Custom Built Roof Rack for the 5th Gen 4Runner: Stellar Built – Sacramento, CA
Many of you have asked, so here it is.
If you have been in the off-road Toyota community for any length of time, odds are, you have heard the name Stellar Built. The owner of Stellar Built, Dmitriy Dolotov is the man behind the vision, design, fabrication, and for the most part, Toyota/Lexus specific platforms.
Dmitriy and his team at Stellar Built in Sacramento, CA design, fabricate and install some badass armor for the Toyota community. They specialize in all areas of fabrication and can build just about anything but they have mastered many Toyota platforms, including all generations of Land Cruiser, 4Runners, Tacoma, Tundra, GX models and much more.
After running the 3/4 Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform for about a year, I knew I wanted something bigger, something that would accommodate a lightbar and eventually an RTT.
Some of the first choices among the wide variety of options were Gobi, FrontRunner, and even the recent ARB flat rack (the fence rack) were on top of the list.
I had already had my truck at Stellar Built for a Body Mount Chop (BMC), and we started talking about options and ideas for the roof rack. It wasn’t much longer before I started to draft up some ideas.
I’ll go over a few areas of the rack
- The Vision
- Design and Looks
- Mounting Points and Function
- Storage and Configuration
- Lightbar and other lights
- Washing the truck
#1 – The Vision
I do genuinely like the look of Gobis “unmistakable look” but didn’t want to spend $2000 and wait 3 months. I started to draft up something similar with a few custom tweaks here and there.
After dealing with the limited amount of mounting points on the Rhino Rack, I wanted something with limitless mounting points, chain link fence style.
I knew I had the KC HiLiTES FLEX lightbar going up top, so we planned for that as well but I was unsure of how that was going to work out.
With what I brought to Stellar Built and what he turned it into was pretty awesome. I gave Dmitriy my ideas and he made them much better. He explained what was actually a good idea and then turned that into a usable portion of the design.
#2 – Design and Looks
As you can see, the low profile design is pretty badass.
Up front, there are two parallel HREW rails spaced about 1″ away from the KC FLEX bar. Those curve around to the side of the 4Runner where they meet a set of CNC cut plates. The first CNC plates are a non-drill design that rest directly on top of the weather stripping.
The second set of CNC plates bolt down to the factory mounting points on the 4Runner.
The step-down curve down from the upper portion of the rack is absolutely a Stellar Built signature. There is no other rack out there like it.
Moving further down the rear, we have another CNC cut plate that mounts to the factory points.
Wrapping around the back of the 4Runner, the top rail meets the bottom tube with a smooth transition to create a flat rack opening in the back.
On the driver side is our 4R logo and on the passenger side is the SB logo. I’ll admit, the SB logo is cleaner than the 4R logo.
#3 – Mounting Points and Function
Side rails act as great mounting points but the floor is what I use most. I use multiple styles of the Rhino ratchet straps that work great with a “fence style” roof rack floor.
Both ratchet straps and “the perfect bungees” are great for this type of roof rack floor. If you have not seen those bungees, they kick ass.
The flat rack opening in the back allows me to slide up and over storage boxes and recovery boards without having to overextend reach and throw it over the second rail. To some, this may be a moot point.
I do have a moonroof and that was accounted for. The problem is our KC FLEX lightbar combined with the rack, at high speeds 50mph+ is viciously loud.
I placed an order for a Gobi wind deflector about 6 months ago and only received an order confirmation email, that’s it. Nothing else since. I guess I will look somewhere else.
Looking back, I would have just gone full length. We may have Stellar Built build a drop in with bushing clamps.
#4 – Storage and Configuration
There are plenty of options for mounting gear with this rack. We have multiple storage boxes (gun cases – like this one) and recovery boards that configure any way we want.
The main challenge I have is with the moonroof opening. It does limit the possibilities for mounting gear.
I travel pretty light and usually travel solo so I am never loaded to the point where I have been irritated or ran out of options. My typical mounting setup is a couple of storage boxes and a set of the TREDS recovery boards.
For my needs, it has been pretty damn perfect.
#5 – Lightbar and other lights
The KC FLEX lightbar looks great up front.
Stellar Built welded in the factory brackets that were shipped with KC in the box. We can take the lightbar off but the lightbar was made for this rack, it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.
We are going to link up a few more KC lights all around and with the design of the rack, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Future plans include KC HiLiTES Cyclone Lights (red) in the rear combined with some additional KC HiLiTES FLEX singles as reverse lights. Who knows though, plans always change.
The mesh floor of the rack really allows for any configuration of lights.
#6 – Washing the truck
Washing the truck around the roof rack is a pain in the ass.
It was my idea and goal to have this rack as low profile as possible, that is not on Stellar. Dmitriy recommended that I go a little higher for this reason. But, the current garage situation only allowed for 7″ of extended height clearance on the roof.
At the time, I was stuffing the truck in the garage and really wanted to keep it that way.
Every time I wash the truck, it’s almost impossible to dry off the roof of the truck with the rack so close.
This causes little dirty water spots to run down the roof of the truck.
It’s not the end of the world, but something to be mindful of when building or having someone build a custom rack.
Should you go with Stellar?
If you are looking for something one-off and truly unique then for sure. If you are also looking for a shorter lead time than some other rack companies, Stellar Built may be a good option as well, depending on how busy they are.
Custom additions are great. You will often pay less and get your product faster but you are relying on the creativity of someone else to add a product to a truck that you may or may not love.
Your one-off build also means you have to figure everything out on your own. There is no support for your product in the forums because no one has the same setup. If you want to add an RTT, mount boxes, a shovel, or anything else, you need to get creative on your own.
For me, the gamble was worth it. The Stellar Built team knows their shit, and I trust them.