Hardshell/Topper Reinforcement

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Sota166

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#347
Hello Friends,

My topper has been added! I know you either love or hate them but this will be extremely practical for my family and I. The plan is to put a more sturdy rack on top, possibly a Front Runner Outfitters, and then add a RTT. I'm nervous about the added weight on the topper and am wondering who has experience reinforcing a topper? I appreciate any advice!

Thanks,
Brandon
 

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Mr. Nobody

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#184
I have a Leer 100xr on mine and the only differences from yours are it's a long bed, and I'm using a Prinsu rack. I mention the rack because technically my rack attaches to the shell in 6 places compared to your 4. In my mind that may distributed the weight (especially when off roading) of the RTT moving around up top better than the standard 4 point rack systems.

I have yet to see any fatigue, cracks (hairline or otherwise), or damage on my shell as a result of the tent being up top. It's possible, but I haven't found any. The one thing I have noticed is shell has moved slightly on me more than once. I have the standard style cap bolted to the t-slot bolts on the bed rails. I can crank them down but the weight of the shell and the tent can cause the shell to move. I've been looking into alternate mounting options and it sounds like for my use, the best option is to just bolt straight through the top of the bed. Hope this info helps you out. Nice truck!!
 

Noodski44

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#78
I'm interested in this because my shell doesn't have rails. Your shells made for weigh where mine is not.
 

Mr. Nobody

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#184
I'm interested in this because my shell doesn't have rails. Your shells made for weigh where mine is not.


What kind of shell are you running? Are you talking about the rack rails on top?
 

Noodski44

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What kind of shell are you running? Are you talking about the rack rails on top?
Mr. Nobody Yeah my shell doesn't have rack rails on it. It's an ARE shell, not made for a rack. I can add one but I'll need to take in consideration potential leaks and cracking. Because i'll have to drill directly into the shell.
 

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Mr. Nobody

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#184
Mr. Nobody Yeah my shell doesn't have rack rails on it. It's an ARE shell, not made for a rack. I can add one but I'll need to take in consideration potential leaks and cracking. Because i'll have to drill directly into the shell.

I'm pretty positive there is no difference structurally in an ARE that came with rack rails on it and yours that came without them. There are shells that are specifically made reinforced to carry higher loads, but mine is definitely not one of the commercial capacity caps. If you are the original purchaser of the cap I'm pretty sure you can just go to an authorized ARE dealer and have them install the tracks and you will maintain your ARE warranty.
 

Noodski44

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I'm pretty positive there is no difference structurally in an ARE that came with rack rails on it and yours that came without them. There are shells that are specifically made reinforced to carry higher loads, but mine is definitely not one of the commercial capacity caps. If you are the original purchaser of the cap I'm pretty sure you can just go to an authorized ARE dealer and have them install the tracks and you will maintain your ARE warranty.
I'm not the original owner as it came with the truck. But ill try for sure. Here is the top of the shell. Its pretty clean unsure where they'd put the track.
 

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Mr. Nobody

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#184
I'm not the original owner as it came with the truck. But ill try for sure. Here is the top of the shell. Its pretty clean unsure where they'd put the track.


They pretty much just measure out the width and then drill like 5-6 holes front to rear on each side and then bolt the tracks down with some silicone in the holes for water protection. Not rocket science, but I'd probably get the pro's to do it myself.
 

Noodski44

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They pretty much just measure out the width and then drill like 5-6 holes front to rear on each side and then bolt the tracks down with some silicone in the holes for water protection. Not rocket science, but I'd probably get the pro's to do it myself.
I hear yeah.
 

tacomiyagi

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Sota166 Truck looks great with the topper. Not everyone likes the look and some consider them old man syndrome but who cares? Everyones got different needs and wants. With that being said, here's what I do know based on pass ownership and heavy research. I've owned 3 Leers, all XR100 models and 1 Snugtop Xtra Vision model. all of these standard shells have a static rating of about 200-250lbs. I just pulled the trigger on my 5th camper shell and I went with Snugtop again because they are the only company that offers a sportsman package which basically means they reinforce the shell by making it an inch thicker on the roof and all stress points during the molding process. This gives the shell a 500lb static rating. Instead of those thule racks that you have on there, you definitely should consider a prinsu or frontrunner just for the simple fact that like Mr. Nobody stated, the weight is distributed evenly throughout the surface of your shell rather than at just 4 points. Those surf racks are only rated to hold up to 100lbs maybe a little more if I remember correctly. Most RTT weigh between 125-200lbs depending on which tent you get. I'm looking at getting an XL RTT and those weigh about 200lbs thats why I ordered mine reinforced. I also ordered mine with just the track system installed that way if I have any leaking issues it would be covered under warranty. Which now brings us to Noodski44 portion, because you are not the original purchaser of the camper shell, you are void of any warranties. However, you could take it to an ARE dealer and see if they can do it for you. Maybe that route they can warranty the service provided. If not, find out what measurements they go by when installing and mirror that and just silicone well where you drill the holes through the shell. Shouldn't be too difficult as I believe it's only 4 screws. Lastly, this applies to all of us....get bed stiffeners. Total Chaos, Rago, CaliRasied and a few others sell them. I just got my set in this week and will be installing before my topper arrives in a month. This will help with any flex, avoid stressing/cracking our composite beds. This will also give more stability to the shell resting on the bedrails. Hope this helps a little.
 

