Flat Top Roof Racks (1 Viewer)

Phares

Mostly Useless
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Aug 29, 2012
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Charlotte NC
I'm trying to get an idea of the pros and cons of a flat rack versus a rack with a cage. If you have experience can you chime in? I do not intend to get a RTT as I have a small child, so we will be sleeping on the ground. Thanks!
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
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940
Location
Bayfield, in the San Juan Mtns. of Colorado
I'm trying to get an idea of the pros and cons of a flat rack versus a rack with a cage. If you have experience can you chime in? I do not intend to get a RTT as I have a small child, so we will be sleeping on the ground. Thanks!

A long time ago I had a 4 x 8' sheet of 3/4" plywood mounted with two hd gutter clamps on a FJ55. I had 1 1/4" angle iron running fore and aft underneath at the point the gutter clamps mounted and the same running athwartships on top, also with the mounting bolts running through. I had hooks mounted down the sides and on the ends, underneath, also on the angle iron. The hooks on the front were matched up with grommets in a waterproofed military surplus tarp. After whatever was loaded on top and tied down using the side hooks, the tarp was flipped back over the load and secured with bungee cords running underneath. I mounted the spare tire directly over the rear cross brace.

In this configuration the rack served yeoman duty for 13 years and over 100,000 miles. The only issue was early on--I used standard mounting clamps and the weight of the spare tire broke the rear ones. HD clamps solved the problem all together.

When I build the rack for the FJ60 I'll likely do the same though with the 4+ bumper I don't need it stout enough to hold up the spare so I'll use 5/8" instead of 3/4" and use six gutter mounts to make up the difference. I'll also cover the top with thin aluminum and put aluminum angle on the edges.

A prime advantage of this rig is the relatively low wind resistance. This is enhanced by the way the tarp folds back from the front making an angled presentation to the wind. As it shades the roof, made it marginally cooler in the summer as well.

This is before I put the tarp on and permanently mounted the spare with a gynormous eye-bolt. Note that the rack stops just short of the base load CB antenna also.

 

Adventure Ready

Uncommon Adventure Equipment
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
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102
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Seattle, WA
In my experience basket racks really don't offer much of an advantage - you still need to strap all of your contents down just as well as with a platform rack. Again, I've had both and this is just my experience.

I know you aren't thinking about a RTT now, but If you might eventually get one you'll want a platform rack. You can theoretically mount a tent to a rack with side rails if you add crossbars above, but that renders the rest of the rack below pretty useless and also moves the weight even higher up on the vehicle. Our 3 year-old LOVES the rooftop tent. ;)

Some of the platform racks offer detachable side rails (and other attachments), like the Rhino Rack we carry:
https://adventure-ready.com/product-category/roof-racks/pioneer-platform-racks-accessories/

We can also get Bajarack, which is a great and slightly lighter-weight rack as well but not as modular.
 

Phares

Mostly Useless
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Thanks for the input everyone. I ended up going with a custom rack from Underdawg. I couldn't find exactly what I liked and I love supporting MudVendors. If interested you'll be able to follow that in my build thread. Thanks again!
 
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Aug 16, 2011
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southern california
A long time ago I had a 4 x 8' sheet of 3/4" plywood mounted with two hd gutter clamps on a FJ55. I had 1 1/4" angle iron running fore and aft underneath at the point the gutter clamps mounted and the same running athwartships on top, also with the mounting bolts running through. I had hooks mounted down the sides and on the ends, underneath, also on the angle iron. The hooks on the front were matched up with grommets in a waterproofed military surplus tarp. After whatever was loaded on top and tied down using the side hooks, the tarp was flipped back over the load and secured with bungee cords running underneath. I mounted the spare tire directly over the rear cross brace.

@freepowder i have been planning to do just exactly this! i love the simplicity and ability to put tie downs wherever to fit ones need.

one thing i'd like to know is did the area of the flat platform catch a lot of wind / create a lot more turbulence on the highway? (i'm no engineer so --basically is a flat sheet of plywood more or less aerodynamic than a series of tubes on the roof?)
 
Joined
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Bayfield, in the San Juan Mtns. of Colorado
No problems with turbulence.

