$20 Roof Rack for Pontoon

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Ed Call, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I have been contemplating building or having a custom rack built for my Pathfinder. I recently got a fishcat panther 9' and it is much wider than my previous fishcat pontoon. The overall width is 64" which makes it sitting atop my pathfinders rather narrow roofline tough. I had my factory rack with four outward facing kayak saddles to hold the inner aspect of the pontoons but the factory rack bounced and bowed terribly as I slid it up top. I'm driving with butt pucker waiting for the rack to fail and my new toon to go flipping off the top.

    After doing some work around the house I noticed I had a whole bunch of 1" conduit in various lengths from about 4' up to 10'. Over buying for projects is one of my STRENGTHS!:thumb: (or at least that is my story to the misses)

    I decided that I was going to get a conduit bender so off I went...found that buying four 90 bends and connectors was way cheaper (likely less strength, but way cheaper).

    I spent a total of $20, just under actually because I also got a fat kid snickers and soda. I even splurged for four white plugs to pound into the open ends of the upturned 90 curves so that I would not be annoyed by excessive wind noise. (noise that is not sharkskin on guides bothers the hell out of me)

    Here is what I came up with. I think I'll further strengthen it by adding four 90 corners atop the bends and run straight pipe from front to back. I'll field test this one first. If anyone's tried conduit creations with good or bad results I'd like to hear about them.

    The fastening of the pipe to the roof rails via conduit clamps is gorilla proof, at least 225# gorilla proof, way stronger than I anticipated. It will end up that my paired pontoons will rest splitting the connector, one on the straight piece in the middle, the other on the prefab 90 curve.

    Here are some photos, too rainy to load the boat outisde, but I'll try that later.
     

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  2. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Very nice and creative. That's work, and it's all you need. Took me a second, all the framing for your garage door threw me off. But I like it. Very functional, and for the price you can't beat it.
     
  3. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Jerry, I figured the garage door crap plus tons of junk on shelves in the background would make it touger to see. Glad you think it will do, that is a great vote of confidence.
     
  4. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    I was blessed with my old K5 Blazer. Had a fiberglass roof in the back that was removable. I simply bolted angle iron to the sides (stainless, so wouldn't rust) at the top portion near the roof. I drilled holes in the angle iron so I could run strap hooks through it. Then I'd toss the pontoons put together and inflated on the roof and use ratchet straps to tie it down. Like the picture you see of my big 16' cataraft on my roof. Just normally I'd put an 8-10' pontoon up there. That only cost me like $10 for angle iron and all the stainless bolts. But most people can't/won't drill into their roofs. LOL. Mine was easy, some rubber gaskets and sealed that up. Never had a leak as long as I had owned that old K5.
     
  5. colton rogers

    colton rogers wishin' i was fishin'

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    mumbles i like your roof rack and for 20$ you can't beat that, i hope it stands up well when you cross the hood canal bridge or when you run up to the hoh
     
  6. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

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    Mumbles, Rack looks good, just don't take it across the pass. If your strap down onto the toons and they expand on the way up, something bad will happen.:eek: Maybe you could put something under the center to take the weight and let some of the air out of the toons.
    Just a thought.
    Jeff
     
  7. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Alot of times, if I do a long trip, I'll actually take the tubes off. One thing I found, you'll get ALOT of turbulence driving with the tubes inflated anyways. If you're going somewhere for a couple days, I suggest just strapping frame to roof and leaving tubes in back. Once you get there, inflate and play.
     
  8. troutangler

    troutangler Member

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    Mumbles,

    First let me say, I really like the use of readily available components in your design.:thumb:

    Second, I'm sure all your connections are strong and won't vibrate loose or tear out under the torque and pressures of highway driving.:confused:

    Third, I know you plan to attach the pontoon boat to the rack and/or vehicle so that even if the rack failed, the boat and rack won't fly off and land in the middle of the freeway. bawling:

    Forth, you will no doubt stop periodically and check all connections (straps etc.) while driving and adjust as required. :ray1:

    Last, I'm sure you can tell I'm a little paranoid about putting pontoon boats on top of vehicles. :eek:

    But I lost my first toon off of my roof rack driving home at night after along day of fishing. I never knew it was missing until I got out of the car at home (and didn't find it by retracing my route either). But of course, I didn't take the right precautions to prevent loosing it in the first place!:beathead:

    So, good luck and good night.:D

    Troutangler
     
  9. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Graig, thanks for the checklist and reality check. Never found that pontoon boat? I can't afford any damage to the toon, my rig or worst of all some innocent driver following me. I might deflate it for the longer trip out to the Hoh, but I'll be fastening it not only to the rack but to the tow points of my truck too. I might put fishdontcare up there in the seat with a two way radio to keep me posted on the conditions ahead, weather reports and to keep track of the pontoon.
     
  10. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Active Member

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    :ray1:If your planning to put me on the roof, I suggest that roof rack be wrapped with Rubatex (that closed cell foam used to insulate pipes) to prevent chaffing and cushion against wear.
     
  11. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Dang, did not think you were gonna read the watercraft section. No rubatex in my piles of crap at home, so I'm not buying it. I can put a helmet and goggles on you though.
     
  12. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Active Member

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    Well, I suppose, after seeing the size of your head in your avatar, I could use your goggles for head protection and sit in your helmet.
     
  13. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Good point FDC.
    My youngest, 3 y/o, says "daddy's truck has antlers now" about the roof rack. If I put a red ball on the front she'd probably call it Rudolph.
     
  14. colton rogers

    colton rogers wishin' i was fishin'

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    if it comes off
    rip the e brake
    sharp turn {left or right}
    off brake
    burn rubber and retrieve

    may i suggest, a police scanner:D
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, and word of advice on straps. Use ratchet straps then tie off the extra strap material around the ratchet itself. And when you compress it, don't be afraid to see the tubes expand out when you do it.

    Thankfully, I've never had a problem with a pontoon on top. But I always strap it down well.
     
  16. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    I hate ratchet straps.:(

    Don't know if this has been mentioned or not but if you are traveling over any passes with your boat strapped to the top of your rig and it is inflated you stand the chance of exploding your toons when going up.bawling:
     
  17. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks KerryS, it has and I would plan on traveling with them only partially inflated in those cases. Hopefully when I get my you know what together I'll actually be able to easily strap the frame to the rack and the level of air in the toons will be less significant. For long journeys I'll break it all down and toss it inside the back of my rig too.
     
  18. johnnyrockfish

    johnnyrockfish Member

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    Looks pretty good. How do you have the conduit clamps secured to the car rack? Those seem like the weak point to me since they will be subject to a lot of repeated stresses from wind on the toons. Doubling them would stiffen them up considerably. Strapping/tying the whole thing to the frame seems like a good idea no matter how sturdy the rack.

    JR
     
  19. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    JRF, thanks for the input too. Hope you've been catching lots of local fish. Right now I have some conduit clamps holding the rack to the inlaid rails of the roof. I also attach the two front D rings on the pontoon to my tow eyes on the front so that there is not only bearing of load to the rack but to the frame too.
     
  20. johnnyrockfish

    johnnyrockfish Member

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    I'd love to check out your pontoon boat sometime. Just to get out and drift the rivers sounds awesome even if the catching ain't so hot. I'm considering a raft so I can take the family on floats too.

    Cheers,
    JR
     

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