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Old 08-17-2019, 11:18 PM   #1
rock_fencer
 
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Default Channel Strut for exterior rack??

Thoughts on 14 gauge aluminum channel strut vs 14 gauge zinc plated steel for DIY roof rack. A little worried about the overall strength of the 14 gauge aluminum at only about .064 inches but the steel is three times as heavy and will rust. Looking at doing 13/16th height rails bolted through the roof. Cross bars to be determined.
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Old 08-18-2019, 01:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

Aluminum channel is typically quite strong. What are you planning to carry on the roof rack? The roof structure itself has a weight limit.

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Old 08-18-2019, 01:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

Quote:
Originally Posted by rock_fencer View Post
Thoughts on 14 gauge aluminum channel strut vs 14 gauge zinc plated steel for DIY roof rack. A little worried about the overall strength of the 14 gauge aluminum at only about .064 inches but the steel is three times as heavy and will rust. Looking at doing 13/16th height rails bolted through the roof. Cross bars to be determined.
I found 14 gauge aluminum to be too flexible for my taste. I've used a lot of 1/8 aluminum angle and bar for various things and it is still all in place, some for two years.

Regards,

Mark
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Old 08-18-2019, 02:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

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I found 14 gauge aluminum to be too flexible for my taste.
...
A given gauge/thickness of aluminum channel can flex a bit as compared to a thicker, heavier gauge aluminum, or same gauge steel, but that isn't necessarily indicative of eminent failure. Lighter gauge/weight comes with some different design needs.

With proper design I've used aluminum channel with good results. A dolly I designed for our 14 foot inflatable boat has a long aluminum channel as a tongue. It often twists 25 - 30 degrees during use, but doesn't fail.

The above said, not all alloy is created equal. That applies to steel and aluminum.

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Old 08-18-2019, 11:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

Looking to carry the two whitewater boats on top, solar, +/- small cargo basket/platform spread over the full 14 ft of the roof line.

T
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Old 08-18-2019, 01:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

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... spread over the full 14 ft of the roof line.

T
That is a key factor. As I said, I've had good success with aluminum channel. If there is no point loading you should be fine. My design would include supports bearing against known roof stringers or using the gutter.

There are a number of roof rack ideas in the Conversion Write-ups section. Some have used L-track or similar product for the lengthwise supports.

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Old 08-18-2019, 01:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

The aluminum channel should be good, just make sure that you put in a bolt or heavy sheet screw at least every 12Ē. I did aluminum rails with a steel rack and cross bars and at almost two years up there there have been no issues
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Old 08-18-2019, 02:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

I was under the impression that the weight limits on the roof was to do with overall rollover stability, not the strength of the roof itself. That’s why the low roof has 2x the capacity at 600lbs, it’s because lower CG.
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

The one comment I have for full roof racks is to distribute the weight equally along the whole length, rather than just at the clamp point. These clamp points tend to rust out first, thus my rack after 7 years or so has no rust anywhere. Of course, I have rain gutters to easily spread the weight along the whole length.

I am in the process of painting the whole roof and more with a gray colored Herculiner bedliner to somewhat match the silver paint of my van. Thanks to some others here, I now know the 3 one gallon kits I bought will not be enough to cover all I want. I plan to add some more for the body in black which is locally available without special ordering like the gray color required. A little contrast will not be a bad thing.

For those that have used the Herculiner bedliner, is there any problem with painting on additional coats? Is there a time span when additional coats needs to be painted on to adhere to the first coat?

Some other bedliner products are not friendly to additional coats. I bought the Herculiner because it is rolled on and brushed on and can be acceptable to additional coats. Spraying, in my situation, will not be happening. These kits are designed to be rolled and brushed on.
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Channel Strut for exterior rack??

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Originally Posted by Gabe Athouse View Post
I was under the impression that the weight limits on the roof was to do with overall rollover stability, not the strength of the roof itself. Thatís why the low roof has 2x the capacity at 600lbs, itís because lower CG.
Iíll 2nd that. If the low roof has 2x the weight capacity you know it has a lot to do with roll over as well as a little to do with the extensions for higher being somewhat less ridged looking than the standard wall. Drive appropriately if u start loading up the top of van, at speed weight gets tippy fast.
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