So where do I put the ____ (insert off road item here)?   How many times during the building and equipping of your rig have you found yourself standing next to it asking yourself this question?   I know that I have done it more times than I care to remember.   As you add to your equipment, spare parts and trip related gear you quickly find that all of the nooks and cranny's in the truck are used up.   For me, the next step was to add tool and recovery gear boxes in the bed, which I did and are now full of tools and recovery gear!

So now lets fast forward a bit.   Your truck is done and your ready to head out on the trail.   So now your standing in your truck trying to figure out where to put all that camping gear that your going to need during your adventure.   It was time for more room, it was time for a roof rack.

You can see all of the pictures HERE

The Defender Rack came well packed in 3 pieces.
Assembly is very easy, just bolt the rack together.
The pieces are keyed for additional strength.
In addition to the lock washers included, we used loctite.   This is not something that we can ever see needing to take apart again so we want to make sure that it stays together.

The following two scans are from the instructions that came with the kit.

The first shows how the mounting feet will attach to the roof of the truck.

The mounting feet will sit on the roof and be attached with well nuts.   The well nuts will be inserted into a hole that will be drilled into the roof and will self seal when the mounting bolt is tightened.

The well nut is a rubber piece with a nut molded into the bottom.

As the bolt is tightened, the rubber of the well nut will expand out as the rubber is compressed, this is what will form the seal. (see arrow)

I was concerned that the metal feet would over time rub the paint off the roof and cause rust as the rack vibrates and moves slightly.   

To fix this problem, I went to Home Depot and some 1/16" gasket rubber sheets.  These were found in the toilet repair with the spare toilet parts.

The rubber material was cut into a rectangle that will cushion the mounting feet.   Holes for the well nuts are cut into the sheet to allow them to fit flush (no pun intended) with the roof so they can seal properly.   

The feet were attached to the rack with the bolts and nuts just hand tight so they can be easily adjusted.   We put painters tape on the roof of the truck in the area that the mounting feet would rest.   This is done for a few reasons.   The first is to keep the feet from scratching the roof of the truck as me move it around and get the exact location set.   The second is to help protect the paint as we drill our holes into the roof.

The rack was then positioned on the roof and the front to rear and side to side alignment was set.   Once it was set the mounting holes were marked on the painters tape and the rack was removed from the roof.   

The next step was to drill the 1/2 inch holes in the roof of the truck.
Once the holes were drilled and cleaned up, the mounting feet were removed from the rack and set next to their mounting locations.
This is how the mounts will be done.   The well nuts are placed into the holes, then the rubber sheet is placed down around them.   

The mounting feet are then bolted down.   

Because I wanted to be extra sure that the mounts will not leak, we used some sealant.

With all four of the mounting feet done, the rack is placed back on the truck and one bolt is put in on each corner, but still only hand tight.   Now its time for the final alignment or the rack.   This time we are only worried about the side to side alignment.   Once this is set, the bolts can be tightened down and the second set can be added to each corner.   

Once this is done, go back and tightened down all of the bolts and your done.   Time to go play!

So this is what the truck looks like with the rack:

The two items I had on my roof are the XM Satellite Radio antenna and a K-40 CB Antenna Mount.

I put the XM antenna on one of the rear light mounting tabs and it has worked just fine, no loss of signal and no problems.   

The K-40 CB antenna is still in the same spot it always was on the roof, it just works out that it fit in between some of the racks cross beams.   Although the antenna was off in the pictures, it will still work fine like this.

Although I did note an increase in wind noise with the rack, I think the trade off for the extra space is worth it.

I'm not sure what the carrying capacity is, but the rack is good and solid up there.   Because I don't want to add much weight that far up and throw the center of gravity off I will mostly use it for bulky camping gear items such as tents, sleeping bags and backpacks.   For this it is perfect.

As to the increase in wind noise, the cabin is much more quiet than it was with the kids in there so I'm good with it!

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6-3-08