Pak Rax for the Jeep JL (2018-Current) Install Guide and Overview

Jeep Wrangler with TrailRax Pak Rax System

Extend Your Overland Adventure With Extra Fuel on Your Jeep JL Hardtop – Complete Installation Guide

We all love to get out and explore this great country, but it can be limited by how much fuel we have. We fuel up as close as possible to the trail before disappearing off-grid for a long weekend. Image how much further you could explore if you had an extra 4, 8, or 16 gallons of fuel! Or maybe you don’t need that much, maybe you want to add some water? With the Made In America Pak Rax System from TrailRax, you can do just that! It comes in a pair, so one rack for each side for your hardtop. They have a JK version also! Each side can carry Two 4-gallon RotoPax Tanks or 60 lbs. of equipment! If you need water instead of fuel, no problem. You can add a couple of the White RotoPax Tanks for Water! There are many possibilities to set these up and customize them the way you want. Today, we will show you how to set up the rack with a 4-gallon tank that is lockable.

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Tools & Materials: 

  • 3/8” Socket w/ Ratchet
  • 3/8” Open Box Wrench
  • 7/16” Socket w/ Ratchet
  • 7/16” Open-Box Wrench`
  • 5/32” Allen Wrench
  • 1/2” Socket w/ Ratchet
  • Blue LocTite Thread Locker (Optional)
  • Pack of 1/4” Stainless Steel Flat Washer (Optional)

Step 1. Setting Up For The Pak Rax

Box Wrench, Allen Wrench, and Sockets

First, let’s organize everything we must have to build a Pak Rax. Get all the provided hardware separated into groups by type for easy installation. Then get the tools needed to build the rack. For the rack build, you will need the 3/8”, 7/16”, and 5/32” tools that were listed above.

Step 2. Line It Up

Pak Rax System Plate and Arms

Grab 2 of the arms and 1 of the plates. Line up the center 2 holes on the arms with the holes on the plate that are marked in the picture above.

Step 3. Install Hardware for Plate to Arms

Pak Rax System Plate Bolted to Arms

Install a bolt with washer, and nylon lock nut with washer in each one of these 4 holes, hand tight. The nut will be on the backside, the head of the bolt on the front-facing side.

Note: Extra Washers

Additional 1/4 Flat Washers

It is not actually required to put the extra washer on the backside with the nut. Personally, I think it is a good idea though. So, it is optional if you want to do that extra step. You will not have enough washers if choose to do this, so you will need to pick up a pack of 1/4” Stainless Steel Flat Washer. A few extra bucks for extra support around the holes of the mounting points.

Step 4. Secure the Plate

Tighten Bolts Connecting the Arms to the Plate

Tighten down the 4 bolts and nuts with a 7/16” socket and open box wrench. Torque specs were not provided, so don’t go crazy, but get it snug.

Step 5. Add The Rubber Bumps

Rubber Bumps Installation

Now that the plate is assembled. We can install the 4 rubber bumps on the back of the arms in each of the pointed-out holes in this picture. Each hole will require 1 bump, 1 hex head socket cap bolt, and 1 cap nut.

Step 6. Align The Bolt Correctly

Rubber Bump and Bolt Alignment

Slide the hex head socket cap bolt through the back of the rubber bump. There will be an opening for the socket cap to sit inside. The opposite side, where the threads of the bolt come out, is flat with no cut-out.

Step 7. Install the Cap Nut

Cap Nut Installation

Install the rubber bump with the bolt on the backside of the arm in the previously mentioned hole. Then thread on the cap nut. Tighten this all down with a 3/8” socket or box wrench and a 5/32” Allen wrench.

Step 8. Assemble Bottom Brackets

Pak Rax System Bottom Bracket Installation

Now we can loosely assemble the bottom brackets. Each arm will get one of these brackets, 2 bolts, 2 nylon lock nuts, and 4 washers. Lay the bracket on top of the arm with the bracket hooking behind the arm. Line up the 2 oval openings on the bracket with the 2 holes at the bottom of the arm. Take a bolt with a washer and push it through each hole. Then hand tighten the nylon lock nut with the washer on the backside.