One thing I was going to do but never got 'round to, is take a 4' piece of um, 8" I think, black plastic pipe, cut it in about 1/4s then screw one of the quarters across to back as a sort of reverse spoiler to keep some of the crap off the back end and maybe reduce some of the vacuum that builds there in the (forlorn no doubt) hope of improved mpg.

Here's a remarkably crude schematic. There will be hooks for a canvas (plastic doesn't last in the wind) tarp. The front deflector is hinged aluminum or 1/4" plywood and designed to reduce wind resistance and provide protection to cargo. The tarp goes over the top. On the original rack had hooks that faced both in and out. I used the inward curving hooks as anchor points for cargo tie-down ropes, the outward curved as bungee anchors for the tarp. This system worked brilliantly for thousands of miles. The original didn't have either of the deflectors and only 2 mounts but that was with 3/4" plywood. Also not shown on this is the angle iron that runs fore and aft through which the mounting bolts for the gutter mounts go. The bolts go through the angle cross braces on top as well. Quite strong. Also with the 4 Plus rear bumper there won't be a spare up there.



Here's a marginal shot of the final form of the original rack. You'll note it was also shorter to clear the CB antenna that was mounted right over the dome light to make drilling the hole easy. ;)

 
Joined
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Bayfield, in the San Juan Mtns. of Colorado
Oh, and to answer your original question (sorry, I drift) I never had any wind problems, no lift off, no increased side loads. Given that I always loaded it so the profile was wedge shaped, might even have added to the stability--when Id was doing over 150 mph or so. :clap:
 

scrapdaddy

Standing on the corner
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Freepowder,

Off topic, but nothing better than a 55 in nature! Some day I'll be there.

Thank You for posting.
 
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southern california
@freepowder

thanks for the reply, diagram and pics!! i could look at pics of your 55 in the wild all day :)

i'm gonna try something like this with my 80 series as soon as time permits.


edit: will you be doing something like this with your 60? would love to see the progress!
 
Joined
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Messages
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Bayfield, in the San Juan Mtns. of Colorado
@freepowder

thanks for the reply, diagram and pics!! i could look at pics of your 55 in the wild all day :)

i'm gonna try something like this with my 80 series as soon as time permits.


edit: will you be doing something like this with your 60? would love to see the progress!

Actually the 60's close to done, well, they're never done but it's about where I wanted to take it. Still want a few odds and ends--winch, maybe a rear platform, convert a/c to on-board air, and of course, build that roof rack.

I don't have a lot of pics of the Grey Goose, the FJ55, but here's one, we pitted for the Ed Fountain Toyota off road race team in the mid-70s outside of Vegas. After that the New Goose more or less as she sits now.



In the San Juans ne of Silverton Colorado.

 

Box Rocket

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 2, 2003
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4,730
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Syracuse, Utah
I have a rack in the works with a local rack builder. It is being designed for my FZJ80. I definitely want a flat platform so that's what it will be. It's a little early to share the details but I should have something to share soon. I think it's going to be the best looking rack option on the market for cruisers. Aluminum and strong. Stay tuned.
 

MicahMan

TLCA 20925
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
1,287
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Fruit Heights
I love having a flat rack. I even had just three crossbars for a while on my 70. I now have just two crossbars to mount my RTT from tepui. I do like the safari style rack that i had on an FJ62 it was perfect with a small front 3 sided basket and then a flat portion out back. Made a great place to mount lights!
ForumRunner_20131113_113555.png ForumRunner_20131117_154009.png
Great stuff!
Thanks to Cruiser Outfitters for the Rack!
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
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28
I like a flat top too. Yet love the baskets. Wanted an off the shelf solution and finally came across frontRunner.



 
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
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84
I've been running front runner for many years now on two trucks. a very good investment. Very versatile and durable

I too run a Front Runner rack and has been great. The best thing is the extruded aluminum bits allow you to slide in screws and attachments easily. They now sell Expedition Rails which you can puts around the edge. That would act as a sort of basket, or at least something to ratchet to! I run the rails only in front since I have RTT

few photos just for reference


 
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