Building a Better Rack

Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Genesee Valley, Western NY
Auto manufacturers have stopped making the long bed, small pickup. Toyota still has the Tacoma but its bed is only 6½ ft., a few years ago they discontinued the option of a regular cab. You must be willing to except a worthless (to me) extended cab. It seems automakers have blended the needs of the old station wagon and pickum' up truck buying public into the same vehicle. To get the bed length I desired, I needed to go to a full sized ½-ton truck. The good news is that fuel economy of the newest full sized trucks can equal that of its downsized brethren of similar engine displacement.

I recently bought a new GMC Sierra and needed to outfit it to my canoe and lumber hauling needs. I explored many of the manufactured roof rack options and decided to build my own.

https://picasaweb.google.com/114267878012874538920/CapRacksForTheSierra
 
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On the fuel economy front I wouldn't expect a huge real world change unless for some reason the engine you are comparing it to was exceptionally poor in terms of fuel control and friction.

The physics still dictates you have to accelerate that big lump of mass and punch a big hole through the air. There may be some minor, incremental improvements in aero since your last model, but unlikely.

Unless your engine has cylinder deactivation, or is a downsized turbo-charged engine, I wouldn't hold my breath on huge fuel economy improvements.

The transmission itself may be better, if in fact it is a 6 speed auto over an old 3 or 4 speed, but they too have their downfalls. If it is a manual shift, it may have a slightly longer cruising gear to keep RPM lower but even that has limited improvement.

It's a nice looking truck none-the-less, and the rack looks well done. Personally if it's a long term investment I would have held out another couple years and went with a downsized, turbo engine. Most likely V6's are going to be replaced by turbo 4's, and V8's by cylinder deac 8 or turbo V6's.

I'm still not expecting huge improvements in the American truck market though. It's tough to find a vehicle that has exceptional fuel economy (by exceptional I mean 40+ mpg highway), can haul 3 canoes or tow a trailer, and will handle Adirondack dirt roads. When it comes to market I'll let you know, because I want one.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,472
Ah yes, NTS (New Truck Syndrome). I am suffering from it too. I wanted a regular cab 8 foot box, but was over-ruled by the powers that must be obeyed, and she told me I had to get the four door. I struggled with the rack concept for quite a while. Your's is very nice. I decided not to get a cap though, too much hassle taking it on and off during firewood season. I will soon post a review of the outrageously priced Thule racks I bought. They are no where near as functional as yours!
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
405
Location
Wyoming
Wow - that's a nice set-up you designed and built there. I'm still driving an older full size gas burner. I've looked at the current options as I'm going to have to update sooner or later but I sure hate spending money on vehicles.

Nice work, sir.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
1,133
Location
Minden, NV
I used roof racks for years on Ford trucks with rain gutters. Then in 2002 I bought a Ford F-350 with a diesel and no rain gutters. The truck is tall in its stock configuration, and roof racks can easily cost more than $500. So I bough a trailer and never looked back. Everything is at waist level. The mass of trailer is behind the truck instead of providing wind resistance on the roof.

With a few simple modifications, the diesel gets a maximum of 24 mpg. I have no interest in new trucks, because they aren't as good as the one I currently have with the 7.3 liter turbo-charged engine.

Government mandated fleet fuel mileage standards guarantee that new vehicles will continue to improve their mileage. Trucks have been the last car group to become more efficient. In the future I will consider a 1/2 ton truck as long as it is a diesel. Travel trailers are now getting lighter all the time. We have already passed peak oil consumption in this country.

Two years ago I went on a week long trip to the desert which is a long haul from here. At the takeout, I managed to fit 6 people, 2 dogs, a weeks worth of gear in the truck, and 4 canoes on the trailer.
 
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Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Genesee Valley, Western NY
Congtrats on the new rig! I also like your rack set up. Any chance of getting more details on the gunwale stops?
Thanks,
Jason

My cross bars are made from 1 inch galvanized pipe, which has an OD of 1 5/16". The ID of 1¼ inch pipe slides nicely over the 1 inch. My gunwale stops are made from a short piece of 1¼ inch black iron, on which a plate of ¼" steel has been welded. To lock them on the cross bars I bored and tapped the wall of the black iron 180 degrees from the plate then welded a 3/8-16 nut to the pipe, a short 3/8 bolt locks the assembly at any location or angle on the cross bar. The wooden stops are a piece of plywood glued to a block of hardwood. I put a curve to the stop side of the hardwood so that there is only a single point of contact between it and the gunwale. The wooden stop assembly is secured to the steel plate via a pair of SS machine bolts that thread into the steel plate. The black padding is a bit of vinyl covered minicell foam stuff that has been cemented to the plywood.

I like to have my stops on the inside of a canoe so that they don't interfere with tie down straps. The aluminum T-track extrusions were pricey but seemed like an easy way to obtain a positive, low profile connection to the cap. The fore and aft adjustably is not terribly important with canoes but every now and then, I will admit, I must transport a kayak. The tracks allow me to position the saddles in alignment with the bulkheads of the hull. They're such delicate things, those kayaks.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2013
Messages
974
Location
Long island, ny
I never thought about the stops on the inside. I will try that with my Yakima stops. I can't weld, no equipment, but I may try something similar. I like how yours look. Thanks for sharing sir
 

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