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Discussion Starter #1
Has anybody here had the guts to mount the Yakima Railrider rails on their Ody. I want to carry canoes, sailboards and a Laser(sailboat) on the roof. I've always had rain gutters and could space the crossbars out enough so I didn't have to tie the front and rear down. I want to do the same with my EX-L.

Yakima makes a track that fits into the groove under the rubber strip on the roof. Then their towers pop right in anywhere you want. It uses expanding plusnuts and you have to drill holes, so I want to make sure it works.

Has anybody else done this? An extensive thread search turned up a few inconclusive posts. Yakima's track is only 44 or 54 inches long, but I was thinking of buying two sets and taking the tracks up to the B pillar. If this works it will be the most flexible roof system ever. Yakima's site says it will, but I have yet to see one or read about anybody who has one.

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'91 Sentra SE-R
'57 Chevy Belair Sport Coupe.
If at first you don't succeed...so much for skydiving.
 

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Hey, somebody has to be the first.

I agree, this looks to be THE choice for a rugged rack system.

I've got a 99LX. I installed the factory LX roor rack rails, but not the crossbars. I purchased extra long Thule cross bars. My total expected load might be about 100 pounds - a tandem bike plus other stuff.

Regular door-mounted rack systems from Thule and Yakima won't work on the Odyssey - darn thsse sliding doors.

If I had it to do over again, I think I would also go with the Yakima system. Have you considered calling Yakima or on-line Yakima retailers for their advice or notes from actual installations?

Good luck!

Paul
 

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I have an 02 LX and am also trying to decide what type of rack to mount on the van to carry canoes (1 or 2), cargo box (long), and possibly bikes (4 or 5) (not all at the same time!)

One possibility is to purchase a Honda roof rack and use the Yakima Lowriders to attach to the Honda roofrack rails. With this arrangement, Yakima states that the maximum load is 100 pounds.

Another option is to skip the Honda roof rack and use the Yakima Q Towers. With this arrangement, the maximum weight limit is 165 lbs. In order to carry canoes greater than 14' or to use the longer cargo boxes, you need a crossbar spread of something greater than 30 or 36" (not sure of the exact minimum).

With the Q towers, the stretch kit is needed since the rack will clip to the roof at two points above the sliding door which limits the crossbar spread to about 24". The stretch kit allows the crossbar spread to extend beyond this limit. I don't know what the maximum crossbar spread is with the stretch kit, but it creates a large enough spread to allow the long cargo boxes or longer canoes to be placed on the rack.

Has anyone used the Q Towers and Stretch Kit system on their Ody? With the greater weight limit of the Yakima system which doesn't use the Honda roof rack, I'm leaning towards using that system. With the Honda roof rack, you wouldn't need the stretch kit to get a sufficient crossbar spread, but you could only carry 100 lbs instead of 165 lbs.

Also, anyone have experience in carrying canoes on the Ody? If you have a sufficient crossbar spread (which is?), do you need bow and stern lines? Also, if using bow and stern lines, where do you attach them? The attachment points near the bumper don't appear to be obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Like eaglemtn, I'm looking for maximum bar spread. I suppose you could use one set of Q Towers over the front doors. I would avoid using Q towers if possible. I have a set I've used on an Intrepid and a Taurus. They fit very well and were easy to use...BUT...they channel rainwater through the seal and onto your lap.

I remember a trip to the ozarks with my mother-in-law and daughter in the backseat. It rained for 6 hours and everybodys lap was soaked. Good times.

Yakima folks say the 54 inch track fits the Ody. That's only as long as the factory rack. I'm thinking with two sets of Yakima track (cant decide on 42", 54" or one of each) you could space the towers as close or far as you want. Then you wouldn't need bow or stern lines which would be a major convenience. You could even use three crossbars to carry heavy boats like my 200 pound Laser.

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'91 Sentra SE-R
'57 Chevy Belair Sport Coupe.
If at first you don't succeed...so much for skydiving.
 

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I wonder if the rain leakage problem would occur on the Ody. The Q clips compress the rubber weatherstripping at the roof edge, but I seem to remember that the sliding doors also have an additional weatherstripping a little lower down. I'll have to take a look. If so, maybe the rain wouldn't leak. It sure doesn't sound like a lot of fun to have the water leaking in during a storm.

I'm not sure if I want to do any permanent mounting of the rails. It looks like Yakima has everything figured out to work OK. I guess you just have to get over drilling holes in the roof. If you permanently mount the rails, is the weight limit higher than Yakima's 100 lb limit with the Honda rack?

