Originally Posted by wjs81866
Sorry I don’t have pictures of the assembly process.
I got your back, wjs81866!!
Notwithstanding the valid concerns of some of our fellow JG'ers, I decided that the Mopar roof rails would meet my needs in terms of utility and security, and that they suited my taste the best in terms of looks. Hat tip to Mashie for sharing some detailed photos of his install with me as I was researching my options. As you will see, I also relied heavily on 81866's excellent writeup.
Went out in a light DC snowfall this morning to get the rails at a local dealer. Took the WJ so that the WK2 would be warm and dry when I returned for the install. It was an enjoyable and satisfying DIY project that anyone can handle.
Commentary by photo #:
1. I threw this pic in just for fun. I had zero need for any of the tools but the hot coffee came in handy in my cold garage and I had dialed up this thread on my iPad to refer to 81866's walkthrough. Plus, I had the workmate set up from my recent repair project on the garage door extension springs detailed elsewhere. Props to JeepGarage. (oh yeah, my stepladder was a big help; not pictured)
2. The components come fully assembled (I removed the non-photogenic plastic from the 4 towers for this shot). I add my vote to the consensus that the printed "instructions" do nothing to edify the first-time installer. I benefitted from the advice here about the differing lengths of the rubber strips that fit into the top of each rail. Someone mentioned a touch of WD-40 to ease their insertion but I decided to go w/o lube.
I found that alternating thumb presses from either side just above the rubber ridges worked to get them to drop into the slot.
3. Yes, the labeling makes the placement and orientation of the rails foolproof.
4. The screw that drops the mounting bracket into installation position is the one to the outboard end of the crossbar (the inboard screw tightens the crossbar to the tower itself but the assembly ships with some play in the connection to allow for positioning. I had no need to adjust that inboard screw at this step). There is no reason that I could see to back that outboard screw out any further than flush with its fixed retainer, as shown.
5. Note the rubber gasket where the tower meets the chrome roof rail. Make sure it is pressed up into place or it will interfere with a proper fit.
6. I tightened the two screws in back and forth fashion with a slight priority given to the inboard screw (the one that clamps the crossbar to the tower). I found that grasping the tower as shown allowed me to torque it into alignment as I tightened it down. I don't have the tools to measure the force I used to tighten these screws. The inboard screw will tighten to a firm stop and I used common sense on the outboard screw.
7. I chose to install the two crossbars at max spread (front to back) on the rails. I may have to adjust the rear crossbar forward depending on the ski rack that I end up with and how the ski overhang interacts with the liftgate when opened. Note that the outside view makes it look like the tower is mounted forward of its rearmost position, but if you look across you can see that it is in fact back all the way. The roof rails' black trimcaps curve in and create this illusion.
8. The inexplicable "lock" design. The lock has no other purpose than to prevent the removal of the end caps. The simple addition of a longer strip of metal would prevent access to the two critical screws even if a thief tore off the rubber strip. If my security needs increase I may have to re-engineer the "lock" to accomplish this. I was shaking my head as I took this photo.
9. I am very happy with the finished install! I prefer the aviation-style wing look to round crossbars. The Mopar setup adds an understated sportiness and completes the athletic look of the WK2 IMO. I tugged pretty vigorously on the finished product and can report that it feels like it is welded to the roof. No junk whatsoever.
I took way longer than is necessary on this project as I enjoyed my coffee and decided which steps warranted photos and comments. Questions welcomed and thanks again to our OP wjs81866. Any redundancy with his writeup is due to my OCD/overkill tendencies and is not a reflection on his effort!