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View Full Version : DIY: Custom Roof Rack Fairing



ksdesai2
03-14-2011, 10:05 AM
So I just got my 08 A4 2.0TQ and instantly transferred over my Thule rack from my old car. The bars fit no problem, but unfortunately I had the 38inch fairing, but need the 44inch to fit the A4. Recalling my experience with the older style fairing SEEN HERE (http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?3930324-Just-installed-the-old-style-Thule-Fairing) I decided I wanted to switch back to the older design, as the new one was noisier and had increased drag. Cruising craigslist I came to the realization that no one is selling their old-style fairings...screwed? NO. I decided I would make my own. I also want the fairing bottom to land either just above the windshield, or just barely overlap onto the windshield. Anyone with the new Thule system on a B6-B7 knows the factory guide holes prevent this from being possible (stock that is), as the fairings fall short about 2-3 inches - causing some extra wind noise and discontinuity in overall appearance. So a DIY fairing with custom brackets is the way to go!

I have found a few sites with generic detail on instructions, so I thought why not start one (still fairly generic to make/model) but with a little more detail. Here's what I'm working with to start - will post pictures later tonight as I start the process. (Don't start with CC's/fishbowl/etc) - I just got her.

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/182093_909935110699_11801893_46585502_5891648_n.jp g

Ok so this what is getting the axe:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/IMG_0660.jpg

AND this is what I went out and bought from Home Depot - everything cost roughly $30 total

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/IMG_0661.jpg

Large sheet of Optix acrylic (24 x 48 x .09)
Acrylic etching knife
Rustoleum Professional Black
Multipurpose Sandpaper pack
assorted nuts and bolts
Aluminum track rail (48in)

Close up the hardware:
Bolts for mounting the fairing to the brackets (note the square press shoulder and smooth head) as well as a bunch of wing nuts for easy installation/removal:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-55-32_744.jpg
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-55-09_744.jpg


I cut the acrylic using the etching knife to the general dimensions I wanted (numerous light scores make cutting the acrylic easier and cleaner)
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-58-55_328.jpg

I used a template I found from a posting over on the VWVortex forums (big thanks to FlatLanderSJ):

http://img262.imageshack.us/i/diyfairingcopyui9.jpg

Printed the template at full scale, and taped it down to the protective film that comes with the acrylic. I used a Dremel to cut out the curved portions of the fairing, as the etching knife is only good for straight cuts.
It took some measuring and tweaking to get the shape and fit I wanted - I was looking to extend the fairing to overlap the towers and land on the top of the windshield (so less worries of paint damage)
Sorry but I forgot to take a picture of the cutout before I started painting, but here it is after two coats. I ended up spraying only the marked-up side of the acrylic, as
it left an awesome gloss look on the unpainted side.

Back:
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-53-02_101.jpg

Front:
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-53-47_964.jpg

Once this was done, I could use the finished fairing to determine bracket dimensions and shapes:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-55-53_152.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-56-08_328.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_17-57-34_198.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_19-52-32_694.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-22_19-52-14_429.jpg

VOILA! I may end up redoing the brackets with heavier gauge aluminum and slots, but for the time being I couldn't be happier with the outcome:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-24_17-49-07_561.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/032411185632.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-24_17-48-34_638.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z448/ksdesai2/2011-03-24_17-48-44_24.jpg

I know this isn't a true DIY posting, and a lot of steps were left out - but I'll help if anyone wants to try this out as well.

stirfryguy
03-21-2011, 01:31 PM
any update?

ksdesai2
03-24-2011, 05:39 PM
any update?


Sorry for the delay, I've been traveling for work and the weather has been bad (can't seem to keep her clean!)

Soul Kitchen
03-24-2011, 06:14 PM
looks good!

Adub-Drew
03-24-2011, 07:49 PM
very cool, i tried doing this but the plexiglass i used was way too thin. I eventually got pissed off and just bought a thule fairing...

Here's my setup on oem bars....

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0597.jpg

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0594.jpg

I had to retrofit the fairing arms to fit the XL oem bars haha...

