Speski OffRoad - Expo roof rack build

Discussion in 'Expedition Builds' started by Corbet, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    I've wanted a full length rack for some time. The aftermarket has many options, but all the ones I like are well over a grand plus accessories. So like many I'm going to home build one myself. I'm not going to call this a budget build as the basic rack will likely have about $750 in materials if I have it powder coated. However I'll have a finished product that meets all my specific needs. This will be mounted on my FZJ80.

    My criterial:
    Full Length
    Flat (no sides or "basket")
    Max strength
    Reasonable overall weight
    Yakima compatible, bikes, canoe, ski box, basket
    Lights
    Awning
    RTT (future)
    Removable Floor

    The rack itself will be constructed of round 1.125" diameter .065" wall DOM tubing. 1 1/8" will allow all my existing Yakima accessories to simply clamp in place. If I need a basket on the rack I have a small Yakima one. During the winter months I'll likely leave my Thule Ski Box on for the season. I like the idea of a floor sometimes, but it would interfere with my ability to place Yakima mounts randomly on the rack. I have a couple different ideas on how to pull it off. I'll save those details for later as they become finalized.

    I'd like to thank a number of vendors who have helped make this possible by sponsoring the build:

    Cruiser Outfitters - Kurt
    Expedition Lighting Systems - Nick
    Gamiviti.com - Tim
    LabRak - Shane

    I hope you all enjoy following the build and it inspires you to work on your own projects.
     
    warezdog, VanGo and Huis Clos like this.
  2. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    So lets start with some parts. Gamiviti.com offers some very affordable complete racks as well as most anything you'd need to construct your own. I'm using a total of 8 feet, 4 per side to distribute the weight over the entire roof. Most commercial racks have 3 feet per side. To maximize strength I wanted more. Tim also offers some very nice precut mounting plates and hardware. They offer way more adjustability than anything I could ever build myself and the stainless hardware matches that of the mounting feet. Finally I'm adding a set of his new Roof Rack Receivers to mount an awing.

    P1060032.JPG P1060034.JPG P1060036.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  3. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    I sourced an 2 meter ARB awning from Kurt at Cruiser Outfitters. The roof rack receivers were designed around the ARB but will work with most other awnings.


    P1060040.JPG P1060041.JPG
     
  4. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    Lighting. I went to Nick at Expedition Lighting Systems for some high powered LED lights. A 42" light bar and 4 smaller 2x2 style lights will provide froward and reverse lighting. 2 of them will be mounted up front at an angle and 2 in the rear for backing up. All the forward mounted lights are spot pattern. The rear are floods. My floods are currently mounted on my rear bumper. They work great there until I attach the camper. On top I should get more light on and beyond the camper rather than just lighting it up as they currently do.

    In camp less is more. So I've sourced some camp lights from Shane at LabRak. Two each side. I like how they are protected by the mount from things like tree branches when installed. In camp they have enough light to see but not blind you. P1060038.JPG P1060037.JPG P1060039.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  5. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie SILVER Star

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  6. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie SILVER Star

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    those quick disconnect awning mounts are awesome, wondering if they would work on my bajarack? would you mind sharing the distance between the mounting holes on the part that bolts to the rack? that way I can figure out if they will work for me. thx!
     
  7. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    3" on the Roof Rack side.
    2.875" on the Awning or accessory side.
    P1060043.JPG
     
  8. jcardona1

    jcardona1 SILVER Star

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    I like where this is going! I'm using some Gamiviti mounts with DIYish load bars. Maybe I could copy what you do here to improve my setup.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. 1973Guppie

    1973Guppie SILVER Star

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  10. fireball

    fireball

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    Following along!
     
  11. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    Lots of measuring go on today. I've settled into a 52" x 84" overall outside dimension for the main hoop. If I run 6 internal cross bars that puts me at about 12" on center if they were evenly spaced.

    Bent up four 90º's with a little extra to trim off each end for final sizing.

