Just about lost my Yakima roof rack on the highway- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Just about lost my Yakima roof rack on the highway

    So I was doing some traveling last weekend to get to my old hometown of Casper, WY from Logan UT. I had left a bike with my folks when I moved out here originally and was bringing it back on top of my car.

    I have a Yakima roof rack system with the Q towers for my Toyota Corolla. The bike tray is a rockymounts brass knuckles.

    I checked the whole thing before I left coming back to Utah, and checked it multiple times in Wyoming. I experienced some pretty nasty headwinds in Utah through some of the canyons and I noticed when I parked my car at home, that the front driver side tower had slid back almost 3 inches, and that the clip was barely hanging on. Everything else had shifted slightly as well, just not as much. Another well placed gust and I would have lost the whole thing. I feel very lucky I just got a few scratches and didn't lose anything.

    I'm just wondering if this has happened to anyone else, and if there is anything I should do in the future to prevent this from happening. I'm kinda wanting to ditch the roof rack all together but I love the look and it keeps the scrape factor down. I usually scrape leaving my apartment with a completely empty car, I can't imagine what it would be like with a hitch and rack.

  2. #2
    I should be out riding
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    In college, I saw another collegiate cycling team lose their entire roof rack of bikes. I assume they were similar to ours, where the team had a rack, and installed it on a school motorpool van for the weekend. They were on the way home, on a windy freeway in eastern WA, and the entire rack of road bikes came off. Didn't look like too much damage, certainly could have been a lot worse. I don't know what brand or model it was.

    OTOH, I had a Yakima roof rack on an outback for 11 years and never had a problem.
    If it's not powered solely by you, it's motorized.

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  3. #3
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    Scary sh*t! Of course I worry about the loss of a bike but the scariest thought for me is the carnage that could occur if the timing is "just right" for the vehicles and passengers behind me!

    I run a T2 hitch rack on both my truck and car but also have Yakima Base racks on both as well but use the Thule 594XT SideArms. The truck utilizes a built in track on the shell that the Control Towers lock into so that one is pretty solid and not likely to let go without catastrophic failure. My Ford Focus uses the Q Towers on the base rack and those work on the gutterless Q clips. I built that set-up when the car was brand new so after setting up the base rack on the roof carefully, I traced all the contact points where the towers and clips touched the paint. I then placed a custom cut piece of 8mm 3M Scotchguard automotive clear protectant tape in those locations. In the case of the Q clips, it creates a "bitier" surface and, of course, no scratch potential. So far, I have not had ANY movement whatsoever.

    Something to consider with the Yakima towers that I personally experienced. The Cam-Lock device hardware in the tower that locks the system in place DOES wear out even though there is really no appreciable sign of wear on it's bearing surface. I bought a used rack for super cheap ($50 towers, bars, locksets, all cherry condition). When I went to mount it after buying the correct Q clips for my app, the locking cams would not stay down and you had to insert the key and actuate the lock tumbler to lock them in place. Essentially, the locks were now taking on some of the strain. Fortunately it concerned me enough to immediately look into it and I found out it's because of typical wear. It is a potentially serious, failure inducing issue so don't overlook it if you find yourself doing the same to get them to lock and hold. It cost $11 per tower to replace so I spent another $44 on my cheap rack which was still a smokin' deal and now the important stuff is brand new. Just thought I'd share that tidbit for those that are unaware.

  4. #4
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    I'm really glad I didn't cause any issues on the highway! And my insurance company is probably is too...

    I think I'm going to try and rebalance the tension and see if that helps. The camlock system is still holding strong though on the actual towers so that isn't the culprit. Honestly I think the biggest issue stems from not having a physical connection from rack to car. If I had those side rails that subaru's or almost all SUV's get, it wouldn't be so bad as those systems don't rely on the geometry of a doorjam to achieve fit.

    In the meantime tough since it's been incredibly dry here in Utah, my bike will likely ride in my backseat.

    I'm also in the market for a Tacoma or Crosstrek soon, as both of those vehicles are definitely way more bike friendly/rugged than my corolla from what I have seen at the trailhead.

