Rhino-Rack Backbone Roof Rack Install

As you may be aware, our new Ford Everest recently arrived.  I’ll have a thorough review on it for you soon, but in the meantime, I’ve commenced accessorising it, and I’m going to share the journey with you.

The very first accessory that we decided to add was a Roof Rack, so we could install an awning, and also carry other accessories without taking up cargo space in the vehicle.

We decided on the Rhino-Rack Backbone and Platform for a number of reasons:

  1. To keep the overall height of the vehicle manageable
  2. The number of accessories and flexibility this platform provides
  3. To effectively manage weight – our system (backbone and platform) weighs 31KG

The Install

Our Everest happens to be one of the vehicles that requires the removal of the interior roof lining to allow the backbone to be installed.  While this seems like a simple job (and our install guys reckon that if you are pretty handy you can do it), there is quite a bit to it (see below for all of the parts that came out of the roof!).

The ‘Backbone’ rails prior to install
The Platform waiting for adjustments prior to install
The Everest (and a number of other makes/models needs to have the roof lining dropped to allow install. It isn’t impossible to do, but you need to tread carefully!)

Not all vehicles need to have the lining removed to install the backbone.  See below for the detail:

The below cars need the interior roof lining dropped to install Backbone:

  • Ford Everest
  • Ford Ranger Wildtrack
  • Mitsubishi Pajero
  • Toyota Fortuner

The below require a trackmount* installed to mount the platform:

  • Toyota Hilux N80
  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Ranger Raptor
  • Mazda BT50
  • Nissan Navara (needs rivnut installation and only available for models without roof rails)

*note a trackmount is a track that gets installed into the existing roof ditch.

The below are mounted to existing points in the roof:

  • Mitsubishi Triton
  • Nissan Patrol Y62
  • Landrover Discovery 4
  • Toyota Prado 120 (Rail removal required)
  • Toyota Prado 150 (Rail removal required)
  • Toyota Landcruiser 200 series (Rail removal required if the vehicle has rails)
  • Holden Colorado
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • Volkswagon Amarok
  • Isuzu MUX
  • Isuzu D-Max
Before the lining could be dropped, a whole heap of interior fittings had to be painstakingly removed so they weren’t damaged. This is what took up the majority of time for our install…

Once all of the parts had been removed and the roof lining dropped, the existing rails were removed, leaving the roof and existing mounting holes.  The new backbone rails were designed to line up with the existing holes in the vehicle, meaning there was no drilling. 

The roof channel without the factory rails.
The Backbone rail is designed to use those existing mounting holes and is custom to each make and model.
Backbone Rails on!
Almost time for the Platform to be added

Once the new backbone rails were bolted in and tensioned, in our case the roof lining and fittings needed to be re-installed.

Final touches re-mounting the roof

When this was compete, the RhinoRack Platform was ready to install.  Very cleverly, the rails on the platform itself can be adjusted on the new model, which gives you the flexibility to use the platform on a different vehicle.

Each platform has multiple cross rails, which are adjustable. underneath the platform, you match each cross rail to the specs specified for that vehicle and the one platform can then be mounted perfectly on any vehicle.

You simply turn the rack over, and then adjust the rails to the specification on the sheet for your vehicle, and then the mounting points will align with the backbone.  It is a very clever design.  And in addition, it comes with a torque Allen wrench which tightens the hex screws to the right tension.  They’ve really thought about this…

Once the adjustments were made, the rack can be lowered onto the backbone, and then a measuring tape is used to ensure that the platform sits centrally on the vehicle.  One end of the rear is tightened, and then the process is repeated at the front, before remaining screws are tightened.

That’s it for the install.

All done, plus a Batwing awning

We also then had the Batwing awning installed, but I’ll cover that product in another review.

Other considerations

One of the things that everyone needs to consider with a roof rack is just how much load the roof is rated to take, and then how much of that is taken up by the roof rack / tray itself.

The Everest also has a 100KG limit.  Given the platform and backbone weighs 31KG, there is a 69KG capacity, which is really not a lot.  And if you are going ‘offroad’, Rhino-rack reduce that spec to 49kg.  It is enough for a spare tyre, or an awning, or perhaps a Rooftop tent, but despite the cavernous space that is available, if you put an awning on the car, you have about 40KG of capacity on-road, and 20 off-road, which means that if a shovel and set of max-trax go on, you’re pretty much at capacity.

The plus here is that a Rhinorack system is very modular.  Even the Batwing awning is easy to install and remove, which means that you can take that off if you have more pressing things to carry.  And at 21 KG, the Batwing we installed was pretty light given the coverage it offers!  There are some brilliant tie down attachment points, and also smart things like folding antenna mounts, jerry can holders and the like which make setting your roof up for each trip easy.

The best part for me is the final height increase.  The Everest is 1.837m tall according to specifications.  Using a measuring tape, the increase off this with the platform and backbone was only 75mm.  And even with the Batwing awning (installed as low as possible), the total final height of the vehicle was only 1.95 m.  The implication here is that even with a lift and bigger tyres, the vehicle will still fit under a carpark that is 2.1m tall. 

Specifications:

Price (Backbone and Platform (model 52102 – 1928mm x 1236mm) $1,657.00

Weight: Backbone and platform – 31KG

Weight: Batwing Awning – 21KG.

Weight capacity (this model) 69KG on road, 49KG off-road (Everest has a 100KG roof limit)

Install cost: Estimate $720.00 (based on a 6 hr install @ $120.00/hr)

Increase in fuel usage: with the Batwing awning also attached, average fuel usage when from 7.6l/100km to 8.1l/100km – a .5l/100km increase.

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Comments 5

  1. So what happened to the Nissan Navara Np 300 if you are going to report on fitting accessories should you not include all the latest models,

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      Author
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      Author

      G’day Harold,

      I can confirm that a Backbone kit is available for the NP300. It has just been released, which is why it wasn’t on my list. Navara owners don’t miss out!
      Regards,

      Aiden

  2. The Backbone system is easy to install on VW Amaroks and is certainly low profile – with possibly a better distribution of load from the rack to vehicle than the common 4 point mounting.

    I initially installed our Pioneer Platform using the Backbone because I wanted to keep the height to a minimum (both for carparks and centre of gravity reasons) but found the noise intrusive in the cab, even with the wind deflector fitted.

    So once an ARB Classic canopy was fitted it was moved there – major downside to this is the added height rules out many more car parks.

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      Author

      Hi David,
      I have noticed a bit more wind noise, primarily on the Freeway David, but I’m unsure if taking the awning off will make a difference. I’m waiting on delivery of the wind deflector to see if it also helps. I’ll let you know how it goes on both fronts, but even with the noise the Everest is much quieter than the GU Patrol was!
      Aiden

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