How big should my roof racks be?

I am outfitting my new cruiser 200 and need advice from experienced tourers regarding my roof racks.

Is it best to get the biggest roof racks possible? Or are there other factors involved. I note that there are several different sizes of roof rack offered by ARB for my cruiser and it made me wonder why someone would opt for a smaller one. Is it purely for the different look? Or is there a beneficial reason to get a smaller roof rack?

I have four kids and was planning to put a lot of stuff up there (recognising that the heavy stuff should not go up there).

I would appreciate your input.

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 10:35

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 10:35
The bigger it is the more you put on it? The bigger it is the load can be spread more evenly.

Whatever size you choose don't overload it.
AnswerID: 517610

Reply By: Injected - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:12

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:12
Does your model have a sun roof?
If its does you can get 3/4 lenght roof racks to suit.
I would get a 3/4 Aluminium rack by ARB, if i was in the market for a roof rack for my 200, as i dont want to put too much up there weight wise.
AnswerID: 517611

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:04

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:04
It's a GXL with no sunroof.
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:44

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 11:44
There are a couple of benefits with a smaller roof rack, IMO:

1. Less effect on roll stability and handling as compared to the largest roof rack.
2. Less stress on the body structure on rough roads.

The 200 series, genuine Toyota, largest size roof rack, is rated at 150kgs maximum capacity - spread evenly over the rack bars and mounting feet.

Any roof rack is going to directly affect your fuel consumption, and the bigger the roof rack, the more you're going to carry in weight up there - and increased gross vehicle weight affects your fuel consumption as well.

We all have different ideas on what we "need" to carry with us. Some people can't help themselves and need to bring most of their house contents with them on their vehicles.

One needs to go through a reality check regularly and figure exactly what you "need" to carry with you and reduce that amount to the bare minimum. That way you don't end up with a stressed-out vehicle working at its limit, and a vehicle that is handling poorly because it's loaded to the max.

I can recall a couple of mates with a traytop 'Cruiser who loaded up the 'Cruiser with "everything they might need", for a run up the CSR.
After loading the vehicle up, they were astounded to find the 'Cruiser was grossing well over 3 tonnes - and they had to do some major re-adjustments on what exactly their basic "needs" were, for the run.
AnswerID: 517612

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:08

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:08
Thanks Ron,

Regarding your number 2 point, wouldn't it be less stress to have the weight spread through more anchor points than less anchor points?

I appreciate your thoughts.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 16:34

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 16:34
Yes, that's true, can't disagree with that - if you're going to carry the same weight on a long rack, as you planned to carry on a short one.
However, the temptation is always there, with a large rack, to load it right up, "because we've got plenty of room!" [:-)

Have to agree with olcoolone - if you want to attach an awning, the full length rack does has advantages there.
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Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 13:17

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 13:17
We have a full length ARB rack and going bigger doesn't mean you will carry more or it will be heavier or cause more drag......a bag of cement weighs more than a mattress but the bag of cement is 20X smaller than a mattress..... my point is with weight, you can make bother be heavier or lighter.

Load on the roof will make no difference between sizes and on the 200 series there are designated mounts.

The other advantage of going full length is you can fit a full length awning and have it secured.
AnswerID: 517615

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:08

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:08
I didn't think of the awning using the full length of the roof rack.

Thanks for that!
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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 13:58

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 13:58
Before you start you need to be aware that the load capacity of a 200 Series is only about 600kg TOTAL including occupants, fuel, cargo and accessories, First thing I would be doing before delivery is a GVM upgrade.
AnswerID: 517616

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 17:32

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 17:32
Most 4x4 wagons are about the same in load carrying, a Nissan Patrol and Mitsubishi Pajero are slightly less than a 200 series.

A GVM upgrade for any vehicle is a good idea.
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Reply By: Shaker - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 14:04

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 14:04
You can put a little thing on a big rack, but can you put a big thing on a small rack?

AnswerID: 517617

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:09

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 15:09
LOL good point Shaker!
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Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:07

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 18:07
OBD

Regarding fuel consumption. Some years ago we went for a run through the Vic high country from Qld and decided (wisely I might add in retrospect) to leave our camper trailer at home and put a lesser amount of our gear up on the roof.

