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How to fabricate a low profile light bar r51
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HydroPonix



Joined: 03 Jan 2013
Posts: 111
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:36 pm    Post subject: How to fabricate a low profile light bar r51 Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I recently was able to fabricate a roof light bar for my 2005 pathfinder, to fit on the stock roof rack mounts just behind the sun roof. With my application I wanted to attach two 10" Rigid Industries LED E-series lights. I could not for the life of me find anyone who sold something like what I was looking to do online, so I came to the conclusion I was going to have to make my own. I thought it would be a HUGE project but it was really easier than I thought and cost me less than 30 bucks and not to toot my own horn, It actually looks pretty darn good Laughing

Here's what you'll need if you want to tackle this job.

Tape measure
Drill
Cobalt metal bit 3/8ths
1/8 steel plate, you wont need alot, a 12 inch by 12 inch sheet should take care of the job
38" angled iron, 1/2 inch long and 1/8 to 3/16 thick
6 3/8 bolts (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length, they have to fit in the plastic casing and through the bar... you'll see what I am talking about)

A grinder with a metal grinding wheel, also a wire wheel
Cutting torch
Welder
Spray paint
Cardboard
utility knife

So, here we go.

First take the cardboard, just take a square about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, take the plastic cover off the front of the roof rack. Its held on by 3 plastic clips that might break if your rough on it. Either take a small flat head and pry off, I was able to just use my hand. Pull towards the outside of the car and be careful with the tabs on the back end that go inside the metal bar that says "Pathfinder" those can break off if not careful.





In these photos I already have the bar installed so you wont have any metal inside like I have in mine, that will come later.

Take your piece of cardboard and insert it into the roof rack plastic. This is what you will cut out into a template for your metal profile. mine looked something like this:



your going to end up making 4 cut outs of this template from your metal 2 for the insides of the plastic, 2 for the outside, welded to the bar.





OK, now comes some work.

After you have made the template, make sure it fits and does not stick out to where you cannot put the cover back on now your ready to go. The cardboard should be about the same thickness as your metal, about 3/8ths thick, this will tell you if that metal will be in the way.

now take that template, draw it out 2 on the sheet metal with that rear notch, and 2 without it. The 2 without go on the outside, on the light bar and do not require that notch since there is no plastic in the way on the outside.




and cut out each one with the torch. This will be crude and rough, but you will grind all of the slag and melted metal off during the next process. once the metal has cooled and you have ground down the rough edges, take your template back to the roof rack and stick it in there to make sure it fits, grind off what does not. this took me several tries.

to make the 4 uniform, clamp them together and grind them all at once to make them the same shape and size. use your grinder to angle the edges slightly around the pieces and the wire wheel to clean and soften them.

Now that they have cooled, and have no sharp edges stick them in the plastic roof rack and make sure they fit. The 2 with the notches will go inside the cover and the other 2 will go outside.

If everything fits and looks good (no metal showing through the looped hole outside the car)

your ready to drill some holes.

mark where you will put the holes carefully. I put 3 holes in each of the pieces with the 3/8" cobalt bit using wd-40 as the lubricant as to not heat my bit so it breaks ($8.99 a bit where I was at) the way I figured where to put them was actually placing them in the roof rack plastic and marking the metal where I thought it would support the weight the best.



you want them all to be in the same place and to line up together... this is what holds the outside of the bar to the inside without cracking that plastic.
, There was a bit of plastic on the roof mount that I had to drill out to make the bolts fit, but it was minimal and has had no impact on the strength on the Nissan part (as far as I can tell).



After this I went ahead and drilled the 3 holes in the plastic, making sure the metal was in the plastic, was not interfering with the plastic cover and everything fit. you mess this up, your messing up your pathfinder :/

OK, now you need your angle iron. The inside measurements for my vehicle were 37" from end to end. the angle iron i found was 38 inches so that was perfect. The metal you stick on the outside of the angle iron ( the metal you cut out without the notches) will also take up about 1/4 inch of space so you will have to cut and grind the angle iron so it fits with those two metal pieces.

once you have fit everything and it looks good, make note of the bars height to the roof, mine has 1/4 inch clearance, mark where the bar should go and weld the angle iron on both ends on there. before you make a complete weld, first put one small spot weld on each mounting bracket in case you need to break that weld to make any adjustments.
I was pretty much forced to put an angle on the iron to make it "<" and not "L" because my yakima only gave me half an inch of room for my lights to fit. It ended up being good that its at an angle, it allowed me to hide my wiring inside of the metal.





