Front Runner issues (1 Viewer)

1world1love

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Hi all. So those that have followed my build thread and posts know that I have been a big fan of my Front Runner SlimLine II roof rack. Recently though, I started to notice that all of the hardware has extensive rust. This includes all of the hardware for the platform and all of the hardware for all of the mounts and accessories. I installed the rack just two years ago and some of the hardware is less than 6 months old.

I contacted FR about the problem and their response was that it was probably due to harsh climate, despite the fact that I live in exactly the same climate that they are located - arid California. They say that they recommend anti-corrosion treatment for all of the hardware, which I did for the platform hardware and it still rusted.

They offered to send replacement hardware, but that was it. I will have to remove the rack and all the hardware, disassemble it, reassemble it, and reinstall it all. The problem is that the hardware they send will be the same crap that is rusting in the sunshine now so I am not sure what the point would be. I am pretty reasonable about expectations, but I have to say that I am pretty disappointed that, A) A supposedly premium overloading outfitter like FR uses junk for hardware and B) they don't seem to care at all. No apology, just a recommendation not to use their stuff in harsh environments, despite all the advertisements showing their products in harsh environments.

So at this point, if I am going to have to remove everything, I am not feeling inclined to install it again as clearly if they will cut corners on a 25 cent bolt, then everything they make is questionable. I don't normally go scorched earth, but I am pretty miffed about this.

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1world1love

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Also what kills me is that I have a bunch of Thule stuff, some of which is over 10 years old, and not a single bit of rust exists on any of it. Racks, bike carriers, kayak mounts, etc. not a bit of rust. Some of it we had in New England for years.
 

lx200inAR

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That's pretty crappy. I've read other places about the black anodized oxide coated steel bolts usually not being good in outdoor scenarios. Can't believe they wouldn't specify stainless or aluminum hardware for something that is supposed to be outdoors all the time.
 
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1world1love

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That's pretty crappy. I've read other places about the black anodized steel bolts usually not being good in outdoor scenarios. Can't believe they wouldn't specify stainless or aluminum hardware for something that is supposed to be outdoors all the time.

Thanks, and yeah, I agree. The anodized steel isn't rust proof, but it also shouldn't rust in 6 months, which some of it did. I thought the nuts and bolts for the platform were stainless steel, but clearly that is not the case. I think they were plated with something and appeared like SS.
 

1world1love

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I guess I need to decide if I just want to source all of my own replacement hardware appropriately, or just scrap the whole thing and move to something else. I have a ton of accessories, most of which I really like.

Also, I am not sure how to proceed with FR. I feel like they should do better than just offering new junk hardware, but I am not sure what would be a reasonable solution at this point.

@Eric Sarjeant - you have done a few Slim Line installs. Have you ever seen this?
 
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Thanks for the heads up. I was looking at their racks but will look somewhere else now. For the amount of money they charge all the hardware should be stainless steel.
 
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I guess I need to decide if I just want to source all of my own replacement hardware appropriately, or just scrap the whole thing and move to something else. I have a ton of accessories, most of which I really like.

Also, I am not sure how to proceed with FR. I feel like they should do better than just offering new junk hardware, but I am not sure what would be a reasonable solution at this point.

@Eric Sarjeant - you have done a few Slim Line installs. Have you ever seen this?
Steel is not anodized. The black oxide finish used on alloy steel hardware is not durable, so your only solutions are to go with a durable cadmium plated alloy (not legal in a number of states) or at some lose of strength is to go with stainless steel. This is me, I purchase goods, go through the hardware .. convert all to metric equivalent sizes where possible (I hate having to use both tool types on one vehicle) and convert to stainless. Belmetric.com must always know when Ive pushed a new part.
 

1world1love

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Steel is not anodized. The black oxide finish used on alloy steel hardware is not durable, so your only solutions are to go with a durable cadmium plated alloy (not legal in a number of states) or at some lose of strength is to go with stainless steel. This is me, I purchase goods, go through the hardware .. convert all to metric equivalent sizes where possible (I hate having to use both tool types on one vehicle) and convert to stainless. Belmetric.com must always know when Ive pushed a new part.

Thanks for the clarification. Likely all of the non-alloy hardware is some kind of plated steel, although my Dissent bumper is loaded with Zinc-plated nuts and bolts and they all look brand new so clearly they are a different quality of hardware.

