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Yakima roof rack track install

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by nermalgod, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Jan 15, 2009 at 8:35 PM
    #1
    nermalgod

    nermalgod [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    Member:
    #6715
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    148
    Madison, WI
    Vehicle:
    Offroad boat hauler
    Not going to brag.
    To satisfy curiosity and to not completely hijack another thread, I'm going to do a quick write-up of my unique roof rack install.

    Quick history; I am a paddler by profession. My roof rack is my tool box. It needs to be solid and functional. I carry all kinds of boats from 5' whitewater kayaks to 24' tandem sea kayaks. Most the time I'll have a canoe or two on my roof, plus a bicycle so I can paddle a river and get back to my truck without relying on another person. So to accommodate all that, I need a rack that has a short crossbar spread for small boats and bikes, and a long spread for big boats, hence a 3 bar system.

    I chose to track my topper and my cab so that I could use Yakima's excellent Control Tower system. Thule also offers a similar system that installs identically to the Yakima system. I can remove my rack in under 60 seconds and I do not have to worry about deforming door seals or leakage into the cab. Plus, with tracks, I can position the bars anywhere along the length of my vehicle I need them.

    Unfortunately, I don't have enough photos to show every step. I didn't take any photos while I installed the tracks into the topper. I guess because I have done that install almost 50 times now, I didn't think about it until I was all done. The two most important thing to know when drilling into a fiberglass topper is to NOT drill into the thicker portion of the roof and to NOT use a pilot bit. Depending on the brand, that thicker portion is cardboard or foam. Either way, if your hole leaks, you'll have all kinds of problems before you even know you have a leak. If you use a pilot hole like the instructions recommend, when you return to finish the hole to the proper diameter, the moment the bit hits the hole, it will chip the gelcoat leaving an ugly scar. Measure it right the first time and just do it, you'll have a clean hole which is easier to seal.

    The biggest challenge I had, was to make sure the tracks on the topper were outboard enough to not interfere with the reinforced roof portion, but not too far outboard that the tracks on the cab couldn't be placed inline. Turns out I had a whole 1/2" to play with. I also discovered, that the reinforcement in my topper wasn't installed squarely at the factory.

    So here we go, step by step, this is how I did it.
     
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  2. Jan 15, 2009 at 8:53 PM
    #2
    nermalgod

    nermalgod [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    Member:
    #6715
    Messages:
    148
    Madison, WI
    Vehicle:
    Offroad boat hauler
    Not going to brag.
    Step one, gather tools.
    [​IMG]
    Step two: find your roofline's center. Have plenty of tape on hand and a piece of string or fishing line.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The tape gives you a surface to write on. To find the center, use things that are centered, like the ribs on the cab, the tail light, the rear view mirror on the windshield. For the topper, I like to use a soft tape (tailors measuring tape) to measure around the radius' rather than a retractable metal tape. Use the windows as reference points. Once you have center, pull a taught line. Then you can measure your chosen spread to either side of your vehicle knowing that everything will be square. Because you can also find center on the inside, you can check your clearances inside your topper. This is the step that takes the longest. DO NOT align the tracks to anything on your vehicle other than a center line. The worse thing you can do is have tracks that are not parallel. Yes, factory racks are built to accommodate varying spans and their systems are built with cosmetic looks in mind, but that is why they are not structurally strong.

    Once I have center, I measure out to the sides in several places so I can connect the dots, creating a center line for the tracks to be installed on top of.
    [​IMG]

    Here's important tip number three, Start from one end, and work to the other. DO NOT drill all the holes at once. As the track curves to accommodate the roof line, the holes will be further apart than if they were on a flat plane. Figure out where you want to start the track and mark the first hole. Note the tape allowed me to make a few corrections before committing to a location. For a sheet metal roof, use a center punch to mark the spot, for fiberglass, just drill it.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  3. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:28 PM
    #3
    nermalgod

    nermalgod [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
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    #6715
    Messages:
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    Madison, WI
    Vehicle:
    Offroad boat hauler
    Not going to brag.
    Use touch-up paint to seal the metal so there won't be rusting issues.
    [​IMG]
    I'll have to insert a photo of what a Plusnut looks like later as I don't seem to have one.