To cut to the chase, we used more fuel with that configuration than we did when towing the CT which would have nudged 1 tonne.

Of course we had nothing like that weight on the roof, but the additional wind resistance was very significant.
AnswerID: 517635

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 20:40

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 20:40
I agree with Rosco.
I have never owned a vehicle with a roof rack and probably never would. Fuel consumption increases dramatically as well as making the vehicle more unstable with greater roll-over propensity.
I recall reading some research years ago that fuel consumption can increase somewhere in the vicinity of 20 to 25%. (but this would depend on the vehicle and the wind resistence as well as other factors).
As Rosco states you would use less fuel towing a small trailer and can carry alot more in it.
Just a thought.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:18

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:18
So interesting and unexpected!
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Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:41

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:41
Another aspect to consider regarding steel v alloy racks, apart from weight considerations...

Something I came across some years ago was the matter of body flex in off road conditions. There is/was a school of thought that steel racks with full length rails resting in the gutters resisted body flex significantly more so than the Rhino style of rack, with the result that issues arose with cracking at the sealed joins between the various body panels. May not be relevant now, but was in days of old.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 14:23

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 14:23
The ARB alloy rack mounts don't use the rail that the steel ones do.
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Reply By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 20:27

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 20:27
I am favourably disposed to ARB products as they are more than fit for most purposes. I have used one of their full length steel racks and it served me well. May I suggest however that the weight of these alone is quite substantial and near impossible to remove without a team of people to assist. I could not even lift it off the ground it was so heavy. I now use Rhino Racks and could not be happier, expensive but very versatile and more than adequate for most rooftop gear. Cheers
AnswerID: 517644

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:19

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:19
I was planning to get the ARB alloy rack which is supposed to be 40% lighter than the steel one.
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Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 20:40

Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 20:40
Hi OBD.

I use a Rhinorack long/half basket on three RR carrybars which are also fitted with shovel holder and kangajack fittings on the ends opposite the rack.

I have never had to wish I had a bigger system even tho I regularly go out to the deserts for 3 weeks or more. Basket takes my 240 Blackwolf, camping chairs, stretchers, 2 jerries if using, plus ample remaining room for chnsawed short lengths of firewood for up to a 2 night supply.

The rest of the carrybars has been used for long lengths of fwood, and once a mate used them for two large canvas bags containing all his supplies when we were carrying a total of three people for the first time.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 517645

Reply By: Penchy - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 07:23

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 07:23
Don't worry about load rating and all the other crap people are going on about. Simple thing is only light stuff goes on the roof, so get a rack that is going to accomodate your light stuff. If you dont have much then get a small rack, if you have a lot, get a big one. Simple. They also make good mounting points for jacks, shovels, lights, UHF ariels and so on.
AnswerID: 517663

Reply By: Member. Rob M (QLD) - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 07:43

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 07:43
Have a look at the Dolium website for there aluminium roof racks.
They are made in South Africa and seem to be very good quality and very low profile which is great if you need to go into undercover car parks.

I have had one on my 100 series for about 340000lkm with no problems.

Mine is 2200mm long with the optional stainless steel table mounted between underside of rack and roof of vehicle. It is very handy to have there whenever you need it.

There are also many accessories that can be purchased.
You can sort of see it in my signature photo.

Rob
Rob M

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 08:19

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 08:19
Agreed, look at Dolium for the windcheater or Tradesman aluminium roof racks.

I have never had an issue with Aluminium on my 200 including putting wood on the roof rack. Why would you put heavy, expensive steel up on the roof to carry light weight stuff?

Also consider a flat rack. less drag and you can put things like timber panels etc on it easily for round home work.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 08:58

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 08:58
Firstly, I have not read all the above responses so if I double up then apologies in advance.

We have a roof top tent and I wish that I had a larger roof rack. There isn't a lot of room in front of the tent. Just enough room for a couple of bags of wood (waste and leftovers from home DIY) sitting on the maxtracks.

I do not know your complete plans but you may want to keep this in mind.

