Yakima round bar tightness problem?

I have Q towers with the round bar and Mako saddles on my sedan. I really like the Q towers…solid as a rock. My question is about the tightness of the Mako saddle mounts on the round bar. They can’t be tightened any more(afraid to break them), but the mako saddles can still twist around the bar with medium effort. Is this normal? I’m thinking of adding a layer of rubber tape on the inside of the saddle brackets do they will tighten up better on the round bar. Opinions?

They will loosen and tighten with the weather. Under load, they won’t twist because the boat is on there. Just snug them up every once in a while use a back up strap of some persuasion and enjoy.

Ryan L.

That is the same problem I had with …
my J cradles on my yakama round bars.

just drill a hole in the top of the clamp and a pilot hole in the bar top and use a self tapping screw.

Works like a charm.

I tried the tape method., but to me it was not acceptable

jack L

Be careful
Once a round tube is collapsed a bit, it is weakened.

Drilling into it also reduces the structural integrity.

Mine did the same
As said, once the kayak is on the saddles and strapped, it holds the saddles aligned properly.

What was annoying was that they would twist sometimes when loading the kayak from the rear and sliding it forward. Same happened with rollers (even more so, so I got rid of the rollers, eventually).

Nowadays I have rack extensions, and the Mako saddled are bolted on to the extensions and don’t move at all.

Rolling Yakima fittings
That has always been a problem with Yakima. They are a good product, but the darn things don’t stay where they are supposed to.

Drill a hole through the fitting and the bar, then put a pin through it.

I’ve used Yakima bars, saddles, and
towers since the early 90s. As others mentioned, when saddles or towers are mated to a boat, the boat serves as a fore-aft strut that keeps the clamps where they should be.

Trying to load a boat by sliding it from one end will torque a saddle on the bar. One could devise a fore-aft strut to connect the saddles so that they can’t twist on the bars. Such a strut also makes the entire rack assembly more stable and less likely to pop a clip and hit the road.

In that case all the bars on my various
vehicles must be no good, and I should be cringing because of the thousands of miles I have driven with them over the past twenty odd years!

Jack L

Yes, they rotate a little with uneven load. I have two boats, and mostly use one at a time, the rotation works well for me. As one boat is shorter than the other, the saddles need to be rotated a few degrees to match each boat. I put the boat on, then slap the bottom edge of the saddle to match it to the boat then re-snug the nuts. Once the boat is strapped on they do not move.

I agree with Harry
the rotation of the saddles isn’t a problem once the boats are tied down. I’ve used these cradles for over 30 years now without a failure. After loading the boat, I just slap them back in place with the palm of the hand and tie down. They don’t shift under load and they are reasonably kind to the hull of my kayaks.

In truth, they don’t even need to be all that tight to work properly. Even when one of the cradles looses up a bit after a long ride, they still stay under the boat.


window screening…
It depends if you are talking about accessories that use the snaparounds, or the newer “aero” accessories that are designed for aero bars or factory bars.

The snaparounds can be made to work OK, but the aero accessories (that have a jaw-type adjustment and only a single thumbscrew) do not work well for me on round bars.

Assuming that you are using the snaparounds, on new bars, one trick that you can do is to put a small square of window screening around the bar at the attachment point. The material will bite slightly into the coating on the bar and prevent most movement. This becomes less of an issue as the bar weathers and becomes less slippery. For the same reason I don’t put 303 and other coatings on my bars.

Greg Stamer

Thanks for the replies
It isn’t a major issue just more of an annoyance. I can live with it since all the other aspects of the Yakima system work so well. Thanks!

No Problem

– Last Updated: May-26-13 11:01 PM EST –

There is nothing to be gained by them being rigid on the bar. Once strapped to the boat, the boat itself, via that large contact area on each saddle, has more more ability to keep them where they belong than could ever be accomplished via the bars themselves. The boat becomes part of the overall structure when it's strapped down, so let it do what it can do.

Any rigid attachment to the bar via bolting through, would simply relegate the saddles to use with a specific boat, as they would no longer be "flush" on some other boat than the one providing the alignment for which the bolting was done. In fact, that's my beef with bolting J-hooks to the bar. When J-hooks are vertical, each J-hook supports the boat via one corner of the support pad instead of with the full width of the pad as it's actually designed to do, and if bolted to fit a particular boat, they won't fit any other hull properly (switch to a different boat and hull support will be on pad corners again). If they can rotate a bit, they will tilt to match perfectly to the curvature of the boat, which in side profile, is considerable, and VERY different from one boat to the next (the need to vary the angle of saddles to match the hull is much less pronounced because rocker is far less extreme than sideline curvature, and therefore it varies a lot less from one boat to the next, but the issue is still there).

You are talking rag time !
I bolted my J cradles on, and I carry five different makes and length kayaks at various times, and the sides of the yaks are always resting on the pads.

A long time ago, I glued pieces of carpet on the rubber pads since I didn’t like the yaks sitting on the hard rubber and it also preventsd the white hulls from picking up black skuff marks when sliding the yaks on from the rear of the vehicle.

jack L

Glad it works for your boats

– Last Updated: May-27-13 10:49 AM EST –

Glad it works for you and it may work for others as well, depending on their boat variety, but all I did was point out a basic (obvious?) aspect of geometry. Boats come in many different shapes, end even if a person makes the overly-simplistic assumption that nothing affects variation in side curvature other than length and width (which isn't the case), the many combinations of length and width would result in many combinations of side profile. Some boats are "rounder" in side profile and some have sides that are much closer to being parallel. The "rounder" the boat, the sharper the side-profile curvature and the more the pads have to lean toward each other to make flush contact, and the less-sharp the curvature, the less they lean toward each other. Also, the farther apart the J-hooks, the more these differences come into play so it won't be the same for every degree of cross-bar spread either (for this aspect, imagine supporting a giant football on pairs of support pads. Would the angles of those pads, flush against the football, be the same no matter how far apart they were? Nope, and the same goes for curve-sided boats and cross-bar spread). Ignoring geometry is fine, but it doesn't make the situation go away. And the thicker and cushier you can make those support pads, the less it will matter as well, but of course I'm talking about stock, solid-rubber pads.

willi’s correct
you’re arguing a losing position. you have weakened your bars. No one said you’re going to have a failure but the fact is you’ve compromised their strength.

I don’t know why anyone fusses over this, radiomix is right. Nothing is going to rotate when your boat is keeping them from doing so. Otherwise it’s nice to rotate the j cradles to get them out of the air when not loaded.

Yakima Saddles
I thought it was just me, or my application. Just now finished making up the adapter for my trailer over the weekend, using maple uprights and 3/45" black pipe (w/flanges) for the crossbars. Could NOT tighten adequately and resorted to 5 turns of electrical tape and I could just barely still wiggle the saddles. It did occur to me to drill & pin.

Not sure I’ll be comfortable with the arrangement long term. Welding tabs/plates seems extreme.