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Ideal Roof Rack...Ideas

Discussion in 'Camping & Outdoor Gear' started by calphi27, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. calphi27

    calphi27

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    So I just picked up one of those car top tents that were on sale, and now I need to think about a roof rack. I have Yakima bars to hold me over for a while, but I am starting to design one. I like the Hannibal rack style(open front w/ detachable sides and full gutter length mounting bar supported by 4 clamps on each side) and am going to copy it mostly. I wanted to ask everyone what the thought or would want.

    Here are some things I have been thinking about...

    Steel vs. aluminum
    Square vs. round tubing
    Mesh floor vs. channeled/flat metal

    This will be an expedition full length rack. Any ideas/ comments will be appreciated.
     
  2. calphi27

    calphi27

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    Here is what I was thinking. The back would fold down to allow tent or lumber. I did not incorporate the gutter clamping mechanisms or the floor.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2007
  3. 2mbb

    2mbb SILVER Star

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    Here's a link to one I made. The welds are real ugly, but it hasn't broken yet.
    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/2mbb@sbcglobal.net/album?.dir=e1ec

    My design parameters were:

    full lenght rack
    low height (to fit truck in my garage)
    floor that I can stand on and sleep on (I have a backpacking tent that fits up there)
    removable ends to allow carrying 4 x 8 sheet stock & other large items (e.g. canoe)
    light enough for one person (me) to remove and replace.
    hold four bicycles

    What I ended up with was the rack made from 3/4" aluminum square stock with 1/8" aluminum diamond plate floor. The floor is attached to tabs that are welded to the rack frame. The fasteners screw into aluminum rivet nuts. I also use rivet nuts to attach things to the flooring, such as eye hooks, bike fork holders, etc. To remove the rack by myself, I first remove the floor, then the rack.

    I also built a ladder from 1" square stock that can be used as a straight ladder or a step ladder, and perhaps in a pinch as a sand ladder.

    Functionally, it works fine. However the aluminum is not as stiff as I would like. I had a 235 pound guy stand on top of it (he climbed up before I knew what was happening). Standing still was fine. When he started to bounce up and down, the rack would deflect to touch the top of the truck. Some of that is because my rack is really close to my roofline to begin with, to keep the height down. But I think aluminum deflects more than the same size piece of steel.

    Esthetically, the rack could look better. The welds are really bad. I also don't like the square stock. I think I would prefer round. So I'm going to do another one this winter. I'll use round stock on both the end caps and for the upper piece on the sides and for all the verticals.

    I've seen some other cool designs on MUD, so do a search.

    edit: My rack is really noisy. I blame it on the solid floor. I think the air gets caught between the roof and the rack floor. I made an air deflector out of plastic that helps alot.

    edit2: yahoo is messing with their photo site so the link isn't working right now. Here's a few pics
    roof rack 03 small.JPG roof rack 08 small.JPG roof rack 09 small.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2006
  4. calphi27

    calphi27

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    2mbb- nice truck, that is my favorite color cruiser, and thanks for the input.

    My rack will be about 2" above the roof.(hopefully) Ideally I would use 1x2" rectangular tube for major support in the flooring with one inch tubing to assist. I hope that is strong enough.

    I am also going to round the edges on the floor and rear rack so it looks more professional. Will try and post a new pic.

    Thanks again for the input.
     
  5. 2mbb

    2mbb SILVER Star

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  6. groberts

    groberts

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    Try filling completely the tube with sand. This way, the sand keeps the tube from "thinning" at the curves. I've never done this, but saw many handymen doing it, and works nice...
     
  7. calphi27

    calphi27

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    Harbor freight sells a hydraulic bender for $100 that handles up to 2" tube (round and square) I am going to take a look at it next week. I just don't have a floor to bolt it to. I just need to find a cheap place in Northern Colorado to buy some metal.
     
  8. FL cruiser

    FL cruiser

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  9. zander

    zander

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  10. Sno bored

    Sno bored

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    Zander, I just checked out your rack, and it kicks ass. Are there more postings on what you used, where you got it, ect ?
     
  11. zander

    zander

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    There isnt. I fabbed it out of aluminum myself, so there were very few store-bought parts except the stainless quick-pull pins and bolts.

    The hardest part was matching all the 3d curved gutter lines to end up with a flat platform level with the highest point on the roof. Thise required shaping the gutter uprights a few times and clamping a bar across them to get them all flat, level, and to the correct hieght. Once I had that I tacked it all together in situ, (protecting the paint with a kevlar welding blanket), then pulled it all off and finish welded it. I had to tweak the main rails afterward back to straight as they moved a bit when welded.

    Also what you cant see in the pics is that the rack is held down further by a set of pads I made that match the bolt pattern of the factory roof rack.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  12. Rockrawler

    Rockrawler

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    we are all going to need more detailed shots on this setup... Zander you need to start making these & selling them or at least selling plans
     
  13. zander

    zander

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    Interesting idea... Happy to send you a CAD file.

    This design is dependant on the factory roof rack threaded inserts for part of its structure which limits it. (although a gutter only design could be done).

    My bet is that these would have to be fitted to each vehicle custom. I doubt these vehicles hold all the relationships between the holes and all the 3d curved surfaces where the roof and gutter meet for this to work in any production way, but I am not sure.

    I would be happy to release plans. Although it requires a pretty heavy duty MIG welder, skill in using it, and a lot of custom fitment that I doubt most people are up for. But I could be wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2006
  14. SINCITY100

    SINCITY100

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    Damn I wish I knew how to weld...or for that matter, even build a popsicle stick house to scale...

    Oh yeah...I am too lazy to even learn :eek:

    I must say, however...that I love my African Outback rack. It is VERY well made and more than tough enough to handle my abuse...If I could build one myself, it (AO rack) would be the one I would "copy" for my rig.

    There are so many different ways to configure the AO rack for various uses, I can easily change its function from one trip to the next... its truly hard to beat !

    BTW.. Great pics and ideas guys..and yes, I am jealous of your skills :frown:
     
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