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  #1  
Old 09-17-2021, 05:55 PM
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after futile search for one, I built my own "roof rack"

I never liked sunroofs, T-tops, or convertibles, so I didn't like/trust the sunroof on my X5 from the start of ownership...
from a previous thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by workingonit
not taking any chances with 20-year-old German plastic parts
Though I've only owned my X5 for 4 months, I've seen how brittle plastic parts get on this car (or any European sourced plastics can get). The sunroof mechanism looks to be a collection of failure-prone pieces of plastic to me. Worst I've ever worked on was a SAAB where everything plastic had to be replaced, inside-outside-underhood. So, I've removed the fuse for the sunroof (F58 on mine), to keep my wife from ever trying to operate the sunroof.

I personally prefer closed vehicles, having many bad experiences with convertible, sun-roof, moon-roof, T-top equipped cars; in Texas, a sealed car with A/C is a better choice. My roof is sealed, with no leaks or air whistling thru, and that's the way it'll remain.
The X5 sits outside (as do the other cars,trucks, and one trailer, as the three-car garage is full of my wife's antiques, lawn and garden tools, and my 4x8 home-built camping trailer), and is therefore subject to whatever falls from the sky. Since the back of the property has two dozen oak trees overhead, oak tree debris is a problem.

All vehicles have received their share of minor dents from falling items (luckily/conversely, the oak trees seem to shield them from the large hail [with large dents] that falls around here), but having an expensive-to-replace sunroof takes it to another level of concern.

In the past two months, I've had two branches fall, one on my covered '04 Chevy truckbed (plywood covering), and the other on the X5, striking the hood and sunroof. One more dent in the hood isn't too bad, but the sunroof received a glancing blow on the front seal, that could've shattered the glass, if it had gone the other way (15lb branch). Time for protection!

I looked to get a roof rack plus crossbars for the X5, but everything I found exceeded my self-imposed budget, and/or was too small or too large for my liking. Much the same situation I faced when adding exterior storage to my home-built camper, where function vs form is my way of building. So, I followed that design philosophy for my roof rack/sunroof protector, and used the same wire shelving components as I did on my trailer.

I'm retired, on an iffy pension (if the funding doesn't disappear), and just bought my last house three years back, using most of my liquid assets, not already tied up. So, I'm cheap, and also used to making (or making-do-with) my own parts, from 50+ years of shadetree mechanics and racing; my roof rack is the evidence of that mindset.

The roof rack is up and firmly mounted, though I haven't been able to wrap the exposed zinc-plated clamps with silicone tape, yet, to make them blend in with the rack & rails; I have a useless left arm, swollen to double size last week, that the doctors say may or may not be usable after the blood-clotting breaks up. Still, I was able to make the roof rack usable, before the next branch falls!
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2001 BMW X5 - E53 w/3.0i M54,
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(Born on 2001-07-13, Friday the 13th)

Last edited by workingonit; 09-20-2021 at 11:32 AM. Reason: another photo added
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Old 09-17-2021, 09:13 PM
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Two thumbs up.

Reminds me of my custom pot rack I made from a microwave shelf made of the same type of shelving.

I flipped the legs upside down so I could put eye bolts and hang from the wall with chain.

I made my own crossover bars using unistut channel that is designed to hold spring nuts.

I can clamp down anything anywhere with 1/4" 3/8" or 1/2" bolt.

I have some 2x3 with counter sink holes so I can add for transport of items that need more support or to take advantage of screwing the item down.

The unistut is the same height as the roof rails so I can set sheet material on and it lays flat on the rails and cross bar (needs to be flexible to follow the roof rails curve).

I use conduit clamps to hold round material like poles etc.
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:23 PM
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lightweight, but strong

These 48"L x 18"W wire shelves are lightweight (10 lbs per section), and are rated to support up to 400 lbs each (other sizes and/or brands are rated up to 600 lbs), which far exceeds any load I'd put up there (I've seen X5 roof loading listed as 220 lbs max).

There are an infinite number of places to hook tie-downs for mounting storage boxes and items too long to fit inside the trunk (not a necessity for me, with two pickups available). I recommend using EPDM bungies or motorcycle/ratchet straps, not cheap bungies (they lose their strength over time, and will suddenly let go...ask me how I know). I've carried up to 100 lbs on a 30"L x 14"W using bungies on my trailer, and have no worries about losing my gear.

I use them either rightside-up (flat surface) or flipped-over (where there's a 1"-1.5" rim on top), depending on what I need to carry. On the X5 and the front of my trailer, they're flat surface up, for easy-loading, but flipped-over on my side racks, so the storage boxes have the rim to nestle in, to keep from sliding around after the bungies are removed at camp.

I considered using Unistrut
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn
I made my own crossover bars using unistrut channel that is designed to hold spring nuts.

I can clamp down anything anywhere with 1/4" 3/8" or 1/2" bolt.

I have some 2x3 with counter sink holes so I can add for transport of items that need more support or to take advantage of screwing the item down.

The unistrut is the same height as the roof rails so I can set sheet material on and it lays flat on the rails and cross bar (needs to be flexible to follow the roof rails curve).

I use conduit clamps to hold round material like poles etc.
to make cross bars (but I judged it too heavy), and wire "gridwall" (display grids in stores) sections for the platform, but to get tighter openings (the gridwall mesh is 3" square) to better protect the sunroof glass, I would've needed to attach expanded metal to it. Without needing to cut anything to size, then weld or bolt together multiple pieces, then apply paint, I had only to link the three pre-painted perfectly sized shelves with tie-wraps (black, UV-resistant, 120lb rated) and lift them onto the rails.

Once there, I used six U-bolts to clamp the shelves to the rails (the shelf sections have their own crossbar structure), then used two 8" legs (ordered separately), and two other legs (cut to 5.25") to attach the raised three-sided rail above the platform, using #10-16 x 3/4" Tek self-tapping screws into the corners, and two 1" rubber cane tips under the front legs (where the legs contact the roof itself, in order for the platform to completely cover the sunroof glass).

I could've made the shelving platform longer or shorter in length (front of roof to rear), but it had to be 48" in width (side to side of X5) in order to cover the roof rails (about 44" minimum).Name:  rooftop rack imaging.jpg
Views: 99
Size:  160.2 KB

While this "rack" may not look as good as a complete system from Yakima, Thule, BMW, Rhino Rack, Front Runner, Curt, etc., or even a collection of mis-matched components from many mfg's, it will serve my intended purpose(s), and might even outlast some (too many use brittle plastic components). And, since my X5 is 20 years old, and cosmetically-challenged already, it may be a better match!
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2001 BMW X5 - E53 w/3.0i M54,
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau
(Born on 2001-07-13, Friday the 13th)
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:51 PM
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Five stars thanks for sharing


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Old 10-11-2021, 09:50 PM
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follow-up note; rack did exactly what I built it for

While working on my "gauge substitute" project https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...le-gauges.html today, I noticed my driver-side footwell was wet https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...ide-floor.html. I looked for the source of the wetness, and I was informed it's likely the sunroof drain.

Of course I looked around up there (and everywhere else, inside and outside the X5), and never saw any other wetness, or signs of ingress especially on the (never used) sunroof. But, I did find a 2-3" diameter branch that had fallen during/after the torrential downpour the previous evening.

The home-built rack had protected the sunroof glass and let nothing thru (the wire shelf has about 3/4" spacing between wires, so unless something smaller than that drops in vertically, there'll be no penetration). Just as I had hoped....
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:19 AM
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Fantastic timing on the roof protection
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