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    Thread: Would YOU do this to install a roof rack?

    1. Member fknlo's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 11:34 AM #1
      I bought an F80 M3 about a week ago. I live in Colorado and do outdoors things. It's not the best car for those purposes but I'm also not going to stay here, which is one of the reasons I bought it. I regularly have something hanging off the top of my DD, and that will continue to be a thing even after I eventually leave. There's one problem with the F8x M cars with the carbon roof in this regard. The factory roof rack mounting points are still there, BMW just didn't put the holes in the roof to get to them. There's a DIY route where you do it yourself. In various threads on this I've seen some people involved in aerospace stuff chime in and say that they don't see any actual issues with this as people drill holes in composites all the time. Would you be willing to do this though? There's a hitch mount option that I'm also looking at, but it really only solves the issue of transporting my bikes and not some of the other things that have traditionally gone on top of my car. I'm gonna talk to some more people in the composites industry to see what they think, but I'm definitely leaning towards the roof rack option. How comfortable would YOU be going that route?

      Old pic for clicks:

      Last edited by fknlo; 06-25-2019 at 11:37 AM.

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    3. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 11:36 AM #2
      Zero chance. Isn't there a Thule or Yakima or something that hangs onto the sides?

    4. Member kryptonik's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 11:37 AM #3
      I wouldn't, especially on a DIY level.

      If you're gonna keep the car forever, then I suppose that move is a bit easier to stomach- but I'd imagine drilling the roof is gonna really hurt your value if you go to sell it.

    5. Member fknlo's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 11:40 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Russells View Post
      Zero chance. Isn't there a Thule or Yakima or something that hangs onto the sides?
      I've seen a couple of people that pieced together a kit, but there is nothing specifically listed for the car that isn't one that mounts to the factory points. They're there and accessible on the cars with the sunroof option.

      Quote Originally Posted by kryptonik View Post
      I wouldn't, especially on a DIY level.

      If you're gonna keep the car forever, then I suppose that move is a bit easier to stomach- but I'd imagine drilling the roof is gonna really hurt your value if you go to sell it.
      The buyer would literally never know unless they flipped up the cover on the trim piece.

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      06-25-2019 11:58 AM #5
      iirc, BMW uses a threaded fitting on the roof, which the rack mount bolts to, so it's more than just drilling the roof. You'll have to install a rivnut also.

      Drilling in carbon fiber is fine in aerospace, because the engineers have done enough FEA analysis and actual testing that the drilled holes do not cause a structural failure when loaded it its intended use plus a safety margin.

      Maybe a seasucker system is better for you

      https://www.seasucker.com/

      Personally, I would have bought a different car that has side rails to mount crossbars to it.

      When you're done with the car, people might be weary of buying that car from you due to you drilling roof.
      Last edited by BsickPassat; 06-25-2019 at 12:06 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by Jezza
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    7. Moderator rs4-380's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:04 PM #6
      If anything you would want to seal the edges of the drilled hole as water can get in and cause de-lamination in the actual composite, but honestly on an OEM tier 1 roof panel their shouldn't be any issues with voids or stability of the resin, so that's even kind of an ehhh. What I would worry about is that it appears it's rather precise drilling, both in centering the hole and hole depth. Last thing you want to do is hit metal in a rain channel where water would collect and cause rust if you nicked anything.
      Dave

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      06-25-2019 12:09 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by fknlo View Post
      There's a DIY route where you do it yourself. In various threads on this I've seen some people involved in aerospace stuff chime in and say that they don't see any actual issues with this as people drill holes in composites all the time. Would you be willing to do this though?
      I can't believe you asked us this. You've seen how we react to holes in the front bumper in a non-front plate state, right?

      Holes in the roof? Hard pass.

    9. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:14 PM #8
      Can't you get those universal racks that clamp onto the top of the door frame for vehicles without factory rails?

    10. Member Stevo12's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:15 PM #9
      I wouldn't do it myself, but not for structural reasons - I'd be worried about the holes being in the right places.

      I believe the carbon roof on the M3 is just a panel - the structure of the roof is metal portion surrounding it, which the carbon panel is then bonded to. When you load a roof rack, you're loading the metal structure, not the composite panel. Depending on the drilling, I'd be more worried about stress cracking around the holes, but done right it should be fine.

      Perhaps the correct way to go about it would be to find a body shop that would be able to drill the holes properly. Are the rivnuts still present even on the carbon roof M3s? Regardless, those would be easy to add, and then the body shop could drill appropriately and re-bond the panel.
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    11. Member fknlo's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:24 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Stevo12 View Post

      I believe the carbon roof on the M3 is just a panel - the structure of the roof is metal portion surrounding it, which the carbon panel is then bonded to. When you load a roof rack, you're loading the metal structure, not the composite panel. Depending on the drilling, I'd be more worried about stress cracking around the holes, but done right it should be fine.

