DIY Aluminum Roof Rack Question | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

DIY Aluminum Roof Rack Question

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bamakojon

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Okay, so I'm wanting to build a custom low profile roof rack for my '98 Isuzu Trooper. I don't have a welder, so I had been thinking about figuring out a bolt-together solution, but bolts can wiggle free and that might not look very great. Now I'm thinking about using square aluminum tubing and those no-weld aluminum brazing rods to make one.

They say that the joint is supposed to be stronger than the parent material, and the lightness of aluminum would be very nice. Has anyone tried this before? Is there any reason this wouldn't work? Thanks!
 

Justin Forrest

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Stick with bolts or rivets if you don’t have a welder. The lightest and strongest would be a combination of epoxy and rivets. If bolting loctite is your friend. Just like anything on your 4x you’ll want to check connections on the regular.
 
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old_man

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I have used the zinc rod before with fairly good luck but a rack is subjected to a lot of bending and twisting. Even with TIG, the best welding, it is prone to crack over time. If you do it, make gussets for all the stress points. Practice a ton before actually working on the welds for the rack. I even gusset my steel tubing.
 

Kozysnack

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we used loctite and have spare parts on the rig. with a few hundred mile offroad, nothing has come undone after we loctited everything.
We did forget this step. Didn't take long to see my error
 

lhoffm4

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I’d suggest looking at unistrut, especially if you are not a /don’t have a welder. They have some low profile channel and literally thousands of connectors, brackets, etc. that you can use to configure a suitable rack system with. It is steel over aluminum, but skeletalized and ad mentioned SUPER versatile and customizable. You can always tack weld it once you settle on the configuration that works best for you, but you really don’t need to.
 

Mavirick

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Quite a few people have made racks out of aluminum 80/20 extrusions and they seem to hold together well.
Problem is with the extrusions are as follows (personal experience )

If you use stainless screws they bind after a while
It’s actually pretty heavy
It’s cheap but the brackets and everything to hold it tighter is expensive
 

M Rose

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Problem is with the extrusions are as follows (personal experience )

If you use stainless screws they bind after a while
It’s actually pretty heavy
It’s cheap but the brackets and everything to hold it tighter is expensive
I’m going to throw my $25.00 bucks in here (inflation)

The amount of the cost of the hardware can easily cost as much as buying a good entry level 120v Inverter Welder (MIG/TIG/Arc), a gas bottle, and the aluminum wire, and a welding hood. I got set up with my Lincoln for just under a grand… but I bought 50 lbs of rod, 2 spools of steel wire, and all the consumables for TIG welding.

The MIG aluminum gun works amazing, and is so much quicker than trying to drill and bolt everything together.
 
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wigsajumper

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@bamakojon I have been working on this for my 4runner also. I decided to do a Sherpa/Victory4x4 knockoff. Aluminum sides and 8020 crossbars. I was able to find 1/4" Aluminum on craigslist cheaper then metal shop. I am fairly rural so my options were limited. If you live closer to the city you might be able to find something cheaper. Hardware is an issue with the Aluminum extrusions, the differing metal types can cause issues.

Sherpa sells different components for their racks. Not sure if they will match up for the Trooper though.

This guy used Steel Sides and did some welding.

This is the guy that got me started down rabbit hole. He used bolts if I remember

Same idea but on a Tacoma

Another Tacoma Roof Rack
 
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bamakojon

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@bamakojon I have been working on this for my 4runner also. I decided to do a Sherpa/Victory4x4 knockoff. Aluminum sides and 8020 crossbars. I was able to find 1/4" Aluminum on craigslist cheaper then metal shop. I am fairly rural so my options were limited. If you live closer to the city you might be able to find something cheaper. Hardware is an issue with the Aluminum extrusions, the differing metal types can cause issues.

Sherpa sells different components for their racks. Not sure if they will match up for the Trooper though.

This guy used Steel Sides and did some welding.

This is the guy that got me started down rabbit hole. He used bolts if I remember

Same idea but on a Tacoma

Another Tacoma Roof Rack

Thanks! I'll definitely watch these too get ideas!
 
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