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Discussion Starter #1
As a surfer & snowboarder I must have good racks on my car and I'm sorry to say that the FJ factory racks are lame. Everyone knows it deep down inside. They are the biggest, heaviest, noisiest, most expensive, breakingest, unable to carry things easiliest racks on any car out there. I L-O-V-E my FJ, but the factory racks do not cut it for someone who really likes to carry stuff on the roof.

So I bought my FJ a few months ago with no racks installed and a plan...

I had found out about TechShop in Palo Alto California. It's this rad place with an open-access machine shop where you can pay a fee to access all sorts of tools an machines.

I decided that I'd use the capabilities at TechShop to make an adaptor for mounting a Yakima rack system to the mounting points for the FJ's factory racks. The results came out great.

Here's what I did:

I climbed on the roof and opened the cover for one of the mounting points:



I was in luck! It exposed a section of a channel in the roof with two mounting bolts. I sketched out a design and took very careful measurements:


Then I sat down at the workbench and took measurements off of the Yakima Landing Pad #1. The landing pad is designed to mount on rooftop track systems, but it is the perfect size to cover my adaptor.

I made careful calculations and checked all my math:


I got on the bandsaw and cut four pieces of aluminum bar stock:


Then I got on the Bridgeport and cut the bar stock down to size:


I drilled two M8 clearance holes and two holes sized for and M6 tap. I chamfered the clearance hole to accept a flathead screw:


Finally, I tapped the two remaining holes:


Sweet!!


Before test fitting the adaptors I had to cut off these little plastic thingys that were in the bolt holes on the roof. I hasn't seemed to affect the car's performance so far...


A perfect fit! Well how's that for nice work!


And finally, with the Landing pads installed:


Nice! Except the overhang of the 58" Yakima crossbars is too much for my taste. Actually, for practical considerations as well. I want to mount surfboards using Yakima Strap Things and they don't hold securely if there is too much overhang.


Besides, this is way more stylee:


C'mon... tell me this isn't boss...




The one slight problem was that during the 45 minute ride home it sounded like I'd run over a Banshee, pissed it off, and got it stuck on my roof. It was insanely loud. Turbulence pulses where coming off the front rack and driving that huge FJ roof, which was acting like a speaker and filling the cab with NOISE.

Anyway, the problem was easily fixed with a Yakima ferring. Kind of a bummer because I wanted the rack to be more low-key. But it still looks pretty good. I added pads and two Yakima Strap Things so now I have the rad surf setup.






With my surfboard:




Finally, after a long weekend's work, let's get that FJ loaded!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, guys. Hey, Eff Jay... I've been a member for about as longs as it's taken to write the post, but I used the forum a lot before I bought my car to look at color choices & research the roof rack system. It was very helpful so I'm givin' back...
 

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very nice work indeed. Outstanding. Boss for sure; very tight.

I think the plastic thingies were to retard water entry. What sealant did you use under under the milled pieces?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, WR - I didn't use sealant. Time will tell if that was a dumb decision. The plastic things were not sealed on the exterior but they were tight against the screw on the inside. I retained much of the plastic thingy on the inside, so the screws still pass through them. I kind of think they were for spacing off the screws that came with the car so they wouldn't bottom out with no rack installed, but I'm not really sure. Anyway, I hope it won't be an issue. I could easily have cut a sheet of rubber to go under it but I got lazy and wanted to go surfing really bad.
 

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Thanks, WR - I didn't use sealant. Time will tell if that was a dumb decision. The plastic things were not sealed on the exterior but they were tight against the screw on the inside. I retained much of the plastic thingy on the inside, so the screws still pass through them. I kind of think they were for spacing off the screws that came with the car so they wouldn't bottom out with no rack installed, but I'm not really sure. Anyway, I hope it won't be an issue. I could easily have cut a sheet of rubber to go under it but I got lazy and wanted to go surfing really bad.
I think it's time to have some of those produced for us to buy!
 
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Thanks, Kyle! :) I'm sure that could be arranged. If anybody wants a set just PM me and I'll look into it. I'm sure the price would depend on how many people are interested.
 

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nice work, simple and practical
 

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Excellent work. Thank you for taking the time to share the info with fellow FJers. Now that you were able to hit the waves, take a moment to make and install rubber gaskets. Just a small amount of water getting past your mod could create disaster.
Please keeps us posted on pricing.
 

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Welcome aboard and very nice solution and application.
 

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That looks terrific!! I agree with your opinion of the stock roof rack and I have always used Yakima Bars for my skiing and biking hobbies. You have exactly the car I am hoping to get when finances allow. How much space is there between bars?? It looks like there is a bit of a rise between bar one and two, I wonder how a Yakima box would fit. I am somewhat surprised Thule and Yakima haven't done this themselves yet.
 

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That is awesome. I don't have access or the skills to do this but I am going to see if I can get a local machine shop to do this for me! I have a whole Thule setup I would like to make use of.
 

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Being a kayaker, I know the hate in the OEM rack. Your fabrication and the Yakima stuff look so at home on top of the FJ...should have made a special "California Surf Edition" with this option! Thanks for sharing!
 

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SanFrantastico,

Would you be willing to share/sell your specs for the block size and hole measurments?
 

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I had found out about TechShop in Palo Alto California. It's this rad place with an open-access machine shop where you can pay a fee to access all sorts of tools an machines.
TechShop was featured in the current Inc Magazine. Nice biz concept.

The rack looks great btw!!
 
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