FTC ~ Roof Rack–Rhino-Rack USA Vortex Trackmount Roof Rack [Not Installed Yet], 10/01

The roof above the cab is hardened, and that is good!

Good for roll-overs–not good if you are trying to penetrate it to install rails for a roof rack. To install the rail, I need to drill 9 holes for each rail–18 total. Six of them are above the cab area.

I began drilling Thursday after receiving the shipment. The first 6 were done in less than 15-minutes. I worked on the next 3 for about 5 hours–new drill [variable speed] included. No joy!!!

Today [Saturday], I drilled 6 holes for the nest rail and did not try the 3 above the cab. I called a rack installer. They are familiar with my plight; but, they cannot drill the 6 holes for me until Tuesday morning at 10:00 am.

Oh well…

Author: jalexartis

Avid cyclist, who loves photography, technology, blogging & cooking...

12 thoughts on “FTC ~ Roof Rack–Rhino-Rack USA Vortex Trackmount Roof Rack [Not Installed Yet], 10/01”

  1. I received this email from George at etrailer.com Thursday afternoon:

    Good afternoon Jamesa,

    I wanted to let you know that I recently got information your package was delivered.

    I have put together a page for you to get additional information and write reviews.


    We would be extremely grateful if you would write a review to let others know what you thought about our products. Because an important part of providing great information is listening to feedback from customers.

    If you would like to add a photo of your product in use, just respond to this email and attach the file.

    As always, if you have any questions you can reach us at 1-800-298-8924.


    George J


    1. I responded:

      Thanks, George. I will if I can ever get my rack installed. I have not been able to penetrate the 3 holes over my cab. The other 6 holes were easy. That is on the first rail. I called for tips–nothing offered that I had not tried [use a new bit]. I just bought a variable speed drill–still no joy. Nothing in the documentation says drilling into the cab will be more difficult. I have nearly 3 hours on these 3 holes. I s now dark here. I will not likely finish until Friday, at the earliest. I am miffed…



  2. Tonight [10/01] I received a delivery failure and sent this:

    Still, no joy. I cannot drill through the roof above the cab–6 holes [3/rail]. I have an appointment Tuesday morning to have a rack installer drill those 6 holes for me. Today I learned from the installer that penetrating the roof above the cab can be difficult because of the use of hardened steel. They use 2 sizes of tungsten bits and then a frame bit to penetrate the roof there. I hope to complete my installation Tuesday afternoon.

    I would have liked to have known drilling into the cab would be nearly impossible with the tools I have–and that with a new variable-speed drill. Absolutely, no joy!


    I hope this mail gets to you.

    Thank you for the contact last Thursday.

    I am,



    1. Added a postscript:

      George, I forgot to say I tried for just over 5 hours on the 3 holes above the cab. The person who took my call said it takes slightly more effort. I explained the just over 2 hours I had spent versus about 15 minutes for the first 6 holes. That was absolutely misleading. For sure, not true for a Ford Transit Connect. –james


  3. A reply from etrailer.com, received Sunday, 10/02 at 1:42 pm:


    Thank you for your email.

    I am sorry that you had to spend so much time on drilling into your roof to install the rack. The installation of the rack should have been a bit easier but given the slight differences between certain vehicles installation can differ a tad.

    Have you tried calling Rhino Rack themselves and possibly asking why this seemed so difficult for you? Because they are the absolute experts on their own products they should have a better answer than what we were able to provide. I know you have already installed them but if you would like to call Rhino Rack and just ask if they have heard such a thing for the Ford Edge you may call 1-303-706-9700. I do apologize that I had no other information about this available. I hope this helps.

    If you have any further questions please email or call 1-800-298-8924.

    Thank you,

    Shawn B.
    My direct line is 1-636-887-9528


    1. My response, sent at 1:57 pm:

      Thanks, Shawn.

      I have not installed because I cannot drill the 6 holes I need through the roof above the cab. I have an appointment for a rack installer to drill the holes on Tuesday morning. The installer is familiar with drilling through hardened steel roofs.

      Yes, I used a lot of time with nothing to show for it. I have a new drill. My old one was adequate, but not variable speed. The new drill did not help.

      The company that will drill the holes for my uses Tungsten bits. They say the bits cost $70 a piece. The use a 3 bit process to penetrate the hardened steel.

      I did not expect this. I will let you know when it is finished.

      No, I did not call Rhino Racks.



      I thought my email explained all that I said here.



      1. My saga continues:


        Thank you for your email.

        I am sorry I was under the impression that you had installed the rack. In that case I would definitely give Rhino Rack a call even though you have an installer coming over to help you as like I said before, they are very knowledgeable about their products as they are able to solely focus on their products only.

        Please let me know how everything turns out and if you are able to remedy the situation.

        I look forward to hearing back from you.

        Thank you,

        Shawn B.
        My direct line is 1-636-887-9528


        1. I trust this is my final reply before Tuesday afternoon:

          Thanks again for your reply. I do not see where Rhino can tell me more than I have learned about hardened steel, Leonard Buildings & Truck Accessories is a National chain. We talked Saturday morning about the steps to and their experience drilling through hardened steel. I have spent too many hours getting where I am, I do not want to spend more to arrive at the same point. I take my van to them at 10:00 am Tuesday morning. Their task is to penetrate the roof at 6 holes that have been started by me. The rail determines where those holes are placed. The rest is mechanical.

          I expect any guidance from Rhino would be as to drill & drill bit. I already have an answer to that. My local Leonard’s has experienced the same problem I described and has the tools to drill through hardened steel.

          Yes, I will tell you when I have installed the rack. I am going to a dealer who I am confident will have success. They have done other work for me.

          I appreciate your concern and offered help. I am beyond that now. I do not think the lady with whom I spoke Thursday took my call seriously. She wanted pictures of my drilling effort. Photographs of a 1/64″-1/32″ drill indentation below the sheet metal would not have helped solve my problem. I continued to drill with titanium drill bits. They successfully penetrated the other 12 holes–some with more effort than others. I was told by your rep to drill. It just takes a little more effort than the other holes. That is so not true!


          Expect to hear from me Tuesday afternoon.

          Take care…




  4. It seems to me that the reality of what I have described is not understood by Shawn. When one know what they are confronted with being told to speak with someone else seems to not take into consideration what has been done to this point. That can be called respect. If anything the seller can call Rhino and relay to me any useful information. Again, I am confident I am on a good path to a solution from Leonard’s.


  5. The Leonard Technician has made it through 1 of the 6 holes. They do not have the right size bit to finish the job in a hour. It now looks like 2 hours. The important thing is that they have penetrated one of the 6 holes. Their hourly rate is $70.00 per hour.


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