Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,257 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I installed my Camping Labs roof top tent on my Bajarack Expedition rack this past weekend, and man, it was turning out to be more difficult than I originally thought!

I decided to arrange the RTT so that it opened over the rear, and not to either side. That brought up an interesting challenge; either the front or the rear mounts would be centered between the inside rails, but not both. No big deal, I could go with a solid mounting solution centering the rear and then snug up the front as best as I could (or, so I thought).

After trying to figure out how in the world I was going to get my hands under the front portion of the rack (there's absolutely no space whatsoever to do this, IMO), I came up with an alternative.

The solution was to run the two anchor studs far out to the edge of the rack, where the anchor bracket and nut could be attached without trying to get underneath the rack to the inner rails. I positioned the stud between the outermost rack rail and rack's rooftop mounting bracket. The original stud was not quite long enough to reach through the anchor bracket hole, so I ended up buying two longer stainless bolts and new nylock nuts at the hardware store (8mm x 60mm).

The attached photos show the rear mount, and the position of the front stud & anchor bracket, respectively. The last photo shows the nut being threaded on the stud, but upon tightening everything lined up straight and snug.

Voila!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,128 Posts
With the ARB rack, you need a teenage girls hand, and two wrists to get the front bolted down. I never bothered with a bracket like you, i would just tape a ratcheting box end to a old school skinny jack handle :lol:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,257 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It was a "necessity is the mother of invention" experience, for me.

There was no way I was getting my hands under there, period!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
550 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Hi Joe,

Don't know if you are still subscribed to this thread, but I hope anyone feels free to chime in.

I just discovered how difficult it is to use the supplied hardware that comes with a RTT in that middle area of the flat Baja Rack. Unfortunately, my FJ won't fit in the garage with the tent attached. I still wanted a RTT badly enough to accept the idea of installing and removing the tent for trips, but it's just to tight in that area.

Questions-

1) What kind of brackets are those in the pics? Are they the awning brackets from Baja?

2) Does your method only work with the RTT mounted to open in the back? Otherwise, the tracks on the bottom of the tent won't be long enough to reach the outer rail of my rack.

3) When I measured, I thought that the rear door would not open without contacting the ladder. Is your tent one of the larger ones? Does the door contact the ladder?

Thanks in advance!
Roland
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
thanks for sharing ...i also have the question of how the tent works coming off the back of the fj,with the door ?would you have had as many problems with install if you had the tent go off the side ?im getting a tent and baja rack this next year and was thinking bout taking it on and off at least a couple times between trips ..
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,257 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Wow, been a few months since I started this thread!

News since then: I decided to remove the Baja Expedition rack & Camping Labs RTT from the roof of the FJ, and will be attaching them to an open-topped military surplus trailer (an M101A2). I need to fab some square tubing hoops to mount the rack, and then the tent on the rack. I found that I really didn't like wheeling with the tent up there, as the FJ felt top-heavy and unstable when going off-camber.

Regarding your questions, above:

1) The brackets are those supplied with the Camping Labs tent. Consists of four identical brackets with rubberized sides to keep from scratching up the finish on the rack rails. Apparently, they're built to fit the Baja rack cross-rails, as the measurement fits the Expedition rack rails width perfectly. For the front mounts I turned the brackets 90 degrees such that the brackets contact the bottom edge of the outer rails and the bolt sits between the outer rail and the rack's roof mounting bracket. There's enough of a gap that once the bolt's nut is tightened the tent is prevented from moving any direction. It's very secure. However, you'll have to go with shorter length bolts than those supplied with the tent or you'll dig into the roof.

2) Yes, the way the front brackets attach the way I show in the pictures is because the tent opens up to the rear (which ends up being very handy, as you don't have to worry about obstructions on either side, should you pull into a tight spot or have to deploy on a trafficked roadside).

