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jkenny

Bronco Roof Rack - Description

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Hi everyone,

 

You've helped me on subjects before, I just registered and wanted to pass something on to anyone who would like it.

 

I've wanted a roof rack on my 1988 Bronco for a while now. I recently saw someone with a factory style roof rack(you don't see them often!), and was able to ask him if I could look inside. Ford just drilled holes in the 4 inside corners where the seams meet (seams you see from above). They used "hide it" type black plastic nut hiding finishing. (they are readily available at Loews). Which brings me to my discovery - I was walking through Loews after that and happend to notice they sell 42 inch long bathroom handrails. I got to thinking and wondered to myself - how many people would realize that it is what it is, if I used it as a pair of rails for a roof rack. Well I bought a pair for $31 each. (quick sidebar, I did price shop, Home depot has nothing that long; foofy bathroom stores want over $300 for the same type thing). I looked for the shortest galvanized nuts I could find (nuts and washers of course). they are 1 inch long.

 

Loews has a make your own gasket in the plumbing department. You only need two squares to make all 4 gaskets, they are about $1.50 each. Well I got to work on Saturday. I lined the edges of the flange up with the seams (that makes it easy) - I was lucky to move them inward 1/2 inch from the back and side seams = perfect placement. I cut the gasket to be the same diameter as the flange on the handrail. Each of the 4 flanges takes 3 bolts. I marked and drilled the farthest back hole first.

 

Note: I read somewhere that the Fiberglass shell is metal sandwiched in fiberglass - BS - It is not! It is 1/4 inch of fiberglass only. I have to admit I re-evaluated the weight I'd be putting up there. 4 Bicycles = OK, 4 six by six by 18's = make 2 trips.

 

FWIW, I used a 15/32 bit for these bolts. It is perfect, just small enough so the threads bite into the fiberglass a bit.

 

Anyway, I wish I had a picture to show you. You would not believe how cool it looks. No one I have found yet can guess what they are. It looks so good, folks think they are stock. Absloultely no noise at any speed.

 

My next step will be to purchase a 1/8 strip of metal 3 or 4 inches wide and drill holes to match the bolts protruding into the cab. I'll then glue or rivet this strip to the roof (left to right) and use the protruding bolts for further re-enforcement.

 

The problem is that the roof is slightly arched, I don't want to drill the metal strip using the existing holes in the roof because it will enlarge the holes in the roof inviting leaks. It will be easy to drill and attach side one, but - given the above restrictions, any ideas on an easy way to precisely drill holes on side two?

 

Perhaps I will spend the $70 for a 4x2 foot sheet of diamond plate and glue/rivet that to the roof between the rails too.

 

Well, I thought you might be interested. It came out great.

 

 

John

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Yep, pictures sure would have been nice to see. I take it you ran the handrails front-to-back?

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Guest Guest_jkenny

Thanks for the welcome. I'll borrow my wife's camera and post a picture over the next few days, they run front to back.

 

John

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