carrying steel 20 footers on top of my Explorer

I've posted about this before, but today I used my "canoe racks" again to bring home ten 1-1/2x1-1/2x.120" wall square steel tubes - about 450 pounds - home
from the steelyard using just my little Ford Explorer, the smallest Explorer ever made. They worked perfectly, and as usual I got a lot of surprised looks from people who don't expect to see this.
The key is having trailer hitches installed fore and aft. Then I made up these outriggers from 2x2x1/4" steel tube. The top is 2x3/8" flat, punched in several places and with flat hooks forged from 1/2" square bar welded on. In these pictures I've used 1" tiedowns (1500# rated) to secure the load.
As it's very inconvenient to not be able to go in and out the rear door, I made the rear outrigger so it tilts back and then stops positively.
Here are some pix:
overall shot: http://tinyurl.com/rrwkl closeup of base of front support: http://tinyurl.com/qw5xw closeup of top rail: http://tinyurl.com/q6kgr showing rear support tilted back: http://tinyurl.com/m5gc8 clearing the rear door: http://tinyurl.com/pugk4
This method isn't for everyone. Some steelyard employees love it, others hate it. But I can use my car to bring home long stuff without having to own/license a truck or trailer.
For carrying one or two lengths of pipe, I bolt small pipe vises to the front & back toprails. Very solid. For carrying stuff like conduit, I have a 16' long piece of 6" PVC tube with one end capped and the other end with a door (a commercial product, that door). I strap the whole PVC pipe up there, then I can just pop the stuff in and drive.
Grant Erwin
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Grant Erwin wrote:

Sweet! - well thought out.
Ken
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Nice setup. But note: those tubes will launch like javelins in a heavy collision, possibly skewering that 2 yr old in the baby carriage in the crosswalk in the school zone. Food for thought. JR Dweller in the cellar
Grant Erwin wrote:

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Maybe. With 1000 pounds of tension or so on the straps, there's quite a lot of frictional force between the tubes. You see piles of tube strapped down every day on big flatbed trucks, for example.
GWE
JR North wrote:

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2 straps, each with 1000 lb of tension. A (generous) coefficient of friction of .8 would mean that you could decelerate at a rate of 3.6 g's before your straps would slip. I think that's on the order of magnitude of a fender bender.
Grant Erwin wrote:

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Justin wrote:

You're probably right, Justin. It's easy to sit in front of a keyboard and think of why something won't work. Well, I've taken a couple of dozen trips to the steelyard in the last 3 years or so using my outriggers, and have saved thousands of dollars by not owning or licensing/insuring/storing a truck or trailer. When I have a load up there I drive extra carefully, in fact I'm paranoid as heck. If I am just carrying something like 3 or 4 pieces of angle, I clamp those to the top bar using C clamps, which generate quite a bit of clamping force.
As a data point, today I drove home a 2x5 pile of square tubing, all oiled as new steel tube is, and it went on with a magnetic crane so all the ends were dead flat w.r.t. each other. When I got home, they were - well, you can see it in the pictures - still very even.
Grant
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"Justin" wrote: 2 straps, each with 1000 lb of tension. A (generous) coefficient of

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I think it's safer than that. See if you can accept my reasoning: 1.) The tiedown straps make several turns around the load, so the friction force has to be multiplied by that number (sort of analogous to a block and tackle, where you count the ropes and multiply by the tension. 2.) If the load starts to slip (like a javelin being loaunched) it has to slide forward about fifteen feet before the forward tie-down loses its grip. In an accident, I wonder whether the deceleration will remain above the slipping "threshhold" long enough for the tail end of the load to come out of the forward tiedown. You might end up with the stuff resting on your hood, but probably not impaling that child in the stroller.

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Then there is the fact that the front of the pile is going to fall down. Count 1001 and steel is on the pavement.
Wes S
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True. But flatbeds always have the cab between the load and what's in front of the vehicle. I can't ever recall seeing a load of tube, rebar or girder above cab height. JR Dweller in the cellar
Grant Erwin wrote:

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"JR North" wrote: in message

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ And they always have something called a "headache bar" (I think.) It's a metal barrier behind the cab which is to keep the load from shifting forward and crushing the driver.
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Except for the occasional homemade variety, headache racks are two aluminum Ibeams, aluminum diamond plate, and an aluminum tube around the edges as a border. I've popped a hole in one with a small hammer. Those racks are just so you have a place to hang chains and mount extra lights. No way would one stop a load that managed to break free from its tiedowns. Same goes for the cab. Whatever slams though the cab and happens to hit the engine would stop, but the rest would sail right though and out the front. Those tiedowns are all that's intended to hold stuff to the trailer.
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On Sat, 07 Oct 2006 02:56:36 GMT, "Leo Lichtman"

