Bestop Bikini Top and Interior Rack Installation

Dec. 22, 2016 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT
Bestop’s full-length Bikini top shades the Jeep from the windshield to the rear roll bar. Beneath the top, the Coleman ice chest leaves plenty of room in the rack.

Just about every Jeep owner in the world is looking for more storage space in order to carry more stuff while traveling. Bestop offers a universal fiberglass rack—see photo no. 2—that can be matched with various Bestop mounting bracket kits, which can be used to mount the rack inside and/or outside on various models of Jeeps.

Over the years, we’ve posted articles on Bestop’s universal rack and storage rack, and you can also mount the rack outside your Jeep above the spare tire, but this time we’re moving the rack back inside the Jeep to increase its “floor space.”

All of the Lower Cargo Bracket System is positioned in the polymer rack, which measures 23 inches by 43 inches with 4-inch-tall sides.

As we said, the Universal Tray (PN 4144401) can be used in combination with either a Bestop Lower Rack Bracket (PN 4143701) system—which is the bracket we used for this article—or a Tailgate Rack Bracket (PN 4141101) system. The tray can hold up to 75 pounds of gear on either mounting system, it has recessed I-bolts to anchor tie-down straps, and it is made of a polymer material. The rack is lighter than steel, has high-impact resistance, can stand up to just about anything, and it won’t rust. With the proper straps and/or bungee cords, this allows items to be stored in the tray within the interior of the Wrangler for reduced wind buffeting and easier access.

Jack Turton is mounting the driver’s side descending arm onto the OEM roll bar. As with most Jeep add-ons, the help of a friend eases the task a great deal.

As we said earlier, the tray can also be used with several other Bestop rack-mounting bracket systems (41406, 41407, 41411, or 41412). In our case, the Lower Cargo Bracket System features a no-drill, bolt-on installation and uses your Jeep’s original OEM roll bars for secure, solid mounting with two descending arms that suspend the Universal Tray over the cargo area—adding more floor space (all hardware and instructions are included).

Slide the horizontal mount around the roll bar just above the seat belt reel. For an LJ this is just temporary to position the rear load bar. For a TJ it is part of the install.

You’ll notice right away that Bestop does not list the Lower Cargo Bracket System for the LJ models, just for the TJ models. We’ll show you how to change that easily with just two drilled holes. On a TJ it is a no-drill install; on an LJ you’ll need to drill just two holes.

Author’s note: We also believe that with longer descending arms, the backseat can be reinstalled in an LJ because the tray would be located below the seat top; however, we haven’t verified this yet.

Living in Arizona, we really enjoy going lidless for much of the year. However, also because of the Arizona sun, we need protection from its rays. For this we turned to the Bestop Bikini Top, which is available in several models—CJ, TJ, LJ, JK, and JKU. The part number for the LJ model is 5254435. The super-easy installation is the same for both the TJ and LJ. The Bikini Top keeps the direct sun off of us while leaving both sides and the rear completely open and breezy.

Slip the clamp into place and thread in the knob.

While positioning the roll bar clamps, if your Jeep sits level, adjust the tray to where it is also level.

Once all the pieces are in place, loosen the roll bar clamps on the rear load bar and bolt the tray to the bar. This will rotate the rear load bar slightly. We used a bandana to protect the bar from being scratched by the C-clamp. The C-clamp held the rear load bar in place so we could drill both mounting holes. We matched the drill bit to the OEM holes and used the provided bolts to secure the bar.

Everything is in place and ready to be tightened. As you can see, we used the additional hole in the horizontal mount bracket so we didn’t weaken the rear load bar.

We now have plenty of additional “floor” space for the Coleman ice chest and a pair of toolboxes.

The first step in mounting the bikini top is to install the windshield header, being held by Jack Turton.

Align the header with the windshield and snap the J-hook brackets onto the clamp receptacles in the windshield frame.

Tighten the bolts in the J-hook brackets but do not overtighten.

Rest the bikini top on the roll cage and slide the plastic sewn strip into the windshield header.

Center the top in the windshield header so that it’s equidistant from windshield flange on both sides.

Wrap the center strap around the roll bar on both sides. Tighten the straps.

Pull the rear portion of the Safari Bikini taut along the rear crossbar. Wrap the straps around the roll bar on both sides and tighten the straps.

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