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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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Do you recall if you put two bolts through the front and back feet, or just one? My thought process is... I picked up an '01 Suburban rack this week ('00-06 Suburbans and Yukons are the same 48x91 design, from what I found) and cut 34.25" off the front of each rail.

That made the length perfect, with about half an inch from the front of the front foot to the leading edge of the topper, and the back foot roughly straddling the perpendicular rear seam (the roll hoop is behind that seam), stopping just before the roof tapers off slightly. The 48" width puts the outer edge of the rails right in line with the roof's parallel seams, so the holes would be a bit to the inside. That's the less reinforced portion of the roof, looking at cutaway pics, but at least it's not right on the seam, which has been reported as creating leaks.

The issue is, looking again at the cutaways and lining things up under the roof, the rails would have to be shortened another 4-6" at each end for both bolt holes to come through the inside. Otherwise, the front one hits in the weatherstrip overlap tray and the rear one hits in the void for the roll hoop. And cutting it that short would: a) look awkward, and b) shorten the usable rail length significantly.

In your pic, you did a slightly shorter version of how I first cut mine. Only one of the two bolts for each of the front and rear feet actually goes through the rail. The other just goes through the rubber/plastic of the foot to keep it aligned. So, I'm thinking of leaving it as I have it cut and just not drill the outermost holes. Maybe add some silicone to the foot to give it some anti-pivot grip. (I picked up Lexel to seal the holes, per recommendations in another roof rack thread.)

The other thing I'm on the fence about is whether to use just three feet per rail, or add a fourth one in from the extra length that was cut off. I have the same uneven gap as your pic, from cutting the length off the front of the rail. The rear foot has a more complex set of mounting holes, so I left that end alone... Adding the extra foot between the middle and rear feet still doesn't quite even out the spacing unless moving the middle one forward a bit. Without using the two outer bolts in the front and rear feet, I feel like adding a 4th bolt (in addition to one in each of the three feet) would anchor things better.

Here’s what mine looked like when I did it a while back. A stock rack from a 2005 Suburban, trimmed for length and put back in the same “feet.” And yes, spread the weight around - I had 6 feet on the rack, and the front and back feet were about 1.5” x 8” and the middle feet along the side were about 1.5” x 5”. Bought on local ad for $25, then I put on a fresh coat of black paint. I kinda want to find one just like it for my new rig, I like how it looks almost factory.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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3,311 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
Hey @fodder, to address your questions:

I had mine set up similar to what you are describing. Adding the two extra “feet” from the extra length you cut off wouldn’t be a bad idea - it would spread out any weight a bit more and it would probably look better.

About securing the front and back feet - my forwardmost mounting hole and backwardmost mounting hole were secured with self-tapping screws if I remember correctly, since you can’t reach the underside to attach a nut due to the void at the back and the drip rail area in the front. I used plenty of marine silicone to seal not only the hole I drilled, but also serve as an adhesive for the foot to the topper. All other mounting holes were secured with machine bolts with wide washers underneath, and lots of silicone.

I look forward to your pics. :thumbup

I just picked up the same rack from a same gen Avalanche - no length trimming needed at all - it already fit perfectly!
 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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Thanks for the speedy reply! I took a bunch of pics of the mock-up stages, but haven't transferred them off the camera yet... I did think about self-tapping screws, wall anchors, etc., but didn't want to do anything that could pull out the thin fiberglass wall if lifted by wind gusts or just doing something stupid while loading.

I'm tempted to unbolt the top and see if there's a spot for the frontmost bolt to go through the lip and clear both pieces of weatherstrip...but that's probably just begging for leak headaches.

I just picked up the same rack from a same gen Avalanche - no length trimming needed at all - it already fit perfectly!
Interesting... I don't think I've seen an Avalanche at the local yard, but looking up pics (tough to find good ones), it appears they have three feet per rail, with the middle one centered? That would make for an advantageous starting point if sticking with three feet.

p.s. I haven't drilled any holes yet, but I think the stock Chevy torx bolts will be long enough to reach through. I have lots of wide washered lock nuts from my Toyota/Lexus parts bucket that fit their metric thread pattern, to my mild surprise, so anyone going that route can keep the hardware costs down for the installation.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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3,311 Posts
Discussion Starter #27
The front bolts - maybe could be secured with a washer/nut if you unbolt the top and look underneath. Not sure about that one. The back has no good way of getting inside that void without cutting into it, but who wants to do that?! I don’t think wind would pull in that fiberglass too bad in front, especially if you also use some type of sealant/adhesive between the feet and the topper.

