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Durty_Flaanimal

Platform Overland Style Roof Rack

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Has any had any success fitting a Rhino Rack Pioneer platform or other overland style platform roof rack to a LWB FTC?  I have this vision of a platform rack and roof top tent for my FTC and am hitting a lot of brick wall in terms of installation kits.  Looks like I'm going to have to custom install to get what I want hence me reaching out.  Pic below is on a full size transit but it gives you the idea of what I'm looking for in a rack. 

 

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7 hours ago, Durty_Flaanimal said:

any success fitting a Rhino Rack Pioneer platform

Rhino says no.

2130172348_Screenshot2021-04-2316_08_00.thumb.png.a87e9706c5ba2d802a7227d5645c2ff3.png

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Looking at the installation instructions, I think you can do it.  You just have to secure the mounting base to the roof of your van.  Be willing to drill holes if needed.  

 

The real problem is how much weight the Transit Connect roof will carry safely with that platform.

 

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etrailer says it will work.

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It's been my experience that the platform can be fitted but Rhino Rack just doesn't offer a kit to fit it to the TC specifically.   @Fifty150 makes a good point about capacity...  I want to put a RTT up there sometimes so may have to go with three mounting points to spread the load.  I'm having a bit of difficulty locating the exact spec from ford on the roof cap.

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1 hour ago, LostlnTransit said:

This is going to require some jerry rigging using brackets and hardware from other system to us as mounts on the van. can be done, but no one that I know has attempted this. This could also mean having to fabricate angled brackets or you might get lucky and locate a bracket from another system that would work on the persisting rails or mounts. I use Guitar Center's brackets and hardware area for displays and drum setups. I actually have some left over angled brackets and hardware if you need them Not sure they would work, but could be a start.

 

Agreed but I'm thinking if I can come up with a three bar roof cross bar system mounted to the factory rails, I can make it work.  Perhaps using ditch rail mounting feet which would require drilling in one spot I believe.  

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Durty_Flaanimal said:

a bit of difficulty locating the exact spec from ford on the roof cap

 

On 4/23/2021 at 8:24 AM, Durty_Flaanimal said:

vision of a platform rack and roof top tent

 

If I had to guess, you want to keep load weight to 200 lbs and under.  The van roof is not heavily reinforced.  The tent won't weight much.  But how much do you weigh?

 

It could depend on how you mount.  That will distribute the load differently.  The idea is that the crossbars create a "ladder" to help distribute weight. Some commercial ladder racks have 3 cross sections mounted directly to the roof of the van.  That may be a solution for you.  Mount a commercial ladder rack, then attach the platform to the rack sections.  

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Edited by Fifty150

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@LostInTransit and @Fifty150 thanks for the feedback!  I've been off riding mountain bikes and thinking about this a lot!  

 

Great ideas about attempting to use a commercial type rack and utilizing mod'ed brackets from other manufactures and I think I can make this work.  

 

@LostInTransit mentioned creating a build feed.  What did you mean by that?  I'm need to the whole forum things so I ask a lot of noob questions, I'm sure. 

 

It looks like the Rhino Rack Pioneer platform has some promise.  I think I can use the platform and a custom install of their ditch rail feet to get 3 or 4 cross bars bolted directly to the roof ditch rail and get a platform up there. As mentioned the total weight is the issue and I still haven't had any luck locating the roof capacity.  I've hear alot about 250 lbs cap with 2 cross bars utilizing the factory rails.  I feel like if I spread the load over an additional cross bar or two and place those mounting points over the factory reinforced points in the roof I'm hoping to double it and get to 500 lbs total while parked and camping.  RTT - 150lbs with bedding and awning, 200 lbs for me and 150 for a guest (wife) in the tent = 500 lbs.  

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2 hours ago, LostlnTransit said:

Durty_Flaanimal

You're in uncharted territory, meaning by creating a build thread on the forums, others who read what you've done or are going to do could gain ideas from what you're doing. Rarely do TC owners put roof racks on the small TC's. But if they do, they would search into the utility van installer first. You just happen to be one user that wants something differant and this would require extensive modifications and may have not been done before. For us a simply roof rail will be enough to support the 2 awnings, Because we'll have other storage options located inside the van instead on the roof.

 

Gotcha.  I will look into it more and start a build thread when I have some more definitive information. 

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1 hour ago, LostlnTransit said:

ideally, you're going to have to create your own brackets and hardware to make something that's not meant to be used that way. Plus you could contact those company's who make the rack you're wanting and suggest to them to create one for the van. I've submitted several designs for a variety of products for all types of vehicles. Most are rejected but some one end up on the market years later. hell I've even located shops willing to make things based on my designs because I personally don't have fabrication skills, just the ideas.

