Mounting ARB Rack to Fiberglass Shell

#1
I am thinking about upgrading my rack system because I have been consistently overloading my current setup. The best size for my situation is the big ARB alloy rack, #4900010M, 87"x49". I want to mount it directly to the top of my cab-high SnugTop fiberglass shell. So far, so good. ARB does not have any mounting hardware for this type of mount, they have no drawings available that might show me mounting or attachment points, and they have no photos on their website that show the bottom of their racks. I have called around locally and none of the dealers I have spoken with have any ARBs on display for me to look at. So, has anyone done this type of mount with an ARB, or does anyone have pics of the underside of one of their alloy racks? The fiberglass part is easy, and I'm not worried about weight or leaks, just how to attach suitable mounts to the ARB rack. My alternatives are a welded steel lumber rack (overkill), or a SmittyBilt Defender rack (cheap, readily available, and easy to mount). I like the ARB idea, despite the outrageous price, because the overall size is right for my needs and it's lighter than than the Defender.


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#3
Don't want a platform rack and already have the Yakima tracks on this truck. My typical traveling load is overstressing the Yakima landing pads and towers and I'm getting worried about a rack failure on the road. Upgraded and tweaked the Yakima stuff two summers ago and it's about as strong as it's going to get. I originally used the Yak system because I like Yak and their service, but I just need something heavier duty now. I'll look at the Rhino stuff again and see if there is anything that will work. Thanks.
 
#4
Not making a lot of progress on the ARB idea, but found one guy at ARB who is willing to take some measurements and get back to me. Looks like I may be able to adapt a set of the SmittyBilt adjustable mounts (AM-8) to bolt to the ARB mounting plates, but will probably take some laser cut plates welded to the Smitty mounts, and then re-do powder coat. Getting expensive at that point. The Smitty rack is more sensible, but the ARB is still a better size.

Still can't find an ARB anyplace to look at or to measure. Most dealers just drop ship directly from ARB. 4WP has one in their Compton warehouse, but the sales guy I spoke with told me I'd have to buy it to see it, then pay a restocking fee if I didn't like it or if it didn't fit. Looked again at Rhino, Gobi, EZ-Awn and Baja. Baja has one that might work (their G-Wagen rack), but it's even more expensive than the ARB and still has to be adapted to mount it. The Smitty is looking better and better.
 
#5
I have posted this pic before, not my truck but similar. This is a 4G Ram vs my 3G, both with SnugTop shells. This is the steel version of the ARB alloy rack that I'd like to use. Note the three towers, which is where the mounting points are. Guy at ARB told me there are four towers. Note how close the front tower is to the front edge of the shell roof. I need to be sure that the front mounts won't wind up in the gap between the shell and the cab. ARB can't even tell me the spacing between the towers.
 

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#6
Well, I spent a little over two weeks trying to get info or measurements or drawings from ARB, got nothing specific. So, yesterday I ordered a SmittyBilt Defender rack for the truck. Not my first choice, but at least I know it will fit, because the Smitty boys can actually answer specific questions. They gave me complete dimensional info on the two racks I was considering. I am surprised and somewhat disappointed that ARB couldn't or wouldn't provide any details on a very expensive item that I can't look at locally.
 

rickc

Adventurer
#7
Just a comment on the picture of the white truck; the ladder looks all wrong. Is it really mounted to the chassis and the roof rack? Not a good idea as there is flex between these two points.
 
#8
the ladder looks all wrong. Is it really mounted to the chassis and the roof rack? Not a good idea as there is flex between these two points.

It's been at least a couple of years since I saw that truck, but I have some other pics that show the ladder is mounted to the rack at the top and to the nerf steps at the bottom. Nerf steps are N-Fabs, which means they are probably mounted to the pinch welds along the bottom of the body and bed. I say "probably" because my pics don't show that detail and that truck is a 4G crew-cab/shortbed, while mine is a 3G quadcab/shortbed. My N-Fabs are mounted to the pinch welds only along the body portion, with no mounts to the bed pinch welds. The pictured truck has longer steps than mine, so mounts might be different. That truck has some flex built into the ladder because the top mounts are drilled and pinned so that they can move, while the bottom mounts have the ladder tubes sliding down onto smaller stub tubes, drilled and bolted. Looks like the whole thing was designed to flex a little and to be easily removable by loosening two bolts and pulling two pins. It's secured at the top by a small padlock. Overall, it's a pretty nice installation.

I'm thinking about adding a removable Rhino ladder to my new rack if I ever get it installed.

Smitty is supposed to be shipping my new rack next Tuesday. Almost time to get to work.
 

rickc

Adventurer
#9
Even if the ladder bottom is attached to the nerfs that are attached to the body pinch weld there's something odd as the body and the truck bed are also separate and there is movement between them too.

I like that Rhino ladder; my truck has a 5.5 lift so putting the RTT away can sometimes be tricky
 
#10
I like that Rhino ladder; my truck has a 5.5 lift so putting the RTT away can sometimes be tricky

Mine is a Power Wagon on 35s, with the current rack on Yakima towers, so it's a stretch even standing on a milk crate. New rack mount should take a couple inches off the height and that might be just enough to make it manageable.
 
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