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DIY Roof Rack Platform


PathyDude17
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I thought I was one the right track with this project, but so far the two people I’ve asked are on the fence. I wanted a low profile platform rack to strap on to my existing roof bars, kinda like the flat racks that you see on 4runners. I mocked up a frame out of EMT, I’d love to hear your guys thoughts on the asthetics of it. 

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 I’ll add crossbars if I like this shape. I just wanted something a little wider than the current rails, and with more cross bars than what I currently have. I also want low profile. Anyhow, thanks in andvance

Edited by PathyDude17
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Same boat here.  I even just took measurements of the roof and rack over the weekend.  Going above the rack frees up useful area by going wider, but with some other trade-offs.

 

I'd suggest doing a Google image search for "DepHep racks".  Personally one of my favorites.

 

I did a recessed rack the other year (thread here) and that's the mounting style I'll likely stick with.  I'm leaning towards a recessed rack again, but this time steel, full-length, and with integrated crossbars so that I can still haul longer items when needed.  I've got some other features I'd like for it, in particular useful tie-down points, accessory mounts, camp lighting, and large slot for a folding table (this would require raising the rack surface and sliding a table between the rack and roof from above the liftgate).

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8 hours ago, hawairish said:

Same boat here.  I even just took measurements of the roof and rack over the weekend.  Going above the rack frees up useful area by going wider, but with some other trade-offs.

 

I'd suggest doing a Google image search for "DepHep racks".  Personally one of my favorites.

 

I did a recessed rack the other year (thread here) and that's the mounting style I'll likely stick with.  I'm leaning towards a recessed rack again, but this time steel, full-length, and with integrated crossbars so that I can still haul longer items when needed.  I've got some other features I'd like for it, in particular useful tie-down points, accessory mounts, camp lighting, and large slot for a folding table (this would require raising the rack surface and sliding a table between the rack and roof from above the liftgate).

Thanks for the info, I’ve seen those Xterra racks a few times before and thought about trying to replicate it, but I thought it might be easier to go on top. Plus, I was hoping the extra width and height might give the rack a better look. Also if I want to add any lighting, I feel like going on top makes that easier (especially side/surround lighting).

Edited by PathyDude17
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Why not just add bars in the slots of the current side rails. It would add functionality but keep the aesthetics & still be cheap. Here is an example on 5th Gen 4Runners.

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbar 5th Gen

2" wide x 1" tall

http://lfdoffroad.com/catalog/ruggedized-crossbar-5th-gen

http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-gen-t4rs/250438-alternate-rack-6.html

 

 

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8 hours ago, RainGoat said:

Why not just add bars in the slots of the current side rails. It would add functionality but keep the aesthetics & still be cheap. Here is an example on 5th Gen 4Runners.

LFD Off Road Ruggedized Crossbar 5th Gen

2" wide x 1" tall

http://lfdoffroad.com/catalog/ruggedized-crossbar-5th-gen

http://www.toyota-4runner.org/5th-gen-t4rs/250438-alternate-rack-6.html

 

 

Well, for now, I’m kinda liking the wide look. The way the car narrows at the top has kinda annoyed me, and this will offset that a little. If figure it’s a little easier to add lighting if I go on top. But, if for whatever reason I don’t like it, I can always chop it up and resize it to fit in the existing rack. I figure go big and then make it smaller, instead of risking going the other way around

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Having lived with my truck in the desert I get it but in the woods, it’s the R50’s slender profile & tapering top which are its greatest asset. Be sure to watch for those forward corners catching on branches (up here, I’m definitely considering limb risers once my rack & bumper are done). Definitely look at@hawairish recessed mesh-that was well done. I generally don’t care for those hefty SE side rails but his use of them was perfect & took advantage of those long elevated bars (something you can’t do with the adjustable LE load bars).

