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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by albaby:
Honda roof rack crossbars may be unsafe if used with cargo boxes.
Have talked to Thule and Yakima and both said the Honda crossbars are not acceptable for cargo boxes. The reason given was not their weight capacity, but that they cannot stand much lift force. Both Yakima and Thule said they would not warrant their boxes or be liable for damages to your vehicle or others following it, should the crossbars separate from the siderails. Neither will Honda.
I called Honda Customer Service today,(new number 1-800-999-1009) and they verified what Yakima and Thule said. When I asked what Honda was doing about the problem, they said "nothing". I asked if there wasn't implied fitness for this type of use, as that is what so many of the racks are used for, they said NO!. "The crossbars have a purpose, but cargo boxes was not one of them". When I asked what they accepted use for the crossbars was, they could not give me an answer. They said that we should install the attachments made by the box manufacturer.
I also mentioned that there was no warning of the crossbars limitations on the installation instructions or owners manuals but recieved the "they have a purpose" reply again. I guess decoration and wallet lightening are the purposes. I told them I would be contacting the NHTSA and informing them of this potential hazard. They said "go ahead". (I did).
So much for Honda Customer Service and Japanese engineering.

Regards
AL


Added in Edit 7-21:
Here is the number for the Thule Technical Service: 800-238-2388 Check it out. I did not write down the name of the rep, but it was a lady. I did not write down the Yakima number.

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 07-21-2001).]

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 07-23-2001).]
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I just completed a 4,000 mile vacation with a roof top carrier -- Yakima Space Cadet attached to factory cross-bars (EX). Performed absolutely wonderfully, even through a flash flood. This trip was exclusively highway travel... 75-80 mph the whole time. There was no noise and I liked the lower profile (compared to Yakima's set-up).

This post really concerns me. When I first installed the cross-bars, I was shocked to see how flimsy the attachment mechanism was. I believed that the engineers at Honda knew what they were doing and the set-up could handle all recommended loads (I'm one of those that finds it hard to believe that they can now make plastics stronger than metals). So, although the attachments concerned me, I used this set-up with full confidence.

I am not concerned about losing my luggage... I'm terrified of my carrier coming off at those speeds and flying toward another traveler. I do not believe that I'll be using my carrier again until this issue is resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by cmt4:
I am not concerned about losing my luggage... I'm terrified of my carrier coming off at those speeds and flying toward another traveler. I do not believe that I'll be using my carrier again until this issue is resolved.[/B]</font>
cmt4-Your setup is exactly the one I had in mind, and your concerns are also the same as mine. When I asked Honda what they were doing about the problem-they said "nothing", so don't look for a resolution anytime soon.
Actually, they were a bit snotty.

The only one to acknowledge my concern was Consumer Reports magazine. I wrote them because they did a report on boxes in their July 2001 issue. Nothing from NHTSA to even acknowledge recieving my letter. I'll try them again. In the meantime,why don't some of the rest of you call Honda a/o Yakima/Thule and see what they tell you, and post the findings here.

Thanks
Al
 

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jamescanine – Thanks for the pictures. Your LX rack looks exactly like my LX rack except for one thing—my crossbars are 3” wide, not 1.5” wide. I bought my LX rack from H and A-accessories and installed it myself just last week.

albaby – I called Honda at the number you provided and they basically told me the same things they told you. They only approve of using the rack with their own attachments, of which the only ones I know of are a bike carrier and a ski/snowboard carrier.

I also called Thule at the number you provided and they told me basically the same things they told you. They only test their cargo boxes on vehicles that have a maximum weight limit of at least 150 lbs, and since the Odyssey’s limit is 100 lbs, they do not officially test their cargo boxes on the Odyssey, but unofficially they have tested the Odyssey with the factory rack and found it to be unsafe with their cargo boxes. I asked if they were aware that Honda makes two different racks for the Odyssey—one for the EX that is installed at the factory and a different one for the LX that is not installed by the factory. They were not aware of this and therefore could not comment on the safety of the LX rack. I assume their tests were conducted with the factory installed EX rack.

