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Old 04-04-2014, 03:08 PM   #1
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Question DIY Roof Mounted Bike Rack?

I would like to bring our 4 bikes along camping. I know a rack on the back of the popup is a bad idea and I don't want to lift them to the top of my SUV and a bike double hitch between the truck and the trailer would not work well (too much hitch weight and not enough space). So the top of the camper it is.

I've checked out all of the stock possibilities and factory built racks are expensive. I've checked out the Pro Rack system that goes on the tongue and it is pricy but cheaper than the roof mounted options like Thule and Yakima. I'm thinking of building something myself using bike fork mounts like these that can screw into a pressure treated wood 2x4 mounted to the factory installed rails. I will not drill holes into my trailer! I was inspired by this thread but I would modify my rack to attach it to the rails with bolts through the wood.

So my question is has anyone attached anything to the top of their popup using the factory installed rails along the edge of the roof? How did you do it? I was thinking of carriage bolts ground down so they fit in the slot, twisted so they hold, and then bolted directly to the wood 2x4.

I’m also looking for feedback on my plan. I'm not an engineer by any means and not 100% certain that this is a good idea. I've seen several DIY bike racks online but don’t want to do something that will not be stable or cause damage to my rig or someone elses.

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
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The problem I see with using wood is it expands and contracts with weather. opening up places for water to get in. We had a coleman popup that had a factory installed bike rack water made its way down the screw holes. opened it up in the spring not a pretty site. Good luck
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:00 PM   #3
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Make one out of aluminum angle and bolt it together. Use wood skids where it sets on the roof and strap it down with ratcheting tie downs. Do not bolt it permanently to the roof. When you camp you can set it on the ground and park your bikes in it if you desire.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverbum View Post
The problem I see with using wood is it expands and contracts with weather. opening up places for water to get in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcfarmall View Post
Make one out of aluminum angle and bolt it together.
Thanks for the feedback. I hadn't thought about that. I might try making it out of steel tubing instead. My father-in-law owns a machine shop.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:52 PM   #5
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I'd still use aluminum. Lighter, won't rust, easy to drill & tap. If your FIL has a shop then surely he can get some good pricing on aluminum from his suppliers.

If he has a TIG welder with hi frequency, get a bottle of helium and weld it up! BOOM BABY!!!
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:58 AM   #6
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I'd still use aluminum. Lighter, won't rust, easy to drill & tap. If your FIL has a shop then surely he can get some good pricing on aluminum from his suppliers.

If he has a TIG welder with hi frequency, get a bottle of helium and weld it up! BOOM BABY!!!
Thanks mcfarmall! You seem to know what you are talking about. I am woefully ignorant. I'll talk to my FIL and see what he recommends. Will the Aluminum be strong enough to span that distance with the weight of 4 bikes moving around in the wind?
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