      Perhaps the correct way to go about it would be to find a body shop that would be able to drill the holes properly. Are the rivnuts still present even on the carbon roof M3s? Regardless, those would be easy to add, and then the body shop could drill appropriately and re-bond the panel.
      This is all correct. It's just a carbon fiber reinforced polymer panel glued to the car. The rack never touches the roof panel. Here's another thread on it. The mounting points are there under the panel, it looks like BMW probably didn't do it for cost reasons. The E92 M3 with the carbon roof has access to the factory mounting points but the number of people who use or care about having them are probably low enough for BMW to not worry about it and cut costs on the f8x cars. Realistically I doubt I'd do the drilling myself and I'd let someone that regularly deals with things like drilling holes in composites deal with it. There's no shortage of those people in Colorado.

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      06-25-2019 12:28 PM #11
      IT IS GOING INTO METAL!!! (For those that didn't actually look at the process)


      Yes would absolutely not hesitate to do this.



      You are using the 100% identical factory mounting in the steel frame of the roof as you are with the steel roof cars. All you are doing is making the hole that the factory did not make in the carbon fiber skin on the roof. The rack itself is still just resting on that steel roof frame, just like the steel roof cars are.


      You are drilling a hole to access it in a place that you cannot see by the trim, you are not putting a load on the carbon fiber roof skin.




      Drilled holes in carbon bike frames

      Drilled holes in carbon race seats

      Drilled holes in carbon super car panels (ok mostly of it was trim... )

      No care.

    13. Member MoPho's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:28 PM #12
      Get yourself some Seasucker racks or similar

      https://www.seasucker.com/collections/car-racks








      .

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      06-25-2019 12:30 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by fknlo View Post
      This is all correct. It's just a carbon fiber reinforced polymer panel glued to the car. The rack never touches the roof panel. Here's another thread on it. The mounting points are there under the panel, it looks like BMW probably didn't do it for cost reasons. The E92 M3 with the carbon roof has access to the factory mounting points but the number of people who use or care about having them are probably low enough for BMW to not worry about it and cut costs on the f8x cars. Realistically I doubt I'd do the drilling myself and I'd let someone that regularly deals with things like drilling holes in composites deal with it. There's no shortage of those people in Colorado.
      THe mounting feet for the cross bars do touch the roof panel. If it didn't, you would not need to drill into the roof panel to access the mounting locations.

      BMW would rather push people into their Sports Activity Vehicles, like the X-series for that active lifestyle.
      Quote Originally Posted by Jezza
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    15. 06-25-2019 12:46 PM #14
      A) Hitch Rack system
      B) Sea Sucker

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      06-25-2019 12:46 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by BsickPassat View Post
      THe mounting feet for the cross bars do touch the roof panel. If it didn't, you would not need to drill into the roof panel to access the mounting locations..
      Not really touching actually.

      And even touching does not mean that is supporting it.


      Think about a tile floor, you can sit on a chair on a tile floor no problem, if the subfloor and mortar are done right you can even strike that tile with a hammer and in many cases have a hard time breaking the tile. The area of the carbon roof this may be slightly touching is just a piece of carbon flat down on a steel subframe for the roof. The steel roof is the structural part. Even if there was some sort of air pocket in the adhesive there holding the carbon panel to the steel frame the majority of the weight is passing through the carbon via the hole you made and directly into the steel frame.

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      06-25-2019 12:47 PM #16
      I would be nervous just because of the drilling. I would 100% still do it though.

    18. Member 2000JettaGLXVR6's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:52 PM #17
      At the end of the day, there's a reason why BMW didn't do this from the factory.

      I second the suction cup mounts.

    19. Member Meroving1an's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:54 PM #18
      If BMW didn't see fit to provision it from the factory, I'm inclined to not do so myself.

    20. Member E CODE's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 12:55 PM #19
      Holy hell that DIY is frightening.... You have to get your pilot hole perfect or risk creating a massive hole in your new roof.... No bueno...

      Wonder why BMW didn't at least mark the locations to make this easier....
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      06-25-2019 12:58 PM #20
      As an avid cyclist and occasional kayaker that uses roof racks often, whilst shopping for M4s I pondered this quite a bit. Ultimately I decided I wasn't willing to drill; even if I could get a guarantee it was safe and done properly, eventually when I'd sell the car I didn't need that coming up. Plus I had concerns about delamination, as well as scratching the carbon with a load. Not so much a bike, but the other things that occasionally end up on roof racks, like xmas trees.

