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Awesome stuff! Just got myself a Limited in Billet Silver.

I owned a TJ for awhile with all the bells and whistles (Toyo M/T 35s, Warn winch, air compressor, CB radio, selectable front and rear lockers, LEDs galore, etc) but with my having a regular office job with a half hour commute, not enough time to use the TJ to it's full potential, or the money for a second car, I traded and paid the difference for the Limited.

Your use is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking to do. Make some modifications for a commuter friendly vehicle that still performs for backroad trips. First thing on my list is to install the 2in leveling kit that Rough Country offers since I don't have the air ride suspension.

Thanks for all the detail in your posts, hopefully here in a year or so I will have a similar look going. Here's a couple photos from some short camping trips I did to break it in.
219839
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Installed my dual band amateur radio this weekend. Ended up putting the transceiver under the passenger rear seat, the head unit in the center console storage area (below the UConnect unit), and the microphone in the floor console/armrest storage bin. Still working on the antenna install but likely to go with something mounted to my roof rack. Thanks for the inspiration!
what model is this dual band amateur radio? Cant seem to locate this compact version for the center console.
 

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Discussion Starter #168
Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack Installation

It’s with great enthusiasm that I sit down to scribble this install write-up about the brand new Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack. A long awaited release from Chief, this rack steps in as one of few contenders in the industry for modern Grand Cherokees looking to move gear to the roof to save space inside. Boasting an unprecedented and engineer certified 330-pound dynamic weight rating and 1,332-pound dynamic rating, this rack is build to securely and safely handle whatever you can throw on it.

Whether you’re looking to store a spare tire, fuel canisters, LED bars, awnings, or a Roof Top Tent of any kind, the WK2 Roof Rack is the solution a great many people have been looking for. A very important thanks to my friend Nick for helping with the initial day of installation of the rack.


Chief Products Arrived!
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WK2 Roof Rack Packaging
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Shipped to me directly from Chief’s warehouse in Australia, the entire aluminum rack (listed on their website as the “Full Roof Rack System”) came immaculately packaged and wrapped in more protective bubble wrap than even Amazon sends out. Each piece of the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy was perfectly powder coated, each piece of individual hardware bagged and labeled for assembly. If I’ve learned one thing over the years of working with Chief, it’s that they put thought into each and every aspect of the process, from unboxing to install to customer service, it’s all there.

To start the install of the WK2 Roof Rack I needed to remove my roof top tent and existing Rhino Racks and Thule Traverse crossbar, along with the OEM roof rails. Great news - all of this can be done with a simple T-30 torx bit. With all of that put down on the ground behind the Jeep, I washed two years of grime and dirt accumulation off the roof, and we got to work.


Rhino Rack Crossbar Removal
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RTT / Crossbars Removed
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OEM Roof Rails Removed
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Cleaning OEM Nutserts
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Bare Bones Configuration

The first step was loosely fastening the small angled brackets to the Mounting Rails in preparation for their installation on the roof. Each bracket mounts with two 10mm bolts and lock washers which, in true Chief Products fashion, sit securely into grooves pressed into the Mounting Rails themselves. Once these 10 brackets were finger tight on the two Rails, we placed the driver’s side up on the roof of the Trailhawk. Utilizing the factory T30 fasteners and an angled bit driver, we installed the bolts into the factory nutserts along the roofline, making sure to leave the whole system semi-loose so that it could wiggle around as the rest of the rack was installed over top of the Mounting Rails. We repeated the process on the passenger side of the vehicle before returning to the pile of parts on the garage floor (placed gently overtop of the shipping bubblewrap!) to continue the installation.


Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack
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Mounting Rail Fasteners
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Mounting Rail Pressed Grooves
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Angle Brackets Installed
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Securing To OEM Nutserts
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Driver's Side Mounting Rail
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Initial Tightening of Angle Brackets
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Both Mounting Rails Installed
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Depending on which multiple Roof Rack configurations you buy from Chief, there are a variety of methods of installation. While I was ultimately working with the Full System configuration, I wanted to ensure that people were able to see the variety of possibilities, so we went forward with installing what Chief refers to as the “Bare Bones” configuration. This consists of the Mounting Rails and two of the Plank crossbars.