I could replace all of the black hardware with black oxide coated SS. I don't think that the loss of strength would be an issue as most of that is not really structural. There are only a couple of places that I would worry about loss of strength. I would want to replace those with a good quality zinc-plated option. I'm not sure what class/grade they are, but I can take an inventory when I disassemble it.

I should add that it's not that I would expect the hardware to never rust, but rather that I would expect it in years, but not months.
 
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I have the same issue, though yours is worse than mine. I'm over Front Runner at this point, honestly. This is my second FR rack and it will be my last. Between the rust, powder coat flaking off, and the f*ck*ng rattles - yeah, no thanks.

Mine is also about 2yrs old.
 

nwfl4runner

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McMaster Carr is your friend. Just forget black oxide, which is code for pre-rusted if they’re outdoors. On the raw aluminum parts avoid stainless steel and go zinc otherwise it’ll corrode. If your only complaint is the hardware rusting I’d swap them out and run it.
 

mcgaskins

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I don't want to pile on, but I was not thrilled with my Front Runner rack I had in the past on a different 200 (came mounted on the truck when I bought it). It made a lot of noise no matter where I put the fairing, and I finally had to permanently mount a table on top of it to get it to be quiet. I also had rusting issues with the hardware, and I found I never used the rack for anything the stock rack couldn't do. Maxtrax - stock rack can do for $50. Lights - reverse lights can be mounted in rear bumper and don't like roof mounted lights pointing forward. Rotopax - never used it. Camping table - only used it to block noise. I only found negatives with the rack due to added weight, added complexity, added noise, and worst of all it's very expensive and requires (from what I understand) a painful install that could cause leaks and dropping the headliner if you make any mistakes. I still think roof racks look cool, but they aren't worth it for me and my extremely limited use cases.
 

1world1love

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McMaster Carr is your friend. Just forget black oxide, which is code for pre-rusted if they’re outdoors. On the raw aluminum parts avoid stainless steel and go zinc otherwise it’ll corrode. If your only complaint is the hardware rusting I’d swap them out and run it.

Can't you use black oxide coated SS? Surely that isn't prone to rust. Something like this:


For non-structural uses, 18-8 should be fine, right?
 

1world1love

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I don't want to pile on, but I was not thrilled with my Front Runner rack I had in the past on a different 200 (came mounted on the truck when I bought it). It made a lot of noise no matter where I put the fairing, and I finally had to permanently mount a table on top of it to get it to be quiet. I also had rusting issues with the hardware, and I found I never used the rack for anything the stock rack couldn't do. Maxtrax - stock rack can do for $50. Lights - reverse lights can be mounted in rear bumper and don't like roof mounted lights pointing forward. Rotopax - never used it. Camping table - only used it to block noise. I only found negatives with the rack due to added weight, added complexity, added noise, and worst of all it's very expensive and requires (from what I understand) a painful install that could cause leaks and dropping the headliner if you make any mistakes. I still think roof racks look cool, but they aren't worth it for me and my extremely limited use cases.

So that's the thing. I actually like mine otherwise. I don't have noise issues or rattling. I use it like crazy. Of course I would use any brand the same so it is not about FR in particular, but I do like having a full rack. Although I also like being able to use standard metric bolts on it. That part is nice and comes in handy at times.
 

Mogwai

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Dang... Well... had been eyeing these racks and the fact I could drive up and pickup..guess I'll keep looking 😔
 

1world1love

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Dang... Well... had been eyeing these racks and the fact I could drive up and pickup..guess I'll keep looking 😔

What I find weird is that I researched racks for a long time. Even before I had my 200. I never encountered any postings or complaints about prematurely rusty hardware from FR (or any other rack for that matter). And up till now my experience with FR support has been great. They have always gone above and beyond. I love the wolf packs and their straps and a lot of other things.

I am trying to gauge if this is common or a QC blip.
 

1world1love

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I have the same issue, though yours is worse than mine. I'm over Front Runner at this point, honestly. This is my second FR rack and it will be my last. Between the rust, powder coat flaking off, and the f*ck*ng rattles - yeah, no thanks.

Mine is also about 2yrs old.

Yeah, I have a couple of places where the powder coating was pretty weak and gave up without a fight. But there are other places that see a lot of action that are still like new.
 

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