Lightweight & Low-Profile Prinsu Cab Rack Roof Rack For Double Cab 2nd & 3rd Gen (2005-2023) Tacoma – Detailed Install Guide, Review & Overview
As all Tacoma owners eventually learn, there are very limited options for storage on our trucks. This poses a problem since, especially if you off-road or camp out of your truck, you’re always looking for a better way to make your things accessible and maximize the space you have.
There are multiple reasons why someone would choose to install a roof rack onto a Tacoma. One reason could simply be for looks. This is of course my opinion, but I love how the Tacoma looks with a roof rack. It just seems to complete the truck. Another reason would be to add a spot to mount all your gear and accessories. A roof rack is a great place to install auxiliary lighting and items like storage boxes, recovery boards, a water supply, and things like axes and shovels.
Prinsu, which is the original low profile roof rack, was acquired and merged with CBI Offroad Fabrication a few years back. A great complement to the established CBI off-road accessory line ups. These guys have one of the lightest and lowest-profile roof racks on the market – the site states that they weigh the least and are the slimmest. Prinsu roof racks are also fully modular, so you can change the setup of the rack to fit your needs.
Best of all, all Prinsu products are made in the USA – in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
While this post is centered around my 3rd Gen Tacoma, this roof rack fits the 2nd Gen as well.
Find It Online
- Toyota Tacoma (2005-2023) Prinsu Cab Rack: Check Price
Prinsu Roof Rack For Tacoma
Table of Contents
Features & Specifications
Let’s quickly run through the details for this roof rack.
- Modular, sleek, adjustable design
- Bolt-on modification
- Easy installation
- Comes with 6 crossbars standard
- High grade aluminum construction
- Black powder coat
- Weighs only 45 lbs.
- Static load rating – 600lbs.
- Dynamic load rating – 300lbs.
- Custom slots for built in accessory drop points
- Noise reducing trim
- Free shipping
- Limited lifetime warranty
- American made
- Loads of accessory mounts
Prinsu does not offer a set of instructions in box but you can just follow along and use this article as your instructions.
The roof rack is pretty simple to install as long as you have the tools I mentioned below. There is one step that might require the use of a second set of hands, but most of the installation can be done by one person.
- 3/8 ratchet and extension
- 10mm socket/wrench
- T-30 Torx
- Flat head screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- 3/4″ hollow punch
- 100% waterproof silicone
Step 1. Remove Roof Trim
On my roof rail moldings, you will see some holes which I cut out from a previous roof rack install. Your moldings should not have these holes unless you also had a roof rack prior to this. Under my roof rails, you will also see those two silver screws which are plugs from my previous roof rack. If you have never had a roof rack your roof will be smooth under the roof rail moldings.
Using a flathead screwdriver (or plastic trim tool to be safe) and being careful not to scratch your paint, gently pry up on the front side of the rubber roof rail molding. These rubber moldings are held down with a clip in the front, double-sided tape in multiple spots along the molding, and another clip on the rear. Gently lift up on the molding and pull the whole trim off of the truck, do the same thing for both the driver and passenger sides.
After you remove the roof rail molding there might be dirt or mud in the roof rail. Using a gentle cleaner, wipe down and clean all of the dirt out of the channel. For a proper and successful roof rack install you will want to begin your installation with a clean roof, specifically the channels where the roof rack will be getting mounted to.
Step 2. Locate Mounting Holes
Once you get the rubber molding off of the rails on both sides, you need to locate the factory mounting holes. If this is your first time removing the rubber roof molding, your factory holes will be covered with tape and painted the color of your Tacoma. You can easily poke holes in the tape and peel away this tape to reveal the factory mounting holes.
There are a total of 5 factory mounted holes on each side. A set of two towards the rear of the roof, one is in the center of the drip rail on each side, and then there is a set of two on the front side. Once you peel away this tape, you will want to try and clean up the area around the holes as best as you can. Later we will be applying silicone and you want this area as clean as possible so the cilicone can make a good bond with the truck.
Step 3. Punch Holes In Trim
There are two different ways you can tackle this step. You can either cut out multiple sections of the moldings to make room for the roof rack hardware to attach to the roof, or you can drill or punch holes into the moldings that align with the factory-drilled holes in the roof. I previously had a different roof rack on my truck and I originally went with the hole-punching method because I liked a cleaner look.
Once you have the factory roof holes exposed, you will need to lay the roof rail moldings back on the roof to mark where the holes are on the rubber moldings. Mark the center of each hole onto your moldings so you can either cut the molding or punch out the holes like in my photo above. I used a 3/4″ hollow punch which cuts holes in the molding that are the perfect size for the spacers provided by Prinsu to install the roof rack.
Once you have transferred the factory roof hole locations onto your moldings it is time to punch out holes into your moldings. The hole punch method is easy due to the inside of this roof molding containing a strip of metal to help give the molding a structure. If you tried to drill out these holes you might have some issues making holes when you hit the metal strip in the molding. Using a hammer and the punch you will cut out 5 holes on each molding where you marked your hole locations. These holes should be aligned with each roof hole in the channels.
Step 4. Assemble Roof Rack
The parts of the roof rack will consist of the (2) side rails, the (6) black crossbars, (1) silver crossbar, (1) fairing, (1) strip of noise-reducing rubber, and all the necessary hardware.
I recommend using the supplied purple thread lock when installing any screws for the roof rack. Also, make sure you do not fully tighten any of the hardware until the full installation is finished to assist with aligning everything before you tighten the hardware.
