Rhino-Rack Backbone & Pioneer Platform DESIGN FLAW

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Good day fellow Jeep enthusiasts.

Ever since I purchased my JLUR I had been patiently waiting since 2018 for the Rhino-Rack Backbone system to be released as I wanted to get away from the creaky exoskeleton roof rack set-up I had on my LJ. I purchased the backbone system as soon as it was released with the pioneer platform and quick release legs. I completed the install myself following their step-by-step guide and only had one self-induced problem with regards to drilling into the hard top. I mounted the quick disconnect legs and attached the pioneer platform. However, the connections between the casters attached to the hard top and the rack legs are only secured with one bolt (M10 x 20mm) in the center( see attached pictures). Roughly one month into use and only 1 off-road excursion and the rear caster mounting holes were completly stripped and are no longer holding the rear legs to the casters.

As I see it other than Rhino-Rack customer service responding to my emails inquiring about this design flaw my only option for safe continued use of this set-up is to drill and tap thicker gage bolts to firmly secure all leg mounting points to the casters. This may require drilling an additional hole through the hard top to secure the mounting points to the casters with a nut and lock washer combination on the inside of the Jeep to give me piece of mind while out on the trial.

It makes sense that the rear legs would wear quicker than the generally center mounted front and middle ones considering the jerk they would experience (jerk is the rate of change of acceleration) during off-road travel.

Any thoughts on how to remedy this situation and ensure safe travel on & off road?

Semper Fi,
JP

Drivers Rear Caster.jpg


Drivers Side Roof Rack Config.jpg


Passenger Rear Caster.jpg


Stripped Mounting Hole (drivers).jpg
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My JLUR, White Fang, current set-up.

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American Adventurist

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What is a “caster”? I need to understand this definition before I comment.

Also, I see a RTT there. Assuming you are carrying that Offroad, what is the weight on that RTT? Weight WITH Maxtrax and whatever else you’re carrying up there? My guess is that you are approaching or exceeding the weight limit for a dynamic load.

I have the Backbone and Pioneer Rack. My mounting does not look like yours.
 

American Adventurist

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From their website: "max load rating of up to 120kg or 264lb." > http://www.rhinorack.com/en-us/prod...no-rack-backbone-3-base-mounting-system_rjlb1

264 lbs is the dynamic load if I remember correctly, the static load capacity is 790 lbs.

Pioneer platform = 65 lbs
Maxtrax = 16 lbs
Maxtrax mount as shown: guessing 15 lbs
Roofnest Sandpiper = 145 lbs > https://roofnest.com/product/sandpiper/

That looks like you have a dynamic roof load of about 241 lbs not including bedding or any other items you carry up there... Roofnest Sandpiper is rated to carry 100 lbs of extra gear, not sure if you carry more stuff?

That's a lot of weight swaying around up high when off road.

That said, there are torque values on hardware that must be adhered to, especially in this case. Assumption is that you are using a torque wrench.

My recommendation would be to change your mounting - the legs you are using are a bit taller than mine and that adds to the lateral forces being exerted during off road driving.

For a repair in your case, the bolt and the nut inside the foot can be replaced - you just need to remove the foot from the roof and replace the nut inside. I would not drill any more holes - if the nut and bolt doesn't do the trick just get a replacement foot and torque carefully this time. Interested to see what you do!

72739897_3216610728410328_3603941370567327744_n.jpg
 
OP
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From their website: "max load rating of up to 120kg or 264lb." > http://www.rhinorack.com/en-us/prod...no-rack-backbone-3-base-mounting-system_rjlb1

264 lbs is the dynamic load if I remember correctly, the static load capacity is 790 lbs.

Pioneer platform = 65 lbs
Maxtrax = 16 lbs
Maxtrax mount as shown: guessing 15 lbs
Roofnest Sandpiper = 145 lbs > https://roofnest.com/product/sandpiper/

That looks like you have a dynamic roof load of about 241 lbs not including bedding or any other items you carry up there... Roofnest Sandpiper is rated to carry 100 lbs of extra gear, not sure if you carry more stuff?

That's a lot of weight swaying around up high when off road.

That said, there are torque values on hardware that must be adhered to, especially in this case. Assumption is that you are using a torque wrench.

My recommendation would be to change your mounting - the legs you are using are a bit taller than mine and that adds to the lateral forces being exerted during off road driving.

For a repair in your case, the bolt and the nut inside the foot can be replaced - you just need to remove the foot from the roof and replace the nut inside. I would not drill any more holes - if the nut and bolt doesn't do the trick just get a replacement foot and torque carefully this time. Interested to see what you do!

72739897_3216610728410328_3603941370567327744_n.jpg
Dave - I appreciate your perspective! I mounted the RTT by drilling through the Pioneer platform and thus have some hardware hanging beneath, which is not a concern with the taller quick disconnect legs. I would have to measure the clearance with the lower legs to determine if that option works for my current set-up, but the physics makes sense with lower COG. If the clearance of the smaller legs does not allow for the current tent mounting configuration I may start over and try and mount it to the rail channel system of the pioneer platform. Nevertheless, the mounting points on the tent do not line up with any channels so I would have to fabricate something to connect the tent to the platform and thus raising the tent height (this is why I went with drilling through the platform in the first place).

Just pillow and sleeping bags up in the RTT. We did buy the Sandpiper to put a basket on the top for firewood and other light items. However, as you point out we are approaching the max dynamic load rating as is.

I will try and replace the nut and bolt on the rear foot pads with thicker ones and let you know how it goes.

