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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium-20mm rear sway bar, recessed Sprinter roof rails
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142 Posts
Why not just do it correctly,

Ditch the factory junk..
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium-20mm rear sway bar, recessed Sprinter roof rails
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142 Posts
2 more pics, Rhino Rack tracks, Yakima landing pads#1.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium-20mm rear sway bar, recessed Sprinter roof rails
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142 Posts
See my thread, it's all there,

Clean Roof Rail system
 

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Any other options out here yet? Some good info in here but interested in seeing some more options. I can't believe there are so few options for the outbacks.
 

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Under the heading of "making what you have work", I adapted an existing Q-Tower setup I had left over from a company vehicle (Chrysler 300) to my OB by way of a cargo basket. You simply attach the basket to the factory cross bars and then install the Q-Towers/round bars onto the top rails of the cargo basket. The Q-Towers grab the cargo bars nicely. Actually works extremely well and I've had no issues with loosening, slippage or anything like that, after several hundred miles with a kayak, etc. on board. Seemed a little "hmm?" at first, but I can tell you it is solid....although it is tall.

Site won't let me posts pics...

However, inspired by the OP's solution to "The Problem", and being a perennial tinkerer, I've decided to try a similar method for attaching my existing Yak round bar setup to my '15 OB by using the factory tie-down points. Getting things lower is appealing and I am also contemplating a cargo box in lieu of the basket for certain load-out circumstances, so this type of approach makes more sense. I foresee the bars with kayak rack, cargo box and bike rack across the width.

Because those hard points are just too appealing to me, rather than use the rail grabs my approach is to remove the factory tie-downs completely and attach rack supports directly to their mounting points. Essentially this is the DIY, low cost version of the Yakima Landing Pad 15/Control Tower system, but utilizing the tie-down points instead of the factory rail holes.

My first thought was to manufacture an aluminum block that would receive the cross bar and bolt to the tie-down points. However, because I have limited in-house milling and manufacturing capabilities, and because I like things to be easy, I decided to try and come up with some existing parts-n-pieces that could be easily adapted instead. There are plenty of pipe/tube clamp type applications out there (railings, drum kit setups, manufacturing, etc.) that finding something suitable didn't seem like that daunting of a task. Since the Yak bars mic out to right at 1-1/8" diameter with the plastic coating and getting the bar clamp part right seemed like the biggest challenge, that was the end to start on in my view.

I found what I was looking for in motorcycle parts, under the family of handlebar mounts. The "beefy bar upgrade" world just happens to be 1-1/8" bars (upgrading from 7/8" bars) so there are lots of options that will receive a 1-1/8" diameter tube securely. I chose the following which are actually 1-3/8" simply because they were on close out for $4.99 a pair, which made grabbing both types very palatable. $26 for all 8 with shipping.

Search "Easton Mountain Products EXP Universal Bar Clamps" and under images you'll see two versions sold by MotoSports.

One type has a single large through-bolt and the other utilizes two smaller bolts that mount to the existing handlebar receiver. On the latter type I will have to machine off the "hump" to get a flat mounting surface. Not sure which one will be "better" but my money is on the 2-bolt type...just feels better at least emotionally.

If you pay full price, there are lots of options in the handlebar bracket world. I actually like the look of these Easton ones and the wider cradle is appealing. Adding a thin layer of rubber around the tubes in the cradle to make everything cinch down tight isn't an issue I don't think.

I've also ordered 4 aluminum blanks sized at 2.5" x 2" x 1.5" thick which I'll fashion into mounting blocks that will receive the cradles and mount to the factory tie-down points. Should be a fairly simply layout and hole drilling operation done with basic tools. I'll most likely do a couple of wood mock-ups first to play around with. I didn't have any great dimensions to work with for the handlebar brackets so I kind of winged it in an attempt to get the bars down pretty tight to the plastic roof rack crap. We'll see how close I came when the parts all arrive, but I felt like the 1.5" thickness was a good number to give me lots of "meat" for mounting options (might want to do countersunk through-bolt/nuts instead of threaded inserts for instance).

