Sherpa Equipment Co’s Solution for Non-Drill Modular Case Mounts: Installation and Review with the ROAM 83L and 95L Cases
Explorers are always trying to stack more storage in every nook and cranny of their rig. The roof is no exception. Many of us toss weight and physics to the wind (pun) when attaching all manner of gear, storage or gadgets to the roof.
We’re more than comfortable asking “what could possibly go wrong?” or simply stating (after a couple of good shakes) “that ain’t goin’ nowhere”. This validation process often applies to cases, which typically carry hundreds of dollars of gear just asking to take a long ride off a short pier.
When it came to practicality, there was a gray area. Cases could be strapped and tightened (often crushing the box) or drilled. Myself, I couldn’t justify drilling holes into a brand new box. I knew the boxes would be removed many times to add a tent, rooftop bag, or just to simply lower the overall height of the ride itself.
Hard mounting the cases wasn’t a good enough option. I had previously used a shortened cam strap to attach the case through the end slots to the bar below, but it left an air gap underneath the case that whistled. That wouldn’t cut it.
Enter the Sherpa mounts.
Find It Online:
- Sherpa ROAM Case Mounts: Check Price
- ROAM 83L Rugged Case: Check Price
- ROAM 95L Rugged Case: Check Price
Are These Mounts Right For Your Setup?
To start, make sure you have a standard “extrusion-style” roof rack with extrusions on the vertical face. This includes, but isn’t limited to upTOP Overland, Prinsu, KC Pro6 M-Rack, etc. This product isn’t for basket-style racks or FrontRunner racks.
There are specific measurements that your rack must fit in order for this to work. If the crossbars cannot accommodate the specs below, you cannot mount your case using the Sherpa Mounts.
Mounts pictured: 95L and 83L
The mounts are offered in bare aluminum (rust-free) or powder-coated black. They run between $25-35, with powder-coating options from $10. Sherpa offers many discounts during the year, and shipping is usually around $10.
These things are hefty, even for a simple design. They’re ¼” thick, solid aluminum, and are machined well. The bare aluminum is processed, so it’s ready to coat.
The mounts come with T-nuts, hex head bolts, and washers. I’ve heard someone mention that their hardware didn’t ship: Sherpa is an organized company and will definitely make good on their end.
Also of note, I ended up using my own hardware to attach the mounts. And, I recommend using a locking washer at the top of your bolt to ensure that vibrations don’t loosen the connection over time.
Tools and Materials
- Tape measure
- 10mm socket
- Any required tools needed to adjust crossbars on your rack
- Construction square or L-square
- Mounting hardware
- If you’ve ever mounted anything to your rack, it usually involved a combination of nuts, bolts, and washers. Use the same setup you’re comfortable with
- If this is the first time you’ve mounted anything to the rack, reach out to the manufacturer about what size hardware you need to pick up. Racks vary. For example, Prinsu has you insert a rounded head 1/4″ bolt at end points in the rack. UpTop has you wiggle a t-nut in to the extrusion. Depending on the rack, you may have to remove one end of your crossbar to add hardware.
As mentioned above, the mounts are specifically made for the Roam 83L and 95L cases. As such, take these measurements first.
Get your trusty tape measure and measure horizontally, from the outside of the cross bars:
- 49.5” for 83L rugged case
- 44.25” for 95L rugged case
These are approximate measurements; as always, measure once and don’t cut anything at all for this project. Adjust your crossbars accordingly, and don’t tighten to final specs. If you find that your crossbars cannot accommodate these dimensions, don’t purchase the Sherpa mounts.
Step 1. Mount the Case and Adjust Bars if Needed
Note: If you are mounting the 95L, remove the case handles by reversing the slip knot.
Add the case to the roof rack, and check to ensure the case is roughly near the edge of a cross bar in the front and back of the case. If you find that sliding the case around doesn’t line up the ends correctly, remove the case and make the necessary adjustment to your crossbars by loosening the end bolts shown below:
Step 2. Add mounting hardware to vertical face of crossbar
Slide the case back and add two (2) pieces of hardware to the vertical end where you plan to mount your case. If you look above, I gently (angrily) slid in two t-nuts that will receive the two (2) bolts later. If your rack accepts bolts, add those.
Step 3. Insert the mount
Open the case, and slide the mount in, slot-side down, through the center hole. Take note of the mount’s location; check to see if it’s parallel to the face of the crossbar you’ll be mounting it to.
Pro Tip: If your mounts have more than 2mm of play laterally in the slot, you can add foam tape or gasket tape to the vertical part near the top of the “T” to stop the play. See photo above.
Step 4. Secure the Mount to the Cross Bar
Close the connection. Again, if you added a bolt to your cross bar, here’s where you add your flat washer, locking washer, and nut. If you added a T-nut, it goes washer, locking washer, bolt.
Tighten it loosely and repeat on the other side of the case.
Do a once over on all connections without overtightening:
- Tighten the mount bolts at the crossbar
- Tighten the crossbar end bolts on the side of the rack
- While open, slide the case back & forth. Does it wiggle? See Step 3’s Pro Tip.
Initially, I had some questions about material strength and physics. Is there enough space that the T-mount occupies on the bar that can fight the torsion of the box moving forward (backward thrust shouldn’t be much of an issue, it’s a 4Runner!) when you’re braking? I decided to test it out two different ways with a fully loaded recovery box that weighed roughly 80lbs in total:
- First I tested it out on the east side of Rubicon.
- Second, general driving doing relatively fully stops going straight and roughly 55mph.
After removing the mounts to check both the mounts and the bars for stress points, bending, or signs of pressure in the powder coat, I can confidently say that I trust the strength.
This is a great and very affordable mod. When you take into consideration the quality of both ROAM and Sherpa, you can rest assured the durability and function are at the forefront of the process. Compared to the Pelican case mounting system that starts at $200 and is rarely in stock, you’re sitting pretty with extra cash for a possible second case.
Are you already running this setup? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or reach out with questions.