How to not load your roof rack. A cautionary tale

How to not load a roof rack
How to not load a roof rack

What we have for your today is a story from Facebook, which has a few people in a bit of a sharing dither. We picked it up from our mates at Unsealed 4X4 on Facebook, who credit a certain Matthew Wyatt with the image. It’s a solid lesson for us 4WDers, an Aesopian story on what happens to those who don’t use common sense. A lesson in how to not load your roof rack.

It’s a late-model Nissan GU Patrol, with the 3.0 litre ZD30 engine. And on it’s roof is an ungodly amount of gear. It was photographed somewhere near Alice Springs, presumably heading out on one of the many rough, unsealed Outback roads for the Annual Finke desert race.

How to not load your roof rack. A lesson in gross overloading.
How to not load your roof rack. A lesson in gross overloading.

Let’s have a rough look:

6X cans of fuel – roughly 120kg.
Roof rack: looks like a Rhino Rack, which weighs roughly~30kg
2 X random tyres: 15kg
2X mini bikes – let’s say 80 kg each. I wonder how they got up there?
2X big swags: 20kg
plus some other miscellaneous gear

That’s at least 340 kilograms of stuff. Considering a GU Patrol has a roof load limit of 150kg, they are well more than double over the limit. Patrols are legendarily tough, but that’s just ridiculous.

And what do you know, at some stage down the track, the whole. entire. roof rack falls off. Who knows what happened after that, maybe they cut their losses and left it on the track. Personally, I’d love to know how they got those bikes up on the Patrol, to start with.

When you overload your roof rack, it might fall off.
When you overload your roof rack, it might fall off.

Keep in mind; this gear is loaded onto the rack presumably because the rest of the car is chock-a-block. At a wild guess, we’d say it’s over GVM as well, considering there’s over 300kg of the 600-odd kg payload on the roof. Plus two people, plus the rest of the gear inside… A completely flogged out spare is also testament to how overloaded this vehicle is. So, yeah, it’s overweight.

Naturally, these guys have copped a lot of flack on Facebook for loading their car so dangerously. Social media can be a tough judge at times. But in this instance, we reckon it’s all pretty accurate.

So, what’s to learn from this cautionary tale? Know what things weigh, and what your weight limits are of your 4X4. If you need to carry a heap of gear, get another vehicle or get a trailer. Use your brain, because ‘she’ll be right’ only works in conjunction with a good dose of common sense.

Update: We’ve seen some footage of the roof rack falling off, but a few swear words have stopped us from uploading it in its entirety.

We’ve heard that the three brothers involved were on their way to a motorbike race, and their trailer broke. We’ve also heard that they scored 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the race, so perhaps the end justifies the means somehow?


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  • Ha ha I know this car. Its still a POS. Lights dont work, along with plenty of other crap. You better ask for a discount if you rent it.

  • Serves themselves right
    So stupid to overload like that and so stupid to drive a dirty Datsun in the first place!

  • Birdsville Tuesday 20th June 2017
    I daw the twin of this less the bikes come into the Caravan Park late afternoon..
    Umptten PLASTIC fuel containers on the roof rack with swags plus extra.
    Truly Frightening and hoghway pressure tyres.
    Didn’t take picture to avoid possible call up to Coroners Office.

  • Winners and losers no matter how stupid they were like great aussies of a bygone era who looked at the problem and sorted it. Kinda tied it up with wire to keep the show on the road. Well done you stupid bastards.

  • A 3.0ltr Patrol is struggling without any load. Was it automatic too.? I love my Nissans(I am female and 72 years of age and been driving since I was 11) and often go outback towing a 13′ Trakmaster Pop Top Caravan and currently use a 4.8ltr. manual petrol. My previous Nissan was a 4.2 ltr manual petrol but was stolen and burnt out. I am always way under my weight allowance and believe that is the only way to travel. Just because you have a maximum weight it is not sensible under any circumstances. This driver should lose his/her licence for sheer stupidity. How could you be that irresponsible??

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