RTT on RAV4 - Is it Possible?





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  1. #1
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    Default RTT on RAV4 - Is it Possible?

    Hello fellow off-road and adventure fundies. I have a 2001 Toyota RAV4 - 5-door, auto, 2.0L, AWD and would like to know how possible/feasible is it to fit a roof-top tent to it?

    The wife and I live in Botswana and immensely enjoy the outdoors but SWAMBO isn't all that keen on camping on the ground in places where the "lions and hyenas roam", and since we won't be purchasing a larger 4x4 anytime soon, I figured I'd see if putting a RTT on our RAV is a possibility and if so, what would need to be done to make it happen (without breaking the bank in order to do so, obviously).

    The issues I have to consider are as follows:

    Firstly, the RAV unfortunately doesn't have a roof rack, heck it doesn't even have roof rails although it has 3 slots on either side of the roof with mountings for a roof rack. Now, I've been searching high and low for rails, crossbars and rack for it, but just can't seem to find anything for this older-model RAV here (or even in South Africa, from what I've searched for online, aside from the possible option of Frontrunner perhaps being able to organise something, which would probably cost me my left arm and right leg). So I've started looking around for someone to perhaps fabricate a roof rack with mountings for the vehicle. The initial idea for a roof rack was to hold the usual, jerry cans, tent, chairs, wood etc. BUT if it would be possible to mount a tent on top, then the rack itself would need to be specifically catered to that.

    How feasible would this be if at all? Would the roof or rather the side mountings be strong enough to support the rack + tent + 2 people + jerry cans/wood/etc (if there's space for anything else apart from the tent)?

    Secondly, weight probably poses another issue. The suspension is obviously standard and I wouldn't want the vehicle to be too low when all the weight is placed on the roof, plus all camping gear, coolboxes, tables, chairs etc is added inside the car. We probably wouldn't be able to get out the drive-way let alone go off-road anywhere. Maybe I'm over exagerating a bit, but I'm not sure as to how the suspension will react, hence my need to inquire with all of you?

    Thirdly, regarding the actual tent, would my only option be to look for a designated RTT such as: http://www.tentco.co.za/products/roo...ftop-1-2m.html
    or is it possible to make something else that would work (pictures of any DIY RTT's from fellow members would be appreciated).

    I have a glimmer of hope that something like this would all be possible because I've seen photos online of the older RAV's with RTTs and I even saw an ad on Facebook a while ago of a guy in Botswana selling his small Mitsubishi Pajero IO on which he had fabricated a large roof rack and they had even done a DIY job of a tent on top (see photos attached).

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    So if he can do on the IO, I'm sure (or at least very hopeful) that it would be possible to do it on my RAV4 (except for the fact that I dont even have the roof rails on it and plus the roof itself is slightly curved and not as straight as the IO, which may cause further issues).

    Anyway, having said all this, any input from the community would be greatly appreciated and if anyone has made DIY roof-racks and RTTs, photos (for possible ideas) would also be appreciated.

    Thanks again and cheers!
    Jovan

    1999 Toyota Prado TZ, 3.4L, V6, petrol, auto

  2. #2
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    Default Re: RTT on RAV4 - Is it Possible?

    Jovan,
    As you have seen, anything is possible.
    I unfortunately do not have a Rav with a RTT.
    Take it to someone who can assist you if you are not mechanically minded.
    Once the rails are in place, it will not be a big mission to attach the RTT.
    If possible, try and have three or four rails instead of two.
    I have seen rails going through the drip rails in an old Hilux and ending up on the roof. More rails just means more support and more even distribution of the weight carried on the roof.
    Remember you will have the RTT, bedding and mattress and pillows on your roof, which is already a high point of gravity. Try not put too much on the roof.
    Fit auxilury fuel tank in your chassis as well as a water tank if you can. This will keep your gravity lower. With no low range you will need the momentum while travelling in thick sand and the sand can cause your vehicle to swing from side to side. Not nice with too much weight on the roof, which can be top heavy and cause a roll over.
    Good luck with your decision.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: RTT on RAV4 - Is it Possible?

    Email Frontrunner ([email protected]) or similar rack company for advice. It is essential that it is properly mounted. I have heard of racks breaking off on rough roads. We have been over some of the worst corrugations around with no problems. They can also tell you the maximum (moving) roof weight for your RAV.

    Have mounted a 63kg clamshell RTT on our Jimny and it works well. I do drive defensively around sharpish bends or when there is a very strong gale here in the Cape. Installed spacers to give a slightly wider track (this was done before we bought the RTT) which improves stability. Spacers reportedly can cause 10% more wear on wheel bearings though.

    The clam shells are heavier than the canvas RTT's - open and close in 5 seconds - and are a joy to use. One can instantly go on game drives - no chores of folding away canvas - but are more expensive.
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2016/07/10 at 10:31 AM.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: RTT on RAV4 - Is it Possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by haboob View Post
    Jovan,
    As you have seen, anything is possible.
    I unfortunately do not have a Rav with a RTT.
    Take it to someone who can assist you if you are not mechanically minded.
    Once the rails are in place, it will not be a big mission to attach the RTT.
    If possible, try and have three or four rails instead of two.
    I have seen rails going through the drip rails in an old Hilux and ending up on the roof. More rails just means more support and more even distribution of the weight carried on the roof.
    Remember you will have the RTT, bedding and mattress and pillows on your roof, which is already a high point of gravity. Try not put too much on the roof.
    Fit auxilury fuel tank in your chassis as well as a water tank if you can. This will keep your gravity lower. With no low range you will need the momentum while travelling in thick sand and the sand can cause your vehicle to swing from side to side. Not nice with too much weight on the roof, which can be top heavy and cause a roll over.
    Good luck with your decision.
    Thanks for the info. I will go to a garage that does 4x4 conversions and fitments of accessories etc. Although they work on the proper 4x4's, they are willing to have a look at the RAV and suggest if and what can be done to fit a RTT on there. Would you know perhaps how having a RTT will affect the suspension of the RAV? I wouldn't want the RAV to be too low once the tent is fitted, that it will prevent us from going off-road at all, if you know what I mean.

    As for the aux fuel and water tanks, I think that will be overkill and just too much for the RAV (and my wallet) to handle. Getting a RTT on there would be the main priority in order to allow us to freely go camping in the bush without too much worry.

    1999 Toyota Prado TZ, 3.4L, V6, petrol, auto

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