Sota166

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#347
I have a Leer 100xr on mine and the only differences from yours are it's a long bed, and I'm using a Prinsu rack. I mention the rack because technically my rack attaches to the shell in 6 places compared to your 4. In my mind that may distributed the weight (especially when off roading) of the RTT moving around up top better than the standard 4 point rack systems.

I have yet to see any fatigue, cracks (hairline or otherwise), or damage on my shell as a result of the tent being up top. It's possible, but I haven't found any. The one thing I have noticed is shell has moved slightly on me more than once. I have the standard style cap bolted to the t-slot bolts on the bed rails. I can crank them down but the weight of the shell and the tent can cause the shell to move. I've been looking into alternate mounting options and it sounds like for my use, the best option is to just bolt straight through the top of the bed. Hope this info helps you out. Nice truck!!

Thanks for the info! I will definitely be purchasing a different rack. I basically had the Thule installed just to have the tracks put in. I really like the Front Runner Outfitters racks and will probably go with that. I planned on attaching the rack with at least 6 mounts. I have heard of aftermarket support systems for the interior of the topper so I may look into that. Your truck looks great!
 

Sota166

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Hopkins, Minnesota
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#347
Sota166 Truck looks great with the topper. Not everyone likes the look and some consider them old man syndrome but who cares? Everyones got different needs and wants. With that being said, here's what I do know based on pass ownership and heavy research. I've owned 3 Leers, all XR100 models and 1 Snugtop Xtra Vision model. all of these standard shells have a static rating of about 200-250lbs. I just pulled the trigger on my 5th camper shell and I went with Snugtop again because they are the only company that offers a sportsman package which basically means they reinforce the shell by making it an inch thicker on the roof and all stress points during the molding process. This gives the shell a 500lb static rating. Instead of those thule racks that you have on there, you definitely should consider a prinsu or frontrunner just for the simple fact that like Mr. Nobody stated, the weight is distributed evenly throughout the surface of your shell rather than at just 4 points. Those surf racks are only rated to hold up to 100lbs maybe a little more if I remember correctly. Most RTT weigh between 125-200lbs depending on which tent you get. I'm looking at getting an XL RTT and those weigh about 200lbs thats why I ordered mine reinforced. I also ordered mine with just the track system installed that way if I have any leaking issues it would be covered under warranty. Which now brings us to Noodski44 portion, because you are not the original purchaser of the camper shell, you are void of any warranties. However, you could take it to an ARE dealer and see if they can do it for you. Maybe that route they can warranty the service provided. If not, find out what measurements they go by when installing and mirror that and just silicone well where you drill the holes through the shell. Shouldn't be too difficult as I believe it's only 4 screws. Lastly, this applies to all of us....get bed stiffeners. Total Chaos, Rago, CaliRasied and a few others sell them. I just got my set in this week and will be installing before my topper arrives in a month. This will help with any flex, avoid stressing/cracking our composite beds. This will also give more stability to the shell resting on the bedrails. Hope this helps a little.
Awesome info! I will definitely be purchasing a Front Runner Outfitters rack soon. I agree they are better for weight displacement. I have heard of aftermarket support systems for the interior of the topper so I'll have to look into that.
 

Mr. Nobody

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Sota166 Lastly, this applies to all of us....get bed stiffeners. Total Chaos, Rago, CaliRasied and a few others sell them. I just got my set in this week and will be installing before my topper arrives in a month. This will help with any flex, avoid stressing/cracking our composite beds. This will also give more stability to the shell resting on the bedrails. Hope this helps a little.

I agree here as well. I just ordered a set from Rago on sale through the 3GT Facebook group. There has been two times where we set up camp on uneven ground and my tailgate was not able to open due to the flex of the bed. The shell was now slightly misaligned and inhibited the tailgate from opening. I'm hoping the bed stiffeners will help with this issue in the future.

Thanks for the info! I will definitely be purchasing a different rack. I basically had the Thule installed just to have the tracks put in. I really like the Front Runner Outfitters racks and will probably go with that. I planned on attaching the rack with at least 6 mounts. I have heard of aftermarket support systems for the interior of the topper so I may look into that. Your truck looks great!


