KayakMike's Granite Crystal Metallic LE Build

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kayakmike

kayakmike

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Installation of Roof Rack and Roof Pulley System

After over a week of Santa Ana winds, fire danger, and power outages, I decided to take the top off again since the forecast is in the 80s for the next 10+ days. Last time I had the top off I set it on the floor of my shop, but I don't want to leave it there each time I take it off. The shop has 17' ceilings, so pretty impractical to hang it from that ceiling. Our garage has a 10' ceiling and had several unused Harbor Freight pulleys from old kayaks, so I decided to try and hang it in there.

In general, the HF pulleys are what you'd expect from HF...junk. The rope pops off the pulleys, and the locking cleat can get jammed. I found it easier to keep a ladder nearby when raising and lowering kayaks. But, hey, they were already in the garage and weren't being used, so we had a winner!

I had bought some used Yakima 1A Raingutter towers to use with some old 58" cross bars I had for a roof rack. I decided to use the roof rack to hang the roof. Since the cross bars were old, the rubber coating was mashed which made installing the cross bars a challenge. After a bit of trimming and pounding, I got the bars in the towers and was able to install the rack. I have about 1.5" of cross bar extending from each tower. I mounted each tower 5" from end of the rain gutter (it seemed there was as many recommended installation locations as there were posts I found). I've seen some folks install the front cross bar on the freedom panels to get more cross bar spread, but I just can't see the panels supporting much weight. By putting both cross bars on the roof, it does provide the perfect point to hang the roof from though.
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Just to get the roof stored in the garage, I decided to use the pulleys as installed (they were for a kayak on each pulley and not set up with the roof in mind). Two of the pulley systems I had on the ceiling were about the same spacing between the two pulleys, so decided to use those. This created several challenges when removing the roof:
  • One pulley system was well to the side of the garage opening, and the other one was 72" from the first one. This means the roof will hang about 2' to the side of where I can park the JT.
  • The roof is only about 64" wide. Since the spacing between pulleys is 72", the pulleys will be pulling sideways on the roof rack.
  • The pulleys were quite a bit further aft than the furthest back I can fit the JT into the garage (in hindsight, I could have went nose in and may have gotten a bit closer).
  • The spacing between the two pulleys were set up for 12'+ kayaks, not a ~5' long roof.
  • I had previously removed the cheesy hooks the pulley system came with with eye bolts to hang kayaks with straps around the kayaks
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The combination of these issues meant the roof was going to get pulled aft and left as we lifted. I used two straps wrapped around the roof rack to help with the side pull due to the pulley spacing and to keep the strap from scratching the roof.
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I had my son work one pulley rope while I worked the other. These show the roof hanging in its final resting place (for now).
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Next time I put the roof back on, I'll probably move the pulleys closer to the center of the garage as well as closer to each other so they are closer to the cross bar location.



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LJ_Viking

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Thanks for pointing out this build thread to me @kayakmike.

Plane tickets are dirt cheap right now. IF, and that is a big if, I can get a day or two off - I think it would be a blast to fly up there and drive my new JT back home. Thanks for the DMV post too. CA is fun right?
 
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Yakima Overhaul HD Rack Install

Guess I sort of went MIA on the forum for the last several months. Been out enjoying my Gladiator (& life), so haven't posted any updates for a while. Seeing that a couple of old threads have been resurrected, guess it's time for some updates.

For Christmas I bought myself the Yakima Overhaul HD Rack for the longer kayaks. I took photos of the install at the time, but never posted. Since I put the rack back on the JT this weekend, figured I should dust off those install photos.

I went with the Yakima racks since I have tons of Yakima mounts, and I like how it doesn't extend into the bed like some of the other systems.

