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Old 01-22-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
StingrayLust
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luggage rack replacement, ugh, hole tolerances

So I'm looking to replace my rack because it's in rough shape. From other reports I've read, to have it rechromed is about $5-600, about 3 times what a new one costs. I still need to take it to a chromer over in St Paul and see what their estimate is.

So I've looked at the Willcox, Zip, Paragon, Mid America, and Ecklers listings for an 8 hole rack that would fit. They all are close in some respects, but sometimes off by a 1/4". I'm curious to know if any one else who's replaced theirs had their measurement line up exactly with their replacements?

It amazes me that there were so many different designs of these racks.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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If you want one I'll sell you mine. I'll take pictures of it and post them here. It's in great shape, and the only thing needed is new well nuts. I'll make you a great deal on it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:51 AM   #3
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With the rack being mounted on chrome standoffs (around 1") you can make the rack work that is 1/4" different. The screws will go in on an angle thrue the rubber nutted gromet but the standoffs will be straight (the standoffs are wider than the screw) and you will not notice that the screw heads are slanted because they are resessed into the rack.

I was told ALL racks were dealer installed not a factory option. So finding exact replacement is tough. When shopping pay attention the the width between holes, most venders supply that information on their racks before purchase. I had to fill in my holes (went from 8 hole to 6 hole) when I painted my '74
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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Willcox, on another forum, posted this link: http://willcoxcorvette.com/repairand...lp.php?hID=217

Some good info there. And yes, all racks were dealer installed but most it seems came from GM. As the doc says, later on the design was built by some other company. So to my eyes it doesn't seem like there were that many Corvette luggage rack builders, but maybe I'm wrong. Wrong because if you look at the dimensions from the bigger online vette sites you'll be hard pressed to find dimensions match. Exhibit A:

I've uploaded several different measurings from some of the vette vendors. I'm assuming here that all of the 6 hole didn't have the complete surrounding frame like the 8 hole, the 6 hole bottom sides had the plastic tip. That makes it even harder as some vendors are using the 6 hole design while showing the placement of all 8 holes.

Willcox:


MidAmerica:


CorvetteAmerica:


Paragon (no diagram I could find):


Ecklers (showing 6 hole design with 8 holes):


Zip (showing 6 hole design with 8 holes):




My vertical tubes are thinner on the ends and thicker in the middle because the mfr flattened the middle so it's more oval shape than round.

As to the weep holes, here's what mine look like:


Here you can see the thickness difference starting just to the right of the right hole opening:
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:02 AM   #5
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Wow....what a PITA. I can see why you're going crazy. Ours is in need a re-chrome as well, but as a temporary appearance patch, we're going to "plasti-dip" it, along with the wheels, running boards and emblems.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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Wow....what a PITA. I can see why you're going crazy. Ours is in need a re-chrome as well, but as a temporary appearance patch, we're going to "plasti-dip" it, along with the wheels, running boards and emblems.
You got running boards???

Is that a Vette or Pick Up?
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:54 PM   #7
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I think I'd consider powder coating before buying one of today's "aftermarket" units. Everything chrome that I bought "aftermarket" is pitted within a year...and with powder coating, you know what you have will fit.

They now have powder coating that looks like chrome and polished aluminum too.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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You got running boards???

Is that a Vette or Pick Up?
You know what I mean...that shiny piece below the door.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by blckslvr79 View Post
I think I'd consider powder coating before buying one of today's "aftermarket" units. Everything chrome that I bought "aftermarket" is pitted within a year...and with powder coating, you know what you have will fit.

They now have powder coating that looks like chrome and polished aluminum too.
I guess I'm partial to trying the chrome at least once. Before I'd go the powder coat route I'd try the stainless steel. The only reason I'm not going SS is that I can't imagine it shines nearly as nice as chrome.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Angry bit the bullet

So I decided to give one a try. Willcox seemed like a good place to start. So upon delivery I find out that it's just supplied by Corvette America:



If you look hard enough you can read that the tag that says something like:
CLR-8
CHROME
LUGGAGE RACK
TOP GUN
ENTERPRISES INC
MERRIT ISLAND, FL
Ok, no problem you say. Well I have a big problem if it comes from CA, then why does Willcox's measurements in the pic above show different dimensions than the Corvette America image? WTF?!!!

So I take some pictures of the minor differences between my old rack and the new one. One thing that really stood out to me was the quality of the fittings on the old rack vs new, the old ones fit much better:

New (look at those gaps):


Old (nicely fitted):




The tips are pretty close to mine:
New:


Old:



The center where they connect are pretty much the same (new on top, old on bottom):


Ah, now to see how it fits. In this picture I've bolted it down as tight as it will go and then measured across:


Left side bottom:


Right side bottom:


So it's almost exactly 38" across from the bottom holes based on real world measurements. Now if you calculate what the images say it should be, using simple math skills: 15-5/8" plus 6-3/4" plus 15-5/8" equals 38-1/2". That's a difference of 1/2" which as you'll see is significant.

So here's now my stand off supports look after it's been bolted down. Starting at the left bottom and working clockwise:
#1 (bottom left, a little slant)


#2 (top left, good)


#3 (top middle left, good)


#4 (top middle right, good)


#5 (top right, good)


#6 (bottom right, badly slanted)


#7 (middle bottom right, good)


#8 (middle bottom left)


As you can hopefully clearly see, the bottom right stand off (#6) is severely slanted. If the rack had that extra 1/2" it would most likely be perfect.

So, what to do, keep it and know that standoff looks like crap, which I know will constantly bug me, or return it and try something else?

This afternoon I'm going to take my rack over to AAA Plating in St Paul to try and get an estimate as to how much $ it would take to rechrome.

Anyway, had to rant as I knew it probably wasn't going to fit and all of the measurements any of the vendors give you will most likely be wrong. How sad. Just another day of a Corvette owner I guess.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:25 AM   #11
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...I was told ALL racks were dealer installed not a factory option...
All except the 77 V54 8 hole racks. These came with hardware to mount the t-tops on the rack. The deck holes and fittings were installed on the assembly line; the rack shipped with the car.

Ditto for the 80-82 V54 racks. Deck holes and fittings at the plant. Rack shipped with the car.

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Old 02-28-2013, 10:29 AM   #12
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I hate having to be the R&D department for these so called "expert suppliers." I can;t tell you how many times I've gone INTO Eckler's and told them "Nope, what your catalog says and the reality of what is on the car is two different things."
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:55 AM   #13
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This thread is pure deja vu. I added a rack to my '74 over 35 years ago. I bought it directly from Chevy - probably can't do that any more. I remember the anal pucker when drilling those holes through the fiberglass. But thanks to multiple measures, I got it right. Unfortunately, about a year later, the deck looked like this. I swear I measured right!



This is the same car after I put the rack on and before I painted it black.

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Old 02-28-2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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WHOA Tex....I think you overtightened the deck screws!!

Last edited by XQIZT; 02-28-2013 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:53 PM   #15
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Did you find your build sheet on the tank?
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