Monthly Archives: January 2024

TrailRax Modular Roof Rack for the Jeep Gladiator JT

In anticipation of our new Oru Tenfold wedge camper that we’ll pick up in March at their San Marcos, CA factory, I decided I wanted to add some roof storage as well as an air deflector. The TrailRax looked like the best option, covering only the front part of the roof and leaving enough room for the camper cabover section. The biggest concern was losing access to the removable roof panels!

The rack arrived quickly after I placed the order, well packaged! Zoey was very interested.

After opening to verify all the parts were there, I began assembly on the living room floor.

The rack looks really great on the Jeep! I had to look at their website for assembly instructions as none were included in the package.

While assembling, one part made little sense. TrailRax uses clinch nuts for the gutter mounts, but they have them on the wrong side of the plate! These clinch nuts are pressed into the metal, but that attachment only has enough strength to keep the nut from rotating or falling out before assembly. Clinch nuts are designed to be mounted on the opposite side of the part from the bolt that pulls it. TrailRax uses these on the same side as the pulling force. While mounting the bracket, the first clinch nut pulled out of the bracket with minimal force as expected. The instructions actually call for blue Loctite, and say to barely tighten this. Do not use these brackets as shipped! It’s dangerous. There’s nothing to prevent these brackets from falling off while driving down the road.

I emailed TrailRax with this information and some photos. Their response was to send another replacement bracket. I asked them to redesign the bracket to be safe and functional, and they did not reply back to me. For $800 for a 20″ roof rack, I expected much more in quality and customer service.

My solution was to install a 1/4-20 SS bolt from the backside of the rack bracket, passing through the clinch nut from the back of the bracket, effectively pulling the clinch nut in the direction it was designed to be used. I added a star washer to help keep this bolt from rotating while installing the nylok nut at the end. There is enough clearance between the hard top and the bracket to slide a wrench in there if needed.

Rack and bracket mounted on the Gladiator gutters.

Clamping plate installed using a 1/4″ SS washer and 1/4-20 nylok nut. This is how TrailRax should be shipping these. It might not be as pretty as their truss-head bolts, but it’s functional and safe! I might pick up some UV stabilized black nut covers to dress this up, but really it does not look bad.

In the end, I’m very happy with the rack. I expect to pay a bit more for a niche product like this, but I also expect it to work. The rest of the workmanship from TrailRax is great. The metal bends are well done and precise. The rack looks awesome on the truck. I’m anxious to see it with the Oru camper installed! We’ll likely add a Roam or 23Zero roof box to store our iKamper disco, electric chainsaw, and other outdoor gear to keep the camper itself more organized and clear.

Posted in B's Blog, Product Reviews