    P1060047.JPG P1060046.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014

  12. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    I've got a couple internal cross bar designs rolling around in my head and on paper. The basic evenly spaced route as mentioned. A combination of cross bars both perpendicular and parallel to the vehicle and then lets say "other"

    The "other" idea comes into play with my original removable floor idea. Combine my sand ladder storage and a floor to save weight.

    4 MAXTRAX sand ladders fill the space behind the sunroof near perfect. They are about 13" wide each. First problem is that I only have 2 at this time. Next would be the cross bar spacing. It would be around 16" on center maybe? Mounting plates put me at about a 10.75" spacing. Finally is the overall height of the MAXTRAX. I did not drop a tape but 3-4" in height is probably safe guess. So they will either sit above, below, or combination of both relative to the plane the rack's tubing forms.
    P1060044.JPG

    The three other items I'm currently working around are the front LED Light Bar, Thule Box, and Yakima Canoe Mounts.

    The Thule box is not flat on the bottom. Its designed to have two cross bars for mounting. Then the box drops below the mounting plane both front and back. So if my internal cross bars are not spaced correctly my box will not sit flat on the rack. Need to make sure the drop of the box fits between cross bars.

    The LED bar and the canoe mounts both need to share space at the leading crossbar. I need space to clamp the canoe mounts while keeping the LED bar mounted below the rack.
     
  13. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    So for now I think my next step is to trim my 90's and butt weld up to form the main hoop. At that point I can cut a couple cross bars and play with the spacing and all my accessories to see if I can come up with a solution that works for all:hmm:

    To butt weld I've cut a few 1" diameter internal sleeves. The inside diameter of my rack tubing is .995" So I'm hoping by freezing the sleeves and heating the rack with a torch I "might" be able to simply slide the sleeves in. Otherwise I guess I'm going to have to sand them down a little. P1060048.JPG
     
  14. doug720

    doug720

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    I have made a few RR's and have a suggestion that has worked well on them.

    I made a front wind deflector that helps with noise and likely MPG too. It protects my HL jack somewhat also. The alum is .90 diamond and the holes allow anchoring to the rack frame.

    Easier to show picture, as we all know they are worth a 1000 words.

    Carry on.

    Doug 003 (2)resized.jpg 003 (2)resized.jpg 004 resized.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    Doug, thanks for the pics. I will not have a "basket" so a wind deflector is moot in my case. I do like your diamond plate floor though. I've considered expanded steel but I like that better.
     
  16. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    So freezing my internal sleeves did not work. I had to grind them down by hand with a flapper wheel. Then used a piece of angle iron to square up the butted tubes and did some plug welds to hold everything together as I worked out the internal cross bars. P1060049.JPG P1060051.JPG
     
  17. Corbet

    Corbet Speski OffRoad LTD. Supporting Vendor

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    Long day measuring and remeasuring to make sure everything will fit.

    It this time I'm going to set aside the removable floor idea with the Maxtrax. I can't get the cross bar spacing I need for both those and the Thule Box.

    So I wend with my combo idea. This accomplished a couple things. Mainly the Thule Box will sit flat on the rack with its two drops fitting into the larger gaps front and rear. The sunroof does not have a cross bar above it. I like to wheel with it open so having a cross bar there was going to bug me. And finally I will should able to mount a Yakima bike mount across the width of the truck in back making loading my mountain bike a breeze if I stand on the tailgate.

    Pics below showing the complete rack tacked and ready for finish welding. 2nd pic is the front sunroof opening.
    P1060052.JPG P1060053.JPG
     
    jcardona1 and beno like this.
  18. Trapper50cal

    Trapper50cal TEQ Frame of Mind Supporting Vendor

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    Looks awesome so far, Corbet!

    I like the extra "long side" braces on the corners...
     
  19. Backwoods Rambler

    Backwoods Rambler

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    Great rack plan! I have a rack that was built for me, but it's cheap so I'll have to keep watching this thread for ideas
     
  20. fireball

    fireball

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    Which Thule box are you using? I should've asked you to make 2 of these, we have very similar wants/needs! I'm not sure the sizing would be the same on my 100 series, but I'd like to be able to carry my Thule box and Yakima bike mounts easily on my roof rack when it's not loaded down for camping trips.
     

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