I don’t keep my Hullavator “moose antlers” on all the time. I even take them off at the boat launch to prevent theft. It’s always been pretty easy. But last week I couldn’t get one of them off. So we just left it on, finished the camping trip and now that I’m home, I still can’t get it off!
The little bent clip “thingee” is stuck. It also makes a horrible clicking sound when I raise and lower the arm. See https://youtu.be/pqFbuGIGOOk
The thingee that’s creating the gouge is the head of the tube rivet that is the pivot of the linkage arms. Each joint has a wee bit of play to it so there can be some side to side play in the entire assembly. This is amplified when the two independent arms are holding a spindle shape aka kayak. Here’s how I wish every problem could be addressed: if you wish to minimize the gouging take a ball peen Hammer and lightly peen the head of the tube rivet lip over time present a more rounded profile.
Yikes! I just watched video two! Don’t do that! Do not try to extract that pin with the Hullavator at extension! The mousetrap is loaded!
As to the pivot pin aka thingee #2 - with the Hullavator arm assembly tilted up to a near 90 degree angle from stowed flip the hooked part of the pin upward with your left hand then grasp the pin with your right and wiggle back and forth to withdraw it. When reinstalling the flanges of the arm assembly won’t line up precisely with the holes in the bar mounts assembly. This is purposeful. This is why the pivot pin has a pointed end to thread the far side hole.
Ok, time for me to submit my tech assistance time to Thule.
I’ve had two sets of Hullavators on my SUV for over 7 years, and I remove and replace them frequently (but not at the boat launch!) yet I’ve never run into this issue.
Here’s what I’d do. With the arm in the normal horizontal position, pull the straight safety pin out, then grab the handle, unlock it and lift the handle (and arm) a few inches then put the safety pin back in. Now when you tilt the arm 90 degrees the pivot pin is very easy to get at…
I’d apply some penetrating oil, let it soak in then I’d use a drift punch and gently tap that pin out.
I service my Hullavators a couple of times a year lubricating all pivot points. And I always smear a coating of grease on those bent pins. If the bent pin is misshapen or corroded you can get a new one from Thule (part no. 8535869) for $5.50.
I have newer generation without the safety pin but I can still bring it close to vertical. Access wasn’t the issue though, the pivot pin, aka thingee, was good and stuck. Using a hammer and a punch freed the pin, but it put up a small fight. So then I tried to see why. I tried other pins and they all stuck. Check out this video.
so then I remembered that just drilling the holes bigger might be all I need. Nope, second video.
I’m starting to think that that flat piece that the hullavator itself fits into has bent or something.
Thule has a lifetime warranty for the original owner on its Hullavator. Unless you have found a simple fix, before I went too far with other attempted fixes I would contact Thule’s warranty department. Thule’s customer service is pretty good and you don’t want to void that warranty. I have a friend that had problems with his Hullavator and Thule sent him a free replacement.
So I gave up on waiting to hear back from them so I went to gethuman.com to find their phone number. I called, waited less than 5 minutes. The rep found my warranty claim and instantly said something like “yeah, we had a bad batch, we’ll send you a new pair of brackets.” I pointed out I only needed 1 but he thanked me for trying to save them money and said they had to send to. I had another email within a few hours saying the part had shipped. It arrived in a few days and I replaced the bad bracket yesterday. All is good.
I’m glad they sent two because we had another one fail. My guess is that the bad batch must have soft metal or something and it deforms over time. I thought I had a third one go bad last week but it came off effortlessly the next time, so it was probably at a weird angle and I was tired…
Glad to hear it was resolved and Thule stood behind their product. I have the older model, which has the nifty pocket where excess strap is stored. Looks like that’s missing on the newer Pro model. I wonder why Thule dropped that function.
FWIW, I have found that it is useful to keep some lubricant around to periodically hit the H-pins. They acquire a kind of black stuff that doesn’t help with their moving freely.
The other thing is that you need to be able to balance the cradle so that it is sitting a little proud to be able to get the pins in and out. Otherwise there is a bit of pressure there. I kinda rest the bottom of the cradle on my shoulder to get them in and out to make that space. The other thing is that I often find myself putting the pins back in one side at a time, makes it easier to line up.
(On the pocket, if it is there I am apparently not using it. Though I could wrap the strap around the cradle rather than remove it. But I usually double strap anyway so easiest to take both the straps off to store them.)