Front Runner Rack / Load Bar Rain Gutter Paint Protection

UPDATE

Since posting this blog and chatting on Instagram Front Runner SA commented why I’m making a mistake adding the rubber trim.

Here’s what they said:

Using any type of rubber on the legs will not allow a firm and solid clamping force and will allow too much movement. The movement can cause damage to the gutters and can eventually lead to failure of the mounting system. If you’d like to chat further please dm your contact details and one of our product consultants will be in touch. 

Regards, Team Front Runner

I then asked what I can do about any damage to the paint from metal on metal?

Thanks for the info. What do you recommend to avoid the paint coming off the gutter?

@geordiejimny

Here’s what they said:

If there is no movement and the clamps are secured correctly you should not have any paint coming off. The clamping surface area is quite big. If the clamping surface was small the force would be more concentrated and could cause damage. If you want to chat further please share your contact information and we will be in touch.

Regards, Team Front Runner

I also got an interesting message from Anders Hybel-Brauner that mentioned:

I had the same worries about the roof rack from Front Runner and decided to mount as instructed. My friend who is a stunt safety expert recommended NOT to mount with rubber due to the massive torsion. The rubber cant be tightened enough and will give in to the torsion when the car moves especially offroad.

Anders Hybel-Brauner

There were far more people messaging to say that they do add rubber trim or other paint protection to their front runner rack but I best follow the advice from Front Runner and remove it. Carrying a roof tent on the Jimny is taking enough risks as it is without adding to them. I will post an update here is any paint damage does occur but given the result from a quick poll it seems like we should be ok. Granted, it’s only 28 people who said they don’t use it from that poll but I’ve not seen any posts of people complaining.

Original Blog Article

A common worry for folks using Front Runner racks or load bars mounted into their rain gutters is the metal feet potentially damaging the paint. This issue happened to me and I’d used thin paint protection film that clearly wasn’t up to the job.

By now I imagine most gen 4 Jimmy owners will have noticed the paint is soft and scratches easily. Along with surface rust appearing on many parts of the cars underworld. Metal on metal can’t be ideal and I am not certain why the gutter mounted feet and outer brackets do not come standard with rubber covers. My cheap Thule ones had them. I’m sure there’s an explanation beyond simple cost saving on Front Runners behalf and I’m not writing this blog to bash them.

The load bars I use are great and I’ve learnt that it’s my responsibility to maintain them to keep them in good working order. Something I was guilty of not doing in the first 12 months of fitting them on the Jimmy. Living in a North East coastal location in the UK I should know better, all that sea air and relentless rain is going to take its toll on any kit I use. Thankfully, Front Runner replaced the parts that suffered the worst of the powder coating flaking and rust, hence how I discovered the damage to the paintwork in the rain gutter.

The first thing to sort was a more reliable barrier between the feet and the rain gutters to avoid any paint damage. As always I asked you lovely lot on Instagram what you use and got dozens of ideas back. The most popular suggestions were:

  • Cut strips off old inner tubes
  • Use Helicopter tape
  • Use rubber edge trim
  • Stop being a pussy

I chose to hunt down some rubber edge trim on eBay. I can’t believe I’d forgot about the Shower U Channel rubber trim I used on the backing panel of the first tailgate molle panel I made. That stuff would be ideal in a larger size. As luck would have it, it does indeed come in larger sizes. Specifically:

It comes in strips that you can simply cut to size. I bought the shortest length they had, 1m for each each size.

Here’s how it looks fitted.

Front Runner Feet Rubber Trim

Image 1 of 7

If you can find 5mm depth U channel trim that would be an even better fit.

I repaired the paint damage to the rain gutter and fixed some corrosion issues on the load bars where I drilled through to mount to tent directly onto the bars. I believe it was the washer rusting against the wind deflector that in turn cased some damage to the slat seen below.

I also decided to treat the entire load bar kit with Lanoguard. The replacement feet, load bar slats and the hardware, as they rusted the most and seemed to be the cause of the corrosion issues on the slats. The wind deflector rusted but there was no rust on the slats or feet. No failures in the kit obviously. To be clear, there’s probably no point rust proofing these as quite a few people who have used this kit longer than I messaged on Instagram to say they were really surprised I had any issues at all.

Lanoguard adds a thin candle like coating to the metal and small particles of dust seem to stick to the load bars.

I’ve not noticed on the parts of the underbody after the treatment I did. Maybe it’s there but impossible to see. Regardless it’s hardly an issue. You can jet wash parts treated with Lanoguard so I think it will lessen over time. I’ll happily take more longevity in the kit with the extra rust prevention. It’s worth a try to see if it helps. I can easily remove the protection with a citrus based cleaner.

Here’s the final view of it all fitted on the Jimny and where I’ve located the main part of the feet to avoid damaging the the rain gutter.

Front Runner Rack Feet Mounted on a Jimmy

Image 1 of 3

This is obviously basic information that most of you will already know but for those who don’t I hope it has helped. If anything, at least you can use the links or search for something similar.

Cheers!

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