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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wanted to share my experience with the installation of the 5th Generation Prinsu rack on my 2020 Rav4 XLE. If you haven’t seen BlueYota4’s video on his installation, I’d recommend watching that, as it is very informative. However, sometimes I prefer to scroll and look at pictures so I thought I’d write up my installation guide and tips.

As many have noted the plusnut method is not great, several have reported the rear plusnut spinning on installation. Due to this, I bypassed the plusnuts and installed regular nuts underneath the roof at all 10 mounting points.

Furthermore, the Prinsu instructions suggest that you don’t need to remove the headliner. This is simply not true, and this has been verified by several people who have installed the rack. You have to drop the headliner to remove the stock rails. The plusnuts are a solution to not having to drop the headliner, but since you have to do that anyways, regular nuts on the underside are a more reliable method.

I preassembled my rack and I would probably do it that way again. I did it all by myself and lifting the rack up onto the car was a challenge but not impossible.

Total time for me was about 4 hours. Make sure it's a nice day, or you have a garage, as you don't want it to rain while you have exposed holes in your roof.

Things you’ll need:
  • T30 Torx Driver
  • Nuts for the underside – it is a 1/4x20 thread. I used “stop nuts” with the nylon insert. QTY 10. (You can use the bolts included in the rack)
  • Fender washers – right next to the nuts if you are buying from Lowes. You can use the included fender washers as a guide and just buy more of those, they are fine. QTY 10.
  • 10mm socket or wrench
  • 12mm socket or wrench
  • 7/16 socket or wrench
  • 7/16 wrench
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Flat Screwdriver
  • Auto trim removal kit
  • Waterproof, weatherproof silicone
  • Hole Plugs
The following is my installation guide but I don’t know anything more than anyone else has installed the rack. They are from memory so I’ll make edits to many mistakes I made or suggestions that others give.
  • Begin to work your way around the vehicle, removing accessories that mount to the headliner. I started with the grab handle.

  • On each grab handle mounting point you will see a small space for a screwdriver or other tool. Insert a small screwdriver or other pointed object into that gap and pull straight out. Try to avoid a twisting motion. Once you have created a bit of a gap, you can try using a plastic tool. Alternatively, in my auto trim kit there is a flat tool that tapers to a point, with steps in between. You can slide this in, towards the bottom of the cover, to remove.

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  • Once you have the cover removed on both sides of the grab handle, pry down the top part of the metal piece in there with your screwdriver, then insert a trim tool to hold the gap. Then, take your screwdriver and pry up the top part of the metal piece. Once both the top and bottom are pried out a bit, you can pull on the grab handle to loosen that side. Repeat on the other side to completely remove the grab handle.

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  • Pinch the metal piece even more, and remove it completely. This is optional, but I recommend it for saving your wrists while you’re under the headliner later.

  • Repeat removal of the grab handles all the way around the car.

  • Remove the two bolts holding on the visor, then remove the visor. For the clip, rotate 90 degrees then remove. Remove the other visor.

  • Pull down on the console with lights, sunglass holder, etc., to remove. There are 4 clips, one at each corner. Be careful not to pull down on just the exterior trim piece, get the entire assembly out of there. In my case, the exterior part that you can see is tan (interior color) and the part you can’t see is black. It comes out pretty easily if you are pulling on the right part. Unplug the connector and remove.

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  • To remove the trim piece around the A-pillar, get your hands or a trim tool around the trim, and pull. The clips that Toyota uses to hold the trim piece on are designed as they are so the trim doesn’t hit you in the face during an air bag deployment. Although you don’t need to remove this trim piece entirely to install the rack, I found that I had to remove them and reset those clips during re-installation of the trim, so you might as well remove them completely now to make things easier. See BlueYota4’s video on how to remove the clips.

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  • Get your hands around the B-Pillar trim and pull off. Nothing hard here. I just detached the top few clips, enough to sag the headliner as much as I needed.

