Side Panel Load Bearing?

Has anyone mounted gear to a side panel yet? I’ve seen max trax but wondering if a small ski rack would be too much for the hinges? I know it’s not the inteded purpose and the struts probably wouldn’t stay but I see so much potential! I’d do beef bars but I wouldnt fit in the garage anymore

The struts can be upgraded. I think it might be worth a shot, loading would be a trick unless the door is open.

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I agree, but I wouldn’t need upgraded struts, I rarely open side panels in the winter. I’m more concerned about the weight of two pairs of skis and the rack for the panel while driving

The hinges are bomber, I’d do it. How are you planning to load 2 pairs of skis when the rack is vertical? Seems like that would be a two-person job with the door closed since gravity is working agains you.

Good point I didn’t really think of that, I suppose I was asssuming you could set the first in the crease then shut the second while holding it but I’ve never had a rack style like this. I could see how the rack wouldn’t close in that senario

If it were me, I would plan to upgrade the struts and open the door when loading and unloading. Fighting with two pairs of skis and two ski carriers would quickly become a PITA. I keep my skis in the cab, but I’ve removed the passenger seat and rear 60% seat so I have more room than most.

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Thanks for the insight I think you’re right about the struts, I think I’ll give it a full send! I keep mine in the back. The problem I’m solving is avoiding having to unpack the twigs when I show up to the ski lots at night.

I’ve also been thinking doing something like this, just not quite ready to start drilling into the panels. So please share what you end up with.

I’ve seen this setup pop up a few times and thought it was a pretty sleek solution for an external heater mount. But not sure about hanging a tank of diesel off the panel alone - I’d think about integrating the internal supports somehow, probably sacrificing ability to open the panel.

Regarding the struts, from an earlier thread 50lbs sounds like the sweet spot.

Nice, thanks for the strut link. I will keep this thread updated and I found a rack to order soon. That would be a sick heater setup. There’s just something about an unused flat surface that screams “mount me” to GFC guys lol

The panels aren’t very rigid so I’d worry about bending them with the weight of everything…especially with a couple pairs of fat skis. That said, the panel can be replaced so it’s a relatively low risk mod (assuming they don’t come off the panels while you’re on the highway).

If you’re just looking to get them out of the GFC why not put them on the roof? I run a Thule alpine box in the winter and the tent will still open with a few pairs of skis in it. It keeps the skis protected from the salt brine on the roads and gets them out of site from someone who may be looking for an easy target.


I’m just not ready to give up the garage if I don’t have to. If height wasn’t an issue I would’ve already done beef bars, I totally agree with you on the weight concern which is why i started the thread. I assume the weakest link to the panel is the hinges but also some are saying that they’re bomb proof and not to worry. I dig your setup for sure though

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I would not bolt anything to the outside of any vehicle unless it were absolutely necessary. On modern cars the two outside rear view mirrors increase drag by about 4.5%. Hypermiler groups using the old Geo Metro have found they can increase MPG by 3% by removing only one side mirror. So pickups with bare GFCs are already producing lots of “dirty” air. If you have a bunch of stuff on the outside of your GFC at freeway speeds you could be easily losing 15% MPG. And that loss is day after day, year after year. That is to say nothing about added noise and body shudder. Unless you are really into that expeditionary look with axes, shovels, jacks, traction devices, skis, etc. slathered all over your GFC, you are throwing money down a rat hole. Best to store everything you can inside. If things won’t fit inside you have too much stuff. Less is more.


Agree to disagree on the wind efficiency factor there. I believe that Geo Metro study as far as I can throw it haha. Sounds like they’re selling something to me. I haven’t lost a single MPG and my truck has only gotten heavier and less aerodynamic since new. It does make a huge difference that I drive 72 in an 80 on road trips and not 90 like most, but that 4.5% reduction for mirrors isn’t mathing.

What’s efficiency? Gladiators have got to be the least aerodynamic vehicle ever created :joy:

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Take off your mirrors and gain MPGs apparently!!

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