home made roof racks?

Discussion in 'Expedition Builds' started by hudyhue, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. hudyhue


    Central valley (Cali)
    ok starting to build my roof rack on my 40....using some gutter mounts....was wondering what you guys have done or any things you would nt do if you were going to do it again...:cheers:
  2. Exiled


    Round Rock, TX
    The biggest think about a home-made rack project is to keep it light and fight the urge to overbuild it. The majority of home-made racks tend to be way too strong and you run the risk of ripping out the gutter rail instead of have the rack bend/give if you ever smack the rack. Fixing a gutter rail is a very expensive proposition, much more so than fixing a rack or even making a new one.

    You want it to mount as close to the roof as possible, but making sure that when fully-loaded it doesn't make contact.

    3 mounts per side is usually enough but you can probably do 4 if you're going with a very long rack. Anything more than that is superfluous and again, could keep the rack from flexing when you need it to.

    Aluminum is the preferred material but it's costly (materials and welding).

    Dimension-wise, I would recommend keeping the width to between the rain gutters.
    jamier2007 and kavandje like this.
  3. Grease Cruiser

    Grease Cruiser

    Also, try and distribute the weight of the rack/load evenly across the rain gutter. I had a Con-Fer rack on one of my 40's once and it busted the fiberglass all along the rain gutter. The rack was mounted with the Quick-N-Easy style clamps and everywhere the clamps came into contact with the rain gutter, the fiberglass busted and the roof leaked.

    I have seen Aussie roof racks that had steel all along the rain gutter with 3 clamps per side on a 40. It looked like a much better design and distributed the weight all along the rain gutter and not just in a few spots. HTH's.
  4. Mickldo


    Maryborough, QLD, Aust.
    The one on my Cruiser is a bought one (made by EDS in Brisbane) but I have made them before to a similar style. It is made from 25mm x 3mm square aluminium box section with 3mm folded aluminium mounts and 25mm x 6mm aluminium flat bar gutter strips on edge. The floor in mine is just a piece a thin plywood but the ones I have made have used aluminium security mesh.


    I can take some close up pics of the mounts etc if you want to build some thing this style
  5. stevezero

    stevezero SILVER Star

    I made mine in a hurry before a beach camping trip. I used some commercial cabling ladder rack (hubbell or chatsworth i believe is the manufacturer). I had a bunch of 12 inch wide ladder rack, and cut the ends to length. I bolted those sections together with stainless hardware, and fastened them to the yakima bars with 10 stainless ubolts. It doesnt have high sides, but it supported about 250lbs of camping gear, and me up on the roof(200lbs).

    The coolest thing about my rack is its totally modular. It can be 12 inches wide, up to 5 ft. It is 72 inches from front to back. I built an awning that folds out using other pieces of it (sorry i didnt get pics of that). And in a worst case stuck situation on the sand, I could break it down and use it as sand ladders.

    The best part about it is I have about $12.00 in it (the cost of all the stainless ubolts).

    I'll try to post up some pics. I have it off the truck now. It weighs about 45-50lbs.


    P1010015a.JPG P1010016a.JPG
  6. stevezero

    stevezero SILVER Star

    One more pic. I had to mess with the size. I'll try to get some pics of it off the truck in the next couple days.
  7. Tofudebeest


    I've always admired the roof rack on the Nissan Frontier (crewcab). Anyone done one like that (using tubes and flanges)? Is this a silly idea?
    roof rack.JPG
  8. redrocket


  9. woytovich

    woytovich GOLD Star

    Metro NY
    I am planning on this but have not yet started: someone had suggested using a folding ATV ramp in aluminum as a starting point for a roof rack. They can be had for under $100, are light, hold 1000+ lbs and are readily available.

    for example: http://www.discountramps.com/bifold-atv-ramp.htm

    The idea was to add cross pieces in aluminum (square/rectangular tube or C channel) to span across and attach to the mounts (4 mounts/side = 4 cross pieces). Bolt those to the unfolded ramp and you could be pretty close to done. Everthing else is optional.Roof rack gutter mounts are also available in a number of configurations.

    I was going to investigate using bicycle "skewers" (those things that hold the wheels and seats in place on modern bikes) to clamp the mounts to the gutters so that they could be easily removed. I wheel in the NE woods and we have to contend with tight trails with lots of trees all around so it would be nicer to not have to think about the rack snagging up. Drive to the campsite with the rack, unload and pop off the rack...

    As a side benefit when removed the rack can be disassembled, folded and stored compactly.

    Maybe this winter... yeah, right.
  10. aktundra


    I went the ATV ramp route and I am pretty happy with the look, but I have not really put it to a big test. ( few pounds of stuff to long to fit inside).

    I made my own rain gutter clamps as well. One thing I did that I am not to sure home fabricators consider. Try and have your rain gutter clamps extend under the roof rack far enough so there is enough room for two bolts to attach the roof rack to the rain gutter clamp. This spreads the stress, caused by the weight load otherwise the stress is focused on a single pivot point (a single bolt). If you look at the rain gutter/cross bar connection of a Yakima or Thule, you will see that most cross bars slide into some kind of tube at least an inch long. As the stress from the weight is transfered from the cross bar to the rain gutter, just a inch or two of attachment is exponentially stronger than a single pivot point.
  11. woytovich

    woytovich GOLD Star

    Metro NY

    Do you have pictures? I thought I saw some somewhere... here?

  12. aktundra


    Here is the basis for what I built

    http://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?t=59928&highlight=J-moose roof rack


    I did a few things different. Off the top of my head:

    Outside AL wrap: This write-up uses 2"x 1/8 to wrap the sides to match the height of the ATV ramp. I used 3" so I have a 1" "lip" to keep stuff from sliding off the rack since I do not have side rails. If I want to throw a canoe on top, I will lay some 2 x 4's on the rack to give me a "spacer" over the lip.

