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Old 02-18-2017, 04:19 PM   #1
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Aluminess Rack Decision

Finally saved up my $$, so I'll be leaving in a month on a 1200-mile trek to Agile for my long-awaited 4WD conversion. Excited as heck about that! But you guys really need to open up a shop in Northern Cali or, better yet, Oregon (no sales tax!)

When I realized that Aluminess is in the same neighborhood, I started to consider whether I want to pick up a rack while I'm there, to save shipping costs. (See how I said that like I was going to the grocery store?) One is definitely in my future, but I could be persuaded to make it sooner for some savings. So, now the crunch is on to decide.

I would like to hear from folks who have one, what style you have and what you like/don't like about it. Practically speaking, I think the most I could afford (and that's really stretching the meaning of the word "afford") would be the standard slat, gutter mount, with no fancy extras.

Does anybody have the shallower "Baja" style? Or insights into the pros/cons of that choice? I really like how my stock-topped van now fits through most drive-thrus, so I'm wondering if the Baja version would be a good idea. Cuts off several inches in height. Would I be be giving up much? I envision mostly cargo that wouldn't require a tall rail. Maybe the bulkiest thing could be a spare tire at some point. I'm also envisioning adapting my Yakima bars to the rails. Anybody already doing that with your homemade adapter or maybe a Timberline tower?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience. And yeah, I've looked at everything else on the market and just don't see anything that looks as good and is as light as Aluminess, IMO. Damn, the price tho. But, as someone here is fond of reminding us, "it costs big money to play with the big boys" and girls. That, and indentured servitude.

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Old 02-18-2017, 06:31 PM   #2
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By chance have you checked with Jeremy at WeldTec about a roof rack? He is next door to Agile.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:51 PM   #3
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Make sure Aluminess has stock, they took my order last year then built it to spec along with the bumpers, et al. They were roped: buried with SportsMobile orders and local stuff too... make sure they got supplies.
If your just 'envisioning' the need, then think it through real hard, two to three times through... a rear deluxe box and tire swing arm can be more of an asset than a rack. If you don't use one now, and and don't have specific list of what will go up and how it'll work in your best interest- shine it and get what you need now...
The dudes at Agile are very sharp, get them in on your ideas. Guaranteed they'll have plenty to offer; like their next door neighbors!
Now, once down here, for the joy of the awesome operation you should go by and take a gander at the Aluiminess shop. It's an awesome micro-manufactoruring operation. I would say, it's shops like this that illustrate, we Are, in fact, Great. Hooyah.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:19 PM   #4
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By chance have you checked with Jeremy at WeldTec about a roof rack? He is next door to Agile.
I haven't yet, but thought I'd shoot him a pm and see if he's got something. Gee, what it is about that neighborhood that attracts this kind of major talent?
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:25 PM   #5
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Gee, what it is about that neighborhood that attracts this kind of major talent?
A long history of offroad recreation and racing in San Diego County: Algodones Dunes (Glamis), among other places and Mexico: Baja 500, Baja 1000
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:36 PM   #6
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El Cajon is a like a little industrial and commercial center as well. Not to mention the weather is sweet all year round.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:40 PM   #7
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Make sure Aluminess has stock, they took my order last year then built it to spec along with the bumpers, et al. They were roped: buried with SportsMobile orders and local stuff too... make sure they got supplies.
If your just 'envisioning' the need, then think it through real hard, two to three times through... a rear deluxe box and tire swing arm can be more of an asset than a rack. If you don't use one now, and and don't have specific list of what will go up and how it'll work in your best interest- shine it and get what you need now...
The dudes at Agile are very sharp, get them in on your ideas. Guaranteed they'll have plenty to offer; like their next door neighbors!
Now, once down here, for the joy of the awesome operation you should go by and take a gander at the Aluiminess shop. It's an awesome micro-manufactoruring operation. I would say, it's shops like this that illustrate, we Are, in fact, Great. Hooyah.
Good advice, EmMay. Ain't it the truth that these shops make us great? I say "us" like I've got something to do with it, but I contribute in my own small business way... love these folks that can take their talents and do stuff people like me can't do. That's what I did to start working for myself and, it's true... when you love what you do, and you're really good at it, it's like you're not even working. Not like a "job", anyway.

