Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform 84" X 56"

msk21

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Is anyone running the 84 inch pioneer platform? I know the 72 X 56 is the common/kit size. Looking for a little more space up top on my JLU as my RTT takes up the entire platform on the same 72” on my JKU. Rhino rack said it’s possible, but no warranty. All of the weight would be over the rear of the JLU, the only thing hanging over the freedom panels would be some storage boxes and or rotopax. Thoughts? TIA
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Interesting idea, and as much as I'd also love a longer platform, I personally wouldn't do it with the current mounting options available. I have the 72" platform with Maximus-3 mounting that I just installed yesterday, and the front of the forward mounting brackets are 20" from the leading edge of the platform. With the 84" rack, that would mean 38% of your total rack length would be unsupported.

That number doesn't necessarily mean anything if all of your load is secured on the rear 62% of the rack. And, the 28% of unsupported length on the 72" version is still plenty solid enough (in static conditions) to support my 205lbs frame.

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That said, I don't think I'd feel comfortable with 12" more additional unsupported rack space. A pair of 3-gal Rotopax, filled with gasoline, is still nearly 50lbs of weight and I think you'd start to see some flex and wobble on the front of the rack which would only put additional stress on the mounting points. Over time that could wallow out the holes in the fiberglass top and cause a potential leak path. If it were me, I'd probably just lay a blanket on the freedom panels and secure the Rotopax (or whatever you needed the additional rack space for) directly to them instead. Running a strap between the hard top and the door frame wont affect the door sealing at all, and your load would be more secure.

In a perfect world, I would love to see Rhino Rack extend their Backbone system by adding a longer Pioneer platform to cover the entire length of the roof of the Jeep and add gutter mount attachment points that look similar to the rear drill-through points yet attach to the freedom panels. That would give you the rigidity and high load capacity of a drill-through mount for the rear of the rack and still provide a lesser load capacity while eliminating flexion in the front of the rack. Of course, it would eliminate the ability to remove the freedom panels (which is why, I assume, nearly every rack manufacturer follows the ~72" max length strategy) which is important to a bunch of Jeep owners.
 

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It'd be cool if someone made a gutter mounted short rack for that front area over the freedom tops, just enough for say a couple of rotopax.
 
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msk21

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@BroncoHound awesome input and thank you for your time! I was talking to a neighbor who is a engineer and he made a similar point about the stress / potential flex on the mounting locations over time. He said he would also be uneasy about the x% of roof not properly secured. I initially did not think that would be that big of a issue if the 12 inches of platform was cantilevered over the freedom panels. Seems to be a reason why RR doesn't offer this in the first place. Any reason you went with the Maximus-3 mounting over the Rhino Rack backbone? Coming from a JKU with the AEV mount (which I am told is very similar or the same as the Maximus-3) I was going to give the RR backbone a try. The install looks straight forward and I think it looks cleaner on the outside plus you get the new designed RR platform. I know with the Maximus-3 long system you are getting the older platform. Not a huge deal, but I like how the new platform gives you better wire running options.

I agree with you, in a perfect world I would love to see what Rhino Rack would do with a full size roofrack. Our freedom panels rarely if ever come off so I could be one of the few who would not mind a permanent freedom top.
 
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msk21

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@JimLee Agreed! I am going to do some research and see if there is anyway to use some of the Rhino Rack mounts to do so. Kind of how I have been seeing some Gladitator small racks over the rear half. I really love the full length look that Front Runner offers on their Slim Line. I have had great sucess with the Rhino Rack and really have no reason to change brands other than the little bit of space gained.
 

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@JimLee Agreed! I am going to do some research and see if there is anyway to use some of the Rhino Rack mounts to do so. Kind of how I have been seeing some Gladitator small racks over the rear half. I really love the full length look that Front Runner offers on their Slim Line. I have had great sucess with the Rhino Rack and really have no reason to change brands other than the little bit of space gained.
Let us know what you find out, I have the Rhino Rack platform with backbone, I'd love to be able to utilize that extra space on the roof.
 

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@BroncoHound awesome input and thank you for your time! I was talking to a neighbor who is a engineer and he made a similar point about the stress / potential flex on the mounting locations over time. He said he would also be uneasy about the x% of roof not properly secured. I initially did not think that would be that big of a issue if the 12 inches of platform was cantilevered over the freedom panels. Seems to be a reason why RR doesn't offer this in the first place. Any reason you went with the Maximus-3 mounting over the Rhino Rack backbone? Coming from a JKU with the AEV mount (which I am told is very similar or the same as the Maximus-3) I was going to give the RR backbone a try. The install looks straight forward and I think it looks cleaner on the outside plus you get the new designed RR platform. I know with the Maximus-3 long system you are getting the older platform. Not a huge deal, but I like how the new platform gives you better wire running options.

I agree with you, in a perfect world I would love to see what Rhino Rack would do with a full size roofrack. Our freedom panels rarely if ever come off so I could be one of the few who would not mind a permanent freedom top.
I went with the Maximus-3 mounting for 5 reasons, some or none of which are necessarily important to anyone else:
- Maximus-3 mounting is lower profile, bringing the platform closer to the Jeep than the Backbone mounting. Aesthetically, I like the lowest profile possible, even if it did make installing a bit more difficult and will present some additional challenges in the future if I commit to a RTT. I also like the "floating" aesthetics of the Maximus-3 bracketry a bit more than the Backbone external brackets, which look very similar to a gutter mount.
- The Backbone system is a month out from places like Northridge. Maximus-3 shipped the day after I placed the order and was delivered 4 calendar days later. I have some significant life events coming up in about a month that will keep me pretty busy for the next several months, so it worked out well to have the platform installed and useable when I had the free time available to commit to the install.
- I have HotHeads headliners with the full rear side window surrounds which would have made the rear bracket install of the Backbone system more challenging unless I discarded those HotHeads sections.
- I have an ARB dual compressor mounted with a M.O.R.E. bracket on the driver's side of the tub which would have also interfered with the Backbone rear mounting bracket.
- I wanted to minimize the amount of Made in China parts I purchased. I love the design of the Pioneer platform and love supporting Australian companies (I lived in Australia as an ex-pat for a time), but I really try to steer away from anything that is manufactured in China if I can avoid it. I spent over a year looking for other options to buy instead of the Pioneer platform, and very nearly bought a JCR rack instead for purely this reason, but ultimately nothing else on the market provided the multi-purpose utility and sturdiness that the Pioneer platform does. I made the decision somewhat more palatable to myself by going with the Maximus-3 installation hardware.

