Haul your gear and still keep a low profile with your lifted Jeep Cherokee!

Cecil Guard

Article and rack by Josh Howery.

Materials List

1 4' x 8' sheet of 1/8" thick expanded steel mesh About $30.00 (new)
2 STOCK extra Jeep Cherokee roof rack cross bars from a junkyard XJ $5.00
4 1/4" thick, 1 1/2" wide flat steel each about 4' long. These will reinforce the mesh floor, provide a surface to bolt rack to oem rails through and will be welded into the angle iron frame for the floor.  
8 sets Each set consists of : (1) 3/8" x 1 1/2" bolt, 2 flat washers and 1 nylon lock nut.  
2 8' 6" long, 2" wide angle iron stock. These will be trimmed to fit outside of the expanded steel mesh floor on both sides.  
2 4' 6" long, 2" wide angle iron stock. These will be trimmed to fit outside of the expanded steel mesh floor on both ends.  
Don't Leave The Road Without It!
One Genuine® Cecil Guard™ Product Protection© Decal. Don't Leave The Road Without It!

Josh  -  Front.
This roof rack came about from a tree being dropped on my XJ by a person that who shall remain nameless (right Jim?).

After insurance issued me a check for 976 big ones, I decided that I had better put some protection on the roof of my Jeep Cherokee. My original plan only called for a 4x8 sheet of expanded metal but after talking with others, I decided, hell why not make it a full rack with additional utility purpose? I went with a simple plan since 1/8" expanded metal would support anything that I would think of putting on the roof. Off to the find the metal I went but after searching the local scrap yard I had to settle for a new piece of metal from a local metals supplier and headed home with it.

Now for a way of attaching it to the roof.

I headed out to the bone yard to find more factory Jeep Cherokee roof rack crossbars. $5 later I was off with some new bars to add to those already on my roof. I also headed to my a metal fabrication shop to pick up some 'cut to order' metal. There I picked up enough 1/8" thick x 2" angle iron for the frame and 4 pieces of 1/4" x 1 1/2" flat to use as mounting points. (You need to cut the angle to fit the 4x8 sheet as the expanded metal's dimensions are not exactly 4' x 8'.)

I just cut the angle iron 'square', that is without any mitered cuts. Then they were notched so that the frame would set flat, rather than lapped at the corners. Things were then squared up, the corners were welded and then I welded the expanded metal in. I added those 2 extra factory roof rack bars to the top (so it was up to 4 total) and spaced them evenly along the top and then set the rack sub assembly up on the roof to get an exact idea of how to space the stock roof rack cross bars.

I finalized the spacing then marked the rack for the 1/4" flat steel cross bars. Back to the ground to weld on the cross bars and 'viola!', I was almost done! I primered and painted the rack, but plan to redo it with POR 15. Final mounting is done with holes drilled through both the 1/4" flat stock and the 4 stock roof rack crossbars. 2 bolts per crossbar (as close to the edge as possible) to mount it to the factory rack. (I have the newer type oem roof rack and just drilled though the factory rails which are metal inside).

I have had no problems with this rack so far. I have leaned the Jeep against a tree where the rack helped support the Jeep's weight and didn't accrue any damage.

The factory only recommends a maximum of 100# on the roof but I have stood on this rack (all 225# of me) and didn't see any ill effect. Another big advantage of using expanded metal is that you gain almost unlimited tie down points. I am currently creating "roof rails" for the Cecil Guard ™ and will update on the progress. Those rails are going to be miniature rock rails, but mounted to the rack and hopefully keep the side of the Jeep off of trees when I get too close. Not sure if it will work or not... or if it'll keep Cecil from dropping more trees on top!

Other plans also include a Warrior type set-up which will mount the rack with tubing to the rock rails so the weight isn't entirely on the roof of the unibody. This is a long off plan, but still in the back of my mind for a rainy day.

If you have pics of your own repairs or can suggest other methods for this project - please contribute your ideas (and pictures) to this article!

Revised on: October 04, 2006

Tech Index.

Home Page.

Bookmark this website!


Translate this webpage to any language supported by Google Translate!

Search this website or the web for related information!