I am studying two different options to mount a GFC Platform RTT to my 2017 Jeep 4-door Rubicon. Thank you in advance for any experience-based insights on the two options.
The options are:
- Rhino Rack Backbone (without platform)
- Maximus 3 (without platform)
My design objectives are simple. I want the tent to be as close to the Jeep’s roof as practical to keep overall height as low as possible. The mounting hardware must be strong enough to endure the mechanical stress and strain of overland travel. Finally, minimal wind noise is preferred.
The Rhino Rack Backbone option is popular and seems to be robust enough to handle the RTT. There are many positive videos and I have talked with real-life users that seem happy with the setup. There is a YouTube by Justn B McBride that shows a very slick set up where there are simply small brackets that bolt between the Rhino Rack top base plates (x6) and the aluminum GFC mounting blocks. There are no cross-bars. I like this option because the tent sits about as low as possible, and when on the highway the air will flow cleanly between the camper bottom and Jeep roof. This should create the least amount of wind noise of the two options.
The Maximus 3 option is attractive primarily due to the strength of the framework. The supporting framework is bolted directly to the Jeep’s roll-bar. This inside framework then bolts directly through the roof to the mounting feet on the roof (x4). With this option the RTT appears to sit a bit higher. Also, the required cross bars will produce wind noise.
Thanks again for any advice. See you on the trail…
Seems hard to beat the Justin B McBride setup to me.
Agree. This is the route I would go if in your shoes.
I ran over to GFC last week and had my RTT installed. Great.
In the three photos you can see the mounting system I came up with. It is about as low to the roof as possible, a little over an inch above the Jeep roof. It is very very stout with 6 mounting points instead of 4.
Here is a description, from roof top up…
I started with the Rhino-Rack bases (X6). The key to this approach is to recognize the flat mounting surfaces on these base plates are not level from front to back and slant slightly outward. The the three bases on each side also are not in line. So. I started by mounting the stock base plates, attached to the internal frame provided by Rhino Rack. Then I carefully mocked-up wedges out of blue foam insulation to go on top of each base plate. They are 1 1/2" x 2" and less than 1/4" thick. I positioned them directly over the 6M holes in each base plate. I used a five foot straight edge to level out the top surfaces of the wedges front to back. I also used the straight edge to set the angle of the wedge. The objective was to have all six surfaces in the same plane to receive the bottom of the RTT. Once the six wedges were the size and shape I wanted I had a friend cut them out of high density poly. He also drilled a 5/16 hole in the center of each wedge. Slick.
Next was to place the wedges on top of the base plated and position them so the new top surface was level. Then a single hole was drilled straight down through the wedge and the stock base plates. These new larger holes wire then tapped to receive 5/16" SS bolts.
The next step was to take a stock GFC cross bar and cut 6 pieces about 3" long. These sit on top of the wedges. A hole was drilled so they can be bolted down through the wedges into the base plates. Then two holes were drilled to bolt up into the 6 GFC mounting blocks.
This sounds harder than it was. I was able to work in my heated shop It is winter so all the head-scratching and fiddling-around was a good winter project. I was supervised 100% of the time by my Lab and Border Collie.