weird kayak rack wind noise?

So… I’ve had the same Thule kayak roof rack on my car for at least 6 yrs. then the other nite did a stupid thing and drove under something I shouldn’t have and the rack came crashing down off the car.

nothing was damaged on it or the car roof. I put it back on the car and now there’s a very loud annoying wind noise and when it rains hard it leaks a little thru the drivers window at the top.

everything is tight and seems to fit fine from what I can tell but obviously something is not right- help!!

Slightly bent?
Just enough to change the angle of the bars to the wind but not enough for you to see? In any event, get a short section of small diameter rope and wind it around the rack with very wide wraps from one side to the other (ends of course tied at each end). If the noise goes away, leave the rope on. If not, investigate the supports.

I’d bet it’s the supports
If the driver’s side door is leaking when it rains.

I think I’d first drive with the rack off and see if the noise remains. If so, there may be a tiny deformity at the window/frame causing the problem. Test with the hose to see if water still is getting in. If the problem remains, you may need to see a frame specialist. When I first bought my boats years ago, I was told that people have collapsed their car roofs by cranking them down too tightly. It isn’t far from this to a severe impact causing a minor defect at the seams.

Put the mounts on and drive with just those. Repeat the wind/water test to see where the water is getting in. You can find in a very short time when the noise begins to appear. I agree with the poster who suspects the mounts were bent slightly, but this is a guess. Before doing the test with the bars, check the bar ends/caps. The plastic caps could easily have been damaged and allow wind to enter the bars.

Good luck.


good advice
The noise wouldn’t bother me as much as the new leak!

A new leak suggests that the roof frame has been deformed, altering the ability of the door to seat properly. A small misalignment of the rack would not cause a loud wind noise, but a slight opening between the interior of the cabin and the exterior would.

The advice given above to test drive with no rack is the right place to start - I’m guessing the noise will still be there and you need to address the seal issue. That could mean getting the frame tweaked, or possibly resorting to thicker door seal material if the frame adjustment isn’t possible or is too expensive.

how is the rack attached to the car?
If the rack is attached with the clamps going around the edge of the roof then the noise and the leakage is probably from a deformed/damaged door seal. If the rack is attached to factory installed roof rack rails, then I’de suspect the attachment point to those rails may be loosened/warped and allowing wind and water to pass through the mounting bolt(s) and then travel down to the window. Noise will resonate inside the headliner. Do you have a sunroof? Sorry about your mishap.

could have damaged the seal also

– Last Updated: Jan-18-12 3:04 PM EST –

You'd have to hit something pretty hard to deform the roof frame enough to render the seal ineffective. Not to say it can't be done, but might as well start with looking at the minor possibilities first.

The type of noise

– Last Updated: Jan-18-12 3:33 PM EST –

You call it "wind noise". That makes me think it's a damaged door seal. Of course, other folks here have already thought of that. In my experience, noise caused by the rack itself is not a "wind" sound but a rumbling that gets transmitted from a vibrating rack to the car body via the mounts, or rumbling within the roof panel itself due to turbulence around the rack. Not saying a roof rack can't make wind noise - I've just never heard such a thing (such sound is probably there but you don't normally hear it from inside the car) and it seems unlikely that no visible change in the rack itself would change the kind of wind noise it makes to the point you'd notice it. Check that door seal.

Yes, good point
Yes, you’re probably right that seal damage or a local deflection of the sheet metal around the door is more likely than frame damage.

good advise, everyone… thanks I’ll
start with taking the rack completely off and see how it sounds, as well as testing the leakage thru the windows. it was only a copule drops that I noticed, but still, it never happened before my little mishap.