Very confused why the RR Pioneer Platform is so popular

nU7OuxIx

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Are there any other racks/platforms on the market that bolt onto the hardtop, while still allowing decent payload capacity AND easy hardtop removal using the TopLift Pro removal system?
The other one that is pretty popular is the maximus-3. This was the one I was looking at too. They don't give an offroad rating, but the dynamic rating is 300lbs, which is about 80lbs more than rhino's on road rating. The thing I liked about this rack is that it looks like it uses two bolts instead of one to hold the feet on. The thing I don't like about it is that it comes with the pioneer platform so I don't know if crossbars are an option. I also didn't like the fact that you couldn't take it off the jeep. The last thing I didn't like about it is that the platform is huge where you will need to relocate the gps antenna with a bracket.

I think Frontrunner is another brand that is just a clone of the maximus-3, or maximus-3 is a clone of the frontrunner. The frontrunner doesn't even specify a load rating; just says use your own judgement.





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Aunt Minnie

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The other one that is pretty popular is the maximus-3. This was the one I was looking at too. They don't give an offroad rating, but the dynamic rating is 300lbs, which is about 80lbs more than rhino's on road rating. The thing I liked about this rack is that it looks like it uses two bolts instead of one to hold the feet on. The thing I don't like about it is that it comes with the pioneer platform so I don't know if crossbars are an option.
The Maximus 3 does appear to mount more sturdily, at the expense of being a bigger PITA when removing the hardtop. In my research, it looks like the best way to increase the carrying capacity of the Rhino Rack Backbone system is to simply use a lighter bar system. The Pioneer Platform is very heavy compared to standard crossbars. This weight effectively reduces the carrying capacity of the system. Using a lighter attachment system to the Backbone such as crossbars allows for heavier loads.

Perhaps the most robust rack system I have found that still allows for the hard top to be easily removed is the Metalcloak Pro Rack System. It claims a dynamic load capacity of 350 lbs and a static load capacity of 900 lbs. This is an external frame mount that becomes quite pricey once the correct bumper attachment adaptors and desired crossbars/mounting hardware are purchased. Because there is no hardware obstructing the back of the jeep, the hardtop can be easily slid through the back. It also does not requires drilling through the roof.

Only major downside for me: I can't say that I love the look of the chunky external frame. It essentially wraps the jeep in 2" diameter tubular steel. This is a major departure from the sleek internal structure of the Rhino Rack.

I guess each rack has its pros and cons...
 

MRH512

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While a bit janky looking, I got the DeeZee rack. Have not installed, but I like the look of it for what I need and fairly easy to remove and easy to remove my tent when I want that off....and no drilling. It can also stay on the Hardtop so it can easily be removed with the hoist. I'm not sure if the hoist will be able to handle the added 100lbs or so of the RR and PP on top of the hardtop weight but my guess is it will.
I was considering the DeeZee roof rack as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it once you've put some miles in with it installed.

I got the DeeZee rear cargo shelf because of it's price point and, while I'm happy with it overall, it is a little noisy/squeaky. It was also a little bit of a pain to install.

I'm curious how the modularity of the roof rack adds to any additional noise levels while driving and if you've had any difficulty attaching accessories from other manufacturers because of its hexagonal tubes.
 

Jshwon

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3) I think upgrading the bolt attaching the crossbar feet to the backbone brackets is probably a good idea. The bolts that came with my kit uses a stainless steel M8x20 fine thread bolt with a socket head cap that uses an Allen wrench to install. Any similar sized bolt should work. This is for the low profile feet. The challenge is that you don't have a lot of clearance above the bolt head because it installed inside the foot, this is especially true for the low profile feet. The quick release feet uses the same size bolt but with a different bolt head.
This is the issue I'm having. I just installed the back bone and platform this weekend. 5 of the bolts seated fine from the platform feet into the backbone roof mounts (a pain using the Allen tool), but the passenger side front bolt just won't thread. It's loose. Is there a recommended alternative bolt to use for this one hole?
 

