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Old 09-01-2019, 10:08 PM   #1
SailinAway
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Default Metal fabricator for kayak roof rack?

I'm having a hard time finding a roof rack for my new car. Thule doesn't make feet that fit my car. I'm wondering if I could ask a metal fabricator to modify the Thule feet from my previous car to fit my new car. Is there such a person in the Lakes Region?

OR: Can you recommend someone who could install a permanent rack? That takes a fair amount of skill because you have to be careful where you drill and get things lined up perfectly. I'm very reluctant to do this---seems risky and done wrong it could lower resale value of the car---but I'm not seeing other good solutions.

The setup needs to be solid---I travel to northern Maine to kayak and don't want to have the rack fly off the car.
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:33 PM   #2
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Default Email Thule

Have you thought about emailing Thule Customer Service to see if they have "feet" to modify your current rack for your new vehicle, or if they have a new rack that will goit the new vehicle?

Dave
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:33 PM   #3
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Have you considered the Yakima brand?
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:37 PM   #4
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Whatís your vehicle? When I bought my Silverado Thule didnít list a rack but Yakima did. Iím not thrilled about round bars but they work.
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:16 AM   #5
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There are so many roof rack options today, I'd be surprised if there isn't one for your car. Like others have asked, what year and model is it?

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Old 09-02-2019, 07:37 AM   #6
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Go to www.ebay.com and enter "automobile roof racks" and the response asks for the car's year, make and model with a find roof rack parts "button" and then has many different items with photos, description and price.

Is so easy, even a Neanderthal cave man could find the correct roof rack part, if he had a car ....... arggghhh!
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:13 AM   #7
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Default Or.....

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Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Go to www.ebay.com and enter "automobile roof racks" and the response asks for the car's year, make and model with a find roof rack parts "button" and then has many different items with photos, description and price.

Is so easy, even a Neanderthal cave man could find the correct roof rack part, if he had a car ....... arggghhh!
Or, you can take two jumbo foam noodles from Heath's, run 15 feet of rope through the center, lay them across the roof, put the kayaks on top of the noodles, and secure it all by running rope through the slightly open windows. Bada bing, bada boom.

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Old 09-02-2019, 09:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthesaukee View Post
Or, you can take two jumbo foam noodles from Heath's, run 15 feet of rope through the center, lay them across the roof, put the kayaks on top of the noodles, and secure it all by running rope through the slightly open windows. Bada bing, bada boom.

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Been there, done that, too much road noise!
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthesaukee View Post
Or, you can take two jumbo foam noodles from Heath's, run 15 feet of rope through the center, lay them across the roof, put the kayaks on top of the noodles, and secure it all by running rope through the slightly open windows. Bada bing, bada boom.

D(F)a(L)v(L)e
Best part your "roof rack" can also double as a PFD.
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:29 AM   #10
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Yes, using two 42"x 4" foam noodles with ropes threading through the interior of the car, between the top of the doors and roof actually works pretty good, for a do-it-yourself, lo-priced, roof rack "system." In addition, running a line from the bow of a kayak/canoe to the front bumper, and from the stern to the rear bumper is definitely recommended because things can go bad fast when going 70-mph down the interstate.

One problem, on a rainy day like today, is surprising how much water travels down the lines, and inside the car, getting the driver, all wet ..... but can be used for securing a kayak or canoe, and is surprising safe and secure, too. Plus, you got a tightly tied rope line, threaded above the two front seats, up at line of sight level, that gets in the way, and to be a safe driver you really need a good sense of the driving surround look-ahead and look-backs.

As I recall, a NH driving violation for an obstructed view or hindrance to driving mechanism costs you $63.

File this method under ..... necessity is the mother of invention .... plus, is a method for when you temporarily have no roof rack and very much need a roof rack.

I've seen where 3/4" x 44" pvc plumbing tubes were inserted down the inside hole of the foam noodle for extra strength and rigidity, and flat web straps with buckle grips as opposed to rope was used for better grip going around the car roof and through the tight space between the closed door and roof line. It's a do-it-yourself project so results will vary ...... but you is a lot better off getting a $250-plus roof rack than going with a $20 temporary foam noodle set-up for obvious reasons.
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:35 AM   #11
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Any good welding shop will be able to do this, however, it might be expensive and time consuming. Try Merrimack Sheet Metal in Concord or LAD Welding, also in Concord. Good luck.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthesaukee View Post
Have you thought about emailing Thule Customer Service to see if they have "feet" to modify your current rack for your new vehicle, or if they have a new rack that will goit the new vehicle?