As another question, has anyone had the Yakima SpaceCase cargo carrier on top of an Ody. Does it interfere with opening the hatchback. The SpaceCase is a long 92" carrier that is 31" wide (20 cu ft).
 

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I looked at the door design. If you use Q Towers, you're pretty much have to use them above the sliding doors. The clips that Yakima provides to connect the towers to the roof edge won't work over the front doors since the roof edge design is different over the front doors.

The Yakima fit guide says that using Q towers provides a crossbar spread of 24". It looks like you can get almost 30" of spread if you could put the Q towers as far forward and back on the sliding door roof edge as possible. The Q clips come with pretty specific instructions as to where to locate the Q towers, so for some reason Yakima doesn't have the Q towers spread as far apart as possible.

I looked at the weatherstripping on the doors. In addition to the weatherstripping on the roof edge where the Yakima Q clips would attach, there is also another strip of weatherstripping below which contacts the doors. Maybe with this design, the Q towers wouldn't cause problems with rain entering the van.

So, there appears to be 3 ways to carry cargo on the van - use a Honda rack with appropriate adapters, permanently attach Yakima (or Thule if available) rails and use appropriate accessories, or use a removable attachment system, like the Yakima Q towers.

For heavier loads, it doesn't appear that the Honda rack works as well. Anyone have any experience with the Yakima Q Towers or Railriders or other similar systems?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well. After removing (one side) the roof rail and rubber strips, that groove has a taper part of the way down. Those Yakima tracks will not fit down there.

So if you want to use the tracks, you have to put them just inboard of the groove. (They might also fit just outboard of the groove.) Either way it aint pretty.

I think if you screwed some 5/8 inch square tube in the bottom of the groove (through the roof), you could then screw the Yakima track down to it and hide the whole groove. There are obstacles in the groove to deal with though. The roof rail studs and their reinforcing plates. The tube would have to be drilled and relieved to make room for a tight flat fit. If I get the nerve to try this trick, I'll let you know how it works.

But right now I'm thinking this is more work than carrying my boats is worth. My kingdom for a van with rain gutters.

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'02 Granite Green EX-L
'91 Sentra SE-R
'57 Chevy Belair Sport Coupe.
If at first you don't succeed...so much for skydiving.
 

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I, too, am looking for ways to carry my "stuff" (windsurfing, 2 canoes, etc.). While I would push the weight limit - I could work with it.

For tie downs, I'm installing a trailer hitch for my boat as well. Rear tie down should work using the hitch receiver.

For the front, I'm still scratching my head. There is a metal ring on the bottom near the center of below engine. This could work if you can fabricate some way to support the line around the bumper and down to there - tubing or square metal stock?

I had a 1992 Chevy Van prior to this. Tie down anywhere and clamp the roof rack anywhere on the gutter - no problem.

Keep trying and post any solutions.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Jada.

I'm also a midwest windsurfer. I still use the Windurfer one-design rig I bought in 1982. I also carry a 16-foot canoe, or a 13 foot Laser.

For front tie down, Yakima makes a steel rod that hooks onto that tow loop under the front of the Ody. The rod has an eye on the end that sticks out bast the front bumper. But this may pull upward hard enoung to bend the bottom of the bumper skin, I don't know.

As far as the rack crossbar separation not being enough. I have to complain that All the other minivans and SUVs I've seen have much longer roof siderails and therefore allow much greater separation. Honda (normally hell-bent pragmatists) wussed out on the roof rack. I can fit all my boating gear inside and two weeks worth of camping gear, but I can't put didly on the roof. Maybe if I get a gargo carrier for the roof, I can fit the boats INSIDE of the van.

Another solution for this would be to install a hidden hitch and use one of those "L" shaped hitch extenders that go back 1-2 feet and up about 5 feet. this is simple and easy but has two drawbacks. You have to carry the canoe/boat fairly far back and requires a flag. Also it would prevent you from access to the tailgate.
 

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Rail Riders

I have been looking into a rack for my 02 LX and can share what I've learned:
(1) The EX and LX Honda racks are different with the EX holding about 50 lbs more and costing about twice as much ($400vs$225) from HandA. Neither accomodates a cross bar as far forward as I would prefer. We have a 21 ft sea kayak and I would like to center it on the bars and the van.