Again thank you for your time good sir!


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ogarci79

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Good day fellow Jeep enthusiasts.

Ever since I purchased my JLUR I had been patiently waiting since 2018 for the Rhino-Rack Backbone system to be released as I wanted to get away from the creaky exoskeleton roof rack set-up I had on my LJ. I purchased the backbone system as soon as it was released with the pioneer platform and quick release legs. I completed the install myself following their step-by-step guide and only had one self-induced problem with regards to drilling into the hard top. I mounted the quick disconnect legs and attached the pioneer platform. However, the connections between the casters attached to the hard top and the rack legs are only secured with one bolt (M10 x 20mm) in the center( see attached pictures). Roughly one month into use and only 1 off-road excursion and the rear caster mounting holes were completly stripped and are no longer holding the rear legs to the casters.

As I see it other than Rhino-Rack customer service responding to my emails inquiring about this design flaw my only option for safe continued use of this set-up is to drill and tap thicker gage bolts to firmly secure all leg mounting points to the casters. This may require drilling an additional hole through the hard top to secure the mounting points to the casters with a nut and lock washer combination on the inside of the Jeep to give me piece of mind while out on the trial.

It makes sense that the rear legs would wear quicker than the generally center mounted front and middle ones considering the jerk they would experience (jerk is the rate of change of acceleration) during off-road travel.

Any thoughts on how to remedy this situation and ensure safe travel on & off road?

Semper Fi,
JP

Drivers Rear Caster.jpg


Drivers Side Roof Rack Config.jpg


Passenger Rear Caster.jpg


Stripped Mounting Hole (drivers).jpg

I just purchased this same setup for my 2019 JLU and am at the step to mount the quick release mounts to the Rhino Rack castings. First, I can't believe they only have one bolt to secure it, I'm not suprised you're having issues. Second, the internal nuts (connectors) in the casting don't align, are not secure internally or don't seem like they are going to last long. I'm going to call them up Monday to figure this out but not happy with this design. Might have to swap out the mounts for the permanent (non-quick release).
 

American Adventurist

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I just purchased this same setup for my 2019 JLU and am at the step to mount the quick release mounts to the Rhino Rack castings. First, I can't believe they only have one bolt to secure it, I'm not suprised you're having issues. Second, the internal nuts (connectors) in the casting don't align, are not secure internally or don't seem like they are going to last long. I'm going to call them up Monday to figure this out but not happy with this design. Might have to swap out the mounts for the permanent (non-quick release).
I had zero issues at install but am NOT using the quick release mounts. In my opinion, the permanent mounts are the way to go with this rack.
 
OP
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4X4_Itshowweexplore
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Overall, I had to remove the rear leg casters, which comprised the weatherproofing and foam protective barrier between the caster and the hard top. I replaced the nylock nut inside the caster with another M8, but could not fit anything more robust without altering the caster design. I applied DAP silicone this time when re-installing and tightened the new M8x20mm bolts to the specs listed in the installation manual. Seems to be holding for now, but I have an off-road trip planned for 400 miles of off-road travel in December and will see if the single-bolt mounting design holds up with my current setup.

If it doesn't I have plenty of spare nylock nuts and bolts to replace on the trail, but I will be very disappointed with Rhino Rack if it turns out their product is severely under-engineered.
 

Bocephus

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Overall, I had to remove the rear leg casters, which comprised the weatherproofing and foam protective barrier between the caster and the hard top. I replaced the nylock nut inside the caster with another M8, but could not fit anything more robust without altering the caster design. I applied DAP silicone this time when re-installing and tightened the new M8x20mm bolts to the specs listed in the installation manual. Seems to be holding for now, but I have an off-road trip planned for 400 miles of off-road travel in December and will see if the single-bolt mounting design holds up with my current setup.

If it doesn't I have plenty of spare nylock nuts and bolts to replace on the trail, but I will be very disappointed with Rhino Rack if it turns out their product is severely under-engineered.
I used the DAP Silicone also! So far so good for me, throughout a couple rains and drive through car washes. Never could find the Butyl Mastic that the directions specify. Glad you got it mounted again with a new nut. Hope this one holds for ya.
 

aml

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Yeah, I was disappointed when I saw it was only 6 small boots holding that entire roof rack on. Mine has been fine so far. I too have the quick release feet. Does the regular mount (Non-quick release) have 2 bolts per foot? If so I may change them out...
 

American Adventurist

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I used the DAP Silicone also! So far so good for me, throughout a couple rains and drive through car washes. Never could find the Butyl Mastic that the directions specify. Glad you got it mounted again with a new nut. Hope this one holds for ya.
Silicone won’t last, there’s a reason OEM’s use Butyl mastic.

You can buy it on Amazon.
 

Bocephus

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Silicone won’t last, there’s a reason OEM’s use Butyl mastic.

You can buy it on Amazon.
Good to know, thank you. I looked for it at the time and didn’t find even on amazon. I’ll look for it again if/when the seal fails.
 

ogarci79

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Upnarms

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You'll find it hard to find "Butyl mastic" in the United States. Here's what Rhino Rack pointed me to: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Permate...nce-RTV-Silicone-Gasket-Maker-82180/308852434. They didn't say this one specifically, but this is what I used. I think their words were any "RTV" or "Gasket Sealant."
I used butyl tape, very easy to work with. Seals great. Cut a square off, made a hole in the center, you can stretch it into the shape you need. No mess. Get on Amazon

double-sided-butyl-tape.jpg
 
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