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  • Same with the trim in the back, nothing special, just get your hands or a trim tool around it and pull down/out. Be gentle but it’s unlikely you’ll break anything. Open the rear hatch and make sure the trim is completely loose.

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  • For the dome light, get a trim tool under there and pull down.

  • There are 5 more push-clips in the headliner, 3 at the back and 2 further forward, that need to be pulled out. There should be a trim tool in your kit for this.

  • This should be everything to sag the headliner, you should be able to get your hands under there now.

  • Moving up to the top of the car, using a flat screwdriver, remove the trim pieces covering up the mounting spots on the rack (4).

  • Remove the 10mm bolts holding on the trim pieces. They will be the bolts closest to the front, and closest to the back of the car.

  • Now you can remove the trim entirely. Get your hands under there and pry up gently. It is just some clips that need to be popped. There is an adhesive towards the front that you can pull off.

  • Now remove the 8 bolts holding on the rack mounts. It is a 12mm on top. Once you break them loose you can reach your hand underneath the headliner and spin off the nuts from the bottom side.

  • Once you’ve done all this you should have a bare roof. Take a moment to wipe down the channels.

  • Set the rack on top of the car or measure to figure out which holes you’re going to use. I marked them with painter’s tape on my roof.

  • Get your silicone and run a generous bead around the mounting holes that you are using.

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  • In the hardware pack that came with the rack, there are 10 black spacers, 6 of them are 5/8 of an inch and 4 of them are 3/4 of an inch. The ones that are 3/4 of an inch go in the middle, and the 5/8 go towards the front and rear of the car. Place the appropriate spacers on top of the silicone you just laid.

  • Set the rack (or just the mounting rails, if you haven’t assembled it already) on top of the spacers you just placed. Put a fender washer on each mounting bolt and drop it through the rack, spacer, and car. Since I was doing this by myself I taped some detailing pads onto the bottom of the rack to prevent scratching it while I lifted it up there.

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  • Get a fender washer and a nut, and get your hands up under the headliner to attach. Get the 7/16 wrench in there and hold the nut in place while you tighten from the top. Don’t tighten completely, just enough so that the nuts stay on the bolts. Repeat all the way around the car.

  • If you didn’t preassemble the rack, do it now.

  • Center the rack. I didn’t have a great way to do this, but you can measure to the antenna fin to center the back of it. Center visually at the front.

  • Now you can go around and tighten down all the bolts.

  • Using the hole plugs and some silicone, plug the holes left behind in the roof.

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  • You can now reinstall the headliner, basically doing everything in reverse. As I mentioned, the A-Pillar trim is easier to re-install if you remove it completely, set the clips into the trim, then put the trim back on the car. If you happen to lose a plastic clip for one of the panels, you might be able to find a replacement on the roof rails you removed. I only learned this after I went to the store to get a replacement clip for the B pillar that I lost.


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Thank you for posting you install! I'm about to do this Prinsu install today on my 2020 LE Hybrid. While I'm pretty handy with tools and such, I've never done any interior auto work, so seeing the pics was especially helpful.
 

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Thank you for this writeup it was a huge help during install.

I did it on a 2020 XSE Hybrid with normal moon roof. Very subtle differences in that model amounted to:

1. Only 3 ceiling clips in the back that need to be pulled, instead of 5
2. I ended up taking off the trim around the moonroof, it was super easy and let the headliner sag a bit more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@tg6392 - Would this install be the same process for 2019 XLE gas?
Do you know if installing this rack voided your warranty?
I don't know for sure, but I'd say 99% chance its identical.

I assume it doesn't void your warranty unless you try to complain about an issue specific to the install (roof leak, etc)
 

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I don't know for sure, but I'd say 99% chance its identical.

I assume it doesn't void your warranty unless you try to complain about an issue specific to the install (roof leak, etc)
So you didn't use a step drill for the rear 2 holes you just went with screw, washer, and nut?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So you didn't use a step drill for the rear 2 holes you just went with screw, washer, and nut?
Right, I didn't have to drill anything. Since I didn't use the plusnuts, the included bolts are a small enough diameter to fit in the existing holes.
 