(2) Both Yakima and Thule sell tracks for the Ody
and as previously mentioned they are installed inboard of the groove where the Honda racks are mounted. Placement is critical in that you need room to drill the holes without puncturing the headliner underneath or drilling into some electrical or other component in the roof. Yak and Thule both work with the manufacturers to figure out where they can put things and they ship precise instructions with their racks. Probably wise to follow them but I havent given up finding another option.

(3)My preferred mount for the tracks is the groove where the Honda racks are mounted. The grove is too deep to drill there however as the bottom of the grove is very close to the headliner
underneath. I like the idea someone mentioned of mounting a square tube to the studs in the groove and then bolting the track to the tube. Any engineers tuned in to this?

Frank

Self installed Honda mud guards, hitch and coolers. Thinking about doing the alarm system- anyone done that?
 

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Thule Mount Kit For Front Door of Odyssey

People who carry canoes and other longer items on an Ody are always concerned about the short length of the factory rack or the bar spread between the add on/"clip on" racks such as Thule or Yakima for non factory rack vans. Some folks use foam blocks to add stability towards the front of the vehicle, I was hoping to find a rack system that would work.

I have discovered that Thule does make a "fit kit" for their bars that allows one to install a bar over the front door of the Ody about 20" (505mm by their instructions) back from the top of the windshield. This uses the raingutter less clip on style bars that are the norm today. This system DOES NOT require any drilling. This kit adds several feet to the spread available for hauling a canoe or other long items on the Ody in combo the the factory racks. It should also somewhat increase the load carrying ability of the roof as it spreads the load out over a wider area

The problem is that this kit is only made only for the European market and is not generally available here in the states. Why, beats me!

However there is good news, if you are interested in this kit, I have found a place in the U.S. that can get it. That is Car Racks Direct. Believe me, I checked a number of places. They said it would only take about a week to get it in.

Here is their web address:

Car Racks Direct

Thule's fit kit number for this application is 1199. This comes with 4 adaptors. Two for over the front doors and two for over the slides. You use that fit kit in conjunction with a 750 foot pak.

You can buy just one pair of the foot paks from Car Racks Direct. You won't need the second pair of feet if you have the factory rack. You are "stuck" with the extra pair of 1199 fit kit feet.

I just ordered these items today. The fit kit was $38.00 and the half pak of the Foot Pak was $75.00. $113.00 total with free UPS shipping. I didn't order a bar as I already have a couple of extras. You can use either the square bar or Thule's cool looking Aero bar/Rapid system (another Europe only item I believe, but Car Racks Direct has them). I understand that some of Thule's Accessories won't fit the Aero bars, that is why they don't sell them here in wider distribution. I use a number of accessories with my racks (kayak stackers, velo vise bike mounts and canoe brackets, I really need a Peterbilt instead of a van!) so I will stick with the square bars.

Here is the address for info on this system. Please note that this is Thule's European site.

Click here to visit the Thule Site and see the installation info.

If you go to Thule's U.S. web site, you will not find any info on this system. They system on that site installs over the sliding doors for Ody's without factory racks.

The only problem I see is that if you install this bar on a van with factory racks, that the front bar will likely be lower than the rear. I assume that one could fit a piece of stiff foam on top of the bar to level it up, or just carry the canoe or whatever angled down a bit towards the front (as long as it does not block one's view). I don't plan on leaving this bar on my vehicle all year long, but rather only installing it when I want to carrry my canoe (or during those times that I am using it a good bit, ie: summer). As stated above, I have my other bars for carrying bikes, kayaks etc.

In any event, once I get these items in and (hopefully) installed, I will post again with info as to how they fit and work out.

Keeping my fingers crossed,

Denman
 

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Well Ken, you've got me looking at my (rackless) LX and scratching my head as well. I think you may have a good idea with the tubing. I am thinking aluminum U channel in the groove held down with the Honda Torx nuts. Perhaps a Yakima 60" trac could then be screwed onto this giving lots of crossbar spread. One would probably have to redrill the holes in the tracks but this might work. I am going to do some experimenting and I will keep you posted on the results. gatorgofer
 

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gatorgofer

I did the "tube in the channel" thing and although it was labor intensive I like the results. All you see from the side is the cross bars and uprights.

I used 3/4" square commercial grade aluminum tubing with 1/8" sides and held it down with SS connector nuts which are like the Honda nuts.

Let me know if you want the full story.
 

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It looks like the Acura MDX has even a worse rack than the ody.

