Custom Roof Crossbars for a Low Profile Rack

Discussion in 'Fabrication' started by Jim McClain, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Why not just have a flat rack?
    Then no need to reach up over the side that way.
    Or one with maybe only 2 inch sides just enough for a little rail.

    A flat rack with built in holder ( and slats where the bottle would just lay there ) where you could just stick the bottle in and have a locking mechanism that could be loked with one hand
    I see it in my mind, if you were only a wee bit closer
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  2. jeeplib05

    jeeplib05 Full Access Member

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    I'd look at N2O bottle brackets and get your idea from them
    They have ones for 4 3/8" bottles but obviously they aren't as long as your tanks, so you could use the same design, just extend it
    Also, most of them have either screws or some type of bolt to hold it closed, so you could change it and put strong latches on instead, like something similar to a toolbox (obviously a more durable one but you get my concept)
    Those would work great I think, just mount them to the side of your rack and you'd be able to throw them up there and snap them in in a couple seconds
     
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    I'm not sure I quite understand what you mean. If you mean external, as in outside of the cargo basket, either in front, back or on the side of it, then that won't work. I don't think I'd like it, if it was possible. The basket is 40½" wide, so adding a tube for the tanks to the side would cause them to overhang the roof line. Adding tubes to the rear would be the same problem because the basket has to sit as far back as possible, to clear the sunroof slider. The slider also means I can't mount anything directly in front of and attached to the basket, or it will be on top of the glass.

    The only way they could be exactly the same is if Rola, the manufacturer, dumped their seconds (flawed/defective parts) on product liquidators, like some (already) crappy flooring manufacturers do. But I do understand the concerns. I see those issues as solvable though. I believe I can prevent moisture from getting inside the basket tubes. I'm not concerned with rust on the roof because there's no drilling or exposed metal going on if a cargo basket - or even my custom rack rails - are installed properly.

    It's not much, but the rear of the Jeep is taller than the middle of the Jeep. Then you got the spare tire sticking out to reach over. The rear glass opens up, so that's in the way if I happen to also be accessing the back of the Jeep. Even if none of that is a problem, any modifications to the basket itself could end up causing rattles, rust and other unforeseen problems.

    The sides of the basket provide some security. If the hold-down strap were to loosen, the tank will slide. The sides of the Rola are high enough to prevent the tanks from becoming missiles. I don't have the roof basket here to test my theory, but I don't think accessing the tanks will be too difficult.

    Hadn't thought of that before, thanks. I'll look into them.
     
  4. dude1116

    dude1116 Full Access Member

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    Funny enough I took a heat gun and a rubber mallet to mine. With a little bit of elbow grease, the pipe bent JUST enough to work. The rear pipe didn't need a bend.
     
  5. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    In between rain showers, I did a test-fit of the cross bars. I need to trim a little off each end of the front bar so I can add caps to the ends of the pipe. I think the bends look good.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They'll look even better powder coated wrinkle finish black.
     
  6. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I wouldn't waste my money on powder coating them.
    I would sooner have the Line-X'd or something similar.
    Powder coating doesn't hold up long term
    One had a set of Boulder bars that were powder coated, less than 2 years , rust had formed underneath the coating, same with the ARB front bumper , plus another bumper on one of my XJs.
    At least thats my experience. Buddys flares, bumpers etc that were line-Xd looked good 6-7 years alter
     
  7. uss2defiant

    uss2defiant Full Access Member

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    I think it looks good witybthe color of your Kj. It is galvanized so you're good to go,

    If there is no howling issue, I wouldn't worry about end caps.
     
  8. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    My lungs like powder coating a lot more than me spraying anything else around them. Not that I don't test that theory once in a while. Besides, it's a roof rail. It won't be subject to much wear unless I have a roll-over. Then the powder coat damage will be the least of my worries. And the plastic clamps of the roof basket, if cinched down tight, won't present a problem either. I have a powder coated Segway and it has seen its fair share of beating through brush, being knocked over by a drunk and me taking a tumble a couple of times. I can't say it looks good as new - it's over 10 years old and ridden nearly every day - but it's still a good lookin' piece of American ingenuity.

    I'm hoping I won't have to live with the color of my KJ very long. I HATE gray/silver/bleh. ;) Powder coating works really well with galvanized metals without any pre-treatment.

    Most of the people who have done this mod have complained about the noise. Those who have found a way to cap the pipe ends (usually with corks) have said it reduced or eliminated the noise.
     
  9. uss2defiant

    uss2defiant Full Access Member

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    Try it out and see.
    If no howling issue, then no worries. :)
     
  10. Myke

    Myke Full Access Member

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    Wow I really like the look of those and painted black or gun metal gray would be the way I suggest.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
     
  11. GunnerSchenck

    GunnerSchenck Full Access Member

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    I believe he meant to have someone line-x the bars, like you would do having someone powder coat them.. you could just drop them off at line-x or ziebart or most body shops..
    As for the powder coating damage, I believe he was referring to putting stuff onto the crossbars. Being that it's overhead, typically putting stuff onto and off of them, you'll end up dragging whatever youre loading across them..
    Your personal decision though, and I think the powder coat would hold up alright short term, but would expect it to be knicked, dinged, scratched and messed up within 2-3 years if that..
    But my personal input, id go with a less agressive feeling liner such as raptor liner. It's an off brand, but not as harsh to the touch as herculiner or line-x, thus less likely to mess up whatever you're loading.

