Project FZJ80 Land Cruiser: BajaRack Review
With an ever-expanding list of gear that needs to come on our off-road adventures, the need to increase our cargo area quickly became a priority. Lengthy trips into remote areas require that we be self sufficient, including carrying extra fuel, water, tools and a full-sized spare tire.
Inside the vehicle things are already crammed, so we needed to go up. BajaRack was the first company that came to mind when we sought out to get a roof top rack.
We had been introduced to BajaRack back in 2008 when they first made their big splash with the FJ Cruiser rack. Since then, BajaRack has been expanding their product line and offerings to include systems for Land Cruisers, 4Runners, Land Rovers, Jeeps and even universal baskets.
One of our favorite vehicles is Tom Severin’s FZJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser that happens to be outfitted with a BajaRack. Tom runs his rig day in and day out with a loaded rack, as it is the flagship vehicle at Badlands Off-Road Adventures. He’s tracked thousands of miles with it, and even after running it for over three years it still looks and functions flawlessly.
This made our decision to contact BajaRack even easier when time came to get our very own project FZJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser outfitted.
THE SHORT RACK
We had two options for our Land Cruiser: a long or short rack. We opted for the short rack since our vehicle has a sunroof and we still wanted to be able to use it. We also learned that the short rack and sunroof combo allows for easy access to the front of the BajaRack for loading/unloading.
Some of the features of the BajaRack “short rack” for the 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser are as follows:
• One-piece solid construction
• Frame: 1" (25.4 mm) and 3/4" (19.05 mm) Steel tubing
• Aerodynamic - aluminum wind deflector with clear finish for easy clean up and extra protection
• Top Wind Deflector: .062" (1.57 mm) 5050-H32 Aluminum
• Bottom Wind deflector: .062" (1.57 mm) 5050-H32 Aluminum
• Finish: Zinc primer with satin black powder coating
• Rack weight: 52 lbs. (23.58 Kg)
• Weight Capacity: 600 lbs. (272 kg)
• Measurements: 48" (1219.2 mm) Wide x 64" (1625.60 mm) Long x 6" (152.4 mm) tall
• Mounting method: Roof rail mounts (6 total)
We took possession of our BajaRack “short rack” within a week of ordering it. Since the company’s warehouse is in San Diego County, we were able to pick it up at their facility in San Marcos, CA. The folks at BajaRack were very helpful with the entire process and delivered a well-built product that is as rugged as the land it comes from—Baja.
The installation of the BajaRack “short rack” is very straightforward. The only tools needed are 1/2-inch SAE wrench, ratchet and socket. An Allen key is also used for the finishing bolts on the rail clamps. The entire job took less than one hour.
Here is an overview of what goes into mounting the BajaRack mount on your off-road vehicle.
There is a school of thought out there that roof racks only add a higher center of gravity or loss in fuel economy. All we can say to this is that the roof top rack is a solution for carrying cargo on adventure trips, and that trumps the downside.
In our case, we didn’t notice any excessive roll, annoying wind noise or big loss in MPG. What we did get was a lot of compliments from people we met on the trial regarding how cool our BajaRack looks.
As with any extra cargo load, you just need to adjust your driving style. No Mario Andretti driving and good sense will keep you safe and moving. If body roll is of concern, a good suspension system is key to carrying heavy loads. The Old Man Emu Nitro Sport shock absorbers we installed earlier work great at controlling body roll and extra weight.
We are extremely pleased with our BajaRack and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quality cargo roof rack. It not only looks great but functions just as well. We have driven over 1,000 miles both on and off-road, loaded and unloaded and are confident this was the best solution for our 4WD.
Next time you find yourself looking for more room for cargo, look no further than BajaRack.