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Thread: Hauling Plywood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Las Vegas, NV

    Hauling Plywood

    Hello friends! I'm still around (I guess you know that given that the forum is still up ) and still have my SX4! While not as beautiful as it once was, it's still a great little hassle-free car!

    So, I am doing a project and I needed to transport some lumber. I sold my truck about 2 years ago and didn't want to ask any friends to use theirs because I don't really like asking people for their things if I don't really need to use them. I know Home Depot and U-Haul rent trucks for pretty cheap, so if all else fails, there's always that option, but I decided to see if there was another way.

    I did what all people living in our day do when they don't know how to do something that they want to do, I turned to YouTube to see if anyone had any good ideas. I found this video from a carpenter. I liked the way he had it all set up and that he used it for his job and it worked for him. I decided to give it a try.

    I will preface this by saying I'm not a carpenter of any sorts, I'm as novice as it comes. I am using the plywood for a small building I am making. The quality of my work here isn't great, but it was good enough to meet my immediate need.

    I used:
    2 - 2x4's 8 ft. in length
    8 - 5 inch 5/16 bolts
    8 - Nuts to fit the bolts
    4 - 6 inch x 1.5 inch metal construction tie plates
    4 - Metal L-Brackets
    1 - Pack of wood screws 1 inch in length (small enough to fit into the holes in the L-brackets)

    The basic idea is a flat surface that is 8 feet long that plywood can sit on top of with nothing sticking up to damage the wood. I already owned the factory cross-bars (which I use to transport our kayaks) so I did not need to purchase those. I started with 2x4's that were 8 feet long so that the plywood would be supported along its entire length. I placed them on the crossbars to kind of eyeball where I wanted them. I wanted to make sure the weight was centered, but wanted to avoid overhang if possible so that nothing was hanging off the edge of the car. Fortunately, that worked out perfectly.

    I marked the areas where the 2x4's touched the cross bars and the general shape of the cross bars onto the 2x4's. The Suzuki cross bars are not square, they are almost teardrop shaped. I used a jigsaw (probably not the best tool, but it's what I had available to me at the time) to cut the rough shape of the crossbars out. I took them out to the car a few times to see how they were fitting and make sure they were level. Once I was satisfied with that, I moved onto the next step.

    The next step was drilling the bolts. I just used 5 inch bolts. I drilled holes into the 2x4's on either end of the notches I had made about an inch from each notch in order to run the bolts through. After running the bolts through, I carved out space to counter-sink the bolt heads. This was to ensure the bolts were flush with the wood, and to prevent the bolts from spinning. I created the rough shape of the bolt head and depth using a Dremmel bit and it worked just fine.

    I next made the metal braces that hold the 2x4's on to the crossbars. I marked where the bolts were coming through the 2x4's and drilled corresponding holes in my metal tie plates. I made these holes a tiny bit bigger than the bolts so that they would slide on and off in an easy manner. To secure this, the plates are slid onto the bolts and secured.

    At this point, the basic structure was done. I had 2 bars that would securely fasten to the crossbars and were level. I liked the idea of the L-brackets in the front of the racks to brace the plywood up against and give some support to the entire thing. I cut a notch that the L-brackets could fit into so that they would be flat with the surface of the wood and screwed them into place using the 4 existing holes on the L-brackets.

    Now that everything was complete, it was time to see if it was going to work. I purchased 5 pieces of plywood. The thickness and weight of the pieces varied, but the total thickness was about 3 inches of wood. I was able to slide the wood onto the racks with ease and tie them with ratcheting tie down straps. The entire thing stayed very secure and I made it home without incident.

    I'm happy with the way these turned out. In the future, I will probably sand down the cutouts I made for the crossbars so that they look a little nicer, but other than that, I think it all turned out pretty great. They don't take up much room standing up, so I will keep them in a corner in my garage and use them again in the future as needed.
    The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    New Zealand
    Well done! It's always handy to see what other people have got away with carrying . Apparently std sheets of ply weigh approx 45kgs per 25mm thickness

    I always think of the photos of the VW Jetta with a huge heap of wood on the roof and collapsed rear suspension. Mythbusters did a recreation of this that might be on YouTube still for you guys, it's blocked down here.

    I've carried 6m lengths of timber on the roof rack using an extension ladder as a stiffener to stop flexing. Edsky posted about using an addition to his bike mount as another support.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Champaign, IL
    Awesome project -- I may have to make something like that myself. Thanks for sharing it.
    2008 sx4 awd auto hatch touring

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    I like it! I'm one of those guys who always figures a way too. (My brother is the same; it's a rare occasion when one of us asks the other for assistance.)
    Matt in Selah (near Yakima) WA
    '09 AWD SX4, '16 6.7L Power Stroke Super Duty Crew Cab 4x4 - 860 lb ft torque!, '74 Ford Bronco

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Council Bluffs, IA USA
    Brilliant! I wish my Fiesta had roof racks, interior cargo space sucks too. I definitely miss the utility of the SX4.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    I always think of the photos of the VW Jetta with a huge heap of wood on the roof and collapsed rear suspension. Mythbusters did a recreation of this that might be on YouTube still for you guys, it's blocked down here.
    That's the first thing I thought of when I started reading this thread. The first time I saw that picture was way back in... about 1999 or 2000 which was back before lots of such fake photos existed. I'm pretty sure it is real.

    I want to find a set of those roof rack bars and build something similar.

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