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Old 02-18-2012, 07:11 PM   #1
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roof box access

Hi:

When I put my side opening Thule cargo box on the van (atop Yakima bars on raingutter towers), there's a problem: I can't reach the box. A ladder on the rear door doesn't help much, as it's a side opening box.

I don't want to carry a ladder, even one of the telescoping ones -- don't really want to have more stuff inside the van.

Today I spotted the following in Austin:



The position would be perfect for box access.

What would the downside be to putting a ladder on the side door? And can someone recommend a ladder / source? Less expensive is good....

Thanks,
GreyDawg
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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Re: roof box access

....does the outside light work as the ladder stop? looks like you would have limited door swing
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
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Re: roof box access

You're right -- the ladder would limit the door swing. Perhaps to 45 degrees or so?

I don't know about the light -- but it's moot since my van doesn't have one!

Thanks,
GreyDawg
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: roof box access

I'd be a little concerned about the weight and outward pull on the ladder from people climbing up and down. That's a lot of stress to put on the door skin. If you mount the ladder there I'd suggest some type of reinforcement on the inside to keep the mounting bolts from pulling through and ripping the door skin.
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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Re: roof box access

You gotta watch out for trees and brush getting hung up in it while driving on fun roads. Might limit some of those narrow slot canyons too....
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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Re: roof box access

It just looks wrong! The roof of my SMB seems to be strong enough to walk on. Perhaps the best way to access the box is to climb up on the roof via a ladder in the usual position(s), get into the box, and hand stuff down to someone on the ground.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:27 AM   #7
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Re: roof box access

Quote:
Originally Posted by macmcintire
It just looks wrong! The roof of my SMB seems to be strong enough to walk on. Perhaps the best way to access the box is to climb up on the roof via a ladder in the usual position(s), get into the box, and hand stuff down to someone on the ground.
Or, if you have the box mounted toward the back you can access it by standing on the tire. Nerf boards help but really the roof isn't very convenient for carrrying anything unless you have a ladder and are prepared to go on top.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: roof box access

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvan
I'd be a little concerned about the weight and outward pull on the ladder from people climbing up and down. That's a lot of stress to put on the door skin. If you mount the ladder there I'd suggest some type of reinforcement on the inside to keep the mounting bolts from pulling through and ripping the door skin.
It looks like a typical rear door ladder, which hooks over the top of the door. I had a similar ladder on y rear door before going with Aluminess. The generic rear door ladder held up fine for me, even with heavy use, and standing on it while moving mountain bikes up and down from the roof.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Re: roof box access

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarvan
I'd be a little concerned about the weight and outward pull on the ladder from people climbing up and down. That's a lot of stress to put on the door skin. If you mount the ladder there I'd suggest some type of reinforcement on the inside to keep the mounting bolts from pulling through and ripping the door skin.
The generic rear door ladder held up fine for me, even with heavy use, and standing on it while moving mountain bikes up and down from the roof.
Yea, I've seen that heavy use. I've seen people crawling all over your van loading ORT rafts on the rack. I also have a friend who drives the white Quigley van rafting who has to replace his rear door because the stock rear spare tire mount is ripping the skin of the door. They are different applications where the spare tire mount has a constant weight and stress pulling on it during off road adventures. I'd still try and run some type of reinforcement on the back of the bottom bolts that run through the door. A piece 4" or 6" tall by however wide the ladder bolts are spaced piece of aluminium or steel plating as a backing plate would help spread the stress points and hopefully keep you from the expense of replacing the door.

It also looks like you would almost need a ladder to get to the first step of the ladder in the picture.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:53 PM   #10
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Re: roof box access

Greydawg, there are two reasons i went with the extendable ladder. 1. Like you, i like to get to different places on my roof (like either side) depending on my need at that moment. I wanted to be able to get to exactly which ever side or the back whenever i needed to. 2. Security - I plan on keeping bikes up there and they're pretty hard to get to without a ladder. The fixed ladders give anyone an easy way to get up there.
I do HATE carrying yet another item in my van, but i did it for a reason. I have also found out that our van roofs are very slippery, and very prone to dents when walked upon. Since i have a dark color van, i added grip tape on the outer sloped edges of mine for easy walking, since this is generally on the outside of any box, bike, rack, etc. i might have up there, and because the roof is very sturdy right at the rain gutters and won't bend there as easily.
Food for thought.
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