Friday, February 12, 2010

Roof rack grinder attack

With the addition of the roof top tent, we lost the ability to carry much stuff on the roof (an option I wasn’t too excited about anyway for security reasons) including the trademark plastic storage bin above the driver. In fact, because of the wide spread of the crossbars needed for the RTT, I’d had to remove the storage bin completely to mount the crossbars.


Not wanting to lose any space, I set out to modify the stock storage bin to allow for the crossbars. 5 minutes of measuring and 2 minutes with the grinder and I had notches cut out where the cross bars would attach to the stock rack.


While the storage bin would only really be useful for items thin enough to be slipped in between the RTT and the front fairing, I figured it would work for tarps or rope to set up camp. But behind the bin, I couldn’t help but notice a good 5” of room between the roof and the cross bars that might just be salvageable.


Sure enough, I tried the 4 gallon Kolpin fuel container my buddy had bought for our Trans-America Trail motorcycle trip and it fit perfectly laid flat within the sidebars of the rack and under the crossbars. Picture the stock (gray) crossbar in the middle above removed. Four rubber feet epoxied onto it and it’d ride up there like a champ.


The next part of the plan is to find a storage box for our recovery/repair tools (jack, tow strap, fix a flat, etc) that will slide in under there as well. Any thoughts on a 34” wide, 5” tall, and 10-20” deep metal or plastic box? Looked at “under the bed” storage bins but they’re a little too tall.

And the final element. With the RTT on top and the stock crossbar in the rearmost position to hold the fuel pack and recovery box in place, there’s not enough room to get a typical screwdriver in to remove the crossbar and get at the stuff. Built in security! I would make a stubby driver that would fit or potentially use a ratchet with a T25 Torx socket. For added security, the crossbar screws could be replaced with “security bolts” that require a special head to remove. Sounds like a hassle but both items are really “just in case” and could be retrieved in under a minute with the right tool.