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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Decided to take the plunge and ordered a Yakima Exo swing base, top shelf, gear locker and backdeck for my Metris. I got mine through REI and had it shipped to the store. Free shipping plus I will get 10% back in dividends next year. So anyways here goes, hopefully I can get the pictures in order.
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This is the unit in the box. The first issue is the included hitch pin and lock is not compatible with the stock Mercedes trailer hitch. The included pin is too long. It may work if you just want to use the clip, but that wouldn’t be theft proof. I had an aftermarket pin I purchased from etrailer a few years ago that should have worked, but it never tightened down and ended up stripping before I got to 100nm the directions say to tighten the bolt.
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The rest of the installation pretty much followed the instructions.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Continuing the pin saga, I ended using an older Yakima pin I had that fits with their locks, and is short enough.
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The other issues are:
One needs to make sure the back deck is fully extended or the lift gate will hit the back deck.
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The knob used to allow swivel the back deck to swivel is not secured to the back deck and knowing me will soon be lost, so I am looking at backups.
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The back deck attachment piece is sort of permanently attached to the swing portion.


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That is secured by 3 safety hex bits. I really wish they would made the attachment using the same pin system that attaches the swing base to the van. Then it would be one lock and one bolt to remove. This would allow normal liftgate operation As it is now I need to spin the unlock handle (shown in the above picture right side between van and swing base), then pull a safety release and swing the unit out everytime I want access to the back. The other option is removing everything, which is how I will normally have it though. Kind of a small gripe. Last gripe is about the Same Key System (SKS) that Yakima uses. The swing base had one key, the top deck another, the cargo box a third. Add in the roof rack and that’s four different keys. I had a few extras and ordered some more off eBay so all 12 of my locks are the same. Prepare to spend $$ if you don’t have key cores and want yours to all match.
The support jack seems a little flimsy and not very secure, so I am going to look into a folding trailer jack to see if it will help. The jack is the extension on the piece of wood. It’s basically an extending rod that is unsupported at both ends.
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It is not mandatory and only provides a little extra support.

All in all, not bad. It will be used as a cooking platform up top, and to carry firewood(used fence boards in my case) below. It seems well built and sturdy. I will update with more pictures after my first trial run this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Finding a hitch pin lock short enough was not the issue, finding an anti wobble hitch pin with a lock that fit was a little more difficult. I was not willing, yet, to modify the tow hitch on the van. Also I will be looking at the Litkit, which adds a license frame, light and extra brake lights to the lower half. Brake lights as of now are completely visible, the license plate is not. At $149 the litkit is expensive but should be the easiest solution. The swing base is prewired for a flat four connector, so hopefully a round 7 to flat 4 cable should work. But being a Mercedes I will not be surprised if it requires extra work.
 

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I looked a little more and priced out a combination. Adds up.Probably worth it if the quality is good.

My biggest wish would be able to fit a standard 20lb propane tank in one of the lockers. Think it would fit standing up?

Looks like you have to check each component for weight capacity. I didn't see a specific for the base. So for example two lockers is 80lb on the upper and 100 on the lower. You would think the bike rack would take 180lbs based on this, but it says 100 on the lower and 80 on the upper. Shame it's not spec'd for ebikes with just the lower. I bet it would work though. Takes large tires.

Get some pics of using that table. Curious where it puts the height with your hitch. Really like the table idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bet 2 11lb tanks would fit better. I’ll check a 20lb when I get home. Meanwhile:
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Should give some indication for table height. That is the main reason I bought this. I needed a $1000 table:D.
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Thanks. Based on specs I don't think a 20lb tank will fit. Too tall.

Looks like you have the upgraded hinge on the locker. That's good. You can see on the plastic pivot where the spring used to hook. I guess that was pulling through for people. They added the washer solution.

Hopefully my rei's have one of these on the floor
I want to check out that mounting system. Looks simple on the table. Two bars that snap into a fitting on the rack. Would make it super easy to make your own bars so you could mount anything.

Much wobble in the table?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
20lb tank does not fit. The table seemed sturdy enough, but will pass final judgment when I actually cook on it. I have some ideas on using some form of jack if necessary. The mounting system is indeed simplicity itself. Maybe the number will allow ordering as a spare part.
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OK. The base price is worth it. They did us a huge favor making the mounting system dead simple for custom add ons.

Going to check it out. I could mount a counter with sink and drawers. Looks like it would fit over the locker. Could also mount propane on a platform below bikes. Simple.

Thanks for being the trailblazer!
 

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( OT: So I’m not the only one annoyed with the hitch receiver + bracket for the plug?? I can only use the shortest pin shaft, forget about lock & key and the clip thingy still scratches the frame. )

Thanks for this thread. I like the idea behind the system, even if it would not work out with barn doors.

How high is the table off the ground?

Probably could indeed make a table top with ( removable ) sink, drawers, maybe even a portable grill / stove spot.