      Here's the options I came up with:
      • Get the sunroof which has the regular roof with mounting points, but that's obviously a choice.
      • Seasucker suction cup rack as mentioned above. Seriously pondered this; even though it won't help with the yaks I may still do it.
      • Trailer hitch + hitchmount rack + lightweight kayak trailer. I know people do it, but I really don't like the idea of a hitch on a sports car, and I'm not sure how sketchy towing even super light loads with an M3 would be. Also yak trailers cost as much as a decent yak.
      • Buy/use a 2nd car for outdoor stuff.
      • Tarp well and use the trunk. They're decent size cars, with both wheels off you might even be able to fit your 29er fully in the trunk.


      FWIW, I ended up ordering a Cayman which made those options even narrower, and I already had the 2nd car for towing so I went that route.

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      06-25-2019 01:03 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by E CODE View Post
      Wonder why BMW didn't at least mark the locations to make this easier....
      Unfortunately I don't think there's any way they're going to encourage end users drilling the carbon roof, or other structural parts. That said, on the E92 M3s I think they actually did drill some of them from the factory; I'm guessing they're either trying to save the cost of doing it, or else they got some warranty claims for delamination or something and don't want to deal with it any more.

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      06-25-2019 01:05 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      Not really touching actually.

      And even touching does not mean that is supporting it.


      Think about a tile floor, you can sit on a chair on a tile floor no problem, if the subfloor and mortar are done right you can even strike that tile with a hammer and in many cases have a hard time breaking the tile. The area of the carbon roof this may be slightly touching is just a piece of carbon flat down on a steel subframe for the roof. The steel roof is the structural part. Even if there was some sort of air pocket in the adhesive there holding the carbon panel to the steel frame the majority of the weight is passing through the carbon via the hole you made and directly into the steel frame.
      Technically the support is on the roof panel, when you attach your cross bar feet to the roof using a bolt. Most of the torsional load is going to be through the bolt transferred to the roof metal structure.

      the feet spreads out the downward load to a larger area (back to your chair analogy). On the tile analogy, if you strike the tile with the hammer at the corner, that is going to be the weakest part, since you have the edges as your stress concentration area.

      But yes, the roof rack does technically touch the roof, as the OP claimed it didn't.
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      06-25-2019 01:06 PM #23
      Do BMW dealerships install racks? I'd have them do it and document for warranty purposes or peace at mind for potential future owner.

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      06-25-2019 01:08 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      Can't you get those universal racks that clamp onto the top of the door frame for vehicles without factory rails?
      That's what I did, Rhino Racks for my Infiniti.

      I ain't drillin' ****.
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    26. Member fknlo's Avatar
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      06-25-2019 01:12 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by 2000JettaGLXVR6 View Post
      At the end of the day, there's a reason why BMW didn't do this from the factory.

      I second the suction cup mounts.
      The most likely answer to this is to cut costs. The E92 with the carbon roof had holes in it with all the mounting hardware from the factory. Personally, I'd be more concerned with sticking a 30lb mountain bike directly to the panel with suction cups than any other method.


      Quote Originally Posted by ghost03 View Post
      As an avid cyclist and occasional kayaker that uses roof racks often, whilst shopping for M4s I pondered this quite a bit. Ultimately I decided I wasn't willing to drill; even if I could get a guarantee it was safe and done properly, eventually when I'd sell the car I didn't need that coming up. Plus I had concerns about delamination, as well as scratching the carbon with a load. Not so much a bike, but the other things that occasionally end up on roof racks, like xmas trees.

      Here's the options I came up with:
      • Get the sunroof which has the regular roof with mounting points, but that's obviously a choice.
      • Seasucker suction cup rack as mentioned above. Seriously pondered this; even though it won't help with the yaks I may still do it.
      • Trailer hitch + hitchmount rack + lightweight kayak trailer. I know people do it, but I really don't like the idea of a hitch on a sports car, and I'm not sure how sketchy towing even super light loads with an M3 would be. Also yak trailers cost as much as a decent yak.
      • Buy/use a 2nd car for outdoor stuff.
      • Tarp well and use the trunk. They're decent size cars, with both wheels off you might even be able to fit your 29er fully in the trunk.


      FWIW, I ended up ordering a Cayman which made those options even narrower, and I already had the 2nd car for towing so I went that route.

      Once I discovered this "problem" I started including sunroof cars in my search. Not exactly a lot of those out there, especially with the options I wanted. The hitch option is still slightly leading, but overall cost of all the new **** I'd have to buy is a factor. I'd do a kayak trailer as well, the secret to that is to buy a cheap jon boat trailer and convert it. From what I've seen, a 29er should fit in the back just fine if you take the front wheel off. On the second car front, mine is even less suited to do any of this

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