|06-23-2009, 01:19 AM
Pros: Sturdy, holds stuff. A better, more convenient design than othe products out there in the same price range.
Cons: Cheap fasteners that rusted in the first rain. Extending the support legs, even with lubrication is an act of futility, even when new. Round rails on floor is just plain stupid. Inquiries from manufacturer are never answered. Instructions are confusing and photos are marginal at best. Extra fasteners that don't appear to fit anything in the kit.
Comments: I purchased this product in 2006 and was initially pleased with it; until I opened the containers the thing had to be re-shipped in so that I could get it at my overseas military address. Make sure you have a large area to lay out all of the parts. It took two of us a little over six hours to complete the installation, about 90 minutes were lost trying to interpret the instructions. Never got the right rear mounting bolted in because I couldn't get the charcoal canister out! Being a technical kind of guy who's worked on radars, Harleys and MGs I can tell you I've seen much better techical writing.
Had to sand the powder coating off of the interior telescoping legs to get them to slide. Lubed with WD40 as directed and still didn't slide well. After three years one of them is frozen so the folding back for a shade is useless.
The floor is made of round tubing which makes no real sense to me because the actual support area is much less than with square tubing. I solved that problem by installing mini-chicken wire over the tubing with tye-wraps which seems to work fairly well.
Olympic scrimped on quality materials to keep this rack competitively priced and profitable. I know they're smart guys but putting non-stainless fasteners where cosmetically challenging ("ya might wanna paint these before you install them" was the recommendation) is not nice.
When the instructions say to seal the rails with RTV, seal the rails with RTV! I didn't and got rust stains all over the soft top that were a bear to remove.
On the up side, designing a useable, workable safari rack for a convertible is no easy deal and these guys did a good job. It holds stuff, but the stuff slips and slides around if not REALLY secured. One person can remove and install the rack with patience. Always carry a small aluminum fold ladder for safe access as the rack is as wide as the jeep so ya have to lean back to pull stuff out when standing on the tub.
If you're a top-down guy like me I recommend the bikini/windjammer/tonneau combination for those days when the mood strikes. Having to fold the Dave's Rack back everytime you want to put the top up is a royal pain! Don't even think about doing it in a parking garage when the sky suddenly opens up. I fold my bikini top back and bungee it to the speaker rail which is much easier to install when the weather changes.
I lost my hold-down knobs and wrote to Olympic 4x4 on at least five occasions requesting either replacements or information on replacing them. They never responded to ANY of my emails. 1/4" fasteners in Japan are very hard to come by but I was able to find some and some knobs to fit the bolt heads for less then $4.
I haven't figured out what to put on the inverted rack to make shade with. I tried a blue plastic sheet but that didn't work. I found ya pretty much have custom-design one to fit your individual needs. After two hours of experimentation I gave up. One leg won't extend anyhow! I have serious doubts that it will keep the rain off of you, but it's a selling point.
All in all this is a good rack. I'd recommend it but only because there's none out there that does what this does. I think, though, that it was designed in a tavern over beers and stacks of napkins. ("Dude! If we put some legs on this thing we can make a shelter!" "Will it work?" "Who cares?")
The quality could be much better for a small price increase. Square floor rails, stainless fasteners where they count, reinforcement at the frame edges. An instruction booklet with quality, detailed, high-resolution color photographs in PDF format.
Make sure you a good net to keep things in place and a "box 'o bungees" from your warehouse store. The sides could be an inch taller.
Without sounding too negative, I've been looking at different mountaineering rack designs because I carry a lot of band gear in my TJ and Olympic looks like they have the best at a reasonable price when compared to price vs. size. Enjoy.