Project FZJ80 Land Cruiser: BajaRack Review

Aug. 26, 2011 By Jaime Hernandez
A BajaRack on our Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser.

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. 

The Toyota FJ Cruiser BajaRack Story

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.

Tom Severin of Badlands Off-Road Adventures in his BajaRack outfitted Land Cruiser.

This made our decision to contact BajaRack even easier when time came to get our very own project FZJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser outfitted.

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:

BajaRack BR-TYLC80-64
• 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 BajaRack “short rack” for our Toyota Land Cruiser came with all the hardware, brackets and roof gutter mounts needed. It even came with instructions.

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.

Install all six brackets with included hardware, bolts, washers and nuts using 1/2-inch SAE socket or wrench.

Once all 6 roof brackets are in place, call your buddy over for a hand. This rack only weighs about 52 lbs., but it is a little awkward when handling by yourself.  We left our factory rack on to see if the BajaRack would fit over it. It did. This is great since it offers the option of keeping your factory rack mounted if you don’t want to deal with a leaky roof.  We plan on taking it off at some point, but for now it will stay on until we can properly fill the factory holes used to mount it.

The final step is to tighten all six bracket clamps then add the security screw provided to ensure the clamp bolt stays snug in place. A visual and physical rock will give you the final assembly assurance that your rack is ready to play.

BajaRack offers many attachments and accessories, such as Off-Road light bars, tire carrier bracket, ax and shovel bracket, and the Hi-Lift jack bracket. We started our rack with a Hi-Lift jack bracket.
 The Hi-Lift jack is held in place using two brackets with a large bolt, wing nut and a safety pin. The BajaRack has allowed us to move our lift from inside the vehicle to a much more safe and convenient place outside. We’ve driven on and off-road with no issue whatsoever. The plan is to add more accessories and brackets from BajaRack in the future.

We were able to load two 5-gallon fuel Jerry cans, a 5-gallon water can, a full-size spare, and a large toolbox on our BajaRack. There is still room for more. The 6-inch rail completely boxes in the BajaRack, which adds security to the cargo.

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.

The BajaRack allows the flexibility to carry extra cargo up on the roof with the piece of mind that it will safely hold up to 600 lbs.

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. 

Read the related Old Man Emu article here 

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.

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