ABS car-top carrier repair

-- Last Updated: Apr-18-05 8:01 PM EST --

Two weeks ago I got a car-top carrier (Thule Cascade 1100) with my REI rebate... had it one whole week before I forgot about the low clearance in my garage, backed out too fast, and popped a hand-sized flap off the top rear edge. Gave me time for a moment's reflection on the transient nature of material possessions, I tell you what.

Anyway, now I am using this as an opportunity - hopefully not an insurmountable opportunity - to learn to repair ABS plastic, which is what I deduce (from the Thule manual) this thing's made of.

I've procured some ABS plastic sheets and some methylene chloride-based acrylic cement, made a couple dry runs with cutting backing strips, blocking the flap so as to hold the edges together with (almost) no gap betwixt them... and I think I'm ready to try it for real.

Anyone have any suggestions? I hear if I do this right, the new parts will be stronger than the old - not that that'll save my a** if I do the stupid thing again.

Any and all advice welcomed, if not heeded. :)

- rob

My condolences
I had a 1977 Saab EMS with a lovely, deep chin spoiler made of ABS. One biter cold winter day I lightly touched a frozen snow bank, and took out a chunk. I glued it back together, but hit a cat at high speed and that was it for both.

I think the most important aspect is adding material to back up each glued seam. By doing so, you are increasing the bonding area, which should make the repair sturdier. I have a Yakima Space Case, and it flexes quite a bit when being opened, so reinforce where possible.

If memory serves, ABS should be heat moldable. I do not know what the temperature is for softening, but you could probably experiment with a stove, a board, and an oven thermometer. Gently increase the heat until the ABS softens and note the appropriate temp. ANd keep a fire extinguisher handy. You will probably need leather gloves to handle the sheet.

Good luck!


I have been in the plastics field for over 20 years.I am presuming that the methylene chloride is water thin. If you do have gaps you may want to try some ABS/PVC cement which is thicker. The other option would be to have it welded.

If you still have problems. IPS Corp has a line of Weld-On products that should fill your needs. I use there products on a almost daily basis with good results. Hope this helps.

call thule
I would call Thule, after all they made the thing. Companies like that are usually more than willing to help. You never know what good can come from such a call.

Thule’s advice
Just talked to Customer Service at Thule, and their advice was to either take it to an auto body shop (!) or, if I “felt comfortable” doing it myself, go to an auto parts store and buy an “ABS repair kit”.

I guess when I ask the Schuck’s guy, I better be more specific - I could end up with an Antilock Brake System repair kit. ;-]

  • rob