Thread: Roof Rack Towers on Express van

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    117

    Default Roof Rack Towers on Express van

    Hi Guys,

    I have never been a fan of putting things on the roof of a vehicle. It affects your CofG, it affects your aerodynamics, it places wierd and sometimes excessive forces on connection points and it is inevitable that you will find an overhanging branch on the trail that wants to rip what ever is outside your vehicle off..

    And, I have always had the luxury of having the right vehicle for the job, and not needed to load stuff on the roof.

    But times and needs are changing.
    I have an awning and a solar panel that must go outside the van.

    So I got these ARB type H1 roof rack mounts.
    On my Express the gutters have a large bead of caulking/seam sealer running down the gutter.
    I'm not sure this is the way to do it.
    Take a look at the pics and let me know if I got it right.
    I have the mounts tightened to the point where I can reef on the cross bar and have zero movement of the mount.

    photo (2).JPGphoto (1).JPG
    1978 FJ45 Rubicon Rated
    2007 Express 1500 AWD

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Taupo New Zealand
    Posts
    77
    Looks fine. Haven't used the ARB stuff but seems similar to how thule towers work: a foot on the inside of the gutter and a hook over the outside that you tighten up.

    My tracrack towers bridge over the sealer with a little metal wedge but I wouldn't worry much since it looks like they gave you some rubber channel to put over it. If it's not moving and the cross bars line up it's probably right.

    You'll love the solar and awning (did you get the ARB or fiama?) Put as much solar on as you can fit, I have two panels.

    I just got 16mpg on my last the last tank but that was pretty flat driving and I've also got some bike racks on top and a lot of weight in the van. It gets about 14.5 through the hills.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    117
    Well, so far so good.
    The wife has the van out camping 150 miles away and still has the awning attached to the van.

    I got the Foxwing awning. Great awing but it got ripped up by a "light" gust of wind the first time we opened it.
    We didn't even get a chance to get the poles and guy wires on.
    Broke a hinge and bent at least two horizontal poles. I'm hoping Rhino Rack will step up up with some new parts.

    The awning did come with two extra hinges luckily, and I managed to straighten the bent supports enough to get it working and able to fold back up.

    WARNING - do not let go of a Foxwing awning until you have it tied to the ground if there is any wind at all. Even a light breeze.

    Other than knowing how fragile it is while setting it up, it gives us about a half acre of shade.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1978 FJ45 Rubicon Rated
    2007 Express 1500 AWD

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    126
    That's really good info to know about the Foxwing. I'm considering getting one for my Express. I need a way to cover both the rear and side doors for loading in rain/snow. Most of the time that will be on pavement though, so using the tie down wires will prove tough. So the wind is something to consider.

    That last picture shows it doesn't cover the side doors. Can it be positioned forward a bit and still cover the rear well?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    117
    Quote Originally Posted by dleeallen View Post
    That's really good info to know about the Foxwing. I'm considering getting one for my Express. I need a way to cover both the rear and side doors for loading in rain/snow. Most of the time that will be on pavement though, so using the tie down wires will prove tough. So the wind is something to consider.

    That last picture shows it doesn't cover the side doors. Can it be positioned forward a bit and still cover the rear well?

    You are correct that it doesn't cover the side doors.

    If you are willing to reduce the coverage at the back from 8' down to 6' you could mount the awing closer to the front and cover the side doors.
    The awing also comes off the side of the truck at an angle (look closely at the photos) but there is a triangle section you can get as an option that zips onto the front of the awing to get it to come straight out.

    But that just adds to the extra pieces that need to be stored inside the van, like the poles and guy ropes and pegs.

    I haven't used our awning yet and the mounts that come with it place the awning too high above the roof so I will have a friend fab up some different mounting brackets.

    Side note - Rhino Rack will sell me replacement parts for my awning. It'll cost about $100, lesson learned.
    1978 FJ45 Rubicon Rated
    2007 Express 1500 AWD

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