Experience mounting RTT (23Zero Byron) to Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform

uinta

New member
#1
I recently mounted a new 23 Zero RTT (Byron model) to the Pioneer platform on an Xventure XV-3. The process was not quite as straightforward as I had expected. I'll post my experience here with the hopes that it may help someone else.

I am not the most experienced person with RTT's, but many seem to utilize two bars/strut channel that are bolted to the base of the tent, and serve as the attachment point to the roof rack. The 23 Zero tents utilize this system. On the Byron model there are 6 pre-drilled bolt holes in the base of the tent, three for each bar (the instructions included with the tent seemed to be for a different model that had only 4 holes). The pre-drilled holes only allow for mounting the bars in one direction. Once I had them mounted to the tent, and the tent hefted onto the rack, it became apparent that this was going to take some additional work. On the driver's side of the trailer is a foxwing 270 degree awning. This necessitates mounting the tent to deploy off the passenger side of the trailer. For those not familiar with the rhino rack pioneer platform, it utilizes multiple bars running side to side as a foundation, with wider slats running front to back. Also, the rack that comes with the Xventure is quite wide. With the RTT in the proper position for deployment off the side of the rack, the RTT mounting bars run front to back, or in the same direction as the slats on the pioneer platform. As seen in the photos below, one of the bars was on top of a slat, but one was not, which would have resulted in an uneven mount.

IMG_RTT 1 resize - Copy.jpg IMG_RTT 2 resize - Copy.jpg IMG_RTT 3 resize - Copy.jpg

I discussed various options with both Rhino Rack and 23 Zero.
1) Move the position of the tent mounting bars, drill new holes in the base of the RTT. Not recommended by 23 Zero.
2) Mount the tent a few inches in from the side of the rack, so that both bars rested on top of the slats. This would have been a non-ideal position for the tent, likely making it more difficult to slide the tent cover and awning in and out.
3) Move the position of one or some of the slats of the pioneer rack, but, they don't move.
4) Insert some sort of a spacer in the gap underneath the bar which did not rest on a slat. I wanted to mount to be durable and long lasting. I considered using several washers, passing the bolt from the RTT bar through them, and through a drilled hole in the side to side bars of the pioneer rack. Rhino Rack advised against any drilling into these bars, but that drilling into the slats was fine. Also, they advised against any mount that could create a pivot point that might loosen with off-road use. Their advice was to use a rack accessory, Pioneer Accessory Bar - HD C Channel, which mount side to side on top of the slats and would provide a level mounting platform for the tent. This is what I ended up doing, of course for more $$.

IMG_RTT 4 resized - Copy.jpg IMG_RTT 5 resized - Copy.jpg IMG_RTT 6 resized - Copy.jpg

It did require drilling four holes through the slats. Per the advice of Rhino Rack, I placed the holes to the side of the center channel of the slat, so there was more "meat" for the bolt. The bolts were just long enough.

Although I now have a 3 layer rack, and the process felt a bit more complicated than it should have been, I think the final result is clean and feels very solid. One other note, which may have been mentioned by others, is that the metal rods that insert into the sides of the tent to hold the window and door awnings out are very difficult to use on the side of the tent next to the foxwing. If the tent was on a narrower rack it would be impossible to use them. I'll also add that both 23Zero USA (Justin) and Rhino Rack were very helpful.
 

rickc

Adventurer
#2
So complicated; the inability to change the orientation of the extrusions is a significant issue. I flip my ARB RTT off the back so the ally extrusions at the base of the tent are attached on the base to run left to right across the Pioneer Platform planks; if I flipped off the side instead, I would have screwed the extrusions to the base such that they would still run left to right across the platform; the ARB tents come with predrilled holes for either orientation. I bought four 6" or 8" (I can't remember) steel strips from the hardware store that came with pre-drilled holes, covered them with tape so they would not scratch the underside of the planks and bolted the tent in place. It came with shorter steel strips for the same purpose but they were way too short to extend across a Pioneer Platform plank.
 
#3
When I mounted my Smittybilt tent on the Pioneer platform, I did away with the metal extrusions.

I measured the distance between the channels in the slats and drilled new holes in the bottom of the tent base. I can't remember the length of the bolts I used, but putting a channel nut on the bottom enables me to slide the tent until the nut drops into the open channel. Push the tent forward and the nuts on the other end drop into the channel.

Simple. And there's no gap between the base of the tent and the platform for wind to whistle through.

IMG_0702.jpg
 

uinta

New member
#4
So complicated; the inability to change the orientation of the extrusions is a significant issue. I flip my ARB RTT off the back so the ally extrusions at the base of the tent are attached on the base to run left to right across the Pioneer Platform planks; if I flipped off the side instead, I would have screwed the extrusions to the base such that they would still run left to right across the platform; the ARB tents come with predrilled holes for either orientation. I bought four 6" or 8" (I can't remember) steel strips from the hardware store that came with pre-drilled holes, covered them with tape so they would not scratch the underside of the planks and bolted the tent in place. It came with shorter steel strips for the same purpose but they were way too short to extend across a Pioneer Platform plank.
Changing the orientation of the extrusions would definitely have been easier. On the smaller tent models with only four holes that's no problem, but with this larger tent using 6 holes they could only run in one direction. Unless, I suppose, I had obtained an extra extrusion, then cut them short.
 

uinta

New member
#5
When I mounted my Smittybilt tent on the Pioneer platform, I did away with the metal extrusions.