    All other input aside, looks great! Glad you got by without the sound of feeling like you're in a jetstream!
     
  12. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    We need pictures !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:gr_grin:
     
  13. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    You mean from me? I haven't completed this project yet. I've been all caught up with a couple other non-Jeepin' type issues, so I'm way behind on the KJ stuff. I do glance at it when I go out to check the mail box though. ;)
     
  14. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well.........as long as you're still glancing at it on the way to the mailbox Jim every now and again its not forgotten !
     
  15. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    While I had to spend time In Reno Friday for doctor appointments, etc, I decided to see about powder coating or whatever. I asked about the Line-X and they agreed that it would be much more durable. So, that's what I got. Thanks for the suggestion, Tom.

    In hindsight, I should have listened to GunnerSchenck and at least checked into Raptor Liner. The Line-X is a more aggressive finish than I like. The Line-X looks okay though, so it'll work. If I ever decide to change, it won't be difficult. Seems the Line-X doesn't adhere to the metal like I thought it would - or should.

    I picked the parts up and did a test fit in their office. I had explained what the purpose of the parts were for and pointed out where the threads had to be protected and where the ends of the pipes were going to be inserted. They said no problem... BIG problem. The Line-X is thick. The coating on the pipe and inside the clamp made the fit too tight. It wasn't possible to fit the pipe into the clamp even a tiny bit or even with as much brute force as I could muster.

    This morning I took a knife to the clamps. I really thought it was going to be a chore to remove the Line-X from inside the clamp where the pipe fit in. I scored around the circumference of the hole at both ends so it wouldn't damage the parts that would show. Then I prepared to use a lot of energy to cut away the material. The shit just peeled off like an inside-out orange. That stuff didn't stick to the galvanizing at all - couple stains, but the Line-X just came right off it.

    [​IMG]

    As was mentioned in the how-to, I added some eighth-inch rubber gasket material to the inside. I adhered it with super glue and cut it to shape so it would show as little as possible (I couldn't find black anything that thick in this hick town).

    [​IMG]

    Instead of cork, I used some plastic caps used for cheap furniture legs. It will prevent any whistling noises and keep dirt and water from getting into the tubes and then slowly dripping out all muddy onto a freshly washed KJ. You can also see in the above pic where I had to file and sand the Line-X finsh so the pipe would fit inside the clamp. Even with the Line-X removed from the inside of the clamp, the pipe wouldn't slide in until I filed and sanded the ends. It was still a really tough fit.

    [​IMG]

    The KJ rails aren't really round, so the pipe clamp's retainer screw doesn't hit the rail in a part of it that helps hold the clamp down. So, unfortunately, you can lift up on the ends and the crossbars will tilt upward until the long bolt of the clamp comes in contact with the bottom of the rail. It's a snug fit, but definitely not a tight fit. If I do this over, I will find a different kind of clamp.

    [​IMG]

    Just as I started mounting the front crossbar, it began to rain. It drizzled a little before, but now it's raining. Of course, I'm too stupid to come in out of the rain, so I finish the job.

    [​IMG]

    My neighbor is even dumber though. He leaves his bike and sidecar out in the rain. He's trying to sell it, so he doesn't want to miss out on any looki-lews.

    [​IMG]

    All in all, I'm happy with the crossbars. I hope to be able to get the Rola basket next month. I want to take a road trip, which I don't normally do, but I haven't seen my brother in well over a decade. He's been battling ALS and it may be he doesn't have much time left. He lives in the Santa Barbara area, which is about 530 miles from me. The basket could hold a suitcase and other stuff so I can still carry my Segway inside.
     
  16. uss2defiant

    uss2defiant Full Access Member

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    is there room for a small PVC pipe cut in half as a spacer to help w/ that spacing issue you mentioned?
     
  17. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    There's room for something there. What, I'm not sure. I don't want to listen to rattling, so I'm thinking it has to be a soft material, like fuel line or something.
     
  18. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not sure why it is not sticking , have had friends who have had many different things Line-Xd and no problems at all. Buddy even did his flares on the KJ about 10 years ago and still look like the day they were done.
    I'd call Line-X and see what they say
    Other wise looks good.
    As far as thickness you will have that issue with any bedliner type of product. Some thing a lot of people don't think of
     
  19. dude1116

    dude1116 Full Access Member

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    This was my experience as well. I believe I shared this on another thread. I actually tightened the bottom bolt so much FIRST in order to actually cause the clamp to clamp down on the rail (yes...this was definitely over-tightening the bolt). I also used pipe insulation to make it a more snug fit. Now the bars are super snug.

    PS - I like the bends that you have. Looks uniform.
     
  20. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Full Access Member

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    This is what I did to lessen the chance of any rattling or damage to the KJ rails.

    [​IMG]

    It's some kind of automotive hose, but I'm not sure what kind. It fits the bolt snug. There was nothing that had thicker walls available, so I hope this is the solution. I haven't taken it on a drive yet, so we'll see.

    I couldn't cinch the bolt down any tighter. It's cast, so I'm afraid it will break if I cinch too tight, which my strength isn't capable of anyway.

    Jim