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Old 09-27-2016, 10:43 PM   #1
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Default Adding a rooftop rack to 1997 Dodge 3500 Coachmen...

Hello,

The roof of my van seems quite strong and I'm wondering if anyone knows whether/how a rooftop rack and enclosed cargo carrier may be safely installed.

I'm particularly interested in using industrial/marine glue for adhering some wood blocks at intervals around the edges of the roof, to which the roof rack would be affixed (instead of drilling through the roof and putting supporting plates on the underside, which would necessitate crimping the upholstery, etc). Years ago, i used some marine adhesive which created a bond stronger than the substrate itself so I'm hopeful that isn't an issue.

Does anyone know whether these roofs are walkable and, if they are, what the suggested limits might be?

Thanks very much; I do appreciate your input and time.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:04 PM   #2
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What about something thar uses the rain gutter?

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Old 10-02-2016, 01:32 AM   #3
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I was always scared to put any screws or holes in my fibreglass roof, water leaks are my biggest fear, I built roof racks to carry my kayayks, and I used the gutters for my main supports, as for walking on the roof, , I have never tried it, I just dont think it could hold an adults weight, , when I did some repairs this year, I removed my stove fan, and I could see the sun through the exposed fibreglass,,, didnt seem all that thick to me, be carefull whatever you decide,,,, take care,,,
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default Using roof rack...

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Originally Posted by peppster66 View Post
I was always scared to put any screws or holes in my fibreglass roof, water leaks are my biggest fear, I built roof racks to carry my kayayks, and I used the gutters for my main supports, as for walking on the roof, , I have never tried it, I just dont think it could hold an adults weight, , when I did some repairs this year, I removed my stove fan, and I could see the sun through the exposed fibreglass,,, didnt seem all that thick to me, be carefull whatever you decide,,,, take care,,,
Thanks, MacAttack and Peppster...

Peppster, how exactly are the side brackets affixed to the gutters?

And, when it's time to unload the kayaks, do you simply put a ladder against the side of the vehicle to access the tiedowns and pull them off?

My A/C is on the top of the roof so I'd need to avoid blocking access. My read aluminum ladder is, I'm presuming, for access to that A/C unit but, given the unit's likely weight, I'd think a person would have to get up onto the roof to properly remove the A/C and have the proper stance and posture to make the lift. I suppose it's possible that only the roof area in the vicinity of that A/C unit could have extra reinforcement for that access purpose...unless I'm wrong and actually getting right up onto the roof to remove the A/C isn't required or intended.

When I climbed the ladder and put a portion of my weight on the roof, I didn't notice any flex and so wondered if it might take my full body weight of 180 pounds.

Do you folks have further thoughts? Thanks again!
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:58 PM   #5
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Hi, there are special clamps you can buy for the gutters on the van, my neighbour is a heating a/c repair guy, he had all these old roof racks from his older vans, and thats how I came up with the system I used.I do use a ladder to remove the kayaks, I keep a little 4 ft. Ladder, in the rear compartment. I did the tour of the Roadtrek factory last year, I talked to some the guys on the production floor, they told me that there are some support bars built into the roofing system, but he couldnt tell me exactly where, since mine is a 1997, I dont know if you can find production info somewhere?,,,
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:17 AM   #6
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Hi, Thanks for the information on the clamps for the gutters...that sounds like the answer, for sure.

When you say that there are such special clamps available, where would you suggest I could go to find them?

My van is a '97 Dodge Coachmen conversion; would you expect that the clamps you mention would work just fine with that vehicle?

Are the clamps then screwed or bolted into the area below or above the gutters for their support?
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:31 AM   #7
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Its a 2 part clamp, the inner part slips into the gutter, the second partfits tight against the inner part and has a L shaped lip that fits tight to the underneath of the gutter, then a bolt and nut tighten them together , and hold them in place, weve been everywhere from east to west, and south to the keys, and never had a problem with them,,,,I will look to see where you can buy them, but I would think that the place that sells roof rack assemblies for the contractor, heating a/c repair guys, that would probably be your bes bet,,,,, take care,,,,
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:34 AM   #8
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Excellent, thanks, I'm very happy to have learned about that.

If you are able to learn where they could be obtained, would you mind letting me know?
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:44 AM   #9
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There is great webite called etrailer.com, that would be a great place to start,,, ill try to find more for you,,,,
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:03 AM   #10
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Google ladder racks and you will find the roof racks used be tradesman to carry ladders, etc. There will be ones with gutter clamps for vans with enough height to clear the roof.
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