    Plusnuts are the expanding threaded nut used to install tracks to sheet metal. They are inserted into the hole that was just drilled and a special tool is used to mushroom the side under the roof to secure it to the cab. Note, after drilling the hole, I peeled back the tape so I wouldn't pinch it under the Plusnut. I've left it in place to mark the location of my other holes.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Missing a photo here too, but once one Plusnut is in, grab you track, put a bolt through it and attach it to the Plusnut. This will allow you to mark the location of your next hole. Remove the track and punch, drill, seal, and install your next Plusnut. If the roof is relatively flat, you can mark final hole and install that Plusnut, then reinstalling the track you can mark the rest of your holes at once. If your roof is curved, work ahead one hole at a time for the best fit. Again, I do this often, so I marked them all at once. Yakima doesn't make suggestions as to how many or which holes to use. On my topper, I used every other hole. On my cab, I used every hole except the one that would interfere with the support beam in the roof. Check out truck owners sound deadening their cabs to see what kind of supports are under the headliner. For my Access Cab, there is one support at the intersection of the doors running past the dome light. If you don't know what's hiding under your roof, then you could be creating a headache. You can always drop a headliner to check it out and if you go through all that work, you might as well use a bolt, washer and nut and skip the Plusnuts. But since I had a good idea of what was going on, I drilled and used the blind Plusnuts.
    [​IMG]
    All Plusnuts drilled and installed. When doing the final install on the track, and by final, I mean you won't be taking it off to do more drilling, put a big ol' gob of silicone into the Plusnut. If you're working on your topper, just fill up the hole before pushing the bolt through. Have a friend on the inside of your topper to hold the nuts while you tighten. They'll want a rag to wipe off excess silicone. Don't bother with mounding it on top of the holes for either a fiberglass or Plusnut install, just focus on getting a good squeeze into the hole.
    [​IMG]
    You can see what I was going for in this shot, the track on my cab I just finished installing is in line with the one I previously installed on my topper.
     
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  4. Jan 15, 2009 at 9:45 PM
    #4
    nermalgod

    nermalgod [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    Member:
    #6715
    Messages:
    148
    Madison, WI
    Vehicle:
    Offroad boat hauler
    Not going to brag.
    Final step, adding the rack to the tracks. With the Yakima system, you'll have to insert threaded metal plates into the track prior to installing the track's endcap. Thule uses a plate that can be installed after the track is mounted. The plates are the attachment points or the rack's towers.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Final words of advice. while I do these kinds of installs for a living, this write-up is no where near compete and should not be taken as a defacto step by step. It's more some incite along with a few photos. There are several important details I left out, which are well covered in the printed instructions that come with these products. And lastly, don't blame me if you drill a hole in the wrong place.

    Here are two links for you all:
    The tracks on Yakima's product page. There is a link to their PDF instructions here.
    http://yakima.com/racks/rack-systems/product/8001127/tracks.aspx
    A Thule track install write up on a Toyota Prius:
    http://thulepriusrack.blogspot.com/
     
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  5. Jan 15, 2009 at 10:04 PM
    #5
    SocalMan22

    SocalMan22 Founder Socaltacomas.com

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    What Mods!
    Nice write up!
     
  6. Jan 18, 2009 at 3:05 PM
    #6
    gavonder

    gavonder She's Kickass!

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    Bethel, Ct
    Vehicle:
    08 TRD Sport Access Cab
    Sunroof, Leer Cap w/ Thule rack, Factory Running Boards, Fog Light Mod, Hood Struts, Scangauge, w/homemade mirror mount, AC/Defrost mod, Rear Spring TSB, TRD Center Caps
    Very nice! I would love to have a Thule set on my cab to match my cap. I
    don't have the guts to do it myself, though. Drilling through the roof is a little scary.

    GA
     
  7. Jan 18, 2009 at 3:11 PM
    #7
    silver07taco

    silver07taco Well-Known Member

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    2013 Tundra RCSB 5.7 4x4, 2007 Tacoma AC 4.0 4x4
    Thats nice, Good work
     
  8. Jan 18, 2009 at 3:33 PM
    #8
    Alaskaflyer

    Alaskaflyer My other ride Hovers

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    OME 885 AAL, 2.5* shim, Light Racing UCA's. BFG AT KO 285/75/16, Spidertrax spacers, OME Shocks up front, Bilstein 5100 Shocks in back.
    Excellent job, perfect set up, hopefully I'll be heading back to the pacific northwest after this tour on the east coast and I can start paddling again.

    again, nice, very nice!

    Gary
     
  9. May 28, 2011 at 6:41 PM
    #9
    Tim A

    Tim A Well-Known Member

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    Necrobump...I want to do this on my access cab.

    I'm thinking of going with Yak 42" tracks. Looks like you cut your tracks down huh?
     
  10. May 31, 2011 at 12:05 AM
    #10
    nermalgod

    nermalgod [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Madison, WI
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    Offroad boat hauler
    Not going to brag.
    Yes, I could have left them longer, but cut mine to 36".
     
  11. May 31, 2011 at 10:24 AM
    #11
    utahskierdave

    utahskierdave Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up nermalgod! Question for you: Do you think the landing pads could bolt up to the threaded nuts under the weatherstripping on your roof?
     
  12. Jun 1, 2011 at 4:49 AM
    #12
    nermalgod

    nermalgod [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Offroad boat hauler
    Not going to brag.
    Having an Access Cab, I do not have threaded nuts like on the Double Cabs. I haven't looked carefully at the Double Cab, but I bet Landing Pad #11 would probably work. The other option is to use Landing Pads #1 base and fabricate an adapter plate to get the correct bolt spacing.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2012 at 7:13 PM
    #13
    Monkeyboy

    Monkeyboy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this write up. I did this to my truck this past weekend, although I didn't use the plusnuts, I went for the bolts.

    Anyway, this was a big help. Thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Jul 11, 2013 at 3:15 AM
    #14
    Dfkern

    Dfkern Member

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    Sumter, SC
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    Camper top
    So, some folks do this for a living. How would I find one such in my area? Thanks
     
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