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Old 07-26-2014, 01:00 AM   #1
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OK, tell me what to look out for...

I'm installing roof racks on my FW. On those I will place two Thule "cargo boxes" for storing rarely utilized items like my truck cover (F350) and the cover for the FW, etc), but stuff I still need to take along nonetheless.

My neighbor who owns a RV repair shop told me not to do it. But I'm going to anyway.

This far I've determined the location to be the front roof and I have found the support rafters to drill into so that I don't hit any ducting or electrical. I searched high and low for info on the web about this type of install... not much out there.

I'm not looking for "bad idea" comments. Just looking for any advice from someone who has either done this before or knows what to look out for when drilling holes through the roof.

Obviously I will seal everything up super tight with Dicor once the rack mounting hardware is in place.

This is what I will be installing. Everything will be through-bolted.

http://www.swagman.net/products/rv-products/roamer-lt/
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:00 AM   #2
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I recommend using stainless steel hardware (nuts, bolts, washers, screws) and Loctite to secure them from working loose loose thru vibration.
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:36 AM   #3
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Have you considered how high your rig will be after doing this? I needed 13'4" to be safe with the vent covers that came with ours and had to continually worry about low overpasses. (Their gone now since I put solar panels on & took the vent covers off.) If you've just got to put them on whatever you have, why not back at the rear where you can get to them easier and they won't add as much to overall height?
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:13 AM   #4
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I agree with Walt that overall height would be a concern. Have you considered a cargo carrier on the tow hitch instead?
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:53 AM   #5
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Have you considered the weight you will be carrying, and the weight rating of the carriers you intend to install?
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdickson View Post
I agree with Walt that overall height would be a concern. Have you considered a cargo carrier on the tow hitch instead?
Yes. I'm getting a tow-hitch carrier for the 4 bikes we're taking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselclacker View Post
Have you considered the weight you will be carrying, and the weight rating of the carriers you intend to install?
Yes, not much weight, just really bulky items. Like my covers, F350 and FW. Later, when I'm done with my knee surgeries, I'll store my short boards (surf) that I use when I go on kitesurfing trips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggy Daddy View Post
I recommend using stainless steel hardware (nuts, bolts, washers, screws) and Loctite to secure them from working loose loose thru vibration.
Good idea! Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt Bennett View Post
Have you considered how high your rig will be after doing this? I needed 13'4" to be safe with the vent covers that came with ours and had to continually worry about low overpasses. (Their gone now since I put solar panels on & took the vent covers off.) If you've just got to put them on whatever you have, why not back at the rear where you can get to them easier and they won't add as much to overall height?
Yes. I'm well under 13'4" even with those on the roof. Funny, I was just telling my wife the other day how the newer FWs roofs are so high. I was sorta' wishing mine was higher, until I got into putting these on. I think when I measured it the other day I was at around 12'5" but it's hard to say because my driveway where it's parked now is sloped considerably.
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cptgregger View Post

My neighbor who owns a RV repair shop told me not to do it. But I'm going to anyway.
I wonder what your neighbor's reason was for telling you no.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:35 AM   #8
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Do you have a cover for the 5er yet? I'm asking because I have one for my MH, and to be honest, the hardest part of using it is to get it on the roof. They're heavy, especially when trying to handle on a ladder! Is the floor of this pod you're considering capable of handling some weight in the span between these 2 racks you're planning on?

As far as the holes in the roof are concerned, if they're kept within an inch or so of the sides, they're likely going to go right into the framing. Likely not necessary to though bolt? Towards center form there there's really not a lot of structure available. The roof is designed to handle reasonable snow loads, and not much more?
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:25 AM   #9
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I agree about a fifth wheel easily being too tall, and the height could cause problems.

Have you considered having a 2" receiver hitch put on your rear bumper? You could put one of the cargo carriers on it with a truck tool box attached.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:14 AM   #10
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The guy in the biz advises against.

So have him explain in detail why he feels this way and listen.

Have a discussion about other options and ask how he would handle your issue.

General questions...
What is the volume of each item to be stored?

How much do they weigh?

How do you plan on accessing the storage if in front and ladder back something tells me walking on roof is in order and maybe roof not suitable?

Regarding stainless hardware...be carefull as diffetent types and some is strong while others brittle and othets will jamb up if not properly oiled before assembly so select carefully.

Suggestion from here is to build a storage "system" that uses a standard receiver.

Start with the slide in tray that harbor freight sells then build a cabinet on that to store items in and a rack above to store bikes on.

Attempted to attach photos of our box made from same with phone, it carries propane and other items we do not want in the belly and works well.

We have a thread someplace with more photos for general idea.

Click image for larger version

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ID:	69147
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:36 AM   #11
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Bad idea
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
Do you have a cover for the 5er yet? I'm asking because I have one for my MH, and to be honest, the hardest part of using it is to get it on the roof. They're heavy, especially when trying to handle on a ladder! Is the floor of this pod you're considering capable of handling some weight in the span between these 2 racks you're planning on?

As far as the holes in the roof are concerned, if they're kept within an inch or so of the sides, they're likely going to go right into the framing. Likely not necessary to though bolt? Towards center form there there's really not a lot of structure available. The roof is designed to handle reasonable snow loads, and not much more?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
I agree about a fifth wheel easily being too tall, and the height could cause problems.

