterations will use stronger tubing and welding to hold everything together, as well as accommodate the sunroofs. However, for now, it's still a perfectly functional basket and I've already used it a few times to haul my surfboard and bike, as well as some bags.
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Last edited by consumedbywater; 08-09-2017 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Resized photos
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 02:38 AM
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consumedbywater;

I appreciate your hard work, your detailed write-up and your pics;

You did a great job - but you have to resize those images;

The images you posted were over 3,000 pixels each and there were 6 or 7 of them in your post - which take entirely too long to load and bogg down the site, so, they've been removed.

Please don't post anything larger than 1024 x 576 pixels or 576 x 1024 pixels.

Feel free to re-post them, after they've been resized to the above dimensions.

Thank you.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 08-09-2017 at 03:00 AM.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Blue View Post
consumedbywater;

I appreciate your hard work, your detailed write-up and your pics;

You did a great job - but you have to resize those images;

The images you posted were over 3,000 pixels each and there were 6 or 7 of them in your post - which take entirely too long to load and bogg down the site, so, they've been removed.

Please don't post anything larger than 1024 x 576 pixels or 576 x 1024 pixels.

Feel free to re-post them, after they've been resized to the above dimensions.

Thank you.
Sorry about that, they've been resized.

For anyone looking for the full sized photos, I've hosted them externally here.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 12:52 PM
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Awesome job on that roof rack, @consumedbywater ! I wish I had those skills.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 07:18 PM
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Agree with Big Blue. Hell of a job! Love it.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by consumedbywater View Post
Sorry about that, they've been resized.

For anyone looking for the full sized photos, I've hosted them externally here.
I think you did a hell of a job.

Thanks for re-posting those pics, awesome work really.

Roof baskets are extremely handy.

My Rola basket is not nearly as long as yours, but, it's the perfect size for my kayak, a spare tire or a couple of pieces luggage.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 08-09-2017 at 07:23 PM.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-12-2017, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the compliments.

I decided to build this one because I tend to run out of space inside quickly, especially when I'm carrying passengers and my dog. The ability to store things on the roof will come in especially handy on road trips and when I'm off-roading.

As far as the skills required to build one like mine, I can confidently say that you don't need much. I've never worked with conduit before, so going into the project I had no prior experience apart from using a hole saw. With a conduit bender, a pipe cutter, and a cordless drill, I was able to build the entire basket.

If you're looking to build one for yourself, though, I'd recommend using some sturdier pipe. The 3/4 conduit is holding up well, but the 1/2 conduit is already starting to bow under any weight. I know I'll be rebuilding mine in the future, so I'm not concerned about the strength.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 06:36 AM
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Cool Rigid

If you are going to do it again maybe you could use rigid pipe as then the bend distance and rough size would be the same and you would not have to change any thing, just more weight and harder to bend.

Swanny
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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I've definitely considered rigid, and I probably will use it on my next iteration depending on the cost and weight, but I also want to increase the pipe diameter. 1/2 looks a bit small to my eyes, so I might jump to 1 for the hoops and 3/4 for the cross bars.

The main concern I have with rigid is the weight. Even just with around 100 lbs of EMT on top, the Jeep is considerably more top heavy, and as my daily driver I'm not sure I want to add too much more weight. As I continue to test out this design with different variations of weight up top, I'll be able to estimate how the extra 60 lbs of rigid tube will feel, and from there I can determine whether to go for it.

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245/70R17 General Grabber AT2s
Ported/Polished Throttle Body
Flowmaster Super 44
Stock Height Again (For Now)
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-14-2017, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by consumedbywater View Post
I've definitely considered rigid, and I probably will use it on my next iteration depending on the cost and weight, but I also want to increase the pipe diameter. 1/2 looks a bit small to my eyes, so I might jump to 1 for the hoops and 3/4 for the cross bars.

The main concern I have with rigid is the weight. Even just with around 100 lbs of EMT on top, the Jeep is considerably more top heavy, and as my daily driver I'm not sure I want to add too much more weight. As I continue to test out this design with different variations of weight up top, I'll be able to estimate how the extra 60 lbs of rigid tube will feel, and from there I can determine whether to go for it.
The 1/2 inch pipe does look kind of thin now that you mention it.

Now I'm looking at it in relation the pipe diameter on my Rola basket.

I think you have the right idea for your next iteration with stepping up to 3/4 or 1 inch diameter pipe.


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