Part 3: Roof Rack, Marker Lamps, And Rocker Protection
In the September issue, our dechromed and flattened Hummer H3 Alpha received a set of rugged BFG All-Terrain tires, handsome GT Simulock wheels, and durable Rod Hall remote-reservoir racing shocks. This month, our H3 gets another trio of bolt-ons: A Gobi Stealth roof rack, roof-mounted marker lamps, and rocker protection.
Our desire to install a roof rack was twofold. One, we wanted to significantly increase our H3's available cargo room. And two, we wanted a place to mount full-perimeter lighting. The trick was to find a lightweight low-profile rack that met these criteria while not negatively affecting our Alpha's decent fuel mileage and outstanding handling. We perused a bunch of different racks before we found, and instantly decided on, the Gobi Stealth rack. This full-length 8-foot rack is a quality unit that weighs only 88 pounds and creates 26 square feet of new storage space. Its low-profile design means that its aerodynamic impact is minimal. It comes with a fairing to direct air up and over the rack; it has four forward-facing light tabs, two rear-facing light tabs, two fixed 11/8-inch crossbars, and polished stainless-steel bolts riveted through black powdercoated steel bands. The Stealth has an ultra-rugged black-powder topcoat finish over a super-tough epoxy undercoating, so it should hold up well to the salty Midwest winters. The Stealth is available with or without a sunroof opening, and Gobi offers other options like a ladder and tool brackets. Gobi also offers racks for a variety of other vehicles too.
Our H3 came to us without the factory rocker protection. We know all too well that rocker panels are some of the most easily damaged items on the trail. Hence we put in a call to our friends at Hummer and they provided us with the Hummer Accessories Rocker Protection. The kit comes with a duo of bars as well as the hardware needed to mount 'em to the rig.
Finally, to us a Hummer ain't a Hummer without roof lights, and ours came without 'em. OK, some may construe roof lights as bling, but so be it. We think it adds "truckness." Hummer provided its roof-mounted marker lamp kit that is available through Hummer Accessories. This all-inclusive kit includes everything needed to install the five marker lights.
Following is a basic overview of how it all came together.
We've had the Gobi Stealth rack installed for a couple of weeks now and we continue to be impressed by its quality and function. We're ecstatic about the 26 cubic feet of new storage space, and thanks to all of the integrated light mounting points we've already begun installing our full perimeter lighting. Thanks to the Stealth's light weight, we haven't experienced any handling aberrations either. Around town the rack creates virtually no added wind noise. At highway speed the wind noise increase is nominal and actually a bit less than we expected. Conversations in a normal tone are still very much the norm. We noticed that on the highway wind noise was pronounced before we installed the four forward-facing lights because the fairing directed the wind directly into the front upper bar. The wind noise decreased immediately after we installed our four forward-facing PIAA lights (we'll cover that install in an upcoming issue), as they acted as an extension of the Gobi fairing to direct air up and over the front of the rack. The rack can interfere with XM satellite radio reception. We've found our reception to only suffer momentary interruptions when we're heading west. Gobi has an antenna upgrade that is said to solve this so we'll be installing that in the near future. From what we can tell after a couple of tanks of fuel, any fuel mileage loss is minimal, which is cool with us. The Gobi Stealth rack is premium-priced with an MSRP of $1,648.90, but it's worth every penny.
The first step to install the marker-lamp kit is to position the included template on the roof. This template will provide the exact locations to drill the six holes needed to mount the marker lightbar assembly. Here Bergstrom Hummer technician Mike Wedel uses a punch to mark the locations to be drilled.
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There's more Project Trailhugger stuff online at fourwheeler.com. Visit the blogs section and you can see Web-exclusive stories covering all the installs thus far, including some that haven't even published yet. As a bonus, most are accompanied by our really weird Krappy Kam videos.