New welded roof rack mount | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

New welded roof rack mount


Go big or go home
Elite Explorer
July 26, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Willow Grove, PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT
The backstory:

I've had my spare 33'' Kumho mud tire sitting in my roof rack on top of my truck for years. This is a heavy sumbitch. It has to weigh close to 80 pounds. I nearly killed myself getting it up in the rack basket the first time. I also have a hill in my township that had a lot of lights. As you may already be familiar with, any hill with lights causes excessive hard braking and over time, distorts the pavement. The result of years of this is what we call "The Willow Grove Paint Shaker" - the roadway is basically a giant washboard, and a horror to drive.

The Problem:

It just so happens that I have to, very frequently, come down this hill at an elevated level of speed. With my stiff suspension, it it particularly brutal on my rig. I think you can see where this is going. The washboard has, over the past 2 years, shaken apart my stock support cross-members. I had added 2 additional cross-bars from a member here (total of 4), but it still wasn't enough. The cross-bars were cracking and failing, and constantly, no matter how hard I tightened them down, inching forward and bumping into each other. I could feel the rack going up and down as the cross-bars flexed under the weight of the bouncing tire and rack. It was a hazard to myself and others on the road in the event of catastrophic failure, not to mention an eyesore and constant source of worry for me. See pictures below of how the old cross-members moved and were a general mess.



The Solution:

I trashed the old cross-members and removed the whole rack. I bought some stock steel from home depot and designed a basic roof rack base that would sit directly on the stock roof rails with 4 cross-members for the rack to rest on. 1 1/4'' square tubing for the main rails and 1'' square tubing for the cross-members.



I laid it all out to plan it out, and cut the steel to the right dimensions. I had never welded before, so I brought the steel to a buddy of mine with a wire-feed welder, and we set to work getting everything together. We placed it on the roof first and tacked it together to account for the curve of the roof before finishing the welds. Here is the rack all welded up:



Test placement:


I then drilled out the rack to screw down into the stock roof rails. Once it was all set, I brought it to Bonehead Performance, powder-coating specialists near me ( I had the rack powder coated, brought it home, sealed and capped it, and had my finished product. Those guys do great work.



Finally, tonight I bolted it up and re-mounted the rack. It is perfect. Lower profile, infinitely stronger, and built to last. I couldn't be happier. Drove the truck to dinner tonight and there is NO play up top. No bouncing, no moving, nothing. I am very pleased with the results, and suggest the same thing for anyone having similar issues with the weak stock cross-bars. :thumbsup:




Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Ouu you've taken a step into the black void of metal fabrication - nice nice! first foray into an abyss from which I may never return. I already want my own welder.

I already want my own welder.

that is what i said the day after i used my buddies Lincoln welder. $280 later i ended up w/my own (great investment)

nice rack BTW :D

Looks good, hopefully that tubing will be plenty strong enough to support the weight for you, but considering you went with 4 crossbars instead of 2 you should be good. Thanks for posting the link to the powder coater you used. I've been thinking about having my wheels done at some point in the future. Maybe next year when uncle sam gives us our refund I will have enough to buy a decent welder to do some fabrication with, otherwise i'm stuck trying to get it done during lunch at work.


looks good :biggthump

looks good

Would love to - I could use the cash, but I don't have the welder or the welding skills to make is feasible. Glad you like my rack though. ;)

time to get some split loom on those wires and really finish it off

Not a bad idea...

thats awsome, ya we bought a welder a few years back bout 600 for a Lincoln mig welder, paid for itself with fixing tractor implements n no time, good investment. (im only 17) thinking bout having weldin as a career.

I will probably get a Rola from the guys at 4guard. Out of stock right now but prob back in - Oct 2010 (look at the price below)

Only problem is it still sits on the stock roof rails, which can take a lot of weight, but will eventually break down with a full size spare over an extended period of time. Especially if you off road.

is there any cleaner of a way to get the light wires into the cab without going through the door jam?

yea drill a hole through your roof run it through the headliner or the plastic trim that runs down the windshield, then seal up the hole with some silicone, hook the wires up and your good to go.

yes there is a cleaner way to get them into the truck instead of the door jam!

some day we will meet and I will guide him into the light! LOL

I know the hill you talk about Paraphoe. use to drive it almost everyday back in the late 80's

now! we have to get rid of those ugly straps!





i like the roof rack looks clean.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!


Try welding a axle hub to the center of the rack to bolt the spare tight and get rid of the straps. Just get an old rear axle, cut the shaft to length, and weld a plate to the end, than weld or bolt the plate to the cross bars. Could even use T-handle lug nuts.