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Old 06-21-2005   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10
How far to mount rack towers apart on topper?

I just bought a new topper and am planning to mount my yakima racks on it.

I am wondering where I should have the dude mount the rain gutter brackets in order to be able to carry boats up there.

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Old 06-22-2005   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 480
I mounted mine about 4 feet apart and it works fine for kayaks and bikes but it doesn't work for the current group of roof top boxes you might want some day. When I did mine, I measured the distance to match the Yakima boxes back then - of course the new boxes don't require that much space between the bars.

We have a Thule box we put on my wife's car and it won't mount on my bars because they are too far apart. You also might consider if you will be hauling bikes or other stuff up there and how you will carry them and drill accordingly.

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Old 06-22-2005   #3
BastrdSonOfElvis's Avatar
Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
somewhere in the vicinity of 32 inches apart is good for yakima boxes and just about everything else I've tried to strap up there.
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Old 06-22-2005   #4
pbowman's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 245
if using Yakima, i would suggest reading their mount books. i think 36" is considered their standard spread. the problem with going too wide IMO is that the short tray bike mounts (read: cheaper) do not work as well or at all. if you go too far apart to the extreme of well over 40", the long tray mounts will not work either. i thought the long trays were only 43" in length.

my topper has some funky aerodynamic scoops in the side and top, so i think the holes i drilled ended up around 39" apart, and it is not ideal for bike mounts. the wheels always seem to sit directly over the bars on both stand up and fork mounts, so the wheel straps do not align exactly with the bottom of the wheel. i partly did it to match the spread on wifes suby, and the drilling i did in my old rocket box.

the other warning i would give about mounting on a topper is too make sure they get the bars far above the top, so there is several inches (or more) between the bottom of the bar and top of the topper. if the bars are too close, it is a bitch to change mounts.

once you are set up, it is awesome. lots of room, and no little 48" bars to limit your load. 66" on mine, i can take all the toys.
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Old 06-22-2005   #5
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10
Good stuff, just what I was looking for.

So anyone have some plans for making a "bed" platform for the back out of plywood etc. I'd like something that I could sleep on and stow crap underneath.

grassy ass
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Old 06-22-2005   #6
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 58
I have built a couple different storage/bed set ups. I have a pretty good set up now. One thing that helps the most is to get a topper with the windoors instead of sliding windows on the sides. This way you can design your storage with a few "trap doors" on piano hinges so you can get to your stuff that is stored in the forward areas. Send me your email and I can send you some photos if you would like.

Another hint. I welded some ceiling hooks to the washers that go inside the topper on the rack mount bolts, they come in quite handy.
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Old 06-22-2005   #7
pbowman's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 245
just checked my yakima bike mounts. Lock Jaw (older style, but no drastic changes to newer ones) stand up mount trays are 52", and fork mount long tray is 43". the way the stand up mount works, the bar spread must be around 8" or so less than the tray length. bottom line, if you plan to carry bikes check your mounts before drilling any holes resulting in large bar spread.

as for the bed platform, i had the exact same thought, but then decided against it. the primary reason is that most our boats will fit completely in and the topper will lock, so it is more convienent to throw the boats in where ever we are going. on the flip side, it is a pain in the ass to put stuff on the rack given how high it is (i have a small step ladder i keep in the truck), so after work paddling and day trips the stuff just goes in the bed, and it is all locked up when we are finished. and with the two of us and a dog, the bed platform would be a little tight for sleeping . i think your toyota bed is a little smaller than my dakota, so if the boats don't fit easily the rack may be your normal choice anyway, but i would say give it a while before building the bed platform. just my experience. later.
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Old 06-23-2005   #8
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2
another tip: mount the front and rear towers equal distance from the centerline of your real wheel (e.g. center the spread of towers right over teh wheel) - this allows you to use your rear tire as a built in step ladder for cinching up cams, etc.

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