Thule did mention that the only Honda vehicle with a factory rack that passed their cargo box tests was the Passport. That got me curious, so I went to a Honda dealer and looked at a Passport rack. I found that it appears to be almost identical to the Odyssey LX rack—the same channel in the siderails, the same 3” wide crossbars—but the way in which the crossbars attach to the siderails is different. On the Odyssey LX rack, the crossbars fit into what appears to be a plastic piece that completely surrounds the ends of the crossbars for 2 or 3 inches, and that plastic piece slides in the channel of the siderail and can be tightened down to stay in place. On the Passport rack, it looks like the piece that slides in the channel fits INTO the ends of the hollow crossbars, rather than completely SURROUNDING it. (Maybe it is metal rather than plastic??) This means that the entire crossbar is visible from siderail to siderail. Other than that, the sliding mechanism looks the same on both racks.

So, after all of this, this is what I have concluded:

- I probably never will hear officially from Honda or Yakima or Thule whether or not the LX rack is safe for cargo boxes.
- It appears to me that the LX rack is sturdier then the EX rack.
- Others on this forum have taken trips with cargo boxes with both the LX and EX racks and thankfully have not had problems.
- I am not going to spend another $200+ to buy a Yakima or Thule crossbar system.
- I am going to attach the cargo box to my LX crossbars using the U-bolt kit supplied with the cargo box, but in addition to this, I am going to buy two nylon straps to go over the cargo box from siderail to siderail to further anchor the box to the siderails. That way, in order for the box to fly off the rack, forces would need to break the connection of the crossbars to the siderails AND break the nylon straps, and I do not believe this will happen.


[This message has been edited by zenith (edited 08-01-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Zenith-looks like a plan-and a good one at that. The only discrepancy I could find is the weight limit. The advertising brochure for the Odyssey says the x bars are rated at 100#. The installation instructions for the X-bars say 150#.
But again, consider the source. Our owners manuals tell us to use 5w-20, the fill cap says 5w-30. Helms manual and the dealer say 5w-30.
I think your solution is undoubtly a good and safe one. I just wish it were not necessary and the bars were built properly. If they knew how to do it on the Passport, why not the Odyssey? (Or is the Passport built by Isuzu and just badged as a Honda?)Now if Honda will notify others of the shortcomings and your fix, and maybe even provide the straps. Thanks for doing the calls etc.
May all your trips be safe ones, and keep a safe distance behind Odysseys with cargo boxes.

Regards
Al

In edit: The Honda Passport is a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo.

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 07-31-2001).]
 

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Zineth, that is the best way to go for your solution. I used to have my other vehicle in California with roof rack and cargo tray. I always used the net strap to strapped the cargo and the cargo tray to the side rails, and not tie it to the crossbar. The side rails have to come off before the cargo or the cargo tray can come off. It's probably stronger with the EX crossbars due to the fact it rest on top of the side rails. When you tie the net over the cargo and cargo tray, it'll create stronger bonding between side rails and crossbars. I never have any trouble with anything fall off yet. I wish you all the luck with your travel.
 

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I bought the crossbars for my 2000 EX and use a rooftop cargo carrier frequently. It is a cheap-o Sears Xpress Cargo thing but, hey, the kiddies bikes and other assorted junk fits just fine.

I haven't had any worries about the cargo carrier flying off. My crossbars seem very secure. The only complaint I have is the wind whistle from the crossbars - when the cargo carrier is OFF! No big deal though, 4 bolts and the crossbars are off...
 

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This looks completely different from the crossbars I have on my 2000 EX. Mine fit on the top and outside edge of the roof rack and bolt into little metal clips that slide into the inside roof rack channel. The crossbars themselves are a squashed oval shape about 3 inches wide, with a rubber strip on the top edge.

I have absolutely no complaints about the [perceived] strength of the set-up, only about the wind whistle that occurs when the cargo carrier is off. But, it takes all of 5 minutes to yank the crossbars off, so no big deal.
 

