custom roof racks and hitches

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space-katet
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custom roof racks and hitches

Post by space-katet »

Hi all-

My household is getting ready to move from compact cars to having one carpool car. We are considering the new Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan. The one big hangup is that neither Yakima or Thule has a fit for the Pacifica. It can come with factory siderails and crossbars, but they aren't very wide and seem flimsy. I think that's why there isn't a crossbar option to hook into the siderails. I think they won't fit a "naked roof" because of the sliding door.

Has anyone done a custom Yakima or Thule fit where you buy the tracks and screw them into the roof? Any other ideas? I think the average person will think I'm crazy to propose screwing something onto the roof of a brand new vehicle, but I want my 72 inch crossbars!

Another concern I have is how minivans have such low ground clearance when they have a hitch. My friends can't pull their Toyota Sienna in my driveway because their hitch bottoms out on the street. I would like to get a hitch on it too, so not sure if there are hitch options with higher ground clearance.

Thanks!
Sir Adam
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Re: custom roof racks and hitches

Post by Sir Adam »

I've used the Yakima track system on a camper (where I also wondered about the sanity of drilling through something that was water tight before I put holes in it). I'm not sure I'd do it to a new vehicle, but that's up to you:)

Another option is to see what folks have done with the factory crossbars, and what their weight limit is. If it is high enough just U-bolt your 72" rails right to them and off you go. I've seen lots of folks go that route, but I do not know the weight limit of your (or their for that matter) factory roof rail / crossbar setup.

If you have multiple cars now, any potential of keeping a "boating beater" around for boating and backup, and using the new spiffy daily driver most of the time? Having more than one vehicle in a house can be very handy at times.
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PAC
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Re: custom roof racks and hitches

Post by PAC »

I'm anti hole drilling. Dont know what the Pacifica of new looks like but a friend had one with Thule system he would take off easy enough a while back. I have a Tacoma with 80" Yakima bars that I take on and off all the time. 60" on a cobalt that I do the same with. Pretty easy to do. I also put booster pods on along with boats when needing the space - for some reason you always need more space with kiddos (more so when not boating). I have a hitch on the front and back of the taco but its a truck - I know "gumpy" has a older mini van with a hitch on the back of it that he puts a rack system on and now pulls a trailer too with. He just has to take more time and not be the lead shuttle vehicle for the class 3+ shuttles.
Hope this helps ... bottom line is ... if the fam is growing your going to need more space than you think :-( and some systems are easily added removed.
PS: factory racks work but seem to have a lower weight limit. Also if its the only vehicle make sure the bars are able to be spaced away from the "whack the head" zone. My wife is picky on that - hence the removalables!
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Brendan
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Re: custom roof racks and hitches

Post by Brendan »

Skip the Pacifica- since you are already going the minivan route consider a Town and Country- the stow and go seats make for a great option to have an 8 foot bed and the roof has rails/racks that will work for you. You can add longer bars. Car Max usually has a wide selection of 1-2 year old models at a greatly reduced price from new.
Brendan
space-katet
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Re: custom roof racks and hitches

Post by space-katet »

All great advice, thanks! Some thoughts in response...
Brendan wrote: since you are already going the minivan route consider a Town and Country- the stow and go seats make for a great option to have an 8 foot bed and the roof has rails/racks that will work for you. You can add longer bars. Car Max usually has a wide selection of 1-2 year old models at a greatly reduced price from new.
- This is a great point. Gas mileage matters a bit to us, and my spouse is wary of used cars... but I am planning to look this route.
PAC wrote:I also put booster pods on along with boats when needing the space - for some reason you always need more space with kiddos (more so when not boating).
Are booster pods another name for rooftop boxes? I googled "booster pod" and came up with launchers for model rockets...
Sir Adam wrote:Another option is to see what folks have done with the factory crossbars, and what their weight limit is. If it is high enough just U-bolt your 72" rails right to them and off you go.
A-ha! I was looking for some Yakima system that would attach their cross bars to factory crossbars. Didn't think about just getting hardware to do it myself after checking weight limits.

Such a helpful forum. Thank you!
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PAC
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Re: custom roof racks and hitches

Post by PAC »

rooftop boxes - well sort of. There are boxes and then boxes. The squarish boxes look nice and hold stuff but are harder to get into at times (mostly on top of higher vehicles) and are usually cheaper. the longer cylindrical versions hold as much and are more stream lined for gas mileage and longer items - have to pack different.
Check out your local craiglisting for the "roof topper", "roof box", "cargo box", "Yakima", Thule", "Sears", etc.
https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/pts/d ... 81921.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; A tad pricey but looks brand new.
https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/spo/d ... 93053.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; different mfg
https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/for/d ... 36331.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; cheap but not a durable and not as user friendly IMHO

Most can be modified to fit homemade racks too (2x4s or conduit). Good luck
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