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Old 01-19-2018, 11:12 PM   #1
brownvan
2017 4X4 HR 144"
 
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Default OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

A couple of tips to pass on to whoever is installing their OEM MB roof rails themselves.
I looked at a few online videos which were helpful but thought I would mention a few things...(2017 2500 HR 4x4 Cargo 140")

My Cargo van didn't have any headliner but it did have the two foam pieces above the driver/passengers seat. They take abit of wrangling to remove if you want to keep them intact - start with removing the B-pillar plastic trim (seatbelts first) and undoing 2 grab handle bolts and 1 sun visor screw for both sides. This will free up the headliner enough to grapple with the foam. Or hack it out if you don't want to reinstall it again.
Note that the passenger side foam is attached with a piece of VHB to the inside of the roof. The foam pieces are "hooked" into features on the interior cage. Removing the foam pieces is necessary to access the 2 hidden roof plugs....

Regarding removing plugs- I found a medium temp setting on my heat gun and held 1" from the plug for 20 seconds (working from inside the van, under each plug), then use medium phillips drive screwdriver to tilt/break off the body of the plastic plug. Reapply heat at 1" for another 20 seconds, then push up/out the plug with phillips screwdriver. If it doesn't free, give it another 15-20 seconds of heat from below. Easiest to remove glue while it is heated or when it is really cold. Acetone also works but harms the paint.
Clean area where rails will mount on the roof channels thoroughly.
Foam pillow on step ladder top-face/bearing-surface held with bungee cords to lean against the side of the van...

After cleaning all the holes and removed excess glue (with can be scraped off as well), I painted the areas from the inside/outside, sprayed paint into cup and applied with small brush.

Assemble the OEM roof rails and prep threads with Vibratite VC-3. Apply silicone sealant (I used Dow 737) around lower shaft of each stud to black rubber seal on each stud. Also applied silicone in areas of the plastic rail-connectors (3 plastic pieces per rail, 4 regions per rail) that did not have perimeter rubber sealant to keep water out from under the rail if possible.

Place rail on roof upside down then slide and rotate to mate with holes.

Apply silicone sealant on OEM flange-nuts on bearing side in small o-rings. Lightly thread all of them onto the studs. I did one rail at-a-time doing this method. Then come back and get them further tightened to minimize assembly slop but not fully secure.

Regarding roof seam - I found I was able to get the roof seam to deform if I heated it with the heat gun (1" @20 sec) from above and torqued the bolts from inside. Somewhere around 20 seconds at 3 angles, including heating the rail, then hurry in the van and tighten the flange-nuts inside on either side of the roof seam and the roof seam will deform/flatten. Repeat to stress relieve. I chose a reasonable torque at 30 in-lb for the flange nuts - didn't have any instructions fyi so this may be lower than OEM spec.
Removed excess silicone inside with q-tips and clean with alcohol.

anywho, onward...
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

Great write Up! I think I have seen on here that silicone is not used because of its tendency towards rusting metal. I think that is why Sikaflex or Dap Gutter and Flashing or any non-silicone caulking is used for roof fan installs and such.
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

Where did you get your roof rails?
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:32 PM   #4
brownvan
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

I got them off eBay for around $300.
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

I ordered some OEM MB roof rails for $315 from our local Freightliner dealer and they did not charge shipping since I was willing to wait for their next biweekly shipment. They came from California and were not packaged very well. Got a hole in the box but it didnít damage the rails too bad.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

I did this today and followed your advice about the heat gun. It worked really well and made removing the adhesive a lot easier. I cleaned up the rest with rubbing alcohol and painted a couple layers of white primer on the holes. I didn't use any additional sealant on the holes. We'll see how that works out in a day or two when the rain comes!
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by 96r50 View Post
I did this today and followed your advice about the heat gun. It worked really well and made removing the adhesive a lot easier. I cleaned up the rest with rubbing alcohol and painted a couple layers of white primer on the holes. I didn't use any additional sealant on the holes. We'll see how that works out in a day or two when the rain comes!
How'd it do? Any issues with moisture when installing sans sealant?
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

So far so good. I checked it multiple times during that rain storm and others (still donít have wall or ceiling panels in) and havenít seen any leaks.
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Old 08-23-2018, 02:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

Awesome, thanks.

We just did the install and about an hour later got a pretty good rain, not a drop in the van. The only thing I did was to paint the holes and use thread locker. Hopefully it holds up.
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: OEM MB Roof Rail Install tips

I'm having trouble finding a diagram showing the OEM roof rails, rubber seals (if any?), washers, and bolts. Can someone point me in the right direction or post a link?

I need to temporarily remove the roof rail and reinstall it.

Thanks!
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