Phil
AnswerID: 517671

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:25

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:25
Yes I hadn't thought about how useful the roof rack would be for carrying firewood.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:41

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 10:41
Before the roof top tent we used to stop and toss up fallen wood from the side of the road. Now I keep any left overs from home and cut it up and stash it in tough bags which go on the roof when we go away. I am also known to watch out for stuff the neighbours do not want.

One thing to remember if you want to carry wood from the side of the road is to make sure there is a "floor" to stop the wood doesn't scratching the roof. I put an open weave light aluminium that they make security doors with up there.

You can see three bags on the rack in the photo below.

Phil

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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 21:54

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 21:54
Ok, I will be honest right at the start. I hate roof racks!!!

My first 4WD was a shortie MQ with a super heavy duty roof rack that I was never afraid to fill. Lets be honest with any of the shorties there is not a lot of room for gear inside so the roof is the logical alternative.

I had that car about 4 years and most of my really scary moments moments off road took place in that drivers seat. I can think of 4 moments that I would not want to re live any time. Three of them were at least partly initiated by the excess weight up on the roof and all 4 were made worse by it. So for me its no roof rack.

That said they do work for lots of people and if they work for you then go for it. But don't just go there automatically.

After about 10 years travelling in a 4WD I bought a camper trailer. I carried more stuff, more comfortably and, I think, more safely. Yes it cost more than a roof rack but it also offers more.

At the end of a long day driving the last thing I want to do is climb up onto the roof to get at my gear. In the time it took me to climb onto the roof and throw down a couple of key bits of kit I can have the camper set up to the point where Mum can be getting on with dinner. Most days it takes me less than 10 min from handbrake to bed, The beds are always made, the kitchen is always set up and food is easy to get at. I can use my kitchen for a lunch stop too, because it is easy to get to.

In the morning I can pack everything from inside the camper so if it is raining no one gets wet and once I fold the camper I get in the car a drive away. No climbing on the roof to tie things down.

Yes you do have to think about your off road driving with a trailer but I would argue that if you have 100kg of gear on the roof your should be thinking about that in the bush too. I have never sat at the bottom of a hill and thought I would go up there if I didn't have the trailer - never but I have snuck under a couple of low hanging logs on mountain tracks.

Finally whatever you buy, buy quality. My camper is 17 years old has worked hard and all I have replace is shockies. If you buy a good roof rack it will outlast your car.

Just trying to encourage you to think through some alternatives.

Duncs
AnswerID: 517703

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 09:44

Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 09:44
LOL Duncs, share your real feelings mate! :)

I appreciate your thoughts about living without roof racks, especially when I think about getting into carparks when not outback!

We are getting a camper trailer too. Hmmm. The thing that still attracts me about roof racks is the idea of picking up wood as we go. Also when it is just me and a mate going out without the family, I wouldn't need the camper trailer.

Still thinking.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 09:46

Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 09:46
Also a place for spare tyres.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 19:20

Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 19:20
Hmmm,

I had read everybody's responses and reckon you must be more confused now than before you asked the question.

From my own experience, a roof rack and basket are a valuable storage solution.
Take a look at my profile picture and you can see I have a moderate sized roof rack/basket that sits above the canopy on my rig.

It consists of a pair of rhino racks and a steel mesh basket.
I use it for the more bulky but moderate weight items that would otherwise take up a lot of room inside the canopy. Things such as swags and folding table and chairs and a bit of camp cooking gear and sometimes my Oztent strapped along the near (passenger) side. And of course the long handled shovel on the other side.

I will also point out that my vehicle has a computer readout of average fuel consumption and my 8.8l/100k hardly seems to move whether I use the Roof rack, or tow the camper, or a combination of both, so fuel consumption is not an issue with the turbo diesel automatic of my vehicle.

I well designed basket will deflect wind above it a therefore there will be minimal impact to wind resistance and resultant increased fuel consumption.
My basket has a wind deflector on the leading edge and appears to work extremely well.
I always use a canvas sack to contain the items carried and help protect them from the elements.

Buy a cage big enough to suit your perceived requirements. You will not be sorry you invested in one.
I remove mine between trips. It is retained by 4 bolts and plates to the Rhino cross racks and only takes a few minutes to remove.
Mine can be lifted off by me alone and I don't need any lifting gear to assist installation or removal.

Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 23:05

Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 23:05
Great feedback Bill, thanks!
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