Stretch kit vs tracks on Toyota Solara

-- Last Updated: Jun-07-06 10:47 PM EST --

I’m posting this partly to raise the awareness on the option of tracks rather than a stretch kit, and partly to see if anyone else has gone the tracks route in a similar situation, or what you think.

I have a Toyota Solara in need of a Yakima rack system. The "Choose My Rack" option on the web site gives me Q towers and Q stretch kit. I’m pretty sure the stretch kit is recommended because the roof is somewhat contoured, not flat. In fact the contour of the roof shown with the product is real close to that of the Solara.

Another difficulty with the Solara, other than needing a stretch kit, is that there is a rubber seal around the door opening that would have to be pried out some to allow the clips to grab onto metal. This is mentioned right in the instructions in fact.

So I started thinking, there must be a track system that can be installed on the roof, like sometimes comes on factory vehicles like station wagons, SUVs, and such. Sure enough, Yakima caries them. They’re under Products > Rack Systems > Permanent.

I called Yakima support and Bruce there said sure as long as I’m willing to drop the head liner (overhead lining on the inside of the vehicle) and drill into the roof. So I’m thinking tracks with control towers and landing pads. Would be a lot cleaner. Should be at least as strong as Q towers and stretch kit. Also easier to adjust the spread between the bars.

Downsides are installation labor, and the tracks are permanent. Could be an issue with resale of the vehicle. I tend to keep my vehicles until almost worthless, so not too worried about re-sale.

I’m inclined to go with the tracks. Anyone else done this in a similar situation? Thoughts?

Paul S.

if you take it down very rarely does it go back up again as nicely…

go with the stretch kit…it is being recommended because your roof line & doors are set up in a way where the bars (if attached with out the stretch) would only be about 16" apart…the stretch kit puts the back bar MUCH further back but still attaches in the door frame…

almost all the racks now clip on in such a way where you have to move the door gasket…

after the clip is on then it is still very watertight…

weight wise…i would trust the qtowers more (actually DO trust them more)…i have seen tracks get ripped off the roof before (both factory and add on ones)…

personally i would go with the least intrusive as possible…and i also beat my cars into the sand…i used a stretch kit for awhile (still sittin unused in the back room right now) and never had a problem with it for boats bikes or cargo (ie lumber)

Tracks are out
I just talked with a Yakima rep again. He reminded me the tracks are aluminmum, and my roof is curved. There’s serious concern about how well the tracks would conform to the roof.

That plus corgimas’ points. Tracks are out.

I can only get a max of 30" spread between the bars with the stretch kit. Cockpit length is 36" on my big guy Tempest 180. I know I’m not supposed to strap across the combing. Hopefully it’s ok to strap at an angle from the bars to outside the combing. Thoughts?

Paul S.