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Old 11-02-2020, 11:30 PM #1
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Yep, another roof rack question!

I started off here:
5th Gen 4Runner Roof Racks - Full-Length, 3/4 Length & Basket Racks

And then subsequently read a bunch of one-off of racks, then thought about keeping stock rails and getting those newer generation of aftermarket crossbars a bunch are offering, but I think I've pretty much settled on upgrading from OEM setup, and going for a full OR 7/8 (I feel like there's no practical difference? But 3/4 seems a bit short)

The ones that keep popping up to me are:

- Prinsu - seems people really like the style of this one
- LFD - I am not exactly positive on, but they keep popping up on my radar! Have a lot of length + material options which is nice
- Sherpa - seems a newer player in the game, and uses a different (innovative?) approach to covering/using the stock mounting holes
- Frontrunner - Cool... so damn expensive? A little proprietary too?

I'm Canadian, and I've heard of a few other canadian options, which seem like cheaper options? Seem much less popular, so hard to compare:
4Runner Aluminum Full Length Roof Rack System — GREENLANE OFF-ROAD
03-09 4Runner Modular Roof Rack | Element By RA Motorsports

Some of my desires/thoughts on roof rack:
- Like a flatter (multiple crossbars) roof rack for if I need to strap random large items to it (lumber or otherwise)
- Reducing wind noise is pretty high up there in importance
- Still plan to use a cargo box (not full time)
- Care much less about how it looks/makes the 4runner look vs functionality

Unfortunately (and perhaps obviously!) there is no good side-by-side reviews, and these aren't $50 options when you can just try things out. I've heard of horror stories about roof leaks, often times without user awareness... this scares me a ton! Is sherpa's new approach better? Time tested?

Any guidance on selecting a roof rack? Most of these I don't have any option to check out in person either, so a big big purchase to make blind. How did you select a rack? Any really viable racks I've possibly overlooked?
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Old 11-02-2020, 11:49 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaitlyn2004 View Post
I started off here:
5th Gen 4Runner Roof Racks - Full-Length, 3/4 Length & Basket Racks

I've heard of horror stories about roof leaks, often times without user awareness... this scares me a ton! Is sherpa's new approach better?
If you use the 8 factory mounting points, all you need do is use plenty of sealant around the bolts where they screw into the roof(some use silicone and others use butyl rubber) and you won't have leaks. There is plenty of info on this on other roof rack chains.

The factory uses a foam washer at those places which leaves a lot to be desired
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Old 11-03-2020, 12:02 AM #3
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I just installed the LFD 7/8 rack on my 2020 and it was quite a bit nicer than my expectations honestly. I'm very pleased with it so far and would definitely recommend it.

I had two of their crossbars with my stock rails prior to purchasing the rack and added two more and the fairing when I did the rack. They have been great to work with and make a quality product.

I have no experience with the others you mentioned but there are tons of people with different racks on the forum.
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Old 11-03-2020, 02:24 AM #4
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I've got 2020 as well - would love to hear more about your insights on the rack - install and noise and quality and whatnot

What made you decide on the LFD?
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Old 11-03-2020, 04:34 AM #5
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A positive for the LFD is that you can start with the cross bars on the factory rack and then eventually upgrade by getting the other LFD rack components when you want the full rack. I think the 7/8s has different crossbars so check with LFD. Thats what I was planning to do but ended up settling with just the crossbars as it worked perfectly for my situation.
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Old 11-03-2020, 10:35 AM #6
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It is crazy how many rack options there are out there. I nearly drove myself crazy analyzing racks. After months of research, I pulled the trigger on a Rhino Rack. I purchased the 4Runner Backbone with the 84"x49" Pioneer platform. I chose this because I wanted a flat surface that was throughout the rack. I didn't like the large spaces between the crossmembers of all the other aluminum racks (i.e. Prinsu, Sherpa, LFD, etc). I have had mine for 8 months-ish and I have used it to haul plywood, mattresses, bikes, and camping gear. My boys and I even sat on it to watch 4th of July Fireworks. The rack has very little wind noise. If I have the sunroof shade open, there is a bit of wind noise, but if the shade is closed, I can't hear it. I really like the Rhino Rack. Well worth the money. I'd highly suggest it.

The major item about the Prinsu, Sherpa, LFD racks are the mounting feet and brackets. Not where the rack mounts to the factory mounting points specifically, but the metal between the roof and the rack itself. IIRC, Prinsu welds the mounting tabs to the rack and bends the metal for the mounts, so there is no adjustment at all if needed. Sherpa and LFD's mounts bolt the rack to the mounting feet, so there is some ability to make adjustments to alignment. Personally, I would have bought the Sherpa if I didn't go Rhino Rack.

Good luck!
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Old 11-03-2020, 11:17 AM #7
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I have a Sherpa rack.

Easy install, no sealant required, high quality, very well-thought-out line of accessories, no noise, and absolutely superb customer support. I'd buy it again in a second.

I think the first question you should ask yourself is sealant vs. no sealant.

If you spend some time reading forums, I think you will see a lot of chatter about how 99% of sealants need attention - silicone shrinks for example - so you will need to maintain that over time.

