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Unread 06-13-2008, 11:14 PM   #1
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Default African Outback Roof Rack Installation on a 4Runner

This write-up covers the installation of the Outback roof rack by Slee Offroad (www.sleeoffroad.com). The installation is probably a 3 out of 10 banana job. It is best to do it with 2 people (especially for lifting the rack on the vehicle) and plan on 3-4 hours. It will take less time if you have a very good understanding of what is required or if you have done it before. It might be best to plan on a whole day if you are a basic DIY'er. I took 7 hours to do it, which included a few trips to the hardware store, lunch, taking photographs and creating procedures. This write up should save you some time!

When ordering the rack make sure to tell Slee that it is for a 4th Gen 4Runner, so he can make the required modifications and possibly include some different hardware.

Tools and hardware required:

* 10,12 and 13mm sockets with extension
* 10,12,13, 18 (or19) and 22mm wrenches
* 5 and 6mm allen wrenches
* small hammer and rubber mullet
* flat head screw driver
* 4 large beach towels
* Nutsert tool from mcmaster.com part # 96349A815
* 4 nuserts from mcmaster.com part # 97467A693
* metal punch
* 1/8 and 7/16” metal drill bits and a strong drill
* automotive silicon sealant
* 12 M8x20mm 1.25 grade 8 bolts (Slee might include these when ordering now)
* metal file (if needed)

Preparation is very important to make the installation proceed smoothly. Please read through the entire write up before starting. Understanding all the steps taken and special tools or equipment required will make the process less time consuming.

First remove the stock roof rack, by unclipping the 4 plastic covers on each corner. Use a flat screwdriver to do it and take note of where the clips are, pic below and see this link. Then unbolt the 8 12mm bolts holding the roofrack down, and take it off the roof. Now would also be a good time to clean the rain channels and mounting locations properly.



Next fit the AO mounting rails on the roof. The front should be market with a sticker. Don’t worry if it doesn’t follow the roof curve. Loosely bolt in the front and rear mounting locations with the supplied allen head bolts (5mm). In the rear you will notice a newly drilled hole that you have to use. Now pull the front and back down tightly.


Do this on the other side as well. After you secured the rails in place you can now mark the center mounting holes for the nutserts. First use the punch to create small dent in the roof through the center holes in the rail. Then drill a small pilot hole (1/8”) in the roof.

Remove the rails again to allow you to continue the installation of the nutserts. First drill the 7/16” holes using the pilot holes. Be careful as the metal is thick and the drill might “bite” through. I accidentally drilled too deep on 2 holes, but didn’t damage the headliner or side airbags, so no issues there. Make sure the holes are drilled nice and clean with no shavings left.

Next insert the nutserts in the holes. Now use the nutsert tool to pull down the nutsert and crimp it into place. You do this by screwing the allen bolt through the tool into the nutsert. Make sure to keep downwards pressure on the tool to prevent the nutsert from slipping up and out. Use the 22mm wrench to hold the base of the nutsert tool and the 18 or 19mm wrench to pull the allen bolt up, which crimps the nutsert in place. In some cases I had the remove the allen bolt from the nutsert with the 6mm allen wrench. Space is tight so take your time to set your self up correctly.


*Note: Some folks installed the racks without the middel bolts and nutserts, with seemingly no ill effect. Slee warned that it might lead to issues later, none noted so far by others.
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Unread 06-13-2008, 11:19 PM   #2
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Now seal off the outer edges of the nutserts and stock bolt locations with the automotive silicon sealant. Next put back the mounting rails. Thus time put some silicon on the threads of the bolts before inserting the again. Again only install the bolts loosely to make sure you get all the bolts in first. When all the bolts are in tighten them down. No need to go crazy with the torque, hand tight is just fine. Make sure that the nutserts stayed in place. I didn’t have any issues, but they might pull out of there was an issue.


I then sealed the front of the rail by the roof rain gutter with silicone to prevent water running up from the windshield to flood underneath the rail.


Next you need to install the lower brackets on the rack itself. This is done by one nut that slides down the center channel across from the bottom of the rack mounting point, and 2 bolts that go through holes in the rack to the bracket. If the sliding nut has difficulty moving down the rack channel, just tap it with the hammer and screwdriver. For the rack to fit on the 4Runner, you will need to install 2 bolts on the inner most positions of the rack.

Note: I had to get the M8 bolts mentioned above to fit as the supplied M8x25mm bolts were too long to fit. Slee might supply these bolts in the future.

It will work best not to tighten down the brackets on the roof rack completely at this time. I also found that filing down the edges of the brackets that was just fitted for the center ones will help to push it down when installing. This might change if Slee supplies different legs in the future, but for now it works fine this way. Also note that the 2 front bracket can not make use of the sliding nut mount due to the moonroof hatch in the roof rack.

Note: Slee now does supply 2 shorter legs to be used in the middle of the rack. So make sure to fit the longer ones on the ends and the shorter ones in the middle.



Next the legs go into the mounting rails on the roof. There are supplied bolts that slide in the rail and the legs are then bolted down on them. Only fit the legs loosely at this time as well. You will notice the legs have nuts welded on and multiple small holes for fitment of the shear bolts.


Once all the legs are moved into place loosely, you can put the rack on the roof. First place the 2 large beach towels folded double on the roof. Then 2 more on the side from which you will put the rack on.

Lift the rack onto the roof and move it into location, by lifting it over the legs and sliding them into place where needed. Use the towels whenever the rack needs to rest on the body. Install the bolts that hold the rack mounting brackets to the legs on the rails, don’t tighten at this time.

Now you need to position the rack on the roof by moving the legs in the frame rail. To do this I opened the rear hatch to make sure the spoiler does not hit the roof rack when open. Also if you have a moonroof you need to check that the roof rack hatch is aligned over the moonroof. You might have to tap the rack with the rubber mullet to get it to move. Make sure it sits straight. As I have a moonroof and rear spoiler I found that moving the rack back as far as possible worked best.
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Unread 06-13-2008, 11:21 PM   #3
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Once the rack is aligned on the roof you can start to tighten the bolts. Before you do, you will need to fit the sheer bolts. Do the center legs first. With filing the bracket edges down a little bit I was able to get the center shear bolts in the lowest position. I then did the front legs and pushed them up to the highest shear bolt location. Then finish with the rear, also in the highest location. If you can get the exact spot, don’t worry as the rack does have enough flexibility to fit the location you can fit the shear bolts too.

First tighten all the shear bolts, which can be a bit of a pain. Then tighten all the bolts on the bracket and legs. To tighten the bolts from the legs to the rail, you might have to push them out slightly with a flathead screwdriver first. Put the plastic caps on the leg nuts when finished.



If you ordered a top rail you can now install it. First remove the rubber strips from the front channels on both the rack and the top rail. Next fit the mounting bracket to the top rail, 3 on each side and 2 on both the front and back (10 in total). This is done by inserting the sliding nuts in the channel center and moving them into place. In some cases the powder coating was a bit thick and I had to use a hammer and screw driver. Now fit the brackets with supplied bolts.

Next fit the sliding nuts in the roof rack channels, and position them more or less in the correct locations. Lift top rail on the roof rack and mount to one bracket on each side. You will have to push to get the top rail positioned correctly. Work your way around and make sure to first get all the bolts in place before tightening down. The front of the top rail is market with a sticker.

Lastly cut and fit the rubber strip on the front channels for the roof rack and rail. The strips prevent wind noise.




Now go buy all the accessories, roof top tent and enjoy your new roof rack!!!!

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