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Discussion Starter #1
With the challenge of finding a bike rack, functional (not ugly), I found a use for my trunk mounted Thule bike rack (used for folding the rack up and down). By adding two Yakima Raptor Mounts, 5/8" ACME threaded rod (which is nearly identical to the tow thread), cotter pin, etc... a hack saw and a drill, I created a rack meeting the following criteria:

  • Strong (stainless steel ACME rods) and secure (can't lose bikes)
  • Must hold two bikes (for a team mate or for stage races)
  • Removable (cotter pin) if I need to remove it
  • Folding (Thule Rack) so I don't lose some of my parking advantage
  • Ability to see tail lights and license plate when folded up
  • No modifications to the car itself
  • Keep cost reasonable (Under $350) if everything was new
  • No welding and can't take more than a couple of hours
I'll post a couple of these pictures shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Bike Rack - Must look good

  • no strange startrek shape (what's up with the one on the smart site?)
  • Can't stick up in the air and cause drag and lower my mileage.
 

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Nicely done! Can you post pics with 2 bikes on and pics showing the assembly and installation? I love how folks on this forum can be so creative with projects like this. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Nicely done! Can you post pics with 2 bikes on and pics showing the assembly and installation? I love how folks on this forum can be so creative with projects like this. Thanks for sharing.
Please o PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!! Show us the assembly and installation PLEASE! Add a shopping list also. I am now at the point that I have to make up my mind. Spend way to much or risk damage to my pea2so or leave the bikes at home on my vaca in 12 days. I am going to middle of nowhere Michigan and had to rent bikes last year that caused a lot of shoulder pain from being at the wrong angle.
 

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The more I look at this, the more impressed I am. I think you've come up with the best DIY design I've seen on this forum.

How's that for sucking up to get you to post detailed assembly and installation pics, narrative, and shopping list? :D
 

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The more I look at it the more it looks like the OEM unit should look and work. smart's looks to much like an after thought and was just tossed together.I hope you will honour us with a how to and shopping list.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Bike Rack Basics

Sorry for not getting step by steps for this. I want to do it right but have been tied up.There are a few things to understand about making this work.

1) Rod - The key piece of the puzzle is the rod which is used in place of the tow bolts. Everything attaches to this.

When looking at the thread, this appears to be an OEM/Proprietary design. However, I took it down to Tacoma Screw (Ballard, WA) who fitted the tow bolt with an 5/8 inch ACME thread. Yep an ACME rod should work fine. The thread patern and size are correct. However, the tow bolt thread is more rounded while the ACME thread (used for things like vice clamps) is more squared. I used vice grips to put a tight squeeze on an area of the thread I would not be using and gave it 6 or 7 rotations until it was in as deep as the tow bolt was designed to go. While it was a tight fit, it worked like a charm.

I ordered a couple of feet just to allow for design changes.

I also purchased a 5/8 inch steel tube (Home Depot) to slide over the threaded rod to allow for an easier removal.

Both pictured below:




2) Hinged machinism - I used an existing Thule trunk mounted rack (for three bikes to give me more length) - similar to this http://www.thuleracks.com/product.asp?dept_id=8&sku=911

The bike mounts (I used Yakima Raptor mounts) attach to the long posts where the original mounting units were.

For those that are planning to create this mod, you will need these items. Other than that, a drill, vice grips, hack saw (with a good blade and some WD40 to allow for an easier cut), and a 5/8" cotter pin.

I'll try to get the step by step and ingredients out this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Bike Rack/Hack - DIY Steps

Disclaimer: This is the process I went through to make a bike rack work on my smart car. Anyone wishing to do this is using thier own risk and cost.

I suck as a writer, swithc between first and third person, complete rubbish. That is why it is best to read the whole thing to make sure you understand what the end result should look like and figure out what works best for you. Looking over the pictures should help you understand that it was not really that hard.

Now that is out of the way, what I would suggest is 1) again, read this thoroughly and understand it before starting and 2) cut the parts (rds, tubing, bike rack) longer than vs. shorter. You can always trim down parts later.

Before starting, you will need 1) a hack saw with good blades made for cutting steel, 2) a drill and various drill bits, 3) vice grips. You will also be drilling a hole through a pipe and will need to center the drill and hold it in place. Since I am a cyclist, I had a plastic reflector holder that was made for a seat post. This screwed down tightly to the post and it was easier to pilot a hole using plastic. Once I hit metal, the plastic holder stayed secure as a guide. What writer once said that if he was a better writer his books would have been shorter? : )

