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Discussion Starter #1
I am really close to buying a new Outback. What is everyone's experience with the integrated roof rack? I have seen a few older posts complaining about the quality and width. Is this something that I need to worry about? I would usually have a ski rack in winter and maybe down the road a cargo carrier. I know the touring crossbars are a different style that look like they would give you a bit more width, is it possible to upgrade to those down the road? Thanks for the feedback.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5 Premium w/ power moonroof, dimming mirrors and power hatch. All weather package
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I used the factory racks to carry three bikes over the summer. Never again. I got my OB in june and didn't have time/energy to get the yakima attachmets to put real poles on top. Because the factory racks are arched the two outside bikes leaned sideways and because the factory racks flex, the bikes swayed a lot. By next summer I'll have the real poles on top and a wind deflector. Subaru should have stuck with the old rails on my old OB2000. The new rails are stupid.
 

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To “upgade”to the Touring version requires a major removal of interior headliner, air bag parts, etc.. can’t see how it’s worth it, though there are posts here of folks who’ve done it themselves.

The factory cross bars are sturdy, I’ve run a loaded Thule box on them on extended highway trips at speeds over 80, no issues. I do have issue with the angle of the bar design and won’t use a fork mounted bike rack, as the bike leans to the outside and puts pressure on the fork clamp. Other bike holders, especially the design that clamps the tires are likely OK.

If you need more width than the factory bars provide, I’d recommend the Yakima Landing Pad 15 system. Uses the mounting points of the (removed) factory bars, then you add Skyline Towers and bars of your choice, round or aero, in assorted lengths. The Yak system allows you to easily remove the entire bar and rack system for storage (Takes about a minute to remove or install). Superior to the Thule suystem, IMO.
 
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. By next summer I'll have the real poles on top and a wind deflector. Subaru should have stuck with the old rails on my old OB2000. The new rails are stupid.
Get the Yakima system with the Core Bars, which are aerodynamic and quieter. Then and only if you need it, get a wind deflector. I had a Thule deflector on my old system, don't need it with the Core bars
 

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To “upgade”to the Touring version requires a major removal of interior headliner, air bag parts, etc.. can’t see how it’s worth it, though there are posts here of folks who’ve done it themselves.

The factory cross bars are sturdy, I’ve run a loaded Thule box on them on extended highway trips at speeds over 80, no issues. I do have issue with the angle of the bar design and won’t use a fork mounted bike rack, as the bike leans to the outside and puts pressure on the fork clamp. Other bike holders, especially the design that clamps the tires are likely OK.

If you need more width than the factory bars provide, I’d recommend the Yakima Landing Pad 15 system. Uses the mounting points of the (removed) factory bars, then you add Skyline Towers and bars of your choice, round or aero, in assorted lengths. The Yak system allows you to easily remove the entire bar and rack system for storage (Takes about a minute to remove or install). Superior to the Thule suystem, IMO.
The Yakima parts u mention are, i believe, what yakima support suggested to me when i emailed them. I have their email stashed to buy for me for xmas. Yakima support was very helpful.

The Subaru dealer and subaru america were clueless when i asked the question of them when i was in the buying process. Neither had any interest in helping.
 

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Get the Yakima system with the Core Bars, which are aerodynamic and quieter. Then and only if you need it, get a wind deflector. I had a Thule deflector on my old system, don't need it with the Core bars
Ya. From my old OB 2000 i am heavily invested in yakima: crossbars, bike racks, ski racks, canoe braces, luggage boxes. All i need are the landing pads and skyliners.i will probably get a new wind deflector as my older one the screws have rusted and not worth my time messing with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
To “upgade”to the Touring version requires a major removal of interior headliner, air bag parts, etc.. can’t see how it’s worth it, though there are posts here of folks who’ve done it themselves.

The factory cross bars are sturdy, I’ve run a loaded Thule box on them on extended highway trips at speeds over 80, no issues. I do have issue with the angle of the bar design and won’t use a fork mounted bike rack, as the bike leans to the outside and puts pressure on the fork clamp. Other bike holders, especially the design that clamps the tires are likely OK.

If you need more width than the factory bars provide, I’d recommend the Yakima Landing Pad 15 system. Uses the mounting points of the (removed) factory bars, then you add Skyline Towers and bars of your choice, round or aero, in assorted lengths. The Yak system allows you to easily remove the entire bar and rack system for storage (Takes about a minute to remove or install). Superior to the Thule suystem, IMO.
Thanks, that is great info. The Yakima system looks like a reasonable option if I need to upgrade to something a little more standard.

