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 Post subject: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:24 pm 
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I am planning a trip to a couple of Pick'n'Pulls, looking for a roof rack for my '98 van.
Are there any special tools needed ( like star bits or torque bits ), if I find one; or is it just the basic tools?
I would not like to get there and find some wierd fasteners.
Rod J
Issaquah, WA

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Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:44 pm 
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I sleep in my van

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:23 am
Posts: 738
Hi,

Been there, tried that. It is a big hassle since the fasteners are rusted in place.
Hammer, chisel, safety glasses, cordless drill and bits. Gloves be careful.

After not success trying to get old ones off in junk yard, I spent the $$ for the Rack n Road rail System where by they install 60" long rails using Riv nuts.
Then you can get Thule 460R podium mounts and cross bars.

AP


Attachments:
File comment: Roof rails attached with Riv nuts and Thule towers and cross bars
image.jpeg
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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:36 am 
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AP,
Thanks for the input. That is good information because I had not considered that rust possibility.

That Rack'N'Road stuff is very nice, but rather expensive, so I was looking for more economical options.
I occasionally haul long (15 to 20 feet), but very lightweight stuff, so the longer length of the stock rack has some advantages for me.
I may also look for a couple of extra stock cross bars for the original setup.
I just found a listing on E-bay for a used rack off a similar year, so I sent a note the the seller, with some questions.
Maybe I will not need to make a trip to the Pick'n'Pull.

Rod J
Issaquah, WA

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:44 am 
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I sleep in my van

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:23 am
Posts: 738
Hi Again,

Yes if you could get a OEM rack it would be nice. Some of the Chevy Tahoe and even Chevy Suburban OEM roof rails seem similar to Astro. I once tried to get one from a Suburban because it was longer. There was a time when I wanted the rack to extend further forward . most oem cross bars don't go too far forward because they want to lower noise and aerodynamic drag.
You can get Riv Nuts and Riv nut setting tool from Grainger and from Master Carr.
Then with Riv Nuts you do not need to remove the headliner, but finding the best locations for drilling the holes occasionally means you miss the roof stiffener etc. Always been a bit reluctant to remove head liners because of potential damage to clips etc.

At lease getting an OEM Astro rack would allow you to measure the places to drill the holes for riv nuts.

Good luck.

AP


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:26 pm 
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I sleep in my van

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72" rails actually at 46" centers on roof, plus forward stand alone towers mounted with Riv nuts.

Total length about 72 + 18 = 90". Supports 4 or more Thule or Yakima cross bars.

AP


Attachments:
File comment: Left rear view of 72" rail. Looks like about 5 mm stainless Phillip head screws go into Riv nuts about every 12"
image.jpeg
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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:28 pm 
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Rails plus forward stand alone towers


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File comment: Forward stand alone towers
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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:30 pm 
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Posts: 738
Astro roof 72" rail plus forward stand alone towers


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File comment: View from slider door side
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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:17 am 
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Location: San Diego, CA
WE7X wrote:
I am planning a trip to a couple of Pick'n'Pulls, looking for a roof rack for my '98 van.
Are there any special tools needed ( like star bits or torque bits ), if I find one; or is it just the basic tools?
I would not like to get there and find some wierd fasteners.


It was hand tools for sure. Either phillips or torx (Maybe T15 or T20, lots of those elsewhere in the vans), IIRC. The problem I had when removing my factory rails(prior to the pop-top install) was that at least one of the factory rivnuts spun. Luckily, I had already dropped the headliner, so I was able to have a buddy put a pair of pliers on it.

Yes, the factory rails were also just screwed through the roof metal into small riv-nuts. 10-32 or metric approximation, IIRC.

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2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:25 pm
Posts: 43
I have my old one that I just don't have time to ship. I am near Tacoma.
You may still need to yard hop for the missing pieces. Have extra cross bars also.
get in touch if you want it. I made my own RR.

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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 6:17 am 
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I am merely driving my van

Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:07 am
Posts: 15
Astrophysics wrote:
Astro roof 72" rail plus forward stand alone towers


That looks pretty good and sturdy.


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 3:45 pm 
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I sleep in my van

Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:23 am
Posts: 738
Hi,

After considering the pros and cons of the OEM GM rack versus the rail type system, here is an update.
1. you will need to measure and drill your roof to insert Riv nuts either way.

Note : the rail system allows use of as many Riv Nuts as needed and the Riv nut location is flexible as it can be almost anywhere in the slot of the 72" long rail. Sometimes you may hit an obstruction when you drill thru the roof to the inner roof support channels. The OEM rack has a fixed number of screw holes so the location and quantity of Riv nuts that can be used is limited.

2. The rail system track is available from various commercial van suppliers as well as Rack N Road.
3. The nice thing about the rail system is that the Thule and Yakima towers are available that fit into the track to allow you to put 2,3, or 4 cross bars where you want them.
4. If you sell the vehicle you can remove your towers and cross bars and just leave the rails.

For canoes , kayaks, paddle boards or just 10 ft lengths of pipe or lumber it is nice to have 4 cross bars.

AP


Attachments:
File comment: Rail system and 4 Thule steel cross bars on towers, 2003 Astro
image.jpeg
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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 9:09 pm 
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I was originally concerned about hitting the interior roof reinforcing ribs on some, and missing on others, when installing the RivNuts. A look at a roof ( Pick'n'Pull) with a missing headliner, shows the factory roof does not sit right on the interior ribs. It is spaced up above the ribs a bit with some sort of rubbery adhesive/sound deadening? material.
As a result, you need not be too worried about just where the RivNuts are installed, unless you arep lanning for very long ones to come through the roof.
I am installing a factory take-off unit, and I have several extra factory cross bars.

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:21 am 
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I am installing a used factory roof rack. I laid out the positions and drilled and installed four of the 16 new RivNuts today, before my trusty old installation tool (30+ years old) broke. It used an Allen head bit for a driver as part of the interchangeable mandrel setup. It finally stripped the aluminum socket in the driver.
I had to go purchase another installation tool, because mine was so old, there is no longer any support for it.

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:02 am 
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Finished installing the used Astro roof rack today. It was more of a project than expected, but will be very solid. I decided to use five of the cross bars I have.
I hit one internal roof rib, above the front seats, on each side. I had to drill through that also, to provide clearance to insert the RivNut completely, but once the RivNut was compressed, there is plenty of clearance, so I am not worried about any rubbing when the sheet metal flexes.

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WE7X aka Rod Johnson
Forest Green Metallic '98 LS AWD
Issaquah, WA


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 Post subject: Re: posible used roof rack purchase
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:11 am 
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I am smitten with my van

Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:25 pm
Posts: 43
Always nice to finish a project. Now on to the next one. :)

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