Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roof Racks

In general Lazy Daze does not approve of carrying things on the roof, saying that it affects the center of gravity (CG). In practice, the CG on an LD is so low that this really isn't a problem. However, the weight of what you want to carry may be a problem from a structural point of view - is the roof strong enough to support it? The trick is use a mounting system that keeps all weight of the load off the roof.

Some years ago Larry Wade came up with a "sorta" factory-approved method for carrying things on the roof. Here is his report:

I have been carrying two seventeen foot sea kayaks on the roof of my LD for over seven years without any problems .I can easily raise or lower two boats by myself in less than 15 minutes.

I sat down one afternoon with Ed at Lazy Daze and he drew the internal structure of the roof/wall connection and showed me how to mount a roof rack. His suggestions and prior posts say to remove screws from the corner molding between the sidewall and the roof from the side. Fashion two plates per bar to attach to the side. He suggested aluminum plates with a aluminum bar welded to go across roof. Use 1/4" lag bolts to go thru plate and into holes where screws were removed.

Using this information I designed a crane system to lift the boats, one from each side. If you have someone to help lift the boat, standing on top of your LD, you can eliminate the crane and just build the rack. The roof is strong enough to walk on but you do need a ladder .All the weight of the rack and boats is supported on the sides of the motorhome, not the roof .If you are real handy with tools, you can duplicate my system for about $150 .The parts are
all easily available but there is a lot of fabrication.

Check out Larry's photos of the roof rack and crane system.

Contributor: Larry Wade

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