Rhino-Rack Pioneer Roof Rack Install

 In 5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Install, Off-Road

Rhino-Rack Pioneer Roof Rack Install 5th Gen 4Runner

Rhino-Rack Pioneer Tray - 5th Gen 4Runner

Rhino-Rack Pioneer CXB Platform on 5th Gen 4Runner

Recently, we went over the full review on the Rhino-Rack Pioneer. This rack is fully capable of competing with some of the other off-road racks that are commonly installed. We discussed the differences between the Rhino-Rack, Front Runner Slimline 2, Gobi Stealth, Baja Rack and the K9. These roof racks are all well-made utility racks for the 5th Gen 4Runner. We decided to go with the Rhino-Rack with the Backbone Mount System but they were back ordered on the backbone mount.

Part Numbers for Rhino-Rack + Backbone Kit (700lbs Load)

  • Rhino-Rack Pioneer Rack (60″ x 49″)
  • Rhino-Rack Backbone Mount (Factory Rail Replacement)

Part Numbers for Rhino-Rack + CXB Leg Kit (175lbs Load)

The Backbone Mount System is relatively new to the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform lineup. The Backbone Mount removes the factory rail system (like most top-level racks) and is then replaced with factory bolt placements. The biggest difference between the Backbone Mount System and the Factory Rail Kit system is load rating. The Backbone Kit has a load rating of 700lbs while the factory rail mount system has a load rating of 175lbs.

We wanted to move forward with this rack because it is incredibly slim, lightweight and has a competitive load rating among the other major rack brands. Being that they were out of stock on the backbone mount system and we already had the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform, we had to get something. So, we opted for the CXB leg kit.

We mounted up the Rhino-Rack with the factory rail mount CXB leg kit system and it looks great. From functionality to looks, the Rhino-Rack with the factory rail kit is still a great choice and much cheaper. The biggest difference in functionality is whether or not you are going to mount a tent on top of your rack or will be standing on top of it. If you are planning on mounting a roof-top tent or standing on your roof rack often, buy the Backbone Mounting Kit.

After installing our new set of tires (Toyo Open County AT ii – 285/75r17) and wheels (Fuel Anza Bronze 17×9 -6), we should have a completely new look for our 2014 Trail 4Runner. Also, we have an upcoming Icon Suspension to replace our ToyTec Leveling Kit. Pretty stoked for this all to come together.

For now, let’s jump into the install on the Rhino-Rack + CXB Leg Kit. In another post, we will be doing an install of the Rhino-Rack + Backbone Kit.

Step #1 – Unpack all Parts (Pioneer Rack)

The first and most important thing when starting any projects is making sure you have all your parts. The Rhino-Rack Pioneer came separately for us, so we made sure everything was in the box for the rack first. Unpack your Rhino-Rack Pioneer and make sure everything is organized and ready to go.

Rhino-Rack Pioneer SX Platform 5th Gen 4Runner

Step #2 – Unpack all Parts (CXB Leg Kit)

Same goes for your CXB Leg Kit. This one is pretty self-explanatory. There are four legs and one universal allen tool.

Unpack & Account For all Parts (CXB Leg Kit)

Step #3 – Slide CXB Legs to Pioneer Rack Crossbars

The first step for this incredibly easy install is to slide your legs onto the Pioneer Rack Crossbars. There is a metal spacer bracket that bolts down to the Pioneer Rack Crossbars. Slide the Pioneer Rack Crossbars under this section and then under the plastic section as well. They just slide right on. A piece of cake. Repeat this process for all four legs.

Rhino-Rack Install Step #1 - Slide CXB Leg to CrossbarsRhino-Rack Install Step #1 - Slide CXB Leg to Crossbars

Step #4 – Hand Tighten Leg To Crossbars

Once your legs have been added to your Pioneer Rack Crossbars, hand tighten your legs to the crossbars. If you do not hand tighten your legs to the crossbars, the legs will slide back and forth while you are measuring, and adjusting a few other items. With the legs hand-tight, you will still be able to slide them around for adjusting the width of the legs. Repeat this process for all four legs.

Rhino-Rack Install Step #4 - Hand Tighten Leg To Crossbars

Step #5 – Slide Pioneer Crossbars Into Rack

Once you have your legs on your crossbars, drop the cross onto the rack, while the rack is upside down. You want to start with the crossbars at an angle so that you can swing them perpendicular to the stationary crossbar. The crossbar will slide underneath the edge of the Pioneer roof rack under-rail to which you will bolt down with given hardware and a spacer.

