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BCWesty Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:17 pm

I bought some rain gutter mounting roof racks for my '87 westy a couple of years ago. I got the gutter mounted ones because I didn't want to drill into my poptop. After using them for a couple of years, I'm getting sick of taking them on and off every time I want to pop the top. Has anyone had any bad experiences with poptop mounted roof racks?

Corwyn Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:36 pm

Nope. Got three sets installed by GW and love 'em! Get the 4-bolt versions - they support more weight and distribute loads better in the fiberglass.

kamzcab86 Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:43 pm

My van came with a Yakima rack. I haven't used it since buying the van a year ago (no need yet), but the roof shows no signs of any issues and the previous owners used it regularly. One of the previous owners installed it using 1/4" wood on the back side of the roof for each gutter bracket, which probably helps a bit.

Brungeman Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:16 pm

No issues at all. it is a great investment and I couldn't imagine having to remove the racks everytime I wanted to pop the top!


what are you hauling on your rack?

buildyourown Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:18 pm

No issues. I've had a heavy box and bikes up there.
If you're worried about it, buy the Gary Lee setup. That way, the fiberglass carries none of the weight.

whynotvw Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:27 pm

Brungeman wrote: No issues at all. it is a great investment and I couldn't imagine having to remove the racks everytime I wanted to pop the top!

X2

I got the slider version. My satelite and solar weighs about 60lbs and i sometimes carry my surfboard another 10-20 lbs. I did buy the jack bombay pop top shock.



I think the rack that is mounted on the side of the poptop should be able hold more load.

BCWesty Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:47 pm

I mostly carry surfboards, 2-3 usually. I'm a little worried about leaks living on the wet coast.

1621 Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:04 pm

BCWesty wrote: I mostly carry surfboards, 2-3 usually. I'm a little worried about leaks living on the wet coast.

If you go with the side mounts, there's very little chance you'll get any leaking inside the van - I'd say 'nearly' impossible since the bolts would still be outside of the canvas. You could also add a little bit of silicone during the install to help prevent any water intrusion.

I've had the Yakima Wide Body mounts for many years now, many heavy (150# plus) loads up there, and not even a hairline crack. I have a metal plate mounted on the backside of the fiberglass so the holes are sandwiched between steel. I used some Simpson StrongTie mending plate IIRC. If you do add these, consider JackBombay's poptop shocks at the same time. Then use the shock through bolt as one of the wide body mounts. One less hole in the top, and extra rigidity around the shock mount point.

PDXWesty Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:22 pm

I'll second 1621's response. I've loaded my rack with at least a couple hundred pounds on occasion and have never had a problem. I also have the wide body mounts, but I only backed them with washers. No leaking and no cracking. I have a 21 cf Thule box and a basket. They're regularly quite full. I've also hauled a lot of firewood up there. Once I put my canoe up there upright and filled it with wood alongside a packed box. I have the hd shocks and I do need to unload some to open the top, but I'm pretty happy with them.


Muskrat Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:36 am

i've got the gary lee racks and they're the best of both worlds. you can haul a ton up there without worry of damaging the top and ease of popping the tent without having to remove anything. a bit pricey bu definitely worth it.

Zero419 Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:17 am

2 hole mounts.
A couple hundred pounds.
Jack Bombay pop top shocks
zero problems

I have a box on once side and when I put the top up and down it twists a good amount.

No cracks, moans or groans.

J Charlton Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:50 am

I also have the Gary Lee roof rack, safari basket and boat loading front bar. The mounting plates extend down into the gutters so that all of the weight is transferred into the gutters and none is borne by the fibreglass top at all. Very nice design, very well made. Maybe a bit more expensive, not a lot though and well worth it for the strength of the system. When I go on a fishing expedition I have no worries about having a 150lb+ aluminum boat on it. The additional hold down clips that he supplies can be used to supplement the "tie down security".