And yes, the Avalanche rack has a centered middle foot on each side and is the perfect length. I was pleasantly surprised. I was walking to a Suburban in the yard and saw the Avalanche and just smiled. Grabbed it instead on the chance that it wouldn’t need trimming and I just got lucky.

On the front of those rails, you may want to drill out the metal rails so that the little plastic tab will “clip” into the metal rail. If you don’t, the only thing holding the rail in the foot is the top edge of the hole where the rail goes into the foot. Just adds a tiny bit more security. Feet # 7 and 8 would be good too.
 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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On the front of those rails, you may want to drill out the metal rails so that the little plastic tab will “clip” into the metal rail. If you don’t, the only thing holding the rail in the foot is the top edge of the hole where the rail goes into the foot. Just adds a tiny bit more security.
Already did. :) I used the original end pieces to recreate the bolt hole and clip slot where I shortened it to. That's why I was saying I only cut the excess length off the front...recreating the rear foot's mounting holes is more complicated.
 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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@fodder you got me motivated to mount mine lol - they’ve been sitting in the garage for two months maybe. Getting them cleaned up and painted today. :thumbup
Good, my work here is done! Actually, my work here really is done... I finished up my install this morning and just got the pics processed and uploaded. Let me just say that my approach most definitely is not the least labor intensive one, but hopefully the outline will highlight areas where other people can improve upon certain steps.

Captions follow the pictures...



'00-06 Suburban roof rack, test fit with full length rails.



Foot placement relative to hardtop with full length rails.



The 48" width aligns the outside of the rails perfectly with the lengthwise seams, so the bolt holes don't go through the weakest part (the middle of the seam).



Rails cut to length (shortened by 34.25"), test fit with the middle and rear feet in the regular spot, and the front foot moved back to the new front of the rail.



Toying with the idea of adding a 4th foot (from the front portion that was removed) and evening out the spacing.



Went ahead and mounted the 4 feet per rail, reusing one of the clip holes to adjust the spacing for the original middle foot. I used an end mill to recess the new clip holes like the stock ones.



Looking up at the overlap between the topper's lip and the cab's rain rail; will mount the front foot's front bolt there to make everything more secure.



The depth beyond the main weatherstrip on the very dirty rain rail, for determining clearance of the bolts so they don't damage the weatherstrip or push it out of place enough to allow leaks.



One of the two bolts I added for the front feet, looking up at the ridge behind the topper's weatherstrip. I had to carve out a bit of the ridge to make space, wanting to keep them as far forward as possible. I mounted those bolts upside down for as thin a profile as possible between the weatherstrip pieces.



Completed! One of the tabs on the rear foot's cover wasn't clipped in...



Where my bolt placement lined up on the underside of the topper.



Being right on the curve of the inner roof was an unwanted surprise. I bent some 1/4" fender washers to approximate the curve, placed a narrow 1/4" lock washer over that, and modified Toyota/Lexus lock washer nuts (same thread pattern as the GM/Chevy torx bolts) by shaving down one side to clear the fender washer. Although, once the lock washer was added in between, it may not have been necessary to trim them as much.

Also, you can see how close that bolt is to one of the perpendicular support ribs. Had I thought to measure that when deciding on foot placement, that would have made for a more secure mounting point and easier flat spot to nut up.



By pushing the front feet far enough forward to be able to mount the frontmost bolt right up next to the weatherstrip and maximize the usable rail length, I had to trim them a fair bit to clear the cab. (That portion of the foot is hollow, so just cutting the front off would be ugly.) If you cheated it back half an inch in the topper's lip, it's possible that no such trimming would be necessary, given the topper-cab gap.

Full pics at: https://www.supermotors.net/registry/28006/87764

As to the "why?" question...

1) Because it looks awesome! Very factory-like and modernizes the appearance...which may not be a selling point for everyone.

2) Improved potential utility. Who knows, it could save the occasional need to get out the trailer.

