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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:39 pm 
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I have been looking for KK roof bars, but I've been a bit disappointed in how much they cost and the general lack of equipment for sale on Craigslist for the KK. Most KKs were sold without roof bars, so the junkyard isn't going to be much help either. Even the used Yakima and Thule stuff is out of my budget.

I'm seriously considering making my own roof bars, and I've gone through just about every post on the subject here and on Jeepforum. There are a lot of different good ideas out there, and many people have found ways to make this work for under 50 bucks. That's my goal as well. I picked up a good used steel roof basket from a LOST member recently, and plan to mount it to these bars.

Here's what I have in mind for the installation. Feel free to comment on the design, as I'm looking for constructive feedback at this point.

The bars:
I think I will use 1&1/4 inch conduit. People say conduit is significantly quieter than the square unistrut bars, the other cheap option at Home Depot. It's also less expensive than galvanized pipe, and I've read that the 1&1/4 inch conduit has been used successfully many times and can handle the weight. The open ends of the conduit need to be plugged or these will be very noisy on the highway. Some people have used corks. Any other ideas? I will bedline the bars to make them look good.
Image

Mounting:
It seems hard to find a simple and elegant solution here. Most people use U-bolts, and the common solution is to drill the roof bar and use a U bolt around the side rail with the threaded ends pointed up. I see two potential issues here. One is that the threaded end of the U bolt can scratch the cargo or the person loading it. The other issue is that the side rails on the KK are not parallel (I read that they are closer together at the rear of the vehicle than at the front) so having fixed width mounting holes on the roof bars means that they can only be used in a single location on the side rails (no sliding the crossbars forward or back, or at least not much).
I've been brainstorming a better way of mounting the crossbars to the side rails that eliminates the problems mentioned above. See my drawing below. I would need twice as many U-bolts as the typical design, but when secured this way, the bars can still be adjusted forward and back. Also, no drilling is required and the sharp metal threaded bolt ends are pointed down. I would need some sort of rubber material between the roof bars and the siderails to keep the bars from slipping. Has anybody tried anything like this? If so, how well has it worked? If it doesn't work, what was the problem? Thanks for the feedback!
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Last edited by lfhoward on Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:00 pm 
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Not much room under rails might not be enough room for nuts and metal piece. If there is room it might be hard to tighten nuts.


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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:33 pm 
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I like your idea but like Cherrie said it may be hard to tighten the bolts. Plus you're going to need u bolts that hug over your bars nice and tight. Have you thought about your method using square tube and square u bolts?

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Cherrie and Atthehelm, both good points. I will need to measure under the side rails to see if there is enough room for the mounting setup I proposed. I would be happy with square tubes (and square u-bolts) if I could find them at a good price. The only square/rectangular tubes I found at Home Depot in the conduit area were the unistrut (strut channel) that many people have said causes a lot of wind noise at 50+ mph. Got any suggestions of where I could find simple square tubes without all the holes and grooves that the unistrut has?

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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:58 pm 
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I can't remember if I sent you a pic of my last version. Here it is (again?).
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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:24 pm 
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Thanks, Cherrie, I hadn't seen those pics. It helps me visualize how you used the pieces of unistrut to jack up the round bars.

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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:06 pm 
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Remember unistrut comes in 2 sizes. I believe 1 5/8 and 7/8
I had scrap pieces of 1 5/8 so that's what I used. I have 2 pieces of 7/8 that are my 2nd version that I have for a back up. My first version is what I cut up for my kayak hauled.


