Introduction: DIY Roof Rack Cross Bars
My Buick SUV didn't come with any cross bars. I saw a set on Ebay for about $120.00 but still, I'd have to figure out how to mount it to the roof rack I bought. A trip to the hardware store and $10.00 later, I came up with this setup which worked great.
This instructable took me 3 months to put together. Well, the actual project only took about an hour but I had to make sure it held up to all our Summer travel. Now that it's tested here's what I did.
Step 1: Cut the Bars to Length
The bars are cut from 3/4" electrical conduit. A 10' piece cost me about $2.00. I measured the distance between the roof tracks and added 6". I then cut 2 bars the same length.
The roof rack sits right on top of the cross bars. This particular rack has six bolts that protrude out. Accordingly, I drilled out 6, 1/4" holes in each bar. The holes at the ends are drilled all the way through so they can bolt together. To keep the holes in line i just measured and marked their positions along the seam of the conduit.
Step 2: Mount the Bars to the Rack
To bolt it together I installed each bolt loosely and then tightened them up from the outside moving towards the middle. Once it's all together, 4 bolts are sitting in holes drilled along bar and two bolts are connecting it to the rack.
To improve the look of the finished product I added end caps to the ends of the bars.
Step 3: Prep Your Hardware
Here's what you need for hardware:
4, 1/4" bolts
16, 1" diameter 1/4" washers
4, 3/16" lock washers
4, 3/16" nuts
4, 3/4" conduit hangers.
To help with installation I cut grooves into each 1/4 bolt. You want them just long enough so they don't interfere with the conduit while they're sitting in the hangers. The bolts I bought were too long so I cut them down to 20mm long. That's the only modification you need to make.
Step 4: Roof Mount Installation
Place 2 washers on a bolt. Slip the washers into the track keeping the bolt in them. I didn't have any trouble with them fitting right in. Place two washers on top of that. Now spin the hanger on the bolt. Use a flat head if you need any help here. To slide the front mounts in place I had to temporarily remove a bolt from within the track.
Step 5: Tighten It All Down
Measure the mounts so they are placed square on your roof. Spin the hangers until they are tight and facing the right way. You'll have to use a flat head to help get this done. Next place the rack into the mounts and center it. First tighten the bolt against the conduit. To lock the bolt in place tighten the nut down against the mount. Make sure you have a lock washer in between.