Barn Door for JK factory hardtops

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Yesterday I did a quick installation of the LED lights that were sent to me for review and testing. On the passenger side I mounted one on the bottom of the windshield and on the driver's side I mounted the light on the cowl:



The mounts that come with the lights are intended for mounting on a bumper, bull bar or similar so they're not ideal for these locations. If you're mounting the lights in a location like that the mounts are excellent but I had to change some screws to make them work in these locations. The cowl mount was ok although the screws in the cowl are a little small for this application, but the mounts aren't really designed for mounting on the windshield.

The wiring harness that comes with the lights makes everything plug-and-play, although since this was a preproduction kit there were a few minor areas for improvement in the harness. Even so the harness was very easy to use and worked very well.

The lights have five modes, and these modes are native to the lights themselves so any switch used can control the modes, the switch that comes with the kit isn't required. The modes are:

- White
- Yellow
- Strobed white
- Strobed yellow
- Strobed/alternating white and yellow

The focus isn't the best in this video but it does show all of the modes.


I'm not a "light guy" so I don't plan to keep these installed on my Jeep but they're very nice lights if you want something with a range of modes like these. I don't know what the final price will be when they're released but I've been led to believe they'll be very affordable.
 

RDK13

Observer
I spent the day with Ritu, she's the lead product person at the startup I've written about. She was at SEMA and Overland East as well and I think she was in a photo or two I posted from those events. We spent part of the day testing the fit of some of their prototype cargo bags, here are a few:



One style I like a lot is their canvas bag design with leather accents. The next two photos show the front and back of a canvas/leather "backpack" bag.





It's called a "backpack" for several reasons. First, it's designed to attach to the back of the seat (this photo shows an all-leather version):



The other reason it's called a backpack bag is that it can be worn as a backpack (or as a shoulder bag):



Another design they're working on they're calling a "saddlebag", it goes above the rear inner fenders in space that's usually hard to use for cargo. Here's a canvas/leather version in the Jeep:



They're easily removable; a leather strip is attached to the tub using the hardtop mounting bolts (or those same holes if there's no hardtop installed), and the bag is attached to that strip with a zipper. Unzipping the bag leaves the strip in place in the Jeep:



Here's a saddlebag in distressed black leather:



I also tested a saddlebag in my LJ. Because of the shape of the LJ inner fender, the bag mounts a bit further forward than in the JKU - the rear seat is out of my LJ right now but the bag is at the side of the seat, which might be a good place, easily accessible by passengers in hte back seat. Also it's in a good location because it fits perfectly in front of the ammo can tray I've also got mounted above the fender:



We also worked on the design of the tailgate bag system, I'll be sewing a prototype for them over the next few days. We've worked out a method for mounting on the tailgate that requires no drilling. Other tailgate bag systems, like the Smittybilt Gear product, require drilling the tailgate.

Overall I'm very impressed with the quality and style of the prototype bags and I'm not alone - feedback at SEMA and Overland East was very positive.

Love the bags!!! don't know if you thought about it but have considered something like this that could replace the little cargo nets on the doors.

Thanks,

Ray
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Love the bags!!! don't know if you thought about it but have considered something like this that could replace the little cargo nets on the doors.

Thanks,

Ray
Ray,
Thanks. I have thought about something to replace the door nets, which do stretch over time, but I wonder if many people are going to tackle replacing them. The factory nets are held in place by the plastic frames which have pins that go through the door panel and the ends are melted to hold them in place. It's a bit of trouble to remove the door panel and cut or drill the melted heads of those pins to remove the factory net. I wonder how many people want to do that - what do you guys think?
jeff
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I'm working on the Sherpa System tailgate panel, hopefully will have the first prototype sewed in the next few days. The bags are designed to attach there as well as the other locations, here's a simulation of the backpack bag on the tailgate:



Wednesday I posted photos of this bag mounted to the back of the front seat and of me carrying it as a shoulder bag and wearing it as a backpack.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I'm working on a new idea for carrying gear and cargo on the tailgate. The design consists of receivers that are attached vertically to the tailgate in front of the spare and carriers for different types of cargo slip into the receivers. You could slip the appropriate carriers in the receivers for the cargo you need to carry on a particular trip, and remove them when you don't need to carry anything.

