Step 5: Building the Rack, Part 3

E -- Loosely lay out the cross-bars on the rails, spring clamp, think about it, and draw pencil marks where you think (1) they all attach, and (2) where any load-attachment holes will be drilled. You will need holes for the straps holding rack to roof, and holes for rope loops, eye-bolts, eye-straps, etc., for strapping loads to rack.

Note -- I like rope loops (3/8 inch, and tie them with nonslip knots, especially the bowline bend or some other) because they are cheap, strong, flexible (will not damage load if you rub against them), and easily checked and replaceable. You can paint the nylon rope loops if you think UV damage will degrade them sooner than wear and tear.

F -- Now assemble on your roof loosely and think about it. Make final adjustment and change your marks if needed. Simulate the way you will load your loads (such as kayak) so that the rack will intercept all bashing, damaging, angered motions of the loading event. If you want to spend more money, now is the time to buy or build rubber rollers to help load the kayak on the rear cross-bar, or install plastic slidey things.

G -- Now level the assembly on the roof if you did not scribe the roof curve on the rails. I used wood wedges to level the rack on the roof by lifting the rear end of the rack, took the measure-ments, and built spacer blocks (angled to the roof angle) by laying the blocks against the wedged up wrack and drawing the outline of the relationships on the blocks. Finally, I shaped the blocks, glued them one the rails, and reinforced them too with a 3/8 wooden dowel glued into block and rail. The photo shows the spacer blocks leveling the rack as well as the illustration for the Step J, 'test load your kayak.' Just trying to save Instructables' data space.

--photo of kayak leaned on the rear cross-bar

H -- Then glue and screw the whole assembly. Sand and paint.

I -- The final step is to cut your foam pads to wrap around the front rail and the rear leveling blocks. I used stainless steel screws and washers to attach the pads (the washers prevent tear out).