Have you considered having a 2" receiver hitch put on your rear bumper? You could put one of the cargo carriers on it with a truck tool box attached.
I haven't purchased the FW cover yet, no. But I do have a cover for my CC truck and it's HUGE! Not all that heavy though. Maybe 25-30 lbs. I was going to buy FW the cover this week then take it to my upholstery guy to mod/ alter it. As far as getting the cover on the roof. I bought a ladder-mounted hoist from CW. Pretty cool little item, designed to attach to the ladder and hand crank it to the roof so that you don't have to balance that load while climbing the ladder.

These racks are built for camper roofs so they're really wide, 84", I think. I'll have to double check. But there won't be any mounting in the middle of the roof, all within near the edge, say 6-8" in from the roof edge.

FW height... I measured. Not worried about it. The box carriers will be a tad under the higher AC shroud. Even with these carriers, I'll be considerably under 13'4"... I think by more than a foot. I recall when measuring that it wasn't an issue so I data-dumped those values. I have towed a 13' high (40' long on the trailer 12,000 lbs) high flybridge boat across the country, so yes, I'm very aware of the height issue, and I didn't like that feeling while on the road. It was the first thought that crossed my mind.

Yes, I am looking at cargo hitch carriers now... but for bikes only though. This is a bunkhouse FW with a small "trunk-type" storage area built into the RV. I'll need access to that bay and the door, almost as wide at the RV itself flips up. We're headed on a loooooong trip so we'll basically be full-timers for a while. I'll need that area for overflow storage.

I'm not worried about roof loads, per se. The stuff stored in there will be pretty light, just bulky. I'm worried about windage... that is, wind getting up and under the luggage carriers and causing undue "pull-up/ out" strain on the mounting bolts or screws. The cargo boxes will sit 3" above the roof so that's 3" of airflow under them. They are the typical bullet-type boxes so they're aero-dynamic, and I don't plan on ever exceeding 60 mph due to how my truck is geared. I just don't know what kind of load that would put on the mounting bolts/ screws.





Quote:
Originally Posted by TQ60 View Post
The guy in the biz advises against.



So have him explain in detail why he feels this way and listen.

I did listen. Always do. He's worried I'll hit some ducting or a wire when attaching the mounting brackets.

Have a discussion about other options and ask how he would handle your issue.

General questions...
What is the volume of each item to be stored?



How much do they weigh?


How do you plan on accessing the storage if in front and ladder back lots something tells me walking on roof is in order and maybe roof not suitable?



Regarding stainless hardware...be careful as different types and some is strong while others brittle and others will jamb up if not properly oiled before assembly so select carefully.



Suggestion from here is to build a storage "system" that uses a standard receiver.

Start with the slide in tray that harbor freight sells then build a cabinet on that to store items in and a rack above to store bikes on.

Attempted to attach photos of our box made from same with phone, it carries propane and other items we do not want in the belly and works well.

We have a thread someplace with more photos for general idea.



Attachment 69146



Attachment 69147
Well, to be fair, this is a guy that uses silicone on the roof for leak repair at his shop. So he has differing opinions of many other norms I've heard... like when posters on here tell me to NEVER use 100% silicone.

Not saying he's not sharp. He's been doing RVs for 40+ years. But he's never done a roof rack before so he's not familiar with what I'm looking to accomplish.

Volume... I dunno' maybe the size of tow large check-in luggage pieces.

The F350 car cover weighs maybe 25 lbs. According to the manufacturer of the FW cover, it weights 44 lbs. The racks probably weigh 40 lbs. Each carrier weighs maybe 18 lbs. I don't think I'll ever be over 200 lbs in total... but you know how loading goes. I could go a bit over that. Not all that heavy though when spread over 4 mounting points and mounted to frame or rafters.


My kitesurf boards are SUPER-light... maybe less than 10 lbs each, 15 including the padded case I keep them in. Not sure I want to keep boards in a cargo carrier though. I've been told the excess heat can cause to boards to delam. Then again, except for my "babies", I destroy 2-3 boards per year so they have a limited shelf life for what I do (big waves, lots of reef takes out the boards). Lots of times I just buy $50-$80 consignment surfboards at local shops and use those on days where I know the boards are going to get pummeled. Then I keep repairing the boards until they're no longer useable. So I'd keep those boards in the carriers and keep my pristine ones in the coach. But I'm not kitesurfing right now due to recent, and upcoming, surgery. So board storage is "down-the-road" type stuff, pardon the pun.

Ideally, for looks, I wanted to put the racks on the back of the FW. But the front on my FW is cantered downwards so it's looking like that may be a better location both for access (from the truck bed maybe) and for reducing overall height. Walking on the roof is fine IF taking all the precautions. I've cleaned and scrubbed the roof, treated and conditioned it, and now am presently doing some general seals maintenance on it. So I'm pretty familiar with walking light and taking my time up there. That said, I'll only access the storage boxes when we park/ store the RV and truck for extended periods. We plan to do a hybrid of full-timing. We'll travel for a few months, then park and store it, then travel again, then park and store. Never really returning home. That's the reason for needing to keep the covers with me, on-board either the tow vehicle or the coach.

Thanks for the SS advice. Will consider.

I like the idea of your cargo box and rack system, and those are very nice photos. But it will obstruct access to my rear storage bay, which a unique feature to my FW and the reason why I had to consider roof-rack type storage.

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Bad idea
Ya' think? Why?
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:33 PM   #13
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I agree with Walt that overall height would be a concern.
Anyone with height concerns should check out the America's Independent Truckers' Association: Information web site.
Click on a state and then click on "Low Clearance/Bridge Heights/Restricted Rules". Then you'll know what areas to avoid.
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