Roof Rack and Pop Top Assist

Expand the carrying capacity of your van.

Roof racks are a great way to expand the carrying capacity of your rig. You must remember, while the fiberglass roof can handle weight, it was not intended to have a rack on it. If you are carrying anything and plan to use your pop top, you must install a lift-assist kit.

Updated: We have installed a secondary Gowesty pop top assist kit in the rear position along with the Jack Bombay to give us more lifting power. I can now open the top by myself with 3 surfboards and a roofbox on top! Installation tips for the Gowesty system can be found in the link above.

If I was to start from scratch I would just use the dual strut system from Gowesty and not use the Jack Bombay. Here are the reasons why:

  1. Jack Bombay mounting procedure leaves room to make mistakes when drilling holes in poptop. You litterally use a coat hanger to find the loaction for the holes.
  2. When using the Jack Bombay kit and Yakima mounting brackets you have to mount your roof rack further forward to make sure the mounting hardware doesn’t interfear with the struts. Its easier to pop the top if you keep the roof top loads as far back as possible over the pop top hinges.

The Jack Bombay is cheaper at $80 compared to Gowesty at $149, but in the end I believe the Gowesty system will be a cleaner install, gives more stability and allows for better configuation depending on roof top loads.

What you need:

  • Drill and 5/16 drill bit
  • Scrap Wood
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Roof Rack – Yakima Mounting Bracket, Towers, 78 inch Crossbars, Hardware. A complete roof rack kit is available at GoWesty for a great price.
  • Metal Back plate- We used a 5’x8′ metal plate I found in the plumbing department of Home Depot.
  • Pop Top Assist Kit

Installation

  • This was by far the most nerve racking project. You really only get one shot at drilling holes in your roof. Make sure that you mount the rack as far back as possible to keep weight over the fulcrum of the pop top. There are different opinions on how high up the side off the roof the bracket should be mounted, but if you use a good backplate it shouldn’t matter.
  • If you plan on using a Jackboy Pop Top Assist  one of the back bracket bolts can also be the anchor bolt for the pop top assist. (see Jack Bombay instructions).
  • Its also advised to space the actual Crossbars around 36 inches apart. If using a Jack Bombay lift assist kit follow the directions given and the anchor bolt in the roof will be the location of one of the back bolts of the rear bracket. Use a bracket as a guide to mark the other three holes. Measure 36 inches forward from the middle of the back bracket. This will be the middle of your forward bracket. Make sure that the Brackets are equal heights. Use your bracket once again as a guide to mark the holes. Once both sides are measured and marked, drill your holes using a scrap piece of wood as a backer so you don’t punch holes in your canvas. After drilling all the holes in the roof, grab the metal back plates and use a bracket as a template to drill 4 holes. Mount the bracket by sliding the bolts thought the bracket into the roof and through the metal back plate on the other side. Tighten the bolts down using the washers and nuts provided.
  • If using a GoWesty Pop Top Assist Kit (comes with mounting instruction) you must make sure your roof rack bracket bolts do not graze the struts.
  • Jack Bombay kits come with different strength struts. If using the HD struts you will need a load atop your roof to close it. Light and medium strength struts are also available.
  • If you are carrying heavy loads having the GoWesty Pop Top Assist kit in the front location, as well as a rear strut, will make your life a lot easier.
  • Follow the instructions given to install the roof rack towers and crossbars. Load your rig up with all your toys and you’re ready to hit the road.

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