True full length roof rack?

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Apr 22, 2010
Boise, ID
So I've got a lead on a rack that used to be on a cargo van and measures about 12.5 feet long. The engineer in me says shave it down to size and call it good, but the wanna-be-safari-guide in me says leave it full length and rig up some front support bars from the bumper so it extends all the way over the hood. Anyone ever do this?

I can see issues with working under the hood, but I was thinking of making it easily removable anyway since my 60 is already too tall to get in the garage. It could also be a stability problem unless the bumper supports are large and stout, and I'm sure it's gonna eat a lot of visibility.

The plans for what will go in the basket are a 37" spare on an aluminum beadlock as well as a hi-lift, a shovel, probably an axe, luggage and whatnot, and maybe even a rooftop tent if I get ambitious (the rack comes with a ladder). I'm still working on plans, but wanted to see if anyone's ever done something similar before so I can get some advice.
Unless you live where two track roads are the norm, and the truck would NEVER see over 40mph, and you are carrying 200 pillows or sleeping bags, and you beef up the suspension add a rear sway bar and optimize the front one....

I say make it roof length and no longer. Those safari don't see many of those rigs on the highway at 75 mph.
I don't have pictures but, have three bars across the roof that are welded to the rain gutter then I have some T's that go into the front bumper to support long things, ladders, 20' long material or anything that needs the support.

The real point is I use it very rarely. If I had a full length rack I would not like it, for the actual use that it would see. The system I have makes it impossible to use the hood prop rod.

YMMV John.
Mine is a trail/expedition rig as it sits right now. 37" bias plys are no fun at speed. Anyway, it was more of a pipe dream than anything, I'm leaning towards a normal length, just curious if it'd been done.
Howdy! I built a 4 x 7 rack years ago for my Piggy. It is bolted into the rain gutters. I carry my 13.5 x 35 spare up there. I catch a lot of wind, and a lot of tree limbs. The jab thru the legs and sides of the rack and get snapped off. I wouldn't go longer than the roof. I have to replace the plywood floor in it about every 5 years. John
I use and have build for others racks as big as 5x8 on wagons and 5x7 on '40s. It can work well for "expedition" type use. I would not consider longer.

I have a 10 footer on top of one of my mini trucks. sort of like a plumbers rack, but built a lot lighter and with the trail in mind. It just barely extends past the roof on a standard cab, would not on an extended cab. Again, I would not go longer.

Considered it in the past, but experience convinced me otherwise. You generally do not want to load enough stuff up there to fill even an 8 foot rack, much less a 12 footer.

Just wondering, if it tied into the bumper like he said, would it cause problems being that the roof is on top of body mounts and the bumper is not? How much flex is in the body mounts I guess would be the question.
Hey hyperboarder, that kind of roof rack and 37's just don't go together IMHO. Of course I wouldn't even want to think about lifting a 37 up there myself. I can't think of many trail in CO that wouldn't end of with your truck looking like a stealth/camo truck disguised by all the branches you'd end up pulling down along the way. ;)

And the hit on MPG/power as already said would hurt badly. I have a rack on mine for a RTT that stands 2.5" from the roof and that's about as big as I'd want to go.
Just wondering, if it tied into the bumper like he said, would it cause problems being that the roof is on top of body mounts and the bumper is not? How much flex is in the body mounts I guess would be the question.

Yep, a good point. To avoid a complicated work-around, he'd have to just mount to the front and rear bumpers only (and frame if he did an exo cage)
I've pretty much scrapped the idea, too much work. I'm not stoked on hoisting a 37 up there but I don't want to buy a big rear bumper ($$$) and I don't want the tire inside (space). I'm looking at more reasonable 5-8' racks now. Maybe with a crane attached :D.

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