Jamboree Rack

Jamboree Rack – A must-have item!

Sooner or later every CJ (or Wrangler) owner is going to want to have more storage space. With all the possible stuff one could take camping, a CJ is a small place to carry it. Add a passenger (or two), and a dog, and soon you will be making several trips back and forth between home and the campsite. Options include pulling a trailer (which has its obvious limitations) or finding another place to store all your gear.

Most every Jeep owner has seen these types of racks. They come in a variety of sizes and with lots of options. Before selecting a rack, I reviewed some of the common ones seen in all the Jeep catalogs. Upon looking very closely at the pictures and seeing what’s out there, I decided I wanted a welded one-piece rack as opposed to the bolt-together variety. I also wanted it to be able to carry a couple of 5-gallon fuel cans, and my Hi-Lift jack.

Once I determined what I wanted I called around and found the name of a shop in Carmichael, California that custom built these racks. H.W. Industries (916/348-0662) offers both an all-welded rack and a bolt-together rack. The difference – besides the construction – is that the all-welded versions are only available by picking them up at their shop. The bolt-together versions can be shipped via U.P.S. if you cannot make it to Carmichael. Options are available for both versions, and include the can carriers (2), a tire carrier, a tailgate adapter (for those older CJs with tailgates – before the CJ7), a C.B. antenna mount, and (I believe) a Hi-Lift mount. For the CJ7, the rack mounts right to the swing-out tire carrier so the optional "tire carrier" isn’t necessary unless your stock carrier is no longer with you. Their brochure notes that the rack can accommodate up to a 33" spare tire. It is not certain if this refers to the stock tire carrier (now with the rack attached to it), or their optional tire carrier mounted onto the rack, or both.

When I ordered my rack, their brochure did not mention the Hi-Lift mount so I didn’t order it. However, when I was at the shop waiting while they installed the rack, I noticed another rack had the welded-on studs that held the Hi-Lift. The way they mounted the studs (drilled through the rack’s horizontal support rail, then welded to the bottom side) it was no longer an option for my rack. That’s not to say I won’t weld my own studs on sometime in the future. (The dimensions of the rack rails perfectly match with the holes on the Hi-Lift’s ladder rail.)

I also did not opt for the C.B. antenna mount at the time, since I had not yet determined where I was going to install the antenna. As it turns out (two-years later) I installed my own bracket and mounted my antenna on the rack.  (See this sub-link for "Mounting the C.B. Antenna" bracket to the rack - helpful for other mounting locations as well.)

The inside dimensions of the "basket" are 42" across, by 22" deep, and 4" high. The basket sits above the spare tire keeping the load from interfering with the Jeep’s departure angle.

The rack itself is very strong and will hold quite a bit of weight. The limitations to this have more to do with how the rack attaches to the body of the Jeep. Or, in my case, the strength of the stock tire carrier’s hinges and locking point. H.W. Industries attached the bottom of the rack to the top of the rear bumper, and the tire carrier. Two bolts hold the rack to the carrier (and will support the weight when the carrier is opened). The bottom of the rack is attached to the bumper with two quick-release pins (like the ones on the swaybar quick-disconnects).

Back rack lower mount with quick-release pins

After having the rack for over two and a half years, I am very satisfied with its performance. Here are some observations that may be helpful to you:

bulletWith the rack installed, I have found the tire carrier does not rattle like it did before. Thus, the Jeep has a quieter ride on the bumpy roads with the rack installed.
bulletThe square tubing is just large enough to not accept the standard "hook" sizes of most rubber straps. However, with the Hi-Lift mounted just below the basket, its ladder rail offers a good source of mounting points for the standard hooks of the straps.
bulletWith the 5-gallon gas cans installed, they partially cover the rear taillights. Not much of a concern off-road, but something to think about when maneuvering through traffic.
bulletHere’s an odd one: the rack’s height appears to be very tempting for some people to see if they can lift the back end of your vehicle. DON’T LET THEM DO IT! The rack is designed to have weight in it (pushing down against the body); the stock tire carrier mounts were not intended to lift the weight of the vehicle up off the ground. Doing so will result in an awful tearing sound. (See this sub-link for how to "Repair that corner panel.")
bulletThe rack’s height also allows you to bump your head on it after you’ve bent down around your rear bumper!
bulletThe black primer color goes with everything and can be touched-up with a spray paint can really quick.
bulletWithout the Hi-Lift mounting option, the jack can be easily held in place with two U-bolts and four wing nuts. I also use a small strap on the "top" end to keep the bar from rattling.