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Old 09-10-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
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Penthouse roof rack options ?

I need a roof rack to carry canoes on the roof. For now I think I want to just do a 3 bar setup and add a (Thule , Yakima etc ) box for gear and what not later. I've been on both of those websites and I'm just not confident enough to decide which mounts , feet and bars to get. Anybody install one of these non-alumni ness setups ? If so what did you use ?
Thanks in advance !....... Paul
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:57 PM   #2
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

I'm a big Yakima fan, mainly because of the round bars. I used to manage an outdoor store that sold both Yakima and Thule. We had many more instances of returned bowed bars with Thule's square bars compared with the round Yakima. Otherwise they both make very good accessories. One other advantage of round bars is that it's easier to rotate the accessories down and out of the way when not in use.
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:35 PM   #3
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillvanin
I need a roof rack to carry canoes on the roof. For now I think I want to just do a 3 bar setup and add a (Thule , Yakima etc ) box for gear and what not later. I've been on both of those websites and I'm just not confident enough to decide which mounts , feet and bars to get. Anybody install one of these non-alumni ness setups ? If so what did you use ?
Thanks in advance !....... Paul
For bars, you need Yakima (or Thule) bars at least about 60" in length. Plus you'll need a set of control towers to mount them, 2 (or 1 pair) per bar. Then you'll need the landing pads to mount directly to your roof or a the track system if you want them adjustable. It can get very expensive. I have had pretty good luck over the years gathering this stuff used off CL or Ebay, but make sure you know what you need exactly. If you need more info we can be more specific. Are you wanting adjustable bars or will they be fixed in place?
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:58 PM   #4
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

I am a big fan of cheap yet effective. This may be a bit ghetto for some, but I installed full length Uni-strut (the low profile type) for my rails and have been using both Yakima bars (not shown) and EMT for cross bars. My older top is a bit creakier than a new one too, so I really like having the beefier rail to distribute the load.
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:17 AM   #5
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

Thanks for the feedback,

86scotty: I don't think I'll need to move the bars (just 1if any) so that may help keep the price down.

Brian W: we still need to meet up! Where did you used to work? Locally?
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

There are two options for installing racks on the fiberglass top: 1) top-mounted tracks, like SMB installs, and 2) side-mounted brackets that accept raingutter-type towers.

If you don't need the ability to relocate towers based on loads, a cheaper and easier (IMO) option is to just install Yakima or Thule mounting brackets on the side of the PH. You'll see this a lot on VW Westfalias. In fact, I did it on my old Westy, and posted a how-to writeup on my website at http://www.brianwasson.com/misc/yakima.htm

I assume it would be basically the same install on the SMB PH. I sold our Westy back in 2005, but the new owner lives near me and has had no problems with the brackets in the eight years since, and he hauls his kayak on it back and forth from here in PA up to Maine where he has a cabin.

To go this route, you'll need the brackets (I used Yakima "Wide-Body" brackets), raingutter towers (like Yakima 1A towers, easily found at good prices on Ebay or elsewhere; I got mine for around $50 for all four), and bars wide enough for the van (Yakima calls for 66" for our vans, but you might want to go to the 78" to have extra space to work with). With a van as big as a Ford, I'd install three sets of bars. Many Yakima/Thule accessories have defined spacing requirements (like boxes, tandem bike carriers, etc.) so be sure you know what those numbers are and install your bars to fit. If I were doing it on my SMB (and I still may), I'd install two kind of close together toward the center-rear, to mount things like boxes, etc., and then one toward the front to allow easier carrying of long loads. I guess this might mess up the balance of raising/lowering the PH, though.

@stillvanin, I worked at a store called Outback (not the steak place!) back in the late 80s/early 90s. It was in Blue Bell/Norristown. REI opened its first PA location 10 minutes away, which was the death knell for our shop. Let's definitely hook up soon! You are so close. In fact, I think we may have seen your van a few weeks ago. We were driving on Roosevelt Blvd. near Byberry Road and my son said "Look! A camper like ours!" I told him it was probably just a conversion van, but then remembered that you are in that area, so maybe it was you?
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Old 01-13-2014, 07:31 PM   #7
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

I have rain gutter towers on my penthouse top. I just ordered 65in bars and feet from Rhino Rack. Haven't installed yet but will post picture when I do. They sell awnings and a variety of gear mounts that work with the cross bar system. http://www.rhinorack.com
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:41 PM   #8
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

I am also in the market for racks for our van; however, I am still not quite sure how the landing pads are attached to the fiberglass penthouse.

I don't want to damage our penthouse roof but I know a lot of folks are running with racks.

Can someone please post some pictures of various mounting options??

Thanks in advance
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:20 PM   #9
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

http://www.aluminess.com/roof-racks/
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:00 PM   #10
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Re: Penthouse roof rack options ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by E277
I am also in the market for racks for our van; however, I am still not quite sure how the landing pads are attached to the fiberglass penthouse.

I don't want to damage our penthouse roof but I know a lot of folks are running with racks.

Can someone please post some pictures of various mounting options??

Thanks in advance
From my gallery just to give you an idea:



These are the typical cap bolt and covers used on the inside and out. IMO it's better to drill holes in the side rather than the roof top:

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