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Roof Rack / Rail Removal

Discussion in 'Modified 2011- 2019 Explorer Sport Tuning' started by txaggie, February 16, 2013.

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    1. comper

      comper Member

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      Time to wake this thread to life again :)

      I removed my rails this weekend, just to see if I liked the look... and I loved it!
      Has anyone figured out a way to fill the "gutter" in a nice way? With a trim piece of some kind?

      I'm not looking for a filler material, that the Interceptors seams to have. Rather something reversible .
       
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    3. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      [MENTION=252674]comper[/MENTION], was it difficult to do? estimated time it took? Any pointers? I've been on multiple vacations, but I want to take my rails off soon.

      I was merely trying to come up with a solution to ("reversibly") plug the holes, but your idea sounds even better (albeit more complex).

      I'd love to see pics of yours with the rails off, along with the underside of the rails!
       
    4. comper

      comper Member

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      [MENTION=242229]LakersCentral[/MENTION] The rails are very easy to remove. I had the first one off in 15 min, the second rail didn't take more then 5 min. Even easier to put back on the car.

      How-To: First you need to remove the plastic covers on the brackets. They are fastened with a metal clip at the side closest to the windscreen (rear window for the rear bracket) and two plastic pins on the other side, closest to the rail. Grab the cover with your bare hands and pull it upwards. The metal clip will put up a fight, so wiggle it a bit at the same time as you are pulling it loose. The front trim piece is connected to the bottom of the bracket. Unscrew front and rear brackets and pull the rail forward to unhook it from the middle bracket, and unscrew that one also. Done!

      I will try to find a trim piece for the gutter and a plug for the holes before I remove them again. Will take some pictures when I do :)
       
    5. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      Just did this today. Thanks for the How-To! A couple more useful tips:

      • Pry the covers open with those plastic tools made for working with a car. Easiest way is to go in from side and slide to front, then pry.
      • You'll need a socket wrench with an extension arm and an 8mm socket (seems to be a pretty standard size on the Ex).
      • Don't remove the rails right after you wash your car (water gets stuck in the rails and will leak on your freshly washed ride).
      • There's some chipping of the paint on the body under where the rails attach. I know people can't really see up there, but I'm gonna try and find some touch up paint anyways.
      • The screws were drilled directly into the body. The screw holes are 1/4", but there's an area about 1" in diameter around each hole that's heavily damaged. Will definitely need plastic covers like coexrjguy's white Ex above has.

      @coexrjguy ... where did you buy the plugs, and do you happen to know the brand / size / "model" of them? Also, what did you use for sealant? I want this mod completely reversible for winter time, so I'll need a sealant that can be removed. Thanks for the pics!

      Here's a couple pics of mine w/o the rails:

      (the damage that drilling in the screws did to the body)
      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: May 24, 2014
    6. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      Here's all the parts of the rails. If you were to put the rails back on, it'd be a good idea to buy some more rubber washers (top left). They're pretty much disintegrated.

      [​IMG]

      Here's a close up of what the rails removed look like when "untreated".

      [​IMG]

      If the body beneath the rails wasn't damaged, I'd probably leave it as is. But as it stands, I'll probably have to attach the front trim part back on. This will prove a bit harder than it looks, as it was hooked into the end of the rail, as well as clipped onto the white plastic part underneath.

      Also, its a different material than anything surrounding it (and thus a different shade of black). So as is, it'll stand out / look funny. I may try and spraying it with a gloss plastidip to give it a finish similar to the pillars.
       
    7. tinner

      tinner Active Member

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      Great pics Laker- to bad it looks like the factory used a hammer to the gutter. Was there any sealant under the mounting brackets, or just relying on rubber washers to keep the water out? If just the washers maybe this is why so many water leaks related to the rails.

      tinner
       
    8. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      No sealant. The plastic rails sat directly on the metal body. Scratched up the paint where the edges of the rails were. Also, those rubber washers were pretty worthless. They had basically already disintegrated when I took the rail off... and my Ex was just made to order in January. If water had been allowed to sit longer, it most certainly would leak into the body and/or rust out the bolts. Poor design.

