Yakima Hullraisor Aero almost failure.

-- Last Updated: Oct-26-09 11:27 PM EST --

Talking racks here. I prefer the Thule load bars and feet and have this set up on my vehicles. I do have a Yakima cargo carrier and prefer these over Thule cargo carriers. I bought a Yakima Hullraisor Aero kayak carrier from a friend that he had never used. I was hoping it would save rack space so I could place the cargo box beside it, and it did. On the way to the beach this past fall break I was going south down I-77 through the mountains in Virginia and just about lost the Kayak. I saw the signs warning of high crosswinds possible. I had the yakima rack attached to a Subaru Outback factory rack on this trip. When I saw the trees leaning sideways I was a bit concerned, then it hit. The kayak was hanging off the left of the car, still on and attached to the rack. I looked out the drivers window and there it was. I pulled over safely and quickly as I could. It had bent the mounting bolts and bracket of the Aero factory bar mounting kit. Yakima provided attachments for square (Thule) and round (Yakima) bars and then the one for factory bars (more flat like bars). The one for factory bars is the one that bent and just did not feel that sturdy when I attached it. Luckily I had the bow tied off to the front via nylon straps to the front fender bolts of the car. That is probably what kept it from flying off the rest of the way. The outback cross bars were fine. I bought some thule 58 inch load bars and 450 feet for the return trip and was able to lay the kayak flat next to the cargo carrier with the extra length of the bars. I will use the other rack yakima mounts for the square bars in the future, they seem much better. Not sure if anyone else uses this rack and how it has performed for them? Yakima makes fine products and the rest of the rack seems stout.

Bow and Stern lines in use?
I’m not sure I’d agree with the flimsiness of that part. It’s almost 1/4" steel.

Not quite.
The bracket that came with the Yakima rack that bent is not quite 1/8 inch thick. The front rack is the one that gave out and as I mentioned in the original post, the bow was tied off. The stern was not tied off and the rear bracket did not move. I was driving 10 or 15 mph under the speed limit at a conservative 60 and was coasting, let off the accelerator, when I saw the winds. I used the straps that came with the rack. This was our small kayak too, a 40 lb Yak board we use in the surf. Just around 8’ long. It was like a sail up there though when you have them on those J style racks. It is a wide flat sit on top kayak.

Unless the Subaru factory crossbars
are much improved since the ones we had on our '97 Outback, Yakima would have been well advised not to make any attachments for them. Maybe they thought the bracket should be flimsier than the crossbar. First thing I did was junk the factory crossbars and buy the rail clamps and Yakima crossbars. Never a failure with a large canoe in western crosswinds.

My criteria is to never trust the racks
that come with the vehicle, and then constantly check my Yakama system.

I know most people don’t buy their vehicle based on their boats, but that is what I do.

When I got my Ford Escape, the first thing I did was took the factory racks off and replaced them with a Yakama system



Not an issue…
The factory cross bars on the 2000 Outback are quite sturdy. The mount supplied by Yakima is generic, one size fits all for any factory ‘Aero’ style cross bar. It is not Subaru Outback specific and Yakima says this rack will attach directly to these cross bars. It consists of a steel plate on top (what bent), sort of an upside down u with turn outs on the end (for bolts). A heavy duty (and sturdy) plastic piece to go on the bottom of the cross bar. Two bolts for each to run from the steel top to the plastic bottom and hand knobs with nuts in them to tighten. When installing, I could tighten it more by hand but if I did the 1/8" steel bracket would begin to bend down.

I still have never lost a load of anything and have hauled all kinds of things for many, many years on Thule racks. I renovated our house with a Jeep ZJ and Thule rack. Canoes, Kayaks, lumber, drywall, plywood etc. I check loads every time I stop and drive slower than most with loads.

I am talking some severe cross winds though in one specific spot known and signed for severe crosswinds. A mountain pass. It blew people with trailers off the road, they were able to correct and continue on. All I know is, I firmly attached it according to Yakima instructions and using Yakima straps supplied. I had just checked everything as this was early in the morning and was on the road maybe 20 minutes. I had the Yakima Spacebooster cargo carrier on top too and it did great. Winds hit and blew the kayak to the left bending the bracket and bolts. I re-checked the way I strapped everything down to make sure it was not something I had done wrong. I had it strapped the way the instructions showed.

I think Yakima racks are great, they certainly have a fine reputation. I was posting as I have seen threads of failure in racks of all makes. Just something to be aware of. I emailed Yakima and have not heard back.

This is the rack http://www.yakima.com/racks/kayak-rack/product/8004038/hullraiser-aero.aspx you can see the bracket in the instructions or parts list. I also got the brackets for attaching directly to square cross bars and this is a much sturdier mount. Larger bolts and tight against the rack. The other has a gap from top bracket to bottom depending on how thick your cross bars are.

Ever Think
That if one spent the additional cost of those assisted lift racks on the hull one might not need those fancy and failable racks?

Thanks all.
I appreciate all the input guys. The lift up racks appear too bulky and rack consuming for my personal use. I think they would be great if that is all you were hauling each time. Then again, I can not speak much on them as I have no experience with the lift up racks. I don’t think they would suit my loads and my vehicles are low enough it is easy getting things up on top.

My loads change depending on the trip. Sometimes I haul one kayak flat and a cargo carrier. Sometimes upright kayak and carrier. Sometimes a canoe, sometimes multiple kayaks on thule stackers which have proven themselves for many years. I have multiple vehicles for different uses. Be it these are old vehicles, winter beater etc. This just works well for a variety of reasons.

Again all, I really do appreciate the input. My first thought was I strapped or attached something wrong. This could still be the case. I think what I am going to do is find a local Yakima dealer, show them what I did and what happened. May shed some light to either of us. If I did do something wrong, maybe I can be added to the instructions as a definate do not do :). Save somebody else some headache. Or it leads to a possible rack improvement.



Know what you mean!
We had the hullraisers on the roof of our Honda Element when we first started kayaking. Had them mounted on Yakima bars. They make GREAT sails! At one point we were heding over the Grapevine in souther california and I saw the stern tie-downs flying wildly in the wind, then I saw the shadow of the boats shifting toward the outside of the bars. I pulled over as fast as I could and ended up having to affix multiple tie-downs on both boats just to keep them stable. Very stressful drive!

Since then, we’ve gone with the Malone wing mounts (I thin that’s what they’re called). The boats sit flat on their hulls and have never shifted an inch in the two years we’ve been using them.

I did mount the Thule J-mouts on our SportsRig trailer where they’ve performed very well, being not so much exposed to the full force of the wind.

1 Like