Makes sense about the factory rack not being great for fork mounted bike racks given its curve. I was looking at a coworkers bike mount with tire clamps yesterday, I know he uses it a lot.
 

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Hello, OB Forum Members

Has anyone been successful with Thule Aeroblade Crossbars?
Yakima has been mentioned a fair bit but, I've been a Thule man for some time.

I appreciate the feedback.

Regards,

J_OB
 

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I am really close to buying a new Outback. What is everyone's experience with the integrated roof rack? I have seen a few older posts complaining about the quality and width. Is this something that I need to worry about? I would usually have a ski rack in winter and maybe down the road a cargo carrier. I know the touring crossbars are a different style that look like they would give you a bit more width, is it possible to upgrade to those down the road? Thanks for the feedback.
On page 8-15 of the 2018 user manual the touring rails are rated with a maximum load of upt to "176 lbs (80 kg)." Unknown if replacing the integrated crossbar rack with the rails results in the same load limit.


 

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Hello, OB Forum Members

Has anyone been successful with Thule Aeroblade Crossbars?
Yakima has been mentioned a fair bit but, I've been a Thule man for some time.

I appreciate the feedback.

Regards,

J_OB
I too have used Thule exclusively for decades on assorted older OB’s and Foresters. I like their stuff, but not this time around on my ‘17 OB

Subaru thought it would get clever with the current Gen5 stored crossbar system and in the process made the use of aftermarket crossbars more difficult. They seemingly didn’t understand that the factory crossbar system limits you to less then 39” of width, while an aftermarket can get you 50” and up. That’s far more useful for boxes, canoes plus bikes, etc...

Unfortunately, the Thule design for retrofitting a wider crossbar onto the Gen5 roof system, has the fit kit and towers using the stored factory bars, with a clamp system on those bars that has a front to rear spread of 24”, fully 6” less than the 30” front to rear spread of the Yakima system, which replaces the factory bars and uses the mounting holes and points. Yak just has a much more secure and slick system in this case. I really didn’t want to buy, nor did I need new cross bars, but the ability of the Yak quick release on the Skyline towers to get the cross bars (and attachments) off the roof in about 30 seconds, really sold me.
 

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Your estimate on Subaru's miscalulation regarding the sub Touring gen 5 racks is spot on. They made it harder for us to use our existing stuff. And harder to do what we expect to do.

I have zero experience with Thule. I have all Yak stuff.

While I can't say that I am looking forward to the cost of the landing pads and skyline towers, and adapters to use my round poles, Yak does seem to have it thought out. I've posted in other threads it's not just the stability I need, but the extended poles.

My current poles that I had used on my old OB 2000 extended a good 6 inches beyond the side of the car. This matters a lot when trying to put bikes on as leaning over the top of the car, as the factory cross bars require, becomes more and more difficult as one ages and as one's kids grow into adult size bikes!

I fit 3 bikes and a cargo carrier on my wife's toyota van. I use very long poles on the van and because of that, on and off is not a great problem. I want to do to the same, or a 4 bike system, on my 2017 OB.. Extended poles are absolutely required.
 

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Anchor to tie down points ?

LostintheMtns... I am a new 2018 Premium owner (600 mi). I too had questions about the rack setup. I would think that if your load was low and rather narrow (like a ski rack or cargo box) you would probably be fine with either Thule or Yakima systems. If I was buying all new I would probably go with the Yakima setup. I am always shocked at the cost of new racks.

fwiw... On the 2018 Premium you can remove the rear crossbar and re-mount it 6" to the rear for a bit more spread.

I, like most of the others who have posted, need a long top bar. I carry two 28" wide kayaks upright / side by side in a custom cradle that mounts to a Thule 66" long rectangular bar. The longer bars are the width of my side mirrors (on my late Toyota Camry) so as not to rip them off on the garage door. Long bars also make it much easier to load an occasional piece of lumber. My chore now is to figure out the sturdiest way to mount my existing Thule bars.

I have an idea to make my own attachment to the factory rails. It looks to me that the existing tie down loops on my Premium are stronger than the cross bar which I believe have just one 6mm or 8mm screw on each end. I am surprised that the rack makers haven't used these tie points for solid anchor points.

??_Has anyone tried to attach to these tie down points? Or know how strong they might be. Or how they are actually bolted to the factory rail__?? Thanks Trip
 

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See:
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015-present/174042-2015-outback-yakima-crossbars.html
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...lternative-factory-cross-bars-15-outback.html
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/138-gen-5-2015-present/381794-clean-roof-rail-system.html
and related/linked threads. Basically, they all involve compromise (read through the discussions in the threads), so your best option will depend on what parts you have (square/round/aero) and what you want to carry (boxes/bikes/ww or ocean kayaks). If you're boat-oriented, also look at some of the paddling forums.
 

