Homemade Roofracks.

Box Rocket

Well-known member
I searched and didn't see anything dedicated to home built roofracks. I thought it might be a good thread to have one with images etc all centralized.

I'm asking about since I'm contemplating building one. There are some outstanding roofracks on the market that can be purchased and there's a part of me that knows it would just be easier (and maybe better) to just purchase one of those. But I like a project, I like making things exactly how I want them and if I can do it for less money, all the better.

These aftermarket ones come to mind:
Mule rack
Baja Rack
Hannibal
FrontRunner

But I still want to explore my options with building one and would love some ideas. So if you'd please share any home built roofracks with images and a description, likes and dislikes etc that would be great.

If there is a thread on this somewhere already that I missed somehow, I'll gladly delete this one.
 

Mr. Leary

Glamping Excursionaire
I'll have one to post up here soon... should be made within the next month.

Good idea for a thread!
 
I will post up mine when it is all done. The fist one is going on my '05 wrangler and will be SWEET!!:wings: Going to try to combine the best of all the racks out there into a super rack but also incorporate it into the jeep so if God forbid i do ever flop it on its side it will act somewhat like an exocage. Then we are going a rack setup for our Chevy colorado within the year.
 

paulj

Expedition Leader
The big variables are:
- what are the attachment points on the vehicle?
- what are your skills - simple hand tools, full shop, welding etec
- what kinds of loads

I made a semi-home made rack for my Element. The E has 4 mounting pads under the roof edge garnish, each with 3 #6 (metric) bold holes. So my starting point was to cut and drill lengths of 1 1/2 angle aluminum stock (from the hardware store) to fit these. For the cross bars I adapted the bars and brackets from an old Yakima raingutter setup.

Because of those easy-to-use mounting points, a number of other Element owners have made their own racks. Some use all wood, others angle steel, and some custom welding racks and baskets.
 

Box Rocket

Well-known member
The big variables are:
- what are the attachment points on the vehicle?
- what are your skills - simple hand tools, full shop, welding etec
- what kinds of loads

I made a semi-home made rack for my Element. The E has 4 mounting pads under the roof edge garnish, each with 3 #6 (metric) bold holes. So my starting point was to cut and drill lengths of 1 1/2 angle aluminum stock (from the hardware store) to fit these. For the cross bars I adapted the bars and brackets from an old Yakima raingutter setup.

Because of those easy-to-use mounting points, a number of other Element owners have made their own racks. Some use all wood, others angle steel, and some custom welding racks and baskets.
I'll be using gutter mounts (most likely). I will either fabricate my own or use something inexpensive but very acceptable like the Bulldog clamps, or something more "blingy" like the Mule clamps.

I have fairly basic tools, but suitable for a project of this type. I have a chop saw, access to a welder and plasma cutter, tubing bending if necessary, and I'm nowhere near an expert fabricator but this is a much simpler project than my rear bumper or my trailer. So I'm comfortable with building it.

I don't plan on heavy loads as I don't like that much weight up high. I'm thinking more low profile and tight to the roof. Biggest load would likely be a RTT at some point, although I'd typically carry that on my trailer.
 

dieselcruiserhead

Expedition Leader
There is at least one thread but it is old..

Here is my input which is keep it flat with some sort of floor perforation unless you want to lose mileage or act as a wind dam. I was able to build that rack #2 fairly stout and very light but the metal flooring doubled the weight pushing 100 lbs unfortunately. It was very nice when it weighed 50 lbs or less as just the frame. It is surplus steel from ATV racking. I get the steel for free from the local ATV outlet and use it for all sorts of stuff..

Hope it helps Adam...!



 

Sgt Grunt

Adventurer
The feet are in my opinion the hardest part, and like you mentioned might just be easier to buy a set and start from there. Slee might have some remaining African Outback feet that might be had at a fair price.

That being said, I have an Inti that I modified the light protector on and really like it. I have always liked modular equipment and gear, not only can I tweak it for a certain application but I can satisfy my getting bored easily with things be reconfiguring it and that also reduces the strain on the wallet.

Even with 4 Hella 4000's I only've noticed at worst a 1 or 2 mile difference in fuel economy, with strong headwinds causing the most effect. We drove 3500 miles with it on the truck and I went from about 14 mpg with no rack to 12-13 with it. For me mileage was never really a factor, but it's never been a daily driver.

Just some thoughts... :elkgrin:
 
Heres a rack me and my brother have been working on. I will post more about it once its finished in the next few weeks. You should have no problem building a great rack with the tools you have, we only have a welder, a cut off wheel, and a manual bender.

I would suggest finding a rack you like the dimensions and design of and going from there. We crossed the dimensions of a GOBI with the baja racks design and came out with this. Also, for the mounts we fabbed up some simple gutter mounts, do a google search and you'll find plenty of ideas for how to make some real easy, strong mounts. If you need I can probably get some of how we did ours.

 

Box Rocket

Well-known member
Good input so far and thanks for the photos. I'm using this thread for my own benefit but I'm hopeful that it can be a resource for others as well that are looking for ideas, so please contribute if you have something useful.

Couple things. I was gifted some of this cool track system with tie down a few years ago and I've just been waiting to put it to use. There are similar systems out there with little different tie downs. The ones I have are from a friend that is former Air Force and these were out of a C130. The tiedowns are super beefy and a weight rating that far exceeds anything I would do with it. I have about 8' of the tracking. A roofrack seems like a good way for me to put it to use.



One of my favorite home built roofracks was built by a local friend Johnny Lange (Wildyoats on some message boards and can be found at wildyoats.com) His rack is built from an ATV ramp. Super lightweight, very strong, low profile. He has an excellent writeup on his website. It's posssible that I may just follow suit and build one very similar to this but I thought his was worth sharing. This was the only photo I have on hand that shows his rack. His uses the Bulldog clamps, has lightmounts, shovel and hilift mounts.
 
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