Dave
Thule does not make feet for this car. Word is that Thule actually gave up trying to make feet for this car because they couldn't find a design that would stay on the car.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick35 View Post
Whatís your vehicle? When I bought my Silverado Thule didnít list a rack but Yakima did. Iím not thrilled about round bars but they work.
2014 Chevy Sonic hatchback. Extensive posts in Sonic forums conclude that neither Thule nor Yakima makes feet for this car and that Thule abandoned the effort due to the odd shape of the roof where it meets the door frame. The only other rack company that makes a rack that claims to fit the Sonic hatchback is Rhino Racks. There are many reports of the Rhino Rack falling off the Sonic on the highway. GM also makes a rack that is supposed to fit the Sonic, but again, users report that it doesn't fit well. I don't want to have a catastrophic rack failure on the highway.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by nhcatrider View Post
Any good welding shop will be able to do this, however, it might be expensive and time consuming. Try Merrimack Sheet Metal in Concord or LAD Welding, also in Concord. Good luck.
Thank you! I'll contact them.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:35 AM   #15
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If you are looking for a shop in the Lakes Region try Weld Fab in Gilford. They just did some work for me. They did a great job at a reasonable price customizing my truck seat location.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:56 AM   #16
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I found that a really good place to find out about racks is etrailer.com. They have several rhino racks listed for the Sonic and they have great installation videos. I would go with that instead of fabricating a custom option which to me is much more risky. Any rack issues youíve read about are probably from operator error - like not using front and rear tie downs! I see kayaks on the road all the time like that and wonder how they stay on the roof. Every rack Iíve had says to use tie downs. The mount is set to downward pressure, not upward from not having tie downs. That would certainly explain why a rack would come off.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post
2014 Chevy Sonic hatchback. Extensive posts in Sonic forums conclude that neither Thule nor Yakima makes feet for this car and that Thule abandoned the effort due to the odd shape of the roof where it meets the door frame. The only other rack company that makes a rack that claims to fit the Sonic hatchback is Rhino Racks. There are many reports of the Rhino Rack falling off the Sonic on the highway. GM also makes a rack that is supposed to fit the Sonic, but again, users report that it doesn't fit well. I don't want to have a catastrophic rack failure on the highway.
I appreciate your concern, but offer two thoughts:

First, if you're driving a 2014 Sonic, I'm going to guess that you are frugal, and the price for a custom rack (no part of which will you ever use on another vehicle) is going to knock you off your seat.

Second, your reasoning rests on the premise that you and the fabricator will design a better rack than both GM and Rhino. Not saying that either company is perfect or that you are not super skilled, but both companies have performed this particular task many more times than any single human will in a lifetime.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:48 AM   #18
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How many kayaks are we talking? Is this a case where a goalpost hitch-mount thingie combined with some basic front straps could work?

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Old 09-02-2019, 12:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingScot View Post
I appreciate your concern, but offer two thoughts:

First, if you're driving a 2014 Sonic, I'm going to guess that you are frugal, and the price for a custom rack (no part of which will you ever use on another vehicle) is going to knock you off your seat.

Second, your reasoning rests on the premise that you and the fabricator will design a better rack than both GM and Rhino. Not saying that either company is perfect or that you are not super skilled, but both companies have performed this particular task many more times than any single human will in a lifetime.
Some people say "you are what you eat", and that may be true, however, I have always said "You are what you drive", as well...
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Old 09-02-2019, 03:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
How many kayaks are we talking? Is this a case where a goalpost hitch-mount thingie combined with some basic front straps could work?

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That would mean heíd need a hitch and that would create a whole new set of issues.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by rick35 View Post
That would mean heíd need a hitch and that would create a whole new set of issues.
Not necessarily--it might reduce the number of complexities by having only one roof bar.

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Old 09-02-2019, 06:16 PM   #22
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Would it make sense to get the factory GM parts and take steps to increase the security of the installation?

Would an extra screw, some zip ties or some double sided velcro strap help keep things together?
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick35 View Post
Any rack issues youíve read about are probably from operator error
The information I found is that Thule tried 8 different designs and could not find a design that would stay on the car. ***Thule also tested the Rhino Rack and the GM OEM rack with the same result. Now that I know this, I probably won't go to a metal fabricator, because if this car defeated Thule engineers, that means there is no clamp-on solution for this car, so I will have to go with a permanent rack that screws into the car---also a problem due to the thin sheetmetal roof and the risk of damaging the car and airbags.

So who could I ask to install a permanent rack?
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:57 PM   #24
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If Thule and Yakima donít offer a rack for your car I think youíre crazy to consider putting anything on the roof. They know something you havenít figured out on your own. That little car probable canít hold the weight and youíll have a dented roof the first time you use it. Good luck anyway.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:36 PM   #25
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Question Proline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post
2014 Chevy Sonic hatchback. Extensive posts in Sonic forums conclude that neither Thule nor Yakima makes feet for this car and that Thule abandoned the effort due to the odd shape of the roof where it meets the door frame. The only other rack company that makes a rack that claims to fit the Sonic hatchback is Rhino Racks. There are many reports of the Rhino Rack falling off the Sonic on the highway. GM also makes a rack that is supposed to fit the Sonic, but again, users report that it doesn't fit well. I don't want to have a catastrophic rack failure on the highway.
Proline, at Wallingford, CT, lists one at $159.

Call 1-800-545-2114.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:09 AM   #26
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Default ..... two Malone inflatable roof racks - $100

For one hundred dollars, Malone makes inflatable roofs racks ..... that's right ..... inflatable roof racks ...... which I have used ..... and they are actually very secure to the roof .....and are somewhat similar to the homemade foam noodles with rope threaded through the interior of the car, between the door top and roof line, except is much better quality design and materials.

It includes two black roof racks with straps and tie rings, and it gets inflated... price $100 ..... check it out!

If the Malone inflatable roof racks came in khaki instead of black, it could be a Navy designed item ..... and Amazon has them at 2/$61.99 ..... with 35 customer reviews and 22 answered questions ........ is a low price for a very sturdy, well made item.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:45 PM   #27
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Default Kayak Trailer

Have you considered a kayak trailer? They are a bit more expensive than a roof rack, but it seems like it may be a safer option. The trailers are easier to load than hoisting it on to the roof, too.
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