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Old 06-20-2016, 06:57 PM   #1
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Mounting a roof rack or box on Fiberglass/ducted roof

I have an 05 Itasca Cambria and I'm a little short on storage space. I'm thinking of mounting a Yakima/Thule type roof rack or box on the roof, behind my center mounted roof AC. I know this has been done a million times and I've seen it on lots of older coaches, standard on some, but I'd like to figure out how to do it on mine. I do NOT mean the typical mounts and bars, though I guess that might work on some track of some kind, really I just want to mount 4 studs with big washers and seal it up well.

I'm very handy and will fabricate most of what I need, but mostly what I'm seeking is ideas or pics of this done by others, to get more ideas. Sealing the roof is not a big concern at all for me, but access to the inside or roof for washers and bolts/nuts is.

Please link anything you have,
Thanks
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Old 06-20-2016, 09:25 PM   #2
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I'd figure out where the roof rafters run across the roof. Bolting a couple of stringers into 3 or 4 of them should give plenty of strength to hold a rooftop box. You don't need to through bolt them unless you think the box will be loaded down or a real wind catcher. I'd try to keep weight down on the roof, they are able to carry your weight for inspections but not for continuous heavy loads.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:28 AM   #3
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That seems like a great idea but how would I determine where the rafters are? My coach has ducted roof air and I see no hint of how rafters might run. Is there a typical pattern or spacing for this in RV roofs?

Thanks
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:35 AM   #4
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There really aren't any rafters. Winnebago will send you a pdf copy of the drawings for the roof. That will help you locate wires and other stuff to avoid. It will also show where the ducts run, if that isn't obvious from inside.
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:22 PM   #5
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Look to see if there was a factory option for one as there may be standard support built into frame.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TQ60 View Post
Look to see if there was a factory option for one as there may be standard support built into frame.
That's a great idea. I'll work on that. I know how the ductwork runs and the duct holes and ducts may get me all I need, but I'm gathering a little info here before I start. Does anyone know if it's standard in an motorhome for there to be supports above walls (as in rafters or beams)? I mean, it may seem like a dumb question but as light and cheap as some RVs are build it wouldn't surprise me if there are not.

My 26a is a common floor plan with a rear (passenger side) corner bed so the bathroom wall runs forward from the rear at about the 1/3 mark from left to right. I was wondering what kind of support is above it, which is about where I'd need to mount the left side of the rack.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:12 PM   #7
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Also look into construction glues if yiu have a fiberglass roof glue can help.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
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My parents had one added to their Foretravel. They were never able to get it sealed and finally had it removed and the holes plugged.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:24 PM   #9
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Almost every RV has roof rafters going from side to side. Get yourself a stud finder and sweep the roof from back to front. You're bound to find several rafters.
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:58 AM   #10
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Roof rack means climbing and lifting....

We made a box from a "hay carrier" that slides in trailer hitch.

This was home made but other options are out there.

Low cost trailers as well as stuffing your toad.

Roof boxes are a common option back in the day but to use them you need a ground crew to assist in attaching to lifting means.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:05 AM   #11
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Winnebagos of this vintage do not have anything that you could bolt to as "rafters" go. They have some vertical sheet metal plates between the blocks of foam, but that's it.

You can see them if you look close:


They are not tubular, like in the walls.

As I mentioned, Winnebago will send you drawings of your roof (or wall, or anything you ask for) for your exact model.

I through bolted my satellite dish by locating the bolts on the inside where I have a light and AC vents.

Here's one inside an AC vent:

I used aluminum plates to spread the load, since they bolts are just clamping onto foam.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:46 AM   #12
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The metal channels down both sides would allow secure anchor points for bars that could span the roof, allowing a box to be fastened as you would to SUV roof racks. (red circles)

If you wanted to fasten directly to the roof, lag screws into the metal supports that already span the roof could be used to anchor the box. (green X's)

The edge channels would be easy to locate, the metal supports a bit more challenging to find.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:50 AM   #13
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All good ideas, except I don't think a stud finder would help. Isn't the coach frame going to be aluminum not steel?

It IS in fact a fiberglass roof so I'm not opposed to an adhesive of perhaps just an adhesive and some properly installed screws through the fiberglass.

Another thing I've thought is the track for Yakima towers/bars I already have. I have tons of that stuff out in the shop from various overland vehicles. I know I have the bars and bases but not the track. I'm thinking of this, but would like to find something cheaper than any of the golden Yakima branded stuff. I usually find this kind of stuff on Craigslist but I've never seen this track for sale used.

https://www.rei.com/product/679476/y...c:cse_PLA_GOOG

Using the metal supports side to side won't work. I'll have to post a pic of my roof but on the left side rear is the Maxxair cover and skylight in the bathroom and forward of that not enough room for 2 bars side to side (spaced properly) before the roof air. This project is going to go in the curb side rear corner behind the center mounted AC or not happen at all. There's a really nice space in front of the AC but it's soon to be covered with solar panels, hopefully 300 watts but at least 200.

As for climbing on the roof, no biggie. We're still fairly agile (though less every day ) and are used to climbing around to access our roof boxes and racks on our previous Sportsmobile and other vans. The idea is to store things I don't need all that often up there, probably including 2 folding bikes, but also an inflatabe kayak for some trips and bigger items like winter clothes always work great in a rooftop box. I already have the box but not a rack and plan on keeping both for specific trip needs. The Cambria 26a has plenty of storage for the two of us but with our kids who are along for our longer trips it gets tight, and I'm not towing anything. We have a late model BMW 3 series to tow to the beach when we stay put for a couple weeks but otherwise we stay moving exploring the western states and 25'6" is all I want to take in to FS and BLM campgrounds. We currently have 2 bikes on the rear and that's going to be all.

Sorry for the long post, just trying to narrow down the reasons for this mod.

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Old 06-23-2016, 10:53 AM   #14
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Doh, forgot how quick and simple it is to post pics via Tapatalk!



Here's the roof. I have about a 5'x6' spot to use in that right rear corner. Coincidentally the box I plan to use (when not using a rack) is also in this picture.
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