Step 9. Prep The Top

Pak Rax System Rain Gutter Bracket

We won’t install the top yet, but we will get it ready. Each arm will get a rain gutter bracket with a long yellow zinc bolt and washer. No nut is needed. The top of the arm, where it angles out, has pre-threaded holes for the bolt.

Step 10. Setting Up For The RotoPax

RotoPax Mount Installation Preparation

Alright, now we can get the RotoPax Mounts out! Since we are installing a 4-gallon tank, we will need 2 mounts. We are using the LOX (lockable) and the DLX (not lockable). Each mount comes with a round bracket (not needed for this application), 4 carriage bolts, washers, nuts for the round bracket, and 2 bolts for the actual RotoPax mount. For each LOX and DLX, we are going to use the 2 bolts for the mount and snag 2 of the washers.

Step 11. Align The RotoPax Mounts

RotoPax Mounts Alignment

Now we will flip everything upside down with the LOX and DLX on the bottom with the open threads facing up, and the Pak Rax on top. Next to the arms, there will be 2 holes on each side (pointed out in the above picture). Align the open threads on the back of the LOX and DLX with these holes.

Step 12. Secure With Blue LocTite

Securing with Blue LocTite

Once everything is lined up, install and tighten down the bolts with a 1/2” socket and ratchet. I would recommend putting on some Blue LocTite on the threads before securing these down.

Step 13. On To The Jeep!

Mounting Pak Rax System

Now the rack is set up to go on the Jeep hardtop! First, set the rack center on a rear side window. Then on the bottom brackets, slide the hood under the hardtop.

Step 14. Set The Rain Gutter Brackets

Installing Rain Gutter Brackets

Now with the bottom loosely hooked up, install the top rain gutter brackets with the yellow zinc bolts and washers. This will require a 7/16” socket and ratchet. * Note: Do not get this fully tight yet.

Step 15. Secure The Bottom

Securing Bottom of Pak Rax System

With the top hooked up, we can tighten down the hardware on the bottom with a 7/16” socket and ratchet in the front, while holding the nut in the back with a 7/16” open box wrench.

Step 16. Secure The Top

Securing Top of Pak Rax System

Now we can fully tighten up the top with a 7/16” socket and ratchet. As you tighten it up, it will suck up and secure the rack to the hardtop. Give it a nice shake test, side to side and up and down, to make sure there is no movement.

Step 17. Open Up The RotoPax Mounts

Open RotoPax Mounts

With the rack now fully installed, we can add the 4-gallon tank. To do this, unscrew the top halves of the mounts until they are almost fully off.

Step 18. Slide On The Tank

Equipping 4 Gallon Tank

Now you will be able to slide on the 4-gallon tank. Line up the LOX and DLX with the openings on the RotoPax Tank, then slip it on.

Step 19. Remove Lock Core

Lock Core Removal

Next, we can grab the key for the LOX mount and remove the locking core.

Step 20. Secure The Tank

Securing 4 Gallon Tank

Each mount will have 2 parts that spin. You want to set the back piece horizontally, lining up the bumps of the tank with the indents behind the back piece. Once the back piece is set, tighten it all down with the front piece. By spinning the front piece, the back and the front will suck in to hold the tank. Both front and back pieces need to line up horizontally together when complete. Repeat this for both the LOX and DLX.

Step 21. Lock It Up

Locking 4-gallon RotoPax Tank to Pak Rax

Once the 4-gallon RotoPax Tank is secure on the Pak Rax, lock it up! Use the LOX key to insert the locking core back in.

You Are Done!

Rubicon Jeep Wrangler with TrailRax Pak Rax System

Now go adventure! Don’t forget that you have another side you can install on. Add some gear, tools, storage, water, or more fuel! How would you set up your Pak Rax? Get creative!

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