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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

Recent Ridgeline owner, long time dreamer. Before this I had an '03 Element with 225k miles that got hit while parked one night and subsequently totaled by the insurance company. No fun! Took it as a chance to upgrade to a Ridgeline, a truck I've wanted for as long as they have existed! I'm in the process of swapping over some of my accessories from the Element including a bike rack, roof rack, fog lights, radar, and dash cam. This is my first attempt at a tutorial. The pics aren't the best so let me know if you have any questions. As a little teaser, here's a final pic w the ski rack installed:



The Rack:
A Thule Tracker roof rack with 58" load bars. This is a quick release rack, you can press a button and pop the entire rack off the roof for better gas milage. Absolutely loved this setup on the E and decided I wanted to keep it on the Ridgeline. The rack came with the car when I bought it used so I may have had some custom brackets, but it'd be easy to fine some other generic extrusion to do the same trick. Parts include:
2x - 58" Square Cross Bars
4x - Tracker Feet
4x - Tracker Bases
4x - 110mm Long Aluminum Extrusions (these may have been custom?)
1x - Wind Faring

The Roof:
Bone stock 2008 RTS. No rails or racks have been mounted before to my knowledge. Opted to mount to the factor roof rack mounting points. They are threaded studs inside the roof gutter.

Tools:
Trim tool
Drill w/ 6.6mm bit and 8.8mm bit (just need clearance for M6 and M8 bolts)
5mm allen key
4mm allen key
Flat Head Screw driver (prying)
10mm wrench

Additional Parts Purchased:
8x - M6x1, 12mm, Button Head Socket Cap Screw
8x - M8x1.25, 12mm Button Head Socket Cap Screw
8x - M6x1, 18mm Hex Coupling Nut
8x - M8x1.25, 24mm Hex Coupling Nut

Installation:

Step 1:
Remove the roof gutter trim. I started near the front windshield with a plastic spatula. Once you pop the first clip free, the rest are a cinch. Set this aside in a safe place. Don't bend it!


Step 2:
Remove the plastic clips in the locations you wish to attach the rack. I opted for the second from the front and the last set of studs. This puts my bars pretty far apart but they are close enough to fit a fork mounted rack. Try to save these but plan on destroying most of them. I'm going to order a few spares if possible.
Clips:

Studs:


Step 3:
Prep your bracket. In my case, this was an aluminum extrusion that was used to mount the bases to the roof of my Element. I searched all over and couldn't find the same thing, but any kind of extrusion that is flat on the bottom and has a slot for the t-nuts should due. For reference, here's an image of the t-nut I'm referring to:


The extrusion had some holes drilled for the M6 nuts but I needed to enlarge these to fit M8s.
Extrusion with enlarged holes:


Then I used the M8 screws to bolt down the M8 Hex Coupling Nuts. These will function as standoffs between the roof and the bracket.


Next, I needed to create clearance holes that lined up with the M6 studs on the roof. My studs were 35mm apart. Now is about when my pictures get a little sloppy (non-existent). The above pic shows my marks and punch marks for the two holes (plus a centerline) but I never snapped an image of the part drilled out.

Disclaimer: The following steps have very few/vague pictures. It started raining and I got rushed. I will have to disassemble tomorrow to cut the trim to fit and will snap more pictures for these steps!

Step 4.
Install the 6mm Hex Coupling Nuts on the roof studs you plan on using. You should have 4 sets of 2 studs. Use the 10mm wrench to tighten the coupling nuts down to the base of the stud. Very little torque is needed as these will be put in tension shortly. (again, no pictures).

Step 5. Bolt down the aluminum bracket using the 6mm screws. Orient the bracket such that the 8mm coupling nuts rest in the channel. Again, do not over tighten!

Step 6: Using the top track of the extrusion, install the Thule Tracker Base with the supplied T-nuts.


Step 7:
Repeat for all other corners of the rack.

Step 8:
Mount the Thule Tracker Feet/Bars on the roof. Adjust the location of the feet on the bars as necessary. In the following pic, you can see my ski rack is already installed, but it would have been easier without!


Step 9:
Mount any accessories.

Future Steps:
After some load/highway tests, I plan on cutting/drilling the existing trim to fit around the feet.

Concerns:
This setup puts the studs in the roof gutter under tension. They appear to be on a bracket that is spot welded in place. I'm slightly worried that strong winds could cause the stud plate to pop off the roof; however, this is the exact mounting location for the stock roof rack, so not too concerned.

Hopefully I can get a few more pics for this post by tomorrow. If you have any questions or want some specific pictures, please let me know.

Cheers!
 

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784 Posts
Nice work and thanks for showing how you did this. Will be watching for your updates.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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Looks Good, may also want to confirm those locations are sealed well from, rain or other water intrusion.
 
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