Maggiolina extreme mounting on an expo rack


New member
Hey all,

I have a rack from Trail Tailor on my LX470. As you can see, it has the kind of expo style basket in the front:

hr9fP2O - Imgur.jpg

5pVT32c - Imgur.jpg

I just bought a lightly used Small Maggiolina Extreme hard shell tent that I'd like to mount on it. Here it is:

5DbhkbV - Imgur.jpg

Given the size of the tent, I need to mount it almost all the way to the front of my rack.However, the top shell on the tent is sliiightly too wide to fit the basket on the front of my rack. But the bottom shell fits just fine. Here, I even drew a professional diagram.

Looking from front of vehicle:
The red circles are basically where the two mounting rails are for the tent. I only need about 1.5" of lift from the base of the rack so what I'm thinking is find something that runs the length of the mounting rail like a 2x2 block of plastic that is long enough.

My questions are:

1) Has anyone encountered this and raised up one of these tents like I'm trying to do?

2) If I do raise the tent up, should I do so under the metal mounting rails of the tent? Or would it be better to run some kind of spacer width wise on the tent? I'm kind of worried about all the weight resting on those two skinny mounting rails...

3) Any ideas on what I could put in there as a spacer?

4) Any other solutions that could work here?

Thanks in advance. I'm excited to mount this the new tent but don't want to have to get rid of my rack, or cut the top off it.



New member
Actually just spoke to the folks at Autohome and it sounds like the best path will be to put 2-3 spacers width wise / perpendicular to the tent mounting rails.

So now the question is, what can I put between my rack and the tent that won't "fall through" between my rack bars?


Yes, you can mount your tent in the basket, it isn't difficult. You paid a lot of money to get a Maggiolina because it is light, strong and doesn't require a basket I don't know Trail Tailor racks, they look nice and well built in your pictures. The reason why I don't get enthusiastic about racks in general is the weight, anything over 100 pounds on the roof and you can feel a difference in handling.

There are some vehicles that you can't get away from using a basket, like a soft top jeep. We would take off the "universal" rails on the base to save weight as the basket supports the tent. The base of the Maggiolina is fiberglass / foam composite so we would drill some holes straight through and mount with plates and carriage bolts. You could use fender washers too to spread the load. You may wish to reinforce the drill hole areas with something solid so you don't crush the foam when you tighten up. One trick is to drill a very big hole, fill with epoxy, then drill a smaller hole in the epoxy for the carriage bolt when cured. Same as mounting hardware on a sailboat deck, you can go to West Systems Epoxy for a good discussion -
This section - "7 2 1 Through-bolted fasteners–cored panels" has a good detailed discussion of how to do it.

Once you get the tent mounted where you like it, you may have interference with the latches. They are designed to dangle down when open and the rack may interfere. The simple solution is to take them off and mount them upside down. They work just as well. You can accomplish this by drilling our the pop rivets and re-rivet. You may need to drill out the rivet holes slightly as the factory uses metric and we will use a slightly larger rivet here. Don't worry, the latches appear to be sourced here so they are actually fit better after your modification. The trick that AutoHome uses is they bond a strip of aluminum into the fiberglas to reinforce this area.

Last issue is if you have a standard Maggiolina with a crank. Many times the standard crank isn't long enough and interferes with the rack. Autohome has a special crank with a longer barrel. We use to make up a "crank extension" sort of like an extension to your ratchet wrench. Frenchie just gave an excellent description of how to make one in a current post. A machine shop will be able to make one up easily and shouldn't cost much.

Or, you can just have a set of Thule or Yakima bars installed and save a lot of weight.


This is a picture of a concept we made a very long time ago. The idea was to keep the weight down as much as possible. We fabricated a rack without the basket and mounted the tent directly to the rack without using AutoHome's Universal Mounts, bolted straight through the base. The tent we used had an integrated basket in the roof of the tent so you could strap equipment down up there. The driving lights were mounted on a sub-frame then mounted directly to the tent. Worked well.


I'd think long and hard, and do all your research before drilling holes in the bottom of that tent.

The tent was designed to mount from the 2 steel rails embedded into the fiberglass bottom. If you are doing a fair amount of off road work, Autohome recommends using 3 load bars. I don't really know if I needed too, but I did use 3 .......... as it was easy with my particular roof rack.

As always, your mileage will vary. :)
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Brewster, your point about using the stock mounting system is well taken. Another reason why I'm not a fan of expedition baskets and alternative mounting systems is that they aren't tested. Frenchie's post reminded me that he was in a really bad accident about 15 years ago where he was badly hurt and his vehicle was toast. The only upside in this was a real world confirmation on how his tent's mounting system worked. Frenchie reported that it slid back about two inches, he was hit in the rear, and nothing broke. We had done some non-destructive tests with Hummer a couple years before and the findings were similar that the rack system will slide and cushion the impact.

That concept truck shown was an attempt to show how you could build a fully functioning expedition rig and have it all within the builder's specifications. Jeep at the time had a 150 pound limit on roof loads, and the tent and rack system was well below that. We were able to add 33 inch tires by lifting the fenders not the body so the vehicles dynamics are exactly as designed. I can tell you that Jeep handled like it was on rails.


New member
Thanks for the input everyone. Couple of notes:

1) I never intended to drill into or modify the tent in any way.

2) I take the point on not wanting extra weight on top of the vehicle.

I need to do some research on what the best way is to mount the Thule bars to my car. I no longer have the factory roof rails, and their website doesn't list a way to fix the load bars to the stock rack mounting points.

Other than that, I'm leaning towards cutting the basket off the front of my aftermarket rack and just using it as a flat platform to mount the tent.


I have a Maggiolina Extreme mounted on three crossbars, secured using gutter mounts. I thought this would provide you a good example and picture for reference. The rack will create more issues than its worth as explained above, plus the costs involved.



New member
Update for anyone interested.

This weekend I chopped the top bars off my rack, grinded, sanded, painted. Then cut lengths of garden hose to pad the tent against the rack. It fits like a glove!

Might not be quite as light as standard cross bars, but the rack is pretty light and the tent is rock solid on there. I feel like I jump the cruiser and the tent wouldn't move an inch.



Well worth the work, nicely done. I like the way the rack is slightly wider than the tent. You can put the ladder's hooks on the rack rather than the tent.


Update for anyone interested.

This weekend I chopped the top bars off my rack, grinded, sanded, painted. Then cut lengths of garden hose to pad the tent against the rack. It fits like a glove!

Might not be quite as light as standard cross bars, but the rack is pretty light and the tent is rock solid on there. I feel like I jump the cruiser and the tent wouldn't move an inch.

This was going to be my recommendation. Looks great! You’re going to love the tent. I have the same one and it has been great. Quiet in the wind. No condensation due to the insulation and it is built like a brick ******** house.

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