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LostintheMtns... I am a new 2018 Premium owner (600 mi). I too had questions about the rack setup. I would think that if your load was low and rather narrow (like a ski rack or cargo box) you would probably be fine with either Thule or Yakima systems. If I was buying all new I would probably go with the Yakima setup. I am always shocked at the cost of new racks.

fwiw... On the 2018 Premium you can remove the rear crossbar and re-mount it 6" to the rear for a bit more spread.

I, like most of the others who have posted, need a long top bar. I carry two 28" wide kayaks upright / side by side in a custom cradle that mounts to a Thule 66" long rectangular bar. The longer bars are the width of my side mirrors (on my late Toyota Camry) so as not to rip them off on the garage door. Long bars also make it much easier to load an occasional piece of lumber. My chore now is to figure out the sturdiest way to mount my existing Thule bars.

I have an idea to make my own attachment to the factory rails. It looks to me that the existing tie down loops on my Premium are stronger than the cross bar which I believe have just one 6mm or 8mm screw on each end. I am surprised that the rack makers haven't used these tie points for solid anchor points.

??_Has anyone tried to attach to these tie down points? Or know how strong they might be. Or how they are actually bolted to the factory rail__?? Thanks Trip
One aspect, or “design feature” of both the Thule and Yakima systems, is they place the cross bars a few inches higher then the factory bars. Not everybody is happy with that design as it means you have to lift stuff - bikes, kayaks, lumber, etc.. higher to get it on the bars.

Prior to getting the Yakima system I built a set of aluminum brackets to adapt my Thule 50” square bars to the factory tie down points, then discovered my Thule Ascent 1100 box could not clamp onto a bar with more then about a 30” or so front to rear spread. That’s what the factory bars are set at (at standard position) and what the Yakima cross bars are. My adaptation, and others, are documented in the post ncdave linked to. The aluminum bracket bolts into the roof and is arguably a stronger system then the Yakima and Thule systems, but did not find the Yak system “weak” when carrying a canoe at 80mph on the NY State Thruway.

When using the tie down points, the front/rear spread of the bars is about 36” or so. Thus no-go on the box.
 

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Back in the late 1990's and early 2000's I did a lot of canoe camping in Canada. I recall particularly a trip in 2002 when my 2000 OB was new a trip to Quebec, a place called La Verendrye,. 5 hour northwest of Montreal, off the highway, the put-in was on the order of 100 miles down a dirt logging road, full of pits and bumps, which I drove at about 50 MPH with my 17 foot Old Town canoe on top of the Yakima poles and towers. I even had to jump a ditch. Made it too with only minor damage to the passenger side fog light. The canoe was sturdy as could be.

I have no doubt that with the correct landing pads and towers the Yak racks would be just as sturdy on the OB 2017.

BUT. AND this is a serious problem with the new OB's, is the issue of front and rear tie downs. It appears that the OB 2017 and I presume all gen5 have no hooks or loops for the front and rear tie downs. You do not want to drive 80MPH on the highway or down such a dirt road without tiedowns for the front and rear of the canoe. Should I ever want to take my 17 foot canoe on a major road trip again, I expect finding a way to tie the front and rear down will be a very serious obsticle. I expect I'd need to take the OB to a shop to have tie down loops installed. I really have a hard time accepting that Subaru could be so out of touch as to not provide those tie down loops.
 

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BUT. AND this is a serious problem with the new OB's, is the issue of front and rear tie downs. It appears that the OB 2017 and I presume all gen5 have no hooks or loops for the front and rear tie downs. You do not want to drive 80MPH on the highway or down such a dirt road without tiedowns for the front and rear of the canoe. Should I ever want to take my 17 foot canoe on a major road trip again, I expect finding a way to tie the front and rear down will be a very serious obsticle. I expect I'd need to take the OB to a shop to have tie down loops installed. I really have a hard time accepting that Subaru could be so out of touch as to not provide those tie down loops.
This is the easy way ...

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...ood-kayak-tie-down-straps-question-image1.jpg
 

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I have to say, that approach looks extremely interesting. Is that your car? Have you done this? That should solve the front issue, which is far more important than the back.

That should be good for the highway.

I don't know if I'd ever be jumping ditches again, but perhaps I'd take them off on the logging roads or add a rubberized section to provide some give over pits and bumps.
 

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There are towing rings under the front of the OB, easy enough to tie off to.

Back is harder, but can be done.

The J hooks work really well, a buddy uses them on his Forester.
 
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