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1 hour ago, PathyDude17 said:

Well, for now, I’m kinda liking the wide look. The way the car narrows at the top has kinda annoyed me, and this will offset that a little. If figure it’s a little easier to add lighting if I go on top. But, if for whatever reason I don’t like it, I can always chop it up and resize it to fit in the existing rack. I figure go big and then make it smaller, instead of risking going the other way around

 

I'm not a fan of how narrow the upper rails are either...it looks like like a mohawk at times, but I've always loved the look of the rails from the side, which is one reason I've been hesitant to go higher than the rails.  Basically, whatever rack I'd make would be flat vs. the slight arc on the rails.

 

The reason I like the wider approach is because it provides an overhang for under-mounting light brackets, hooking tie-downs to it, having a few extra square feet, and not having to lean against the truck to bring stuff up and down from it.  I want the over-rail mount because the space between rack and roof might be usable for other storage (flat water containers, folding table, etc.).  All those reasons are what keep me on the bubble.

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48 minutes ago, hawairish said:

 

I'm not a fan of how narrow the upper rails are either...it looks like like a mohawk at times, but I've always loved the look of the rails from the side, which is one reason I've been hesitant to go higher than the rails.  Basically, whatever rack I'd make would be flat vs. the slight arc on the rails.

 

The reason I like the wider approach is because it provides an overhang for under-mounting light brackets, hooking tie-downs to it, having a few extra square feet, and not having to lean against the truck to bring stuff up and down from it.  I want the over-rail mount because the space between rack and roof might be usable for other storage (flat water containers, folding table, etc.).  All those reasons are what keep me on the bubble.

All of that, exactly. And ya the look from the side is one small downside. The level tube compared to the side rails makes it look like the bar is sagging. But the extra width does do all those things you mentioned, so I’m very interested in it

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2 hours ago, RainGoat said:

Having lived with my truck in the desert I get it but in the woods, it’s the R50’s slender profile & tapering top which are its greatest asset. Be sure to watch for those forward corners catching on branches (up here, I’m definitely considering limb risers once my rack & bumper are done). Definitely look at@hawairish recessed mesh-that was well done. I generally don’t care for those hefty SE side rails but his use of them was perfect & took advantage of those long elevated bars (something you can’t do with the adjustable LE load bars).

Noted, I hadn’t quite thought about it that way. I’ll add a fairing to help avoid the rack catching things, but I think your point remains valid. Thanks for that

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10 minutes ago, RainGoat said:

Well, you’re in the SW right? Branches aren’t going to be much of an issue for you. In the NW it’s incessant!

NW. I live just outside of Boise, ID. There’s forest trails and desert trails, depends if you head north or south

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Oh, didn’t realize that. Yep, you qualify as NW. I love Boise. I’ve explored alot around there, N, NE, E, NW, SW of Boise - quite alot now that I think about it. I have a buddy who lived in Meridian & has a cabin in the mountains W of Cascade. I think the Sawtooths are as lovely as the Tetons. Idaho is great country!

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, RainGoat said:

Oh, didn’t realize that. Yep, you qualify as NW. I love Boise. I’ve explored alot around there, N, NE, E, NW, SW of Boise - quite alot now that I think about it. I have a buddy who lived in Meridian & has a cabin in the mountains W of Cascade. I think the Sawtooths are as lovely as the Tetons. Idaho is great country!

 

 

 

Ya, it’s a great place. Lots of hiking and outdoor recreation to be had within an hour of the valley. Hopefully I’ll come back after college. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I made this heavy duty in rail basket system using the stock cross bar clamps that I reverse engineered so you an just slide the rack in and clamp it in holds about 650lbs before things get sketchy

FB_IMG_1548903661151.jpg

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1 hour ago, AllTerrainR50 said:

I made this heavy duty in rail basket system using the stock cross bar clamps that I reverse engineered so you an just slide the rack in and clamp it in holds about 650lbs before things get sketchy

FB_IMG_1548903661151.jpg

I remember coming across this! It’s certainly a very cool idea. If I don’t like over the rails I’m sure this is a lot what mine will look like

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