DYI Roof Rack/Basket

p1michaud

Expedition Leader
DIY Roof Rack/Basket

Just last weekend, I finally installed my Roof Basket that's been in the making since December 2005. :Wow1:

First a bit of background. I had been debating the pros and cons of a roof basket for along time. So this December I was over at my friend's place who has a welder, chop saw, a few grinders and a nice garage to work in. We were discussing various ideas for small projects and mentionned that I was thinking of building my own roof basket for the Tacoma. We looked at my metal pile (left over from previous projects) that was building in his garage and figured that I did not need to buy hardly any material with what I already had. No to mention he was happy to see my pile of junk leave his garage! :rolleyes:

So I started doing some research and figured that I wanted my basked size to be 52" long by 44" wide. Attached is a .pdf file of what I came up with. In the desing of the basket, I had incorporated brackets for aux. lighting front and back, Hi-Lift mounting points and shovel mounting clamps using a pair of Quick Fist rubber clamps. The material I had was 3/4" square tube by 1/8" thick and 3/4" angle by 1/8" thick. It's heavy I know but the price was right (read free). I was originally going to use the "kennel" flooring but when I got on the phone and started talking to the sales rep, it was going to cost me $45 US for 3 sheets of material and $68 US for shipping then I had to drive 2 hours to pick it up and pay anohter 15 % to bring it in to Canada! So, I decided to use 3/4" expanded and flattened metal instead. I got a sheet for about $55 CDN.

Since we only gather in my friend's garage on Thursday evenings when we can, I have been picking away at fabricating this thing since December of 2005. I first cut the bottom part and tacked it together. Then I cut upper part of the roof basket and tacked it all together. After trying to make sure everything was lined up I welded the whole works together. Next I trimmed the expanded metal to fit and welded that in place as well. Then I finally cleaned up my nasty looking welds with a grinder. Who needs to know how to weld when you know how to grind! :hehe: The last phase prior to installation was to finish the basket. I had some DIY roll in bed liner that was left over, so I used that to cover the metal. By using a roller it resulted in a nice textured finish. Finally the roof basket was installed to my existing THULE roof rack using four U bolts.

All in all the DIY roof basket creation of mine turned out really well and I could not be happier. I can install and remove it relatively easily by myself, it looks pretty good, I've got room for a Hi-Lift, shovel, aux. lighting, other supplies as necessary and best of all it cost less than $100 CDN!

I did picke up a few things if someone else is thinking of building one. If I were to do it again, i'd use thinner material (i.e. 1/16" range) because it's relatively heavy at approximately 45 lbs. I'd make sure that the tabs you install for the aux. lighting are stout. Mine are a bit too thin and cause the Lightforce 170's to vibrate way too much and they are light weight. I'm going to cut the brackets off and replace them with thicker, beefier ones down the road. What else can I say? I'll be more than happy to answer any questions or post up more pics if anybody wants to see more.
Cheers,
P

Humm, I can't get the pics to load as attachements properly. Time for plan B! Sorry for all the pics!
Picture of rack after welding, before painting:
DSC03052.jpg


Aux light mounting tabs:
DSC03054.jpg


Picture of rack on truck, various angles:
DSC03101.jpg

DSC03103.jpg

DSC03116.jpg
 

Attachments

  • Tacoma_Roof_Rack_r1.pdf
    6.8 KB · Views: 276
Last edited:

p1michaud

Expedition Leader
A few other pictures...

Here are a few more pictures.

Hi-Lift mounting tabs:
DSC03105.jpg


Shovel mounts (Quick Fist clamps):
DSC03106.jpg

DSC03114.jpg
 

blaze one

Adventurer
Looks great , I have looked around for a roof basket/rack , and found that because most are imported from usa manufactures , they are very expensive up here . The cheapest one i have found is a LUND product for $269 cnd .
How much do you think the metal ( smaller guage ) would cost if you had to purchase it , and left out the bottom expanded metal ?
And , which kind of welder did you use ? , I can buy a used Mig welder for $100 or just rent one for a weekend .
 

p1michaud

Expedition Leader
Welder and metal

blaze one said:
Looks great , I have looked around for a roof basket/rack , and found that because most are imported from usa manufactures , they are very expensive up here . The cheapest one i have found is a LUND product for $269 cnd .
How much do you think the metal ( smaller guage ) would cost if you had to purchase it , and left out the bottom expanded metal ?
And , which kind of welder did you use ? , I can buy a used Mig welder for $100 or just rent one for a weekend .

Thanks!
I'd guess that for about $100 CDN you could buy all the metal. My bottom pieces are 1" flat bar by 1/8" thick. I'm fortunate enough to know someone that will sell me metal at cost even if it's not full lenghts. Most places here want you to buy the complete 20' to 22' lenght. My friend has a 220V Miller Mig, solid wire welder. Works great. Even I can weld with it once it's set up!
Cheers :beer:,
P
 

robert

Expedition Leader
How do you like that Thule track mount? I'm still trying to decide whether to go with artificial gutters or a track.

I've pretty much decided on the gutters and adding a frame inside the shell for extra insurance but thought I'd ask. By the way, weren't there some pics of a setup with the bracing inside the shell?
 

p1michaud

Expedition Leader
THULE track mount.

robert said:
How do you like that Thule track mount? I'm still trying to decide whether to go with artificial gutters or a track.

I've pretty much decided on the gutters and adding a frame inside the shell for extra insurance but thought I'd ask. By the way, weren't there some pics of a setup with the bracing inside the shell?

I am very pleased with this track mount. I have not used any any other mounting systems to compare it to, but this one works great for me. I know that Mountainpete has a similar set up and seems to enjoy it. Take a read through this tread if you have not already done so. Here is another alternative. Also if you search for rack you'll find lots of threads that discuss roof racks/baskets.

I'm not sure if you mean a reinforcing plate under the fiberglass or a complete internal frame supporting the shell like this see post #5?

Cheers :beer:,
P
 

erin

Explorer
:coffee:
Very nice job P. I'm glad to see you took the extra time and 45'd the corners. It's little details like that that make the job so much more satisfying.
I was wondering if the expanded metal whistles at all during speed? I was considering using it on the rack I'm refinishing that I bought from Scott.
 

datrupr

Expedition Leader
Very nice, now you have me thinking and I may have to get with Brian and build my rack. Very cool.
 

p1michaud

Expedition Leader
Thanks!

erin said:
:coffee:
Very nice job P. I'm glad to see you took the extra time and 45'd the corners. It's little details like that that make the job so much more satisfying.
I was wondering if the expanded metal whistles at all during speed? I was considering using it on the rack I'm refinishing that I bought from Scott.

The corners did take more time, but I was not in a rush so that made a big difference in the final outcome. I had concerns about the expanded metal being noisy as well, but I can’t hear it at all while driving even with the windows down and radio off. I believe there are 2 reasons for that, one the MTRs drown out any low level noise and the roll on bed liner had a sound deadening effect as well.
Cheers :beer:,
P
 

OverlandZJ

Expedition Leader
Outstanding job...and it's very pleasing to the eye.

Where does one find those Quik Fist clamps? I need to mount a shovel and axe on my rack and Garvin wants $80 for the clamp.
 

calamaridog

Expedition Leader
:clapsmile


Very nice! I love the corner treatment, very good.

My only comment on roof racks in general is they seem to sit higher than they need to. I would eventually like a roof rack too but many of the ones I've seen sit higher than they need to.

Or am I missing something?
 

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