All that said, the Maximus-3 wasn't a runaway winner in the decision tree for me and, if I would've wound up with a Backbone system I think I would be equally as satisfied with the end product as I am now. And, speaking back to the original point of this thread, if Rhino Rack would've offered a full-length rack with an extra pair of gutter mounts that matched the existing mounts, I would've ordered that system in its entirety and had a greater level of overall product satisfaction despite having to likely remove the HotHeads rear window surrounds, potentially relocate my ARB compressor, and have more China steel on my Jeep.

One thing to note, in case you also preferred the Maximus-3 mounting design but the newer style platform was a serious motivator for you, is that they can be purchased separately. I spoke to the Maximus-3 guys on the phone prior to placing the order and they were very friendly and willing to chat/talk shop, and there are several reports on this forum of other members sourcing a Pioneer platform from somewhere else and buying just the bracketry from Maximus-3. So you could buy the bracketry from Maximus-3 then go to Northridge (or wherever you like to shop) and buy the platform.
 

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Off topic a bit, but why the Pioneer Rack vs. something like an Adventure Rack System (MetalCloak), Gobi, or LOD rack? I can see the aesthetic being a reason based on preference, but on functionality I don’t get it.
 

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Off topic a bit, but why the Pioneer Rack vs. something like an Adventure Rack System (MetalCloak), Gobi, or LOD rack? I can see the aesthetic being a reason based on preference, but on functionality I don’t get it.
For myself, I plan on removing the platform with the RTT attached for about half of the year, I don't want a big exoskeleton rack on my Jeep when I'm not running the RTT.
 

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That makes sense. I’ve been looking at it the opposite way, where I may want to remove the top but still have the rack available. And also be able to remove the entire rack independent of the top of needed.

Is the top removable if you only remove the rack itself but not the backbone? Or would you have to completely remove the system to take the top off? Dumb question I’m sure, I’m not very knowledgeable on those systems)
 

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Off topic a bit, but why the Pioneer Rack vs. something like an Adventure Rack System (MetalCloak), Gobi, or LOD rack? I can see the aesthetic being a reason based on preference, but on functionality I don’t get it.
For me, none of the exoskeleton systems offered a full flat loading surface on top. One day I'd love to stick a RTT up there, but I also have a ton of other mounting and storage uses for the platform and having a flat loading surface up there gives me a ton more utility and function. Lumber, baggage, traction boards, ammo cans, junk yard parts, etc. Pretty much anything I can physically lift up there, I can safely and easily secure with a set of eye bolts and ratchet straps. Plus, for the couple of months a year I get to go topless up here, I'd rather just take the whole kit off at once rather than have a topless Jeep with a full exoskeleton still above me, or have to worry about removing and storing the full exoskeleton along with the hard top and doors.
 

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That makes sense. I’ve been looking at it the opposite way, where I may want to remove the top but still have the rack available. And also be able to remove the entire rack independent of the top of needed.

Is the top removable if you only remove the rack itself but not the backbone? Or would you have to completely remove the system to take the top off? Dumb question I’m sure, I’m not very knowledgeable on those systems)
The back portion of the backbone is held down with the same bolts that hold your hardtop down, so those braces could stay bolted to the hardtop when it comes off. The front mounts you would just have to remove two nuts (one on each side) and a spacer but these are in a tight location and may cause a string of curse words if you have to deal with them alot. So yes, you can remove the top without completely disassembling the system.
 
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msk21

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Off topic a bit, but why the Pioneer Rack vs. something like an Adventure Rack System (MetalCloak), Gobi, or LOD rack? I can see the aesthetic being a reason based on preference, but on functionality I don’t get it.

I have had a great experience with the Pioneer Rack. I guess a little bit of brand loyalty if you will. The main reason is because of the RTT I run. I have the iKamper X-Cover. It is quite large, but it fits perfect into the current Pioneer set up on my JKU. It really sinks into the slots of the Pioneer rack if you will. I also have the bat wing awing that mounts great to the rack and does not impede with the big RTT. I had to take the rails off my Pioneer to get the ikamper to fit. No big deal. I do like the Gobi, but I have a friend who runs the same RTT and it does not sit right inside of it. Aesthetically I do not like how it mounts to the rear of the bumper. I love the way it looks, just not with a big bulky RTT like mine. If I did not run a RTT I would buy this. I really dig the safari look, and I think they look the best on older Discovery’s. I am not too familiar with the LOD rack or the Adventure Rack System. I like the very clean look. I am not a fan of the huge tubular bars from the front and rear pillars. The only system I like that does that is the Front Runner Slim Line, and I was told its about 2-3 months out. Time is obviously important as I should be taking delivery of our JLUR any day and want to get it ready for a summer of exploring.

Edit - I also don't run my RTT year round, so when the RTT is in storage the extra bulky bars to me does not look the best.
 
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