 

HA!  Same here...lots of ideas and limited fab skills.  I can fix your bicycle like a mother though.  

 

So, Rhino Rack ditch rail mounts will work on all ditch rails, you just have to drill the roof.  https://www.rhinorack.com/en-us/products/roof/roof-racks/vortex/vortex-rlt600-ditch-mount-black-2-bar-roof-rack_ja8414

 

There is an offroad shop near me that says they have done a bunch of these so this is the way I am leaning right now.  Unfortunately I just heard from the ford dealer and Ford hasn't picked up my order yet and it's still in a holding pattern.  They had one allocation from April and doesn't look like I'm going to get it so May it is.  😞

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16 hours ago, Durty_Flaanimal said:

I'm hoping to double it and get to 500 lbs total while parked and camping.  RTT - 150lbs with bedding and awning, 200 lbs for me and 150 for a guest (wife) in the tent = 500 lbs.

 

It depends on your setup.  If you have 2 crossbars, then add a third, that could help.  Adding a 4th cross bar, may be even better.  Imagine that it's like a ladder, with more rungs.  Look on the roof of the van.  There are black plastic caps.  Under each cap, is a hole.  I don't remember, and I'm not going outside to look.  As I remember, those holes will allow you to mount at least 4 cross bars.  

 

I don't want to discourage you.  Just keep in mind that you are trying to put a lot of weight on a roof which is fairly thin and not designed to be load bearing.  However, the roof is designed to be safe in case the van rolls.  Keep in mind that one of the reasons for the rooftop weight recommendation is not that the roof will collapse with 200 pounds of cargo.  The problem is safe operation of the vehicle.  You and your wife wanting to sleep on the roof of the van is not the problem.  The problem is when people load the roof racks with building supplies and tools.  That much weight at the top of the vehicle changes how the vehicle brakes and corners.  Not to mention that people load hundreds of pounds of lumber and ladders.....but don't know how to properly secure the load.  That's why you see ladders, plywood, sheetrock, and 2X4s all over the side of the road.  

 

Get a ladder.  Go up on the roof of the van.  Get a feel for how soft and collapsable the thin metal roof is.  Climb up on the roof.  Stand up.  Maybe take a chance, and jump up & down few times.  It's not crazy.  It does give you an idea of how strong that roof is, and help you really decide if you want to add the weight of 2 people, plus the weight of the rack system.  

 

11 hours ago, Durty_Flaanimal said:

Rhino Rack ditch rail mounts will work on all ditch rails, you just have to drill the roof.

 

This system can mount  to the roof of any vehicle.  Drill holes and rivet.  Where you need to be concerned is that those are small rivets, and the strength or weakness of 1 rivet could change your experience.  Those rivet anchors will be fine for light cargo, a couple of bicycles, etc.  But imagine 2 adults on the roof of the van, and you're putting weight on the rivet.  

 

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A commercial product like Adrian Steel uses holes already built into the van's body, and has support rails which distribute the weight across the roof from front to back.  Most likely with 1/4" bolts, not rivets.  On the Adrian Steel rack, you can also add more crossbars.  On this system, you could easily install 4 cross bars.  Then add whatever platform you want.

 

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2BTCS19 short wheel base2BTCS19image.thumb.png.d18b7152b1e65af0561a98b4fb4e757f.png

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Alright!  All good points and thank you for the feedback.  I understand that the roof shouldn't be over loaded when driving because it changes the characteristics of the handling of the vehicle and I don't think that will be a problem as the RTT is conservatively weighing in at 150 lbs including the rack.  So it's really just a matter of if the roof will support the weight of my wife and I when we are in the tent.  I think adding crossbars to the racking system will help distribute the load and it won't be an issue.  I really like the idea of leveraging the factory mounting points and utilizing larger hardware to mount the rack but I also want to be able to remove all the racking components so I can wash it in a car wash.  :)  That why I like the Rhino Rack option with the quick release towers.  Luckily I have lots of time to figure this out since Ford hasn't even picked up my order yet and locked it in to the system.  

 

In looking at the adrian I'm thinking I could leverage the mounting hardware and then use 8020 and possible build my own roof rack.  This would make for a much easier installation of the base and possibly even give me better support across the roof and distribute the load even more evenly.  I'm thinking something like this picture below. 