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RyDye, that doesn't sound right. I didn't hear any wistle noise from my crossbars at all. Did you orientate the crossbar correctly?. Make sure you install the crossbar with the larger round edge of the bar facing torward the front of the car. Make sure you install the longer bar infront and the shorter bar in the rear row. If it still making noise, it must be something else.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Coleman_lot:
RyDye, that doesn't sound right. I didn't hear any wistle noise from my crossbars at all. Did you orientate the crossbar correctly?. Make sure you install the crossbar with the larger round edge of the bar facing torward the front of the car. Make sure you install the longer bar infront and the shorter bar in the rear row. If it still making noise, it must be something else. </font>

Coleman_lot,
I'll mess around with the orientation next time I install the crossbars. One of the bars was labeled "front". I haven't really paid attention to which edge of the crossbar is leading but will next time. The wind whistle is definitely from the crossbars though - it goes away as soon as they are removed.
 

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RyDye, I'm pretty sure if you orientate and place the bar where it suppose to be, the noise will go away. I never remove my bar. I didn't receive any noise from my bars. Try it. Good luck.
 

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How about MDX crossbar? They look pretty good. Has anyone tried to swap out with MDX crossbar?


------------------
'01 GG EX
Mud Guard, Wheel Lock, Cargo Tray, Weathertech Mats
leather steerling wheel cover, Pioneer 1655 speakers,
Lojack
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Originally posted by RyDye:
I have absolutely no complaints about the [perceived] strength of the set-up,

The strength of the crossbars is not "perceived". They were tested by Thule and they failed. Yakima may have done the same. Honda also does not "perceive" the bars to be of sufficient strength for a cargo box and does not recommend using the crossbars for that purpose. They will not accept liability for damages accidents etc. caused by their failure if used for that purpose. Talk to them-I did.

Regards
Al


[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 08-14-2001).]
 

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If you use Odyssey crossbar with care and use it right, it'll never come off. Tie the cargo to the side bars instead of the crossbars or use the cargo net and tie it down to the side bars. If you secure the cargo properly, the side bars have to come loose before anything fly off the roof.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Coleman_lot:
If you use Odyssey crossbar with care and use it right, it'll never come off. Tie the cargo to the side bars instead of the crossbars or use the cargo net and tie it down to the side bars. If you secure the cargo properly, the side bars have to come loose before anything fly off the roof. </font>

I started to make a comment on this subject similar to Colman's but went back and reread the discussion before doing so.

The problem is that Honda isn't telling the consumer that the cross bars may not be suitable for holding down a cargo box. I can imagine how frustrating that has been for those who reasonably assume that the roof rack would work for such an installation because you see them everywhere on different brands of vehicles. Honda surely knows that their roof rack will be used for such a purpose somewhere along the way. You'd think that they would design it to accept that type of load. They didn't for some reason and only Honda's engineers and designers can tell you why.

Having said that. Part of me can understand why Honda doesn't say anything about this to the consumer. In the US market, legally at least, it doesn't seem to make any difference. In the 70's, Honda, along with most other motorcycle manufacturers, sold a number of three wheeled recreational vehicles. These are no longer sold because of their inherent instability and the number of people, usually children under the age of 16, that got hurt or killed while riding this type of vehicle. Keep in mind, Honda had placards all over the handlebars and fuel tank in "full view" of anyone that can read which said; "Always wear a helmet", "No one under the age of 16 should operate this vehicle", "Do not operate this vehicle with more than one person aboard", etc. Did most consumers pay any head to these warnings? No! They would put their 10 year olds on them and allow them to give rides to the neighbors 10 year old with neither one of them wearing a helmet. When the unthinkable happened (duh!), they sued Honda and won. This, in spite of the fact that the family was breaking every reasonable rule of common sense in the operation of that vehicle. To me this really smacks of "take responsibility for your actions!" Unfortunately, our court system doesn't seem to be able to see that sometimes.