3) I have the medium tent, and the rear door opens enough for accessing the cargo area. However, it doesn't open all of the way as the door will contact the ladder. But, I just lift the ladder so it clears the door, move the door beyond the ladder, then lower the ladder between the inside of the door and the cabin area. But, I haven't had the need to keep the door open for long periods so don't regularly make it a practice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
thanks bro ,been trying to get away from a trailer ?just for ease ,my wheelin has been mostly traveling colorado,utah,newmex ..so was trying to keep fj all in one ?thanks for the heads up on the tent being top heavy ,,,how is it in the wind ?fj sucks in wind anyway ..lol...mabye need a off road trailer ?love the idea off the back ,dosent seem to big of a deal ?thanks agin making me think what will work best ,,,j
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Thanks Joe for the quick response! Your comments were very helpful. I have a Tepui tent, and while many of the RTT's are similar, the bottom part of the tent anchors for this brand is just a piece of metal with 2 holes in it. I should have put some foam tape on before I mounted it as it has already damaged the powder coating on the rack.

I also checked out another thread discussing rear or side mounting, but some of the guys that were going to post pics never did, so it's been hard to tell if the rear mounting was a viable option.

I kind of like the way that my tent looked mounted with the opening to the passenger side, but I wouldn't mind (I think) just lifting the ladder a bit to fully open the rear door. I think that I will try it the next time out.

Is your tent mounted with only one bolt at each corner? My hardware comes with 2 bolts for each corner.

Thanks,
Roland
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,321 Posts
Wow, been a few months since I started this thread!

News since then: I decided to remove the Baja Expedition rack & Camping Labs RTT from the roof of the FJ, and will be attaching them to an open-topped military surplus trailer (an M101A2). I need to fab some square tubing hoops to mount the rack, and then the tent on the rack. I found that I really didn't like wheeling with the tent up there, as the FJ felt top-heavy and unstable when going off-camber.
Regarding your questions, above:

1) The brackets are those supplied with the Camping Labs tent. Consists of four identical brackets with rubberized sides to keep from scratching up the finish on the rack rails. Apparently, they're built to fit the Baja rack cross-rails, as the measurement fits the Expedition rack rails width perfectly. For the front mounts I turned the brackets 90 degrees such that the brackets contact the bottom edge of the outer rails and the bolt sits between the outer rail and the rack's roof mounting bracket. There's enough of a gap that once the bolt's nut is tightened the tent is prevented from moving any direction. It's very secure. However, you'll have to go with shorter length bolts than those supplied with the tent or you'll dig into the roof.

2) Yes, the way the front brackets attach the way I show in the pictures is because the tent opens up to the rear (which ends up being very handy, as you don't have to worry about obstructions on either side, should you pull into a tight spot or have to deploy on a trafficked roadside).

3) I have the medium tent, and the rear door opens enough for accessing the cargo area. However, it doesn't open all of the way as the door will contact the ladder. But, I just lift the ladder so it clears the door, move the door beyond the ladder, then lower the ladder between the inside of the door and the cabin area. But, I haven't had the need to keep the door open for long periods so don't regularly make it a practice.
That has been the one question Ive had about those. Glad you posted it. I dont run with sway bars and thats enough for me. Looks like the trailer idea is the only valid one for me at this point.

:cheers:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,257 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
150 lbs doesn't sound like much, but I could definitely tell it was up there, and with a lift it just made it feel even more top-heavy, IMO.

Although, I've wheeled with guys that permanently have theirs on the roof, and they don't have the same issue (could be their springs/shocks are stouter than mine). I guess it's down to what you're used to wheeling. If someone's used to the RTT over time adjustments to the top-heavy feeling are made, I reckon...

