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Anything to do with the outer exterior of your van. Discuss all body modifications and repairs including fenders and bumpers, hoods and grilles, or doors and windows. All body related things like body panels and handles, wipers and roof racks, mirrors and trim.
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Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 4:28am

Ok so I took off the roof rails on my astro but here’s where the problems start... in order for me to take them I had to drill out the top heads of the screws because they were rusted tight and I also stripped 3 of them. After doing that I pulled and yanked and out came the rivets along with it. With one still intact. My question is now how would I put my roof rail back on? Any ideas or solutions? Or am I going to have to fiber glass bondo the holes and never have a roof rack? I REALLY WANT MY ROOF RACK.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 4:36am

I took it to sand and paint which now left me with a bigger problem an dilemma

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 4:40am

If installed properly,it would have been installed with Rivnuts. You could go next size larger, or even pull headliner, and add another piece of sheet metal with proper size hole.Or even use screws with nuts, on inside of van. So many options. https://www.rivetnutusa.com/

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 4:45am

Yes. it was factory so they used rivnuts I guess. Sorry am I newbie to everything about cars. What would be the easiest solution? The holes are now the size of the rivnuts that came out.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 5:04am

Hello, Astroworld. I'm not your guy for this sort of work, but I wanted to advise that pictures are essential when asking for this kind of help.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 5:33am

This is likely going to be a significant project, because the holes are now larger than original.
I installed a factory JY roof rack on my van, which had never had one installed. I was able to buy RivNuts and bolts to match, so I did not try to match the factory thread.
If I was going to do ity again, I would definitely go through the pain of removing the headliners.
I partially missed one of the the roof ribs ( poor measurement I think) , and as a result I have two RivNuts that are in much weaker metal.
I highly suggest paying a couple of dollars and get to a Pick-A-Part, so you can see what the interior of the roof looks like.
As for a 'fix' for the large holes, I think you are going to have to pull the headliner. I would suggest making some 2" or 3" round metal plates ( they do not have to be very heavy duty ( something like the roof material would probably be OK, but bit thicker might be better). Make the hole in the center a good fit for the RivNut and use them on the inside of the roof as a backup 'washer'. Be sure to get plenty of seam sealer, or other fairly pliable sealant, in between the two parts, and under the mount, when you install the RivNuts and the rack You definitely do not want anything to leak at those rack mounts.
Good luck with that project

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 5:40am

Rod nailed it!!!! Thanks,Rod.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 7:10am

I really screwed this up then. Ok I’ll do what you said rod. Instead of using rivnuts can I just use screws and bolts? I’ll definitely make those metal plates. Any suggestions where to get them and how to cut them?

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 1st 2020, 6:51pm

You can pick up a pack of 'fender washers' at your LAPS/hardware store/online. Or you can make them from some scrap you have laying around.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 1:19am

Yes, Astrowill had good advice:
If you are going to use nuts and bolts, then fender washers (very large washers with small holes) are a readily available item...cheap and easy. I buy the stainless steel versions (and the nuts and bolts too) through E-bay or other on-line sources. Buying Stainless hardware eliminates the possibility of rust, and they do not cost much more on-line, than buying the junky regular cad plated hardware at the local hardware store.
I know fender washers come with holes for most small bolt sizes and up to 1-1/2" inch in outer diameter...and maybe larger. You certainly will not need anything larger than 1/4" bolts with fender washers. The factory ones were 5MM IIRC ( they might have been 6MM, which is the equivalent of 1/4") , and they only went into the RivNuts.
Just remember to seal it up well when you are done. I hand cut soft rubber gaskets to fit under the roof rack bases, and put sealer on both sides, before screwing it all down tight. I don't think I have any leaks...yet.
But... the catch is that you will have to pull down the headliner to do nuts and bolts, and it will most likely require a second person, either inside or up top.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 3:29am

Ok. I was thinking though wouldn’t it slide because the holes will obviously be larger than the screws? I’m not too sure how the fender washer method will work.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 4:08am

fender washers would be on the inside then you would thread a nut onto the bolt. It you just use screws it will pull out.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 5:03am

Even with the fender washers inside, the holes in the roof will be larger than the screws being used for the oem roof rack. So if you were to tug it from back it will slide
Last edited by Astroworld on April 2nd 2020, 5:05am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 5:05am

Like was just said....use bolts; then with the fender washers, ( and lock washers) and nuts, on the inside, up against the roof. IIRC, it is only rated for a couple of hundred ( evenly distributed) pounds.
If done properly, it will not likely go anywhere unless you overload it, and then try brake testing.
If you need a more sturdy rack, then I would look for a commercial contractor's rack, or have a custom expedition rack built.

Rod J

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 5:13am

Ok i wouldn’t be putting too much weight on top. I just really like the look and option of having it. I only removed it so I could sand and raptor liner it. Now I have this headache. I was also thinking of fiberglass bondo the holes and buy some new roof racks rails on eBay drill fresh new holes but they all seem very tall.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 6:12am

Ok I think I’m just going to go the rivet nut route but I need to definitely size up does anyone know the size? I’m going to order it online. I think it will be the easiest way to go about it.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 6:53pm

Bolts, fender washers, lock washers and nuts is the easiest to do and cost you $10.00 - $20.00. Installing rivnuts should be done with an installation tool. Rivnuts and installation tool will cost $50.00 - $100.00.

Re: Help with roof rack rivets?

April 2nd 2020, 7:01pm

When I installed my custom roof rack I removed the existing rivnuts and bolted something similar to this in place

https://www.etrailer.com/Roof-Rack/Rhin ... RTC16.html

If you go up in size you may have a hard time bolting the factory rack back on
In my experience with factory rivnuts have a fairly large outer diameter and a small inner diameter compared to any aftermarket rivnuts I could find

I think you’d at least have to go m8 or m10 size to fill the hole.
The holes on my roof were punched with a hexagonal hole which would need to be drilled larger
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