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Right, I didn't have to drill anything. Since I didn't use the plusnuts, the included bolts are a small enough diameter to fit in the existing holes.
So pretty much just silicone, spacer, silicone on the spacer, slide the bolt through, then washer and nut?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So pretty much just silicone, spacer, silicone on the spacer, slide the bolt through, then washer and nut?
There is another washer between the bolt and the rack.

From the top down it would be bolt, washer, rack, spacer, silicone, car, washer, nut. The spacer is what contacts the car and therefore needs to be sealed with silicone. A rubber washer between the car and the spacer might work too.
 

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There is another washer between the bolt and the rack.

From the top down it would be bolt, washer, rack, spacer, silicone, car, washer, nut. The spacer is what contacts the car and therefore needs to be sealed with silicone. A rubber washer between the car and the spacer might work too.
Awesome! That makes the install WAY easier now. Have you tested to see if you've had any leaks?
 

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When you guys drop the inside headliner, was the headliner completed disconnected? Can it be removed from the back of the car? The reason I am asking is because Im thinking of sound deadening the roof since I already did the rest of the car and it helps a lot. Especially after hearing that the wind noise the rack will also make, makes me want to cover the top.
You guys have picture of of the inside roof..possibly the back of it headliner. Wondering how the space behind it looks.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When you guys drop the inside headliner, was the headliner completed disconnected? Can it be removed from the back of the car? The reason I am asking is because Im thinking of sound deadening the roof since I already did the rest of the car and it helps a lot. Especially after hearing that the wind noise the rack will also make, makes me want to cover the top.
You guys have picture of of the inside roof..possibly the back of it headliner. Wondering how the space behind it looks.

Thanks
I didn't remove the headliner, I only "sagged" it enough to get under there. I didn't really check to see what else was holding it on towards the middle...since I didn't want to completely pull it down. I didn't want to risk creasing it or getting it dirty if I removed it completely.

I did post in the sound deadening thread about putting some material up there. I think there is definitely enough room to do it, especially if you don't have the sun/moon roof. To me, the wind noise isn't bad, but I also haven't done the rest of the car. If you are saying that you've already done the rest of the car, you'd definitely notice the sound coming from the rack. Sorry I don't have any more pictures. @blueyota4 's video @ 9:24 is about the best look you're probably going to get. You can see in his pictures though, there is definitely room up there.
 

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I didn't remove the headliner, I only "sagged" it enough to get under there. I didn't really check to see what else was holding it on towards the middle...since I didn't want to completely pull it down. I didn't want to risk creasing it or getting it dirty if I removed it completely.

I did post in the sound deadening thread about putting some material up there. I think there is definitely enough room to do it, especially if you don't have the sun/moon roof. To me, the wind noise isn't bad, but I also haven't done the rest of the car. If you are saying that you've already done the rest of the car, you'd definitely notice the sound coming from the rack. Sorry I don't have any more pictures. @blueyota4 's video @ 9:24 is about the best look you're probably going to get. You can see in his pictures though, there is definitely room up there.



Appreciate you taking you time to digging up the info for me. By the way, I do have the moon/sunroof but I was thinking about laying the rest of the extra sheets I have around it. I sound deadening most part of the car like under hood, all doors, trunk, spare tire area, rear wheel well, and backseat floors. Im thinking about doing the top as well but I dont have too much extra sheets.

Thanks Bud! Ill have to look into it.
 