Is your tent mounted with only one bolt at each corner? My hardware comes with 2 bolts for each corner.
Yeah, I believe the Camping Labs and ARB tents mount identically, with one bolt per corner. I wish I would have taken pictures of the rear-opening tent, but no dice. I think I saw one posted on the forum some time ago, so try using the Google custom search box at the top of this page and see what you can find. I've found that the Google search box comes back with more sucessful hits than the forum-supplied search page.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
394 Posts
A friend of mine just purchased a RTT but has the standard Baja Rack. Any suggestions on how to mount it? What specific pieces (crossbars, etc.) should they get in order to make sure that it's secure?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
Because the clearance between the Bajarack EXP and the roof is so small, I just welded in some tabs with captive nuts. To install my ARB tent, I just have to thread in the bolts from the top. The tent has a square mounting pattern, so it can be mounted in either direction. I usually hang it off the passenger side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
936 Posts
A few things I have found that help with installing/removing the RTT on the EXP rack is shortning the bolts and glueing them to the bracket so they don't move around when your threading the nuts on, a ratcheting box wrench is a must and my wifes small hands make it possible. Its worth the hassle since it puts the tent down as low as it can be which makes it go down the road better IMO. Purple Heart, I don't have any idea on how to mount a RTT to a standard Bajarack since it has a curve to it, getting it level on the rack could be tricky. It will also make it 4 or 5 inches higher which can cause issues in a cross wind according to Corey, I don't notice it much with the EXP rack.

Having that extra weight up on the roof is noticeable and you have to respect it, but I did do Poughkipse Gulch at the summit this year with it on with out any problems (there was another FJ on the trail run with a RTT also and he did it without any problems). I'am running OME heavies on the rear and mediums up front and 255/85-16 BFG KM's which are a stiff tire even aired down, which may help in offroading with the RTT. I also run a stock size AT tire when doing on road miles and definately can feel the fj sway more do to the softer sidewalls. :cheers:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
It's been a while since I posted, but I thought that this might be helpful for anyone mounting a roof top tent onto the Baja flat utility rack.

When I took the tent out last weekend, I tried mounting it so that the ladder would open to the rear. It cleared my Corey type Thule bike rack and seemed like it would clear the door when I opened it (sorry, I never checked it after I opened up the tent)

The main reason that I wanted to post was that I found a huuuuuge difference in the ease of mounting the tent. The last time, because there was so little clearance between the rack and the roof, it probably took over an hour and a half (I'm thinking 2 hours) to tighten the nuts. This time it only took about 5 minutes. On the down side, I guess that it would be easier to steal as well.

The first time that I installed the tent, I used the hardware that was included with my Tepui tent. The bolts were metric and longer than I needed. They were also the type of nuts that have the nylon inside to prevent unthreading (Nylock). It was extremely difficult to try to fit any kind of wrench or ratchet that far under the rack. I actually had to have my daughter help me - and yes, she does have the hands of a teenage girl. With the included nuts, you couldn't hand spin the nuts and then tighten them with a few turns, you had to use a wrench and fight the nylock nuts the entire way (it seemed like a trip to HD would have taken too long)

This time, I had picked up some 5/16 nuts and bolts of different sizes. I think that I ended up using a 2" and a 1-1/2" bolt at each corner and by changing the orientation, the rails attached to the base of the tent were able to hang over the edge of the Baja Rack. I was able to lift each corner and slide on the hardware, then finger tighten the nuts and then throw a few turns on them with an open end wrench. Super easy. It was easy enough to where I will go out and get a few nylock 5/16" nuts to prevent loosening.

I remove my tent after each trip. Yes, it's a PITA, but it's worth it to have the Roof Top Tent. In case anyone needs to find an easier way, I bought a couple of 12' 2x4's, and screwed a couple of blocks on to prevent slipping. I engage the blocks onto the last rail of the roof rack and then lift the tent onto the 2x4's and then slide the tent down to the ground on these "ramps".

To protect the rack, I throw a couple of 4' x 4" pieces of scrap wood on top so that the aluminum rails of the tent will not scratch up my powder coating.

RC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I just found how challenging it is to use the provided components that comes with a RTT in that center place of the smooth Baja Carrier. Unfortunately, my FJ won't fit in the spare room place with the covering connected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Do you mean that you can't park your fj with the RTT attached? If that's the case, try mounting your RTT with the ladder facing backwards. The tent's aluminum rails will over hang the outer edge of the rack, so you won't have to reach under the rack to tighten your hardware. Attaching and removing the tent isn't as bad if you don't have to fight with the hardware.

Also, the fellow at Tepui told me to try 5/16" bolts - they might work for you too.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top