I've implemented the receivers and the first cargo carrier - a bike rack.



The receivers are visible in this view; I haven't painted the bike rack parts yet:



The bikes swing with the tailgate:


The receivers without the bike rack:



The bike rack is just two pieces which fold in half for easy storage:



Other carriers I'll probably implement are for Rotopax and Jerry cans.





Since each carrier is separate, a Rotopax carrier could be inserted in one side and a jerry can carrier in the other.

I've got some other carrier ideas which I may experiment with after I do the ones above.
 

jgaz

Adventurer
Very nice! The fact that the bikes swing with the tailgate is a huge improvement over a carrier mounted in the trailer hitch receiver, IMO.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Very nice! The fact that the bikes swing with the tailgate is a huge improvement over a carrier mounted in the trailer hitch receiver, IMO.
Thank you.

I've used a receiver-mounted bike carrier for years, but it's not ideal because it interferes with opening the tailgate and it's big to store (both in the garage and when I get to wherever I'm taking the bike to). I thought about a spare-mounted carrier, which solves the first issue, but they're still unwieldy things to store and most are awkward to strap to the tire. The rack I've built solves both problems - swings with the tailgate and when not install takes a minimal amount of space to store.

Once I started thinking about ways to design something for bikes that would be better than anything I could buy, the design developed into a more general-purpose cargo carrying option. The first cargo carrier I plan to make is for Rotopax, I hope to start on that within the next few days.

I'm also thinking about making a general-purpose rack that mounts to the receivers. A Harbor Freight hitch cargo carrier like this one could easily mount there: https://www.harborfreight.com/500-lbs-steel-cargo-carrier-69623.html Assembled without the receiver tube in the middle the HF rack would make a nice rack basket.

 

jgaz

Adventurer
I’ll be interested to see how you mount the Rotopax containers.
In order to utilize this design on my LJ (provided it makes it into production) what Morryde tailgate products would I need to purchase and install?
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I’ll be interested to see how you mount the Rotopax containers.
I hope to have time to build one before I have to travel at the end of the week.

The design is features adjustability up/down and left/right so the Rotopax will clear different size spares. Also the Rotopax can be on either the left or the right side of the spare, the mount works on either side. Two mounts can be installed, one in each receiver, to carry Rotopax on both sides of the spare.

In order to utilize this design on my LJ (provided it makes it into production) what Morryde tailgate products would I need to purchase and install?
It's designed so it can be installed on a stock tailgate, but it's not a good idea to add extra cargo weight to a tailgate with no reinforcement. I've got mine installed with the MORryde tailgate reinforcement of course, but it should work with and reinforcement that accepts the stock spare carrier.

The main goal of this project was for me to have a bike carrier that allows me to open the tailgate and stores very compactly. That goal has been achieved. The other accessories I'll build, like the Rotopax carrier, I'm mostly building for a proof-of-concept of the other capabilities of the design, but at this point I don't have any plans to turn this over to be a commercial product. If there's a lot of interest in it I'll consider making it a product but for now it's just something fun for me to build.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Thank you.

I've used a receiver-mounted bike carrier for years, but it's not ideal because it interferes with opening the tailgate and it's big to store (both in the garage and when I get to wherever I'm taking the bike to). I thought about a spare-mounted carrier, which solves the first issue, but they're still unwieldy things to store and most are awkward to strap to the tire. The rack I've built solves both problems - swings with the tailgate and when not install takes a minimal amount of space to store.

