I wanted a roof rack to carry boats and lumber and whatnot.  I was about to buy the NRS Quick and Easy set for roof-rack-makin', but neither of our cars has rain gutters. So then, what to do?  

This rack evolved from an earlier version that just used the big pool noodle with ratchet strap running through it.  Problem with that is the load can still end up hitting the car top and screwing up the paint.  If you don't care about your paint, well, do what you will.  I wanted something a little more robust, so I walked over to the hardware and was so happy when they even had the pool noodles.

Stuff to get:
  • 3/4" dia. EMT electrical conduit. Get 2x of the 5ft length. It's really about 1" outer diameter. I think the nominal dimension there is the inner diameter.  Cost: about $2.75/ea
  • Large diameter pool noodle, any color.  Buy two: 1 to cut up plus 1 for the kids. Once they see that thing they'll want to play with it and it just ain't right to cut up the only one.  Let your least spoiled kid pick the colors. Cost: $4/ea
  • 3/4" conduit clamps.  Cost: $3-4.  You only need 4, but my store only had bags of 20. It was about 1 dollar more for 16 more clamps.  That's a no-brainer anyway. Get the 20 pack!
  • Some screws. For attaching the clamps to the feet. You probably have some. I had a few leftover stainless steel screws that were perfect. 
  • set of 4 ratchet straps. Cost: $??  You probably have some of these already. If not, go get good, strong ones. They're not that expensive and you'll find other uses for them.  
  •  2x4 scrap lumber, at least 16" in length. Cost: $0  This is for making the feet that go on the roof.
  • grippy padding stuff. It goes on the feet to keep them from slipping and messing up your roof.  You probably have something suitable lying around: old mouse pads, those jar opener things, that rubbery shelf-liner stuff, a hot water bottle, a rubber chicken, etc. I had some kind of rubberized stuff or vinyl coated polyester. Cost: $0
Side note: I found it quite strange that a large foam pool noodle cost more than the 3/4" galvanized steel conduit.

Step 1: Cut Your Feet Off and Get Soles

  • I made the feet about 4"x4". Any longer than that and I don't think they will make much more contact with a curving roof anyway.
  • Mark and cut up your 2x4 into four approximately same sized blocks.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure Moment: You may want to make your rack higher off the roof. You could mount the clamps on the 2" wide side of the blocks.  I went with the lower height. You can always change it later, but bear in mind how you attach your grippy padding material...
  • Attach the "soles" to the feet. Glue or nail or staple your chosen grippy padding material. If using mechanical fasteners, make sure to attach ONLY on the sides or top of the feet so that no metal bits are on the "bottom" of the foot, touching the roof.
Looks like a Crown Vic. Just the roofrack that I need. I would add two more pieces of electrical conduit with four ninety degree angles and join the two cross pieces together. Would keep the whole thing together and eliminate the danger of <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br>Looks like the roof rack I need for my 93 Crown Vic. I would just add some rubber caps on the ends of the cross pieces for safety reasons. Thanks. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br>
Nice idea! I might try this.
Disclaimer: Dirt, sand, and other debris wedged between the foam or the blocks can scratch the car surfaces. <br /> <br />Disclaimer: Straps will cause damage to paint, plastic or glass. <br /> <br />Warning: Loading improperly can cause dents in the roof sheet metal. <br /> <br />1. Know your car rooftop weight limits. <br /> <br />2. Clean foam pool noodles, blocks, and roof surface to protect the finish from scratching. <br /> <br />3. Position blocks so the load weight is evenly distributed. Load your cargo so that it is evenly weighted side-to-side and front to back. <br /> <br />4. Loop strap firmly around your load to prevent side-to-side shifting. Run the strap through the doors of the car. Place ratchet strap inside the car. Tighten the strap and check the load often. <br /> <br />5. Attach front and rear straps to your load. Tie off your straps to the FRAME of the car. (Warning: plastic bumpers will not hold your load sufficiently) <br /> <br />6. Apply even pressure to front and rear straps <br /> <br />7. Failure to secure front and real of loads to the end of your car can result in property damage, personal injury or death. <br /> <br />8. Test the movement of the load before driving away. Rock the load side-to-side and front to back. Tighten again if loose. <br /> <br />9. Drive 5 miles and stop to check if all straps are still tight <br /> <br />10. Periodically check the straps for wear. Do not use the straps if faded or torn. <br /> <br /> <br />It is critical that this rack is properly and securely attached to your vehicle. Improper attachment could result in an automobile accident and could cause serious bodily injury or death to you or to others. You are responsible for securing the racks and accessories to your car, checking the attachments prior to use and periodically inspecting the products for adjustment wear and damage. <br />
Excellent!! Great idea!

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