The beauty of the Chief rack is the modular nature of the product, allowing these Planks to be placed almost anywhere up and down the length of the Mounting Rails. The full system comes with 6 planks for a complete installation, but is configurable with anywhere from one to all six of them depending on your needs. I figured most people would use a two-plank configuration, so we placed them in positions 2 and 6 to illustrate this set-up. You’ll notice the awesome end caps that flank the crossbar planks, machined out in the famous 7-slots that pay tribute to decades of Jeep history.

Each aluminum plank is drilled out for bolts to easily fall through them into the Mounting Rails where a bar with pre-welded nuts mates up to the bottom side. For those of us with larger hands it can be a bit of fun to hold the nut plates into place, but I found that getting one side relatively secure and then adding the second bolt made it a lot easier to get everything tight. Once all 4 bolts were tightened on the first plank we moved onto the second one, buttoning it up in just a few minutes after picking it up off the garage floor. At this point we were losing daylight in the Northeast, so I drove the Jeep back from Nick’s house and tested the wind noise with the windows and sunroof both opened and closed. I’m happy to report that the existence of the rack was imperceivable at all rates of speed regardless of the window situation. Huge accolades to Chief for that accomplishment.



Plank Crossbar Installation
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Tightening to Mounting Rails
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2180miles Chief WK2 Roof Rack-21
by 2180miles, on Flickr


Rear Plank
by 2180miles
 

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Discussion Starter #169
Full System Configuration

The next day after checking in with Chief’s lead engineer Ben down in Australia, I moved forward with installing the Full System on the roof. The SINGLE most important thing to note here is that there’s a specific order to do this in to ensure that everything lines up appropriately. For the sake of this, let’s just jump forward to me having removed the two planks and standing in the driveway with just the Mounting Rails on the roof.


Roof Tray Corner Pieces
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Complete Roof Tray
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The first part of this process is to loosen all the fasteners holding the Rails down, including both the 10mm bolts attaching the angle brackets and the T-30 nuts into the roof nutserts. These all being loose (but not removed) is going to allow the whole set-up to shimmy around as the roof tray is placed overtop. The tray/surround itself is comprised of four straight pieces of aluminum and four rounded end-caps. The endcaps slide into the longer lengths and fasten with four small bolts per corner. Once the frame it assembled it weighs only a few pounds, adding to the beauty of this product where it’s entirely possible to install by yourself.

With the corner blocks tightened down I lifted it up onto the roof, following up by placing a plank in the first mounting position closest to the front of the Trailhawk. According to Ben the easiest way to get the entire tray lined up is to install the 1st and 4th position planks first, then to move forward with tightening down the mounting rails as the whole system is now in place to line up correctly. Once the rails and both planks were tightened down completely I lifted the rest of the planks into place and tightened them down accordingly. It’s worth noting that I did not re-install the 7-slot end-caps on the planks, as I don’t think they’ll fit in with the tray surround.


Roof Tray Installed
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Front View
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Front View - Planks 1 + 4
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Full Roof Rack
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Antenna Clearance
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Wrap-Up & Product Photos

With 6 crossbars into place and tightened down, I’d officially installed the Full System of the Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack. Total time, including figuring out how things went together and photographing as I went was around 2 hours. I can guarantee that in the future it will be much faster… I think I spent more time walking around the Jeep going back and forth between driver and passenger side than I did actually mounting and tightening hardware. The roof rack in the full configuration set-up did have some noise in the 200-250Hz range at highway speeds, but I’ve spoken to the guys at Chief and they’ve said that they have a fix for it and that it’s largely due to the rack being bare/empty at the moment. I’ll report back with updates.

