Custom Roof Rack Fabrication - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old April 12th, 2009, 09:11 AM
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Custom Roof Rack Fabrication

I really wanted a roof rack so I could carry all my gear and still have room in the back for my son or my dogs. I don't care for the Safety Devices or Urban Offroad racks as I think they look like giant shopping baskets. They are also poorly made with pinch welds and utilize weak mounting points on the aluminum body. Those two rack designs also require modification to mount roof top tents. So I came up with my own design - open in the front so I could fit a 1.2m tent - and much more stout in terms of welds and mounting. I sourced 1 1/2" steel tube and 1" steel box and used stainless or grade 8 hardware where needed. For the two front support bars, I went to Rock Hard 4x4 for some 1 3/4" fabrication collars. Total cost in materials was about $300, but I did get a smokin' deal on the steel. As for labor, it was a kick in the balls - a full 3 1/2 days of labor, or about 30 hours of fab time.

Below are a few pics, and you can check out the full write-up here:http://www.cj-3a.com/fabricating_a_custom_roof_rack.htm
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  #2  
Old April 12th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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barry f
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Basket is awesome. Similar to ECR. Not sure I like the ladder but your work in general looks great. I need you to live closer to make my basket like this.
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  #3  
Old April 12th, 2009, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjf
Basket is awesome. Similar to ECR. Not sure I like the ladder but your work in general looks great. I need you to live closer to make my basket like this.
What specifically don't you like about the ladder? The reason I ask is that I may be making a bunch for sale.
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  #4  
Old April 12th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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The mounts are good. I wish the ladder shape looked like the safety devices one.
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  #5  
Old April 12th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Hmmm... I thought mine was pretty close to the SD ones. My difference is the degree of bends. You'll notice that around the license plate where my curves are not as tight. Here's a pic of an SD ladder below.
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  #6  
Old April 12th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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that looks good. I like it because it doesn't look like it is trying to totally copy the SD rack but has its own characteristics too. nice thick tubing and the ladder is cool in its own way.

I didn't like the urban offroad rack because it was trying to do an straight copy of the SD rack but some of the bends were a bit off. This feels more like its own creation and I like that.

I would maybe suggest that the rack is lowered an inch or two. it looks like the crossbars raise it an inch too high. but that could just be the look because no soft top or hard top is on the truck in the photos.
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  #7  
Old April 12th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ini88
I would maybe suggest that the rack is lowered an inch or two. it looks like the crossbars raise it an inch too high. but that could just be the look because no soft top or hard top is on the truck in the photos.
Good point! I wanted my rack to be as low as possible, so it sits just 1" above the hard top (fiberglass). I think it just looks higher because the top is off. My other option was to angle the basket down up front, but that would have made mounting a tent harder.
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  #8  
Old April 12th, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Did you think about relocating the center mounter break light to the rack? I was thinking a bar across the ladder section with a mounting plate right at the hight of the cage piller so not to obstruct view.
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  #9  
Old April 12th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjekogian
Did you think about relocating the center mounter break light to the rack? I was thinking a bar across the ladder section with a mounting plate right at the hight of the cage piller so not to obstruct view.
Interesting idea! But to me, the rack is not a permanent addition to the vehicle. I'd remove my 3rd brake light entirely before I moved it.
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  #10  
Old April 12th, 2009, 03:00 PM
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I think if you made the first step on the ladder more square I would be down with it
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  #11  
Old April 12th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjf
I think if you made the first step on the ladder more square I would be down with it
Yeah, that's a tough one as my die is 5.5" center line radius. The SD racks look to be 3.5" CLR. Point taken though as I wish it was more square as well.
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  #12  
Old April 12th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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I just don't like how the bottom step on the license plate side is basically a half circle. The rest works pretty well, but that's just a strange shape in that location.
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  #13  
Old April 12th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
I just don't like how the bottom step on the license plate side is basically a half circle. The rest works pretty well, but that's just a strange shape in that location.
Yeah, that seems to be the consensus, but my die can't get a tighter bend, and I can't make it wider to alleviate the half circle. I do have some pre-bent tighter corners (used for stair railings) that I might be able to splice in. Or suck it up and buy a tighter CLR die.
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  #14  
Old April 12th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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Wow, I've seen that rack design before, let me think......it'll come to me......oh yeah..ECR


love the originality.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 05:25 PM
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Aw, c'mon Carey - his ladder is his own design, and a few of us have been doing the 3-sided custom rack thing for a while now. Dave M was the first I knew of, and I did pretty much the exact same thing.
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  #16  
Old April 12th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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OK, OK,.... I'm not bashing anyone here, but he just stated that it was HIS design, rear ladder-YES, rack-not so much.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 06:13 PM
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There's just not too many directions to go with the basket.

I think you definitely need to use those pre-made bends for the bottom of the ladder. As it, it obscures the license plate.
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  #18  
Old April 12th, 2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EWR
OK, OK,.... I'm not bashing anyone here, but he just stated that it was HIS design, rear ladder-YES, rack-not so much.
I said I came up with my own design. Open in front. Mine differs from ECR in that I added more floor support so I wouldn't have to install some type of flooring like on ECRs. So mine is different than ECR in that way. And who gives a #$%@ if mine is an ECR ripoff? They have a great design! Plus there are not too many other styles of baskets out there to do - full basket, or open in the front or back. Not sure what else you could do?
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  #19  
Old April 13th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Little off topic, but how tall is your garage door? I really would like to get a rack, but I am not sure I could get it back in the garage...
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  #20  
Old April 13th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Completly on topic! I have 8' garage doors. My D-90 with the rack is 7'2" tall. That's with a 2" OME lift and 285/55 tires.
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