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This is the issue I'm having. I just installed the back bone and platform this weekend. 5 of the bolts seated fine from the platform feet into the backbone roof mounts (a pain using the Allen tool), but the passenger side front bolt just won't thread. It's loose. Is there a recommended alternative bolt to use for this one hole?
So its likely that the bolt nut fell from its embedded position. I am pretty sure Rhino Rack just glues it in. You have two options. First, remove the mounting bracket and re-glue the nut in place. If the nut isn't there or if there is something wrong with the nut itself, then you can easily replace it with an another M8 stainless steel fine thread bolt nut . Its a standard off-the-shelf nut you should be able to find at a hardware store.

If the issue is that nut has just fallen out of place, then you can try and re-embedding it without removing the whole mounting bracket. When this happened to me last, I looked in the bolt hole and was able to see that the nut was just resting on the roof of the car aligned right with the bolt whole. I was able to use a longer M8 bolt that would go all the way down to the nut and was able to lightly thread it on. I then brought the nut up into place, re-embedding it to the correct position. It held there long enough for me to thread the correct bolt into place and secure the support foot in place. However, I will let you know that the nut can easily fall out of its embedded position when you try to thread the correct bolt in. You try using some crazy glue to hold in place, but its hard to squeeze the glue thru the bolt hole. Like I said, it is a real pain and a very poor design by Rhino Rack.

Hope this helps!
 

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So its likely that the bolt nut fell from its embedded position. I am pretty sure Rhino Rack just glues it in. You have two options. First, remove the mounting bracket and re-glue the nut in place. If the nut isn't there or if there is something wrong with the nut itself, then you can easily replace it with an another M8 stainless steel fine thread bolt nut . Its a standard off-the-shelf nut you should be able to find at a hardware store.

If the issue is that nut has just fallen out of place, then you can try and re-embedding it without removing the whole mounting bracket. When this happened to me last, I looked in the bolt hole and was able to see that the nut was just resting on the roof of the car aligned right with the bolt whole. I was able to use a longer M8 bolt that would go all the way down to the nut and was able to lightly thread it on. I then brought the nut up into place, re-embedding it to the correct position. It held there long enough for me to thread the correct bolt into place and secure the support foot in place. However, I will let you know that the nut can easily fall out of its embedded position when you try to thread the correct bolt in. You try using some crazy glue to hold in place, but its hard to squeeze the glue thru the bolt hole. Like I said, it is a real pain and a very poor design by Rhino Rack.

Hope this helps!
Thanks for the response. I think I may be talking about something different. This is literally the bolt that fits through the pioneer platform foot into the hole of back bone mount base on top of the roof. They provided what looks to be the M8 stainless steel bolt that fits through the pioneer foot into the back bone base. There is no nut to seat through. All the other bolts fit through and tightened fine. Its just this one that won't thread.

One other thing is the middle bolts threaded through but I can see a little space between the roof and the top of the back bone plate. This might not be an issue but just wondering. Both front and rear plates sit flush with the roof after bolting down the pioneer platform feet.
 

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I have a 2020 4dr Rubicon and decided to go with the Rhino backbone and pioneer rack system. I have both the low profile and the quick release feet. Overall, I am not happy with my purchase.

First for the good aspects of the platform. There is no doubt about it, that the platform; especially, with the low profile feet, looks awesome on a jeep. It is also relatively easy to install, including the backbone system. There are also lots of accessories you can get from Rhino and third parties. The system can hold a 250lbs dynamic load and around 720lbs static load (I have seen different numbers here). Which is enough for a large RTT and its occupants if you are limiting your use to non-off-road scenarios. I have used it like this and its been fine.

Now for the bad.

(1) I have had several issues with the quality of the backbone mounting components. I don't know the precise name, but the roof top mounting brackets, the ones that get bolted to your roof top and where the mounting feet are attached, are crap. They have a nut embedded into the mount where you bolt on the mounting feet. Several times now I have had the bolt come lose. Its a huge pain to get it seated again, typically you have to unbolt the whole mounting bracket, glue the bolt in, and reattached the mounting bracket, which includes having to apply a new coat of sealant.

