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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Sport Rack: using the existing factory roof rails?

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11 replies to this topic

#1 chaka


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 09:11 AM

Greetings- first time poster, long-time Subaru owner. Lots of awesome info on this site. I am the proud parent of a brand new '05 Outback limited. I have an existing old Thule rack setup on my '94 wagon, as well as a parted out Yakima system, and would prefer to use some of these old components on my new rack if possible.

Does anyone have experience using either Yakima or Thule roof rack kits that clamp on to the existing factory rails?

Thanks for your advice.

#2 jonlow


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 10:46 AM

My '04 Impreza has Yakimas clamped to the factory rails. I suspect the rails are the same for both cars. The system works well.

#3 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 12:55 PM

If not, you may need to buy 'towers' (I think they're called) to marry your bars to the Soob rails.


#4 JT95


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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:00 PM

I have a non-Yakima bike rack setup, but I used Yakima mounting clamps because they fit the factory cross bars so well. Mine's a 95, though.

#5 kevinsUBARU



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Posted 22 July 2005 - 05:29 PM

You have two options. If you have factory crossbars that are already attached to the roof rails, you can get the 532 Ride On Adaptor kit for $39. If you don't have the crossbars but you DO HAVE RAILS, then you will find that the 450 crossroad foot at $192. This foot kit will attach right to the existing rails and you can use a 50 inch loadbar with it.

Advantage of the 532: Very easy to install, very cheap.
Disadvantage of the 532: Comes with 32" load bars...2 bike capacity

Advantage of the 450: Sturdier. Has room for bikes and ski rack
Disadvantage of the 450: Almost 3x the price of the 532.

When I transfered my Thule from my 1995 Impreza sedan to my 2001 Legacy Wagon, I got the 532 kit, however, I put the 32 inch bars aside and threw my 50 inch ones on. It is sturdy (you don't want to mount the bike rack too far to the outside) and I have my ski rack also that I use to carry shovels and other stuff with. I would imagine that because the 450 crossroad foot pack mounts directly to the roof rails instead of stacking itself up another level like the 532, that it would be even sturdier than my setup. IF you are carrying kayaks or canoes, I would opt for the 450 foot pack (sturdier for heavier loads), but skis and bikes will be fine with the 532. Additionally, Thule and Yakima rack carriers (skis, bikes, ect...) will work on either system...Thule sells Yakima adaptor clamps and vice versa.


#6 killjoy


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Posted 25 July 2005 - 01:29 PM

Not to be redundant here, but I have much the same question.

(Greetings, by the way. This is my first post, as I plan to pick up a lightly used 2005 Outback XT Ltd. from a dealer tomorrow - my first Subaru)

I also have a Yakima set-up (crossbars and bike mounts) from my old car and am wondering about buying their Lowrider towers to attach to the Outback's side rails, versus mounting what I have on the factory Subaru crossbars via some kind of funky Yakima attachment.

I only plan on putting two bikes on the roof - no funky boxes, skis, canoes, etc. So width of the crossbars and weight-bearing ability aren't really a concern at this point.

If I use the Yakima crossbars, I should probably remove the factory ones, yeah?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

#7 kevinsUBARU



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Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:21 PM

Welcome Killjoy,
Yes, you could remove the factory bars if you go with the lowrider setup. I am not as familiar with the Yakima lineup, but they basically have identical products as thule, only that they mate to round bars and have different names.

Chaka, To further expand on my previous rack post, I re-attached the rack clamps to the actual "factory foot" that holds the crossbars together. I am not talking about the rail, and this will not work unless you reuse your older 50 inch loadbars. I will try to get a picture of the mounting point real soon, but this is 500% sturdier then attaching them to the factory crossbars, and would probably save you from buying the $190 foot pack. Quick question for you or anyone with an 05 OB...is it possible to get a picture of the rail/factory crossbar setup from someone?

Take care,

#8 Andyjo


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Posted 26 July 2005 - 12:16 AM

I've gotten a chance to play w/ the rail Clamp things you're talking about, they seem very sturdy. For a bike and ski racks they should do just fine. One of my friends also has the rail clamp-on types on his blazer, the rails seem to be the weakest link on his setup. If you're going to be throwing some heavier stuff up there, kayaks, boxes, canoes, (like previously said) you might want to think about getting the feet/tower setup.
As for my setup, i don't have a rack for my car.. it came off our old dodge caravan :rolleyes:, and i threw some 78" load bars on it. I tend to throw on alot of weight up there, and the feet hold up great. Thule says the max. capacity of their products if 165lbs (on the entire system).... this my friends.. must be wrong... because i've had 3 bikes, 2- 15' touring kayaks, and my 33" wide box (filled) up there... there was some bowing of the bars.. and some denting of my roof area, but it held up. I wouldn't trust factory rails for this type of abuse.

#9 killjoy


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Posted 26 July 2005 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for your responses. In the last day or so, I actually learned the following...

The factory crossbars (i.e., the flat aerodynamic ones) are NOT meant to be used with fork-mounted bike carriers, such as the Yakima Steelhead, Viper or Copperhead or the Thule V2 or Velo Vise). But they're OK for "upright" mounts, where you keep the front wheel on (e.g., Thule Super G or Crierium and Yakima Raptor and Cobra).

So it looks like I'll be taking off the factory crossbars, buying the Lowrider towers, and using my existing Yakima crossbars and Steelhead mounts.
Hope my experience proves helpful. I'll be picking the car up tonight!!!!

#10 kevinsUBARU



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Posted 26 July 2005 - 01:20 PM

Interesting find on the bike carriers. This is what I am currently using but it is mounted as far to the ends as possible on the factory "feet" (not on the factory crossbars) and using a 50" bar, not the supplied 32. I am also using a fork mount rack...the velo vise to be specific.

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#11 CardinaA


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Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:08 PM

I've got a 1996 Schizaru Legacy Outback with Yakima rail riders setup. I removed the factory cross bars to cut down on noise. I've mounted my road bike up top and driven like a amphetamine-crazed rally driver with no trouble (with the rack). I like the Yakima stuff, mostly for visual reasons. Many folks on this board will swear that Thule, however, is more sturdy and rust resistant. Bottom line- invest some $ in a good sport rack setup and never look back. You'll love having a solid setup up top. Period.
Cardy 1/2 MD (3 wks into my psychiatry rotation in school!)

#12 Lesbaru


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Posted 30 July 2005 - 02:00 PM

I just bought an 05 Imp. This came with rails, but not cross bars. When I talked to one of the folks at the dealership, he said the towers and rack that are sold by the dealer are just Yakimas. So I'm planning to buy Yakima short towers and the bars, hully rollers and cradle from the kayak shop when (if?) I get the money to buy my kayak. The shop gives a 15% discount on all the goodies when you buy a boat.

'Course, the boat is just about as long as the Imp... Necky Chatham 17. Wooohooo!

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