Originally Posted on July 30th 2021
Installed the TrailFX rack on the ’17 Jeep JK with the help of my son. We were not aware that it requires the removal of the bumper to install or do a sheet metal installation through the tail light hole. We pulled the bumper and bolted it to the “frame.” Since I have to drive across country shortly I didn’t want the lack of a rear bumper to be a cop magnet. We trimmed it back to fit around the rack, and just bolted it on with the two inner mounting bolts. To reduce wind drag we also hole sawed a couple holes in the back of the bumper to let air go through. It probably won’t last, but hopefully it gets me across country and back.
The knobs for the cross rail bolts were just stupid. They do not make for a tool-less install or removal. You still need to have a hex key. The plastic was pretty crappy, so there was no point. We popped the lock nuts out of the knobs and just installed the cross bar bolts nut down. Looks ok and they tightened up a lot easier.
The one warning we had from on-line reviewers is that some people have complained about rattling. To cushion and prevent that we made three wraps of electrical tape around each smooth internal slip joint, and tightened all bolts securing those joints until the outer tube just barely started to distort. Cordless drill was plenty. There is absolutely no rattle or looseness of feel. If you grab the rack and move it the jeep moves. If you grab the rack and shake it the jeep shakes. Nice and tight.
One little annoying thing was installing the little rubber bumpers in the back that wedge between the uprights and the body of the Jeep. We had the rack all on when we found we had to take the back portion of the rack back off to install those. To be fair I am not sure how you would position and mark the rubber pads without the rack being mostly installed first. We marked all around them with a silver streak marker and then took the back section off to drill for the screws. The screws they supplied would not start in the hole drilled to the size they said, so I drilled it out and tapped them for a 10-32 machine screw instead. Some red Loctite on the threads, and a blob of DAP sealant over the head of the screw and I have no fear of them coming out and rattling against the Jeep.
Overall I give the whole thing an 8 out of 10. There were definitely some annoying and stupid things about it, but it was not beyond our ability to install in a couple hours. If it wasn’t one of the cheapest racks I found I would only give it a 6 or 7 though.
Posted a couple months later after my trip: 5000 miles and a light load for 2400 and no rattles. At some speeds and on some roads the antenna would bang against it though.