I measured the distance between the channels in the slats and drilled new holes in the bottom of the tent base. I can't remember the length of the bolts I used, but putting a channel nut on the bottom enables me to slide the tent until the nut drops into the open channel. Push the tent forward and the nuts on the other end drop into the channel.

Simple. And there's no gap between the base of the tent and the platform for wind to whistle through.

View attachment 424262
That does look good. I thought of drilling new holes, but I've been told that 23Zero forms the base using some structural components sandwiched with insulation between the aluminum sheets, so the holes may need to be in certain locations. I don't know about Smittybilt. Anyway, 23Zero advised me not to drill new holes in the tent base.

It looks like you have a foxwing. Are you able to use the tent awning support rods on the side of the tent next to the foxwing?
 

rickc

Adventurer
#6
Uinta: The ARB Simpson 3 has a rectangular base like most RTTs and the extrusions match the longest length with instructions to cut them down if used in the short dimension. If I understood correctly, your tent has three extrusions. A shame you had to drill through the planks. Watch out for steel metal strips rubbing on the underside of the planks and making a mess; this is why I covered mine in a plastic electricians tape. At worst case, if the coating on the planks is worn off, the steel will react with the aluminum and start electrolytic corrosion. I hope you used all stainless fasteners for the same reason.

steelcap: I pondered the same; removing the extrusions and mounting flat to the platform but was worried about being able to operate the cover zipper along the sides. I'm interested in your comments. As stated earlier, my tent flips off the back so I threaded the cover on backwards so that it fold up and over and I roll it up so that it rest on the front part of exposed platform, out of the way and off the ground.
 

Crazy Schooner

Fortune's A Mistress
#7
You would have been better off with a set of tent brackets. Front Runner makes them in two heights, one at a lower height for general purpose and another at a taller height to clear certain accessories. Just pop in two hex bolts per bracket and get a shorter one that slides into the rail, and will allow you to put a locking nut inside the inner bolt and voila. In the picture you can see the lower brackets. They are just tall enough to clear a front runner tray's side rails if you can get your hands or a wrench between the slots. I took a couple load bars out of my tray so I could get my hands in and tighten the nut. Here are some pictures of what I mean, food for thought down the road.

 
#8
It looks like you have a foxwing. Are you able to use the tent awning support rods on the side of the tent next to the foxwing?
It is a foxwing and yes, I have had problems with the rods on that side. I'm thinking of putting a dog leg bend in 2 rods to clear the awning.
 
#9
steelcap: I pondered the same; removing the extrusions and mounting flat to the platform but was worried about being able to operate the cover zipper along the sides. I'm interested in your comments. As stated earlier, my tent flips off the back so I threaded the cover on backwards so that it fold up and over and I roll it up so that it rest on the front part of exposed platform, out of the way and off the ground.
The cover on my tent has a 2 inch wide velcro strip running all the way around not a zipper, so no problems removing/installing.
 
#10
Larger tents don't allow you to put crossbars in a different orientation.

DO NOT DRILL NEW HOLES!! Good thing you didn't drill new holes. The bases for the tents are an aluminum frame with foam and thin covers over the frame. I could see the aluminum structure under the floor of my first rtt. The holes must be through the aluminum frame for the tent to be mounted safely.

To the guy who drilled into his Smittybuilt, he had better double and triple check he drilled through the middle of the frame crossbars or his tent may be lying on the side of the trail after some washboards.

DSC07319-2.jpg
 
#11
Absolutely no problems drilling the Smittybilt tent. It's done hundreds of off-road miles in the Southwest deserts and been on and off the pioneer rack at least 20 times. Check every time it's off the rack and no wallowing of the new holes at all.

Hey, maybe the Chinese factory make the Smittybilts better than all the other brands rolling of the same assembly line. :eek:
 
#12
When I mounted my Smittybilt tent on the Pioneer platform, I did away with the metal extrusions.

I measured the distance between the channels in the slats and drilled new holes in the bottom of the tent base. I can't remember the length of the bolts I used, but putting a channel nut on the bottom enables me to slide the tent until the nut drops into the open channel. Push the tent forward and the nuts on the other end drop into the channel.

Simple. And there's no gap between the base of the tent and the platform for wind to whistle through.

View attachment 424262
After attaching the channels under mine last night, I realized that this is really how I want to mount. That's one benefit to the platform.

Are you using just 4 bolts into the channel nuts, or did you add some additional? I was kind of thinking that using a top plate under the mattress, and two bolts at each corner, and keeping the clamping plates it came with. I know @spikemd made a point about the aluminum, but I think if the holes were say, two inches on either side of the original holes, then it would be clamping over the aluminum frame which would be even better than drilling through it.
 
#13
When I mounted my Smittybilt tent on the Pioneer platform, I did away with the metal extrusions.

I measured the distance between the channels in the slats and drilled new holes in the bottom of the tent base. I can't remember the length of the bolts I used, but putting a channel nut on the bottom enables me to slide the tent until the nut drops into the open channel. Push the tent forward and the nuts on the other end drop into the channel.

Simple. And there's no gap between the base of the tent and the platform for wind to whistle through.

View attachment 424262
I like the idea of just using the channel nuts. How do you secure it and keep it from sliding? Typically you tighten the channel nut once whatever yo are mounting is in the right place. do you have some close-up pictures for me to check out?
 
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