For the front wind faring on the roof rack, my setup came with the light bar cut-out wind fairing. Prinsu also offers their standard cut wind fairing which just goes straight across at the top height of the roof rack. You can either get the light bar cutout wind fairing if you have or plan to have a light bar installed on your roof rack, or you can get the standard wind fairing if you will not have any lighting on the roof rack. In the photo above you can see the wind fairing on the left is the standard wind fairing, and the fairing on the right is the light bar cut-out wind fairing.
To start the roof rack assembly I connected the two side rails with only 3 crossbars. This will keep the roof rack lighter for when you need to lift it up onto the roof of the truck. I installed one crossbar in the front, one in the center, and one in the far rear so the rack would be held together while keeping it as light as possible for the lift.
After you get the rack partially assembled you need to put together the front wind fairing. The wind fairing will get attached to the silver crossbar with the wind fairing hardware. The hardware bag has screws, washers, and lock nuts that are rectangle-shaped. The rectangle-shaped lock nuts need to get slid into the grooves of the crossbar and aligned with the 10 holes in the wind fairing. If you choose to install the noise-canceling rubber wind strip, now is a good time to add that to your wind fairing.
You can either choose to attach the front wind fairing to the rack before you lift it up onto the truck, or you can wait and add it after the roof rack is up on the truck. I am choosing to add my fairing after the rack has been installed on the roof of the truck to help keep it light.
Step 5. Prepare Roof & Mounts
This step could be optional but I highly recommend using silicone for your roof rack to prevent any leaks. Using your 100% waterproof silicone you will want to fill each threaded hole with a good amount of silicone. Then after the hole is filled, apply a large bead of silicone on top of the hole and all around it. Soon we will be installing the provided spacers that help lift the roof rack up off the roof, you will want these spacers to make a good seat in the silicone to have a waterproof seal to the roof.
After you apply the silicone to all the holes, you can also add a few more beads of it alone the roof rail channel to help the rubber molding adhere to the roof when you install it again.
After you have applied all of your silicone you can now grab both of your moldings and reinstall them into the roof rail channels. Starting from the front, press the front of the molding into the clip on the roof then you can start to lay it in the channel all the way to the back. Once the molding is in the channel, press firmly all along the molding to make sure it is secure in the roof rail channel.
After installing both of the roof rail moldings you can install the spacers into the holes you created in the moldings. Firmly press down on each spacer to verify that it makes full contact with all of the silicone and creates your waterproof seal. Your roof is now prepared to have the roof rack lifted and installed onto the truck.
Step 6. Mounting Roof Rack
This step is easier if you have a second set of hands just due to the larger size of the rack. Also, you wouldn’t want to slip or drop the rack which could damage the rack or your truck. Lift the roof rack up and over the truck and gently place the rack on top of the 10 risers you just placed onto the roof.
Grab all 10 of your roof rack mounting bolts each paired with a washer and place each bolt in one of the holes where the spacers are. Press each bolt down until it is in the hole where the threads are in the roof of the truck. Start to thread each bolt by hand one by one to start aligning the roof rack.
You want to take your time with this step to ensure the rack is sitting on the truck properly and nothing is over-tightened. Once all bolts have been threaded you will want to slowly go around and tighten each bolt evenly so the rack will sit flush across the roof.
After each bolt holding the roof rack down has been somewhat tightened, you can now add the remaining cross bars and attach the wind fairing. Make sure you don’t forget to add the purple thread lock to each bolt you use to assemble the roof rack. Go around the roof rack and slowly tighten each bolt that holds the crossbars and wind fairing on and make them all tight. By tightening all of the roof rack bolts you are pulling the roof rack together and making it all locked into a solid unit.
You can now go back to the silver roof rack bolts and tighten all of them but be careful not to over-tighten them. Toyota does not have a torque spec for the threaded holes on the roof so you have to use your best judgment for how tight you make the bolts. If you over-tighten these bolts you could possibly have leaking issues, or damage your roof. Just be careful and don’t overdo it.
There are many roof racks out on the market, but I really like this one. It’s light, modular and the install was relatively straightforward.
I’ve had a roof rack on my Tacoma before and there was a lot of wind noise at highway speeds. The Prinsu roof rack is not quiet but at highway speeds, I just turned on my radio to a regular level and I could not hear my roof rack.
Most roof racks leave a gap at the back end of the rack due to the roof antenna on the Tacoma. Prinsu designed their rack to go just behind the roof antenna which gives the roof rack a cleaner look in my opinion. I think Prinsu did a really good job when they designed this roof rack, the shape, and design contours the truck well, and overall looks like it was meant to be on the truck from the factory.
For anyone looking to add extra mounting locations to their Tacoma, a roof rack is a good solution. I plan on adding a few hard rifle cases to the roof for storage of gear to free up room in my truck and in the bed storage area. I’ve also seen people add a rooftop tent onto their roof rack or you can attach off-road gear to the rack.
Prinsu makes a large number of accessories that are compatible with their roof rack to attach your offroad gear to your Prinsu rack. They have a couple of different handles that you can attach to the sides of the rack to assist in getting your gear off the roof. They have awning brackets too, so you can attach awnings to the sides of your Prinsu rack. You could get their Maxtrax mounts to attach your recovery boards to the roof rack. There’s a large list of accessories that Prinsu offers on their website, make sure to check out the link above to purchase your roof rack and look at their accessories while you’re there.
So far, I’m stoked! Looking forward to really putting this rack to work.