This Sunday I installed a Hullavator Pro on our Subaru Ascent. The installation was pretty easy but there are a few things to note.
First, a big shout out Marshall at The River Connection. We all know just how helpful he is here, he’s just as helpful in his store. We were both quite happy with the the pre-sale questions, shipping and post sale support, including text messages while walking his dogs on Sunday afternoon! Really, if you want gear, it is really worth talking to him.
So, what are the gotchas? The big surprise to me is that the Ascent’s roof bars are not parallel! Maybe this is a thing that all cars do but I was really surprised and almost made an expensive mistake when I was trimming the HD ProBars to fit. (At first I thought they were too long but it could have gone the other way and been too short, which really would have been nasty.)
I’m using a 61.5" bar width. This gives a 6" overhang in the front and a 7" overhang in the rear. For the test fitting I had a 5" overhang and the rear of my 62lb boat was within 4.5" of the rear fenders. That was too close to me so I increased the overhang to 6" which of course turned out to be 7" in the rear. I can still trim some off, going to 5" up front and 6" in the rear, for a 59.5" bar width but frankly, taking a hacksaw to a pair of $100 aluminum bars was nerve wracking enough so I’ll probably just keep it as it is. I cleaned up the cuts with 80 grit sandpaper and of course they are covered with the supplied Thule covers.
The Hullavators are 48" apart. We’re coming from a Jeep Wrangler with an exterior cage and have an almost 6’ span there, which we love, but it is way easier if you can reach both handles of the Hullavators at the same time. You can actually get a 54" and 61" span also on the Ascent’s roof rack, but at 61" the front hullavator will probably need to be shimmed so it is still level.
I’m 5’ 11" and I am almost at my limit of reach for the roof. A shorter person may need a step platform to reach. But even then, it won’t be like using a platform to mount your kayak. I tried that exactly once, it was terriffying.
Oh, and if you’ve never used a Hullavator and have body issues raising or lowering your boat and are considering one. Start saving up for one, they are so worth it. I was able to raise my boat with one hand without any effort it seemed. That was impressive.