I have the new hullavator XT. I can’t get the load bars to stay locked in the down position once I remove my kayak. On several occasions, I have had it dangerously go flying back up. On one occaison, I dropped my fiberglass boat on the ground. It takes two people to use this thing to be sure it stays in place.
I think this is a serious design flaw. I have read reviews and I know I am not the only one with this problem. I am out of sea-kayak transport options. I can’t use a trailer because I can’t tow anything behind my vehicle.
Aside from returning it and still having no way to transport my boat, has anyone found a solution?
What you are describing is a problem that plagued the original Hullavator. The locking mechanism is what brought around the upgrade to the XT Hullavator. Are you sure you have the new 897XT and not the original 897? The new XT Hullavators also have a sticker on the arm that says something to the affect that you should not rely on the latch to keep it in the down position but should push against the arm to make sure it has locked in the down position.
If your Hullavator isn’t working, return it for another one. I’ve worked with hundreds of Hullavators and have not seen any problems with the new 897XT. Thule has a lifetime warranty, so make the exchange before you hurt yourself or damage your boat.
Did they sell you the old one as the new one? It is not unheard of for dealers to simply re-price old stock with current prices.
Did you save the box? Thule stamps the date of manufacture on every box.
Have you looked at Malone’s new “Telos” loading assist system? It’s like Thule’s hulluvator, but a MUCH simpler ratcheting mechanism, easy for one person to use. It’s quite a bit cheaper, too! ($240). After using it, it stores in your vehicle so you don’t have this huge ugly rack on top of your car like the hulluvator.
question on the Malone Telos
Do you know if the Telos works with the 2006 version of Malone’s Autoloader cradles?
Another XT owner
I ahve had no problems with my Hullavator unlocking prematurely.
Definately contact Thule
Apparently you have the original. They replaced mine with one that works perfectly.
Define the problem
From what I read, your problem is to keep the Hullavator staying down by the side of the vehicle after you unload your kayak. Mine works fine. I push the Hullavator towards the vehicle until it is locked. I had to unlock it by squeezing the handles. Try pushing it against the vehicle. If it still does not lock, it is defective.
Follow up Question
Can you describe the difference(s) between the 2006 model and the current model? I bought my Malone AutoLoaders in 2007 and they work with the Telos. Does the 2006 have a little opening in the front of the lip (where you run straps through)? That’s where the Telos clips in.
New this year was quick release hardware for the Malone Autoloader. The Telos should work for the last 4-5 model years. Malone has been making small tweaks to the saddles every year. More than 5 years ago, the J-cradle didn’t have the lip that serves as a small ramp, which is what the Telos attaches to so those early models will not work.
2006 Version of the Autoloader
does have the slot in the ramp, but it does not have the quick-release mounting hardware (bolts vs. the knobs) that is found on the 2008 version.
from what I have read in the reviews, both the original and the xt have had this problem.
define the problem
How do I know if its locked?
Solution to problem with XT
The issue with locking is not just limited to the original version. If you have the XT, do the following and see if it helps, because it works consistently for me.
Lower your kayak to the side of your vehicle. When the arms are extended all the way down, place one hand on upper portion of the arm assembly, with your other hand grasp the lower part of the arm assembly where the handle is. Pull the lower part of the arm assembly slightly toward your body, while holding the upper part of the arm assembly in place with your other hand. Essentially, you're pivoting the arm assembly slightly. If the locking mechanism in the arm assembly has not latched fully when lowered, you should hear the latch click by following this procedure.
It works for me and has become standard practice.