X88 expeditions - Documenting and sharing overland travels, adventures, and expeditions

February 28, 2009

Surco Safari Roof Rack - Update

Winter (read: off-season) update.

I have been thinking about 2 items related to the Surco Safari rack:

  1. Changing how it fastens to the roof rails.

    After taking the rack down last year, I noticed that the aluminum plates with the threads in the center were actually slightly bent! I must have over-tightened them by hand. The year before I only used a drill set to it's highest torque, which didn't bend them.

    For piece-of-mind, I can definitely see the benefits of the idea where the plates are at least twice as thick and have a design that "lock" them in - as suggested by James Downing, another Trailvoy enthusiast. However, being a custom job this would be the more difficult route.

  2. Adding an awning to the Safari rack

    I had seen awnings in use in Overland Journal and thought this was a great and useful addition. After some research I chose the awning that Camping Lab sells. I ordered the 70" version and it was delivered promptly to my US mailbox.

    I am currently working on how to mount it to the side of the Surco. One thing that will change is that the Hi-Lift jack will no longer be mounted there. I am going to slightly modify my rear spare tire carrier in order to mount the jack there.

    More pictures in the spring when it gets warmer, however, here is a picture from Camping Lab for you to get the idea:

Going For The 4•5•6 - Update

As some of you may have read earlier in this thread, I goofed on some research for the rear axle housing and even though I got the 2002 8.6 inch from an EXT for a steal, I have been driving around since August with no anti-lock breaks and no Stabillitrak.

Luckily, even though snow around here has been quite heavy, I have not really had any dire need for the ABS (I have been extra cautious when driving in bad weather).

Well that is being rectified in a month or so. I have been on a constant lookout for a 2006+ 8.6 housing and finally got one. My original plan was to get one from Michigan and have them ship it to National 4WD's warehouse just outside of Buffalo, and let them bring it across the border.

But luckily 2 weeks ago one became available about half an hour north of Toronto in Aurora at Carcone's Auto Recycling. Again, another ringing endorsement for car-part.com, that system is outstanding!

The housing is in good shape, the ABS leads are still in tact, and they even left all 4 bars attached from the 4-link. Ryan at National4WD will give me a report on the axles but I expect them to be in good shape as well.

This will be done in the off-season so it is ready for this year and some BIG travel plans I have ...