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ERMB's D-I-Y Rack System Build

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by ERMB, May 23, 2016.

  1. May 23, 2016 at 5:53 AM
    #1
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    D-I-Y Roof Rack

    20160330_152856.jpg






    So I've had lots of interest in the rack I built for my cap these last few weeks as well as some requests for parts and directions to how I did it, well here it is.



    This all started for me because I couldn't stand the way the THULE bars I had sat so high off the cap. I really like the design of the Prinsu and Frontrunner and how they use a track system for modular use of their racks. I spent months looking at various materials I could use to build what I had in mind because I knew what ever it was it was going to be built by me. Mainly because I can't afford either of the two rack systems I mentioned or any others like it for that matter, ie, Warrior, Baja, etc. So this was my economical attempt at making one for myself. I looked at everything I could scouring local hardware stores as well as Lowes and Home Depot, and to be honest my parts list came from all three.

    Parts:

    4 - 10ft lengths of Unistrut Channel 1-5/8 " X 3/4" Galvanized - $16.75ea = 67.00

    4 - 1/2in(refers to the hole size) flat strait brackets Galvinized - $2.71ea = 10.84

    4 - 1/2in flat corner bracket Galvinized - $2.71ea = 10.84

    4 - Bags of 1/4in Universal Cone Nut - $3.00ea = 12.00

    1 - 2ft length 1-5/8 X 1-5/8 INCH (this was a size specifically sold at my local HD) $6.00ea = 6.00

    26 - 1/4" - 20 x 1.5" truss head stainless steel bolts. (5 packages of 6) $5.64 = 28.20
    26
    - 1/4" x 3/4' washers (Zink coated steel) $1.88 total = 1.88
    26
    - 1/4" Nylon Lock Nuts (stainless steel) (7 Packages of 4) $1.95 = 13.65
    2
    - Aluminum 2.5in x 6ft long x 1/8in sheet. $12.00ea (side panels for decoration, optional) = 24.00

    Total cost - $174.41 or $150.41 minus the side panels


    Paint I already had, so no cost for these items
    2 cans of Primer
    2 cans of Rustoleum Bedliner
    2 cans of Gloss black


    Images of parts below for reference
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    • The holes in this product for joining the pieces together are 1/2in in size and in my area this was the only size the offered. I did end up using 1/4in hardware, but used nice heavy guage washers. I guess other brackets could be used but these I know are beefy and made for this unistrut system.
    • All the component hardware is 1/4in Steel GoldGalv, a galvinized then Zink dipped material
    • I used all stainless steel and Zink coated hardware so that it would stand up to the New England elements
    Assembly:



    My first step was cutting down the (4) 10ft length of the 1-5/8 " X 3/4" Unistrut Channel down.
      • 2 cut to 52in -These became the side rails
      • 4 cut to 47in -These became the crossmembers
      • I then layed them out on a table to see what it would look like and to check my measurements again.

    Second I cut my risers or(foot) out of the square Unistrut Channel 1-5/8 " X 1-5/8. I ended up cutting (4) 8in wide segments out of the 24in piece I bought at HD.





    Next I used the 1/2in flat corner bracket and bolted together all four corners. I used a carpenters square to make sure all my corners were a perfect 90* angle.
      • Some of my cuts were not perfect so lining them up with the square helped to maintain the correct shape.
      • people with better access to tools may opt for a different cut like a Miter on the corners or even welding which would cut down your materials cost by a good $30-40.
      • pic shows the bolt system they use which is pretty cool because of how modulator they are, basically you can put them where ever you want and slide them into place to your desired location.





    Next was adding in the cross members. I used 1/2in flat strait brackets so that they would all sit flush at the same level.
      • At this point I wanted to utilize some extruded aluminum track I had laying around as scrap. I used these as additional cross members on the center section of my rack.
      • I also added on the Decorative side panels using Sickspeed red fenderwashers I found on ebay for 5 bucks.
      • I used the aluminum because I already had half of what I needed. There's many different materials that could be used for this. When I do the forward Cab Rack I will probably use Plexiglass sheet I've got that I used to cover the front and back crossbar.


    Once everything was bolted together I painted the same way I do all my painted parts. 2 coats of Primer, 2 coats of Rustoleum Bedliner, 2 coats of gloss black.


    Lastly was mounting. Well if you look online you can find something called T-nuts. The trick is getting the right measurements for the tracks you may or may not. I ended up finding a piece of aluminum that fit perfect with a square nut below it. Essentially it worked like a T-nut.
      • Option #2 would have been to bolt the "feet" directly to the roof, which would have been fine too, but I had the tracks.
      • Option #3 would have been to use the Unistrut as the track, which would have worked greatas well. This is probably what I would have done if I did not have the tracks already.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  2. May 23, 2016 at 9:13 AM
    #2
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    C41n, Grumpy, Taco_Rama12 and 13 others like this.
  3. May 23, 2016 at 9:15 AM
    #3
    T4RFTMFW

    T4RFTMFW Well-Known Member

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    Finally. :woot:
     
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  4. May 23, 2016 at 9:18 AM
    #4
    KILLINTIME

    KILLINTIME Highly Suspect

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    Thanks for the write up!!
     
