View original topic: Question about screws: cleaning/fixing leak in luggage rack
pnwkayaker Sun May 01, 2016 10:34 pm

It rained incredibly during our last camping trip (a week ago in Ft Flagler), so much that I saw a leak developing under our front headliner. Having visions of rust holes and such in the roof, I decided to remove the luggage rack and see what was there (I heard also it was a good idea to clean it up once in I while).

I followed the instructions located at

Of course, removing the luggage rack wasn't as easy as it seems to be in the video.

1 - One of the front screws got damaged because of me using a smaller screwdriver (lose fitting), so I had to run to buy a bigger one and then use a Dremel to re-shape the slit so it had something to grip on. Fortunately, all screws got out eventually (moral of the story: use a big screwdriver, that fits well!)

2 - Removing the four rear screws (the ones closer to the pop top) took a very long time - the screws were freely spinning along with the nut, so I had to remove part of the cabinetry to be able to loose the headliner to be able to reach the screws, only to find that they were carriage bolts (with no slits to put a screwdriver nor socket tool/wrench). We ended up using a bolt cutter, and some interesting use of multiple tools in other cases.

We were finally able to remove the rack (pardon the mess in the garage, lots of projects going on there)

and found lots of nasty stuff underneath, but fortunately no rust holes (not even in the front windshield under the upper seal)

We realized that the water was entering through the rear screws (the rear part of the headliner was wet) and the reason was because some were not tight and sealed (they were fairly loose and frozen), plus the caulk was all cracked. It has rained heavily in Seattle lately, and the reason I hadnít developed a leak before was that the van had the roof closed all winter, and the pop top seal closed the gap preventing water from reaching those screws

I plan to put new stainless screws in the rear, put screens underneath the luggage rack and probably replace the flat screws in the side and front with Allen bolts or similar (easier to remove if needed). Iíll be using caulk everywhere to ensure that everything is well sealed.

I had to call for reinforcements to help clean up everything

and everything eventually cleaned up well, now awaiting for me tomorrow to run to ACE to buy lots of new screws, washers and such to complete the reinstallation.

Before I buy all these new hardware, I have the following question:

In the GoWesty video it seems that the rear screws do not need to be removed (they stay in place), and only the nuts need to be removed (the screws remain mounted vertically). Could somebody please explain me how that works? The picture below shows one of the screws that we had to cut: as you can see, itís a carriage bolt with a square shape, however, itís installed on a round hole, so it spins freely! I can see adding a holding washer would prevent it from going down, but how to prevent it from spinning (specially if thereís no where to grab the head)?

dhaavers Mon May 02, 2016 4:12 am

I have no direct experience, but I do have 2 ideas for you:

1) JB Weld or other epoxy putty to fix bolt in place. Use just enough to fill the space between each flat face and the round hole.
2) Dimple the sheet metal at each flat face of the bolt. Use small center punch or similar, then spot paint for rust prevention.

Personally, I'd try #1 first as it is reversible without damage to the roof, but do what you gotta do... :wink:

- Dave

[email protected] Mon May 02, 2016 6:38 am

You can access the rear of the screws by moving the front headliner. You could probably just loosen the back of it to give you enough room to work. (loosen the shelves in the front, remove the rubber gasket) Then you could caulk them up. The JB weld idea is a good one as well and you could probably do it from the outside.

Jeffrey Lee Mon May 02, 2016 6:57 am

I don't know if those rear bolt holes were ever square, as all the ones I've seen were round (-ed). The bolts will generally be retained well enough by the caulk unless it's all dried out.

Originally a material known as 'dum dum', this automotive putty can sometimes be found locally or online. Standard plumber's putty may be a suitable alternative. Just put a dab beneath each bolt head before tightening the nuts.

To prevent leaves and other crud from making their way under the luggage rack and retaining moisture/rust, you might consider adding small screens to the drain holes as shown here:

Good luck!

vanis13 Mon May 02, 2016 9:03 am

re: hole filters..Easy...

2 years and going fine

vanis13 Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:40 am

6 years and still functioning fine.

actually meant to update the original post;start=0

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