Thule Roof Rack Side Arm- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thule Roof Rack Side Arm

    So for Christmas I got this:



    I have a 2001 Jeep Cherokee with factory installed rails.

    This particular rack does not install onto the factory rails of my Jeep (doh!) but I really like this model rack but, do not feel like spending 2x $45 for:



    Does anyone have any experience in rigging up an extremely secure way of adding this rack to factory rails? I was thinking of buying and extra two front brackets (the front brackets DO fit the rails, the back ones do not.) and buying bolts and just doing that way, does anyone think i'll run into problems this way? Am I really doing to have to lay out another $100 for this little conversion doo-dad? Don't want to lose a 2k bike for being silly.

    Thanks for any help I get.

  2. #2
    since 4/10/2009
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    It might be worthwhile to just get the extra front brackets and try it out without a bike on at first and then put your bike up top and check stability before you venture out for a drive. Maybe even call Thule and ask what they think about your possible mod. They may have tried it and scrapped the idea for a good reason. Or, maybe they want to sell more parts and will give you a bit of a run-around. Every time I've called a rack company about a fit question, they've been pretty good about providing answers for why there is 'no fit' listed in the book, or why one fit option is favored over another.

    I personally despise factory racks (after numerous discussions with rack co representatives about fit issues on many racks) and will do whatever possible to avoid using one if possible.

    I personally have two sidearm carriers on Thule crossbars on my Honda Fit. I love the carriers. They're awesome. I've used them on my wife's Jeep Liberty (different style of rack than yours) and it's a bit much of a reach for me unless I need to use the Jeep to carry the bikes for a specific reason.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    It might be worthwhile to just get the extra front brackets and try it out without a bike on at first and then put your bike up top and check stability before you venture out for a drive. Maybe even call Thule and ask what they think about your possible mod. They may have tried it and scrapped the idea for a good reason. Or, maybe they want to sell more parts and will give you a bit of a run-around. Every time I've called a rack company about a fit question, they've been pretty good about providing answers for why there is 'no fit' listed in the book, or why one fit option is favored over another.

    I personally despise factory racks (after numerous discussions with rack co representatives about fit issues on many racks) and will do whatever possible to avoid using one if possible.

    I personally have two sidearm carriers on Thule crossbars on my Honda Fit. I love the carriers. They're awesome. I've used them on my wife's Jeep Liberty (different style of rack than yours) and it's a bit much of a reach for me unless I need to use the Jeep to carry the bikes for a specific reason.
    How do you have them attached to your car?

  4. #4
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    He has them on Thule crossbars.

    I have Sportworks Factory Bobs (the precursor to this rack, Thule bought them from Sportworks) on factory bars on my Subaru.

    If I understand correctly, the front brackets will fit, and it is only the rear that your having trouble with? If that's the case, simply discard the washer plate that you're supposed to drop the carriage bolts into in step 4 of the directions. It's used only to space the bolts during installation (Sportworks did not use it. The bolts slid directly into the wheeltray), and since that spacing doesn't work for you...

    You could either order additional front, lower brackets from Thule to bolt the rear down, or simply drill two holes in some metal strap from Home Depot and be done tomorrow.

    I would use 3/16"X1" aluminum, and drill two 3/8" holes far enough apart to clear your crossbar. 1/8"X1" steel strap would also work, but you'd have to make sure you got a good paint job on them to make sure they didn't leave rust stains on the roof of your Jeep.

  5. #5
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    Try doing what VpointVick pointed out. If that doesn't work I have the cross bars and don't use them, so maybe we can work a deal for you.

  6. #6
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    I think you're crazy if you use the factory rack to mount anything to. Look at it, study it. They are made from cheap junk and they'll break far easier than any option from Thule or Yak. Do you really want to trust several thousand dollars in bikes to hang on to those bars?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade-Runner
    Try doing what VpointVick pointed out. If that doesn't work I have the cross bars and don't use them, so maybe we can work a deal for you.
    Where are you located?

