Anti-Rice: The Cereal => The Lounge => Topic started by: wantahertzdonut on May 14, 2019, 12:33:05 AM

Title: DIY Roof Light Bar?
Post by: wantahertzdonut on May 14, 2019, 12:33:05 AM
For my van. 

I have 4 LED KC Daylighters to put up on my roof but I don't have a satisfactory way to mount these things.  Nobody makes a light bar mount for GM vans and I don't want a roof rack so I'm trying to come up with something of my own.

I had a bar that I fabricated last summer out of 1-1/2 x 2 aluminum rectangle tube and attached with 4 Surco gutter clamps.  I used a 2x6x3/16 plate of steel to bridge the two gutter clamps on each side and bolted the aluminum tube to that.  It worked and was robust, but the square profile of the structure whistled on the highway and actually knocked about .4mpg off my fuel mileage.  I realize most of the drag is the lights but I'd like to minimize what I can.

I'm trying to come up with something a little more streamlined and attractive.  I built the van for driving across rough desert roads so there's a lot of vibration from washboarding and the last thing I want is to have my lights fall off due to a broken light bar mount.

I don't have a welder, but I know a guy who does welding professionally.  He isn't cheap.  I'm looking for some ideas of what other people have made that don't stick way high up off the roof, have a clean look, and will hold up.  Preferably something I can bolt together.  If you have any pictures or ideas, post 'em up!
Title: Re: DIY Roof Light Bar?
Post by: MiniVanMan on May 14, 2019, 10:15:39 AM
You've got the full size G-Van, right?

I'd look into commercial applications, maybe call around to shops in your area that outfit those vans with gear for Cable companies, plumbers, electricians, etc. I don't know if they've had specifically a light bar for flood lamps like that, but they may know where to get one.

Alternatively, those vans are also used by law enforcement and they have to have some sort of mounting for their roof lights, maybe there's a way that could be modified for your purpose?
Title: Re: DIY Roof Light Bar?
Post by: wantahertzdonut on May 14, 2019, 01:12:57 PM
Yep, Express 3500

I never considered the law enforcement route.  Commercial stuff is really tall to keep ladders off the roof.  I'll check out cop car upfitters and see what I can find.  Maybe ambulance builders too.  Thanks!
Title: Re: DIY Roof Light Bar?
Post by: wantahertzdonut on July 26, 2019, 11:45:52 AM
As usual I put this off and instead went mountain biking instead.   About 2 weeks ago I had an idea.  Parts are on order but basically I'm repurposing my Surco mounts and using a 1.5" round aluminum tube with KC Daylighter tube clamp mounts.  It's a device I wish I knew existed 2 years ago. 

The coolest feature of this design is I'll be able to roll the light bar forward to remove the lights from the wind when I'm doing long drives on the highway.  The whole profile will be significantly reduced so I expect much less wind noise and drag.  Everything is quick release and has locking features, and I expect it to look clean and proper.  I'll post pics and video when it's done, hopefully in a week.

Ca'mon McMaster Carr!
Title: Re: DIY Roof Light Bar?
Post by: wantahertzdonut on August 02, 2019, 12:09:28 AM
OK, here's the (near) final product.  I made this 1-lamp mount for test fitting that worked great for demo photos.

The lights in the "in use" position. 

To retract the lights, release the cam levers on both sides


Roll the lights forward and you'll see the much reduced frontal area

Re lock the levers and you're good to go.  Here's what it looks like with the lights up on my van.  I'm going to spread them out a little since I'm putting 2 PA speakers up there to yell at people a-la Mr. Microphone.
Title: Re: DIY Roof Light Bar?
Post by: Kalgorn on August 02, 2019, 08:08:39 AM
Well look at that ingenuity. Nice job.