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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings...

I have not posted in awhile. However I finally got around to upgrading the factory roof rack on my 2013 Citadel. The job was not bad.

1st chore, and about as easy a rack removal as I have ever seen... simply removing the rear rail stud screw allows the entire rail assembly to slide and be lifted off of the 6 rail studs. My factory rack is now stowed away if I ever need to put it back on to sell the vehicle.

The flimsy factory rack, once removed, revealed 6 aluminium studs along the length of each rail. These studs have 6m metric screw taps. When I saw this I knew there were great upgrade possibilities for the factory rack under pinnings.

Next was finding and custom fitting another rack system. Thule and Yakima both had 60" long rail setups that could have worked if I was to leave one of the 6 stud unused. However, I found Rhino Racks (made by Thule) had much longer rail options, so I started with their 71" long RTC rails, eventually trimming their length to 66".

Next was fabricating a spacer so the Rhino rails would sit flush and square to all 6 studs yet have greater lateral stability than just mounting on top of the raw studs. I ended up using 1"x3"x8' strips of oak. I notched out a 1.5" wide and 1/8" deep groove on the bottom of the spacer strip so the spacer could sit flat/flush on the top of the roof, thus providing more lateral stability to the Rhino rail, versus just mounting the Rhino rail directly to the 6 studs. I routed the top edges with a 1/4" round bit then painted the spacers flat black and gave them 2 coats of exterior grade satin polyurethane.

With the Rhino rack rails firmly secured and looking factory installed, I used 3 sets Rhino legs and bars to provide the base for my safari cage. In order to accommodate the curve of the roof, I have 2x 2" legs in the front and 1x 3" legs at the back. This set up spreads the rack load across more of the roof and rail studs AND allows the safari rack to tilt forward and be more aerodynamic and flat to the wind.

The job took about a week to prep the materials but only an afternoon to install. Let me know if you have any questions or would like additional pictures.

The 2013 Durango has now been fully equipped for taking over the family fun duties once served by a 2009 Grand Cherokee.

Other Upgrades:

275/55R/20 Destination AT tires
Front tow hooks installed by the dealer (talk about pulling teeth to make this happen)









 
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