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My first thought was why are you driving an OB and not a Chevy Tahoe ?.

The box is one of the wider models and while it carries a lot is obviously a tough fit with 2 bike trays. But a bit of research before buying the car would tell you the width between the F/R rails and that tells you how much room for stuff.

I knew this before I purchased my '17 and will give the factory cross bars a try for my narrower Thule box, but also knew I was going to need to replace my trays with models that work on aero style cross bars. My 25 year old fork trays needed replacing anyway (I had one fail a few years ago, dumping a buddies Lightspeed off the roof at 40mph). I got 2 Thule Circuit trays on sale at REI, they work with the factory or my 25 year old square bars. As well my Thule box, when mounted on the factory cross bars does press against the rear hatch when the hatch is open, but it's not an issue. My bike trays as well do not get in the way of the hatch. And the question becomes do you expect stuff to stay compatable forever ?.

I am of the opinion though that the recessed cross bar design, while working for most people, is not great if you have legacy stuff that you'd like to mount. Subaru made it hard without hand build mod's to use aftermarket. The Yakima and Thule adaptations and alternative style cross bars sit a mere 24 inches apart, front to rear and that's a problem with some stuff, long canoes and kayaks as example. Thus modifications using the tie down points become a good alternative, though it would be nice if Rocky Mounts or somebody would make a kit that did what I have to manufacture.
 

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I finally got the Thule adapted rack mounts installed.

Inspired by post TJ805’s post and project, I used 4 - 2”x2” aluminum square stock pieces that we had at my jobsite, cut to 2” long, with holes drilled to install on the factory tie-down mounting points. I used M8 x 1-¼” long stainless bolts on the roof points, then drilled the Thule square bars to mount onto the aluminum brackets, using M8 stainless on these as well, with nylon insert nuts.

In order to install the Thule cross bars I had to remove the factory recessed cross bars, which left 4 large holes in the F/R rail where the cross bars installed. Not sure I wanted water getting in there so I installed some rubber plugs I found at Ace hardware to fill the holes left by the removed cross bars.

Total cost was about $60

With my 2 Thule bike trays installed, I have 29 inches width between trays (and 38 inches, front to rear spacing) so enough to use my Thule Ascent 1100 roof box as well. If using my roof box, I would install a bike tray reversed, so the bike faced rearward.
 

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And did a follow up installing my Thule Ascent 1100 box on the modified square bars mounted via my custom aluminum mounting blocks.

The F/R spread of the square towers is 38 Inches. The maximum amount of spread that a (my) roof box can handle is 36 inches, front to rear.

The clamps will not correctly clamp around the square bars, thus the box is useless unless I modify them. Or I will use the Yakima adapters and towers.
 

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With your superior design and such "idiots" for competition, it sounds like you need to start your own business.
I don't know what your problem is. I never said I had a superior design. However, after waiting a year for a new solution from Thule, they didn't have one. They used an existing rail grabber (so waiting a year was a waste) and it is meant to attach onto the Subaru stock crossbars when they are in the stowed position. This is not only not an improvement, it is even more unstable.
 

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I don't know what your problem is. I never said I had a superior design. However, after waiting a year for a new solution from Thule, they didn't have one. They used an existing rail grabber (so waiting a year was a waste) and it is meant to attach onto the Subaru stock crossbars when they are in the stowed position. This is not only not an improvement, it is even more unstable.
Agree with this completely.

Thule took the cheap and easy way out on this and IMO, it's a crappy adaptation. In addition to relying on the factory cross bar strength, they only provide for a 24" front to rear spread of the aftermarket bars. That's not a great solution for long boats, double kayaks and canoes, as example.

The RockyMount solution isn't much better as I see, as it uses a very expensive (+$400) cross bar system that also wraps around the factory cross bars in the stored position, with a resulting 24 inch F/R bar spread.

The Yakima Landing Pad 15 kit is seemingly a good result with a 30 inch front/rear bar spread. I can live with that.

The issue with home brew's using the stock tie-down point is, as in my prior post, that while it offers a strong mount, with a 38 inch F/R spread, some roof cargo boxes, like my Thule Ascent 1100, will not work as they have a maximum F/R bar spread capability of 36 inches. This kind of makes the Yakima solution the only good solution
 

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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.
I think this is a great solution and I am going to try it. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose aluminum instead of steel? I see that online metals has 1.5 by 2.5 rectangular mild steel tubing.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I think this is a great solution and I am going to try it. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose aluminum instead of steel? I see that online metals has 1.5 by 2.5 rectangular mild steel tubing.

Thanks in advance.
Note that TJ's use of 1.5" high aluminum worked well with the Yakima round bar adapters he mounted to the alu blocks, as they provided for enough height to allow the bar to clear the factory F/R plastic rails.

If using existing Thule bars, I've not found a Thule part that could mount to the aluminum, thus simply bolted the square bars onto the aluminum, which then needed to be 2 inches high.
 

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Note that TJ's use of 1.5" high aluminum worked well with the Yakima round bar adapters he mounted to the alu blocks, as they provided for enough height to allow the bar to clear the factory F/R plastic rails.

If using existing Thule bars, I've not found a Thule part that could mount to the aluminum, thus simply bolted the square bars onto the aluminum, which then needed to be 2 inches high.
Thanks Lightingguy. I too will use the Yakima bars and I get that what TJ used needs to be 1.5 inches high at least. I just wondered why aluminum instead of steel if the steel is the same size?? Which do you think would be stronger??
 

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Thanks Lightingguy. I too will use the Yakima bars and I get that what TJ used needs to be 1.5 inches high at least. I just wondered why aluminum instead of steel if the steel is the same size?? Which do you think would be stronger??
Steel would be stronger, just not sure it's necessary.