3) I have some Yakima Lockjaw bike mounts on the Yak rack from my old car. It doesn't fit any of my other cars and just collects dust in the garage. I wouldn't mind mounting one or two of them (or maybe one plus a basket) on the Suburban rack. Throwing a bike in the back pretty much takes up all the space.

4) As you can see in the pics, my topper was already imperfect, with bad paint (my repaint attempt didn't last long, with having to scrub sap off from the tree I parked under until this summer) and the remnants of some ghetto L-brackets that were left behind from what I imagine was a spoiler. So, if I screwed up the mounting, I could view it as a trial piece.

I'll have to keep an eye on it for leaks. I'm a bit fearful I didn't use enough sealant per hole. I cinched down the bolts up front (the lip overlap) before getting a helper to do the rest, so instead of pushing sealant down into the holes I pushed it up from below with the squeeze tube and toothpick, then put more on the bolt to push down with it. A big head of goo around the hole on top would have been better.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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Discussion Starter #31
Looks good, man. I like the spacing on the four feet per side. Mine will have three per side with the middle one centered. Got mine cleaned up and painted today. When I get an hour or two this week, I’ll get them mounted.

 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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Lol, don’t have one. Last time I did this, it looked like yours with bent washers.
Good, it wasn't just me overlooking something obvious. :) I'll be on the lookout for appropriately shaped wedge washers...
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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3,311 Posts
Discussion Starter #35
I was thinking of getting some of these rubber washers and cutting a bevel to one side with a sharp razor blade. Slap on a fender washer on the flat part, bevel side to the inner curved area, and nylock nuts to hold it all together.

 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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I was thinking of getting some of these rubber washers and cutting a bevel to one side with a sharp razor blade. Slap on a fender washer on the flat part, bevel side to the inner curved area, and nylock nuts to hold it all together.
That definitely has potential, although I don't trust myself to exit the procedure with all ten fingers (and toes) intact. The softer material would help it compress to the curve of the roof.
 

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Premium 4 Lyfe - Way Back Staff
'95 XLT: 5.8, MAF, E4OD, 4.56's, 6" lift on 33's
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35,903 Posts
I used these rubber nuts when I was fabricating the hard fiberglass saddlebags on my softail. not only do they seal the holes up really well... the also isolated the fiberglass against all the vibration, so the holes are less likely to crack or spread over time. Been running 'em in that configuration for decades and they've worked perfectly.



Not sure how your bolt up situation lays out with those rails but I thought that might give you another solid option to consider. :thumbup
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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3,311 Posts
Discussion Starter #38
I used these rubber nuts when I was fabricating the hard fiberglass saddlebags on my softail. not only do they seal the holes up really well... the also isolated the fiberglass against all the vibration, so the holes are less likely to crack or spread over time. Been running 'em in that configuration for decades and they've worked perfectly.







Not sure how your bolt up situation lays out with those rails but I thought that might give you another solid option to consider. :thumbup

Those are interesting...does that metal threaded sleeve go all the way to the other side or does it stop short of the flared end? I like the idea of a rubber washer/nut to act as a interior second line of defense (behind the marine silicone used on the outside at the drilling points) against leakage, and now that you mention it Pepe, vibration. A finger smear of silicone on the rubber washer/nut surfaces on the inside might be good too.
 

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Premium 4 Lyfe - Way Back Staff
'95 XLT: 5.8, MAF, E4OD, 4.56's, 6" lift on 33's
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35,903 Posts
They do stop short, so when you tighten them up, there's room for expansion. I obviously use washers on either end as well. Because of the slight expansion, they hold and fit water tight w/out any additional sealant. not saying you shouldn't use any... just that I've never had too and the bottom of my saddle bags have gone through road grim and rain storms the likes of which the top of your Bronco will never see... unless it's sliding down the road on it's top, in a flood.

The only disadvantage is they would require a larger diameter hole through the roof and you want to make sure they're centered well, which isn't a big deal with a step drill-bit.
 

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The Tennessee Warden
96 XL, 5.8L, E4OD, BW1356, 4.56 gears
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Discussion Starter #40
Sweet - I’ll have to look around for those. Mind if I ask where you got them?

... unless it's sliding down the road on it's top, in a flood.

If I’m sliding down the road on my top, in a flood, no less, I’ve got much bigger problems than a few drips from my rack mount drill points! :goodfinge
 
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