Next week I’ll be heading back up to Maine’s Allagash Wilderness for a winter trip, and will be installing a new-to-the-market RTT to do some testing for the manufacturer. I’ll be stripping the WK2 Roof Rack down to their RTT configuration and will be truly looking forward to knowing that the tent, it’s weight, and me are 100% supported.

I’ll be back with more in the next few weeks, but for now, enjoy the photos and keep an eye out for Chief Product’s pre-order opening VERY soon for the incredible WK2 Roof Rack.


Questions? Comments? Let me know!



2180miles WK2 Side View
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2180miles WK2 Front View
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Chief Products WK2 Roof Rack
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Chief WK2 Roof Rack: FM/Satellite Antenna Clearance
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Chief Products WK2 Rear Corner View
by 2180miles, on Flickr


Chief Products WK2 Underside View
by 2180miles, on Flickr


Chief Products WK2 Rear Antenna View
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Chief Products WK2 Rear Corner View
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2180miles WK2 Rear View
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Looks great, and can't wait for updates after you get that rooftop tent up there and drive down some washboard roads. Looks like you can run it with a variety of crossbars in it, which could be nice to preserve some sunroof views. Hopefully these will be for sale soon on Chief's US website.
 

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Be interested to know if there is noise when running planks only, with no outer roof tray. Looks like the outer roof tray has a more aerodynamic profile than the front face of a plank.

Also, seems that you get the same structural strength with just the planks, doesn't seem the outer tray adds down force support, but I could be wrong. Interested to see if you run with the full tray or just the planks you need to mount the RTT.
 

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Discussion Starter #172
Looks great, and can't wait for updates after you get that rooftop tent up there and drive down some washboard roads. Looks like you can run it with a variety of crossbars in it, which could be nice to preserve some sunroof views. Hopefully these will be for sale soon on Chief's US website.
Thanks! I'll definitely circle back after the RTT is installed for this next trip. Pre-sale opens soon so I'm sure it'll be available around January for US purchases.

Be interested to know if there is noise when running planks only, with no outer roof tray. Looks like the outer roof tray has a more aerodynamic profile than the front face of a plank.

Also, seems that you get the same structural strength with just the planks, doesn't seem the outer tray adds down force support, but I could be wrong. Interested to see if you run with the full tray or just the planks you need to mount the RTT.
I realize it's a lot to read, haha. As noted above in the "Bare Bones Configuration" paragraphs, "At this point we were losing daylight in the Northeast, so I drove the Jeep back from Nick’s house and tested the wind noise with the windows and sunroof both opened and closed. I’m happy to report that the existence of the rack was imperceivable at all rates of speed regardless of the window situation. Huge accolades to Chief for that accomplishment."

Due to the length of the hardshell tents, I'll be running 4 planks with it per the advice of the engineers at Chief!
 

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What happened to the Black oak LED bar? Were you able to retrofit something to the new Chief rack? I wonder how you were able to support your weight in the RTT with just the rhino bars since the roof is only rated at 150lb capacity with standard roof rails??
 

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Discussion Starter #174
What happened to the Black oak LED bar? Were you able to retrofit something to the new Chief rack? I wonder how you were able to support your weight in the RTT with just the rhino bars since the roof is only rated at 150lb capacity with standard roof rails??
Great questions! I got the Black Oak bar mounted up no problem with some of Chief’s brackets they sent along with the WK2 Roof Rack. Basically, the bar is mounted forward of the front most crossbar plank. I don’t have any photos of this specifically, but it’s basically right back where it was pre-Chief system.

With regards to the RTT on the crossbars, I do firmly believe the addition of the third crossbar that was A-pillar mounted (Thule Traverse) is what made all the difference. Putting that weight and lift on the pillar / body / frame of the vehicle versus the nutserts in the roof I believe is what made that setup work flawlessly for the year and a half we had it that way. Alleviated weight and stress from the underperforming and lowly rated OEM roof rack setup mounting points.
 

