I have Yakima racks on 2 cars and have for years. I love the modular system that lets you change components when you change cars. Why do neither Yakima, nor Thule, not have a system that will install on my mothers 2008 Grand Caravan? I know there are options that include drilling, but I am not interested in doing that. Look at how many of these are on the road. There should be a market for a clap on system.
Sometimes it’s more than market
Both Yakima and Thule have spent a lot of time and research on producing “universal” towers for fitting cars. However, the physics of the tower fit have limitations so it is not truly universal. Sometimes they just don’t have the adjustment needed to fit certain cars.
More of the blame should be leveled on the car manufacturer. Factory roof racks are more cosmetic than structural these days. I’ve seen some that I wouldn’t want to tie a balloon to let alone a boat. I wouldn’t blame Thule or Yakima for saying their racks cannot be attached to some factory racks. Yakima only approves their ski carriers to be attached to the 2008 Grand Caravan which means the factory rack definitely sucks.
Also roofs are so thin for better MPG, less roll-overs, and to be produced more cheaply; it’s hard to achieve the tension needed to attach some racks without seriously denting the roof. I’m guessing it’s a combination of many factors including how the sliding doors operate that prevent Yakima and Thule creating a fit using their clamp-on options.
Drilling is not a bad option. It is typically the best option.
Imagine an art gallery forum thread on hanging pictures. Sometime putting a nail in the wall is the easiest way to hang a painting.
Drill it and you’ll have a solid rack.
I suspect with the dual sliding doors that the roof isn’t strong enough to use the standard mounting clips.
you mentioned clamp on system
look up “Malone cross bars” on EBay and elsewhere, they make 58" crossbars that clamp on to factory minivan rails that might be an option for you. I had some like that on an old Suzuki XL7 that worked great and were strong enough for me to stand on.
2008 Grand Caravan:
Have you contacted Yakima directly? I have no knowledge of the new body style, re: a rack system, but my old G/C has the factory rails with Yakima cross bars and attachment fittings. I have many miles of travel with two full size sea kayaks aboard and have never had any problems, however, I am very conservative, re: speed and conditions. I have replaced the headliner in this truck, and took a good hard look at the factory installation. I find it reasonably substantial. At the time I bought the bars and ends, Yakima did not catalog for this fitment, but when I talked to them, they knew what to advise. You may want to give it a try. I intend to replace this well worn old '98 shortly, and will be looking into it myself.
something called a landing pad that you attach to the rails by sliding them in from the end and tightening them down. Then they make the towers (part that holds the cross bars) to attach/detach quickly to the landing pad. Don’t own one yet, but love the Caravan for carrying canoes (driven one since '89). Check that out.
That’s it. I couldn’t recall what they were called, but that’s what I have. They work flawlessly, and snap on and off in 30 seconds. Really! No need to drive around or park with the bars even on the car. I wonder if they will work on the new body style? I will be driving a van as long as I am kayaking. Nothing better. Most useful car we have ever owned. Ken…
We have a 2008 Town & Country
…the same body style and use Spring Creek racks. We took two kayaks from Pennsylvania to Maine (and back) last summer on the roof with them.
I have a 07 Grand Caravan
I have a 2007 Grand Caravan and use the Thule racks that stand the kayak on its side. They work just fine and clamp on to the stock cross rails on the factory rack.
Caravan factory crossbars:
I tried using these, and have friends that do. Mine seemed to flexible and I was not comfortable with the way they attach to the main rails. The Yakima bars are rock solid. My beach van is an old '98. Maybe the newer models are more substantial. I’m looking for a replacement Caravan or T&C, as my present one has well over 200,000 miles on it.