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Jeep Wrangler - Restoration & Custom Outfitting
All photos, diagrams, and text on this page Copyright 2013 - David Todeschini - all rights reserved - see Copyright Terms

 

CB / Ham Radio Crossbar

 

NOTE: You must have a Smittybilt Overhead Console installed to do the following:

 

I am a Ham Radio Operator (call sign: WB2-ANR). Many of you reading this page would like to have a CB or Ham Radio in your Jeep Wrangler, but as lack of space would have it lack of space is the problem. Where do you put the thing? The favored place for truckers to mount their CB radios is from the ceiling of their truck's cab, however, Jeeps with Soft Tops or Bikini Tops don't have "ceilings".... but you can have an out-of-the-way place to mount a small radio, if you installed a Smittybilt Overhead Console.

 

You can install a crossbar to mount your electronics on. Unfortunately, nobody makes such a thing, but if you install the Smittybilt Overhead Console, it is easy enough to DIY if you have a few hand tools and a bit of skill.

 

In addition to being a place to mount your electronics, you can install LED strip lights on the bar, or map lights, or use magnets to hang flashlights, your house key, or mount an overhead video camera, a GPS unit, or the Remote Head for your Ham Radio well, you get the idea. In addition, if you have Soft Top and a Bikini Top, you can leave the Bikini Top in place when you put the Soft Top up (you still must remove the Bikini Top header); but you can tuck the Bikini Top fabric over the Crossbar to keep it out of the way.

 

If you have a Mesh Bikini Top like I have, you can stow a folding windshield sun protector between the Crossbar and the Bikini Top, reflecting the sun and keeping you dry in a light drizzle. You can attach a number of things to the Crossbar, and it offers additional protection from things falling from the trees in the woods. If you have the Top down, your passenger can stand on the seat head and shoulders above the windshield and hold onto the Crossbar (just kidding!).

 

Drill two 5/16" diameter holes 1" from the apex of the oval slots in the Overhead Console bracket. Obtain a 3 foot length of 1" diameter tubular steel bar (from Home Depot). Mark the center of the bar and place it over the Console Bracket the apex of the two forward oval slots. Use a permanent marker to mark the bar through the holes you just drilled in the bracket.

 
Diagram shows how to prepare Jeep Wrangler Radio Crossbar

Drill and tap the mounting holes as shown. Push tightly-wadded toilet paper into the ends of the bar, and use PC-7 Epoxy to form a rounded, smooth edge to protect Soft Top or Bikini Top fabric.

The Radio Crossbar is mounted on the top (flat) side of the Overhead Console Bracket.

Once you have the Crossbar prepared, paint it the color of your vehicle, and allow the paint to fully cure. Use 5/16"-20 x 3/4" long stainless machine bolts and fender washers to secure the Crossbar to the Overhead Console Bracket. When mounting the Crossbar to the Console Bracket, it is a good idea to interpose a length of 1/16" thick rubber strip between the bar and the bracket to allow for some "shock mounting" if you are going to install a radio.

Make sure you don't mount the bar too far forward, as you will be unable to operate the Soft Top latches if it is too close to the windshield.

IMPORTANT: The back of the Crossbar should be right up against the forward edges of the slots in the Console Bracket. If you mount the bar any closer to the windshield, you will be unable to fasten the Soft Top latches. If you don't have a Soft Top, and never intend to have one, you may mount the bracket as close to the windshield as you want, however, you should drill the extra holes as described in this section  just in case you change your mind.

Glowing tape is a nice touch; it enables you to be found by helicopters a few hours after the sun goes down.

I had a lot of glow-in-the-dark tape, so I added a strip of it across the entire length of the Crossbar.

Radio Crossbar with the Mesh Bikini Top installed. Note the key ring magnet (red arrow) hanging from the Crossbar (next to the Overhead Console Bracket).

The crossbar adds a bit more support to the Bikini Top, and you can keep the Bikini Top installed when you raise the Soft Top, securing it to the crossbar with a bit of Velcro, or tying it with cord to keep it out of the way. The crossbar also enables you to do this by stowing your Windshield Sun Shade under the Soft Top (see below)

Radio Crossbar holding winshield sun screen up against the Mesh Bikini Top

A Mesh Bikini Top is just as good as (or perhaps even better than) a canvas top when you have a Radio Crossbar installed, because you can use a Windshield Sun Shade tucked between the Bikini Top and the Crossbar and Gear Console bracket to provide complete shade and protection from light drizzle. When you want the partial shade and the added ventilation of the Mesh Bikini Top, just pull out the Sun Shade, fold it, and stow it elsewhere.

Radio Crossbar holding winshield sun screen up against the Mesh Bikini Top

 

Simply slide the Windshield Sun Shade over the Console bracket and the Crossbar, pushing it forward to the Bikini Top header and folding / tucking any excess length (across the cab) between the Roll Bar
s and the Bikini Top.

 

Note that the Crossbar has a rounded end. This is done by over-filling 1" of each end with PC-7 Epoxy, and forming the partially cured epoxy with lubricated fingers so that there are no sharp, rough, or pointed edges to damage whatever you put above the bar.

In order to keep the wind from slapping your sun visor around (and making an awful noise), use 3-inch strips of scrap webbing and button fasteners to fashion loops (red arrow) to clip the sun shade to the rear webbing strap.

 

Fasten the male fastener and the webbing strip to the sun shade in six (6) places; 3 for each side of the vehicle. After sliding the sun shade in place, snap the loops over the webbing, and this will hold the sun shade edge in place and keep it from slapping around in the wind.

   

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