Roofrack - 2000 mpv lx
Date: Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:10 pm
Shortly after buying my 2000 MPV, I ordered a roofrack from www.mazdastuff.com. Everyone needs a roofrack! Once it arrived, I had a problem finding the right tools for the project. From the entries I've seen on this site, others have had the same issues. I thought I'd list out step by step what I did so that it might save you time if you take on the same project.
Tools you need that the average person might not have: an 11/32 drill bit (buy this exact size), a "center punch", a drill stop (you may be able make this yourself if you can't find one), a tube of 100% silicon caulk, some touch up paint to match your vehicle, a T25 Torx tool (I think this is the size), and a rivet nut tool.
I had a real problem finding the "rivet nut tool" that the instructions told me that I needed. I called auto parts stores, and they were helpful, but clueless. I called Mazda, and they were helpless and clueless. I even contacted mazdastuff.com (I bought the rack from them) - and they were helpful, but ultimately couldn't tell me where to buy or find the tool that I needed. The couldn't even give me a size or a part #. I finally figured out that a rivet nut tool (sometimes called a threaded rivet tool) has to be ordered by size, and the size of the rivet nuts for my roofrack were metric - 6mm to be precise (M6). This makes it an even harder tool to find.
In the end, I found a tool at www.rivetnuttool.com that was available in 6mm. It's $20, and worth every penny. The first thing you should do is order this tool. Once you have the right tools, this project isn't difficult. It'll take you about 2 hours, and you'll end up with a great looking product.
Here is what I did, step by step:
Step #1 - Wipe down the roof of your car (the instructions tell you to use a 50/50 water/alcohol mix - not sure how important that is).
Step #2 - Included in your roofrack kit is a template to help you mark out your drill locations. Cut out this template and follow the instructions to mark out your first 2 drill locations on each side (in the back). Mark the spots with a Sharpie.
Step #3 - Assemble the roofrack on top of the van. Get it perfect, making sure that you align the front mounts carefully so that they fit against the van snugly. If the front mounts are too far left or right, you'll see gaps under the rubber seals.
Step #4 - Once you've got the roofrack aligned perfectly over the back drill marks, and everything else is centered, mark out the other drill locations on the roof. There are 10 holes total that you'll be drilling (I used a Q tip to make these marks, since there's no way to get a marker down into the holes.) Double and triple check these marks - it would be a big mistake to get those holes wrong.
Step #5 - Remove the rack from the roof. Now use your center punch and tap each drill location. This will help your drill bit from skating all over your roof as you try to drill.
Step #6 - Use a 1/8" bit and drill pilot holes on each of the 10 locations that you marked out in step #5. Be sure to use a drill stop (set to the same depth as your rivet nuts). If you don't have a drill stop, you could duct tape a bushing or nut to the drill bit to make sure that it won't go past the depth you need. If you go too far, you'll have holes in your headliner, and you don't want that, unless you like that kind of thing.
Step #7 - Go back with your 11/32" bit and widen each hole to the final size. Again - make sure your drill bit has a drill stop. On each side, you drill 5 holes - 2 in front, 2 in back, and 1 in the middle. On the middle hole on each side, you will have to punch through 2 layers of metal for the rivet nut to get to its correct depth. Don't worry - as long as you have the drill stop set to the right level, you won't punch through your headliner, even passing through the second layer of metal.
Step #8 - Clean up the holes you made and use touch-up paint around the edges of the holes to make sure they don't rust.
Step #9 - While you're waiting 5-10 minutes for your touch up paint to dry, go ahead and place the "rub strips" on your van. They are ultra-easy to install, since one side has an adhesive on it. Just center them (forward and back, left and right) and stick them right on. Your van already has 4 raised ribs where they belong, so it's easy to get them on. Just make sure there is no dirt where you're sticking them on - this will create problems with the adhesive later if the van is dirty when you do installation.
Step #10 - Generously add silicon to each hole and place a rivet nut in each hole. Use your rivet nut tool to tighten each rivet nut in place. This is probably the most time consuming part of the entire installation. Make sure they're correctly placed, and that the silicon is sealing well. This is where you'll get leaking later on if you don't have a good seal.
Step #11 - Once the rivet nuts are all in and tightened, add another dab of silicon to the inside of each rivet nut. Place the roofrack back on top of the van and line up all of the holes.
Step #12 - Thread each Torx screw in its proper place. Do not tighten the screws down until you've gotten them all threaded in their proper places. Use a torque wrench to tighten each screw to its proper specs, found in the instructions.
Step #13 - Go watch some football. You've earned it.
The end result is fantastic - your van goes from looking plain to sporty in just 2 hours, and you have the satisfaction of knowing it's been done right. I spent significantly more time looking for the rivet nut tool than I spent actually installing the roof rack.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or post. I originally posted this in the forums, and if you'd like to read our conversation about it, you can follow along here: