Installing Sprinter Van RTS523 Rhino-Rack Roof Rails

with 7 Comments

In order to mount things like solar or a roof rack, your Sprinter van must have roof rails. Some vans come with them from the factory, but many do not. Ours did not have any so I shopped around for the best option. Factory rails are upwards of $300-400. VanTech makes a nice set for about $250. After some research, I received some great input from a guy on the Sprinter Buildout FB group who happens to work for a large Sprinter outfitter company. He suggested Rhino-Rack. They make a good, inexpensive set of rails that are black too! Many people are concerned these rails to don’t fit a high roof because the description says standard roof only. This is because they never had a tall roof model to test them on. The roofs are the same and I can confirm they do fit.


June 2020 update: It seems these Rhino-Rack RTS523 are either unavailable or no longer being made. 


Rhino-Rack RTS523 Sprinter Van Roof Tracks for 144″ Sprinters

The kit includes two, 113 1/4″ extruded aluminum tracks, black plastic end caps, and all the mounting hardware. They run just about the full length of the van roof and are pre-drilled in the factory hole locations plus two holes at the rear for rivets.



The installation was super easy. If your van doesn’t have roof rails, it will have plastic plugs in the roof where the rails would mount. You locate these plugs, drill a hole in them to make them easier to remove, and then pry them out with a screwdriver. If you have a headliner, you’ll need to pull it down.


After setting the rails in place as a template, drill two holes for the rivets at the rears of the tracks. I primed the holes with some Rustoleum paint and sealed them using Sikaflex 221.


Next up is to seal the remaining mounting holes with Sikaflex. The rails have a self-adhesive rubber seal on the bottom, but the holes need to be sealed and watertight. Then the T-bolts, washers and nylon lock nuts were installed. I carefully did this myself, but it was a pain. Have someone hold the T-bolts down on the track so they don’t spin when you tighten the nuts.


For mounting hardware, I trimmed down the heads of some elevator bolts and used washers to mount up my solar and plan to do the same for our roof rack.


These rails are great. At only about $160, they are the best value I could find to mount things to the roof of our 144 Sprinter van. We purchased ours from E-trailer, but for some reason, they have soared to $300. Amazon still had them for $162, but has since been unavailable. For those looking for reasonably priced roof rails, the best option I could still find is the Vantech kit.


Parts List



7 Responses

  1. Vinny

    Hello Pete.
    Thanks for the all your insight and craftsmanship. I recently got a 2016 170 high roof.

    Question on the rhino rack set-RTs523.
    I’ve noticed that all vendors state they will not fit this model. I noticed you mentioned that it does fit.

    I just wanted to make sure the link you had online went to the right model.

    Can you confirm what rhino rack system model number you purchased?

  2. Pete

    Hi there Vinny. I explained it in the first paragraph on the post as to why the vendors list them to not fit the high roof models. The kit I purchased and installed is the Rhino-Rack RTS523 kit. It fits the 144″ high or low roof model. If you have a 170″ wheelbase, these will likely be too short.

    This is the direct link to the kit on Amazon, (The pic on the listing is generic)
    As of today, they are unavailable. I bought mine through E Trailer but they no longer carry them.

    I called Rhino-Rack directly when I was unsure and they were able to confirm for me. That would be your best bet for the 170″ model.

    I hope this helps. Let me know.

  3. Vinny

    Right on Pete,
    Thanks for clarification and enjoy the ride.

  4. N. Gardner

    Hey Pete,
    We want to install Aluminess surf poles on our sprinter 144 high roof. We have these Rhino Rack roof rails and the track stud from Aluminess doesn’t fit in the rail. Rail is too small. Any ideas here. Have you tried installing 3rd party products on your rails? We also had trouble with installing our Fiamma awning.

  5. Pete

    Hi there. No, I had no issue with ours, but I made my own track studs from elevator bolts. I know others who have used these rails and they haven’t mentioned any issues. You might have to try some different hardware or modify the Aluminess fittings if they’re too big. Sorry to hear that.

  6. Tom


    I just took delivery today on a set of RTS523 shipped directly from Rhino Rack. Not discontinued. I purchased through Ultimate Truck. Your guide will be helpful, thank you for publishing!

  7. Pete

    That’s great news, Tom. Thanks for the info!

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