  8. #8
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    Texas

  9. #9
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    thule...

    have you by the balls, none of their bike racks fit directly to factory crossbars, they want you to buy a crossbar system(crossroads in this case) and put your bike mounts on those, OR you can buy the really really bad Ride-on Adapter(you get two of those in the box for around $45). The Ride-on is a piece of Thule crossbar held to your factory bars with plastic clips and brackets and then you clamp the Sidearm to those. Do you trust 2 X $2000 bikes on those? plus it's going to be really high and difficult to get a bike in!

    the problem with factory crossbars are that they are made from thin-wall extruded aluminum and are designed to be quiet rather than strong hence the aero profile. The highest weight rating on any factory crossbar is around 110pounds, Yakima rates yours at 100pounds, 'that's enough for two bikes!" I hear you say, BUT... when you turn a corner the bike on the roof wants to tip over, this puts a lot of torque on the crossbar and can crush it, especially with an 'upright' bike mount like the Sidearm.

    Changing the bracket on the back will work but be careful in high winds when turning corners!

  10. #10
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    I can't speak to the strength of Jeep factory crossbars (I have seen way too many messed up Ford ones to ever trust my bikes to them), but, I have had those racks on my Subaru crossbars for over three years now. Often with 60 pounds worth of bikes, several times over 100mph.

    I drive no differently with bikes on the rack than I do without, and I have yet to have any problem.

    Admittedly, they aren't as stable as the Yak setup that I had on my Mustang, but, they're alot quieter and take less of a bite out of my gas mileage.

    When I have an extra $150 laying around, I'll get a set of Lowriders, but until then the factory bars are serving me well enough.YMMV

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by VpointVick
    I can't speak to the strength of Jeep factory crossbars (I have seen way too many messed up Ford ones to ever trust my bikes to them), but, I have had those racks on my Subaru crossbars for over three years now. Often with 60 pounds worth of bikes, several times over 100mph.

    I drive no differently with bikes on the rack than I do without, and I have yet to have any problem.
    aaah...but you weren't going 100mph round a corner

    I can speak of jeep crossbars...they are made of blancmange...google it

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by longman
    aaah...but you weren't going 100mph round a corner

    I can speak of jeep crossbars...they are made of blancmange...google it
    I would imagine that there must have been a corner or two in there somewhere.

    Blancmange, I know of what it is.

    How effete to use a word that you don't expect your audience to know, and how highhanded of you to demand I look it up!

  13. #13
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    So if I have factory rails already installed...some of you are saying that I shouldn't even bother with a roof rack? Seems like a lot of negative P.O.V. on roof racks around these parts.

  14. #14
    since 4/10/2009
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    FACTORY roof racks (mostly the crossbars) are crap. My dad totally trashed the factory crossbars on his Chevy Trailblazer by putting an average-weight canoe up there. On my recent road trip from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis, I saw a roof box mounted on factory bars that had the most bizarre 'flutter' I've ever seen. The box was generating lift and the crossbars were too flimsy to hold the thing down. I'd be surprised if the people driving the vehicle (I think it was a Ford Escape) didn't end up losing that roof box somewhere on I-70.

    I've never had a problem with aftermarket racks. I currently own two separate Thule rack systems. One is on a Liberty and the other on a Fit. In the past, I owned an el-cheapo Performance XSport rack that was even pretty solid in its own right. That rack went on an 88 Toyota Tercel and a 91 Dodge Spirit on many road trips, one of which lasted about 3,000 miles (Indy to UT and back).

    The problem you'll have with putting that rack on factory bars going to be side loads from crosswinds and turning. Thule probably made their bike mounts incompatible with factory racks for that exact reason. It might work awhile if you jury-rig it to your factory bars, but it could fail at a very bad moment trashing thousands of dollars worth of bikes, rack parts, and a car roof.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Method of Rhythm
    How do you have them attached to your car?

    Bringing this back from the dead... can anyone let me know if the racheting arm can be switched to the other side of the tray so that a bike on the drivers side is also facing forward??

    Thanks in advance...

  16. #16
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    Yes, you can.

  17. #17
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    Thanks

  18. #18
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    Thank YOU for using the search function.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dubgirl
    Bringing this back from the dead... can anyone let me know if the racheting arm can be switched to the other side of the tray so that a bike on the drivers side is also facing forward??

    Thanks in advance...

    Absolutely.

    Its just a PITA!

    edit: sorry, missed the reply already.

  20. #20
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    LOL thanks for the warning. At least it'd be a once and done thing.

  21. #21
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dubgirl
    LOL thanks for the warning. At least it'd be a once and done thing.
    Yeah, it's a pain, but you're right. Do it once and it's over.

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