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Old 01-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #1
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Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not to?

Lots of rack chatter lately, hope this isn't redundant.

I'm scheduled to get a new PH installed at SMB west in March and will also have an aluminess rack installed at that time. I'm nearly set on getting the expanded aluminum deck on the full length (minus under solar panel) and I am wondering if anyone here went that route and now regrets it or has any useful modifications that should happen during fabrication.

The downsides of the expanded deck that I see are: difficult/impossible to clean PH top without removing rack and lack of tie downs. I'll have lots of D-rings tacked to the deck to address the last point and I am working with Kenny to come up with a solution to making some adjustable AND removable cross bars. I know most prior attempts have failed so I'm not overly optimistic.

I'm keen on having the mesh mostly to make it easier to move around, lounge and potentially sleep on the roof. Any input is appreciated.

Eric
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:34 PM   #2
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

How about having the expanded mesh installed with a rim and in a couple of sections? This way you could fasten to the cross bars and have those mesh panels removable for cleaning the PH.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

I really like the idea of a removable deck and was going to ask Kenny ( Aluminess) if that was possible. Seems easy enough: u-bolts and plates around the perimeter. I'm just guessing, but since the mesh is somewhat flimsy and flexible, after lots of miles and walking on, I think it would get very noisy when driving - rattling in the wind. Not sure I could live with that.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:45 PM   #4
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

My old roof rack had expanded metal. It made a lot of wind noise, and actually made it hard to tie-down larger/heavier items. New roof rack has open bars with a car-walk. MUCH better for everything except hauling loose gear. Usually I just throw a raft up there and pile the gear in the raft.

If I did a new rack, I would go with slats. Good coverage for carrying loose gear, but still leaves the crossbars open for straps, and the slats themselves can probably be used as tie-down.
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:15 PM   #5
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclesomatic
I'm keen on having the mesh mostly to make it easier to move around, lounge and potentially sleep on the roof. Any input is appreciated.

Eric
Just to be sure, you do mean sleeping up there with the PH down? I know it may sound like a stupid question but I've been considering rack/pod etc. options for my PH too and everyone tells me to be careful about the weight.

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Old 01-23-2014, 07:49 PM   #6
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

I got the diamond treadplate and love it so far, because the main thing for us is the platform for chairs and such not carrying more gear on top. Rig is new and only has a thousand miles or so on it though so I haven't had time to experience the downsides. But we used the roof of our old slide-in camper for things like lawn chairs, watching fireworks, camera tripods, hunting/shooting platform etc and wanted a similar "deck on the roof" application with the SMB (when the PH is down of course).

We aren't really campers though except by occasional 'necessity' (nearest decent hotel to a triathlon too far away or whatever). The Black Pearl is more like a conversion van (four captains chairs, partitioned-off cargo area with a gaucho as a three-person 'jump seat' that will mostly have suitcases and gear cargo-netted on top, custom two-bike rack for carrying expensive triathlon bikes inside, L-track for modular use of cargo area) with some camper-like features (PH top and bed, 110 AC, awning, etc but no built-in water or propane). So we are not typical SMB customers and YMMV.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:09 PM   #7
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

Hmmm... hadn't thought of sleeping up there with the top up

Nice catch, Scotty. Actually, that's on my list of dangerous things to try. I've read most of the threads regarding overloaded and collapsing tops, so i kinda know what i'm up against. I plan on bracing at least the 4 corners whenever the top is up and will add more support if i try to extend the sleeping quarters. Unless of course someone here has gone that route and had bad things happen. Nothing's for certain, i want to get the rack first and go from there.

I've definitely experienced the dread of sleeping under an overloaded top with our westy. Much harder to brace as the roof is raised at an angle to the roof. I added peace of mind by wrapping the articulating brace at the fold with webbing. Never got crushed. The westys are a little scary - a careless grab or bump of the brace could bring the whole thing down.

I'd like to hear more about wind noise with the expanded decking. Thanks for pointing that out Carringb. And what are the slats like to sleep/sit on (either wide or narrow spacing)?

Eric
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:46 PM   #8
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

For several years I had a 4x8 sheet of tan plastic lattice that I got at home depot cut to fit my Yakima Mega Warrior rack. I used zip ties to hold it to the rack bars This allowed better support for carrying backpacks and such and you could lay on it to look at the stars without any discomfort. The Warrior rack cross bars are about 5" apart so there was a lot of support.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:34 AM   #9
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclesomatic
Hmmm... hadn't thought of sleeping up there with the top up

Nice catch, Scotty. Actually, that's on my list of dangerous things to try. I've read most of the threads regarding overloaded and collapsing tops, so i kinda know what i'm up against. I plan on bracing at least the 4 corners whenever the top is up and will add more support if i try to extend the sleeping quarters. Unless of course someone here has gone that route and had bad things happen. Nothing's for certain, i want to get the rack first and go from there.


Eric
Please video the climb onto a raised poptop... and then the climb down. I brace my top when it is up,(we have these pesky, violent, popup thunderstorm/tornado thingies here in the Deep South) but I see no route to take to make this a "fun" platform...'specially after a half dozen refreshments.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:43 PM   #10
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Re: Expanded mesh decking on aluminess rack, any reasons not

Biggest benefit of expanded metal over slats is weigh savings imho
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