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 > Creative ideas on ladder rack for Dodge Xplorer

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daboognish88

kansas

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Posted: 08/26/16 02:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 1983 Dodge Xplorer 228 and its got a round roof. I don't think a typical ladder rack would mount on the roof, for one there is nothing to mount onto. But I wonder if I could modify an existing rack to work somehow. Or do you think I'd have to get a custom made rack entirely?

Here's a link to someone with the same van as me and they made a custom ladder rack.. but seeing as I don't know how to weld nor do I know anyone familiar with the trade that might not be an option.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2rnJHJ93lA I have the same van and you can see the ladder rack 3/4 of the way through the video.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks!

* This post was edited 08/26/16 06:18pm by daboognish88 *

SoCalDesertRider

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Posted: 08/26/16 09:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Does the van roof have rain gutters? Most van racks clamp onto the gutter rails.

How rounded is the roof? Most van racks are either spaced up, or curved/angled up, to clear the roof, since the gutters are lower than the center of the roof.

It wouldn't be hard to extend the legs of an existing rack to give it more height to clear a more rounded than standard van roof...


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daboognish88

kansas

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Posted: 08/26/16 05:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yep, its got rain gutters but it doesn't seem like they are strong enough to support any significant weight. Plus I think they may be too far down on the side to reach, but who knows I may try it.
I guess I might have to drill through the roof and learn how to MIG weld. -_-

mkguitar

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Posted: 08/26/16 05:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

what are you planning on putting up there...how will you get it up and down?

mike

daboognish88

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Posted: 08/26/16 06:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My plan is to disguise my xplorer the best I can to be a work van for when I'm stealth camping in the city. This old Xplorer is the next best thing to converting an actual work van. So I plan on putting a lightweight aluminum ladder on top, a pvc pipe (which I might paint black and fill with water for an outdoor solar shower), a solar panel, and some random luggage.
I also plan on having a wood stove inside so the ladder rack will help the flue pipe blend in as well.
I suppose I can just get the facade ladder down and actually set it up for when I need to get other stuff down. [emoticon]

* This post was edited 08/26/16 06:40pm by daboognish88 *

SoCalDesertRider

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Posted: 08/26/16 07:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Luggage on top would easily give your vehicle away as not being a work van...

I have made extended gutter mounts for a rack on a bubble top van. It's not difficult and the clamp set of the original mounts can be used with an extended version of the original mounts.

The gutters are reasonably strong on most vans, unless they're rusted out, which could happen in Kansas.

daboognish88

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Posted: 08/26/16 10:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

True. I wonder if there is any kind of container commonly used on top of cargo/work vans that I could put stuff in.

I actually just found an xplorer online that I think features what you just described. http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/55938-1978-Dodge-4x4-camper-van

I can't really tell if they took the gutters off and are just attaching it to what the gutters were attached to or if they just painted the gutters which makes them look they're not there.

I think I might go that route.. thanks!

* This post was edited 08/26/16 10:13pm by daboognish88 *

daboognish88

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Posted: 08/26/16 10:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Now I just need to figure out how to extend a ladder rack in a way that doesn't involve welding. (although I may just buy a cheap $100 Harbor Freight mig welder that should last me at least a few projects).

Any ideas on how this can be done?
Would JB Weld work? Or is that way too brittle?
Maybe I can remove the clamp then slide the pipe inside a larger one and put pins in it? Then attach the clamp somehow to that pipe? Hmmm

SoCalDesertRider

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Posted: 08/27/16 06:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

daboognish88 wrote:

Now I just need to figure out how to extend a ladder rack in a way that doesn't involve welding. (although I may just buy a cheap $100 Harbor Freight mig welder that should last me at least a few projects).

Any ideas on how this can be done?
Would JB Weld work? Or is that way too brittle?
Maybe I can remove the clamp then slide the pipe inside a larger one and put pins in it? Then attach the clamp somehow to that pipe? Hmmm
Definitely do not try to use JB Weld to hold a ladder together!

If the ladder is aluminum, you will not be able to weld it with a Harbor Freight mig welder. Take it to a skilled aluminum welder. Even if the ladder is steel, you should not be welding on ladders, if you are not already skilled in welding. Learn to weld on something else that is inconsequential if it breaks.

Probably a better idea to buy an extension ladder and bolt some hooks to the top of it to hook it over the rack to keep it steady when in use.

SoCalDesertRider

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Posted: 08/27/16 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/55938-1978-Dodge-4x4-camper-van

The van in the pictures has rain gutters, which the rack is attached to, via standard clamp mounts. The mounts have either been lengthened, or were bought already extra long.

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