I dig my Prinsu, but the Frontrunner stuff is legit. The accessories they offer are awesome. I'm still brain storming ideas on how to mount stuff to the Prinsu, where as the Frontrunner stuff they pretty much have an accessory for whatever you want to do.
 

Sota166

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#347
I will definitely check out the bed stiffeners. I think I'll probably end up getting a Front Runner for the topper and cab eventually. I've seen a few Tacomas like that and I love the clean, flat line. I appreciate the help.
 

Noodski44

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#78
Sota166 Truck looks great with the topper. Not everyone likes the look and some consider them old man syndrome but who cares? Everyones got different needs and wants. With that being said, here's what I do know based on pass ownership and heavy research. I've owned 3 Leers, all XR100 models and 1 Snugtop Xtra Vision model. all of these standard shells have a static rating of about 200-250lbs. I just pulled the trigger on my 5th camper shell and I went with Snugtop again because they are the only company that offers a sportsman package which basically means they reinforce the shell by making it an inch thicker on the roof and all stress points during the molding process. This gives the shell a 500lb static rating. Instead of those thule racks that you have on there, you definitely should consider a prinsu or frontrunner just for the simple fact that like Mr. Nobody stated, the weight is distributed evenly throughout the surface of your shell rather than at just 4 points. Those surf racks are only rated to hold up to 100lbs maybe a little more if I remember correctly. Most RTT weigh between 125-200lbs depending on which tent you get. I'm looking at getting an XL RTT and those weigh about 200lbs thats why I ordered mine reinforced. I also ordered mine with just the track system installed that way if I have any leaking issues it would be covered under warranty. Which now brings us to Noodski44 portion, because you are not the original purchaser of the camper shell, you are void of any warranties. However, you could take it to an ARE dealer and see if they can do it for you. Maybe that route they can warranty the service provided. If not, find out what measurements they go by when installing and mirror that and just silicone well where you drill the holes through the shell. Shouldn't be too difficult as I believe it's only 4 screws. Lastly, this applies to all of us....get bed stiffeners. Total Chaos, Rago, CaliRasied and a few others sell them. I just got my set in this week and will be installing before my topper arrives in a month. This will help with any flex, avoid stressing/cracking our composite beds. This will also give more stability to the shell resting on the bedrails. Hope this helps a little.
And boom?bringing it home. Thanks tacomiyagi for the insight. I actually put bed stiffeners on my taco wish list. Prinsu is my actual choice, I'm adding it to the front first then the back later. I don't see adding too much weight to the back, no tents or anything. Just a canopy, some traction tracks, shovel, axe and jack. It's going to be mostly aesastetics. #oldmansymdrome haha. Thanks again
 

Tacoma.prod

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#459
This thread helped a lot!!!!!! Awesome info. I know of you posted pics of your shell, but for those haven’t, mind sending them? I’d be interested how the prinsu front rails look with the shell in the rear (Noodski44).
 

Mr. Nobody

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#184
This thread helped a lot!!!!!! Awesome info. I know of you posted pics of your shell, but for those haven’t, mind sending them? I’d be interested how the prinsu front rails look with the shell in the rear (Noodski44).


Check out my build thread for shell pics.


I installed a set of Rago bed stiffeners yesterday. Super easy install and a very nice product overall. We'll see if they help.

IMG_20180619_154039436.jpg
IMG_20180619_154053358.jpg
IMG_20180619_141603801_LL.jpg
 

Noodski44

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This thread helped a lot!!!!!! Awesome info. I know of you posted pics of your shell, but for those haven’t, mind sending them? I’d be interested how the prinsu front rails look with the shell in the rear (Noodski44).

Tacoma.prod Sorry for the delay. Heres the picture of my rig with the prinsu up front with nothing on the shell. Though i Just found out I can actually get the rails installed from a local ARE dealer. Only $175 and then I can mount the rear prinsu.
 

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davewarfel

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Noodski44 -- Sorry if you mentioned this and I missed it, but what type of tracks did you go with on your topper in order to mount a Prinsu rack.

I'm about to buy a topper, and it looks like most dealers are offering 3 different types of tracks: Thule, Yakima or Rhino. I want to make sure the tracks I get installed will accommodate a Prinsu rack. Thanks for any insight you can provide.
 

Noodski44

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Noodski44 -- Sorry if you mentioned this and I missed it, but what type of tracks did you go with on your topper in order to mount a Prinsu rack.

I'm about to buy a topper, and it looks like most dealers are offering 3 different types of tracks: Thule, Yakima or Rhino. I want to make sure the tracks I get installed will accommodate a Prinsu rack. Thanks for any insight you can provide.
davewarfel I have Yakima tracks on mine. That is what the ARE dealer recommended.
 

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