 

 

 

 

Capture.JPG

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As I recall, the owners manual lists roof limits of about 220 lbs for LWB van, I think 200-210 lbs SWB van, 185 lbs limit for panoramic skylight roof on wagon. Obviously, as already discussed, that weight limit applies to driving down the road and generally applies to legal liability (low limit from manufacturer to remove their liability from the actions of the end-user/driver), not sleeping in an RTT while the van is parked. 

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21 minutes ago, jrm223 said:

As I recall, the owners manual lists roof limits of about 220 lbs for LWB van, I think 200-210 lbs SWB van, 185 lbs limit for panoramic skylight roof on wagon. Obviously, as already discussed, that weight limit applies to driving down the road and generally applies to legal liability (low limit from manufacturer to remove their liability from the actions of the end-user/driver), not sleeping in an RTT while the van is parked. 

100% agree. 

RTT should be fine when parked as long as total load doesn't exceed the listed limits while driving.  :)  

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9 hours ago, Durty_Flaanimal said:

use 8020 and possible build my own roof rack

 

 

I would use aluminum framing.  It's light weight, and incredibly strong.  Measure to exact needed lengths, and easy to cut.  Very easy to bolt together any size platform you want, with as many cross pieces as you want.  

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I installed Vantech USA roof rack that has channel i bolted using some original plugged holes and adding some anchoring points of my own.

I will try to post some pictures

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Posted (edited)

The feet can slide up and down on these Channel and you can have as many feet as you want. 

My cross bars are connected to these feet

Edited by olegburn
Typo

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In my opinion having that channel helps spreading weight of the feet over wider area. 

I only carry pipe on the rack. 100 lbs maybe 125 at most. 

System is rated for much more. 

As someone mentioned Ford has limit on roof load. 

I used TC for camping also. I moved cross bars closer together and had Thule cargo box on it. 

All felt secure.  

 

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Roof racks are great for bicycles, ladders, PVC pipe for marijuana irrigation, maybe if you hit a deer and want to bring it home.  

Vacation_039Pyxurz.jpg

 

 

why would you sleep on the roof of the van, when you can sleep in the van?

 

 

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Whatever rack you decide on,I suggest you install a mounting channel to spread the weight using the existing holes covered by the plastic plugs.

Here is a picture showing a rivnut on the inside of my 2016 TC that secures the chanel for my Weatherguard adjustable ladder rack.

As you can see,this "trough" has a lot more support than the thin sheet metal of the rest of the roof.

Using  rivnuts in the existing holes also means not having to remove interior trim or drilling near side airbags

(View is passenger side rear hole showing roof and side wall just forward of rear door)

20210430_152116.jpg

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On 5/2/2021 at 3:35 AM, Double Nickels said:

Roof racks are great for bicycles, ladders, PVC pipe for marijuana irrigation, maybe if you hit a deer and want to bring it home.  

Vacation_039Pyxurz.jpg

 

 

why would you sleep on the roof of the van, when you can sleep in the van?

 

 

Bicycle security.  :)

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On 5/2/2021 at 7:07 AM, JackGrimshaw said:

Whatever rack you decide on,I suggest you install a mounting channel to spread the weight using the existing holes covered by the plastic plugs.

Here is a picture showing a rivnut on the inside of my 2016 TC that secures the chanel for my Weatherguard adjustable ladder rack.

As you can see,this "trough" has a lot more support than the thin sheet metal of the rest of the roof.

Using  rivnuts in the existing holes also means not having to remove interior trim or drilling near side airbags

(View is passenger side rear hole showing roof and side wall just forward of rear door)

20210430_152116.jpg

This is EXACTLY my plan.  Rivnuts on the ditch channel should be able to support the rack no issues IMO.  

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On 5/2/2021 at 8:07 AM, JackGrimshaw said:

Whatever rack you decide on,I suggest you install a mounting channel to spread the weight using the existing holes covered by the plastic plugs.

Here is a picture showing a rivnut on the inside of my 2016 TC that secures the chanel for my Weatherguard adjustable ladder rack.

As you can see,this "trough" has a lot more support than the thin sheet metal of the rest of the roof.

Using  rivnuts in the existing holes also means not having to remove interior trim or drilling near side airbags

(View is passenger side rear hole showing roof and side wall just forward of rear door)

20210430_152116.jpg

Ditto on the hardware.

Traditionally these are called plus nuts in my circles and work wonderfully.

I have i think 4 that secure my channel. 

Some were installed using factory oval holes and couple i had to drill.

Important getting visual on where you will drill. Especially around where curtain airbags are .

Tape measure is your friend. Reinforcement crossbars are also should be avoided. 

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