Adventure Truck

Nissan Frontier (Navara) Yakima Roof Rack System with Baja Rack

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Installing a Yakima Base Rack of Crossbars on a Nissan Frontier with a Sunroof Proves to be Easy, Solid and Nice Looking

If you're borderline insane, you too will think about using the roof of your vehicle for carrying more junk. It's a dangerous proposition.  And I resisted this for as long as I could.  Resisted. Roof racks just scream: LOOKIT HOW EXPEDITIONY AND TOUGH I AM.  C'mon. I use a smiling frog as a logo here; no amount of gear can undo the tone that little dude sets - and I like it that way.

Here's the simple fact: it was either pile up the junk inside, then buy a new shiny shoehorn so I could slide my daughter in the middle somehow, or just put a rack on top and be sensible about what goes up there.

Have you seen the silly children's book Toad on the Road by Jon Buller and Susan Schade? Go get it. This poor poor toad, too, ran out of space inside his car.  So when push came to shove, just where-oh-where would he put that saguaro cactus he just bought?

To the roof it goes!

So Yakima racks entered the picture because they're modular, low-profile, stainless-hardware-inclusive, and solid in both reputation and design.

Okay, gotta go.  She's waking up from her nap.  The point of this is to show that, uh yes, you can install your own cool roof rack to the sheetmetal of a Nissan Frontier with a sunroof.

Yakima Rack Parts, Baja Rack

Putting Yakima crossbars on top of your truck will set you back about $250. The BajaRack is another $300 or so.

  • 2 Pair #7 Landing Pads (sold in pairs) - these allow you to attach cross bars to virtually any surface, in particular one where you don't have easy access to the under side of it.  Like a roof.  The hardware included lets you simply insert a nut from the top side.  It's slick.
  • 1 set of 4 Control Towers (sold in a set of 4) - Control Towers hold crossbars and then affix to Landing Pads using a quick release mechanism; this means your rack can pop on or off in a snap, and without the need for tools.
  • 1 pair crossbars - whatever length suits you.  These babies are 1/8" wall steel tubing, in case you were concerned about thier strength. FYI, I started with 66", as seen in the picture at the top.  Some dude in a Rhino clipped the rear one one day on the trail and damaged the roof sheet metal.  That sucked. I've trimmed them back to be just less than the width of the roof now. Ye be warned.
  • 1 BajaRack Mule rack - a lightweight (28 lbs), aerodynamic, and reasonably priced alternative to the Yakima basket.


Notice that this Nissan Frontier has a sunroof?  That causes a little pause when it comes to slapping on a roof rack.  Again, this is where the #7 Landing Pads shine, thanks to the hardware.  I did pull the headliner back so I could verify there was adequate space for the bolt and nut.  After that, set the bars with towers in place, mark the holes, punch 'em, drill 'em, paint 'em, mount 'em.


Slick and simple.  Yakima SprocketRocket bike trays handle the bikes, while I also purhcased a BajaRack Mule that attaches to the crossbars (nicely). BADA BING.

Let me reiterate that I've cut the crossbars down to 54" or thereabouts. They used to be 66", and as you can see they look pretty long.  Too long.  While on the backroad to Crown King, a couple in a Rhino came down the hill in the opposite direction and we scootched by each other - Rhino utilizing the steep bank on the side of the trail.  This maneuver tipped it toward the truck and the driver clipped his rack on my rear crossbar.  That pulled the landing pad and hardware through the sheetmetal, damaged the roof slightly, and bent the crossbar.

Really cool, huh!? It may be that I'm here to serve as a warning -- you're welcome.  Don't let your crossbars be longer than the width of your roof.


+1 / 0
# Andy 2010-09-10 13:32
Thanks for the nice how-to. Just curious, what was your rationale for placing the pads between the rain gutters instead of on the outsides of the gutters? I'm curious if there would have been room for the nut there as well. Perhaps it would be sturdier there since it's not flat sheet metal at that point.
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Mark Stephens
+1 / 0
# Mark Stephens 2011-12-08 09:27
I had the same thought, Andy. In the end, I just wasn't confident the hardware would have worked when I inspected things. It appears the cab is solid right there.
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0 / -1
# johnnyS 2011-12-08 03:20
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