Q Stretch Kit

-- Last Updated: Feb-07-12 2:35 PM EST --

Hi All! This Yakima roof rack is getting to be a bit more expensive then I intended! I have 2005 Ford Focus ZX3 (2 dr hatchback). I am installing the Q Tower system roof rack (I have the bars, Q Towers, and the specific clips). Yakima recommends installing a "Q stretch kit" for the make/model of my car. Is this absolutely necessary? I would be carrying a total of two kayaks (each kayak weighing about 45 lbs..so a total of 90 lbs). My understanding is that the Q stretch kit would be able to make the bars be spread further apart (providing more support). If I'm only carrying about 90 lbs, is this kit absolutely necessary? I believe I saw somewhere online that WITHOUT the stretch kit, the bars will end up being about 20-21 inches apart on a 05 Ford Focus 2dr.

stretch kit
The weight of your intended load is not the reason the stretch kit is suggested, rather, as a solution to the very limited distance between the load bars. 20-21 inches between the bars leaves something to be desired when carrying long loads.



I understand
But would having the Q stretch kit make a difference as far as holding the kayaks? (Assuming i’m also tying down the front of the boat with rope to the front of my car and the back to hitch that’s under the car). I know it would probably be easier/a bit more stable to have the stretch kit. But I don’t really see it being necessary. I could be wrong??

I believe you could get along without
the stretch kit if you use some sort of kayak cradles or upright bars that strongly control the position of the kayaks on the bars.

My issue with the stretch kits is that the stretched position of the rear bar is inadequately controlled.

I agree with the above,
and I’m happy you’ll be tying off bow and stern. With such a short bar spread, I believe tying it off correctly will be very important. You don’t want it twisting when a tractor trailer goes blowing by.

Be safe out there,


I noticed the same thing

– Last Updated: Feb-07-12 8:57 PM EST –

In detail, here's why I agree with g2d and the others.

One concern with closely spaced cross bars is that the leverage of the boat applied to the rack is very great in comparison to having the bars far apart, mainly when there are crosswinds or road turbulence that push the front end of the boat right or left. In that situation, the only thing that resists lateral motion of the rear bar is the attachment point for the stretcher bar. Thus whether the boat is mounted on two closely-spaced bars or on bars farther apart due to the stretcher bar, the points of contact on the roof which resist lateral motion of the boat are exactly the same. Without the stretcher bar, the boat provides the all the leverage between those to roof mounts. With the stretcher bar, the stretcher bar serves that function and the boat undergoes slightly less stress (but not enough of a difference with a plastic boat and such a small change in crossbar spread), but probably not as effectively on account of how small the clamping connections are. Thus, the whole framework is probably stronger if you let the boat provide all the force transfer between front and rear mounts instead of a stretcher bar. Adding diagonal braces would strengthen the whole framework, but nothing about the stress applied to the roof would be different no matter how rigid you were able to make it.

Upward motion of the front end of the boat would be better controlled by use of the stretcher bar, and downward motion might be controlled better IF the stretcher-bar connections are rigid (but they don't look like they could be that rigid and still be so small). However, I've never seen stress in up-down direction become a problem, and your front and rear tie-downs will already do a lot to control that motion.

You guys! I think I’m going to skip out on the stretch kit and tie down bow n stern as well as those j shaped kayak saddles. I think the saddles are necessary… Id be too nervous relying on ties alone. Also will be making a trip up to Canada this summer which is a 12 hr drive.

I suggest connecting the front and rear
crossbars and tower assemblies to form a single unit. This will make it harder for forces on the kayak(s) to displace one of the towers. My bar spacing on our '08 Accord is down to 32 inches, but the strut connecting the front and rear bars makes the whole much more secure.

Have you considered the landing pads
I have a Honda FIT and could just barely get the 30" minimum recommended by Yakima. I usually carry two boats, one 16.5’ and the other 18’. I use the loops under the hood and secure the front of each boat with an inverted “V”. I also tied both boats with an inverted “V” at the rear. I was never really happy with the bar spacing and had the permanent landing pads bolted to the roof at about 52". Now both boats are solid, I still use the front “V” but don’t need the rear. I wish I’d have gone the landing pad route in the beginning. Much more secure and installing and removing the rack after use is slick and easy.

Go with the pads. Seriously.

Landing Pads Question
This may be a stupid question…BUT…If I put two Q towers on the front to support the bars, then put landing pads on the back (instead of the other two Q towers) so I could make the length between the bars longer, would that work?? Do the landing pads just drill into the roof of your car? My car currently does not have any type of stock roof rack on it.

take a look here

Most likely
but why? Using landing pads, and you can tell I’m a big fan, means you don’t have to worry about the clamps in the car’s door jam and R&R of the rack using landing pads is safe and exact EVERY time.

You may be able to do the drilling and setting the special nuts in the car’s roof yourself, I could have, but I believe in letting the guy with the correct tools and the knowledge do the drilling. You can have the bars spaced to your needs (max distance between bars?)or so that you can use other options that require a 4’ spread.

In the future, when I change cars I will use the landing pads.

Good luck.

Landing Pads

– Last Updated: Feb-09-12 9:42 AM EST –

I too haeve landing pads on my Honda Insight, giving me just over 40" spread, which is a lot more solid feeling compared to mid-20" otherwise.

Yes, one can do front towers and rear pads. Or the other way around. Depends on where things fall on the roof. Or you can do rails all the way (the best option but in my case I had too much roof curvature and I did not feel comfortable using the rails). Or you can do rails on the rear and landing pads on the front etc. All sorts of combos work.

Remember that you want a relatively level installation, so depending on how your roof line slopes, you might not be able to position the pads as far away from each other as the roof alows, in order to maintain similar height front and back.

Lastly, the landing pads are a tricky thing to install well. Modern roofs often have no support at all except where the sheet metal is welded along the sides and the front and rear of the car. This means your load limit will be limited greatly and you may no longer be comfortable loading two kayaks. If I use door clips/towers I could have 150lb limit or so. With the landing pads my estimate is closer to 80lb or so and that is pushing it (the roof starts to flex).

The best would be if you can install the landing pads bolted through the strudy support beams somehow. That would be both sturdy and provide a long spread b/w bars. But I did not have enough information on where to drill to hit the supports precisely and did not want to dismantle the inside of my car to see (too many non-reusable clips and that would have costed some money to reinstall the roof lining and other panels that would have to be removed to see the inside well).

So I went with a simple blind through the roof install (from the outside without removing anything from the car). Well, it was blind as in not seeing what I drill through, but I knew based on body shop repair manual drawings what's under, where it was, and most importantly what was *not* under -;). There are airbags, wires and all sorts of things on the in-side of the roof line so you want to be careful drilling. You do not want to damage your airbags or other wiring and you do not want to partially drill through a support beam or right next to it and not be able to install the butterfly nuts that grab the roof from inside on the landing pads...