Slide Pioneer Crossbars Into RackSlide Pioneer Crossbars Into Rack

Step #6 – Insert Spacer & Screw Down Hardware

Step 6A – Drop in spacer provided perpendicular to the crossbar. 

Rhino-Rack Install Step #6 - Insert Spacer & Screw Down Hardware 

Step 6B – Drop washer onto spacer. With the index finger, turn spacer 90 degrees. 

Rhino-Rack Install Step #6 - Insert Spacer & Screw Down Hardware 

Step 6C – With the index finger, push the spacer underneath the Pioneer rack rail & screw down

Rhino-Rack Install Step #6 - Insert Spacer & Screw Down Hardware 

Step #7 – Measuring Crossbars Width (41.5″ on Center)

You will not have to do this step, as we did it for you. The distance from the center to center on the factory roof rails is about 41.5″. So, you want your width of the openings on the legs to match up with this.

Rhino-Rack Install Step #6 - Measuring Crossbars Width

Step #8 – Bolt Down CXB Legs to Crossbars at 41.5″ on center

BEFORE YOU DO THIS STEP: Open up the spacing of the legs all the way. Using the provided allen, loosen up the leg space on all four legs before bolting down. This will open up the legs and allow the rack to drop right into your factory rails.

MEASURE & BOLT LEGS: Set legs about an inch away from the edge of the rack. This will give you 41.5″ on dead center. Using a 1/2″ socket, bolt down the legs to the crossbars once you have the perfect inch spacing.

Bolt Down CXB Legs to Crossbars at 41.5" on center

Step #9 – Turn Rack Over & Mount Bracket Hardware

Once everything is buttoned up below, turn your rack over and mount your brackets from the top down.

Turn Rack Over - Mount Bracket Hardware

Step #10 – Mount The Rack!

Everything should be nice and tight. Ready to mount!

Using two people, lift your pioneer rack up onto the factory rails. Everything should line up perfectly. If the legs do not automatically seat into place, just give them a little pressure and they should pop right in. Once all of your legs are into place, you can tighten down the legs to the factory rails.

Super Easy!

Rhino-Rack Install Step #9 - Mount Roof Rack

Finished Product & Thoughts on Performance

Super clean, low-profile, easy to install and affordable. What’s not to love about this rack. You can also buy additional hardware for the Pioneer Roof Rack that allows you to strap down just about anything you can imagine.

Rhino-Rack Pioneer Tray - 5th Gen 4Runner

I think this a great start for anyone looking to install a rack while not spending over $1000. This is a great introductory roof rack that will serve well for most uses for the life of their 4Runner. Also, if you ever want to go another direction, it is super easy to take off and mount a new rack on. Try it on for yourself and let us know what you think.

We have not taken it off-road yet or used the Rhino-Rack Pioneer mounting brackets, but as soon as we do, we will write another post on that. As for the on-road performance, you can hear a little bit of wind drag but that is normal with any roof racks, even with wind deflectors. Once you start adding aftermarket parts to your 4Runner, things are just going to be a little different. The wind is definitely not bad, you can just hear it. On a level 1 – 10, I would say it’s about a “2” noise level.

Love the 4Runner Lifestyle?


Join the 5th Gen 4Runner community and get access to new gear, specials, free stickers, free decals, step by step installs and much more. Get access to manufacturer discounts, sales, coupon codes and so much more.



Recent Posts
Showing 3 comments
  • Dan

    Be very careful with the products from this company – I ordered this platform with the backbone mount and received 1/2 the hardware to put it together. Contacted Rhino – (Rhino who) no- one replied or answered emails. I contacted the vendor – they ordered the hardware but will take 3-4 weeks to get it. Gave up and went to the hardware store to try and find black oxide stainless metric security bolts – Good luck with that – also purchase the front rail kit for this rack – also missing hardware and mounting feet – Same story again – as above
    Great looking and beefy product – horrendous service/ poor Quality control and poor instructions – (Measurements were not even close to mount the rack on the for the Back bone mounting system)
    Just thought I would give you guys a heads up

  • Paul

    Could you install a ladder with this rack? Trying to decide between this (with the Backbone) and the PrinSu 7/8 RoofRac. Most likely going to use it for hauling stuff and maybe some occasional rig-top lounging…

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search

Rhino-Rack Pioneer 5th Gen 4Runner