Which works most of the time. The failures are horrific. I once enounterd a truck that had hit a concrete barrier, while carrying a load of pump sucker rods, where the barrier had failed. Upon arriving at the scene..there were sucker rods sticking out of the entire front of the cab-over. It looked like a pin cusion.
I didnt want to look in the cab..but had to. To this day..I wish I hadnt. Driver had a dog in there too......
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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You guys have got me to thinking. I think I'll take a steel 5 gallon bucket and punch holes around its rim, and next time I have a load like this one where I have to tie them down as a bundle rather than my (much more normal) load which I clamp tightly to the crossbars, I'll wire the bucket like a muzzle on the front of the bundle. It wouldn't have saved Gunner's dog, but it sure seems like it would help in an intermediate case, like if I had to jam on the brakes unexpectedly.
GWE
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On Sat, 07 Oct 2006 13:37:06 -0700, Grant Erwin

Not a bad idea. Though Id use something a bit stouter. Put some 3/4" ply in the bottom of the bucket. Ive seen what long bits of steel moving forwards at high speeds does.
Btw..that was Driver AND Dog.
Picture a very large Ronco Vegimatic combined with a giant sized tenderizing mallet with all those spikes on the end.....
Gunner
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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nice thought, but the steel 5gal buckets I've seen lately can be opened up with a pen knife.
Any precaution is better than no precaution, but you need to consider the forces involved when developing your solution.
The most effective example of this that I have ever been given, someone explaining the necessity for seat belts.
The guy told the audience to try running into a brick wall as fast as you possibly can, and stop yourself by holding your arms in front of you. Of course, nobody would dare try it. Then consider running speed to be , what, 12 mph? Imaging what your body's mass is like at only 35.
Same concept, what would decelerate your 20 foot steel tube from 35mph? You don't really need to STOP it, but decelerate the mass enough to minimize a catastrophe.
Degrees of destruction... , see how much fun creative thinking can be?

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wrote:

I once visited the location where the driver of a heavily loaded semi fell to sleep and failed to follow the highway around a gentle left curve. The rig was stopped by an Elm tree about three feet in diameter, but the load of flat plate continued for several feet beyond the remains of the tree stump. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
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Gerald Miller wrote:

On a similar note; I was in Kamloops BC for minor surgery (ran a finger through a valve grinder - long story) a few years back. Upon leaving the hospital I returned to my motel and called a cab. Taking me to the airport he spotted some congestion at an intersection ahead (in front of the hospital) and elected to take an alternate route to avoid said intersection. Seconds later a truck loaded with steel bridge parts entered the intersection. The problem was that this truck had lost it's brakes some distance uphill, had an incredible turn of speed on , and wasn't about to stop! If I remember correctly there were six fatilaties including the truck driver. The stairway (concrete steps on rock fill) that I had used minutes before to descend from the hospital to the street level was simply erased! My surgeon was the first medical person to arrive on the scene. At that point there wasn't much she could do. The victims were busy being dead and the survivors were trying to figure out what had just happened. Lots of shit hit the fan over that one and a (long overdue) overhaul of trucking regulations swiftly followed. Short overview - Rookie driver. Prarie experience only. Mountain road. BAD maintenance of brake system. No escape runout on steep hill into town. No one in the path stood a chance. Can youy say 30,000 pounds of bannanas (Harry Chapan)? An astute taxi driver saved my ass. Shit happens.
Ken.
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On Thu, 05 Oct 2006 18:31:01 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, JR

So will 90% of all other pipe carrying setups, JR. Lots of things get launched in a collision, including people, trailers, equipment in the back of trucks, other vehicles hurtling over car bumpers, etc.
Shit happens. Why worry?
So, Grant. Did you mount a standard receiver up front there? And why aren't they black instead of galv? ;)
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Larry Jaques wrote:

The front & rear receivers are standard. My town has a great hitch place, Mann's Eastside Welding, and they put them both on.
The receivers are black. But since I had a customer's order going to the galvanizing shop, I threw the outrigger parts in and got 'em hot dip galvanized for free (the customer's order was way under the minimum weight so even with my parts it was still the minimum cost).
As a matter of fact, pretty soon I'm going to have to go to the steelyard, the cheap picky one quite a ways from my house, and get both 20 footers and 2 4x8 sheets. To this point I've either pulled a trailer (I have access to a 5x9' utility trailer) or used my outriggers. Now I'm going to need to do both. So I'm working on making a tongue on the back that's 4" longer, which will be beveled at 45 degrees and drilled 3/4" for a light duty trailer ball. And I have another job going to the galvanizing shop, so I'll get that new part galvanized too, so it will match.
GWE
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I saw this happen. A car stopped for a guy in a crosswalk and the plumber behind her stopped, but one of the pipes on his rack didn't. It went thru the back window and her skull. A simple plate in front of the pipes could have prevented that.
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