Vanagon – roof rack mounts

A bit of a kludge, but I wanted to get some racks up on the van to carry my son’s kayaks and perhaps a Thule roof box. My old towers that I used when the van was a tin top would have been pretty tall on artificial rain gutters mounted to the pop top. We had another Thule rack, used on my wife’s Subaru and is one of those “sits on the roof and clamps to door frame” types. I decided to use it but swapping in the longer bars from the tall tower set.

Ok, to the scrap bin for this bent bit of 1/8″ stainless and away I went with the angle grinders.

I must have been hepped up on goofballs, this was the result for the rear most bracket (to be attached via pop top hinge bolts)

I drilled them for mounting and put them on. They looked, in a word, ass. Ok, back to the pile o’ metal and out with some 3/16″ (!) stainless flat. Cut, drill, grind, etc. and got something a little better. The first attempts were cut down to make the forward mounts and here are the results.

The racks are pretty firm, even with the forward pads not 100% in contact with roof.


  1. #1 by Paul on August 6, 2012 - 5:06 am

    Who says that necessity isn’t the mother of invention. They look great!

  2. #2 by Will Taygan on August 12, 2012 - 4:33 pm

    Nice custom work, again! FWIW, I saw some brackets on a Swiss Westy travelling around Alaska this past road trip. At first they looked like the standard Yakima wide-body brackets, but they extended all the way down to the rain gutters, with little rubber protectors on the bottom so much of the rack weight transfer went to the body and not to the fiberglass top. Not that I’m gonna re-do my Yakima mounts, but it’s something to consider for folks with heavy racks.

    • #3 by albell on August 12, 2012 - 4:44 pm


      thanks for the compliments. About the weight transfer to gutter – yes, I’ve seen that, specifically Gary Lees racks ( I thought about doing something like that, but I lost my energy 🙂 Perhaps I’ll rethink it, especially for the forward bracket.



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