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  5. May 23, 2016 at 9:20 AM
    #5
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Haha, thanks James! I've had 3-4 requests for a build on this so I figured it was time to get it done :D
     
  6. May 23, 2016 at 9:21 AM
    #6
    vuTron

    vuTron Well-Known Member

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    any wind noise? do you think a wind fairing is necessary?
     
  7. May 23, 2016 at 9:24 AM
    #7
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    very little from what I can tell. Now that it's nice out I ride with the windows down alot and I don't notice anything different from before. My tires and exhaust are all I ever hear anyway. I do plan on making one for the one I plan on making for the cab.
     
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  8. May 23, 2016 at 9:31 AM
    #8
    vuTron

    vuTron Well-Known Member

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    thanks for answering all my questions.... I can't wait to get started on mine. I'm thinking of using a wood side panel (instead of aluminum). I'm a big wood fan. I'm also considering a front fairing that integrates with the side panels... hence the questions. Again, thanks for the write up.
     
  9. May 23, 2016 at 9:37 AM
    #9
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Anytime, like you mentioned before that what this site is all about! :fistbump: The main reason for not doing a fairing was because it sits probably 2.5" above the roof. Since it was so low I din't know if it would actually make a difference. I know the cab top one will be higher as the roof slopes downward as it goes towards the windshield.
     
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  10. May 23, 2016 at 9:41 AM
    #10
    stphnman20

    stphnman20 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the write.
     
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  11. May 23, 2016 at 10:03 AM
    #11
    rngr

    rngr Aix sponsa

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    You're awesome. Thanks for the write-up. :cheers:
     
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  12. May 23, 2016 at 11:27 AM
    #12
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you guys find it useful.:cheers:
     
  13. May 23, 2016 at 11:40 AM
    #13
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    STAGE 2: INTERIOR
    Got started on my cap ceiling storage system yesterday. I used the same materials used on my DIY cap rack. Ended up drilling through my track system, though the cap, and bolting up some freshly painted unistrut directly beneath the track on the interior. Basically doubled the strength of my rack system from what it was before.
    I plan to have cross members that will hold a small camping table. Then below that I'll use a bungee net for loose storage for miscellaneous stuff.
    Here's where I am now.



    The 3rd pic shows the bolt system they (Unistrut) use which is pretty cool because of how modulator they are. Basically you can put them where ever you want and slide them into place to your desired location.
    Cool thing now is that if someday I ever manage to get an RTT set up I can run braces down to my side rails and I'm all set without having to worry about whether or not the cap can handle the weight. :D
     
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  14. May 23, 2016 at 12:33 PM
    #14
    Thelgord

    Thelgord The Pantagonist

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  15. May 23, 2016 at 1:05 PM
    #15
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I love you, man.

    I've been thinking about doing something similar to this for months, but hadn't taken the time to actually come up with a plan/design. I wanted to do it for the same reason as you: the Prinsu/Frontrunner/Baja racks are really nice, but I'm too cheap to pay ~$1000 for a rack.
     
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  16. May 23, 2016 at 1:12 PM
    #16
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl: Well...I guess your welcome!!! I definitly agree, I'm thinking the front one may be even cheaper to do. I want to play around with my Rivet gun and see how strong I can get it using that as the fastener and maybe some angle iron. We'll see how it goes.:fistbump:
     
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  17. May 23, 2016 at 2:48 PM
    #17
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    A few more gratuitous shots of the rack from different angles.

    20160523_161643.jpg 20160523_161607.jpg 20160523_161555.jpg

    On the first and last cross members I added a strip of plexiglass to act as a buffer so I wouldn't have to constantly be painting touchups to areas that get heavy use. I also figure heave materials might slide on and off better. Each strip has bolts that are countersunk into the plexi so not to catch anything on them.
     
  18. May 23, 2016 at 3:01 PM
    #18
    vuTron

    vuTron Well-Known Member

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    sorry, I keep bombarding you with questions... but I'm thinking of having some kind of "quick release" ability. I don't know if I really want to have the rack on their full time. Was wondering if you have an opinion on this... perhaps best way? Would you "quick release" the rack only (and leave feet), or quick release the whole thing (with feet).
     
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  19. May 23, 2016 at 3:24 PM
    #19
    ctsnow13

    ctsnow13 Well-Known Member

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    It would probably be better to leave the feet. You could always just put a pin through with a lock on the backside to attach it to the feet. Although the the pins would most likely rattle and be annoying when attached
     
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  20. May 23, 2016 at 3:31 PM
    #20
    ERMB

    ERMB [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well in all my endless searches of asles at each of these stores not sure of the best method of a quick release other than using a manual knob you could tighten and loosen as needed. Similar to this but with a straight through thread.
    1464042405195-1655546126.jpg
    I did see a smaller one that was triangular in shape that has the pass through design. Used in combination with one of these could work too.

    1464042641004-2117475387.jpg
     
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