Mount Storage Cases and Cargo Boxes To Factory 4Runner Roof Rack Cross with LFD Aluminum Crossbars Using a Pelican Vault Case
You may have seen rigs around town (and definitely all over Instagram) with large cases mounted to their roof racks. The main benefit is obvious: storage space, and what people store in them vary widely. In my case, I will be storing recovery/utility-related items.
The need for this extra storage stems from a recent family trip that we took and I found that all of my recovery gear took up a lot of valuable cargo space in the trunk. This seemed especially wasteful to me, given they were all items I wouldn’t likely need to access frequently.
Overview of the Pelican Vault V730
When it came to deciding on which case I would mount to my roof, a couple of obvious options came to mind.
Find the options online:
Since I only have the LFD ruggedized crossbars on the factory rails, the useable length behind the front wind fairing was only about 50″. I knew my OCD (and wind noise) would bother me having a case hanging over and past the wind fairing, so I started looking at some shorter options. I ended up on the Pelican Vault V730 (linked above), which is the middle size in their Vault case line coming in at just a hair over 47″ in length. Price-wise, the V730 can be found for around $190, which sits right between the two case options listed earlier.
This case aims to give some of the basic weather protection (including weather stripping) of the Pelican Storm, but loses the waterproofness (submerging) and indestructibility of its more expensive relatives. From a value perspective, I was perfectly fine with this as the case will just be sitting on my roof – not thrown around a war zone. It also includes tons of foam padding should you choose to use it, but note that it isn’t the pluckable kind, so you will need to cut it manually. I ended up just keeping the top foam piece to provide a little heat protection in the summer.
Hardware & Tools Needed
This hardware is specific to the LFD crossbars, please take a look at your setup to adjust as needed.
- 3/8 x 1in Hex Bolts (4)
- 3/8 x 13/16 Neoprene Washer (4)
- 3/8 x 1.5in Neoprene Washer (4)
- 3/8 x 1/2in Bonded Sealing Washer (4)
- 3/8 Split Lock Washer (4)
- 3/8 Flat Washer (8)
- 3/8 Nylon Locking Nut (4)
- Drill w/ 1/8in and 1/4in drill bits
- 14mm socket-wrench
Planning & Measuring
Since you will be drilling holes into a brand-new (and not cheap) case, it’s extremely important to figure out where you would like to position it on your roof. “Measure twice, cut once” definitely applies here. I positioned the case exactly where I wanted it to live for the foreseeable future and also left the liftgate open, making sure the case cleared the top of it.
Once I was satisfied with the positioning, I used some masking tape and pen to mark where the rails and bolt slots I would be mounting to were relative to the bottom of the case.
With the case off the roof, I picked a reference point on the bottom of the case to measure the distance of the pen mark relative to it. On the Pelican Vault, there just happened to be a raised edge that squarely ran the width of the case – perfect.
The distance from the plastic edge ended up being 5 & 5/8″ and I then decided to place each hole 3″ from the side edges, using a drill bit to etch a mark on where I would drill my pilot holes.
Drilling & Mounting Hardware
Using a 1/8″ drill bit, I drilled 2 pilot holes on the back of the case. I followed this with a 1/4″ drill bit to put the bolts through. After the holes were drilled, I test fit a bolt to make sure they went in snuggly.
Leaving the first two bolts in the case, I then placed it back on my roof. This was to make sure the opposite side’s set of markings was still lined up correctly with the crossbar slots.
The bolt/washer assembly is as follows, going up from under the crossbar:
- Split lock washer
- Flat Washer
- 3/8 x 13/16in Neoprene Washer
- 3/8 x 1.5in Neoprene Washer
- Bonded Sealing Washer
- Flat Washer
- 3/8 Nylon Locking Nut
Getting all 4 bolts through the crossbars and case can be tedious. Once done, I secured everything with a flat washer and nylon locking nut inside the case using a 14mm socket. With the amount of friction provided by both the neoprene and split lock washers, there wasn’t a need to secure the bolt from underneath the crossbar as I tightened the nuts from inside the case.
Securing The Case
The Pelican Vault has 4 points for padlocks. I only ended up using 2 since it would drive me crazy to unlock 4 of them every time I needed to access the case contents. The choice of padlock is up to you, just make sure it has an extended shackle and is weather resistant as it will be sitting in the elements.
Overall, I’m very happy with how the storage box looks mounted on my roof. The case sits just under 7″ tall, which brings the highest point of my rig to 7 feet. This means that I should still be able to fit in most parking garages without issue.
The main benefit is as stated in the beginning, gaining all of my trunk space back. I am now able to fit way more travel-related items for our family trips while still being able to have all of my recovery and emergency gear in tow.
Wind noise is slightly more prevalent, but that was to be expected with a rectangle box now disrupting the airflow. One side benefit is a mild correction to the driver-side lean from the gas tank. This is due to having this case and gear sitting on the far passenger side.
What are your thoughts on roof-mounted storage boxes and cases? Do you prefer the look of other storage such as a Thule-style case? Leave a comment!
As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in the next one!