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irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/29/17 6:49 p.m.

UPDATE: More additions down the page a bit!

UPDATE 2: Built a second kinda-similar rack for the e30, down even farther in the thread 

UPDATE 3 (April 2019): Made some modifications to the rack (down on page 2)

Ok, so this is not my idea, but unless you follow Chris Nonack's RX-7 rally thread you likely didn't see what he did for a super-budget whole-roof cargo rack on The Chief. So I did the same thing, except with more customization. I'm sure we're not the first to do this, but figured might as well do a little write-up anyhow. Anyhow, was looking for a good full-roof rack and/or basket to mount things like lights, carry tires, etc on the tow rig Sequoia. There are basically three options: 1. Off-the shelf or manufactured racks, which run from about $150 (for smaller aluminum baskets) to about $1500 for the nice ones (Bajarack, etc). 2. Buy materials, weld them together, make rack. I priced out various types of tubing (square and round) locally and was looking at about $200+ for materials (nothing is cheap in this area). 3. What Nonack (and I) did: Chris pointed me toward an ebay/internet seller called Discount Ramps. They sell trailer ramps, pickup truck ramps, etc. In particular we're looking at the "triple-folding steel ATV ramps - long" They're 72" and as the name suggests, they are hinged so as to fold up. When laid flat they look like this - though I'm not sure how you walk up them or ride your ATV wearing stiletto heels....  and this:

(ok, the ebay photo link is dead, so I just removed it). Anyhow, google "tri-fold ATV ramp" on ebay and you'll see it. 

  The good part is that on ebay, you can pick these up for $99 SHIPPED (not bad for 50lbs of steel). Yeah, it's made in China stuff, but it's good enough for our purposes here. Also they arrived in 2 days, which is pretty good for free shipping from Wisconsin to Virginia... When Chris made his, he just folded them out flat and seam-welded opposite of the hinges to make a rigid rack, and used U-bolts to attach it to his Suburban's stock roof rails. The Sequoia's roof rail spread is a bit narrower (by about 3-4"), and I didn't really want any overhang on the sides. I wanted the side rails of the rack to sit directly on the OEM roof rails (I may make bolt-in feet eventually, but this is good for now). So I cut the three sections apart, and removed two of the longitudinal rails (which you can see in Chris's picture above), and basically welded everything back together in my usual less-than-beautiful style. This has the added benefit of knocking 8-10lbs off of the weight of the rack without really sacrificing any strength I didn't take any "in progress" photos, but here's the end result. Alignment of the ladders is a bit off since originaly everything was pre-tensioned. This is as close as I could get everything using some ratchet straps and clamps. Did some cleaning up of welds, smoothing out the cut-off hinges, and added a piece of angle iron to the front to seal up the open fronts of the tubes other than a small hole for future wiring. Then with the 6-7 cans of dark red spraypaint that Pat Henry gave me a couple months ago for rally car work, I just blasted the whole thing with several coats. And mounted it to the OEM rails. Now the OEM rails have some front-to-rear curve to them (and the rack is perfectly flat) so I mounted the center of the rack down to the OEM rails, and then made some spacers for the front and rear to get the 3/4" or so I needed filled. These spacers are $1.99 for a pack of four at Home Depot....they are the rubber things that you put over the bottom of chair feet so they don't slide. Heavy duty rubber, just cut them shorter and drilled a hole.. Also copying Chris, I used China and ebay some more by getting an 8-pack of 18w LED worklights (and two slightly nicer front flood/spot LEDs), all of it for about $60. Gotta love cheap stuff. But we've been using this same "brand" in a larger lightbar on the rally car for a couple years and it hasn't leaked and provides serious light output. So I think these will hold up well. You can see one of our rally car ebay light bars at the top of this pic, actually. The ATV rack conveniently had hook arms on one end to latch over a pickup truck bed. I bent them straight and they're great mounts for the rear lights. I also left the rear end of the rack tubing open so I can run my wiring through it to the front. Front lights were mounted to the upside-down angle iron I installed, which covers up/protects the bolt threads and hides them. And yes, my tilt-up Sunroof still clears by an inch or so :) So anyhow, here's the finished product (other than wiring all the lights, which I'll do next week). Not the fanciest thing around, but it's pretty much exactly what I wanted - cheap, fairly lightweight (40lbs or so), strong enough for my purposes (ramps are rated to 1000lbs supposedly), and low-profile unlike a lot of the roof baskets out there. Again, credit to Chris Nonack here on GRM for the original idea. All told, total cost was under $200 including lights, wiring, paint and some stainless hardware I bought to mount it with. (ok, I did get some nice switches to fit into my stock switch blanks in the dash, so that puts it over $200, but it could have been done with normal radio shack toggle switches or whatever. *Go down a few posts and check out the "chicken coop" addition lol*

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/29/17 7:09 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

Nice!