once you have verified that the bar will fit in the roof rack mounts, and that the height and angle are where you want it to be, finish welding the mounts to the light bar. make sure you do some SOLID welds, this will hold some important/expensive hardware and will be hit with wind resistance as well as vibrations. As for the light mounting brackets, I fabricated my own, as i could have easily could have purchased some from Rigid. I took their design and just made it with the left over scrap metal I had from the bar mounting brackets, my build required 4 light mounts. I used the measurements of the 10 inch lights to base where the center of the bar was and the distance between each light. (I did not have the lights when I welded this together, when I got home it all fit together very well)

The easy part will be coating it with a few coats of paint, I used black spray paint, 5 to 6 good coats.

This is the finished product



To mount the light bracket, I simply put 3 bolts, 3 lock washers, and 6 nuts per side total 6 bolts 12 nuts.

Then replace the covers.

If there is anything I have not covered or you have any additional questions please feel free to message me or ask me on here, Ill be more than happy to help.

-HydroPonix-
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volvite
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Joined: 16 Feb 2011
Posts: 2180
Location: Hill AFB, Utah West Point UT

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job. Looks real good.
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08 Pathy LE, 5.6L V8, fully loaded
"The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his." George Patton
What did you do to your Pathfinder thread:http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?p=71760#71760
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Touchdown



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 358
Location: Dallas Area

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome write-up!
The bar and the lights came out great!!

This is my next rainy day project! Cool
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2011 Pathfinder LE V6 - 4X4
Bilstein Front Adjustable Shocks w/HD OME Springs, PRG Long Travel UCA's, PRG Radflo 2.0 Rear Emulsion Shocks w/HD OME Rear Springs, 3" Body Lift, Custom Rear Bumper w/Tire Carrier, K&N Intake, Skid Row & Asfir Skid Plates, Airlift 1000, SS Brake Lines, 2 Northstar AGM Batteries, 17x9 KMC Wheels, 35" Tires, Lokka Front Locker, ARB Rear Air Locker, Aluminum Winch Bumper w/ ENGO Winch, Diff Breathers & EBC Brake Pads, V8 Rotor Upgrade, Line-X Paint
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Calicajun



Joined: 08 Oct 2012
Posts: 165
Location: Lancaster, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write up, thanks for posting.
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robgeo1



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What would you charge to put one of these together and send to me?
Material, labor, shipping to 33020.
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FLiPMaRC



Joined: 27 Feb 2012
Posts: 473
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is awesome! Thank you! Cool Unfortunately I don't have the skills to do it myself Laughing
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cruzstyle
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Joined: 02 Aug 2009
Posts: 320
Location: Sumter, SC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wheres the final install pics??
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HydroPonix



Joined: 03 Jan 2013
Posts: 111
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whats up guys! I appreciate the interest in this post, any time I can help im happy to do so. Cruzstyle here are some final install pics, www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?p=51720&highlight=#51720

I think they came out really well especially since this was my first time working on this kind of thing.

robgeo1 I would love to be able to make one for you but this was really a personal project I really had to plan for... no one had a pathfinder specific lo pro bar. xoskel is the only company i know that makes lo pro but its only for frontiers and x-terra's(which dont fit the pathfinder). i was also very lucky to have a stick welder and a grinder that I had access to... if you follow what I did, making the cardboard templates and can find a metal shop that is at a decent price I bet they could do this in under a couple hours; to keep the costs down bring some metal of your own, the angled iron was 14 $ and the steel somewhere around 30 $ nuts and bolts were trivial like 5 $ and a can of spray paint. ill sketch up a design like blueprint of the exact measurements, post it on here so anyone who wants it fabricated can take it to a metal shop and probably have it done for the same price as you'd pay for one online, what took me the most time was figuring out how to make the darn thing fit and what it should look like on my car, machining was a bit easier. it breaks my heart to say it, but that's the most I can do Sad
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Npath



Joined: 21 May 2008
Posts: 356
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: How to fabricate a low profile light bar r51 Reply with quote

Hey Hydroponix,

I'd like to know how the LED bar was mounted onto the bumper. With a plastic bumper, I always imagine it would wiggle up and down whenever on rough terrain.
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HydroPonix



Joined: 03 Jan 2013
Posts: 111
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey Npath,

The bumper is plastic on the outside, but inside there are conveniently two metal tabs that have a hole just big enough to put a nut and a bolt through it.

