Hullavator Won't Lock Down Into Place

Hello. I was given an old Hullavator 897XT with bad gas struts. I successfully replaced both gas struts but the problem is that one of the arm assembly doesn’t lock into the bar mount assembly - it’s as if the release handle on the arm assembly doesn’t fully retract prohibiting that the claw at the opposite end of the arm assembly from latching onto the prongs on the bar mount assembly - see picture below:

Has anyone ever experienced this and if so have you found a way to repair this? I tried lubrication but that didn’t seem to work. Already spent a ton of time and $$ replacing the gas struts would be a shame if this is the end of the road on this Hullavator. doesn’t allow new users to embed more than one picture in a post so that’s why my replies are separate pictures. Thanks for understanding.

Does it not catch once it’s closed, or does it not close all the way because they hit?

It’ll go down but not lock / click down into place. The “claw” is not fully clamping down on the prong.

I’ll look at mine tomorrow and see if something stands out that could prevent that from happening. They’re on the vehicle so it won’t be much trouble.


Sorry, I can’t offer any advice. I don’t use a Hullavator, but there have been threads discussing people’s troubles replacing the gas struts. Can’t find compatible struts, how to compress the struts to install, etc. So I’m just curious, did you find a reliable source to get compatible gas struts? Thanks!

Ok, I looked at mine this morning and it’s a straight forward mechanism as I expected. Basically a pull handle that slides in a track on either side w/ a non-adjustable rod that connects to the hooking claw on the other end. There is a spring of some sort hidden in the handle end that provides the “return to locked” force.
So I would say that either the spring is broken/jammed and not returning it to the locked position (which you should be able to feel in the pull handle movement),
Or, something is jamming the tracks of the handle or locking claw from fully returning to the locked position.
Also the possibility the the connecting rod is not connected or the locking claw is bent.

It pretty easy to see most of the workings if you pull it down to the side of the vehicle and then hold it there while working the pull handle and look at it from behind.
If it doesn’t lock closed it also doesn’t lock full extended, correct?

I found a YouTube video of a guy replacing his gas struts in his Hullavator and he used gas struts from the Grainger website; the name of the video is “Thule hullavator gas spring replacement.”

“If it doesn’t lock closed it also doesn’t lock full extended, correct?”

I don’t know because I haven’t been able to install it on the roof rack yet; I’ve been testing it on my garage floor.

If you look at my picture above with the label “claw” you will see that the claw is part of a bracket that pivots forwards and backwards on a pin - my suspicion is the claw bracket is rubbing up too tight against the interior bar sides. I tried to stick a butter knife in there so see if I could bend the claw bracket away from the side walls to no avail. I also tried lubricating with lithium grease to no avail. The long rod that connects the release handle to the claw bracket seems to be straight and intact though it does flex when the handle is used but so does the other one on the other assembly.

From the photo I’m thinking you drove out the pin that was holding the end assembly of the shock and replaced it w/ a bolt?
If so try loosening the nut and bolt assembly and see if maybe you pulled the sides in when you tightened it.


That’s a good idea - thanks for suggesting it.

I had mine on round bars and occasionally the mounted base would slip a bit and be off of top center so when you put the boat up , it would not catch. I had to re-adjust it more than once. Moving to Aero Bars fixed the issue.

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I did loosen the bolt and that helped. Unfortunately after I mounted the Hullavator system to my car I learned that it didn’t want to lock in the side loading position nor did the back cradle want to lock down when on top of the car. Also the the Hullavator violently flew up on top of my car - maybe replacement has struts are too strong combined with carrier not locking in any position equals recipe for disaster. Back to my old fashioned kayak saddles.