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2004 Astro V6
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197 Posts
I finally have the last piece of my roof rack framed up and installed the second level solar panel basket today..
Yukon rails(craigs "buy"..free for an exchange of a couple old '60s boat rack sets.. a couple sets of Yakima bars($120 for the 4 bars and mounts,neighbor and craigs)..for two levels.I had the 3/8" x 2" commercial building window stop stock,scrapped out of a job about 30 years ago..The front basket was a Yakima one I found on craigs for $50..the other was a free commercial store shelving rack..we have about 6 more we use for pea and bean trellises).No I didn't steal those from the wife's garden..I had a couple laying around at my other house indoors already painted black.Spent $$ for stainless screws and bar mighty mounts..I have another of the bar mounts coming in but I found a big bag of Stainless hose clamps(like 50?.1" to 3" diameter) for $5 at Habitat for Humanity.
The open longer side areas on the rack are for a Slimy Shady canopy I got with the blue van(can slide it on either van) and I'm thinking an abs solar shower for the other side.
I ordered a "set of two matching refurbished100 watt solar panels" from a "Quality" solar company on ebay.They were shipped in an old box that appeared to have been used about 10times previously(several different sets of tape on it.)One was the wrong model number..different looking and model than advertised and the other's top glass was totally fractured down to 1/4" pieces of glass(the correct model),probably from one side of the box being collapsed.The seller wanted me to keep the one I couldn't match and ship it back..and refund for only the broken one..No thanks.He refused to resend the correct pair even though he had a dozen more for sale.I filed with ebay and about 1 to 1-1/2 months later with all the BS I finally got my funds back,,the day after ebay required him to refund me.He only wanted the good panel shipped back,so did(fedex return..took at least two weeks to CA with no visible tracking(Fedex.."that's not a valid tracking number"..using his return label).Communication from him was nothing..other than the half offer.
My first front rack/basket was made especially for his panels(length and width for two deep..to unfold).I ended up having to redo the rack and make the second basket so they both face up when installed(one 100 watt one in each)..probably next spring due to his delay.I had planned to spend $200-300 more to his company but ended up buying everything elsewhere on ebay..30 mppt controller,wires,batteries,parts,etc..etc..
Another "quality solar company" I asked to ship three small items together to save them money from California(like 1lb all together)..ended up with three FEDEX packages that took about 15 days(lost for tracking) from CA to WA.. also putting off the rest of mounting the solar stuff until spring..
The roof rack is on..and I can get my workbenches back for other projects..as of TODAY.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive carrying rack

..and..I also got my new sticker/letters on the back ,so when I pass ya,you won't have to wonder what year it is..,;).
Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Car Automotive tire Automotive exterior
 

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1998 LS AWD Forest Green metallic
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1,486 Posts
For future reference, I would be interested in knowing how much additional noise is generated by that modification at highway speeds. I would assume it will be noticeable.
I wonder if it would it be any better if they were one directly in front of the other?:unsure:
Thanks,
Rod J
Issaquah, WA
 

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2004 Astro V6
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197 Posts
Rod..The whistling..I may be able to add a larger Yakima fairing(or make my own) up front to kill the wind over the van and under the rack..if needed.The two front pieces of the side rails sets/pieces overlap about 1/2" in the middle front// back pieces.I can bolt/caulk them together as one larger one..and the front and back ones are sloped 22 degrees,not straight up and down and cover the mesh portion..that might help the noise factor..I hope.. Once I get some data on that..I'll post it. The rack is segmented..I can cut down,modify, or take off sections if the noise is too bad and drives me nuts.

The worst whistling I ever had with a roof rack was packing a 24' aluminum scaffolding plank up to Steven's Pass(Other side..Yodelin Place) on the roof rack of my 3/4 ton ford van to finish a steep A-frame cabin's interior with T&J cedar 18/12 pitch(My siding jacks setup inside with the plank,worked great. 28' long cabin.).That corrugated aluminum rack deck whistled like a 747 taking off.The owner and i just laughed about it once we took off from the rental yard..we couldn't hear each other sitting side by side for the 60+ miles or so..with the windows closed.I understand whistling problems!:eek:

Making the panels inline down the middle made it too long to add the Fantastic fan in the back.Right now it clears the fan's cover in the open position by about 1/2".The Yukon rails had "set" feet in the middle and they were placed on the van as close to the ribs as possible without redrilling the tracks for new foot positions.The racks and length is pretty well centered on the van.The "2-panel length" would have been about 6-1/2 to 7' long..and I already had the front basket bought/ built before ordering the solar panels.If I want to add a cargo box on the roof or haul long stuff,I can move the second panel to one side yet..if needed.Long items can extend over the front rack(because of the lower bar/feet) and be strapped down and the panels unaffected if not in use.
I've been thinking about making some wood/fiberglass covers for protecting the solar panels..I park under big fir trees..that drop tree crap and branches.. I'm also thinking of not having them up there unless needed for a trip..and "pack-a-way" controller and setup..I've made a couple aluminum bars and handle that mount top and bottom on the panels(same side bar material) and a rubber mat in between the two for carrying,storing,zero current..when not in use..and for packing them in/out of the van.More than likely..the panels won't be on the van for long lengths of time..mounted,used only during special trips.
And..Theft in these parts is at a ridiculous level...why tempt them?
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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5,907 Posts
There is no way I am reading those 2 huge paragraphs.

At first, I thought it might have good info for all - I'll copy and paste it, but use some std. grammatical stds. and reading / comprehension info - make a few edits...

But, the Bengals game surprised me and I lost track.


What was I reading...?
 

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I finished this little project today. Here’s one solution if you’re doing a build and wondering what to do about the big hole left in the ceiling after the PS middle row seatbelt mechanism is removed.
Automotive design Ceiling Air travel Font Aerospace engineering


I utilized the factory fairing and modeled a drawer to fit in the void. Because it’s close to the ceiling that limits getting into it once pulled out so it tilts down and is held in by two tabs on the back. You can see too I utilized the rear row seatbelt attach points by mounting screw eyes that I powder coated.
Automotive design Auto part Office equipment Home appliance Lcd projector

Hood Automotive design Bumper Automotive exterior Wood


In the closed position it’s held in to keep from coming out while driving by a magnet mounted in a wooden post that’s attracted to a thin piece of metal on the back of the drawer. The drawer rides on top of some foam.
Hood Table Wood Electronic instrument Bumper

Automotive design Bumper Wood Automotive exterior Hood


I have a 16-year-old daughter that drives this van too so who knows what get put in the secret drawer. Cheers.
 

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1992 Astro - Silver / Gray / 4 Wheels
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5,907 Posts
Lowcountry said:
I finished this little project today. ...
Thanks.
What a great idea for those who don't need the retractor anymore.

We did away with that seat also and when I replaced the Fabric, I filled that hole in the Headliner with a patch of fiberglass. And cut off the bolt ends.
I think your idea looks easier and nothing beats a great hiding spot...
 

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Clever use of those anchors.
Where did you find screw eyes with the correct thread to fit those anchor brackets?
Rod J
I got them from McMaster Carr. They’re beefy as one of my thoughts was you could attach one end of a hammock to one and run out of the back with the other end hooked to a tree. Here’s the link:

 
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