It would be a bit harder to cut and drill, but not impossible. I had free 2"x2" aluminum at work. Aluminum is used all the time in theatrical rigging as it's lighter but is as strong if engineered correctly (it's used as the stuff gets shipped and is lighter, my aluminum was once part of a touring Foreigner set). Given that a lot of the parts of a Subaru roof rack, as well as Thule bike trays, are plastic and still rated for the loads and applications, I had no qualms about using aluminum.

Thing is, using the tie down points to mount means a 38" F/R bar spread and that might be an issue for a roof box, if you are planning one, mine won't fit and I've no desire to modify the box. Even then, I'd have to modify to adjust the box forward as well, as right now the rear cross bar is far enough back that it positions the hatch to hit the box.

Thus when REI has its sale in May, Thule and Yakima stuff will be 20% off and I will be moving to the Yakima Landing Pad 15, Skyline Towers and Core bars. My Thule box and bike trays will work on this gear.

The mod was a fun experiment.
 

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Thus when REI has its sale in May, Thule and Yakima stuff will be 20% off and I will be moving to the Yakima Landing Pad 15, Skyline Towers and Core bars. My Thule box and bike trays will work on this gear.

The mod was a fun experiment.
Smart move. The Yakima setup with the aerobars works extremely well and doesn't make noise like the round bars. I was at first very unimpressed (and vocal) with the stock Subaru rack but my opinion has changed now that Yakima has a solution. After having used it for 18 months I'm very impressed. Still sits way too high off the roof for my taste but functionally it's great.
 

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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.

Great solution Tj. I used your ideas and modified a little so I could use my Yakima JetStream bars.
I initially made the 1.5"x3"x0.125" tubing brackets that worked pretty well. I installed them over the factory tie downs and they fit flush.
After reading a number of other posts I decided to go with a thicker gauge tubing so made brackets from 2"x3"x0.25" tubing. As these were higher I had to cut then at an angle for a perfect fit.
First set

Second set


Installed and painted to blend in.







Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Great solution Tj. I used your ideas and modified a little so I could use my Yakima JetStream bars.
I initially made the 1.5"x3"x0.125" tubing brackets that worked pretty well. I installed them over the factory tie downs and they fit flush.
After reading a number of other posts I decided to go with a thicker gauge tubing so made brackets from 2"x3"x0.25" tubing. As these were higher I had to cut then at an angle for a perfect fit.
Forgot to mention, I purchased t-bolts that slide in the bottom of the bars and secure firmly to the brackets.
I love the 38 inch spread, it's super solid. Unfortunately, my cargo box spread was 33-34inches or so. I had to modify my Yakima Showcase 15 in order for it to fit and now love the end result.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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crossbar brackets

I think this is a great solution and I am going to try it. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose aluminum instead of steel? I see that online metals has 1.5 by 2.5 rectangular mild steel tubing.

Thanks in advance.
I used aluminum instead of steel because it is easier for me to cut and drill, and does not rust. I think aluminum is strong enough for the load I carry. However, the mill test reports at online metals show steel is much stronger.
 

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Smart move. The Yakima setup with the aerobars works extremely well and doesn't make noise like the round bars. I was at first very unimpressed (and vocal) with the stock Subaru rack but my opinion has changed now that Yakima has a solution. After having used it for 18 months I'm very impressed. Still sits way too high off the roof for my taste but functionally it's great.
Having built and installed the aluminum bracket, as per prior posts, I discovered that using the rear tie-down point placed my Thule box too far to the rear on the roof and interfered with the hatch.

I thus bit the bullet and purchased the Yakima Landing Pad 15 set, Skyline Towers and Core bars. Decent price at Rack Warehouse for $330 shipped. Installed last week, quieter then the Thule square bars WITH a wind deflector.

They sit up taller and in truth I liked the look of the square bar-on-home built brackets better, but this Yakima system is slick and much better designed then Thule alternative.

I mounted my roof box today, it grabs the Yak aero bars just fine and clears the rear hatch by about an inch.

It's very doable to mount the bike trays outside of the roof rails, thus a narrow box (Thule Ascent 1100) fits with 2 bike trays.
 

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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.
I hear ya' brother, just throwing it out there. The shape of a square tube with stress applied along the X axis (front to back) is all that concerns me. Most of the factory created stuff has variable geometry that can resist loads applied in various directions. The square tube is extremely strong in the Y axis (side to side) but has a "house of cards" dynamic in play front to back, which is all I was saying. If you were heavily loaded up there and had an "aggressive stopping incident" maybe there could be some deformation along the weak axis?

Depending on the loads applied and depending on the materials used, it could still be very much overkill and never cause a problem. I was simply trying to give an alternative point of view. I tend to WAY overload my roof rack (I've had upwards of 750 pounds of lumber up there several times) so I'm probably being too wary.

I did essentially the same thing as the OP, but chose to build my mounting blocks out of solid aluminum (I have a couple of threads on this forum covering that build) so I'd have force-resisting geometry in every direction equally. Probably overkill, but again just an alternative opinion/approach that I though was worth bringing up.

Looks like the OP went a different direction anyway so all's well that ends well!
 

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I moved to a Yakima system in any case. My Thule Ascent box would not clamp on the Thule square bars when installed on the aluminum brackets using the factory tie-down points. The F/R distance for the box clamps is 24 inches, with the tie-down points being 30 inches.

Thus a Yak Landing Pad 15, Skyline Towers and Core Bars, which in any event is a very nice setup that installs in about a minute.
 

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Not sure what nut or thread you are talking about.

The bolts that hold the factory tie down brackets are just threaded into the F/R rail assembly.

On one of the posts it's mentioned what metric size if you want to use something different.
 
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