Classicvibe Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:20 am

whynotvw wrote: Brungeman wrote: No issues at all. it is a great investment and I couldn't imagine having to remove the racks everytime I wanted to pop the top!

X2

I got the slider version. My satelite and solar weighs about 60lbs and i sometimes carry my surfboard another 10-20 lbs. I did buy the jack bombay pop top shock.



I think the rack that is mounted on the side of the poptop should be able hold more load.

That is slick! It seems to me that when I was looking at the slider system, the grooves in the top prevented me from using it like I wanted to, but yours looks good and appears to be perfectly functional. How did you mount it over those channel walls in the top? Nice job

Bruce Wayne Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:22 am

I'm in the PNW as well and have had no problems with leaks. we usually put 100lbs or so up there,plus the weight of the bars and basket. I also have the jackbombay HD shocks.

Love My Westy Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:05 am

I have had the Yakima Wide Body Mounts for all 24 years I've owned my Van. I have carried 2 full size canoes at times and, 2 sea kayaks (65#) plus all of my paddling gear in them on many rough dirt roads with no cracking. My only complaint is that I added a third pair of Wide Body Mounts and couldn't find them galvanized like my first 2 pair so I have an unmatched set up there and the powder coated ones have rusted over time. It seems Yakima has cut the quality to make more money.

I have the heavy jackbombay shocks and they will lift my top with my 70# canoe on it just fine, but it took two of us to get it up when we added a 40# kayak up there.

markz2004 Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:44 am

behind each 'gutter' I used an aluminum plate, which acts like a giant washer. Super easy to do. 8)

Since this picutre was taken i've added the jack bombay lift assist kit.

whynotvw Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:54 am

Classicvibe wrote: whynotvw wrote: Brungeman wrote: No issues at all. it is a great investment and I couldn't imagine having to remove the racks everytime I wanted to pop the top!

X2

I got the slider version. My satelite and solar weighs about 60lbs and i sometimes carry my surfboard another 10-20 lbs. I did buy the jack bombay pop top shock.



I think the rack that is mounted on the side of the poptop should be able hold more load.



That is slick! It seems to me that when I was looking at the slider system, the grooves in the top prevented me from using it like I wanted to, but yours looks good and appears to be perfectly functional. How did you mount it over those channel walls in the top? Nice job

it goes on the outside of the channel edge and in between the two ridge.


the side mounts might hold more weight but the slider looks 10x more better in my opinion. plus i don't need three bars because i can slide the bars unlike the stationary side mounts. but if your going to carry fridge,boat, or other heavy stuff then side mounts would be better. :D

very clean look. no ugly side brackets



vs side mount


Zero419 Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:23 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:


That's like an acne or weight loss commercial with before and after pics!!

whynotvw Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:03 pm

hero419 wrote: :lol: :lol: :lol:


That's like an acne or weight loss commercial with before and after pics!!

:) :) :)

i think they're all good. side mounts will have less flex vs slider mount. i can notice slight flexing. not enough to cause any damage or anything. i never had the side mounts so i couldn't say about the flex but i assume all the weight being on the side, it should have less flex.

negative on the slider system is it does cost more and on the inside it is secured by thule or yakima button nuts. with the side mounts, no nuts would show on the inside.(obviously)



one other positive is you can mount 80 watt sharp solar on the slider. inside the slider their is a sliding nut. so no need to drill holes for the
solar.

some more pictures



86syncrowesty Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:41 pm

4 bolt side plates, just two per side not three like the GW setups, not sure I need that much as I only haul a Yak box and bikes. Haven't had the chance to really test a full load - two bikes, loaded box yet. With just a box or just bikes it seems to be fine, raises and lowers great with the pop-top shocks from Jack (HD units).

One note, when installing the side mounts I would suggest a torpedo level, or similar, to make sure the mounts are level prior to drilling. One of mine is a little off level due to a rush job to fight the coming dark and cold the day I did mine.



*edit, add photo.



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