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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I wanted to share a DIY I just finished up for building a super strong, customizable roof rack for my 2nd Gen Odyssey. I wanted the functionality of a lumber rack (flat plane on top, wide load space) with the capability to also attach roof boxes or cargo racks later on. I wanted to keep costs down and do it myself, because it's always more fun that way. If you're interested in making a super functional space out of your roof rack without shelling out $$$ and losing functionality to those pesky thule/yakima systems or the crappy stock system, follow along. This build would likely work for a variety of rails, not just the 2nd Gen Ody.

The metal I landed on was 1" square steel tubing. I'm not sure the thickness, but it's fairly strong and doesn't bend easily. Aluminum would likely have been better for anti-rust and lightness, but this steel was free and was lying around my house. I started by checking out the profile of these roof rails, and then drilling fastening holes through them. Here's what we're dealing with:

I made 1/4" holes 0.5" inches off the inside edge, which clears the upright side of the rail. I made 4 of these holes on each side, evenly spaced, to accommodate 4 evenly spaced cross bars. Change this as needed. Remember to use backing to make sure you don't drill into your roof! Here's one of the holes:

I then measured the distance between the holes on center. Measure this twice, measure it thrice, I fucked it up and paid the price later. Then I cut my steel to size. My cross bars go 4" over on each side - this was determined by the maximum reach of my box wrench (this will make more sense later). Make sure you have a box wrench that will be able to hold a nut inside the cross bar, then measure the distance between the center of the nut to the end of the wrench. Let that determine your "overhang", or think of a better solution than this caveman one that I came up with, and post it below. So my total width was [distance between center of holes in rails] + 2 x [maximum distance of box wrench reach (4")]. Confused? So was I. Let's keep moving. I cut my 4 steel cross rails to this dimension, then drilled holes in them to line up my holes in the cross rails. Deburr, sand, clean, clean again, dry, then spray paint (or powder coat if you're a professional or just a general freak). Let's get a close up of that:

Now comes the hard part. I used 1 1/2" long 1/4" wide machine bolts, with washers and flange nuts to secure the rails. A happy family photo:

Here's the bolt through the rail. I had to remove the rails to get the bolts to squeeze in, so maybe go with 1 3/8" bolts if you can find them. I couldn't. Please excuse my peeling paint.

Then I pushed the bolt up, laid the roof rail onto it so the bolt passed through the hole, and then screwed the nut on. How? I started the nut onto the bolt using a long piece of metal with a piece of mounting tape and the nut stuck to the mounting tape. Push the nut into the bolt from inside the rail, twist the bolt, voila. Maybe your wrenches can reach, mine couldn't quite reach enough to hold the nut strongly to the bolt. Once started, though, they were indeed long enough to hold the inside flange nut. I then got another wrench on the outside bolt head and tightened. Here's what it looks like tightened on:

Rinse, repeat 7 more times. As you can see, this secures the roof rail without having a fastener exposed on the top. Finally, I finished it off with end caps purchased from Prescott Plastics on eBay:


That's all there is to it, folks! Note that these steel bars already had holes drilled in them which I figured will function as drain holes in case water gets in. If not maybe drill some on the bottom of your bars. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for viewing. Victory shot:
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