That support “ leg “ almost looks like something for a car jack stand ... or just the car jack with some kind of a U or dowel peg to line things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’m not convinced that the barn doors would not clear if the top deck were fully open. But again if the center post was easily removed it wouldn’t be an issue at all. The table measures about 45” from the ground.
 

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45 is tall. Would not work for most people for cooking.
I have heard complaints about 36" tall cabinets + 1-2" of countertop being too high.

One could probably pivot out the EXO, open the right barn door to open the left barn door and then leave the right bard door close. To my eye, based on the photos and your photo, copied below, the EXO pivot point is (understandably) inside of the vehicle width and at the right tail light alsmost ...

That's where the right barn door swings to 90 degrees and it locks in line with the outside half of the tail light.

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So barn door people might prefer it on a left swing unit; but then when out and about, and parking along a road, the whole kit would face into the street.

Anyhow.

Cool kit!
 

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Yakima recently added a bunch of EXO videos to Youtube. It helps to see each of the options being installed. The other interesting bit is that the top shelf arms can be extended father away from the mount by moving the female cleat mount.

 

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OK. The base price is worth it. They did us a huge favor making the mounting system dead simple for custom add ons.

Going to check it out. I could mount a counter with sink and drawers. Looks like it would fit over the locker. Could also mount propane on a platform below bikes. Simple.

Thanks for being the trailblazer!
Before mounting a propane tank on the back of your van you may want to review NFPA 1192 Standards on Recreational Vehicles. Section 5.2.3.4 states that “containers shall not be mounted on the exterior of the rear wall or the rear bumper of the vehicle.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It worked fine, but I am going to need to modify the way I pack my van. The issue is in order to allow the lift gate of the van to open the Top Shelf needs to be above the Gear Locker which prevents the Gear Locker from being able to be opened. To get stuff out of the Gear Locker, the top shelf needs to be moved, which prevents the rear hatch from closing. Also for me the hole the top shelf has needs to be taped off to prevent things from falling into it, and requiring the removal of the top shelf mast to retrieve. I think it would be possible or even better for some to build a table platform and somehow (velcro?) attach it to the Gear Locker top. The back deck for me will be most useful when traveling long distances. Food in the front of the van, all cooking supplies in the Gear Locker. Swing out swing base, swivel top deck, get cooking supplies, cook food, all at the side of the road if necessary. No need to open the vans rear to get cooking supplies, which is the way I had done previously. Did not try the extra support. Also the whole thing did not seem to affect gas mileage at all. My primitive brain thinks it may have gotten better, Kamm tail?
 

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Yea, weird there isn't a cap for that hole. Easy enough to cover it maybe. They probably thought it would be a rust problem if they covered it? Flower vase maybe?

I thought the same thing about the table and the locker, but felt maybe swinging it 180 might not be that bad in practice. Swing the base out and swing the top shelf. Is it just too much to make it a pain?

I think i'd like to see them make the top deck arms collapse like the swing base arms. I just imagine catching one of those arms in the gut when its dark if I don't have anything mounted.

I have an amazing stainless steel folding table from a restaurant supply company. The folding legs could come off it by unbolting them and there is a perfect place to mount the cleats for this setup. Made me also think that a folding table that can also work mounted in the cleats would be ideal. You can pop it off and put it in camp or leave it on the van. Might be possible with an off the shelf folding table that has telescoping legs. Maybe a 60" table would fit?

Maybe an undermount table on some full extension sliders so that you can mount the locker on the top deck with a table under the top deck arms. Could put it lower than the 45 inches also. You could take the cleats off the locker, mount the locker to a frame and then mount the cleats back on the frame.

Can the lockers be mounted in the cleats in either direction? Meaning can the hinge face you instead of the van? Curious if you can have the locker mounted in the top shelf and when its swung out and 90 can you stand behind the van and open the locker?
 

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It worked fine, but I am going to need to modify the way I pack my van. The issue is in order to allow the lift gate of the van to open the Top Shelf needs to be above the Gear Locker which prevents the Gear Locker from being able to be opened. To get stuff out of the Gear Locker, the top shelf needs to be moved, which prevents the rear hatch from closing. Also for me the hole the top shelf has needs to be taped off to prevent things from falling into it, and requiring the removal of the top shelf mast to retrieve. I think it would be possible or even better for some to build a table platform and somehow (velcro?) attach it to the Gear Locker top. The back deck for me will be most useful when traveling long distances. Food in the front of the van, all cooking supplies in the Gear Locker. Swing out swing base, swivel top deck, get cooking supplies, cook food, all at the side of the road if necessary. No need to open the vans rear to get cooking supplies, which is the way I had done previously. Did not try the extra support. Also the whole thing did not seem to affect gas mileage at all. My primitive brain thinks it may have gotten better, Kamm tail?
That is a very nice looking setup. I’m thinking about getting this with a bike rack instead of the Top Shelf table, but gotta start saving my pennies. Maybe I can sneak a 5lb propane container in the box😏
 
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