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo GRM+ Memberand Mod Squad
4/29/17 7:56 p.m.

That's bad ass.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
4/29/17 8:09 p.m.

unfortunately, this being Virginia (aka place with lots of car laws about lighting), I need to track down some covers (or some improvised way to have easy-off covers) for when I'm driving locally. I see Jeeps with these big bars all the time, but I'm not into paying tickets for dumb E36 M3 lol....

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
4/29/17 8:56 p.m.

So after thinking for about 10 seconds on that issue, and looking at the $5/each covers on ebay....I came up with the "almost free and not too cheap looking" solution:

A scrap piece of coroplast leftover from another project....cut to fit the lenses (which have ridges around them, conveniently). Then, add one of the dozens of cheap harbor freight mini-bungees sitting around the garage...and, voila: removable covers that don't look too terrible. And now we're legal....and just remove them once I get across the border, lol...

added bonus: people will think I have some kind of weird radar equipment all over my black SUV and that I'm in the CIA or NSA

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/29/17 9:39 p.m.

Great write-up!

Furious_E
Furious_E Dork
4/29/17 11:00 p.m.

Great job, that's a fantastic idea! I've seen similar racks done using the HF hitch mount cargo carriers, but they never look totally right to me. I like the ramps a lot better. Totally gonna rip this off for the XJ someday.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
6/28/17 5:29 p.m.

So here's the completion of this rack, in GRM style.

Ok, the first thing wasn't totally GRM, I had to spend some money....but not that much. For about $250 I picked up a 6 1/2 foot ARB pull-out sunshade. This thing is GREAT quality, easy to set up, and almost impervious to wind. I'm really, really pleased with how good it is. Just bolted it right up to the rack side rails:

But the final touch was a trick that I found on the Range Rover overland forums. For about $75 (total, shipped) you can get several of these 2'x 4' grids. They are high-strength composite material and made to use as flooring for chicken coops. Ordered from an agricultural supply place online. Easy to cut with a jigsaw. You can attach them with bolts, screws or do like I did and use the really big zipties in various locations. All this combined, plenty strong for me and a couple friends to put some chairs up there and get a better view of the track at races, or just to carry cargo more easily than with the "ladder" style setup above.

they have overlapping lips so they lock together smoothly with no gap

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/28/17 5:43 p.m.

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/28/17 5:47 p.m.

All of that would be totally kick-ass on my recently acquired Montero Limited. I have been considering how to do a budget rack since I do not have the factory cross bars.

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/28/17 5:50 p.m.

I need to make something like this for my Monstero.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
6/28/17 6:18 p.m.

Montero looks like it has straight side bars (Sequoia's are slightly curved), which would actually make it even easier....

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
6/29/17 6:37 a.m.

Huh, I missed this the first time around somehow. I really like the chicken coop floor, although my rack has eyebolts welded to it which I use to hold tires up there using big J-hook tie downs so I'm not sure I could add something like that without having to do a lot of trimming.

Any plans to get light under the awning for potential rainy service park use?

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
6/29/17 1:27 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote: Huh, I missed this the first time around somehow. I really like the chicken coop floor, although my rack has eyebolts welded to it which I use to hold tires up there using big J-hook tie downs so I'm not sure I could add something like that without having to do a lot of trimming. Any plans to get light under the awning for potential rainy service park use?

I am going to test and see if the rear roof light, if rotated, would shine through the awning enough to provide light. Otherwise, not sure how I'd do it. But with all the battery-powered LED worklights out there, can probably just hang something off the side of the truck or something.

Keep in mind I'll still have the 12x12 pop-up shelter for service, and I have an LED "lantern" that can hang inside that and puts out pretty good light.

As to the eyebolts, I just today copied that idea as well. I just cut out a couple squares of the chicken coop material to clear. It can be cut with some metal shears or large snip pliars as well....will take pics if you want, but you shouldn't have ANY issue with your eyebolts, just cut a big enough opening around them in the grid (I had to trim for the upper ARB sunshade support braces as well, if you look closely at the pics).

captdownshift
captdownshift GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/29/17 4:50 p.m.

Hmmm I may need to make something like this for the xb for kayak, wood and large part hauling.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/18/19 9:34 p.m.

Since I'm building a (smaller) rack from scratch for the rally car itself (to haul tires to rallycrosses, primarily), figured I'd just throw my write-up in here with my other rack :)

Because of the cage, the car is somewhat inconvenient for hauling a lot of gear, so I have the little tire trailer, which works fine. But I'm kind of tired of using the trailer. Again, less fun with it in the mountains and stuff, would just as well just drive the car there on its own (plus, it gets so little use I'd just as well just sell it and the hitch to make a bit of cash for other stuff).

