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building a roof rack

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by NEK5, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    is it difficult? doesnt seem too diff., anyone done it? pics? suggestions? anything, i was going to be using a half top, but i decided that i would just do something else, i think the top wouldve been cool, but it needed alot more work than i had planned, so i decided i would try and make a roof rack....i will be using it to mount a full size spare, and maybe throw a shovel up there, any suggestions?
     
  2. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Make it full size......


    [​IMG]
     
  3. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    With the 'glass top on a K5 I would think about bringing support structure down at the rear to the body and not mounting to the 'glass at all. I don't know about a K5, but the drip rails on a Sub are only sheetmetal screwed on. NOT a good mounting point.

    I built the rack for my '79 Sub nearly full length, started at the 'B' pillar & stopped at the rear. I did not put rails on it. I wanted it to be as low profile as possible when not in use. It was a perimeter frame with angle steel tagged inside as a ledge for the marine painted outdoor plywood deck surface to sit on. Divided it in half length-wise, two pieces of plywood. Each piece of plywood got a ~3" long 45* miter on all 4 corners. This left me easy access to the frame for tie down points.
    I also welded a "Bike-tite" at each of the fwd and rearwd corners. That gave me handles that were handy for climbing up on top and let me carry 4 bikes on the rack. I just used old school clip-in straps to hold their rear wheels to the rack frame.

    Still debating whether to update it and put it on the '91 or not.
     
  4. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Mine is mounted with grade 5's right through the roof/roof support. No issues at all. you may not be able to do that with the fiberglass top (and would not want to if you go topless).
     
  5. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    what if i just made it the length of the cap?
     
  6. hawkeye649

    hawkeye649 1/2 ton status

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    Don't attach to the cap. It will crack, splinter, rip, tear, and other bad stuff. When they put roof racks on trucks with caps pipes go down to the bed and attach there.
     
  7. k204dr

    k204dr 1/2 ton status

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    whats the best way to secure a rack to a suburban roof since its a two layer deal?
     
  8. firefighter184

    firefighter184 1/2 ton status

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    PM B_to_C, he'll tell you thirty different reasons to NOT put a rack on your fiberglass top. It'll never hold a fullsize spare, etc. WEAK.
     
  9. SilverMiner

    SilverMiner Registered Member

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    I don't doubt that it can happen, and that it may happen frequently, but I thought I'd share my experience with a 78 Jimmy that has had a Con-Ferr roof rack with a full size spare on it since the day it left the dealer's lot in Billings Montana back in late 77:

    [​IMG]

    The roof rack is bolted through the fiberglass top with 5/16" bolts, and the tire bracket is bolted through with 1/4". Total, there are 13 holes through the roof! And believe it or not, I've never had any problem with leakage! Although there have been some mornings where I've wondered if all of the condensation in the back was a result of all the hardware.

    [​IMG]


    After 28 years and approx. 300,000 miles (No, really - I've got the receipts!) the top is still in decent condition. No cracks, splinters, or tears that I can find. The paint is looking pretty rugged from the various items that have been carried up there, but no obvious damage to the fiberglass. If anything, the tire carrier has been my greatest source of worry. There have been numerous times when a rear passenger has been concerned the tire would wind up in their lap while traveling down some bad roads - there is a LOT of flex visible.

    So I agree - it doesn't seem like it would work, but for whatever reason I've gotten away with it for nearly three decades... Here is a current photo taken right after I replaced the springs (no rack, because then it won't fit in the garage)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2006
  10. 88Silverado

    88Silverado 1/2 ton status

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    A big factor in keeping the roof from flexing and cracking is distributing the load over large areas. If you were to use few or very small mounting points then the concentrated load will cause flexing and cracking. You you use large plates or large fender washers in the mounting points the load will be over a larger area reducing the flex. Spread the load out.
     
  11. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    B to C, how did he mount his? with little mounting spaces?]

    so basically if i had several mounting spots, and used fender washers, i would be fine? also there is a seperate mount for the tire?
     
  12. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    can anyone else prove this?

    couldnt i just use the ratchet straps to hold the tire to the rack?
     
  13. UseYourBlinker

    UseYourBlinker 1 ton status

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  14. SilverMiner

    SilverMiner Registered Member

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    I think that has helped my roof - the tire is attached to the carrier, but the weight actually is distributed over the entire circumference of the tire. I just ran out to the parking lot and shot a quick pic - you can see the faint imprint the tire has left on my roof.

    [​IMG]

    You can see how scratched it has become on the top, but inside it's fine. No cracking, spits, etc.

    Once I get home I'll take a pic of the tire carrier itself.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. B_to_C

    B_to_C 1/2 ton status Author

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    I did a lot of research on how to mount a roof rack on our fiberglass tops...I decided to use 8 bolts that went all the way through the roof, with fender washers and gasket material/sylicone on both sides. I spread the load to the very edges of the rack and included 8 bolts to try and spread things out. It worked
    geat for a little while....and looked great too....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then it all started to go wrong....the squeeks, the cracks, the horrible sounds of fiberglass cracking as you go over bumps....

    I eventually had to trash my entire top, and the craxks got so bad i was afraid the top was going to implode even with no weight on it. (I took everything off the rack once the top really started cracking, but once the cracks start, they dont' just stop).

    I would say don't do it, it may look cool, but I found it was not as practical as I convinced myself it would be, and even if you "do it right" you're still taking a gamble. If you are somehow dead set that you need to keep things above your roof, connect the rack down to the bedsides with legs.
     
  16. broncoman6524

    broncoman6524 1/2 ton status

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    one thing you could do for the front mounting points atleast would be to pull the top off and put a piece of flat iron inbetweent the top and cab (aligned with a mounting bolt hole) i would assume they would be stong enough to take the pressure.
     
  17. hawkeye649

    hawkeye649 1/2 ton status

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    My father made a roof rack for his S10, which had a top made out of considerably thinner fiber glass. However he mounted it with 4 bolt points, in each corner. HOWEVER - he distributed the load over the entire front and rear! He split a 2x6 down the middle, and using a compass scribed the contour of the inside and outside of each end and followed that, so it followed it exactly. Then he used long dry wall screws to sandwich the top together.

    It still cracked at the end of each plank after a few years, so we put some braces that went from the end of the boards straight down to each bed rail. It continued to get worse, with bad leaks.

    But our hard tops are quite robust, they can even stop rolling sunfires... :doah: :haha: I've been thinking of posting up on that thread that's asking for close-up pics of the mounting surface... bumper neatly pushed my window straight inside the cap. :haha:

    Hmm.... Con-Ferr.... I just modified my Can-Back to mount one of those, all I need to do now is punch the holes in the top. BigBlaze, if you want a nifty roof rack and to go convertible, buy mine. Then I can justify going full vert with my truck. :deal:
     
  18. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    hmmmm, top and rack?
     
  19. 88Silverado

    88Silverado 1/2 ton status

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  20. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    I think that is the one that used to be uglychevyZZ4's
     

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