The fact is, you can get hurt, killed, or suffer some amount of property damage if you operate any equipment, powered or otherwise, beyond it's design capability. What bothers me is that the manufacturer isn't giving us as consumers a clear picture of what that products limitations are. Unfortunately, given the history illustrated above, I can also understand why Honda doesn't bother. When push comes to shove in a court of law, it doesn't make any difference.

Sorry if I sound a bit preachy here folks. I'm off my soap box now!


Drive Safe,
Steve
 

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I have been reading through this post for some time now and thought maybe I would tell you of my experience with the Honda cross bar setup. I have taken six trips ranging any where from 350 miles to 895 miles at speeds of 75 to 85 mph with the a Sears 20 cu in carrier bolted to the factory EX crossbars and have experienced no problems (knock on wood). This is not to say that nothing will ever happen, but after six of these trips I am fairly confident in the design. One thing I have found interesting in this group as well as other forums, is the fact that many place a call to Yakima and Thule asking about cross bars. It seems rather obvious that both these companies would praise the safety of their crossbar setup while disputing the Honda setup. If I were a roof rack company, I would do the same (financially advantageous).

As for calling Honda...of course Honda would not recommend the cross bars for anything but Honda Accessories made specifically for the cross bars. Doing so, would commit Honda to a legally binding statement about the safety of their cross bars.

Just my opinion though.
 

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We thankfully avoided the entire crossbar question by using the Yakima crossbars (from our previous Quest) for mounting our Yakima Rocket Box. In order to do that, we had to buy the Yakima mounts to attach onto the Ody 01 EX roof rack. We got the mounts and the crossbars on with no problem. However, at 8 pm the night before we left on vacation, we realized that the Honda placed the roof rack further back than our Quest. As a result, the back hatch deflector banged into the Rocket Box and would not open completely. We didn't like that idea at all. As a last resort, we drilled additional holes in the RocketBox in order to move it forward and thus clear the hatch.

Bottom line for Ody owners. A 1998 vintage RocketBox will not fit on your vehicle without modifications. The situation would be worse with the Honda crossbars (placing it even farther back), but we took one look at those at the dealer and saw danger.

We had a nice vacation anyway in the eastern US and added 4500 miles to the Ody. RocketBox was tight as a drum. No whistling and great mileage with the wind.


------------------
Bill
2001 granite green Ody EX
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by odyguy:

As for calling Honda...of course Honda would not recommend the cross bars for anything but Honda Accessories made specifically for the cross bars. Doing so, would commit Honda to a legally binding statement about the safety of their cross bars.

Just my opinion though.

</font>
I'm with Steve, but the fact that Honda does not even offer a cargo box as an accessory speaks volumes about the crossbars capabilities. I'm sure that they would offer an overpriced box with their name on it if there was no problem. They offer snowboard, ski and bicycle mounts!

But the big gripe is that they don't tell you that it is not recommended for cargo boxes. Not when you buy them, not after you buy them, you have to find out from an aftermarket manufacturer. Then call Honda and they verify that the bars are not designed to accept the lift forces. Honda's own words!!! How many people do you think are aware of this and are driving around thinking that the crossbars were designed to accept that use.

As far as securing them to the side rails with netting or straps-why would you need to spend $80-$100 for the crossbars. Just to keep the box off the roof?

Regards
Al
 

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I think what I have been reading places Honda in a bad light regarding the crossbars. I love my Odyssey otherwise, but the use of cargo boxes is quite a reasonable application and reason to purchase the crossbars. I probably would not have bought mine if I had known this. They have been useful for other applications (holding surfboards etc.).
 

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Al, I agreed with you everything you mention. Is there a report of any Odyssey Crossbar fly off on the road, beside the test report from Thule and Yakima? It might be just their sale scheme to attract more customers to their product. I haven't notice anyone have their cargo box fly off from Odyssey Crossbars yet. I guess I am always over protected of everything for a peace of mind on the road. I don't mind spent time to strap my cargo to the side rails at all. I am happy to strap them down as secure as I can and be safe than sorry.
 
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