Seriously. This was such an easy project that I forgot to take photographs during the install. Truth be told, there wasn’t much to even see. The rear tail lights come of easily. Four Phillip’s screws followed by three 10mm bolts on the inside are all that keeps them in. Once the lights are off, use the rear bracket to mark off where the 4th hole needs to be drilled through the body. Once you have done that, a 5/16 bit will be all you need. The backside of your hole will be easily accessible from the inside of the jeep. Tip: Put a little paint or something where you have just drilled. You’ve just exposed some metal that will likely get damp. Your Jeep doesn’t need assistance rusting. It will do that on its own. Installing the bracket and replacing the tail light are a snap from here. Remember that you have new bolts to replace the old ones. The new bolts are self drilling and will cut new threads. They might take a little coaxing to make their way through the steel. Nothing you can’t accomplish with your ratchet.
I mentioned before that the tricky part would be taking the screws out of the windshield frame. This is still true! The T-25 (maybe 30) bit will likely strip. Have some other tools ready. Installing the Kargo Master Congo Cage will be much easier with the right tools. If you don’t have one of these impact drivers I highly recommend them.
When the front brackets are removed, the new brackets for the rack will slide right in. The brackets lined up perfectly for me and I suspect they will for you as well. I suggest keeping your hardware loose while installing them. Once each bolt is in, you can then start tightening them.
With both front and rear brackets installed its time to put the actual rack on. This takes two people. Bring the rack from the rear of the Jeep and have one person in the front guiding it up over the windshield. It helps if the are standing in the Jeep. (with the top down or off.) The rack will set right on the rear brackets and you slide the provided bolt through the hinge. I had to nudge one of my bolts in with a small hammer but it went just fine. After you tighten these rear hinges, move up to the front.
The front legs are positioned roughly over the bracket holes. Make sure you look at your diagram. There are two washers and two rubber pads that need to be inserted in the correct order. These act as a cushion and likely keep a lot of vibration out of the vehicle / rack. Also note that the instructions call for a thread locking product to be applied here but non is supplied. Bring your own to this party!
That was pretty much it! The only modification I’m going to make is to perhaps drill new holes for the very top bars. The bend in the middle does not allow me to mount the Smittybilt tent on without adding a second set of cross bars. I’m going to loosen the bars, turn them outward and see if I can negate the height that way. If I gain the height, I’ll drill new holes to mount them. If I can save 150.00 at this point in the build I will.