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DO NOT BUY A PRINSU RACK FOR YOUR 5TH GEN RAV4 !
I wish I'd seen this thread a month ago. Installation is a massive chore and leaves eight permanent holes in your roof. Plus It's e x t r e m e l y loud.
Toyota described the installation as "difficult," taking them almost 7-hours to remove the headliner and mount the rack, though they only charged me for five (~$773 after tax). There are now eight permanent holes in my roof. When I asked Prinsu about why this was not disclosed in the instructions and plugs provided, they dismissed my concerns saying Butyl sealant and Gorrilla tape worked great on their test RAV4 - WTF?! They also forgot to include the PlusNut spacer (we just used three regular nuts).
In electric mode, on newer pavement, with no traffic, and all windows closed, sound measurements inside my 2021 RAV4 Prime were at 65 decibels at 40 mph and 74 decibels at 70 mph. A vacuum cleaner is about 70. Save your time and money, and buy a different rack.
 

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DO NOT BUY A PRINSU RACK FOR YOUR 5TH GEN RAV4 !
I wish I'd seen this thread a month ago. Installation is a massive chore and leaves eight permanent holes in your roof. Plus It's e x t r e m e l y loud.
Toyota described the installation as "difficult," taking them almost 7-hours to remove the headliner and mount the rack, though they only charged me for five (~$773 after tax). There are now eight permanent holes in my roof. When I asked Prinsu about why this was not disclosed in the instructions and plugs provided, they dismissed my concerns saying Butyl sealant and Gorrilla tape worked great on their test RAV4 - WTF?! They also forgot to include the PlusNut spacer (we just used three regular nuts).
In electric mode, on newer pavement, with no traffic, and all windows closed, sound measurements inside my 2021 RAV4 Prime were at 65 decibels at 40 mph and 74 decibels at 70 mph. A vacuum cleaner is about 70. Save your time and money, and buy a different rack.
It’s not permanent holes. The holes they use are pre-existing holes from your OEM roof rails. Also did you buy the rubber flaring for the front so it reduces wind noise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
DO NOT BUY A PRINSU RACK FOR YOUR 5TH GEN RAV4 !
I wish I'd seen this thread a month ago. Installation is a massive chore and leaves eight permanent holes in your roof. Plus It's e x t r e m e l y loud.
Toyota described the installation as "difficult," taking them almost 7-hours to remove the headliner and mount the rack, though they only charged me for five (~$773 after tax). There are now eight permanent holes in my roof. When I asked Prinsu about why this was not disclosed in the instructions and plugs provided, they dismissed my concerns saying Butyl sealant and Gorrilla tape worked great on their test RAV4 - WTF?! They also forgot to include the PlusNut spacer (we just used three regular nuts).
In electric mode, on newer pavement, with no traffic, and all windows closed, sound measurements inside my 2021 RAV4 Prime were at 65 decibels at 40 mph and 74 decibels at 70 mph. A vacuum cleaner is about 70. Save your time and money, and buy a different rack.
It took your dealer 7 hours? It took me like 4, and I'm nowhere close to a professional.

No, it's not silent. But it's much quieter than my Thule that I replaced. Based on the profile of the FrontRunner, it's going to be quieter than that one, too. The OEM might be quieter, but won't have nearly the weight capacity or the tie down ability.

I'm extremely happy with my purchase and I would happily do it again. I get compliments on it all the time. Here's a pic of me driving hauling my buddy's arch from his wedding. Just threw it up there and tied it on with two straps. The perfectly flat surface and wide area made this a breeze.

156594
 

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It took your dealer 7 hours? It took me like 4, and I'm nowhere close to a professional.

No, it's not silent. But it's much quieter than my Thule that I replaced. Based on the profile of the FrontRunner, it's going to be quieter than that one, too. The OEM might be quieter, but won't have nearly the weight capacity or the tie down ability.

I'm extremely happy with my purchase and I would happily do it again. I get compliments on it all the time. Here's a pic of me driving hauling my buddy's arch from his wedding. Just threw it up there and tied it on with two straps. The perfectly flat surface and wide area made this a breeze.

View attachment 156594
The guy posted the same thing in every prinsu rack thread 😂. Fear mongering everyone.
 

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I see everybody is using a generic 8mm rubber plug. I will search in the toyota database to see if there is an OE body plug that is an equivalent.
 
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