Truth be told, I'm lusting after that tire rack but, gees, that sure seems like a high ratio of price to material. I'm pretty sure I'll be biting that bullet, tho, cause I want to use that space down under for locked storage. And that tire needs to go somewhere. At this point, bumpers are last on my list.

I have an email into Aluminess asking about availability of all this stuff.

I've thought long and hard about the rack, as you suggest, and know I am one of those folks who need one. I have a great Yakima system, put together over many years, but "it just don't look right", if you know what I mean. I know, I know, I should really not care about that. But I admit to the occasional bout of shallowness

I'm constantly transporting kayaks, dories, lumber, skis, you name it... and, after a hundred years of having a pickup to haul crap in, I am experiencing that limitation of our vans, where you go... "Crap! How am I gonna haul this?" My van is a transformer and is my daily driver, so you can imagine the all manner of stuff that has to be accommodated. Thus, "I need a rack!" Oh, and then, there's that lure of climbing up on the roof for better photography shots... before the van, it never occurred to me that I "needed" such a thing. Yet, here I am.

Vans: The curse of the otherwise rational human being.
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Old 02-19-2017, 05:54 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=Otter;197131]Finally saved up my $$... the standard slat, gutter mount, with no fancy extras.

Our rack mounts a solar panel on the port bow, if considering this consider that a second would be in the future and plan for them to be in line fore to aft. This will leave space to the adjacent side to run long gear, etc..

You'll eventually need a ladder to get up there safely, our advice is to put one the starboard to keep you away from traffic when in the city. But, still it's just a preference.

Once on top, you'll want to be able to move around safely; so, 'slats' should be wide enough to create a reasonable platform and spaced just wide enough to be able to pass cordage/strapping/bungee through them BUT not allow your foot to pass through.

Plan where you will put lights in the future, so that the rail posts have holes or are laid out to attach lights.
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:11 AM   #9
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A long history of offroad recreation and racing in San Diego County: Algodones Dunes (Glamis), among other places and Mexico: Baja 500, Baja 1000


We live in neighborhood, old school 1950's track homes in Imperial Beach's North Side, that holds no less than 8 desert rats, all hauling bikes and rails regularly to the desert and the 'River'.

We're the only team that 4x4 van's it, but alas, we're just lowly climbers mainly heading to the mountains when the rest of the crew gets sandy and dusty.

One ol' timer still has his vw desert bug; there's popping and snapping and crackling on off weekends as welders fire up; there's deafening bike muffler screams as test runs around the block are not so subtly snuck in and every example of the over achiever, the under performer and the sure we can get that done personality around here... And, this is just our neighborhood- Stumpy's racing lives three blocks over, pretty sure he's still a Baja guy.

San Diego definitely has a history, and tons of micro industry-macro capacity hubs that'll build, outfit or upgrade our rides and toys.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:10 PM   #10
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Interesting stuff on your neighborhood! Seems proximity so often determines what people are into.

We're surrounded by water here in Portland (Bridge City), so every Tom Dick and Harry has a kayak, canoe, or something, anything, to float on. More fisher-people in fancy aluminum boats than you can imagine, especially when the spring chinook start moving.

But, since we're only an hour or two in opposite directions to either the beach or the mountains, it's easy to have "multi-sport interests." Back in the day, I used to go to Sand Lake with a buddy who built his sand rail. We had a great time until the day a van full of drunk guys hit his pickup head on out on the road. We wound up in the ER and the drunks just cleaned up and disappeared before the sheriff arrived. That's when I learned just how heavy an E350 really is.

So you folks are climbers? I'm a longtime Mazama member here, but now contain my outings to snowshoeing and photography hikes. Still do love the rocks, tho! I attended an indoor rock wall event last year and somebody actually said to me, "Wow! I love those retro rock shoes! Where can I get a pair?"



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