Here are the parts you need to purchase. 1) 1 foot of steel, 5/8" ACME threaded rod. I purchased mine from Tacoma Screw (Washington based). I'd check around to see if you have a place to get these in your area. They won't carry them at Home Depot. 2) once you have the rod, take it to Home Depot to the isle with screws, bolts etc... and locate steel tubing. I believe 5/8" tubing is what I used but it is best to ensure the rod can slide into the tube securely. 3) 2 5/8" Spring-Type cotter pins. They had these in the same section as screws in a section for specialty parts. 4) 2 rubber footings made for chairs or tables. I don't have the exact name of them but they look like this - Amazon.com: Crutch Tips Tan Extra Large by Rubbermaid, Size:7/8 Inches - 1 Pair: Health & Personal Care
and can be found in an isle that has other furnature pads, scratch guards, etc... 5) here is the part I had to get creative (not entirely happy with) - There is a difference in the size of the tubing on the mount and the bike rack tubing. If you use nothing to fill the gap, it can jiggle. I used rubber O-rings used for faucets (using the tubing to get the smalles I could. After fitting the rings every inch or so around the tubing, I wrapped them with electrical tape to keep them from sliding around. It works fine but I'd rather have somehow cemented the tubes together.

Here is what the parts look like:



It is also important to understand the rack. As I mentioned, I used an existing Thule 911 Passage Rack (this was the right length needed to later mount two Yakima Raptor bike mounts). A 910 made for two bikes might be too short. Aside from the straps (which need to be cut off), here is what it looks like:






Now, starts the hacking. As I mentioned, I cut mine a little longer just to make sure I didn't go to short and screw the whole thing up. My illustration is from the side of the rack. You'll need to cut both sides (obviously) of the rack to make this work. Looking at the above illustrations, those parts of the rack that had foam rubber (against the car) are the parts that need to be cut. The posts with the bike holders stay as is.

In Illustration 1, the part of the rack that is pointing to 1 O'clock (up) with the foam rubber padding has a locking screws. The design of this was to allow this rack to fit different types of cars. This is a key part of the new design which allows the bike rack to be raised and lowered. This needs to be cut to 5". See Illustration 2, C (below).

In Illustration 1, the part of the rack that is pointing to 6 O'clock (down) with the foam rubber padding does not move. It cannot be rotated and has no removable pin. This part of the rack is not used in the new design and should be cut to 1" (I leave a small part of the post so I can attach an end cap - I didn't want to leave an open hole). See Illustration 2, B (below).

In Illustration 1, the part of the rack that holds the bikes pointing to 9 O'clock do not get cut. You unscrew the end cap (save it for capping the post mentioned in the paragraph above). Slide off the bike holders. Press the button on the center unit that allows you to swing the post around. See Illustration 2, A.

At this point, you should have two parts which look like the illustration below. One will be used for the right side of the car, one the left. I had the Thule logos pointing to the outside of the car and the screws used to release the bike mounts on the inside.



Once I was done with creating the holder, I needed to get the base setup which connects to the car. First, I removed the tow bolt (I-bolt) from under the passenger floorboard. I screwed the I-bolt into each of the tow bolt holes in the back of the car, counting how many full rotations it made as well as to ensure the holes were cleared of any crap. Next, I had to cut the rods. Note that I live in an apartment and don't own a vice or anything to hold the rod in order to cut it. In order to keep the whole thing secure, I screwed the whole rod into the first tow hole. I used vice grips (which does some damage to the threads so I'd recommend gripping a spot about 2 inches from the hole since that will not be needed) to turn the rod 6 or 7 full rotations. Don't skimp. Once secure, I also slid the steel tube over the rod. I measured out 5 1/4" from the bumper of the car (assuming there is about 1/2" for the hole and the plastic bumper panel. I marked that section and cut straight through the tubing and rod. It is easiest to use a little WD40 to help ease the cutting. Once through, I slid the appropriate Thule rack (modified) on to the section to make sure it all worked. I did the same steps on the other side. See Illustration 3.



Once that was done, here was the part about making a tighter fit between the tubing and the Thule rack post. (See Illustration 4, 1) I slid the small rubber O-rings down the tubing, about an inch apart. I then wrapped the whole thing with some electrical tape to make sure they would stay in place while I slid the tube into the rack post. Once I ensured a snug fit, I put it all together. See Illustration 4, 2).



Once it is together, we need to secure it. While the rack is attached to the base (pushed all the way in), you will need to drill a hole down the center of the post (down). Again, you will need to attach something to the post to allow the drill to center. (Illustration 5, 1) Drill all the way through all three parts (the rack post, steel tube, and rod). Once this is done, you can insert the cotter pin (Illustration 5, 2). This will hold it in place. Do the same for the other mount and rack. Once that is done, use the end cap you saved earlier and cap the short, unused part of the rack (Illustration 5, 3). After that, put the rubber footing thing on the back of the bike holder post (Illustration 5, 4). This will keep you and your friends from bumping into a blunt post when removing your bike.



Once the rack is secure and finished up, you can attach your selected bike mounts (I selected the Raptor since it 1) layed flat and allowed me to fold it up close to the car and 2) it holds the bike securely so that it doesn't wobble and smash out my windshield. It was also not too expensive.

I hope this helps. If you are unclear about anything on my project, please look over the Thule site or reply with questions and I will do my best to answer.
 
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