To install the Overhaul HD rack, I also bought the Track Kit for Toyota/Nissan. I had to modify the brackets to work with the trail rail and @BuiltRight bedside racks I have installed. Basically I had to cut the bottom ~1" of the brackets so they didn't stick too far below the tracks.
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The plates that came with the track kit were too tall for the trail rails, so I reused the zinc plates and bolts that came with the Mopar bed height rails I have. It is tricky to install them when I have the @BuiltRight racks since you can't slide the plates in from the end, but completely doable. Just need to stick a finger or allen wrench behind the plate to keep it flush to the inside of the rail while starting the bolt. I do use the track kit plates as a spacer to help it line up everything (was twisting the rack base a bit without the spacer). When I'm using the Yakima rack, I remove the rear brackets for the factory tonneau cover to maximize bar spread (as well as the tonneau cover itself). Bolt buildup visible in the photos.
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Final base installation after trimming the brackets and tightening down all toe bolts. Trail rail system is busy with Yakima rack, @BuiltRight bedside racks, and tie downs, but it's meant to be used!
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Here's what the final install of the rack looks like.
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Utility

Did get to test the utility of the Gladiator through several projects this spring.

For my side gig, I had to ship a bunch of test equipment to Edmonton and back. My shipping crate fits perfect in the back of the JT, and even with 850 lb shipping weight, just a little squat.
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We had a tree fall down during a storm. JT was great to get to the tree and tow my dump trailer so I could cut it up and haul it away.
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Also worked on finishing fencing on our property. Did great hauling fence posts & fencing to areas of our property that's hard to get to.
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And of course, always fun to play in the mud!
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EAG Tube Doors

Looked at the many options for tube doors. Really wanted the SmittyBilt doors. Ordered them in September, but they went from 5 days shipping to 40+ days, so cancelled the order. Tried again in March, and again looked like these doors are still vaporware.

Gave up on those I bought the EAG tube doors. These are about as cheap as you can get, but still satisfied with them. Took some tweaking to get them to fit & close without rattling, but finally got them dialed in. Didn't take any photos of the install, but snapped these while trying them out after I installed. I don't plan to use these a lot, but my wife wasn't a fan of no doors so this is a compromise.
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Oregon Road Trip

Breaking out of our house after COVID insanity, we decided to go to our Oregon coast house Memorial Day week (we use it as a short term rental, but since STRs were banned until June 1, figured we'd use it before the summer rental season started). Worked well with our stuff in the bed under the rollup tonneau cover, bikes on the back, and Zeus getting the back seat all to himself! Got caught in a heavy thunderstorm for several hours on the drive home, but roll-up tonneau cover kept everything dry.
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Didn't do much off roading, but since our house is on the beach on sand dunes, did try it in the front yard (can't legally drive on the ocean side of the house).
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Did do some mountain biking at a few places on the Oregon coast. These are from the bottom of the ride up to Marys Peak (tallest peak on the Oregon coast range), with a photo of the Cascade range from the top of the ride.
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Sea Kayaks

Did some sea kayaking last weekend, so put the Yakima racks back on the Gladiator. Was taking my 14' plastic boat out, but wanted to see what the 18'6" glass boat looked like on the Gladiator. With the longer sea kayaks, really prefer installing at least one of the Yakima RainGutter racks on the roof to spread the bar spacing with long boats.
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Ultimately was just planning to paddle the 14' plastic sea kayak. Also had to haul a bike I was selling, so had both the sea kayak and bike rack on.
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I only have one set of cradles for sea kayaks, so only haul one on the roof and use the trailer when I haul more. This was from a New Years Day paddle at the La Jolla boat launch.
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Bed Extender & MegaWarrior Rack

A few months ago, I bought the AMP bed extender from Amazon. Really find this useful, but haven't really taken any photos of it until I took these. Good to keep stuff from sliding around in the bed, works with the factory rollup tonneau cover, and works well to extend the bed when needed. The bed extender works with Yakima Overhaul HD rack, @BuiltRight side panels, and trail rail system.
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Wanted to see what my Yakima MegaWarrior basket (with extension) looked like on the the Gladiator. I normally have this basket on my kayak trailer. Think the basket extension makes the basket look a little too long. Not sure if I'll use this configuration much, but at least wanted to see what it looks like. I dropped the Overhaul racks to the lowest height, which makes the basket just over roof level.
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With the tailgate up/bed extender in, it does overhang the back of the JT about a foot. I could remove the MegaWarrior extension to shorten it...
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Recent kayaking trips

Gladiator makes a great shuttle vehicle!

Running shuttle on the Kern River end of June. Raft, my kayak and mountain bike.
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Went up to the Tuolumne River last weekend, and picked up a soft top on the way. 6 kayaks? No problem. Could have stacked higher on the rack if we needed to.
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