      I'm noticing little things here and there in the details of this car that are quite disappointing. I previously owned an Infiniti G35- it was much higher quality in terms of paint, attention to detail, etc. Basically just overall higher quality than Ford. Some issues are due to use cheaper parts/materials, but most could be avoided with a little more thought/effort. :(
       
    9. tinner

      tinner Active Member

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      Still hard to believe that's what the gutter looks like with the rails removed,must use a hammer to get the bolt holes to line up with the rails. That looks like a precision fit.
       
    10. comper

      comper Member

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      Actually one of my brackets was filled with water from when I had the car washed a couple of days earlier. And my rubber washers were also in pieces. A corrosion problem waiting to happen...
       
    11. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      On further inspection, it appears that they at least laid a piece of rubber tape down in the gutter between the rails and the body. So at least it wasn't the body that was all mangled underneath, but rather the tape. You cant remove the tape without repainting the car, however. Still gotta find a way to cover up the holes and surrounding area in way that wont let water in. Wondering if 100% pure silicone caulk will do the trick.
       
    12. LukerDooker

      LukerDooker Active Member

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      That stuff turns to moldy discolored junk on the house and garage and never holds up after water, ice and snow, and temp changes. It should hold up, but doesnt sometimes. It shrinks to the point that it can disappear from a hole or seam, all dust and dirt sticks to it, and I wouldnt count on it to keep water out in an area that is being flexed.
      Allowing it to flex is key.

      I would try LiquidNails pro seals made for flexing and small gap sealing, like in between the sidewalk and a building , (follow directions to the letter), or something like
      http://flexsealdirect.com/?gclid=CO2M8pKmzL4CFZBxOgodOTkAOg
      If this works as shown its all anyone needs.

      ...or an automotive sealer.
       
    13. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      Thanks for the info. All the adhesives you suggested seem to be more of a permanent solution tho? I'm lookin to put my rails back on each winter (for carrying snowboards), then remove them again each summer. So I need a material that waterproofs and is semi adhesive, but removable (without removing the paint).
       
    14. LukerDooker

      LukerDooker Active Member

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      I dont know, I thought Flexseal was removable?

      The way the roof rail system is in these pics, I would not keep mounting and removing the rails, based on the condition of the mount points.Just from the differences below it looks like a leak potential each time you remove and remount them.
      I guess some are better than others, but the holes themselves seem to be a problem & those screws dont look like they will hold onto anything after a few times, unless there is a substantial threaded housing that they go into.
      But to each their own...

      ...I cant believe the paint is on top of the gutter liner...
       
    15. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      Yea it makes no sense... and its definitely not painted underneath the tape. I've had the rails off for just 3 days now. During that time that I've been trying to find the proper panel retainer size to fit the hole and cover the "hammer marks". Well, the tape has begun to peel off the body. So it looks like the rails are going back on :frustrate

      Hopefully someone will find a solution to cover the full length of the rail, and seal the bolt holes from water damage as well. When I plastidip the vehicle (as soon as its legal in CA), I'll remove the rails again, as well as the tape, and then spray the body. Then when I put the rails back on for winter, I'll then lay down some protective rubber over the paint. Like it should have been done in the first place.
       
    16. bigryanh

      bigryanh New Member

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      Just did the roof rack removal, as well as the shark fin install. IMO I love it. As for the paint cracking, it is on mine as well, however it is the seam sealer that is all cracked, probably caused by them installing the roof rack before it is fully cured, or hardened. Simple touch up paint will solve this. As for sealing the holes, I went to HD and bought some Stainless 6mm dome head bolts that I will powder coat black, as well as some 1/4" rubber washers.

      I am 6'8" and have a hard time seeing the drip rail.

      As for the front, it looks ok on the Black explorer's but I may bolt the trim back on. It actually is quite secure by itself but may come off in a carwash. I will probably fabricate a little aluminum bracket, powder coat it black, and use an existing bolt hole to secure it.

      As for the adding and removing the roof rack during each season, I don't see why you couldn't. I don't need one, but it took me all of 15min to remove, searching for tools ect... and the black rubber washers are like .25c at HD. Guys take longer to hook up a RV to go camping each weekend.

      Kudo's to I believe "Hollywood" for the Wheel suggestions. Love em.
       

      Attached Files:

    17. LakersCentral

      LakersCentral Active Member

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      I ended up doing something similar. A couple rubber washers and (currently) spraypainted black bolt heads and metal washers (powdercoating would obviously be ideal). All that would be needed each time switching the rails is new rubber washers (they were more than $0.25 at Lowes, tho... all in all 36 washers cost me about $15. I'll probably look for a good bulk price now tho).

