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Who's got roof rack metal fab ideas/skills?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by teflon97239, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Okay lots of people here with skills, tools, shops and ideas...

    Subaru makes great cars, but the 2015 Outback roof rack setup is a flimsy, gimmicky toy. They offer nothing to remedy this. Yakima’s Rail Grabbers and new Landing Pad 15 present their own additional problems - no sale there.

    So how would you guys mount two old-school Yakima crossbars (front and rear) just like what you see below to carry kayaks on the roof? I did it for years on my 2002 with real roof rails and Yakima hardware, just pulling the “stackers” up vertically when I had a boat or two on top.

    I’m okay with tools, but I lack the skills or materials to build something clever, super sturdy and trustworthy that I could attach to each of the 4 metal anchors (which can be reversed by the way). Or maybe just replace them with something going over the bar that I can bolt down?

    Any pro or shop in/around Portland who might help me design/make the hardware? Beyond charging me a fair price, I can predict the right player could make a bundle on selling a LOT of them as there is no reasonable solution out there yet.
    IMG_2997_zpsg64jx3bf.jpg
    IMG_2996_zps1ggvx1ug.jpg
     
  2. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    What you need is a piece of 1/8" or so flat bar stock that's bent into a shape and has holes drilled into it so the bottom half of it mounts where that clamp is in the last photo.

    Then when those are mounted up, weld your bar on top (or rig up a clamp system) to hold the old style to the new mounts.

    Supplies could be had at Home Depot for probably $12. Just need to have a brake to bend the pieces at the right (correct) angle to make an offset mount.

    Clickey image to makey biggah.
    Untitled-1 copy.jpg
    Crude image but you get the point?

    You would use the Torx to hold your mount down. May need to get some longer ones depending on their length etc.

    Untitled-1 copy.jpg
     
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  3. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    @spectra
    Spectra - is this in your wheelhouse? Just thought it might be :s0155:
     
  4. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    Dyjital is on the right track.

    Send me a convo and I am sure we can figure something out Teflon.
     
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  5. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks fellers. This'll be interesting and make the new Outback useful like my 2002 was. The roof rack guys at Subaru really hosed the goat on this one.
     
  6. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    Guess it's rack is the result of designing those roof racks so owners can appear to be active rather than for those who actually are active
     
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  7. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    No kidding SK!

    This is my second Subaru but my first brand new car ever. Wanted to check that one off the F__-it List before I turned 60 next month. At the dealer, I was mentally running through the features I wanted:

    - AWD
    - 18" alloys and >8" ground clearance
    - 25-33 mpg
    - 6-speed paddles with CVT auto
    - Quiet
    - Leather
    - Ice cold blasting AC that'll part your hair, in the back seat too
    - Bluetooth
    - Defroster works with inside air (so I don't have to smell exhaust all winter)
    - Cavernous rear cargo area
    - "Weathertech" floor mats under the fiber ones
    - New car smell
    - etc., etc.

    And I remember thinking "Roof rack? Check!" It didn't occur to me for a moment that Subaru designers (of all people) would create such a flimsy POS with scant few options for actual use.

    To be fair, it works for some...
    I have seen several plastic cargo pods on 2015's and a couple (wobbly) upright bike racks. Nothing else. And certainly nothing like the simple, solid bars I had on my 2002 with a pair of kayaks securely strapped down at 70+ mph.

    So, yeah, it seems that Subaru made this latest rack more of a notion than a sturdy utility. But I will triumph and tote my boats! And probably for a damn sight less cashish than I'd drop on Yakima's tall, awkwardly closely spaced, expensive Landing Pad and Control Tower combination.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  8. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    After you get the rack brackets made to your satisfaction, take it in to a powder coating shop and you will have a more trouble free coating that should outlast any rattle can finish.
     
  9. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Yes the 02's had a nice rack that secured directly in the rain channels. Those were beasts.

    Bugeye's.. :)
    1413135208972.jpg

    1413135208972.jpg
     
  10. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    0e4db4fad05742452309939b0a2e771aa1574c12cfc6fb419604d1795381baa9.jpg
     
  11. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    126441d1418405719-2015-outback-yakima-crossbars-outbackrackleftfront.jpg
    Here's another way to go.
     
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  12. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks JB, I was intrigued with that fix when I found it in one of the Subaru forums, until I read more.

    At first glance, it looks neat and I'd do just that - if the base were more substantial than a decorative plastic shell. Also, the guy who did that mod described removing the roof rack, which involves removing the interior headliner, which involves disarming the airbags... You get the picture.

    Regarding that soft plastic shell, there's a popular hack out there, where the metal flanges are reversed and a set of Yakima Rail Grabbers will eventually clamp onto those (after some Dremel tuning). But that $200 solution (without the $90 bars) still squeezes the plastic rack until it warps on the outside, pulling it up from the roof on all 4 corners (as if it weren't already fugly).