To get to them, feel inside the bottom port, there you will feel the tabs.

If you decide you want to add a light on your bumper, the rigid 20 inch light E series bar fits perfectly in there, will take rock strikes and is resistant to the elements and vibrations.

I have driven 30,000 miles with it on the bumper on some pretty wicked dirt roads and highways at high rates of speed, no problems at all. if you adjust the nylon nuts that hold the lights in place tightly, you can still adjust the light but vibrations and bumps wont reposition the light.

you will have to start by removing the three vertical plastic bars on the bottom intake. a saws-all did the trick for me, then some minor sanding.



I also was forced to relocate my license plate and screw it directly into the bumper.

You will then have to remove the grill cover.
when you look inside you will see the two metal tabs. its a tight squeeze none the less, and it will make your life difficult when you are attempting to hold the bolts with one hand and tighten the nut with the other. there are already pre-drilled holes which made life much easier



the light will fit very snug with the mounting brackets... VERY snug.

i have both the brackets facing the same direction, it was the only way for this to work without some kind of fabricating, welding or additional cutting.





If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

-Hydroponix
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Touchdown



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 358
Location: Dallas Area

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally got to my rainy day activity!





Here's a close up of the brackets...I took a simpler route since I can't weld!
I used aluminum so they would conform to the roof rack bar when torqued down and rubber inserts inside so it wouldn't slide or leave any marks.



So far, a solid setup! Cool
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2011 Pathfinder LE V6 - 4X4
Bilstein Front Adjustable Shocks w/HD OME Springs, PRG Long Travel UCA's, PRG Radflo 2.0 Rear Emulsion Shocks w/HD OME Rear Springs, 3" Body Lift, Custom Rear Bumper w/Tire Carrier, K&N Intake, Skid Row & Asfir Skid Plates, Airlift 1000, SS Brake Lines, 2 Northstar AGM Batteries, 17x9 KMC Wheels, 35" Tires, Lokka Front Locker, ARB Rear Air Locker, Aluminum Winch Bumper w/ ENGO Winch, Diff Breathers & EBC Brake Pads, V8 Rotor Upgrade, Line-X Paint
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HydroPonix



Joined: 03 Jan 2013
Posts: 111
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice looking light bar, have you tried it out yet at night?

I love how LED lights look on the pathfinder. I like the idea of the rubber, will also keep lights from sliding around. Plus side to this is if you ever need to move/remove the light for any reason you wont have another project on your hands. BTW If you ever want to wire more lights or accessories to your car, I posted this link on the forums, this is the splitter i use.

http://www.thenissanpath.com/viewtopic.php?t=10048

Looks great, good job!
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Touchdown



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 358
Location: Dallas Area

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!
I like that fuse block a lot.
I'll keep that in mind for additional stuff.
Right now I have the top bar and the "converted to LED" driving lights both on the same relay and switch.

Yeah it looks like day time at night!
I'll have to snap a few pics next time I'm out in a really dark area!

I was also thinking about some type of cover for it to black it out during the day or when not in use. I was thinking about the color-forms type of portable tint you use to darken babies car windows with.
Other ideas?
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DARK PATH
2011 Pathfinder LE V6 - 4X4
Bilstein Front Adjustable Shocks w/HD OME Springs, PRG Long Travel UCA's, PRG Radflo 2.0 Rear Emulsion Shocks w/HD OME Rear Springs, 3" Body Lift, Custom Rear Bumper w/Tire Carrier, K&N Intake, Skid Row & Asfir Skid Plates, Airlift 1000, SS Brake Lines, 2 Northstar AGM Batteries, 17x9 KMC Wheels, 35" Tires, Lokka Front Locker, ARB Rear Air Locker, Aluminum Winch Bumper w/ ENGO Winch, Diff Breathers & EBC Brake Pads, V8 Rotor Upgrade, Line-X Paint
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Npath



Joined: 21 May 2008
Posts: 356
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet, nice job Hydroponix.

Something for me to consider.
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DanJetta



Joined: 03 Oct 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really love how you did this, especially the low profile aspect of it! I've been debating putting lights on top vs under the bumper. Since you have both, which do you like better?

Do the lights on top ever light the atmosphere (fog, rain, snow, dust, etc.) that it makes it hard to see through the beam at what's ahead? Does that make sense?

And thanks for posting so much helpful info, including other posts!
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