    Rear deck: Based on the photos, it looks like the rear is extended a few inches in largely a cosmetic manner simply to accommodate the radius for the rear side wrap. I used the inside of a duct tape roll for my radiuses, and I just traced it on the back corners of the ATV rack, and cut/ground a radius on the corners of the ATV rack. And attached the side wrap AL directly to the back & side of the ATV rack. I was able to use some ratchet straps to "suck" the side wrap tight around the back & side of the ATV ramp. (I had previously bent the side wrap AL strips around the end of a 48" wide piece of ply wood.)

    Front "light bar": I bought 1/8 AL "L" angle and bent a front hoop rather than the rivet approach. this hoop passes under the ATV ramp for the first two rungs of the ATV ramp and is attached in multiple points. This front hoop and the side AL wraps are bolted (rather than riveted) to the roof rack. Originally I considered the front hoop more-or-less a "crumple zone" that could be replaced relatively cheaply the first time the kids drive into a parking garage !!

    Hinges: I put the two ATV ramps side-by-side with the hinges on the outside. I left the hinges on the ATV ramp to use as tie down points. This means you have to put a notch in the side wrap AL but in retro-spec I am not sure they will really be that functional.

    Welding The "beauty" of the J-Moose rack is that it can be built by the average stiff, with basic tools. However I have a friend that can weld AL. So I "notched" come 1/4 AL "L" angle for each of the cross bars. The sides of the ATV rails fit into the notches and are welded. This adds some strength as well as keeps the bolted ATV ramps from splaying at the bottom under weight.

    Front air dam: In retro-spec I am not sure this was worth the Money. I used a piece of card board and had a local fab shop bend me a front wing out of 1/8 AL that wraps around the side a few inches. To the good: it allows me to "hide" a couple of legs that come down to the roof in the event somebody inadvertently puts some weight on the front hoop/light bar, it virtually eliminates wind noise, from the side it visually provides a little "balance" since the rain gutter mounts stop so far back from the front of the roof rack, the hidden legs provide support when I run wires from the corner of the roof rack to the corner of the ARB bumper to guide brush up and over the rack. To the bad, the bent AL for the wing cost me $120 !!!!!!

    I have been on the LCML for years but just started "hanging out" on MUD about a year ago when I bought my 80. I have been largely a consumer and as a result I have not really figured out how to post pic's. But if you are interested I can try & post 'em. (as you can tell from this post I have tried to compensate for a lack of pic by typing a thousand words)
  13. Altan


    Ouray Colorado
    I just finished mine this weekend. I used 1" square aluminum tube and 3/4 round for the vertical parts of the rail. I left room to keep my cargo box mounted because I can through in small stuff and its weather proof. Not shown is the two low profile drive lights in the rear.
  14. D'Animal

    D'Animal Rescuer of Beagle and Landcruisers Moderator

    Central California
    Swing by my house and check out the Yakama, Thule and Custom Built Racks using Con-Fer system that are on my rigs.

    Avoid Thule rack system.
  15. Sherpa 60

    Sherpa 60

    Lafayette, CA
    A simple model would be to look at contractor racks for vans. Typically have risers which are about 3" wide made of 3/16" plate welded to a light gauge 3/4" mild steel square tube rack. A small 3/16" brace piece is also welded to the rack frame. An "L" shaped piece of 3/16" material bolts it to the gutter. Risers are about 3ft on center. The 3/4" tube rack portion is similar to the Kaymar rack (as is the rest of the construction).

    Built a 3/4 rack for my 80 using this solution. Added a continuous 1" X 3/16" flat bar shaped to the gutter profile and welded to the risers (like Kaymar, again), to help distribute loads. Worked well, but the 90 degree corners at the leading edge generated some whistling.

    Agree that there is a tendancy to overdesign and lighter is better. Aluminum as a material, however, is expensive and then there is that TIG welder...$$$.
  16. powdahbonz


    Kennedrunksnort Maine
    I really like this set-up. I have my Yak rack w/a spacebooster as well and would like to do this to have my spare and other essentials on top. What was your cost of materials and what was involved for fabbing and welding? Where did you run the wiring harnesses for the lights?
  17. Diesel Weasel

    Diesel Weasel

    Montague PE
    I went the ATV-ramp route and it turned out very nice. I was worried about flex in the center of the rack so instead of just attaching legs to the rack I ran yakima crossbars underneath.
  18. green75-40


    Mason City, NE
    No gutter mount

    If I had to do it over I'd mount to the body so I could still use it when I have the top off (I also load to the gills when I'm using the rack so my gutter is kinda getting beat up, so going to the body would eliminate this little problem), and probably use AL instead of FE to reduce weight up high and try to keep the CG down a little, any little bit helps. A ladder would be damn nice too so that the woman could load with out me having to be involved, makes for a quicker Friday afternoon get away if it's ready when I get home. Use the rolled expanded metal in your floor, you loose a little grip but it doesn't chew-up your coolers and plastic stuff as bad.
  19. LC_Hamma

    LC_Hamma The Anti-Leafer SILVER Star

    Dallas, Georgia
    I made mine from 1 1/2" & 1 1/4" tube & mounted it thru the roof. I'll add some false bases made from sheet metal & large rubber grommets to seal the roof later on in the build ;p
    DSC00389.JPG DSC00394.JPG DSC00405.JPG
  20. made4surf


    Los Angeles
    I'd have to say that your rack definetly has the beef, and your 55 is going to look the coolest.:cheers:

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