installing racks

Anyone here have any experience with artificial rain gutters installed on a vehicle to accommodate rain gutter style racks? I see that Thule and Yakima both sell these but only advertise them for camper tops not SUV or truck cabs. TIA


– Last Updated: Nov-06-15 8:28 AM EST –

I have used a set of the Thule artificial rain gutters. I originally purchased these for use on a Ford Explorer. I bought the Explorer the first model year it was out and at that time Thule did not have a "fit kit" with the aero brackets that fit around the inside of the door frame for the Explorer, so fitting a rack required mounting the artifical rain gutters to the top, inside of the door frame by drilling out a couple of rivets holding on the weatherstripping, sliding the flat part of the artificial rain gutter down between the weather striping and the frame, and securing it with a couple of rivets or sheet metal screws.

I no longer have the Explorer but I saved the artificial rain gutter brackets and was glad I did. My wife drives a Mercury Grand Marquis and neither Thule nor Yakima manufacture a fit kit for the Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis. I used these same brackets on that vehicle and they worked fine after a little judicious bending.

I also have a set of Thule artificial rain gutters on the top of my truck cap but these are of a different design in which the "rain gutter" extends upward at a right angle from a flat plate which mounts to the top of the cap. In the first type of bracket I described, the "rain gutter" does not make much of an angle with the flat portion and there is no raised lip around the flat portion. I do not think that Thule makes the first type of bracket any more but I could be mistaken. I am not sure if they make the type that is mounted on my truck cap either. The truck cap variety does require drilling two holes through the fiberglass cap for each bracket which is then secured with a pair of stainless carriage bolts.

I have only used these brackets with a discontinued style of Thule tower which uses a bracket made to engage the artificial rain gutter similar to that seen on the old "Quick and Easy" aluminum towers. I never tried using these brackets with non-Thule towers.

The brackets are really quite convenient and very secure. They do require some minimal modification of the vehicle but once mounted they do not deform the door weather stripping or inhibit the doors from fully closing like many of the aero brackets do. A rack is much easier to install and remove although the brackets do, of course, remain on the vehicle with the rack off and the tops are therefore visible.

Judging by a quick internet search
it looks to me as if the only artificial rain gutters currently marketed by Thule are the “side loader” type designed to mount on the side of a camper shell near the top.

The type of Thule artificial rain gutter I have on my truck cap mounts flat on the top of the cap and is a completely different style.

I suspect that the side loader type could be used on a truck cap but you would need to be sure that the bracket was mounted high enough that the cross bars would clear the top of the cap with enough margin to accommodate boats with a lot of rocker or high stems. I have seen installations using these side loaders in which that was not the case.

I originally asked because it looks like the only artificial rain gutter made are for caps or campers and not cars. There’s no language to that effect on the Thule or Yakima websites but they do not mention that these are for cars, only caps, etc. I appreciate the response tho.


where are
you finding ‘rain gutter style racks’ ?

Alternative to gutters are custom angle irons (steel) bolted to studs installed into roof beams

allow for rocker. then allow for the next hull’s rocker.

If you plan on keeping your vehicle look at these: I have the 42 inch version on my truck, and use them with Yakama quick mounting pads.

I got tracks from Proline instead

Can you contrast and compare
these to Thule tracks and crossbars?