Sunday, May 14, 2006

project futon roof rack

objective:
ever thought about throwing a bed rack on top of your car? boy, i’ve always dreamed of doing so! no, i kid you. but i did desperately needed a roof rack for my car, as my car isn’t exactly mansion size per say. it’s a suzuki sidekick and i love this puppy. i’ve deemed it the “blackmobile”. but it doesn’t have much of a trunk, nor cargo space. and every time i do road trips with my friends, we are jammed in there with luggages, backpacks, purses, and manbags on our laps! additionally, when ski season comes around, forget about it. the inefficient diagnol placement of the snowboards take up the entire back seat!

challenges/procedure:
think about it for a minute, it’s a soft top. that took me awhile to think about how to go about placing anything on the roof at all! i’ve done several searches, and calmini has one that permantly attaches with brackets screwed into the car, spanning from the main roll bar, hovering over the top, then down and screwed into the rear chasis. it never touches the canvas at all. the bad thing is, though, it costs over $350. forget that.
after thinking about it for awhile, it became rather simple. instead of having the main bars span transversely (from door to door) like most cars’ roof rack do, i’ll have it span longitudinally. i thought of having it rest on the windshield’s roll bar and the main middle roll bar. the rear roll bar is hardly a support at all, but it can take some load. it’ll mainly be held back by the tensile stretch of the canvas itself. it’s main function is to just hold up and shape the canvas at the rear. so i must be conscious to place all of the load towards the front of the car, rather than the back.
a few years ago, while walking pass a pile of trash, there beholds a futon rack. perfect for what i needed, having two main bars going longitudinally. as for tying it down, i’ll run two straps of nylon straps on a ratchet set placed near the front and middle support. that thing shouldn’t go anywhere.

features:
for the bearing pad, i cut up some styrofoam pipe insulators and wrapped it around the rack where it’ll make contact to the car. i purchased a bunch of bungee cords of various colors and sizes. i also purchased a cargo roof canvas bag from target for about $30. and i just had to order from coleman a ski rack clamp, which i installed near the rear of the rack. this was about $60 or so. so i pretty much supped this thing up.

summary:
i get nervous with the added roof weight, and drive much more cautiously around curves, as this car is very susceptible to roll-overs. but despite that, i can have good long road trips with a car fully loaded with friends rather than cargo. and for ski trips, it’s fully loaded inside and out. all the backpacks and ski gear stays on top, and all the silly chit chat gossips and mock ups stay inside. i enjoy it!
project futon roof rack: pass!

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