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Yea, that makes sense!

I’ve got a set of 1.5 inch spacers on the way for my 2019 trailhawk and was wondering how you prevented the hubs from spinning during install?
 

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And I’ve got to ask, in the three years this thread has been dormant, do you still own your Hawk?? Assuming so, what in the world have you done to it since?!!
 

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Discussion Starter #177
And I’ve got to ask, in the three years this thread has been dormant, do you still own your Hawk?? Assuming so, what in the world have you done to it since?!!
Re: torquing, I don't remember how I got the hubs to keep from moving, haha. Sorry.

Re: Thread being dormant... I have no idea where you saw information that but the last update was in November of 2019 and I've only owned the Trailhawk for 3 years so everything you're reading on here has been done in that time frame! It's entirely up to date.
 

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Discussion Starter #178
Torro Offroad SkyLux Roof Top Tent Installation

A few months ago I was approached by Corey Johnson, founder and owner of Virginia-based Torro Offroad, about testing out their new SkyLux Roof Top Tent (hereinafter referred to as RTT). It’s always a great privilege to be able to try out products for companies, but Corey immediately was adamant about wanting transparency with my thoughts on the tent given the experience we have with our previous COE Vehicle Solutions tent. His enthusiasm for that kind of feedback made the idea of taking the SkyLux off-road and into the elements that much more exciting to me.

The SkyLux is a hard-shell styled tent that unfolds like traditional “soft” tents in the market. What makes this stand out so much compared to our current tent is that it doubles the sleeping space, up from a twin size bed to a king size, integrates an overhang from the elements, comes with a winter insulation kit, and even has integrated LED lights both inside and out for nights at campsites. All in all, a great lineup of features that our current tent (and many other tents, for that matter) simply don’t offer.


Torro SkyLux Roof Top Tent
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UNBOXING & INSTALLATION

The Torro SkyLux arrived well-packaged in a shipping box alike other items of this size. The delivery company easily moved it around on a pallet and it was dropped inside our garage within a few minutes, safely out of the way of pending inclement weather in the Boston area. My Kershaw knife quickly cut through the packaging material and tape holding everything together, and after moving the large cardboard top piece off and away, I was able to lay my eyes on the sleek silver aluminum frame that comprises the floor of the tent. It came wrapped in a protective plastic which can sometimes be a pain to remove, so I used the tip of my knife’s blade to delicately run down the lengths and edges of the plastic to more easily pull it off. With it removed the underside was completely bare and ready for install, so I flipped the tent over to get a look at it right side up. It weighs in at about 150lbs, which is twenty more than our previous tent, but is comprised of a lot more surface area. I for one would rather know the flooring system is made to support me than to hear it creak every time I move around inside the tent, so the few extra pounds aren’t a huge problem. Chief Product’s new WK2 Roof Rack system is designed to carry over 300lbs dynamic (while in motion) so it’s barely breaking a sweat with the SkyLux up there.


Torro Offroad - SkyLux Packaging
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SkyLux RTT - Removing Protective Wrap
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SkyLux RTT - Unboxed
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Once the tent was flipped over I made quick work of the six 2” wide Velcro straps and two 1” ribbed plastic retaining straps, and gently lifted the black plastic shell. The two internal pistons immediately took over and raised the clamshell roof to its 60ish-degree angle, exposing both the folded flooring of the tent and the myriad of accessories and hardware that the tent ships with. Included with the SkyLux are the insulation panels for frigid nights, two channel-hung pockets/containers for shoes and the like to be held outside of the tent at night, extra support braces for the gas pistons at super in the event of 40+ MPH winds, and a half dozen metal props for holding the tent’s entryway awning and side windows out when you wish to open them.

