FORUM RACK THREADS
Before sharing my install notes, I thought it would be useful to reference the Gen 2 threads I found regarding roof racks and rails. There may be more. The first one I found to be most useful when I started researching rack options even before I ordered my van. For my cargo van I wasn't able to order factory rails and the cost from Ford parts to add them after delivery was crazy expensive. Aftermarket tracks and racks would be my only reasonable option.
I finally got around to adding tracks and a rack setup for my 2015 TC XLT LWB Cargo and want to share my install. I did the install a few months ago so some of the details are a bit fuzzy at this point. I didn’t have an immediate need for racks but wanted to have them available in case the need arises. Primary use will be to offload windsurf/surfboards from inside the van to the roof rack when I need more space inside.
I decided to get all rack parts made by Yakima rather than cobbling them from different sources. My understanding is that the track design is universal from Thule, Yakima, Van-tech and others. Yakima rack items are expensive and price fixed, but they appear to be well made and integrate well. A few times a year it seems Yakima allows its resellers to discount their items up to 20% off, so that’s the best time to buy if you’re price conscious.
The TC has five mounting holes on each side. The holes are covered with a black plastic plug that you can easily remove using a plier from the inside by squeezing the side tabs together or I’m sure you can lever it out with a screw driver from the roof side. The back four plugs are easily accessible from the cargo area. The front plug is shielded behind the cab area roof liner. I’m not sure how this myth got started that you can’t use the front mounting hole because of the side curtain airbags. We all know that the factory rails are using this mounting point as the rails extend the full length of the rain gutter. I used a flashlight to peek behind the headliner to see the forward mounting hole. Not sure how to describe this but there is a flange extending from the side of the roof that projects out and shields the mounting hole from the airbag. You can see the air bag folded up and sitting well below this flange. Perhaps 4-5 inches between the mounting hole, then the flange, then air bag. The front mounting hole doesn’t appear to be affected by the air bag unless I’m grossly missing something. Wish I could take a picture but it would be hard to capture in a tight dark space. You would have to remove the headliner if you want to use this mounting hole unless you can wrangle in some type of captive nut from the roof side. I don’t think it’s worth that effort unless you really need to have a wide spread for your cross bars. Also, the roof starts sloping down more as you get closer to the front so that’s another consideration. I considered drilling my own hole that was more forward but ruled that out as there is extra plating in areas around the rain gutter and thought best just to adapt to using the existing four holes.
I ended up getting 6ft long tracks, but in hindsight 5 footers would have been just fine. I didn’t want to end up too short and thought I can add my own mounting holes but I would recommend going with the 5ft option. Verify the exact length before ordering. Plus, the 6ft track from Yakima is hard to find online. I was able to get them at a semi-local pickup truck shell installer as they use these for their installs. You can order the 5ft rails from any Yakima reseller. The tracks come with mounting hardware, either plusnuts or capnuts. The place I got my tracks from told me I’d be better off using my own hardware, but I wish I had taken the install bag of hardware with capnuts. It’s hard to find capnuts in the thread size I wanted and I ended up harvesting some from an old fluorescent light fixture.
Capnuts vs Plusnuts Comparison
MOUNTING THE TRACKS
The tracks come with end caps that you would normally be held in place using a mounting hole. Because the van mounting holes didn’t line up with this, I used a short stainless steel bolt and nut to hold the front end cap in place. I didn’t use the rear cap since I want to be able to remove the landing pad nuts that sit in the channel of the track without having to remove the cap. For bolts I used stainless steel 8-32 threaded bolts to match the capnuts I found. Two bolts were ¾” (back holes) and two were 1” (front holes). On the inside I used a 3/16 x 1” fender washer because the hole opening is pretty large and I wanted a large diameter washer. The forward two mounting holes are hard to get to on the inside due to the slider track framing. It’s a two person job to hold the bolt and get the washers and nuts in place. That’s why a capnut is useful. I drilled my own mounting holes in the tracks so they’d line up with the existing mounting holes in the roof. Because the mounting holes in the roof are rather large, I used a 3/16 x 1 ¼ “ neoprene washer to seal up the hole opening. Before mounting, I applied an ample amount of DAP Auto/Marine sealant around the hole opening and then put the neoprene washers in place. Also used the sealant around the bolt threads and on the inside fender washer.
The Yakima and Thule systems use a landing pad that mounts to the track using two bolts and nuts that sit in channel in the track. You can remove the landing pads if your racks aren’t being used all the time but I think it’s easier to leave them in place. Yakima provides caps to cover the landing pad and it sticks up few inches above the tracks, not a big issue. The cross bars attach to the landing pads using a tower. For the Yakima system, the Skyline towers are used for this setup. You can also order a set of locks called SKS cores that are very easy to install and help secure your rack in place. The cross bars and tower can easily be removed together when not in use. I went for 60” wide cross bars. Yakima offers three types of crossbars. The round ones are the original style and the other two are of an aero design. I went with the Corebar aero style for reduced noise. I considered the round style with the thought of adding some type of roller that would make it easy get something large on the roof, like a sheet of plywood.
Below is a list of the items I ordered. I got mine from rackattack.com since they had all items in stock with free shipping and 20% off at the time. Total cost around $540 plus misc hardware and sealant. As I said, Yakima is expensive even when it’s on sale. Best to verify part numbers as things may have changed since I ordered.
Tracks: Yakima 72”, #8001607, set of 2 (the 60” track with capnuts is #8001135)
Landing Pads: Yakima Landing Pad 1, #8000221, 2 sets of 2
Towers: Yakima Skyline Tower, #8000148, set of 4
Crossbars: Yakima 60-inch Corebar with endcaps, #800422, set of 2
Locks: Yakima SKS Cores, #8007204, 4-pack