Retrofitting Roof Rails

Although all Rover 75 Tourers were fitted with these practical roof rails as standard, it's MG sibling, the ZT-T, did not. Which is a little annoying if you are an MG owner - having the availability of a roof rack or similar is a huge practical advantage. But fear not - retro fitting roof bars to your MG is actually surprisingly simple - here's how:

Tools required:

Parts Required:

A complete set of brackets and a pair of roof rails - these can be sourced from a scrap yard (which is what I did) for between 65 - 100.

Or you can order, new from X-Part:

You will also require some thread lock compound - I used medium strength Loctite thread lock (pictured here, to the right).

Time required:

Approximately 90 minutes

Fitting instructions:

1. Here's a shameless opportunity to show off our pride and joy - a 2003 ZTT CDTi + in Royal Blue. The reason for showing this now is that we can see what the car looks like with out the roof rails. I guess the roof-rail-less look is meant to be more sporty? For me though, I think that the car is missing something... missing roof rails!!!
2. Here's what you should have: 6x 'T'-shaped brackets, 12x torx head screws and 6x 7mm headed long-bolts.

You'll notice that there is a blue residue on the bolt threads - this is thread lock used by Rover to ensure that the roof rails do not rattle loose in use (with the inevitable disastrous consequences for your luggage...).

3. The first step is to identify the blanking grommets in the roof. These are visible in the picture opposite: the rectangular tabs in the drainage channel trim. The rear most two are obvious in this picture - the front one is out of sight due to the curvature of the roof, but is self evident when you go to look.
4.

First, a close up of the grommet. On my car, they'd discoloured badly - another source of irritation!

 

5. Now remove the grommet. Mine came off easily using nothing more sophisticated than a finger nail!

Usually, the screw thread below is protected by a plastic cap that can be levered off using a small screw driver. But as can be seen from the picture opposite, this protective cap is conspicuous by its absence, perhaps suggesting that my car had originally been supplied with roof rails that had, subsequently, been removed?

6. Remove all the caps before moving onto the next stage...
7. ... which is to bolt in the brackets. This is very simple - just remember to orientate the bracket such that the mounting flange is facing towards the centre of the car.
8. Here are the three brackets for the left hand side roof rail fitted into place which serves to emphasise the orientation of the brackets.

Before final torquing down (14 Nm), I made sure that the brackets were in parallel alignment with the line of rain channel.

9. Now we can drop the roof rail down on top of the brackets. Before doing anything else, make sure that the rubber boots on the roof rail feet are in place and are not creased or damaged.
10. This step is meant to be really easy - but in practice is anything but: bolting up the roof rail to the brackets. The mounting holes are readily exposed by dropping the rubber cover in  the roof rail, as shown opposite. The problem that you are likely to be faced by can be seen in this picture too: the alignment of the threaded captive nuts on the brackets and the holes in the roof rail. Look at the hole on the right: the bracket doesn't quite seem to align properly. At the end of the day, and after much head scratching, I found that the best approach to this problem was brute force and ignorance. Particularly ignorance! So long as you don't cross-thread the bolts, you can get the bolts to bite into the brackets, thus pulling the rails down onto the car's roof - which is, I presume, the desired effect.

Start from the rearmost bolt hole (the only one not to be slotted) and work your way forwards. This is where the step ladder comes in handy, by the way! I would also urge you to remove any clothing that has exposed zips or other sharp protrusions as you are likely to be resting against easily scratched paintwork...

11. Now repeat for the other side (much quicker than the first due to practice!) and you'll end up with something like that shown opposite: two securely fastened roof rails!

The finishing task is the replace the rubber boot tabs to hide the retaining screws, and the job's a good 'un!

A = from the rear
B = from the front

12. These instructions started off with a picture of my car before the roof rails were fitted. It seems only fitting to end it with a picture with them fitted - the car finally looks 'finished'!