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that is just a channel for mounting other things on the roof like roof racks, it would not work good for solar panels by itself because the channels are too low to make up for the curvature of the roof!
 

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I've used 1.5" aluminum angle and shutter hinges in the past and liked the simplicity and ability to tilt if needed. Worked fine for several years.

Ron
Angle type brackets need to reach a height of more than 3 inches (depending on method and height of crossbar attachments), to allow for crossbars to clear the roof crown.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
1.5" is the dimension of the aluminum cross bar. The shutter hinge and roof track provide 2.25" of lift above the roof mounting holes. It seemed like that would be enough per initial measurements.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a wimp and it's been too cold to test fit the final assembly. I'll report when I do. I can alway add a spacer under the hinge if needed. There are larger shutter hinges available (I think the lift would be about 3" for those) but the metal thickness seemed overkill for this application.

Ron
 

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The only thing that I plan on putting on top of the van are solar panels. Roof racks create a lot of drag and are expensive so building one yourself not unreasonable. My idea is to have angle aluminum down the side. 1x3, 1x4 whatever. The angle would be high enough to cover the thickness of the panel and the arc of the roof. Mounting clips welded on the inside of the angle to mount the panels. On the front some type of air foil. Powder coat and bolt it on.
 

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to each his own, the aluminum roof rack was a mistake on my part, but it was so pretty! but i managed to fit 650 watts of panels with little or no shading plus the roof vent. it is noisy but i seem to be averaging 15.9 MPG according to the lie-o-meter in the instrument cluster.
 

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Michael, if you had it to do over what would you do differently? For me the noise factor is big. Plus I want to keep it as low profile as possible with minimum hit on the fuel economy.
 

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Michael, if you had it to do over what would you do differently? For me the noise factor is big. Plus I want to keep it as low profile as possible with minimum hit on the fuel economy.
yeah, something like the ford roof rack bars would be a better choice, or roof rack mounts and bars like what (dare i say it?) hein sells, (or use to sell?) and sometime advertises on this forum.

although i did really like how transit forum member Skagistan mounted his low slung solar panels, browse his Flicker link pictures to see how he did it: https://www.flickr.com/photos/skagit...57653213165316
 

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Has anyone installed this: Weather guard mounting channel.

http://www.weatherguard.com/en/view/Products/Van Storage Equipment/Roof Racks/Mounting Kit/2102-0-01

Seems a perfect solution for solar, awning and other roof junk. Aluminum, predrilled, correct spacers, strong dimensions.

I'll order some in a day or two.
Ron
I installed the weatherguard channel. So far I have not installed cross bars. I plan on using Heins tower supports for cross bars when the time comes. That will get the cross bars high enough to clear the mid roof area.

I'm happy with the channel. Make sure you use the RTV silicon that Weatherguard recommends. Two of my pre-threaded for inserts did not line up with the hole in the roof. I had to cut the holes a bit larger, and treat the bare metal with paint prior to finishing the install. And vacuum out the tailing as best you can from the hole. There is also a 10lb torque limit installing the bolts. I believe this is so all the RTV silicon doesn't get pressed out from under the rubber plate. After all the bolts were in I placed a healthy amount of silicon in the channel where the bolts are just to try and make it as water tight as possible. I may put Dicor lap seal on this spring around the base plates. So far no leaks in mine in the wet northwest.

I have the 148 wb, one thing to note is the weather guard channel for this length covers the plastic caps on the rood in the rear of the van. These rear caps don't have threaded inserts in them and are just ports into the van. I decided to cut about 8-inches off the channel at the rear so that I could keep access to these ports in the future.

These channels are the way to go. Leaves you the most options for mounting stuff in the future. I've looked at two sprinters that used the channel system and they each had a rack and awning mounted off the channel. good luck
 

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I installed the weatherguard channel...
Are spacers used at the bolt-down pads? It looks to me like spacers would be necessary, since the pads dip down lower than the roof surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanx
They are already on order. Definitely the way to go.

I may use 3M 5200 or Sikaflex 291 rather than silicone. It may be the way I clean and apply but silicone always seams to eventually pull away from the metal.

Ron
 

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Thanx
They are already on order. Definitely the way to go.

I may use 3M 5200 or Sikaflex 291 rather than silicone. It may be the way I clean and apply but silicone always seams to eventually pull away from the metal.

Ron
keep me posted on the other product. I just went with the manufacturer recommendation. These are going on 100's of commercial rigs out there so I'd be surprised if it was a bad system to begin with. But you never know.

preparing the surface and cleaning it with alcohol is key. The RVT silicon is really robust. Same stuff used for shower door installs. Just get the auto version type. believe it has a higher temp range for the auto version of RVT.
 

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the racks do seem to add the ability to make changes easier down the road. And you can mount so many other things up there if you choose to.
 

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Just wanted to revive this thread.. RonR or bshred, any reports on mounting crossbars to these weatherguard channels? I'm interested to know what types of brackets can attach to the channels, and how they attach. Is it just a universal channel where you can bolt anything on? I'd like to mount rigid solar panels and was think of attaching z-brackets to the weatherguard channels, and then aluminum L as cross bars across the roof. Would just need to figure out how to reconcile the slight angle of the factory mount points so that the cross bars would be level across the roof.
 
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