Heavy Duty Low Profile Roof Rack Mounts for under $50.00
Short Cuts

| Toyota Section | Reviews | 4Runner |

By: Mike Nevitt - October 2004

What do you do when you have an aftermarket roof rack system mounted to your SUV or camper shell and you want to add a custom rack or rack system? Plus you want to still park in your garage / carport?

Simple, you build your own. Well show you how to make a low buck, low profile heavy duty set of rack mounts for well under fifty dollars. For most late model SUVs and camper shells that do not have drip rails to mount cargo rack stand offs, many rail mounted systems are offered, but their options can get to be a bit pricey and limited.

Tools Needed

Materials needed:

Tools needed:

At a minimum, with a steady hand and eye you will need;

For best results;


Design Concerns

First, begin by examining the design of the aftermarket rail. After some research, it appears that the T-Slot type is widely used. It is important at this point to determine the width, height and thickness of the rail as shown in the diagram. This will determine the size of raw material that you will purchase. Making a drawing noting the sizes will help immensely in building the clamp or rail mount.

Straight on profile shot, notice the "T" shape and where the rail mount connects to the rail. These are important measurements. A different view of the rail. Original rail mount used with this particular system, excellent start for obtaining new measurements.

Rail Mount (Clamp)

Without going through every single step on how to measure the rail mount, how to cut steel, etc., we will cut to the chase and show how the final piece worked out. Notice that it uses two bolt holes to act as the clamping device and that although there are maybe two clean threads in the stud mount, they are there. The threads in that area help keep the screw in place while the rack is mounted to it. In the pictorial examples shown below, the screws are left long for a future modification to the cargo rack.

Overall finish design of the new mounts. A different view of the new mounts. Slot view of the new mounts. Notice the "clamping" action this mount will have on the "T" slot. Overall view of the new mount assembled with fasteners. Underside view of the new mount assembled with fasteners.

The Finished System

So there you have it, although short on text, there are plenty of pictures to illustrate how easy it is to make a set of heavy duty rail mounts for a clamp style aftermarket roof rack system. In the end, these mounts as I built them totaled to $36.42 tax included for six mounts, paint and fasteners. Not bad when all of the other options were pricing out in the $60.00 to $150.00 price range. With a little thought and a little time, these are easily made, so go out and fab some fifty dollar stuff for your rig today!


Finished mounts at three points along the length of the rail, on both rails. Placing these equally spaced on the rail improves the overall strength of the system. A different view of the completed mounting. Close up view of the finished mounts.
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