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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:59 pm 
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I bought my supplies today at the local hardware store. The service there was awesome. They not only helped me find what I needed, but allowed me to test fit components on my Jeep out in the parking lot. Score one for local businesses over big box stores! A big thank you to Ricklin's Ace Hardware in Narberth, PA. Here's what I got:

The roof cross rails are going to be 3/4 inch, 60 inch long galvanized pipes with end caps. Super heavy duty. They will be held on by stainless steel u bolts with nylon lock nuts, with rubber washers sandwiched between the bars and the side rails. I got Rustoleum hammered black paint to dress the bars up and to repaint the used roof basket that I will be mounting up there. :BANANA:

I'll post pics of the rack when I get it together, using the mounting scheme that I sketched out in my earlier post. Can't wait to build it! Pics of the components I bought are in the next post. :JEEPIN:

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Last edited by lfhoward on Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:23 pm 
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The raw materials:
Image

The mounting scheme: The oxo spoon handle represents the OEM side rail, and the glue stick represents the cross bar (pipe). I've test fitted this on the KK and it will work.
Image

The 3/4 inch diameter of the galvanized pipe complements my Rola roof basket quite nicely.
Image

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Last edited by lfhoward on Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:18 pm 
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Stainless wow! Can't believe anyplace would stock them. But yes little hardwares are Hardware, box stores are lite ware stores. My little towns hardwares even has better pricing on much need supplies. And I mean little town's only a flasher in both Tustin and LeRoy.


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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Looks good.
I'd put some 1/4" x 1" x 3"ish steel strips under the glue sticks to spread the load a little. My factory bars crushed a little because I didn't do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:59 pm 
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Thanks, Cherrie and Atthehelm. I'll see about getting metal strips for under the cross bars when I go back to the hardware store on Wednesday. I need to pick up 2 more u bolts and the second section of pipe, which they are ordering.

Any tips for painting? I know I need to wash the oil off the galvanized pipe before I can paint it, and I plan to take a wire brush to the rusting sections of the roof basket, and then wash it, before painting it. I have Rustoleum hammered black spray paint, which supposedly can be applied over the top of rust.

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:14 am 
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Its likely the hardware store is only going to have 1/8 x 1" flats, the thicker stuff you pay through the roof for small 4' quantity. Pm me your mailing address and I'll get ya set up. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Wow, I really do appreciate the offer! :D I'm sure you have some scrap steel from your bumper projects lying around that would be perfect. I went out to the Jeep this morning to test fit the bars to see if there would be enough room for a 1/4 inch shim. Here's what I found:

Unfortunately, there isn't enough length on the U-bolt for an additional 1/4 inch metal shim between the pipe and the side rails.
Image

I could fit a thinner metal shim, like the height of the metal crosspiece that secures the U-bolts.
Image

I know longer U-bolts would be best. Unfortunately there isn't a terribly wide selection of U-bolt sizes if I want them to be stainless steel. The longer they are, the wider pipes they're supposed to fit. The ones I have are nearly perfect. Do you think I could get away with using a thinner metal shim?

And one more picture... the 60 inch pipe is a nice size for roof bars on the KK.
Image

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Last edited by lfhoward on Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:59 pm 
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It doesnt even look like you can get 1/8" in there. You may want to run nylocks in there, those nuts may want to loosen on their own.

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:45 pm 
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I did get nylocks, but they aren't in the test fit photos above. Those are the plain nuts that came on the u-bolts. I will double check the u-bolt selection at the hardware store to see if I can get longer ones, so that I can add shims. If not, I may just deal with slightly bent side rails. :D

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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:38 pm 
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I got non stainless but longer one's ,cut them down, they were the correct width. I have one yet to cut and install, had to order it.


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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:10 pm 
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I got the bars and a Rola roof basket installed today! :BANANA: Too dark outside for pics, though. I'll post soon. Nothing is painted yet, but it still looks awesome. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:52 pm 
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lfhoward wrote:
I got the bars and a Rola roof basket installed today! :BANANA: Too dark outside for pics, though. I'll post soon. Nothing is painted yet, but it still looks awesome. :mrgreen:


OK, Pics as promised! It's rainy and dreary outside, and these are phone photos, but you get the idea. I plan to paint the bars (although painting galvanized steel seems like it's going to be a process) and sand the rust off the rack and repaint that too. It will have to wait until I have nicer weather, though. Beginning with a zoomed out shot, and getting closer so you can see the mounting details...
Image

Image

Image

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Trailer build thread: viewtopic.php?f=72&t=77997


Last edited by lfhoward on Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Homebrew roof bars for KK
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:35 pm 
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:)Reinstated by posting pic's;):)


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