serious roof racks: something to carry WEIGHT and Long items | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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serious roof racks: something to carry WEIGHT and Long items


Well-Known Member
May 5, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Westmont, Illinois
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Ranger
Alright, with my old truck (93 ranger) I was able to carry some serious heavy steel. For example one trip I had 10 or 12 C channel beams 10 feet long weighing about 75lbs each. They hung off the back, but were fine. With my new 'trac that is NOT an option, more than 1/2 the beam wouldn't even be in the truck bed, not safe.
So how do I do it? I keep coming back to having to go up over the roof of the truck. I could go with a ladder rack, but haven't come across any for sport tracs yet. Are there stake pockets in the bed of the trac?
I've seen relatively light weight roof racks, and medium weight racks. They all seem like they flex a lot though. I've also seen the hitch extenders that also go up to roof level to help carry long items. What I'm thinking here is a roof rack/hitch extender combination that would have the back of the roof rack basket detachable to allow long items to be carried. Maybe even a frame all the way back to the hitch extender. Something similar to a true ladder rack. Speaking of which, I haven't had the tonneau cover off my new trac bed yet, are there stake pockets like most real trucks? If so, that might be a solution. I know that the bed of the truck flexes a lot, so I'm not crazy about tying the roof basket/rack into any part of the bed of the truck, but maybe to a single pivot point in the center like the hitch extender might be fine. Thoughts?

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i think you'd be better off buying a trailer. it would probably be about the same price (sounds like you're talkin about a pretty extensive rack system). not to mention it would be much safer, you could carry more, easier loading, etc. check out trailers dude. good luck though.

Thanks for the input, but I have no room for a trailer. A strong roof rack should be available, but the stronger ones that I've looked aren't quite what I want. I may end up making my own.

I think you may be better off building your own. In my manual is says that the cleats on the side were capable of holding 750# I am not sure of each or all together but since the inner bed is plastic I would think stength wise building onto those might be the ticket. Just my two cents

The one I've been looking at getting is the Westin Outback O.E. Rail-mount model (16-4001). Supposedly good for 225 pounds of stuff, or 325 if you add the optional 3rd crossbar. Westin also has some nice but pricy aluminum cargo trays that mount to the Outback crossbars.

Remember your Ranger had a stamped steel bed where as your ST has a mloded plastic one. I would seriously check the owners manual for any regulations on what weight the bed sides can support before you go and build something that might exceed the load bearing ability of the bed. Another thing to consider is the weight of the rack itself.

I've seen a carrier to hold long items that fits into a receiver hitch. That might help.