      There's multiple spots where the paint is chipped / peeling off the tape. [MENTION=249466]bigryanh[/MENTION], did you end up using some touch up paint, and if so how'd it work out? ps. keep us updated on the fabrication of the bracket to hold down the front rail trim! thats the only other thing missing from this mod!

      This is the front most hole with the rubber washers. Only in this one did I use an oversized lower washer (in an attempt to cover / hold down some of the paint peeling off). Hopefully this will soon all be covered with some touch up paint and the rail trim.
      [​IMG]
       
    18. comper

      comper Member

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      This is how mine look without the rack. I filled the holes with a silicone made for marine applications and bonded to metal. I also found a trim piece to fill the gutter.
      Will post better pictures as soon as we get some nice weather again ;)

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
       
    19. Worthlessbackup

      Worthlessbackup New Member

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      What trim piece did you use?? More pics up close please.
       
    20. ntoda00

      ntoda00 New Member

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      I am purchasing a used 2013 (Explorer) Police Interceptor Utility. Being an actual Police Interceptor Utility model, it doesn't come with roof racks. However, the first owner ordered this vehicle from Ford with the optional roof rack option. Now that it's mine, I want to remove the roof racks. Is the actual Police Interceptor Utility model roof rack option the exact same as the civilian Explorer roof rack or is there a different design/parts?
       
    21. SHAD0W

      SHAD0W Active Member

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      Technically speaking, a true Interceptor would not have come with roof racks. But that is not to say that it never could. A gutter seam would remain and be more apparent, but some Interceptors have used this part to minimize the appearance of the seam and mitigate the odd appearance of no roof rack:

      http://www.fordparts.com/Commerce/C...m=Ford&mo=Explorer&initSearch=1&partNo=51728#

      The first owner you mentioned likely installed the roof rack before you bought it and it can be removed. The roof rack should be the "same" in the sense that it can be installed on either a civilian EX or Police Interceptor because both vehicles have the bolt holes and same roof measurements.
       
    22. ntoda00

      ntoda00 New Member

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      Shad0w, thanks for your reply. I according to the manufacture window sticker. The roof rack was an Optional Equipment that was picked up when the vehicle was ordered brand new. On the window sticker it's listed as "ROOFRACK W/ BLACK SIDE RAILS" with an MSRP of $100.00.

      Thank you for the parts link you provided. However, on the Ford Parts website the part you mention is listed as part number "<51728". But when I try to run that part number on other sites selling Ford parts, it doesn't come up. Is that just a partial number? How do I determine what the full part number is?

      Thanks!
       
    23. SHAD0W

      SHAD0W Active Member

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      No problem. The part number, as far as I understand, is the complete number. Other sites might not show it probably because they don't sell that specific part.
      They likely sell more widely used parts and items that are regular sellers such as mud flaps, rack rails, etc. But for something small and minor like the roof drip moulding, window trim, etc, you might have to go directly through Ford somehow. If you want to confirm, I would contact a dealer and give them the part number 51728 (I'm not sure if "<" is a part of the number) and the name of the part.
       
    24. gitme

      gitme New Member

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      Searching the description, "RH Less Roof Rack, Police Version", I found this website: http://www.fordpartsgiant.com/partl...ford-explorer-23700631-23701818-23701849.html

      The full part numbers for the Police Interceptor Utility roof mouldings are 5Z-7851728-AA (RH) and 5Z-7851729-AA (LH). They are ~$43/each.

      And, although a 'true' stripped Police Interceptor Utility comes as a slicktop, a 'true' P.I. Utility can be optioned from the order sheet with "Roof Rack Side Rails – Black, Option Code 68Z":

      [​IMG]

      Photos of factory 2014 Police Interceptor Utility roof mouldings (factory original 'slicktop'):

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Detail, over driver's head:

      [​IMG]

      From Rear Window, left side

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: July 18, 2014
    25. SHAD0W

      SHAD0W Active Member

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      Great find gitme! Im sure everyone lookin for the slick top look will get this.
       
    26. ntoda00

      ntoda00 New Member

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      Here's a picture of the window sticker from my 2013 Police Interceptor Utility that I purchased recently. As you see, the original buyer did in fact order the roof racks as an option.

      [​IMG]
       

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