Will post pics once the parts get here and as it comes together...if the site will let me anyway.
 

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2015 Premium 2.5i
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I made four brackets that replace the factory tie downs (called rope hooks in the Owner’s Manual). These brackets provide mounting points for Yakima shear blocks that hold Yakima round crossbars. My approach uses ideas from posts 43, 49, 57, 60, 63, 121, 147 and 148 in this thread.

Each bracket is a 2” length of aluminum rectangle tube: 1.5" high x 2.5" wide x 0.125" wall. If I could find reasonably priced tube that is 2.75” or 70 mm wide I would make brackets in which the tie down plates could fit flat inside. 3” wide tubing does not fit flush in the roof rail gaps.

I drilled two holes in the bottom of each bracket to match tie down plate holes and drilled one hole in the top center for the Yakima shear block bolt.

Instead of reusing the Torx head bolts from the rope hooks, I attached my brackets to the tie down platforms using metric hex head bolts, size M8 x 25 mm, and washers. This lets me use a ratcheting box wrench to adjust the bolts within the confined space of the bracket.

I already owned crossbars so the total cost for my parts was $50. I bought one foot of 6063-T52 aluminum rectangle tube at onlinemetals. The Yakima shear block part numbers are Y8810002, Y8810006 & Y8810007.
 

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I made four brackets that replace the factory tie downs (called rope hooks in the Owner’s Manual). These brackets provide mounting points for Yakima shear blocks that hold Yakima round crossbars. My approach uses ideas from posts 43, 49, 57, 60, 63, 121, 147 and 148 in this thread.

Each bracket is a 2” length of aluminum rectangle tube: 1.5" high x 2.5" wide x 0.125" wall. If I could find reasonably priced tube that is 2.75” or 70 mm wide I would make brackets in which the tie down plates could fit flat inside. 3” wide tubing does not fit flush in the roof rail gaps.

I drilled two holes in the bottom of each bracket to match tie down plate holes and drilled one hole in the top center for the Yakima shear block bolt.

Instead of reusing the Torx head bolts from the rope hooks, I attached my brackets to the tie down platforms using metric hex head bolts, size M8 x 25 mm, and washers. This lets me use a ratcheting box wrench to adjust the bolts within the confined space of the bracket.

I already owned crossbars so the total cost for my parts was $50. I bought one foot of 6063-T52 aluminum rectangle tube at onlinemetals. The Yakima shear block part numbers are Y8810002, Y8810006 & Y8810007.
Thank you for this. A very good solution.

I had the same thought of removing the factory cross bars and using the tie-down point mounting points.

Now I need to source a Thule part that will work with the aluminum tube and the standard Thule square bars. Possibly a Thule pickup cap mount.

Although in theory I could just drill a hole through the square bars and mount right on the aluminum block.
 

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As well, no need to find square stock wide enough to re-install the factory tie-down bars, just loop whatever - rope or load strap, thru the aluminum bracket. Plenty strong enough I would think.
 

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I made four brackets that replace the factory tie downs (called rope hooks in the Owner’s Manual). These brackets provide mounting points for Yakima shear blocks that hold Yakima round crossbars. My approach uses ideas from posts 43, 49, 57, 60, 63, 121, 147 and 148 in this thread.

Each bracket is a 2” length of aluminum rectangle tube: 1.5" high x 2.5" wide x 0.125" wall. If I could find reasonably priced tube that is 2.75” or 70 mm wide I would make brackets in which the tie down plates could fit flat inside. 3” wide tubing does not fit flush in the roof rail gaps.

I drilled two holes in the bottom of each bracket to match tie down plate holes and drilled one hole in the top center for the Yakima shear block bolt.

Instead of reusing the Torx head bolts from the rope hooks, I attached my brackets to the tie down platforms using metric hex head bolts, size M8 x 25 mm, and washers. This lets me use a ratcheting box wrench to adjust the bolts within the confined space of the bracket.

