To load or not to load that is the question. Okay deciding on a van roof rack does not need to be this dramatic but getting it wrong could turn into a real horror story!
Why the attempted drama to start this blog? Well, fitting a roof rack could be one of the biggest investments you make in your van. Get it wrong and you could have to live with the consequences for a long time.
The phrase roof bars and roof racks are often interchanged but in this instance I mean a van roof rack fit for tradesman use. This type of roof rack usually costs several hundred pounds so it pays to take a little time to consider the pro and cons. But where to start?
So as alluded to at the start of this item it’s all about the load. If you just need to be able to carry up-to a medium sized ladder or a pipe tube then 3 roof bars will probably do the job. If you need to carry sheet materials like plywood sheets or plaster board as well as ladders, fence posts etc. Then a roof rack is what you need.
I have bought, sold and fitted thousands of roof racks and bars and the one thing I’ve noticed is that those who order roof bars often come back later to have a roof rack fitted. I have never had some one who had a roof rack come back for bars! Roof Racks give you more load carrying flexibility.
This is particularly true for the Transit Custom. This is because regardless of wheel base, it is only possible to fit three individual roof bars. Most roof racks utilise these three roof fixing points however, to give you 7 or 8 roof cross bars as well as a rear roller and side rails. This means that sheeted material will not sag between the cross bars, which are closer together on a rack. That there are more tie down options to secure the load, plus the weight of the load is spread across the entire roof length.
The spreading of weight is particularly important for High Roof versions, which have a maximum 75kg (including the rack) load carrying capacity. It’s worth noting here as well that the roof bar fixing points have to be drilled out for this model. Probably, because Ford want to discourage you from accidentally over loading the roof?
Low roof models have 3 x 2 sets of threaded bolt holes built in.
To ensure you order the correct roof rack for your Ford Transit Custom you need to know three things-
- The roof height Standard / low (H1) or High (H2)?
2) The wheel base Short / Standard (L1 – SWB) or Long (L2 – LWB)?
3) The rear door type; Twin Barn Doors or Lift up tailgate? – Why does this matter? Well the rear roller of a roof rack is normally designed to hang over the rear doors slightly. This allows you to lean things up against the roller without hitting the rear roof. Leaving you free to walk to the other end of the item and slide it on to the rack. On tail gate door models however, the roller has to be set further forward otherwise the door would crash into it every time you opened it.
If you have had experiences, good or bad with roof racks for the Ford Transit Custom please do leave a comment below