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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the mandatory disclaimer: I'm not a professional at this but I'm willing to share !

First, I believe this should be covered by warranty, especially if it leaks or rattles.
If it becomes a do-it-yourself project, here's what I learned
Your rack has six pieces:
two sidebars- the long ones
two crossbars- the short ones
one storage box
one faring- the wind deflector
It is my belief that the threaded inserts installed in our roofs weren't tightened sufficiently against the roof. But, Nissan did use Lok-tite on the screws into the inserts making removal VERY Difficult.
Tool List:
Needle-nose Vice-Grips

Nut-sert tool

30mm Torx wrench

9/16" or 14mm combination wrench- see above pic.
6mmX1.0x30mm allen-head bolt - see above pic.
Liquid Wrench foaming

There are a number of companies that make and sell threaded inserts Below is a picture of three:

From right to left;
Nissan's-bolt still attached- ( What you don't want !)
Knurled or splined sides- my preference
smooth sides
I received great help from HW ECkhardt Corp. or
The insert that I used is an AVK fastener Part # ALS4-610-42
Now, my nutsert install tool came from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, cost less than $ 5.00. see below:

I used the Liquid wrench two days before to attempt any penetration. Some members expressed concern that you could leak to the headliner.
Frankly, the oil never reached the threads. ( Remember ? Lok-tite.)
There are twenty-seven of these bolts: You must use slow, steady pressure to loosen the bolts.
First: There are four bolts across the front of the faring and two plastic
" snap-in" studs into the storage box, lift up.
Second: Open the storage compartment, there are two bolts on each side.
And, Yes there are other bolts underneath !
Third: If they loosen, remove the crossbars. If not, they do slide off when the sidebars are removed.
Four: Now for the fun. You have no way to hold the roof insert so you must use that easy pressure, that I spoke of earlier, to remove the bolts in the bases.
If the bolt does " Spin" you'll have two choices:
A) Remove the headliner and attempt to hold the insert from the
bottom side. Note; I've read that some of the inserts are in cross-
braces and can't be reached inside.
B) A dremel tool to cut the base away from the insert.
( This is the part where you are REALLY PISSED ! Be Very Careful !
Maybe do DEEP Breathing exercises ? )
This option has it's consequences as well because you cannot buy
parts for your rack; ie, the base you just cut up !
Each sidebar is a complete part at more than $200.00 Each !
The above is one of the reasons I believe Nissan should be responsible for the repair under warranty !
( The new Gens are only two years old !!!)

If you get to the spinning insert, don't force it,,,leaves a horrible mushroom hole !
Once the base has been removed, your rivnut looks kind of like this with a bolt still in it

Carefully tape around the insert and use the vise-grips to hold the insert while using your torx wrench to unscrew the bolt.
When the bolt comes out, place the riv-nut tool on top of your insert with the combination wrench on it. Lightly oil the threads of the allen-head bolt and thread it into the insert through the tool, while holding the wrench.
As you tighten, hold the wrench in position and the insert will compress further against the roof, tightening.
(NOTE : All of my inserts tightened a full 1/2 to full turn of the allen-head.)
Last Option ! One of mine " Spun Out" of the roof !
This mushrooms the VERY THIN sheet metal. Very carefully tap this metal back down. ( Ouch ! ) I was able to install the stock size threaded insert back into the hole. From this point you can use the tools as above and tighten the new insert.

Repair can Be Done !
If the hole is too big, you could go to a larger insert ?
I hope this helps and if there's any questions please feel free to pm me ?
Regards, Jim B

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3,050 Posts
some of roof rack bolts just spin. i took my stock roof rack off to install my lights. After I reinstalled my roof rack some of the bolts just wouldnt tighten so I just silconed them. Good write up though...looks difficult.

on line
1,055 Posts
Revisiting an old thread, does anyone know what size nutsert tool is required? I checked here,

but was not sure what to order.

Also, has anyone had success using heat to loosen Locktite? I've heard using a pencil torch sometimes helps.

Personally i'd pull one out and measure the diameter and thread pitch. 10-32 and 1/4-28 are the standard sizes but who knows what Nissan puts in there. Your local parts dept. may have that info too.

Premium Member
426 Posts
Thanks for the awesome info. Bought a lo pro litebar from wisbike and the last of the 4 rack bolts spun on me (figures). Using the info you provided I was able to locate replacement nut-certs(riv-nuts) and mandrel to repair. The hardware and tools are available thru McMaster-Carr. Bought the same size you did plus a package of next size up plus appropriate drill bit just in case. Used a small cutoff wheel to remove bolt head and could have remained royally pissed off till I ran a search and found this post. Figure I will have to drop the headliner to remove the remains of the nutcert and repair. Figure I can drill through my roof for the watertite bushing and install enough wiring for front and rear lite install. Amazing site and info.....instead of remaining pissed off now I am (kinda) looking forward to the challenge. If anyone wants McMaster-Carr pn#s I can provide. Again, thanks to all who share their wealth of knowledge and experience.

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691 Posts
I have 1 stuck crossbar bolt. Nut on the bottom spins with the T30 bolt. Anyone have a good idea for removal other than ordering & waiting for A nut-sert tool? I'm impatient.

Premium Member
2,304 Posts
I have 1 stuck crossbar bolt. Nut on the bottom spins with the T30 bolt.
From what I recall when I took my crossbars apart to paint them the lower screws go into a plastic sleeve that fits inside the crossbar. Don’t recall a metal nut being in there.

604 Posts
This is the part i used when i did my Gobi rack.

Fastenal Part No. (SKU): 0125713

I forget the thread pitch but their rep can look up the details.

You can buy a rivnut tool but i used a large nut and longer roof bolt to act as a lag to flare the rivnut.

1,121 Posts
Thanks guys. To install the rivnut I would just install it within the opening on the roof rack or do I need to remove the headliner and install from bottom of the hole on up? Did you use like a size m8 screw to flare the opening on the rivnut? Did you also need to hammer it in by any chance?
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604 Posts
It will just drop in from the top. Removing the headliner make it so much easier too.

M6x1.0x 45-50mm long, plus a large washer.

Stack it like this.

Rivnut in roof.
Small open end of box wrench or short socket.
Long roof rack bolt through all of it.

As you tighten the bolt against the wrench and washer, it will pull the rivnut up and mushroom it against the inside of the roof sheet metal.

*****Buy extra rivnuts and practice with it, so you dont scatch your paint or bend the sheet metal.

Also use silicone and thread locker to seal it up, mine leaks a bit during heavy rain.
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