Dodge Caravan Kayak Rack Question

Does anyone know if Yakima or Thule towers will fit a 06 Caravan without removing the factory rack first?


Have you tried
Yakimas or Thules fit programs yet? Ther is always the Customer Service number if all else fails.


I’ve got Yakima Q-Towers on mine.

I did remove the factory crossbars.


Thanks Dan…
So you just totally by passed the factory rails and they don’t get in the way of the Yakima set up at all?

Rails are usually permanently attached to a vehicle, while crossbars can be removed. He removed crossbars and purchased aftermarket crossbars + related hardware to attach them to factory rails.

Why would anyone do this? Factory crossbars can be non-standard for a lot of kayaking gear. They can be too short to carry, say, 2 kayaks hull down, necessitating for on-the-side arrangement. I have Malone Auto-loaders that fit my Subaru factory oval crossbars and allow me to carry 2 kayaks on their sides, I am quite sure that most of the stuff from Thule or Yakima would be unsuitable for those oval crossbars. Additionaly my crossbars have quite a lot of flex to them, their supported weight is pushing limits of 2 kayaks.


– Last Updated: Feb-21-07 3:13 PM EST –

That’s correct, suiram.

The Yakima Q-towers bolt right into the factory rails. I’ve had no problem at all – they seem plenty strong. Much more than I can say about the factory rails on my old Ford Windstar:

Make sure to use bow and stern lines.


My issue is…
that I don’t trust the factory rails. I have no idea how they are attached, for all I know they might just be attached with sheet metal screws. I want to put on my own yakima/thule rack and not use the factory rails or cross bars at all. My question is in regards to find out if I can do this without removing the factory rails. It appears that this is what Dan might have done. Dan, is this what you did?


But what if…
the factory rails fail? I want to bypass the factory rails and I know I can do that if I remove them. I am wondering if I can bypass the factory rails without removing them. ie Is there room between the rails and door crack to fit the towers?

See the post before the one above this.


holly s=-t!

– Last Updated: Feb-21-07 3:54 PM EST –

Both rails were ripped off!

I'll take that into account and start using a security strap through the interior.

I’ve no idea
You’d have to check with Yakima or Thule on that.

Personally, I think the Caravan rails are pretty skookum compared to other rails that I’ve seen.


Thule Glide and Slide on Dodge Van
This system on my Caravan seems to work the best with the existing Caravan rack and with my own personal physical handicaps.

One thing, if you keep the Kayak on the van and it rains, be sure to use your Bigle Pump ASAP.

Don’t go about with a kayak filled with rain on top of your van, you might get a ding on your roof from the bottom screws of the Thule glide and slide from all of the weight. Not to mention how unsafe driving about with kayak filled with water certainly is.

When I load my kayak, I place a beach towel over the back of my van and then lean the kayak up against it until it is ready to be lifted into position. This keeps the kayak from slippage and makes loading the kayak easy. I’m still working on a smooth method of unloading though.

Do not get the Yakima stackers - unless you yourself are real tall!

Better yet…

WetSandyFeet wrote:

One thing, if you keep the Kayak on the van and it rains, be sure to use your Bigle Pump ASAP.


Better yet, use a cockpit cover. :wink:


Thule Details
For some more precise info. I carry Thule but you ask a good question on how to make a heavy duty rack for your Caravan. Luckilly there is a Dodge dealership across the street from my showroom. Just took a walk in the snow to eyeball the Caravan roof rack.

No problem. The factory rails are quite low. Too bad they’re not a little higher otherwise you could use a #450 Crossroad foot pack to make the install quite easy.

Anyway, here’s what you need.

  1. 400xt Aero Foot Pack - easilly clears the facory rails.
  2. 268 Fit Kit
  3. LB50 Load Bars - others will pipe up that you can go longer on these.

    Carriers - lots of options. My suggestion; you’ll have a 29" bar spread with this rack arrangement allowing for 165 lbs. capacity. Get one Hull-a-vator ($479) not cheap but it’s great when someone/something loads your boat for you, and 2 pair of Set-2-Go Saddles ($75/pr) for the other side as when you have two boats you’ll probably have two sets of hands to load them. This is what I use on my old Land Cruiser and the bar height is much taller than on your Caravan. Lots of options and yes there’s always pool noodles.

    Thanks, good puzzle, slow day.

    Drop me a line if you have any questions. Just doing paperwork otherwise.

    See you on the water,


Consider the Hullavator
On my 2000 Grand Caravan I use the Thule Hullavator with great success. Putting the kayak up is a breeze. Worth every penny.

Thanks everyone for the replies…this give me a few good starting points!