Converting your Tailgate Mounted "Trail Rack" into an Inside Rack.
Don't Throw away your old trail rack... Short Cuts
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By: Randy L. Wheeler - 8/2000

An Inside Mounted Rack for Your Jeep

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Installing my Canyon City Rack necessitated removing my Trail Rack.

Storage is always a problem in a Jeep, especially in CJs, YJs and TJs.  Overhead racks provide ample storage for light gear, but are often bulky and tend to raise the center of gravity in your rig.  Trail racks, which mount on the tailgate, are a good alternative for more storage. If you add a swing out tire carrier, which I recently did, you're most likely forced to remove the trail rack from your Jeep to accommodate the swing out rack. I suppose you could weld the trail rack to the swing out rack, but with the Canyon City rack sitting so far out as it is, I opted to install the trail rack inside the tub of my Jeep to keep some of the weight off the rear of the Jeep. The parts needed for this project consisted of the following:

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Angle iron, flat stock and nuts, bolts, and washers.

Start by cutting the angle iron into two 18-inch lengths and cutting the flat stock into two 10-inch lengths.  The flat stock will be used as a backing plate to secure the angle iron to the fender well.  Set one piece of angle iron against the inside of the fender well and mark and drill three 3/8-inch holes, equally spaced apart through one side of the angle iron and through the fender well.  These will be used to bolt the angle iron to the fender well. Using the angle iron as a template, drill the same pattern through the 2-inch flat stock. Using the trail rack mounting leg as a template, mark and drill three holes through the trail rack mounting leg and angle iron. Repeat these procedures for the other bracket assembly.

Once you've got all the pieces cut and drilled, give them a good coat of paint to help prevent rust.

Install the angle iron support bracket  to the fender well using the 3/8-inch bolts.  Also install the 2-inch flat stock as a backing plate on the inside of the fender well.  You may have to remove the plastic fender well lining for access to the bolts.  Once the support brackets have been installed and tightened down, install the trail rack mounting legs to the support bracket using three 5/16-inch by 2-inch bolts and tighten down. Install the top of the rack to the mounting legs and bolt the pieces together.  Recheck all bolts for tightness and you're done!

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The mounting leg bolted to the support bracket. The trail rack bolted to the support brackets The Finished Product. View from the rear.


When I bought my Trail rack from 4Wheel Parts Wholesale, I didn't pay much attention to the width of the rack.  Well as it turns out, the width of the mounting legs on this particular rack fit perfectly between the wheelwells.  I'm not sure about the width of other brands of trail racks though.  With the rack mounted to the angle iron support brackets and everything tightened down, this rack is rock solid!  For a couple bucks in parts, I was able to re-use a rack that I'd otherwise have no use for, plus I was able to gain some valuable storage space in the back of my Jeep.  The position of the rack will still allow me to run my soft top without any interference.