    Yakima's official solution as of July 1st is to mount their Landing Pad 15 hardware on the plastic rails, only 30" apart (front to rear) and then plug their Control Tower clamps into those. Not super confidence-inspiring with 14' kayaks and canoes.

    Subaru really jumped the shark with this useless gimmick. And I drank the Kool-Aid.

    But no major remorse. I like solving problems and I'm still cogitating on a simple design that might bolt onto the metal flanges (or directly into the flange bolt holes) shown in post #1 above, pic #2. They're separated by 38" and a hell of a lot sturdier than plastic you can cut with a pocket knife.

    BTW, JB, I liked your idea about powder coating whatever I get/make. I will.

    I appreciate any/all input guys, and I'll certainly post the final solution when it comes to light.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
  13. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Did you remove the front to rear tie down grab bar piece that's missing on the drivers side of your car?
    If you did, what is the grab bar bolted down to, the roof or just the plastic frame?
    Also, what is that strap eyelet bolted to?
     
  14. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    It's not missing JB, just pivoted out of the way for that pic. They stow aerodynamically, front to rear, and deploy across the roof with a steel bolt at the pivot point, clicking into a socket - plastic to plastic - on the opposite side. In either position they don't feel really solid like the round Yakima bars and kayak stackers I bolted onto my 2002.

    I can probably trust this setup for loafing around town. But I usually do that in an old pickup and use the (much) higher mpg Outback for high speed runs to the coast, etc.

    I just need to figure out a design that inspires my confidence - and is really solid but easy to install/remove.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  15. OLDNEWBIE

    OLDNEWBIE State of Flux Well-Known Member

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    I have a 2014 Outback and have used its Roof Rack successfully with two 10' kayaks upside down and had it up to 55 mph.

    I mounted the first one flat upside down and the second one a little on it's side against the first.

    I did use 2 tie down straps on each one as well as a front and back rope just in case on longer trips! Also I had them tied off to each other. A bit tedious but I felt it was secure.
     
  16. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Around town, I wouldn't hesitate (although I'd still wonder WTF Subaru R&D was thinking about actual outdoors enthusiasts with a variety of gear to haul on the roofs of their autos).

    70+mph with 2 inverted 14-footers was a total non-issue with all-metal Yakima gear bolted directly (wide stance) to an all-metal roof rack, bolted into the metal roof of my 2002. Many choices, no problems.

    This gimmicky plastic thing just gives me the creeps.
     
  17. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You mean something like this?

     
  18. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    I still remember watching a guy in his subaru with 2 road bikes mounted on the roof rack try to go into the underground parking garage at the K street mall in Sacramento - rack held on to the bikes tight when they hit the big steel pipe declaring maximum clearance of 6'8" or so... unfortunately for him it held on a little too well and caved in the rear of the roof nicely as it tried to rip the bikes off... If I wasn't laughing so hard I might have felt sorry for him - at least until I saw his political bumper stickers... With voting patterns like that it explained the lack of thought process. I still wonder if he tried to sue the city for not having high enough clearance as idiot damage prevention.
     
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  19. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I saw this on YouTube and was impressed by the inherent usefulness of the extensions design.

     
  20. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your PM Spectra...

    Yes and no [solution]. Subaru really hosed the goat with this rack, but I have to weigh my frustration against how many things they consistently get right. It's a very capable ride on and off road, which I love, and it's why I drive Outbacks. I'm anxious to tool around on steep hilly mud and snow (like I did in my 2002) as if it's not even there.

    A mechanical buddy and I really analyzed the pivoting (bowed) flat bars and fastening points. Cheesy as hell, they'll be adequate for a place to rest the kayaks, leaving those metal flanges free so I can cinch the tie down straps down there. 8 anchoring points vs 4. Gotta go with that. Plus safety lines to the front bumper area.

    My irritation remains with adding and removing my vertical center poles (Yakima Stackers, the nice slim metal ones) because they can't simply rotate down flat like they did on the round bars (so I can use my garage). That adds the little chore of dinking around with a wrench on the roof before and after every kayak adventure. A really stupid move on Subaru's part prioritizing so-called "style" over function. IMHO it looks silly, and I'm envious of all the older Scoobydoos I see with plain vanilla racks and a multitude of accessories that work. AWD Swiss army knives.

    However people use these goofy things, I'm not seeing any articles about Subaru failures or recalls. So I've determined that it's just more of an irritation than a bona fide safety issue and I hope I'm correct. Maybe I'll invent some method to fold the stackers flat between kayak/canoe trips and bring that to your shop for some bending Spectra.

    Thanks again all for looking.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015