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Old 09-26-2010, 11:27 PM   #11
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Re: To rack a now or not?

If you just want two load bars, and attach a tray to that, you can easily install something like Yakima Side Loader brackets later. On my '05 Chevy RB, I installed roof tracks the entire length of the penthouse so I can place load bars at any location, and I think they look much better than brackets hanging off the side. When you pop the load bars off, the top looks very clean and there is no wind resistance. I installed Yakima tracks, but I understand they are identical to Thule's.

The thing is, installing them was not as straight-forward as I thought it was going to be. That's because I needed to install them with the bolts extending down inside the canvas area, rather than outside as some have been able to do: See http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtopic. ... highlight=

Perhaps there's a difference in width between Chevy and Ford penthouses. It worked fine, but I needed to remove the curtains (not difficult) and make sure the bolts wouldn't run into existing hardware. I had to purchase 2" bolts, use large fender washers, and make sure the installation was water proof. Perhaps the hardest part was cutting the bolts off flush after installation so the curtains would go on okay and not risk the bolts puncturing a hole in something. In other words, if you want full-length tracks installed and you want to save yourself a fair amount of time and effort, consider having the shop do it for you.

I also recently installed an Alluminess ladder. Its not hard to do, and it looks and works great. Though I did opt to purchase and use larger bolts for mounting the bottom plate to the van.

If you plan to carry much weight up there, get the electric lift. I can lift two 18' sea kayaks with my manual top (with springs shortened two links), but just barely. If you're going to keep a rack on all the time, you'll probably want to adjust your springs accordingly, and you can have SMB do that if they're installing the rack.
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:29 PM   #12
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Re: To rack a now or not?

i put on the Yakima system with the quick-release attachments. i think they're called "towers" but i dont recall. they're low profile...easy to mount to the PH yourself. We got 6 (3 pairs) of the permanantly mounted parts and 1 pair of the towers and cross-poles. works out great. if we need to carry stuff up top...easy. canoe...easy. guests come in town to ski/board---easy. extra 'friends' coming on the road trip, the pack-a-sport clips on. i have a rear ladder, but will probably switch to the side mount but i've heard the side mount ladders are loud when driving and i dont need more noise. the under-floor storage looks like a good solution for stuff you rarely need, but access looks tricky (at least for my layout). anyway, the yakima system still fits in the garage when the cross-poles are off and i'm sure there is not a lot of drag when no poles are attached.
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:47 PM   #13
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Re: To rack a now or not?

When I bought my SMB in 2005, I got the rear ladder and Yakima rack on the PH. The plan was to use it to carry my pontoon boat. Thatís how I carried it on my Isuzu Trooper, I figured I would do the same on the SMB. Well the Trooper roof is about 5 feet off the ground, the SMB roof is about 7 feet off the ground. My pontoon boat and rowing frame weigh about 70 lbs. No problem on the Trooper, big problem on the SMB. For a couple years I just carried the rowing frame on the roof of the SMB, and inflated and installed the pontoons at the lake. This got to be a PITA, but in reality, itís kindaí scary standing on top of the SMB, unlashing the rowing frame, and lowering it over the side. One slip, andÖ.well, I didnít want to think about it. Iím 63 and donít bend or bounce as well as I used to. So I bought a little trailer for the pontoon boat, and the Yakima Rack doesnít get used any more.

Tom
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:58 PM   #14
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Re: To rack a now or not?

I have the Thule mounting tracks , tower and bars on my PH. It is very useful and I have had my cargo box on most trips. The pain for us is the fact we have to unload the cargo box when we want to put the PH up (non-electric). I am not sure I would ever need a full aluminess roof rack but storage is always good to have! I am getting the XL baja box for the rear bumper as we are in desperate need for more storage with a family of 4. I would suggest to get the Thule rack track mounts a t least for the SMB and then you can always decide to have a rack or not but the track mounts are secured and ready...... just like pre wired for solar.... it is an easy add on at that point.
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Old 10-11-2010, 02:25 PM   #15
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Re: To rack a now or not?

We're leaning to at least getting the Thule mounting racks. But then what about the ladder. At other times we think that maybe we should just go ahead and get the entire Thule set up and the ladder.

Why is it that we're having the most difficult time deciding on the racks?
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:13 PM   #16
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Re: To rack a now or not?

The ladder is a really easy add on you can do at home later if needed. If you are going to have anything on the roof the ladder is a must! No other way of accessing it. Even if we didn't have the Thule mounts on the roof I would still have the ladder to get up there personally. I have waxed the PH now several times and cleaned it via the ladder.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:43 AM   #17
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Re: To rack a now or not?

I had a mega warrior basket but added a full aluminus rack. Yes it weighs a bit more and can't be taken off, but I like it much more than the Yakima stuff for my needs.

Besides the rack and all the lights I have on it, I also have ladders on both sides. I was worried about wind noise but none I can hear. YMMV
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:50 AM   #18
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
I had a mega warrior basket but added a full aluminus rack. Yea it weighs a bit more and can't be taken off, but I like it much more than the Yakima stuff for my needs.

Besides the rack and all the lights I have on it, I also have ladders on both sides. I was worried about wind noise but none I can hear. YMMV
Kinda hard to hear anything after all that diesel noise!

Mike
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:36 PM   #19
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350

Kinda hard to hear anything after all that diesel noise!

Mike
When I first had the rack installed, as I was heading down 99 from Fresno it sounded like a jet engine....not the motor but the rack howling in the wind . At first I was upset until I found that SMB left the front PH window slightly open.

Something I was lucky to find last weekend was that one of the racks protective bolt cover caps on the underside of the PH came off. When I got back to camp is saw what looked like a wear hole in the nylon/canvas side of the PH I got lucky it didn't get through the material Found the cap and put it back on. I will now do a look around before lowering the top. I'm gonna ask SMB for more of those unless I can find some locally. The one I reinstalled seems loose.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:05 PM   #20
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Dave,

Maybe those bolts should be installed the other way around. Head on the bottom of the penthouse and nut/bare threads on the top - where no flexible can get damaged.

Mike
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