Once I started thinking about ways to design something for bikes that would be better than anything I could buy, the design developed into a more general-purpose cargo carrying option. The first cargo carrier I plan to make is for Rotopax, I hope to start on that within the next few days.

I'm also thinking about making a general-purpose rack that mounts to the receivers. A Harbor Freight hitch cargo carrier like this one could easily mount there: https://www.harborfreight.com/500-lbs-steel-cargo-carrier-69623.html Assembled without the receiver tube in the middle the HF rack would make a nice rack basket.

The receivers the cargo accessories mount to can be used from above or from below. For most things slipping the accessory into the receiver from above makes the most sense, but the mounts for a rack basket shown mounted above the spare could also be designed so that they're reversible, permitting the rack to be installed in a lower position:

 

BradS

New member
The receivers the cargo accessories mount to can be used from above or from below. For most things slipping the accessory into the receiver from above makes the most sense, but the mounts for a rack basket shown mounted above the spare could also be designed so that they're reversible, permitting the rack to be installed in a lower position:

Bike racks like the one you designed to drop into the receiver and hold the bike via their top tube don't work for a lot of full suspension bikes or smaller frames. I've used tray mount receiver hitch racks for years because of this. Sky's the limit with the type of receiver you've designed here. To mount a standard receiver hitch that mounts underneath the tire so that it would be possible to use any receiver hitch style bike carrier would be the bee's knees. Heavy duty hinges would be required, but I certainly think that having that sort of assembly move with the tailgate would be far superior to what is currently available.
 

jgaz

Adventurer
Thank you for the additional info.
When you are done with some of your proof-of-concept designs, and have no plans to market these designs, would you consider posting a few more pictures of the details?
Maybe with the spare tire removed?
Thanks, as always, for sharing your designs, even in the prototype stage.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
I finished up the last few details of the bike rack. I added a lock pin to keeps the arm folded or extended, and everything's painted now.



The bike cradle part of the arms came from a used bike rack I picked up on eBay, it's one of these: https://allensportsusa.com/products/trunk-carriers/deluxe-2-bike. They're regularly available on eBay for $20-30 but since I designed the rack about a month ago I had some time to wait for a less expensive one to show up on eBay, I paid $5 ($12 total with shipping).

We're making a trip to Florida soon to visit my mom and sister and I usually do a bike ride or two while I'm down there. Since the roads are very messy in the northeast, I won't bring my bikes but I will bring the bike rack so I can borrow my sister's bikes and transport them to someplace nice to ride, like Sanibel Island. To carry the bike rack parts in the Jeep without scratching anything (or them) I made up a travel bag for them. The bag is padded fabric, it started life as a $4 Harbor Freight mover's blanket. The bag fits fit nicely under the back seat.



Next for this project I'll build a Rotopax carrier.
 

jscherb

Expedition Leader
Bike racks like the one you designed to drop into the receiver and hold the bike via their top tube don't work for a lot of full suspension bikes or smaller frames. I've used tray mount receiver hitch racks for years because of this. Sky's the limit with the type of receiver you've designed here. To mount a standard receiver hitch that mounts underneath the tire so that it would be possible to use any receiver hitch style bike carrier would be the bee's knees. Heavy duty hinges would be required, but I certainly think that having that sort of assembly move with the tailgate would be far superior to what is currently available.
Building a bracket for this system to hold a standard receiver hitch wouldn't be difficult although with the proximity of the spare to the bumper, it would probably be best mounted on a hoop around the bottom of the spare, something like this:



This would support standard receiver-mounted bicycle carriers and they would swing with the tailgate, but I'd worry that having that receiver would tempt people to misuse it. It would not be a good idea, for example, to try to move a trailer with it. Or to put a receiver cargo rack in it and load the rack up with several hundred pounds of firewood.

But it definitely could be built and would work as you want for carrying bikes in a standard hitch-mounted bike rack while allowing the tailgate to open. I probably won't build one though, my bikes work fine on what I've already built.
 
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