(2) As many already pointed out, the fine print limits the dynamic load in off-road conditions to 145lb, which doesn't include the platform itself. The platform itself weighs about 60lbs. This leaves you 85lbs of payload. That's not a lot. Grant you, there are ton's of videos on YouTube of people using this system with a RTT that must exceed the off-road payload limit of this system and most don't seem to have a problem. However, there are incidents where there has been a rack failure and I am sure Rhino Rack won't take responsibility for any failure of the the rack where it was loaded beyond its off-road weight limit.

3) The quick release feet are the easier to use feet option. However, using the quick release feet raises the platform significantly higher, which in turns gives you a higher center of gravity. If you are carrying a heavy load, it makes a difference. It also doesn't look anywhere near as good. I will say, that the low profile feet aren't that much harder to remove than the quick release. That said, with either option, Rhino Rack provides a very puny bolt to secure it to the backbone system. Its one bolt per foot and It only an M8 bolt. Doesn't given you a lot of confidence.

4) Having the Pioneer rack installed will kill your XM radio reception. If XM radio is important to you, would either have to relocate the XM antenna, only keep the rack on when you need it (a pain to store) or remove the aluminum slat that sits over the antenna.

5) This system is expensive. Its modular, which gives you options, but each of those options will cost you. With both set of feet, the backbone system, the platform, and few other odds and ends, you could easy spend $2000. Now, that is a lot of money to spend for only a 85lbs payload capacity off-road.

So would I buy it again. Probably not; especially, for the overall cost of the system. If I were only using the roof rack for on-road use and were camping primarily in established camp ground, then its fine. However, if you plan on going off-road with your average RTT, then you are using it outside of the manufacturer specs.

Hope this helps!
This was a great review, good job.

I have done a lot of research (ultimately turning away from the RR/Pioneer) and gotten into many heated debates in other groups about the actual weight capacity of these systems. There was a document posted in another thread that is now not available on the website which once hosted it. The RR document said 126lbs offroad (non-pavement) with the 72" pioneer platform mounted. The shorter platform would afford the difference in weight vs the larger 72 inch platform. Not much help. The only info I can find now says 138lbs and when I post a picture online of the website the current RR owners still deny it. We're starting with a hard top that's rated for 100lbs and trying to reinforce it.

I think it's a great option for some cargo boxes but not much more. Even then I wouldn't be able to justify the price and then I'm stuck leaving it on the vehicle when I trade/sell down the road because I cant leave the holes in the top.
 

nU7OuxIx

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Even then I wouldn't be able to justify the price and then I'm stuck leaving it on the vehicle when I trade/sell down the road because I cant leave the holes in the top.
I thought about this too. Is it possible to fill the holes with something, and then put some touch up paint over them?

Ultimately, I would probably just leave the mounts up there because it's $500 for those parts. It's not smart, but I lose money all the time on things like this. I just traded a car in with an aftermarket remote start/alarm that I installed myself. I could had pulled it out, but it would had taken more time and frustration than to just trade it in with it.
 

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Thanks for the response. I think I may be talking about something different. This is literally the bolt that fits through the pioneer platform foot into the hole of back bone mount base on top of the roof. They provided what looks to be the M8 stainless steel bolt that fits through the pioneer foot into the back bone base. There is no nut to seat through. All the other bolts fit through and tightened fine. Its just this one that won't thread.

One other thing is the middle bolts threaded through but I can see a little space between the roof and the top of the back bone plate. This might not be an issue but just wondering. Both front and rear plates sit flush with the roof after bolting down the pioneer platform feet.
To confirm, are you talking about the mounting bracket shown in the attached picture? If so, if you were to flip the mounting bracket over, then you should see an M8 bolt nut embedded (glued) in the hole you thread the platform foot bolt thru. I would check to see if its still there. When I first installed my backbone system, the nut somehow fell out. When I tried threading the foot bolt thru, it wouldn't tighten and just kept on spinning. I had to remove the mounting bracket and glue the nut in place. That fixed the issue.

For your second issue, I had the same problem, one of the front mounting brackets didn't fit as flush as the others. I played with it a little when tightening, got the gap to close a bit, but it wasn't as tight as a fit as the the other brackets. So far it hasn't been that big of an issue.

Hope that helps!

