First off I want to thank vedder012 for his help and PM's getting me setup for this install. Also, I checked out some threads from other users who've done this install and posted their experiences:
First think you'll need is a factory roof rack. I was able to find 3 in salvage yards using the website Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market
. There is no option under parts for "roof rack" so I searched for 05-09 Frontiers with 17" wheels - aka "LE" trucks... out of the 35 yards I called 3 had racks...
After I got the rack, I went onto Courtesy Nissan's website and ordered the reinforcement brackets - $48 shipped.
Next, I got 16 M6 x 1.0 x 20 mm stainless bolts and washers
. I got them from my local Fastenal store for $7.
Okay, so here we go. I started inside in scoping out what has to be removed to lower the headliner. I recommend before you start, remove the rear seat head rests! It'll help you later on to lower the headliner.
Up Front, you'll need to remove the sunvisors, upper console, and A-pillar grab handles:
On each side, the upper grab handles and the bolt holding the top of the panel between the doors.
On the rear, the rear dome light, and support pins
Okay, so lets get started. To remove the visors pop the bolt cover off using a small straight screw driver and then remove the bolt. Each visor can then be removed. The hinge tab gets turned counter-clock wise and pulls out of the headliner.
On the rear, remove the two large plugs with a gentle pry of a small screw driver. This will then give you access to the smaller square plugs that hold the rear of the headliner up. Use a long screw-driver inserted through these holes to gently pry up on the plugs and work them loose. Take your time and make sure you're prying on the plug and not the headliner!! Pop the lens off of the dome light and remove it with the two screws and un-plug the power lead to it.
On the side, slide the front seat-belts down the entire way. Pop the cover off of the top and remove the 10mm bolt. Remove the upper grab handles for the front and rear passengers. Removed the forward grab handles for the rear passengers. I did not remove the front seat belt bolts.
A view of the rear corner. The bolts on the rear seat belts are 16mm and I did loosen them up to allow the trim panel to be pulled away from the side of the truck.
Back to the front and the over-head console. When you gently pry at the upper edge of the lamp housing the entire thing falls down!! But its held in place by the wiring. Unplug the wires and it will drop down as 1 unit. The console then is just held in by "push pins." Take a deep breath and grab ahold and pull it down towards you! It'll come!
Here's a view to show you what holds it in... the two pins at the top and the three tabs at the bottom:
Now work the headliner down with as much patience as you can. It certainly won't fall down... you have to work it around all the trim, etc. It took me 20-25 mins to get it worked down and onto the reclined seats.
The only thing that held mine somewhat up is the wiring that passes up the driver's side A pillar and over to the overhead console and then back to the rear dome light:
And here are the illusive pics of the bare interior roof:
Now you are ready to take the plunge and drill some holes! I fully assembled the rack and set it on the truck. Prior to the install, I examined an LE truck with a factory rack and knew where Nissan put it on.
I put some tape down and marked the holes in the plastic mounts of the rack.
I then slid the rack to the side and used the reinforcement bracket to make the exact center of each hole. Since the brackets are specific to Left and Right, I used the right bracket to mark the holes on the outside of the roof of the left side... if that makes sense:
I then drilled the center of the holes using a 1/8" drill bit. I then final drilled the holes with a 1/4" drill bit. A shot of the holes for one of the rear brackets:
Once I got the rear bracket drilled I set the rack up and bolted it down. I then used the solid anchor point to mark and drill the front holes. The front brackets are a little snug going under the windshield bracing where the raised section is between the front two holes. I used my trusty hammer to lower the profile of the front brackets:
A shot of the front bracket completely installed - driver's side. One thing to note, on the right side of the bracket you'll see the factory "foam" or whatever that is beside the bracket. Some of this foam did interfere with my passenger side bracket, but nothing a lil prying didn't solve!!
I stood in the aisle at Home Depo trying to decide which silicone to go with. I ended up with GE brand Premium waterproof silicon. It is appealing that after 3 hours of set time, water can be in contact with it. It fully cures in 24 hours. I will let you all know how the final result is.
Once I got the front and rear of one side of the rack drilled. I bolted both ends down. I then removed one bolt at a time and sealed the hole with silicon. With the bolt removed, I filled the entire hole with silicone:
I then placed the bolt in and tightened it fully. With all four bolts on one support tight, I went back and filled the entire hole with silicon over the bolts.
These last two shots also show the placement of the rack mounts per factory specs. The rear support borders the rain gutter and the front point should be 1/8 back from the windshield and the rear corner should border the rain gutter. (Mine is a hair too far ahead - you should see 1/8" of paint between the windshield and rack mount gasket.)
This install, I give a medium to hard difficulty. I did the project myself and it took me all of 6 hours start to finish. I could have shaved an hour off of the time if all the holes lined up. The best piece of advice I can give is if I did it all over again, I would have made cardboard templates from the inner support brackets to use as a guide to drill the holes. Some of my holes I had to "egg-shape" to get the bolts to line up. Of course it took more time to line stuff up and re-drill/re-fit stuff, etc... not to mention I had to make some holes bigger to make up for the in-accuracy of the drilling, which gives a bigger probability of leaks...
I will post pictures tomorrow of the payoff!