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0591.jpg

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0592.jpg

Quattro
03-24-2011, 09:08 PM
way cool! now i need everything prior...

ksdesai2
03-24-2011, 09:32 PM
very cool, i tried doing this but the plexiglass i used was way too thin. I eventually got pissed off and just bought a thule fairing...

Here's my setup on oem bars....

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0597.jpg

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0594.jpg

I had to retrofit the fairing arms to fit the XL oem bars haha...

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0591.jpg

http://i1039.photobucket.com/albums/a480/Adub-Drew/IMG_0592.jpg

I've heard left and right how annoying it can be to fit a fairing to the OEM rails. Not to mention how ungodly tall the rails are. I was worried the 0.09 inch acrylic would be too flimsy for highway speeds and that at some point I would get a terrible wind-slap, but I just did the commute to work and back with stints up to 100mph and the fairing stayed planted! If you know anyone in the market for a 38inch fairing, let me know ;) I've found a new billboard.

Adub-Drew
03-25-2011, 06:10 AM
haha nice! yea the oem bars are so tall my fairing dosen't even help the car. The drag is exactly the same as just bars, but the car still makes noise. It flaps around sometimes when its real windy. And i have to adjust it like once a week when the bolts get loose. I dont mind tho, i love the way it looks and its mostly for cosmetic...

ksdesai2
03-25-2011, 06:20 AM
Adub, I can imagine your frustration - especially in New England where every day seems to have nasty wind gusts. In Providence it feels like the wind is literally grabbing my car by the rack and ravaging her back and forth. The light steering only amplifies that: I might try the 640 Mod. Are you using any kind of clear film under the towers to protect your paint? I am thinking of putting on some 3M clear - I hadn't removed the rack from my prior car for 3 months and already the rubber had "stained" the paint.

Tanner
03-25-2011, 06:21 AM
Awesome job.

latte
03-25-2011, 11:35 PM
Nice job! Does it help with wind noise at all or is it just mainly cosmetic like the Thule ones? Also I think it would look a lot cleaner if the bolts on the fairing were painted black also.

ksdesai2
03-26-2011, 08:29 AM
Nice job! Does it help with wind noise at all or is it just mainly cosmetic like the Thule ones? Also I think it would look a lot cleaner if the bolts on the fairing were painted black also.

It helps with the wind noise A LOT. The Thule fairing has been trimmed down and spruced up to look "sleaker", but it does a poor job as it doesn't cover the width of my car - without a fairing the wind noise is noticeable, as well as a fair amount of drag, but from what I've heard other B7 owners tell me, this may be just my perception since I'm new to the B7 club. With the fairing I made, the car feels and sounds like it did without the roof rack entirely. Very smooth at high speeds and solid enough to handle crosswinds.

I feel the same about the bolts looking out of place (same with the brackets). I am going to redo the brackets, after which I will Plasti-dip all the hardware to stealth it out a bit.

ksdesai2
03-26-2011, 08:32 AM
Nice job! Does it help with wind noise at all or is it just mainly cosmetic like the Thule ones? Also I think it would look a lot cleaner if the bolts on the fairing were painted black also.

but yes, I did go with this design because I liked the older style fairing as it follows the contour of the windshield and the profile of the car better.

Adub-Drew
03-26-2011, 05:28 PM
Adub, I can imagine your frustration - especially in New England where every day seems to have nasty wind gusts. In Providence it feels like the wind is literally grabbing my car by the rack and ravaging her back and forth. The light steering only amplifies that: I might try the 640 Mod. Are you using any kind of clear film under the towers to protect your paint? I am thinking of putting on some 3M clear - I hadn't removed the rack from my prior car for 3 months and already the rubber had "stained" the paint.

Haha yup its annyoing in the winter months but after that the wind seems to die down a considerable amout. During spring summer and fall im usually okay. As for the protection from the towers you were saying, well my oem bars are actually for a b5 a4 (was my friends and he gave em to me for free) you can tell from the old styled foot's of the load bars. So i actually had to buy some 3m rubber shims to prop up the bars so that the metal latch that goes into the door sill dosent scratch the metal trim around the doors. As for marking i dont really have much. Although i do like to take my bars off every 3 car washes and clean out the area where they sit. I use turtle bug/tar remover and it cleans the spot real nice!