--photo of the foam pads being screwed on

I know it has been a long time but I feel the need to share this. I drive a focus and have a ford OE (original equipment) rack. Mounts into pre drilled holes in the car and all.
Hi where do i get myself one of these racks..as am haveing trouble finding 1 to fit my 3 door focus
Hi -- That's interesting. My Ford dealer said they had nothing to fit my car. That is exactly what I need. Thanks for showing me.
Gotta love the Focus. I have one (wagon, came with the rack) and it's fun to drive, handles great, lots of storage space, comfortable (could have a bit for leg room for 5-6+ hour drives, but I'm 6' 3" so not exactly normal). The only thing I find lacking is engine power, and that's still fine for 95% of driving, and the other 5% requires 4WD.
thank for idea... my car are same as your car.. but you think? strong enough if i will put the bike
very nice
I happen to have a focus "white I might add ' I would look into a tow hitch. not for towing but for additional support in the guise of a truck bed extender as sold by harbor freight tools, in short don't let the roof determine the configuration of your sleeping quarters, flip down legs preferably recycled could easily expand your possibilities. have a nice trip
There are strap/hooks you can get that go in between the rubber/metal and hook onto the metal. They do not destroy the rubber, but they DO still let in rain. You can get them from <br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.lakelandgear.com/j-hook-clip-strap-set-for-vehicles-w-o-luggage-racks-lgclips.aspx">http://www.lakelandgear.com/j-hook-clip-strap-set-for-vehicles-w-o-luggage-racks-lgclips.aspx</a><br/>On that page, there is a link for instructions how to use them too.<br/>Hope that helps!<br/>
Thanks for showing me that. I will have to re-investigate my car structure for use of these things.
Nice Rack! I have done this, another thing you want to be careful of when running the straps through your doors, is eventually the straps could damage your door gaskets. But I love the design and I also love not paying Thule or Yakima a gazillion dollars for something you could make yourself. Nice work.
If your concerned about fuel efficiency, the last thing you should ad is wind resistance to your car with a roof rack, which will increase your coefficient drag. Great job though, just wasn't sure if you knew that.
Yup, I had that figured out ;-) However, carrying the kayak without a rack seemed worse than with one (I dented my roof in a little when I tightened the tie downs). Any ways, I take the rack off when I am not carrying the boat, which is an advantage of this rack; I probably would not be unbolting a commercial rack after each time I came back from boating. So in a sense this strap-on rack encourages fuel-efficient habits. A rack for the 21st century! ;-)
If you live where the winter temps dip, do not use PVC. I watched a covered load "shotgun" on the freeway from a pvc rack in the winter. -20c and consider the wind chill of doing 120km/h....Sure was cool to see though :-)
Well, that's good to know! However, I wouldn't have built a rack all out of PVC -- just use either small diameter PVC pipe, or quarter sections cut out of larger, to make plastic bearing surfaces over the structural wood to slide loads on and off. The high density plastic strips sold in some woodworking stores as bearings for lumer saw guides might be better if more expensive.
isnt that about -70F going 80mph?
Dude, get a Honda.
Very good instructable. An important and very easy and economic improvement is to place screws whose head stands out down an inch, separate 8 or 9 inches along each support. That allows to hook easy and quickly the used rope to tie the baggage.
Oh, I think I see: on the sides of the rails, so you could zig-zag lace a load on?
An image is worth more than a thousand words... (I Made a drawing in OpenOffice, but I could not make the upload. ) The thing is simple: in the inferior part of each horizontal bar, some screws are added with the head standing out an inch. These screws will work as hooks, avoiding the nuisance of having to pass the rope ball below each bar. To tie and to untie the baggage with that improvement, insume some few seconds.
I remember seeing something about an inflatable roofrack on the internets that could fit any make or model car called the Handirack. Unfortunately i cant get on the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.handirackuk.com/">company's website</a> but a quick google brings up several shops with it in stock. <br/><br/>Still, <strong>buying</strong> something that you could make yourself takes all the fun out of it :p<br/><br/>I'm liking the removable aspect, definately saves the pennies.<br/>
True, buying soils some of the fun and created dignity (never underestimate the sense of dignity conferred by a hobby; so many dignity-reducing forces exist out there!). I did have to buy the car, though ;-) But perhaps next time, if I can get one of those desk-top milling machines (I covet one, or at least the idea of one), I can build the car too. Or better, a jet-pack. My old boss at UConn's now defunct Precision Manufacturing Center, had a desk top milling machine for hobby use (his hobby was improving the design of stock motorcycles), and thereby he adapted automobile tires to a Suzuki 750 to convert it to side-car mode. He redesigned the suspension, too. Man, I wanted one of those machines after that ;-)
We are new to kayaking and ended up searching Craig's list to get a couple sets of J-racks (Thule and Yakama). I like this idea. Do you have any trouble closing the door or window? Another consideration for building material is PVC. Two-inch PVC is pretty sturdy stuff. You can run rope or straps through the inside. One concern with PVC and a kayak is that the PVC is like ice on Teflon - very slippery. Of course you are going to tie it down anyway.
No, no trouble with door; it closes over the strap, and the window is entirely unaffected. PVC, that's a great idea. Somehow I never think of PVC (because I have scrap wood around, I guess). I could use a small PVC tube as a roller or edging. For serious kayakers with some money to spend, a commerical rack is best, no doubt, though this rack encourages me to take it off when not in use, so my gas mileage is better that way.
You also inspired me to think that a PVC tube with a section cut out could be screwed over the cross-bar fronts to make a good hasty almost-aero leading-edge, and also double as a slipperly bearing surface.
Great work, both on the rack and the Instructable! But... hmm.... a store-bought kayak, eh? ;) Are your novels as enjoyable to read as your Instructables?
Thanks. Yeah, sorry about the kayak. I'm not a 'kayak man' really; I use it when I can't go sailing (which was all summer long since my new outrigger is taking way longer than planned, you know the feeling. As for the novels (all two of them), I can't say, except they are of course very different from instructables. I have a free novel The Silent Man Called (sword & sorcery, heroic quest fantasy, whatever) post on the fiction page of my web site in PDF, and some novellas and short stories as well (most of them published in small magazines). My second novel should be coming out from Finetooth Press as soon as the artist finishes the cover, I'm told.

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Bio: If you read blogs, come vist mine: www.tristramshandy21st. blogspot.com where right now I am posting chapters of my humorous and philosophical nonfiction, "In ... More »
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