RR Rack Mount.jpg
 

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To confirm, are you talking about the mounting bracket shown in the attached picture? If so, if you were to flip the mounting bracket over, then you should see an M8 bolt nut embedded (glued) in the hole you thread the platform foot bolt thru. I would check to see if its still there. When I first installed my backbone system, the nut somehow fell out. When I tried threading the foot bolt thru, it wouldn't tighten and just kept on spinning. I had to remove the mounting bracket and glue the nut in place. That fixed the issue.

For your second issue, I had the same problem, one of the front mounting brackets didn't fit as flush as the others. I played with it a little when tightening, got the gap to close a bit, but it wasn't as tight as a fit as the the other brackets. So far it hasn't been that big of an issue.

Hope that helps!

RR Rack Mount.jpg
So I have the RCL low profile feet. There wasn't any nut that I saw that sat in the back bone roof base. Just a hole. Same hole you use to mount in the metal arm to properly space when drilling the hole. So in the pictures below is what I have. A single bolt that sits inside the platform feet and bolts into the back bone base. That's the bolt that just spins and wont tighten. Used the same bolt on all other feet and it was fine. Not sure if its the bolt or the base hole.

Thanks!

RR.png
RR2.png
 

Bootloot

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So I have the RCL low profile feet. There wasn't any nut that I saw that sat in the back bone roof base. Just a hole. Same hole you use to mount in the metal arm to properly space when drilling the hole. So in the pictures below is what I have. A single bolt that sits inside the platform feet and bolts into the back bone base. That's the bolt that just spins and wont tighten. Used the same bolt on all other feet and it was fine. Not sure if its the bolt or the base hole.

Thanks!

RR.png
RR2.png
So the good news is we are talking about the same hole! The hole on the backbone roof bracket needs to have a bolt nut in it. The hole itself is threaded, but with out the nut, which is supposed to be embedded underneath, the M8 bolt will never tighten. The backbone roof bracket should have had the nut embedded into it from the factory, its not something you are supposed to have inserted yourself. However, the nut is prone to falling out, which has happened to me several times, including the first time I installed the backbone system. Your best best is to uninstall the backbone roof bracket and check to see if the nut is properly installed/embedded into the hole.
 

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I thought about this too. Is it possible to fill the holes with something, and then put some touch up paint over them?

Ultimately, I would probably just leave the mounts up there because it's $500 for those parts. It's not smart, but I lose money all the time on things like this. I just traded a car in with an aftermarket remote start/alarm that I installed myself. I could had pulled it out, but it would had taken more time and frustration than to just trade it in with it.
Would you buy a used Jeep Rubicon with touched up holes in the roof for 40k+? I'll pass.
 

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Why not the go rhino srm500 and mount system? The mounting system goes into the roll cage through the hard top just like the RR. Hell of a lot cheaper (mount plus rack is in the $750 dollar ball park).
 

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I was considering the DeeZee roof rack as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it once you've put some miles in with it installed.

I got the DeeZee rear cargo shelf because of it's price point and, while I'm happy with it overall, it is a little noisy/squeaky. It was also a little bit of a pain to install.

I'm curious how the modularity of the roof rack adds to any additional noise levels while driving and if you've had any difficulty attaching accessories from other manufacturers because of its hexagonal tubes.
It will be a few months. Thought I would have my RTT by end of April now its looking like June. Sorry can't be of more service

I'm actually considering returning it and getting the full Metalcloak rack.
 

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So the good news is we are talking about the same hole! The hole on the backbone roof bracket needs to have a bolt nut in it. The hole itself is threaded, but with out the nut, which is supposed to be embedded underneath, the M8 bolt will never tighten. The backbone roof bracket should have had the nut embedded into it from the factory, its not something you are supposed to have inserted yourself. However, the nut is prone to falling out, which has happened to me several times, including the first time I installed the backbone system. Your best best is to uninstall the backbone roof bracket and check to see if the nut is properly installed/embedded into the hole.
Ahh I get you now. So on the bottom of the roof bracket there should be a nut inside the rubberized foam on the bottom. I need to check that out. Makes sense now. Guess I better get my butyl ready. Thanks for your help!

I know this is kind of a thread jack but the platform does look darn good lol.
 

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