The hardware that’s sent along includes a 13mm ratcheting wrench, eight bolts, four brackets for connecting the tent to your crossbars. In further conversations with the Torro team they’ve told me that the brackets included here (on the left in the photo below) will be replaced with flat bars to cut down on unnecessary tightening on installation. To the right in that same photo are the RTT brackets that Chief Products sells for integrating a tent with their WK2 Roof Rack. The 1/4” steel plates are drilled out perfectly with the Chief crossbar Planks, and allowed the SkyLux to be installed without a hitch.



Included Accessories (Insulation, Ladder, Etc)
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Torro Hardware / Chief Roof Rack Brackets
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REAL WORLD TEST RUN

A mere 24 hours after installation of the SkyLux on the WK2 Trailhawk, I took off for a five day overland trip through Maine’s North Woods with a few friends from our overland group. The temperatures would include single digit nights, 30+ MPH winds, and a thousand miles of travel from our Boston home. Our 1 year old black lab, Delta, came with me on the trip and shared the tent with me each night; not only were we dry in all kinds of weather including rain, hail, and snow, but also warm in our sub-zero sleeping bags. The SkyLux did a great job with ventilation and mitigating build-up of precipitation and only minor frost was exhibited each morning, easy to wipe down with a camp towel every morning.

Having only set the tent up once in our driveway before departure I was quite happy with the 2-3 minute set-up time each night, and nearly identical take-down times each morning. The ladder extended easily and unfolding the tent into its fully opened position was no problem at all for a person to do solo. I mainly utilized the “front door” opening for our ventilation, but did open the side windows on one night for some additional air flow.

In the mornings I moved the sleeping bags to the driver’s side of the tent where the clam-shell hinge resides, which I found made closing the RTT up much easier. From there I’d remove the metal props that keep the doors and windows open, storing the window ones inside an included pouch in the tent, and the door props in the back of the Jeep for easy access at camp each night. This is a habit I’ve had since we first for a roof-top tent, as digging around for these while trying to set up camp isn’t always the most fun activity when all you want is a beer and a campfire.

Once the inside of the tent was set to be stored I collapsed the ladder simultaneously while pushing up and folding the cantilevered aluminum flooring up over onto the main portion of the tent. Think of the closed SkyLux as a tortilla shell folded over in thirds. With the flooring surfaces folded up I then climbed up and collected the fabric shell of the tent, shaking off any snow or ice build-up and tucking it towards the center of the tent before grabbing the nylon strap and pulling down the plastic shell of the tent. The same exceptionally easy Velcro straps were quick to affix, and the plastic locking straps snapped into place despite the snow and ice buildup I faced each morning.

This tent truly seems like it will be a great match for us and our future trips with myself, Dani, and Delta. The space inside, durability, multitude of well thought out accessories, and overall ease of use make it a fantastic product for veteran overlanders/travelers and the newly vehicular adventurous alike. Dani's thrilled about the king-size bed inside, and Delta loves the view from the top of the ladder more than I could ever describe.

I'll circle back after the next few trips and update this with photos and a more long term review, but for now I'll leave you with a link to Torro's website so you can check the SkyLux out for yourself... you might even recognize the Jeep on their homepage!


GET 10% OFF YOUR ORDER OF THE
SKYLUX WITH CODE "2180MILES" AT CHECKOUT!




Torro SkyLux - Setup by Dani
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SkyLux Closed For Travel
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Campsite Set with Integrated LED
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Torro SkyLux - Campsite Set-Up
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Torro SkyLux Entry Door & Cover
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Torro SkyLux - Rear Profile
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Awesome tent. My mistake on the thread as I was looking at the “joined” date while chasing my kid around the yard haha
 

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Re: torquing, I don't remember how I got the hubs to keep from moving, haha. Sorry.

Re: Thread being dormant... I have no idea where you saw information that but the last update was in November of 2019 and I've only owned the Trailhawk for 3 years so everything you're reading on here has been done in that time frame! It's entirely up to date.
2180, i think we both had a blonde moment earlier lol. To install wheel spacers in the front, I simply had to press on the brake!
 
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