Introduction: Roof Rack for Civic Hybrid 2007

Picture of Roof Rack for Civic Hybrid 2007

I have been inspired by this site for many of my projects. This is one of mine that I would like to share.
When I bought my Honda Civic Hybrid, I lost much of the cargo carrying capacity I had while owning a 95 Geo Metro and 91 Honda Accord. I decided to get a new roof rack but found out that it would cost around $400. While searching the web, I stumbled upon some instructables on homemade roof racks and that gave me the idea for this. Luckily for me I already had an old "BIC" brand (universal) roof rack which I had been using with my 91 Honda Accord but which could not be attached on my civic due to the different roof configuration.
You may be able to find a rack like this cheap on Craigslist or other classifieds site.
I had to remove the old attaching gear and find a way to keep the rack on my civic roof. I used a couple (one for each cross member) of ratchet straps that cost 2 bucks a piece. I did not want to buy expensive straps as this was a trial. Now that I know it works, I will replace these with good quality straps.
Here are the steps.

Tools needed:
Pliers, Drill plus 3/16" drill bit

Parts:
Universal roof rack, 2 Ratchet Tie down Straps

Step 1: Universal Roof Rack

Picture of Universal Roof Rack

This is a BIC universal roof rack which was given to me by one of my friends several years ago. It used to fit my 91 Honda Accord and several other cars. I have used it with my old cars to carry 2 x 4's, ladders and other stuff. But the system for attaching it to the roof would not work for my new Civic. I removed the existing mounting straps and anchors which hooked above the car doors and replaced that with $2 ratchet straps.
To remove the old hardware, I had to drill out the metal rivets at the strap ends. You can get to these by sliding the rubber protector down off the attaching plate.

Step 2: Drill Out the Rivets

Picture of Drill Out the Rivets

Using a 3/16" drill bit, I drilled 2 rivets from each end and removed them. Make sure to drill the rivet from the "expanded" side not the head.

Step 3: Remove the Hardware From the Strap

Picture of Remove the Hardware From the Strap

Once the rivets are out, the strap can be taken out from the hooking plate. Slide off  the rubber protector next.

Step 4: Take Off the Foot and Strap.

Picture of Take Off the Foot and Strap.

There is a rubber pad under each foot which just pops off. You can then see a butterfly nut which can be unscrewed. You may need to use a plier to loosen this if it is too tight. Slide the foot off the bar. Pull out the strap
Repeat Steps 1, 2, 3 & 4 for the other end of the strap.
Follow the same procedure for the other bar.

Step 5: Get the Ratchet Strap Into the Bar.

Picture of Get the Ratchet Strap Into the Bar.

Insert the end of the ratchet strap through one foot and bar and when it comes out of the other end of the bar, insert it through the other foot and reattach the foot. Tighten the butterfly nuts for the feet and replace the rubber foot covers.

Step 6: Setup on Roof

Picture of Setup on Roof

Place the bar on car roof. Run the straps inside the car with doors open and adjust the position of where the ratchets will hang overhead so that they will not interfere with drivers or passengers' heads. Connect the 2 hooks together and run the free end of the ratchet strap through the winder slot on the ratchet tensioner. Pull it through most of the way before you start working the ratchet. It will automatically wind and tighten the strap.
You may also place pieces of bicycle inner tubing or other suitable material between the straps and the car body where they contact, to prevent scuffing damage to paintwork and door weather stripping. This rack is suitable for carrying 2 x 4's and such. Make sure to tie the load to the crossbars securely. I personally use good quality bungee cords for this purpose. Always drive carefully, checking the load is secure and has not moved after driving a short distance. Avoid driving too fast with roof loads, especially those mounted on homemade racks. I don't need to use the highway when carrying what I need as the big box hardware stores are all near where I live.

Comments

Rollarepairs (author)2017-07-23

Cool build. I just took this roof rack completely apart like you. Was told it would fit 2003 Corolla.. by Craigslist person. I am going to try and find same width racket strap and add screw and nut to hold it in one place. Gonna have to measure very carefully though!! A word for the wise, I ratched through my car like you to take 3 pallets up north and it rained..... Needless to say me and my seats got a little wet so be weary of that. Thanks for posting pics. You convinced me to take mine apart and build! Best of luck dude.

Phil B (author)2011-03-07

I had the same problem when I bought a car without rain gutters and did roughly the same thing you did, except that I made my own car top carriers with 2 x 4s and some old rubber hose for cushioning. The complaint I have with mine is the nylon strap pulls on the car's rubber sealant to create wind noise around 30 mph and above.

darlingtom (author)Phil B2016-05-30

You can mitigate the vibrating noise by either a) twisting the strap, or b) tying a rag around that bit of strap to break up the plane. A zip tie would do it, too, and is discrete.

jimmyf (author)Phil B2011-03-08

Thanks for commenting Phil and Rimar. Phil, I think you could try putting pieces of inner tube or some other material between straps and rubber gasket (weatherstrip). This is something I plan to do. In fact, I was looking at the vacuum molding projects at this site and think it might be a good idea to mold a plastic piece to fit at each door under the straps.
Rimar, I checked out your car rack and I think those screws are a great idea. my rack is Aluminium channel so I might have some trouble getting screws to stay in, but it's definitely worth a shot.

Mastros (author)2011-06-30

Rachets to strongly tie the rack is a wonderful idea. Myself, I'll prefer the hooks of the rachets to be outside the car, so there is no chance of the passengers hitting on them.

From my experience with my racks, I will suggest connecting the two racks with two more, vertical to them, so as to increase the rigidity of the whole system. One or two diagonal connections will make things perfect.
-.

jimmyf (author)Mastros2011-11-26

I think that's a great idea. I usually carry 2X4's on this rack and tie them to the bars with bungee cords, so they essentially work as perpendicular bars and make the rack sturdy. This past summer, I tried carrying other stuff though and found I had to use a lot of ties to hold everything. So it's time to use some wood to make the rack rigid as you say.

rimar2000 (author)2011-03-07

Nice job!
You can easily add a lot of usefulness to your car rack adding a series of hooks. This is done screwing some screws with its heads toward front, rear or down (not upward). My car rack is made that manner, it is very handy.

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