I started this venture by doing a couple searches for DIY roof racks that can hold a lot of weight, somewhat easy to make and fix on and off road, and cheaper than buying an expensive name brand roof rack. With these three things in mind I set off and purchased some Super Strut (Strut Bracket). I found that this stuff is pretty easy to cut to what ever length you want, has nice little channel bolts (and other accessories) and is decently priced.
I started by using old scrap wood at different lengths and set them on top of the topper to see where in the ball park did I like them and where would they be most useful to me. I decided on 7 feet long with a foot and a half overhang over the cab. I put it 5 wide so the ARB awning would be easy to access as well as the ARB awning room wall would be straight down to the ground from where it connects to the roof rack. On my Sequoia it was too far in from the edge of the roof and the room was bowed and didn’t sit quite right. After measuring and making sure I liked the size and shape I went ahead with the build and started cutting. I did 10 inch pieces for connectors on the roof of the topper. I used a heavy duty exterior caulking with RV sealer tape on both holes. I put 2 bolts per mounting bracket. I cut the pieces of Super Strut with a metal chop saw but you could use an angle grinder with a cutting disc or a SAWZALL with a metal blade on it or if you’re really ambitious you can use a hacksaw. After I cut the outer perimeter pieces I put those together with 90 degree connector pieces. Then I measured up the brackets I had already put on the topper roof and where I had put the cross members. I cut the cross members and used T brackets to connect those.
After fitting it and fastening it to the topper I went around and triple checked that everything was square and tight. I then put the ARB awning on to see how it looked! Looked pretty good. Worked even better!
Next I bolted the Thule bin to the top but oops I should have done the awning on the driver side because the Thule opens to the passenger side. For some reason my wife really wanted the awning on her side. So? It stays and we just have to make sure if we put the awning up that we get everything we need out. Not a big deal.
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.