Many of the racks you list are similar, so the other thing I'd think about is customer support. I have a bunch of stuff on my truck now, and there are a lot of vendors that stop caring once your order is placed. Sherpa and Green Lane are the two I've used that are exceptional. Several other big and small the opposite ... damaged good received and emails not returned, etc.

Good luck.

PS one other thing about Sherpa - the bars they use allow other products to mount easily too, so you aren't locked into just their accessories.

Last edited by rageandlove; 11-03-2020 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 11-03-2020, 02:15 PM #8
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You are on the right track figuring out what your needs are. Also consider what accessories you might want to mount if any (lights, canopy, tent, etc) along with the cargo box.
Gobi Stealth is what I have that meets my needs. The wait time is long, but Iíve used their products before and was happy with everything all around.
If you are not going to have anything on the roof most of the time maybe Baja flat rack will fill your need.
Agree that there are a lot of options. Good luck
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Old 11-03-2020, 02:45 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rageandlove View Post
PS one other thing about Sherpa - the bars they use allow other products to mount easily too, so you aren't locked into just their accessories.
From photos they look like "Standard" 8020 aluminium crossbars which is good and bad I guess. Good because so much potential without being proprietary, but bad because I'm pretty sure I'm paying quite the premium simply for them to ship precut ones to me... (whereas the Niserack posted here basically tells you to buy the bars separately cause it'll be cheaper)

You've found the sealant style on the sherpa to be good and lasting? I worry/wonder why nobody else has done their style and almost all of them are using the silicone-style sealants... and nobody else seems to have changed.

$1100 USD + $185 shipping to canada... my wallet is crying
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Old 11-03-2020, 04:13 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaitlyn2004 View Post
From photos they look like "Standard" 8020 aluminium crossbars which is good and bad I guess. Good because so much potential without being proprietary, but bad because I'm pretty sure I'm paying quite the premium simply for them to ship precut ones to me... (whereas the Niserack posted here basically tells you to buy the bars separately cause it'll be cheaper)

You've found the sealant style on the sherpa to be good and lasting? I worry/wonder why nobody else has done their style and almost all of them are using the silicone-style sealants... and nobody else seems to have changed.

$1100 USD + $185 shipping to canada... my wallet is crying
ARB and Toyota OEM :-) use the same approach/principles as Sherpa. I think they studied what Toyota did as a starting point.

I don't know for sure, but my guess is that it requires a bit more precise engineering. Send them an email - they are super responsive.

The said on their thread somewhere else in the forum that there's a Thanksgiving sale coming if that helps.

Green Lane is on the Island if you can get there - I got some stuff from there and took the ferry over to avoid shipping etc.


PS None of this stuff is cheap - every few months I add something to my build, and it adds up ...
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Old 11-03-2020, 06:10 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyKevin View Post
A positive for the LFD is that you can start with the cross bars on the factory rack and then eventually upgrade by getting the other LFD rack components when you want the full rack. I think the 7/8s has different crossbars so check with LFD. Thats what I was planning to do but ended up settling with just the crossbars as it worked perfectly for my situation.
The different crossbars come into play with the full length rack from LFD; the reason being is that the full length rack is ~5" wider than the 3/4 or 7/8 (and thus factory rack as well)
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Old 12-03-2020, 11:47 PM #12
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Anyone using non-Rhino brand accessory bars on a Rhino Pioneer rack? Specifically looking for more clearance (ie the standard clearance that roof rack cross bars give you, 1-2") as opposed to the only options offered by Rhino-compatible cross bars, which are all flush with the rack. I'm mainly looking to strap surfboards and snowboards/skis to my Pioneer roof rack. The additional height on the accessory cross bars allows me to strap standard surfboard pads to the bars. Very much appreciate any advice!

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Old 12-04-2020, 04:19 PM #13
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How important are adding plug and play accessories to your rack? This is why I went with the Frontrunner 3/4, super functional.

FWIW this was over 4 years ago and was also before Sherpa and Greenlane were marketing and producing racks for 5th Gens.

If I were buying now Sherpa would be near the top of my list although I still love the Frontrunner. The points made about the sealant mentioned in the previous posts are true. I had a wet seatbelt after about 2 years and had to remove and redo the process. Extra sealant in the boltholes that time and haven't had a wet seatbelt in the 2 years since, but it will likely happen again (hopefully not for another couple of years).
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Old 12-04-2020, 05:35 PM #14
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Quote:
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How important are adding plug and play accessories to your rack? This is why I went with the Frontrunner 3/4, super functional.

FWIW this was over 4 years ago and was also before Sherpa and Greenlane were marketing and producing racks for 5th Gens.

If I were buying now Sherpa would be near the top of my list although I still love the Frontrunner. The points made about the sealant mentioned in the previous posts are true. I had a wet seatbelt after about 2 years and had to remove and redo the process. Extra sealant in the boltholes that time and haven't had a wet seatbelt in the 2 years since, but it will likely happen again (hopefully not for another couple of years).
Isn't greenlane's approach actually better sealed/protected than sherpa's?
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:20 PM #15
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Quote:
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Isn't greenlane's approach actually better sealed/protected than sherpa's?
Please explain or link to the Greenlane sealing approach.
After reading many threads and some posts about silicone sealant failure I thought the use of butyl rubber was the best material.
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