  5. #5
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    when i lived in SD drove out to Noble Canyon with our bikes on my Accord with Yakima King Cobra mounts. imdon't recall a red flag but it seemed like santa anna but the Cleveland NF was open. dry, hot and windy. so windy that we stopped multiple times along Interstate to check the bikes after some hellacious gusts. then we get to that long exposed bridge section before the Pine Valley exit and the wind gust was unreal, it felt
    like the bikes were lifting the roof off the car and we were looking at each other and screaming. exit and bikes were fine.

    do our ride and go home with a nice tail wind. e eryday afterwards my rack makes howling noise like I have no fairing, but I have one, and it seems like gas mileage is bad. i check the rack and wipe all the dust off the roof of car and the entire rack, every tower had moved backwards 5-6" . to me it just showed how secure the rack was and that they had idiot proofed it to a large degree.


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  6. #6
    Yeah!
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    I purchased a pretty solid clip unit for my wife's Camry when she was moaning about taking my '03 Escape on vacation this summer, and found it simply would not work without serious modification, even though it was designed for her car. It is a very solid unit like Thule, Yakima, etc, just without the locks.

    Problem is... vehicle doesn't have a flat roof line or door lines, and they aren't even parallel. On the Camry ('07), the door lines fall away from the roof line at an increasing rate as you get further from the B-pillar. There's a 2.5ft sweet zone before the difference in angle between the door and roof lines gets too big. The clip can be angled in relation to the foot, but the angle is so large that the bar creeps towards the center of the vehicle as you tighten down the bolts. If the bar creeps after it's in place, it will loosen.

    To use it, I was going to have to lock the front and rear bars together to keep them from creeping, and do it low on the feet to prevent rotation. I also wasn't pleased with how the feet bolt to the bar, through a slot rather than holes, which can permit outwards creep, so I was going to add some flat stock to prevent creep there as well.

    Luckily the wife gave in... (Camry? No way in hell! Two adults+two teenagers+camping gear+two bikes+two weeks on vacation. Escape was loaded to the roof+Thule Skybox bulging+3ftx2ftx5ft on the cargo tray, and I had to leave cots and my portable grill behind as she didn't want me to take the trailer... ugh).
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  7. #7
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris307 View Post
    So I was doing some traveling last weekend to get to my old hometown of Casper, WY from Logan UT. I had left a bike with my folks when I moved out here originally and was bringing it back on top of my car.

    I have a Yakima roof rack system with the Q towers for my Toyota Corolla. The bike tray is a rockymounts brass knuckles.

    I checked the whole thing before I left coming back to Utah, and checked it multiple times in Wyoming. I experienced some pretty nasty headwinds in Utah through some of the canyons and I noticed when I parked my car at home, that the front driver side tower had slid back almost 3 inches, and that the clip was barely hanging on. Everything else had shifted slightly as well, just not as much. Another well placed gust and I would have lost the whole thing. I feel very lucky I just got a few scratches and didn't lose anything.

    I'm just wondering if this has happened to anyone else, and if there is anything I should do in the future to prevent this from happening. I'm kinda wanting to ditch the roof rack all together but I love the look and it keeps the scrape factor down. I usually scrape leaving my apartment with a completely empty car, I can't imagine what it would be like with a hitch and rack.
    Some people shuttling back on one of our group rides a few months ago (two of us chose to ride back) lost a rack off the top with bikes attached. It was super-windy that day.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  8. #8
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    The only time I've seen that happen was with a guy in a Subaru Outback. Luckily, I was on the side of him, but he had a Thule cargo box up top and that thing just flipped off nearly causing about 3 accidents behind him. I don't think his roof rack gave out and more than likely the mounting brackets.

  9. #9
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Yack yack yack

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
    The only time I've seen that happen was with a guy in a Subaru Outback. Luckily, I was on the side of him, but he had a Thule cargo box up top and that thing just flipped off nearly causing about 3 accidents behind him. I don't think his roof rack gave out and more than likely the mounting brackets.
    I just went across Wyoming on Monday and it was blowing fierce. Blowing 35+ in rock Springs with hail. Wyoming always provides plenty of drama. Pleasant weather for sure.
    I came prepared to mount my bike on top or on the hitch rack. Good thing, as I had broken the lockjaw on top trying to get into Steamboat Spgs via Buffalo Pass. That is one rough cob of a road but a beautiful drive. Finally flagged down a forest ranger to see how to get over the pass and she got a laugh about me following Google instructions on the back roads of Colorado. She did omit the fact that the last 14 miles was full of boulders and man eating pot holes. I got into it about 2 miles when my bike swung down by my window hanging by the ratcheting wheel straps to say halloo! I strapped it on the back and continued the painful drive into town.
    Just about lost my Yakima roof rack on the highway-antlake10416.jpg

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