Hullavator on a Terrain or other vehicle with a short spread?

You will enjoy the Hullivator. We have some launches locally where it can be helpful to get it down to one car due to parking concerns, and even unaccompanied I always bring two boats to my longer stays in Maine. One is a babysitter and the world’s easiest boat for self-rescue for when I am paddling solo, another that I can take out when I am with others. The second is faster and more fun, but if I get into dutch things like my not-perky roll these days etc go more reliably in the babysitter. So I have a saddle with glide pads on the other side.

You will find that there is a point in the lift up and down where you are carrying some weight, but FWIW I never worry about lifting the boat in the cradles gently over the edge to being flat on top. I get it up to where it will lock on its side in the Hullvator arm, at the top. I then shove it with my hands and it plops over and gets the latch on the inside. I don’t seem to have broken anything yet doing that. And I am pretty good at breaking stuff.

Well the Hullivator arrived early (Wednesday afternoon) so after I returned from my epic ride in a B-17 Flying Fortress (honest!) I assembled and installed the Hullavator last night. With the 50" bars all the way to one side, there was plenty of clearance. I will do a trial load of the kayak tonight. It only weighs 39 lbs so pushing it up should be a breeze, given that the Hullivator is supposed to take 40 lbs off your boat. Maybe I’ll be able to raise it with my pinky!

I am fuzzy. Did you put the bars out 6 inches from the footpad or go further? Thule sets that 6 inch limit due to weight bearing concerns.

Have fun with them.

They ended up extending 6" when installed all the way to one side, so it is still in tolerance, and the whole thing is still inside the width of the mirrors. It’s all good! I did a trial load last night, and see that I’ll need to pad it a little bit since my boat is low-volume. We experimented with kneeling pads and that seems to be about the right thickness and firmness needed. Anyone who has come up with a good means to pad out their Hullavator is welcome to jump in here!

My primary boat is also low volume. I just add an extra strap around the whole shebang and nothing moves. Marshall’s suggestion, I am pretty sure he mentioned in above in this stream, was also for an extra strap,. But his relies primarily on the Hullivator arm itself rather than wrapping under the cross bar.

Some have added extra padding for another reason, to restrict hull deformation from sitting on those harder pads of the cradle arms. It is probably a good idea. My boats just have to deal with stuff like that - they go to Maine and rocks anyway.

I looked at the 40" width you said above between the bars and came up with three or so inches still peeking out on the other side from the Hullivator. That was why I asked the same thing twice. Must have added wrong.

I added 1/4" foam to the hard cradle pads to keep the pads from marking up my white hull. Used Gorilla tape. Also have a LV kayak and 99% of the time I need to adjust the stern cradle to get the boat snug. Maybe I’ll add another pad there and see if it makes a difference.

Celia, am I glad I ran into your comments!! I am 4’11 and not super strong. I just installed a used Hullavator pro that I bought on square bars on top of a 2017 Jeep Cherokee (with side rails) so it’s very high up. (I have resigned myself to the fact I will need to keep a step stool in my car lol)

I’ve got a couple questions if you (or anyone else here) don’t mind

  1. Is it normal for the arms to be somewhat difficult to bring down and lift up at the same time or do I just have the crossbars too far apart? (I have them about 20ish inches apart) I am struggling!

  2. This might sound weird…I live in an apartment, where there is a garage. Without a kayak loaded, I JUUUST clear the roof on the way out, but coming in it scrapes. If I made sure the arms were in lock position and strapped in the kayak within an inch of its life, could I conceivably drive sloooowly out of the garage with the arms down, and then lift when I get outside?

I should think 20 inches is not too far apart even for someone shorter than me. I could be wrong. But pay attention to whether you are loading the boat so that one end is heavier than the other. You cannot always use the cockpit to tell the center in terms of weight. If one end is heavier, it will be more challenging to get the boat up and down evenly.
Other thought is that the weight bearing capacity in the two cradles may not be exactly the same. if they are used.

On number 2, I suppose you could do that… but I would also suggest you practice taking the cradles off and on so it is not a big deal.

Hi NikkiTRex,

#2: As Celia mentioned, the cradles come off, and I have to do that, otherwise the car doesn’t get into the garage.

Would suggest practicing taking the cradles on & off. 1st kayak trip, took 45 mins to load, because I didn’t have the hang of attaching the cradles. MUCH FASTER process now, but if I’m careless, they will not attach.

I actually have learned to drive out of the garage with the cradles down, and then put them back up when I get inside, otherwise I’d have to wheel the kayak out of the garage first.

I tried to practice taking them off, but the darn pivot pins stick, requiring WD40, a small hammer and a pair of pliers to remove them. I think they’re gonna stay on till end of season now :rofl::woman_shrugging:

I did use WD40 on the pins which helped me get them back in, but I think it’s affected performance, as the cradles don’t lock in place quite as seamlessly as they did before.

Don’t let the cradles bang down, let them secure geacefully on the latch. Pivot pin should not affect latching as long as it works.

Ahh ok thank you! I’ll be sure to do that.

I tried that, but the pivot pins require tools and muscles to remove, so I just drive out with the arms lowered now. :slight_smile:

I have a little experience with hullavators as I just purchased and installed two used sets. My thought is that if you have to use tools and muscles to put in or take out the pivot pins something is not right. They should go in fairly easily.

Maybe someone with more knowledge, than me, can help determine what the issue is. The only issue I can think of is are the holes partly obstructed by the bars or something?

You’re right. I did some googling and it turns out it is a known issue with earlier versions of the Hullavator Pro. It’s a problem with the bar assembly. Thule sends out replacement bars, but only to original owners and I bought mine used. I will call them and see if they can help me with a fix. :slight_smile:

The bars on mine (also older and bought used) were a bit shorter than what is recommended by Thule, so I mounted the Hullavator bar mount assemblies extended as far as possible while still getting a good attachment. That kept the bars well away from the pivot pin holes (about 1.5 inches) so I had no problem.

Can you move the Hullavator bar mount assembly out some on the bars? Or would that not help? I have the older version (897xt) so the way they attach maybe different.

Hmmm…I’ll look into it. Thanks for the tip! :slight_smile: