Hulivator information needed

Someone is selling a pair of Hulivators cheap, so I’m wondering what would go wrong w/ them over time. Like what could I expect to need to replace? Or problem areas that I’d need to look at.
I know things wear out and moving parts take damage but I’m not familiar w/ this mounting system.

They are also not close to me, it would be an overnight trip but one that I could combine w/ another run that we have to do to pick up a yak that is being stored for me.
The seller is posting minimal information and they are cheap enough that I don’t believe they are going to give me a lot of time on questions or pics. I will be reaching out to them, but again, I don’t know what I’m asking about.

Thanks for any help on this.

is it stolen ? the main thing…
I ask because folks steal like hell these days. If the lifter cradles are not locked some could pop
them off the rails in 15 seconds So if they don’t have the rail mounting hardware I would be suspect.
is it complete ? there are a lot of parts.
I wasn’t going to go down this path however, I bought a “new” hullivator from REI. They shipped it too my house. It was a cleverly sealed open box item, but the first owner tried to put it together
I got some missing parts/undamaged from racktack. I got 20% off dealing with REI but I had to be harsh . I don’t have a bullshit nice filter since jul 23 2021.
Enough of that.
I got the HullV cuz I got a suv I could not with good cervical spine safety techniques load boats on the roof.
It is excellent. THule utilitarian.
Peace J

I’m not sure what cheap is but if you want a new one I’m over stocked. UPS can save you the gas.

You could be looking at a set that does not include the mounting hardware that has to go on the bar underneath. A new set will come with hardware for both square and aero rails.
Or the hydraulics could be shot. Which is apparently fixable but new would be better.

If you can’t get info on the stuff above… I don’t know that I would recommend it. Properly cared for these things will last a long time, worth their original cost new and then some. Marshall managed to have these available right thru all the shortages.

How about asking the seller, “Why are you selling them at this price?”

It could be they’ve had enough of paddling and just want to get rid of them. I did something similar years ago when my kids were born and I thought I was done with kayaking. Two boats, a metal outdoor storage rack, paddles and Yakima saddles all went on Craigslist for ridiculous prices because I couldn’t bare to throw them out but needed them gone ASAP. I think I sold the Yakima cradles and rollers for $50. I don’t have the heart to tell you how much I sold a CD Gulfstream for. Some people just want to clear out the garage.

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Hullavators have gas struts inside, just like the struts that help open the hatchback on a car. Those provide the lift assist and can wear out. Thule doesn’t offer replacements but there is info on the web about sourcing suitable struts and doing the replacement yourself. It’s not easy to do. That would be the biggest problem making the Hullavators unusable along with missing parts.

Do an internet search on Hullavator and strut, gas strut or spring (some people call the gas struts “springs”). You’ll find some discussions.

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I got two pair (for carrying two kayaks) in near-pristine shape from someone who was older and with enough physical old-age problems so he could no longer kayak. I was very familiar with the Hullavator and knew all the parts were there. Cost was $250 for the whole works … beyond lucky.


I bought two used sets earlier this year from a couple that were selling out their kayaks and gear. They were quite old, but still work well. They have a little rust and one of the catches was slightly bent. The rust doesn’t bother me, and the bent catch was easy to fix. I got really lucky, in that the seller included the bars and 2 types of foot pads (towers), one of which fit my car.

The main things to check are the gas struts and missing connector parts. If you are going to make the trip anyway, they could be worth checking out.

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Make sure they will fit your cross bars. Older models only seem to fit square bars, whereas newer will fit the ‘aero’ style. I’ve yet to find an adapter, but if someone knows of one let me know!

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