1st gen Expedition roof rack | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1st gen Expedition roof rack


Elite Explorer
October 12, 2010
Reaction score
Littleton, CO
City, State
Littleton, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT
I recently removed my Eezi-Awn rack from my Explorer and put it on my Expedition. When I had the old Explorer rack leaning up against the fence with the old Expedition rack, it got my thinking: put the Expedition rack on the Explorer.

The Expedition cross rails are wider than the Explorer's:

But the Explorer cross rails fit the Expedition tracks!

The Expedition tracks are 10.5" longer:

The Expedition tracks are held to the roof with 7 fasteners per side vs the Explorer's 5. But none of the holes line up- except for the rearmost on each side. So the headliner will have to be dropped so I can drill a bunch of holes in the roof to attach the Expedition tracks.

I'm on the fence about what I ultimately want to do for a roof rack: get a couple more Explorer cross rails or build a low profile platform rack similar to my Eezi-Awn.

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hows about showing some pics of the front & rear bumpers

Did a few projects recently.

I took off my Eezi-Awn rack and put it on my Expedition. I found it too heavy and contributed to some tippiness that I didn't like. After I took the rack off the Expedition, I got to thinking that the extra length would be nice. The Expedition tracks are 10.5" longer than the Explorer tracks.

Unfortunately, only 1 hole lined up with the Explorer tracks and a wanted to use screws in the countersunk portions of the tracks instead of matching drilling the Explorer's spacing. And that extra length was going to need its own fastener anyway. So I had to drop the headliner. Dropping the headliner was pretty easy.

I filled the Explorer holes and used some big fender washers and RTV to make it waterproof.

I picked up 3 more cross rails from the junkyard and spaced them all evenly along the roof.

The result is a super lightweight rack with plenty of support for my Oztent.

I've been wanting to do this for so long and I finally started making moves to do it! So glad you posted this!

I went to the junkyard last week and picked up another set of explorer rails with the thought of minimizing the amount of new holes I would have to make in the roof. My plan is to just cut the 'new' rails to the right length (might go a bit longer than what you have with the expedition rails, to where the roof indents/gutter stop), take the forward plastic stopper piece off the factory rails and butt the new ones against it. I think it'll work just fine, just looking for the time and gotta look up how to remove the headliner so I don't bend and crease the fragile foam.

Do you think the curve of the roof would prevent a full-length rack (like your third picture in the thread) from fitting right? I know some frontrunner makes their feet adjustable to about 10mm, just not sure how much the roof actually curves

Here's what the rail for the Eezi-Awn rack looked like before the rack was put on:

As you can see, there is significant curve to the roof that starts right around the B pillar.

As far as your plan, I think it would work pretty well. Just make sure to get at least 2 fasteners in each new section of rail. And you might not be able to seemlessly slide the crossbars from the old rail to the new rail due to the different angles- you'd essentially have a "rear" roof rack and a "front" roof rack. The lack of adjustability isn't a big deal to me. I doubt I'll ever move my crossbars.