A nice, sturdy DIY roof rack can add a ton of cargo space to your vehicle. It only requires a few basic hand tools and materials you can easily get at your local hardware store.
How to Build A DIY Roof Rack and Add Even More Storage
What You Need:
- 2 in. x 0.25 in. aluminum tubes (for the sides)
- 3 in. x 3 in. x 0.25 in. aluminum angle, cut into 3 in. sections (for the feet)
- 1 in. x 2 in. extruded aluminum (for the crossbars)
- Aluminum spacers (for the roof mount holes)
- Black truck Bedliner spray
- Threaded rubber bumpers
- Unpolished,Mill Finish,Extruded,T6511 Temper
- 10 Series Aluminum T-Slotted Extrusion with Six Open T-Slots
- Compatible with all 10 Series Fasteners and Accessories
- Six open available T-slots for mounting accessories
- Center cavity can be pressurized up to 150 psi
- Made out of 6105-T5 aluminum (or equivalent) with a clear anodized finish
- Length: 1/4"
- Shape: Round
- Od: 5/16"
- Id: 0.192"
- Custom Coat Aersol Sprayable Truck Bed Liner - Extra Large 14.4 ounce Spray Can - provides a black matte, textured, non-skid finish for Truck Beds, Tailgates, Bed Rails and Running Boards. Easy to use aerosol spray can.
- Custom Coat Aerosol Bedliner Gives faded bed liners new life, repairs Spray-in Bed Liners, durable and abrasion resistant, textured non-skid finish
- Protects against corrosion and abrasion, withstands impacts, provides improved traction, and resists water
- Flat fan high atomization nozzle offers a large fan pattern and excellent coverage
- Versatile: Can be easily applied to many other surfaces such as concrete, plastic, rubber, metal, wood or fiberglass to achieve a Textured satin black finish
- Thread Size: 8-32
- Stud Length: 0.341 inch
- Foot Height: 0.480 inch
- Overall Height: 0.821 inch (size from the base of the rubber foot/bumper to the top of the stud)
- Foot Outer Diameter (OD): 0.684 inch
Step 1: Get Some Measurements
Before getting started on your roof rack, you will have to take a few critical measurements. Here are the ones you need to take note of:
- Distance between the existing roof rack mounts (the two front mounts and the two rear mounts)
- Angle of the top of the windshield
- Length from the windshield to the back of the vehicle with the liftgate opened
- Dimensions of your sunroof (if you have one)
Step 2: Plan Out Your Design
Once you’ve taken your measurements, plot out your roof rack’s design. When planning out where to put your crossbars, leave a gap for your sunroof (if your vehicle has one) and allow for a bit of allowance on the sides.
Step 3: Tap the Extruded Aluminum
If you haven’t already purchased the extruded aluminum pre-tapped, start tapping them on either side. You will then have some holes where you can screw the bolts on the sides of the roof rack.
What is Tapping? Tapping is the process of drilling a hole in such a way that you can thread a screw or bolt inside later on.
Step 4: Drill the Side Pieces
Drill some holes on both side pieces corresponding to where your crossbars should be. Since the side pieces are 2 in. tall and the crossbars are 1 in. tall, drill four holes for each crossbar location so you can have the option to mount them on top (for a rooftop tent) or at the bottom (for general storage)
Step 5: Cut the Sides to Length and Test the Pieces Together
Cut the side aluminum pieces to the desired length. Once everything’s drilled down, ask someone to help you assemble the side pieces of your DIY roof rack to your vehicle’s roof. Make sure your rack’s at the center and use a few wood blocks to set it at the right height
Step 6: Prepare the Roof Rack Feet
Next, clamp your aluminum angle to your rack, drill holes to the side pieces, and use a marker to mark where the roof mount feet holes are located. Drill some holes corresponding to those locations after.
Step 7: Paint and Assemble it All Together
Now that you finished all the drilling, it’s time to paint all the pieces with some bedliner spray paint. Let it dry.
Once the paint has dried, bolt in the pieces to your vehicle and check how it comes together.
Step 8: Create Some Rubber Bumpers for Support
To add a bit of extra support, add a couple of rubber bumpers near the front of your roof rack. This prevents your rack from swaying from side-to-side when moving off.
Here’s how to create the bumpers:
- Place a T-nut stud at the bottom of the first extruded aluminum in front.
- Screw the spacer down tightly onto it.
- Add a jam nut to your rubber bumper
- Adjust the height until there’s a bit of pressure between the rack and your vehicle’s roof
This is how it should look like and how this roof rack is made:
The sky’s the limit once you put your DIY roof rack together. We hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial and stay tuned for more.
Have you already put together a roof rack for your car? Let us know in the comments section below!
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