Hullivator Question

-- Last Updated: Jul-13-16 7:36 AM EST --

Really is for a fellow paddler.

I met up with someone to paddler last week, who had also recently gotten a Hullivator, and encountered a difference between how hers operated from mine that I can't quite suss out. I am wondering if there is an installation issue with hers or it is just the diff in boats and roof height. Would appreciate any comments, will be meeting up with her again in about a week.

I can't see a difference between her installation and mine, but it is also a taller vehicle, some full sized SUV, and we were comparing how it worked with her 17'7" boat to my 15'8" boat. Both boats were centered OK, straps ran either side of the cockpit. In case boat size or roof height matter. I didn't think to take a measuring tape to her setup.

The start of her Hullivator lift works fine, same as for me. But when her boat is up maybe 2/3 of the way, a bit before it will be stable and just hang there if you let go of the release handles, the forward Hullivator seems to lose its punch. The bow dropped and I had to give it a second muscle push to get it up the rest of the way so it would lock sideways against the end of the rails.
For the time being I suggested that she make sure to restrain the enthusiasm of the rear Hullivator so it did not get higher than the forward one. But we did this twice, and compared it to her working mine. Hers is definitely acting differently. The Hullivator units are still a little further apart than I think she needs, but it was a doable distance for both of us.

Any ideas? Is this just a longer boat issue or is there someplace else we should be looking? It honestly felt like the hydraulics in the forward Hullivator were not as good as the rear, but I hesitate to jump on that.

This doesn’t help, but…
a friend of mine carries two long sea kayaks on hullivators on top of his full size pick up, (he has a cap on the back).

I notice he has the same problem you are describing, so much so that sometimes he has to call his wife to help get it past that point.

Evidently it must be the height that is causing it.

Watching them load it makes me glad I never opted for them for my truck.

Jack L

She can check the
hydraulics by switching the cradles. Move the front one to rear and the rear to front, then see what happens.

Excellent idea!
I too would suspect the gas strut in the arm assembly and Rookie’s idea to swap the arms to check would be easy to do.

My 4 year old Hullavators are on my fairly tall Santa Fe and I’ve never had a problem like that.

“this” ^
“If” each hullivator arm is lifting the same amount, then the speed “should” be the same as they rise, if they are functioning equally.

Otherwise, I would wonder if where she has the kayak centered between the two arms is really the center for the mass of the kayak. If it is a longer kayak and she spread the rack mounts farther apart, thinking that would help, ( ? meh… ) there will be greater torque on the arm with the greater weight. And it won’t take much to slow down one hulli-arm.

The BR Last Remaining Water Bottle Rule: Really Take All The Stuff Outta The Yak Before Trying To Lift It by the Center Handle…

If she does not want to mess with testing it with a kayak, she can test how it goes with something else, like a piece of spare lumber. Then use the kayak. Outcome: Either not centered, or funky strut.

Thanks for the ideas
We can try my shorter boat in her Hullivator when I go down. Since I will be paddling with someone else I can bring the Vela rather than my babysitter boat for solo (Romany).

If that does not alter the behavior then she can switch the units. If it does she can mess around more with the boat placement. XS cockpit, so she has some room to move forward or back.

The above are all good suggestions. I’ve been using my Hullavator for ten years. Each year I pull the units out and down several times while spraying inside with silicon lubricant. I then remove the units, turn them upside down on the floor and spray silicon lubricant into every nook and cranny. I dry off the excess, replace the units, and use them through the full range of movement several times. This has kept the units working smoothly for ten years.


Good hint - thanks