Roof Rack and Wind Deflector... Fixing the problems... (1 Viewer)

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Mar 23, 2014
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Hi guys,

I know that it is popular on this forum to advise removal of the port-installed roof rack and wind deflector, removal of nutserts (or rivnuts) and welding/puttying/painting... I took the roof rack and deflector off, and thought about what the actual problems with the design are, and whether it could be alleviated with some additional parts.

In other words, I like the utility of the roof rack and wind deflector, it's just that they weren't well designed to avoid water/moisture and rust problems.

As such, I would like to keep both of them if I can, and simply eliminate the moisture seepage problems. I think I have a reasonable solution.

Problem #1 - the nutsert mounting points: The issue seems to be that the design of the roof rack and wind deflector is such that water can enter from either the top where the bolt inserts into the rack/deflector mount, and from the side where there is a poor seal between the mount and the roof.

Problem #2 - the side rail mounting points: Furthermore, the 'side rails' of the roof rack have a poor plastic seating surface on the roof, causing both a poor seal as well as a vibration/sharp edge to wear into the roof paint. This will require more thought to re-engineer.

For problem #1, if the rust is removed and/or treated and the mounts are retrofitted with washers/hardware to hermetically seal the nutsert and surrounding area from moisture and air infiltration, then we should be able to keep the hardware. This is likely true for problem #2, but it's a bigger problem because of the footprint of the mounting points.

With this is mind, I have reinstalled a few things.

So, this is what I have done.

1) Removed roof rack and wind deflector.
2) Cleaned off any rust and crud around the nutserts and cleaned the roof.
3) Using an O-Ring, a faucet washer and a stainless 5mm bolt (see photos), I have sandwiched the wind deflector mount in such a way that there is a neoprene seal around the nutsert, the wind deflector mounting foot, and the top of the mount, where the bolt inserts and goes through.
4) By putting neoprene seals around each of the areas that should be hermetically sealed, and using stainless hardware, I believe that the problem with corrosion around the wind defector mounting foot should be eliminated while preserving the functionality of the wind deflector (I have had vehicles that do not have a wind deflector, and in the Pacific NW, where there is a LOT of rain and sloppy weather, having a deflector makes a LOT of sense).

I will continue to think about how to fix the roof rack, but I am pretty sure my solution is a good one for the Wind Deflector.

Best regards,

Muddy1

Here's what I'm using... Stainless 5mm hex cap head bolts, neoprene o rings, and neoprene faucet washers.
IMG_3220.jpg

If all I want to do is to seal up the holes, then I would put the items on in the order shown. The o ring will seal the sides of the nutsert, and the faucet washer and stainless bolt will seal the top of the assembly, making the whole assembly water and vapor tight.
IMG_3221.jpg

This is the mounting foot for the wind deflector.

This was my first attempt at a sealed mounting solution. I have since inverted the faucet washer and place it on TOP of the mounting foot, thus the cone-shaped part of the neoprene washer goes into the recessed surface of the mounting foot. This reduces the mounting height while still maintaining the full seal I'm looking for.
In other words, starting from the nutsert... the nutsert is surrounded by the o ring. The wind deflector mounting foot is sitting on top of the o ring. The inverted faucet washer goes on top of the mounting foot, and the stainless bolt goes through the faucet washer and holds it all together. With this arrangement, every solid surface is sealed by a neoprene material, thus sealing it all nicely. The mounting foot ends up sitting on top of three o rings, and the mounting foot never actually touches the paint at all.
IMG_3222.jpg

I have sealed the nutsert holes for now, while I think of what to do next. I think that having threaded nutserts may come in handy for things like mounting lights or train horns, or something like that. Or, I might put the roof rack back on if I figure out how to fix the problems with the design.
IMG_3223.jpg
 

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