Roof Rails

olypilot

New Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2023
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Hello, new member here. I purchased a new Hawk about a year ago. One of the options I wish I had added were roof rails. Currently the roof rails aren't much longer than the factory mounted solar panel. Does anyone know if full length roof rails can be retrofitted to the camper? I emailed the factory support, but no response. Maybe it went to their junk folder. Thanks for the info.
 
olypilot said:
Hello, new member here. I purchased a new Hawk about a year ago. One of the options I wish I had added were roof rails. Currently the roof rails aren't much longer than the factory mounted solar panel. Does anyone know if full length roof rails can be retrofitted to the camper? I emailed the factory support, but no response. Maybe it went to their junk folder. Thanks for the info.
Yup! you have to be OK with making more holes in your roof tho!
 
I have the short Yakima rails on my ATC Bobcat. I got an additional set of rails from Rack Attack and added them end-to-end, to give rails along the full length of the roof and enough room to mount three 100 watt flexible solar panels crosswise.

Yes, you have to drill and screw into your roof. The rail kit comes with various fasteners and the black goop sealant. On the Bobcat the rails are screwed into the underlying aluminum ribs, so I was pretty confident about getting them fastened solid and sealed tight.

On the Bobcat, if you go all the way to the front edge of the roof with the rails, it gets a little tricky. With the way the roof sheeting is bent to create that front edge, the sheeting is not tight to the underlying ribs all the way to the edge. so when I screwed the rail on it pulled the sheeting down and made a little depression. I discovered that the water pools up there, which would seem to make it more leak prone. But I gooped up all the screw holes there extra good, and it hasn’t leaked. I don’t know if it is the same way on a Hawk, but if it is, then I would say to install the rails about 6 inches short of the edge, unless you really need them to go all the way.
 
I bought the full length Yakima tracks option on my 2021 Grandby and the tracks they installed end about 10 inches from the front and rear of the roof.
 
Great, thank you for the info. So the existing solar roof tracks are screwed into a full length aluminum square tube? I can just follow the existing screw line fore and aft?
 
olypilot said:
Great, thank you for the info. So the existing solar roof tracks are screwed into a full length aluminum square tube? I can just follow the existing screw line fore and aft?
Yes, you want the screws to be in the rafter. I’m not sure how FWC seals their roof penetrations, but you will want to do the same. It may be a butyl tape.
 
Mine do not appear to have butyl tape under the tracks. The tracks are tight down against the roof surface. I suspect they used one of the marine sealants on the holes.
 
To mount a couple of 5 foot Yakima rails onto my ATC Bobcat, I added a layer of 3M VHB tape between the rails and the roof.

Unlike FWC, ATC still uses two panels for the roof, which are fastened onto the under laying skeletal tubing with screws. So, I was able to drill new holes into the Yakima tracks that matched the location of ATC's existing screws. Essentially both Yakima tracks are "screwed and glued" to the the roof of my camper.

Further more, I added a bead of 3M 4200 adhesive sealant to the gaps along the edge of each rail. Additionally, each replacement screw received a dab of 3M 4200 before installment. The install has not leaked and my 175 watt solar panel stays put.
 
ATC camper here, and I did much the same. But, butyl tape under the whole length, and 4200 in the screw holes. I used much cheaper rails on mine, from Lee Valley Tools. The are designed for making jigs and such. So far they have held my 330W solar panel, 40 # canoe and max Trax just fine.
 
Howdy.

It is just a thought but you mentioned you already have some length factory rails on your camper.
This means you are going to have to piece in short lengths either fore or aft of those existing rails...a bit more work.

Have you an idea of why you want longer rails?..... put 70-100 pounds of soft anything on top of your roof and lifted it ?

Best regards

David Graves
 
I would just like to have the capability. I might add a second solar panel and I see a lot of people are modifying their Starlink RV antennas to flat mount. Thanks for all the info.
 
To mount a couple of 5 foot Yakima rails onto my ATC Bobcat, I added a layer of 3M VHB tape between the rails and the roof.

Unlike FWC, ATC still uses two panels for the roof, which are fastened onto the under laying skeletal tubing with screws. So, I was able to drill new holes into the Yakima tracks that matched the location of ATC's existing screws. Essentially both Yakima tracks are "screwed and glued" to the the roof of my camper.

Further more, I added a bead of 3M 4200 adhesive sealant to the gaps along the edge of each rail. Additionally, each replacement screw received a dab of 3M 4200 before installment. The install has not leaked and my 175 watt solar panel stays put.
What did you use to attach the solar panel to the roof? I am having trouble finding the t-bolts that will work with my existing yakima tracks. Thanks!
 
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