So, in a move that totally makes no sense, since it will cost money to do, I'm building a roof rack specifically to carry stuff like tires. Also because roof racks are cool, and I want to build something just for fun. Now, I could just buy a Thule or Yakima setup (I can get one for a discount from my ski shop), but that's no fun, and those sitt really high over the roof. I want something lower-profile, kind of like what I have on the Sequoia (also home-built). 

A bit of inspiration from the old rack on my Triumph GT6, which had a gutter-mount rack that had little screws through the gutter to bolt it down (vice using a "reverse clamp" like Thule/Yakima does). Anyhow, it's something to do. So I got online and orderd up some steel tubing (16ga) and a few other steel pieces (1/4" x 2" flat plate, and some small round tubing).

After some measuring and sketching, got to work today.

The 1/4" plate cut into 5" sections, which will be my four legs. Thick so they fit right into the gutter with just a bit of play. Then, basically a square (tacked on the car to keep it level and straight). 

So, here's where I am now. I'm deciding on my inside bar arrangement to place them both for support and in order to have them a place to allow me to best locate/strap down four tires (and/or other stuff). Once I place the crossbars, the intent is to cover the whole thing with the lightweight chicken coop flooring (farm-tek) that I used on the Sequoia.

---

continued with the rack project today after a stop at home depot for a couple extra pieces of bar. I went with a design that would allow me to carry a variety of things, including 2 or 4 tires depending on what I need for rallycross conditions.

With the basic design done I wanted to fit it to double-check, and figure out where I'd want tires on it so I could make some integrated tie-down eyes. 

So I decided to make some flush-mount tiedown eyes. Usually eye-bolts would work fine, but just in case I ever want to put something flat up there, figured might as well make it a bit more seamless. I decided to locate them directly under the middle of where a 4-wheel set would sit, enabling a number of variations. yeah, I know I could just wrap the hooks around the bar, but that's always annoying to do.

So, this is what I came up with:

Though I still have to finish the feet, decided to put a base-coat of paint the rest of it, since I plan to put several on this weekend.

So, it will sit like this

I'm also planning on making some brackets to put a fairing on the front to reduce wind drag/noise a bit (and because it will look better). Got my first bracket cut and bent, need to do a couple more and then cut a fairing out of whatever material I have sitting around (probably some scrap Lexan or something, we'll see). I want the fairing 5-6" out front of the front bar to allow some tire overhang once I move to larger 15" wheels in the future.

So, that's where I am. Will plan to finish it up this weekend.

 

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
4/18/19 9:44 p.m.

I’m an automotive geek of the highest order. These types of projects “do it” for me.

Great work!

(link to the $60 light package discussed early in the thread? Please?)

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/18/19 9:55 p.m.

Another excellent write up. I need to look into making a rack like the first one for my 4Runner, I am loving the chicken coop flooring.

 

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/18/19 10:32 p.m.

Dischord!   Respect.

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/18/19 10:37 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

Dischord!   Respect.

I was always a big Fugazi fan, and the DC hardcore scene in general

 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/18/19 10:38 p.m.
ebonyandivory said:

I’m an automotive geek of the highest order. These types of projects “do it” for me.

Great work!

(link to the $60 light package discussed early in the thread? Please?)

no clue at this point, but it was off ebay. Just google "LED floolights" or something and a million different ones will come up

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/19 8:53 a.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Are you native to DC area?  I grew up there but was a couple years behind the Dischord heyday (HS class of 84).

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/19/19 10:19 a.m.

Great idea!

SaltyDog
SaltyDog HalfDork
4/19/19 10:33 a.m.
irish44j said:

unfortunately, this being Virginia (aka place with lots of car laws about lighting), I need to track down some covers (or some improvised way to have easy-off covers) for when I'm driving locally. I see Jeeps with these big bars all the time, but I'm not into paying tickets for dumb E36 M3 lol....

That reminded me of way back when and I had a big 4X4 with lights on top of the roll bar.

An overzealous county deputy insisted that needed to be covered, so I took some ziplock bags and covered them and then just waited for him to pull me over again. Didn't take long, I pointed out the bags, he just stormed back to his car and away he went.

Never saw him again and was never pulled over because of them again. 

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
4/19/19 4:56 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

In reply to irish44j :

Are you native to DC area?  I grew up there but was a couple years behind the Dischord heyday (HS class of 84).

Nah, mid 90s for college but I listened to that stuff in middle and high school in early 90s

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