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Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: July 24th 2020, 12:44am
by SportsBoy
So, this is somewhat similar to what RiseAbove asked about E track, but a little different application.

I'm looking at making my own roof rack to go on my fiberglass high top (to be installed eventually).

I was thinking about using L Track as the rails that attach to the roof, and then having a couple of mounts for roof rails that can be pretty easily moved.
L-Track - https://www.cargoequipmentcorp.com/Heavy-Duty-L-Track?l_track_profile=Angled&l_track_mounting_option=0.3125%20Inch%20Mounting%20Holes&l_track_length=92%20IN

"Towers" or feet for the roof rack rails I'll eventually put on - https://www.cargoequipmentcorp.com/10-Pack-Double-Lug-Threaded-Stud-Fitting-For-L-Track

I can't find evidence of anyone doing anything like this before, so I'm wondering if there is a reason? Planning to refinish the top, then install the rails with butyl tape between the rails and the top.

Thanks for the input!

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: July 31st 2020, 8:35pm
by pmou
I have no input on this as I haven't done it (although my transit connect came with T channel that held the ladder rack on) but am interesting in doing something similar.. following.

Would this be able to take a slight bend for a little curve in the roof? Or are our roofs "dead flat" front to back?

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: July 31st 2020, 10:40pm
by SportsBoy
Normal roofs have a slight curve, but I'm planning to put this on a high top roof with a bunch more curve, and I'm not worried about it. I have seen videos of it installed on curves and it just bends as you tighten down the mounting hardware.

It seems like t channel is just as expensive, but not as easy to modify, which is why I'm looking at l track.

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 2nd 2020, 3:47am
by 97cargocrawler
This would be convenient inside the van but for the roof you would save a bunch just using a shallow steel electrical strut channel. Might be a pinch heavier but way cheaper and easily purchased at HD. Strut will bend to the shape of the roof and attach with a bolt through it just like this stuff.

You might even find aluminum strut channel at an electrical supply house. I suggest steel though for a roof rack application. I've had super heavy duty ALUMINUM roof rack supports snap of the roof of my Land Cruiser. They were 1/2" thick holding a rack half the size as what I have on the roof of my van. SO I don't ever consider aluminum for holding a rack, or the rack itself.

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 2nd 2020, 3:59am
by pmou
Looking at this again, how are you planning to build towers out of those bolt down points? the bolts look quite short

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 2nd 2020, 11:45pm
by SportsBoy
97cargocrawler wrote:This would be convenient inside the van but for the roof you would save a bunch just using a shallow steel electrical strut channel. Might be a pinch heavier but way cheaper and easily purchased at HD. Strut will bend to the shape of the roof and attach with a bolt through it just like this stuff.

You might even find aluminum strut channel at an electrical supply house. I suggest steel though for a roof rack application. I've had super heavy duty ALUMINUM roof rack supports snap of the roof of my Land Cruiser. They were 1/2" thick holding a rack half the size as what I have on the roof of my van. SO I don't ever consider aluminum for holding a rack, or the rack itself.

Aw man, don't tell me that about aluminum - I don't want to use steel - rusty rusty rusty
Also heavy
Considering what l track is usually used for, I really don't think I'll get anywhere near its breaking point. I'm never going to have more than 200lbs maybe up there - just surfboards and kayaks. Plus it will be on a fiberglass high top, so I don't want to put much weight on that anyways.
The cost of superstrut is appealing though...

pmou wrote:Looking at this again, how are you planning to build towers out of those bolt down points? the bolts look quite short

I was going to use some "C" shape angle bolted to it to give me the height I want between the roof and the crossbars

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 2nd 2020, 11:50pm
by MechBob
The question here is,what does the roof manufacturer recommend for adding a rack, and weight?

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 3rd 2020, 12:32am
by SportsBoy
No idea, but whatever it is, I'm sure I won't be putting too much up there.

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 3rd 2020, 5:10am
by 97cargocrawler
SportsBoy wrote:I don't want to use steel - rusty rusty rusty
Also heavy


The stuff at Home Depot is galvanized and the shallow strut really isn't that heavy in 10ft lengths. It's also costs less than $20 for 10ft. Worth looking at. My entire rack is made from shallow strut. Prolly 50ft or more of it.

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 3rd 2020, 6:55pm
by WoodButcher
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 40#p910386

There ya go. I carry ladders all the time, once in a while lumber but not much and not far on bad roads. (4, 2"x10" x 16' this AM)
I haven't pulled the headliner down to support the rear yet but I did block up the front over the door jamb. Key are the four corners, the front gets loaded on braking and rear on take off and uphill.
Plus for the channel I used is the ability to hang a tarp the whole length of the rack, water- proof front to rear so if your a camper it would be ideal.

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 4th 2020, 3:40am
by SportsBoy
97cargocrawler wrote:
SportsBoy wrote:I don't want to use steel - rusty rusty rusty
Also heavy


The stuff at Home Depot is galvanized and the shallow strut really isn't that heavy in 10ft lengths. It's also costs less than $20 for 10ft. Worth looking at. My entire rack is made from shallow strut. Prolly 50ft or more of it.

Yeah, the cost is most appealing for sure
WoodButcher wrote:https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=127&t=17922&start=340#p910386

There ya go. I carry ladders all the time, once in a while lumber but not much and not far on bad roads. (4, 2"x10" x 16' this AM)
I haven't pulled the headliner down to support the rear yet but I did block up the front over the door jamb. Key are the four corners, the front gets loaded on braking and rear on take off and uphill.
Plus for the channel I used is the ability to hang a tarp the whole length of the rack, water- proof front to rear so if your a camper it would be ideal.

Cool idea Woodbutcher - I'll have to keep this in mind when I'm doing an awing later on down the road and don't want water coming in behind it. Had no idea they made molding like that

Re: Any Issue With Using L-Track as Roof Rails ?

PostPosted: August 6th 2020, 2:42am
by ri$e*above
Sounds good. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

I'm thinking of directly fitting E Trac to the roof, and using the roof channels as a brace and maybe something else to support the roof. I was also thinking of attaching some to the rear sides as accessory rails...still figuring that out. Maybe on the swing out dutch door panels too.

Harbor Freight has E Trac pretty cheap.