I already owned crossbars so the total cost for my parts was $50. I bought one foot of 6063-T52 aluminum rectangle tube at onlinemetals. The Yakima shear block part numbers are Y8810002, Y8810006 & Y8810007.
To be quite honest, there are many things about your version I like better than mine. Granted, I was cobbling together some over the counter stuff in prototype fashion as step-one-of-many towards a final elegant solution, but I like where you went.

My one and only concern would be the strength of the aluminum tube and it's ability to resist deformation under stress with a heavy load on top. I have no data to back it up, but I'm concerned the tubes could collapse or at least deform because all of the weight of whatever is in the rack will be pushing on the weakest axis of the material under heavy braking, rack and roll or rutted dirt roads, etc.

I did some quick searching and wasn't able to find a thicker wall tube in the correct size (as I am sure you already found out) which would make me feel a whole lot better. That same tube with a nice .375" wall or something like that would sure "feel" better.

Maybe I'm wrong and it would be fine, or maybe I'm just guilty of overloading my rack system, but with my cargo basket full and a kayak on either outboard edge, that tube would make me nervous on rutted back country roads. Especially over the years after you stressed it a few times.
 

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My one and only concern would be the strength of the aluminum tube and it's ability to resist deformation under stress with a heavy load on top.

s.
Then think about the assorted clamping systems Thule and Yak use to secure cross bars to the existing systems. Some are just clamped partly around the factory cross bars in their stored positions. Another uses part of the F/R rails with one set of cross bars using the existing "pockets" the removed factory cross bars used to use.

Having used 2" square stock aluminum in assorted theatrical applications, it's seems significantly more robust as adapted by TJ, than the Yak and Thule adapted alternatives. Just my opinion though.
 

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Brackets made of steel rectangle tube, even without a thicker wall, are likely to be stronger than the aluminum brackets I made. I use fender washers to reduce the risk my bracket could fail due to pull-through of a bolt, which I think is the most likely failure mode for my rack load.
 

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Did anyone do anything like this with Thule rectangular bars?
I'm about to and have 2x2 aluminum square stock to work with. I just haven't found the time at work to cut down a 10 ft piece to 4 - 2" sections.
 

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2017 OB 2.5 Lim/ 2005 STI 400 WHP
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@;
I'm about to and have 2x2 aluminum square stock to work with. I just haven't found the time at work to cut down a 10 ft piece to 4 - 2" sections.
I am also currently working on a project.

1 in. x 72 in. Square Tube 0.0625 in. Thick only $22 Home Home depot. sku 368210

here are the feet that I made that screw in to the tie down mounts.
 

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Summiting Ophir Pass between Telluride and Silverton. Bike + ARB Awning + Yakima SkyBox, at least 250lbs on top. No issues so far.



This looks perfect. I also have a skybox. I want to be able to put 2 bikes on top with it. I hope this works. I want it to look super similar to this when I am done. I also plan on putting 3 bikes on the hitch rack. I should be receiving a hitch in the mail soon. ( I need to be able to carry 5 bikes. I have 3 kids now)
 

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Roof Rack Mod

I can not believe how well designed the stock roof rack is to not fit with anything you may already have. It literally fits nothing I already own. Things that I considered universal. The stock cross bars are too wide/ thick to fit any bike rack trays. The front cross bar is too far back to mount a cargo carrier. I think They put a lot of effort in to making this as non compatible with everything on the market as possible. The rear hatch just makes the problem even worse. The rear sloping window drastically takes away from the interior volume, while shortening the usable roof length. They did this too make it look less like a "wagon". But then someone different thought it would be a neat idea to add the spoiler, that makes it more boxy and makes it look more like a wagon. It does not add any interior volume, so now you have something that looks like a wagon minus some of the interior volume, minus roof length, and the spoiler shortens the usable roof length even further, when the rear gate is open it gets in the way of the roof rack system. Such a bad design. Its like the worst of all worlds. It reminds me of every new I phone.

Has anyone Taken the rear spoiler off?

I had to remove one of the stock room rails while I had to use the rear one for the rear clamps of the cargo box.
 

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