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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After weeks of research I decided to move forward with installing a drop in basket. At the end of the day I was looking to save money and wanted to spend some quality one-on-one time with my new FJ, all while gaining some experience.

At the bottom of this post I have listed a guide for alternative drop in baskets that will work for your OEM rack.

MY BUILD

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As far as the basket I chose..I went with the Direct Aftermarket Universal Roof Rack Cargo Carrier ($80) 41 x 38 x 7

Basket assembly..

I painted the Aftermarket Basket with two coats of Rust-Oleum Flat black prior to assembly and replaced all bolts & nuts with stainless steel bolts and nuts.
While assembling the basket I used black Silicone to fill in all the areas where water could get in/out as well as the main tubing where the rack joins together.

Accessories I needed for mounting were..

(4) 1.75” Ballast Brackets

(2) 1.00” Ballast Brackets

(2) 1/2”-13 Aluminum Bolts at 2.50” in length.

(2) 1/2”-13 Fully Threaded aluminum Bolts at 2.00” in length

(*) Aluminum washers & rubber washers

Mounting the basket..

The way I decided to mount my basket only called for 2 (1/2”) holes to be drilled in the rear upper tubing of the basket frame on both left and right sides.

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Front Mounting - 1 3/4” Ballast Bracket linked to 1” Ballast Bracket on both sides of the OEM rack at 45 degrees.
Rear Mounting - 1 3/4” Ballast Bracket connected through 1/2" hole in the aftermarket basket with a bolt at 45 degrees.

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All in all the total cost for this process was $175, but the experience and gratification through accomplishment was priceless!


ALTERNATIVE DROP-IN BASKET GUIDE

In my research process I learned a lot about which aftermarket baskets will indeed work for your OEM rack. For anyone interested in taking this approach here are a few baskets that will work (in width and length) to drop in-between your OEM rack. Most of the products listed you can perform a search on this site and find a thread with completed pictures.

Curt 18115 Roof Mounted Cargo Rack
($115) 41.5 x 37 x 4 inches

Highland 1041900 U-Venture Steel Rooftop Cargo Basket
($83) 44 x 35 x 4.25 inches

Reese Carrypower UVenture Rooftop Cargo Basket
($100) 44 x 35 x 4.25 inches

Rage PowersportsRBC-4938HD Roof Luggage Cargo Storage Rack
($125) 48.5 x 38.25 x 5.5 inches

Rhino-Rack Steel Mesh Basket Small
($190) 49 x 37 x 5 inches

Direct Aftermarket Universal Roof Rack Cargo Carrier
($80) 41 x 38 x 7
 

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Good looking addition. I am thinking about adding a drop-in basket to my OEM roof rack, just like you done. After 2 years of use, is there anything you'd do differently? Still happy with it?
 
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