old vs new thule hullavators??

Does anyone know what improvements were made to the thule Hullavator? I’m considering picking up a new “old style” hullavator for $250. I am wondering whether I should hold out for the “new style” paying a couple hundred $$$ more

What vehicle
Hi D

If you’re still driving your sedan the hullavators are going to drop to about wheel hub height. Don’t deploy them next to a curb at that roof height. While I’ve seen them on low vehicles they weren’t intended for lower height cars.

Conversely if you’ve gotten a new ride, congrats!

For the lower car I prefer the Kari-Tek ELRR 1300. My $.02.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Which old mode?
The first Hullivator was the Thule 897. Within a year it became the 897XT. Thule un-officially recalled the 897, so if that’s what you are looking at, don’t buy it. At the time, shops could swap out the entire old unit for a new XT, then they were supposed to destroy the originals. Later, Thule replaces only the main arm of the Hullavator. I’m not sure if this is still an active campaign, but given their lifetime warranty to original owners, I’m sure they’ll stand behind any original units still in use. If you are buying an original 897, you could be buying a dark market unit.

The original’s design was rushed. Lock cores would not work and the latching device that holds the arms in the down position would often fail, catapulting the arm towards the sky. You don’t want one of these.

Then the 897XT was released fixing those two problems. It should have a yellow caution sticker visible on the arm when it is in it’s lowered position.

Since the 897XT was released, another change has happened. Both the original and several years of the 897XT came with a powder-coated mounting rails. The tight tolerances of the Hullavator will chip off the powder coating and this will rust quite quickly. In the last year, I’ve noticed that Thule has done away with the powder coating and is using some kind of industrial galvanization. This should end the rusting issues. Other Thule products have also seen this rust prevention applied to the mounting hardware.

So if you are looking at an 897XT, Go for it, even if the base rails are powder coated. Purchasing replacements for $25 each when they start to rust is still a bargain.