Do a search on http://www.acuramdx.org/ . There are people who have mounted Ford Expedition and Explorer roof tracks instead of the yakima tracks. The Ford tracks are longer, stronger and cheaper.
 

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Yes Fcatwo, more info on how you installed the channels would be helpful. Did you then use the Yakima tracks or the Thule tracks on top of the aluminum channels? How long did you make the channels and the tracks? and what sort of fasteners did you use? I plan on carrying sea kayaks and or canoes as well as perhaps a Yakima rocket box I already own. Thanks
 

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gatorgofer

Sorry to take so long to reply. I used 60" tubes but would use 65's if I did it again. The 60's are bolted to the front, center and back double studs and leave about 5" of empty channel and one stud at the rear. I regret not running them all the way back.

I couldn't find the T-nuts others have mentioned so used SS connector nuts on the six studs on each side. The connector nuts go through a hole in the top of the tube and fasten against the bottom of the tube. The front screw of the front rack foot is screwed into the top of the front stud's connector nut. IMHO this is about as strong as you can make the connection. I had to grind the connector nuts down about 1/8" so their tops are even with the top of the tubes- did I mention it was a labor intensive project. I also had to round the botton edges of the tubes so they didn't rub against the sides of the channels. I bent the tubes to fit by tapping them with a 3lb hammer while moving them back and forth on top of two blocks of wood spaced about a foot apart.

I had tracks at the time but didn't use them for a couple of reasons. One was that I didn't need multiple spacing. I spaced my bars 37" which is the optimum spacing for my long Thule box. I made provisions for moving the rear bar all the way to the back but have never needed that feature. The second reason is that the channels and consequently the tubes are horizontal to the ground and don't follow the curvature of the roof. Screwing the tracks to the tubes would leave about a 1/4" space under the outside edge of the tracks which compromises their strength and looks bad. I fastened the rack feet to the tubes with connector nuts from underneath before installing the tubes.

Frank
 

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Fcatwo and the others -

Great to see your info on using the factory studs .

I still haven't installed my Yakima Railrider rails yet . I like the idea not putting any holes in the roof and utilizing the factory studs in the roof channels .

I might have overlooked it but I don't recall seeing anything about placing something like a rubber strip ( what is suggested ?) between the roof and the tubing / channel . Also what is the best way to address the cosmetic appearance front and rear ends of the tubing / channel - ie leave square and hopefully find a plug ?


Any chance of someone putting up a foolproof ( I don't want to screw up !) installation with some diagrams with measurements / pictures of the standard and /or the " modified " installation using the u or square aluminum tubing ?

Thanks
 

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Should I drill the holes

Still haven't seen anyone that has taken the plunge and drilled the holes in the roof to mount the 54" Yakima tracks. I've got an '01 LX that is extremely stock except for aluminum wheels and keyless entry. I'm leaning towards taking the plunge. What the heck if I screw it up, my wife won't be able to see it she's only 5'4"!! If the Yakima tracks are as well made as other stuff I've gotten from them and the diagrams are accurate it should be a great set-up. If anyone has taken the plunge I'd be interested in photos and whether or not you were happy with it. I tried to contact an RKPATT that talked about doing the mod but couldn't pull the trigger on drilling the holes.

Thanks
 

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Good luck Tex-Moto, let us know how it works out. I am leaning thataway myself and have also had the very best of luck with all the Yakima products I have owned. It does appear to be the cleanest, simplist, and most adjustable installation. If I can just get around the drilling phobia. Oh well, someone has to go first, let us know how it goes. Gator
 

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I done did it!! Drilled holes in roof

I looked on this forum for advice on installing the Yakima 54" tracks on my '01 LX. A few people even said they bought the kit but couldn't bring themselves to install it.

I bit the bullet and drilled 14ea 9/32 holes in the top of an otherwise perfect minivan. The install went well and I've got pix if someone wants one. It is not as "bulletproof" as the gutterless mount we had on our 96 2DR Civic Coupe but I am fairly pleased. There is an extremely slight amount of flex just where the rail touches the roof but I attribute that to the fact that the rails only mount to the skin and not to the ribs that go across the roof.

In response to the folks that are trying to mount homemade rails in the gutter trim (rubber strip) area where the factory mounts go I have a question. Is your set up adjustable and if so how do the crossbars slide back and forth as the roof gutters get closer together as they go to the rear of the van. (the roof tapers an inch or two from front to back)

Call me Nuts!!
Tex-Moto
 
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