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Prinsu Roof Rack for FJC

Discussion in 'FJ Cruiser' started by BMThiker, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    I recently installed a new roof rack to replace the factory one. The Prinsu all-aluminum roof rack is relatively new to market and it appeals to me because of it's low profile, light weight, modular design and relatively competitive price. This rack is kind of like buying flat-pack furniture from IKEA...it comes with a bag of hardware and you have to assemble it yourself. The good news is that the shipped package is a great deal cheaper than some of the fully welded racks available. This rack weighed in at 65lbs on the UPS label.

    Mine did not come with instructions, and the Prinsu website does not have any published for the FJC, but I read the instructions for the 4Runner install and it was close enough to provide me with a plan of attack.

    Lay out all your parts and separate hardware into similar pieces. I recommend using a cordless driver unless you really like working your forearms.
    Prinsu (2).JPG

    The cross rails are pre-tapped and you just use a pair of black screws, split washers and flat washers on each end of the crossmember. Keep things a little loose at first until you have all pieces installed, then check to make sure it's squared up and then tighten the front and rear members first. The airdam comes with some specialized hardware that fits into the T-slots. This step will take a bit of light hammering with a wood block to attach the airdam to the crossmember, but once completed it makes for a lightweight but solid deflector. If you have any t-slot hardware (like the eyebolts below), now is the time to install them. [More on this later]
    Prinsu (3).JPG

    Next up is to remove the old roof rack. I won't go into those detailed steps, but it's a good time to give the old roof a rinse too. Mine was filthy. I previously had a light bar on the roof and that's what those wires are just above the driver's position.
    Prinsu (6).JPG
     
  2. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    Once the roof is cleaned up remove the factory spacer/bracket things from the mounting points. My wife and I were able to pretty easily launch the new rack onto the roof from the back of the vehicle. I opened the rear gate and used the bumper as a step to guide the rack into position. We wrapped the cleats with hand towels and string to keep from marring the roof.
    Prinsu (7).JPG

    I started by mounting the front cleats first, then the middle ones, but not torqued fully. I used a liberal amount of FIPG sealant on each spacer at the point where it meets the roof surface. [More on this later too...]

    Then I adjust the rear brackets which are the only ones not integrated into the side rail support. It has a second set of bolts that attach to the side rail and allow for accurate fit to your roof.
    Prinsu (10).JPG

    Here's what it looks like from the rear of the roof rack.
    Prinsu (13).JPG
     
  3. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    Analysis and review
    I think this is one of the better designs on the market for our FJCs, but there are a couple things that bother me. First is the height of the spacers and the gap below the air dam in the designed configuration.
    PrinsuInstall (12).JPG

    The outer diameter of the spacers is almost too small for the slots in the bracket above them. And the inner diameter is fairly larger than the bolts going through them - just waiting to fill up with water. The overall height of the spacers is about 3/8" - 1/2" too tall.
    PrinsuInstall (16).JPG

    The first thing I did was to drill some new holes at the front of the rack to get the air dam lower to the roof. I ended up drilling a couple of holes and then filing away some material to create a new slot. This helped tremendously with wind noise.
    Prinsu (19).JPG

    Prinsu (20).JPG
     
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  4. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    Then I cut down all of my spacers and used some tighter fitting washers to shim the rack to the perfect height. I slathered the spacers in FIPG and use a fair amount on the washers too. The washers have a smaller inner diameter and a larger out diameter than the spacers, so it should keep water out better. This got the rack to the way I feel it should be and I am quite happy with the end results.

    Prinsu-fix (1).JPG Prinsu-fix (4).JPG Prinsu-fix (7).JPG
    I readjusted the position of the air dam once I lowered the overall height of the rack as well. With the lower position, "angle of attack" on the air dam is lower.
    Prinsu-fix (8).JPG Prinsu-fix (9).JPG
     
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  5. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    On a side note, I plan to drill a partial hole at the center of each cross member that will allow me to drop in the T-slot nuts and then slide them into position. This will keep me from having to disassemble a cross member each time I need to add an eye-bolt or other accessory bolt.

    PrinsuInstall (15).JPG
     
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  6. benjrblant

    benjrblant

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    Glad you finally got it! Looks nice.
     
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  7. firensteel

    firensteel

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    I like the top view very much, I can see why you would drill a hole to add accessories in the slots instead of taking apart the sides, something you would think the manufacturer would have provided. I see what you mean about the stud heights being up there too much and the work you had to do to drop the air dam into a better place but the finished rack looks good.
     
  8. codyaustin5

    codyaustin5

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    Looks good. What is the height of the spacer after you cut it down? Did you cut every single one (front and back)?
     
  9. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    I cut all of them down to roughly 5/8", honestly I didn't measure them. Just eyeballed it. I knew I was going to put the fender washers on top of them to eliminate the interference between the spacer and the bracket, so I shimmed more than one washer on some brackets.
     
  10. codyaustin5

    codyaustin5

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    Got it. Thanks! I think I'm going to have some 5/8" flat spacers made out of abs and sized to feet.
     
  11. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    Sounds like a great plan.
     
  12. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    Roadtest update:
    I recently took a trip across the southwest with a RTT bolted to the rack. Some minor complaints about the provided hardware are all I have to report. The T-30 screws used to hold the crossbars in place need beefier washers that won't deform and pull through the slots in the lasercut aluminum supports. I also think a slightly longer screw could provide better strength, although I don't know how far the holes are drilled and tapped. We had a few screws work loose after several hundred miles and then the RTT started to shudder. I'm going to source some new hardware and re-do all the crossbars.
     
  13. BradIXXI

    BradIXXI

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    @BMThiker , did you find hardware that would fit better on the crossbars? Also, are the ones provided stainless or do you know?
    Yours looks great and I just received mine in the mail yesterday, so I want to gather all the additional hardware I need so I can install it this weekend.
     
  14. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    The hardware is coated shiny black, not sure what it is but it seems to be holding up to weather. In fact the only bolts that are not black are the ones that go into the roof and the rear brackets. I have not had a chance to check my local hardware store for replacements yet. Other more important projects on the truck at the moment.
     
  15. Smaddox

    Smaddox

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    Can I ask what you paid? I've never liked the factory rack and I'm getting ready to rip it off.
     
  16. BradIXXI

    BradIXXI

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    Including shipping to Texas, mine was $910.00
     
  17. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    FYI, the original designer (Zach) sold his Prinsu business to CBI Offroad. They are handling all new orders (and some existing) orders from here on out. One advantage of the design is it's relatively small shipping size. Think IKEA flat-pack versus a fully assembled ARB rack. IIRC, shipping on mine from CO to GA was $65.
     
  18. NyNomad

    NyNomad

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    what's the weight rating on that? it doesn't look very strong
     
  19. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

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    A single cross member is strong enough to hold me standing up, but I'm only about 125lb. Good enough for practical purposes.
     
  20. BradIXXI

    BradIXXI

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    I put my rack on today. I found something at Home Depot while looking for bolts. Spacers made from Aluminum that fit my FJ perfectly.
    I did have to drill them out just a bit but that's child's play with a drill press or even a hand drill and a vise. The height was perfect and the diameter worked extremely well. One of the pictures below has the spacer sent from Prinsu with a mark I made to cut them down until I found this little bugger. They are in the Rope and Chain section at HD. They were $1.97 per pack and I just used the two standoffs and kept the others parts in the pack for use somewhere else maybe.

    IMG_1703.JPG
    IMG_1705.JPG
     
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