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Has anyone out there successfully installed crossbars on their RAV4? I am wanting to use foam pads to mount my kayak, and would like to install THULE or Yakima crossbars. I have a 2015 with factory side rails.
When I research online, I get prompts they don't fit my vehicle. Am I limited to Toyota factory-made crossbars for my car? I hear they are not very sturdy.. Can anyone attest to that? Also, I wish for little or no wind noise, as I plan to leave the crossbars on. Thanks for any insight.
 

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I did some research on cross bars myself before settling on the OEM cross bars. I didn't look at Yakima since I've previously been a Thule guy, but the cost benefits pushed me to go with OEM.

One thing to note about Thule carriers is that you need to make sure that it is adapted for their AeroBlade line, because those will be the ones that work with the OEM bars. Mounts for their square bars is completely proprietary.

I use my racks with two Thule Sidearm 594XT bike carriers, and they work perfectly fine with the OEM bars. You can find pictures of them in this post I made in 4.4 general here.

They've held up pretty well for the last four months or so that I've had them on. No noise unless the moonroof is open, and MPG hasn't taken too much of a hit (getting approx 25 mpg).

If you do decide to go Thule, you can either use square bars (louder but cheaper) or their AeroBlade line (quieter but more expensive). Their AeroBlade also has two sets, AeroBlade and AeroBlade Edge. The AeroBlade looks like the square bars where there will be some excess coming out the sides and overhanging the side of the car, whereas the AeroBlade Edge looks like the OEM style.

Square bars will need: LB50 bars & Rapid Crossroad Footpack 450 (non-R)
AeroBlades will need: ARB53 bars & Rapid Crossroad Footpack 450R
AeroBlade Edges will need: AeroBlade Edge 7502
 

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I also went with the Toyota crossbars (not clones)to carry my 13' Coleman canoe. When the crossbars arrived I was a bit worried about the way they "clamp" to the side rails, as opposed to the bolt-ons of my previous 4.2 and 4.3.
But they worked fine, as the canoe is wide enough that I lash to the side rails not the crossbars. I also used those under hood "thingies" of nylon strapping and rubber hose, to tie the front of the canoe in place. Placing them under the hood near the hinges was just right for the front of the canoe. Only carried the canoe once so far, about 200 miles on 2 lane blacktop with lots of 18 wheelers in the other direction......no problems.
My biggest hassle with the '15 XLE was the rear door with the oversized spoiler that prevented it from opening with the canoe on, compared to my previous RAVs with side opening rear doors......
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To thedlv and Bluenoser, Thanks so much for your input.. I do have one more question especially to Bluenoser... Did you have to remove the antenna on your RAV4 in order to mount your canoe? I know I used to unscrew the antenna on my Mini Cooper... I just wouldn't want to damage it.
 

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You did alright.....replies from diagonal corners of the continent....:smile
I always load my canoe from the side and remove the antenna before doing so, and replace it once the canoe is in place.
Those "thingies" I mentioned are available from most outdoor/camping stores, and I highly recommend them to keep the front of a canoe/kayak in place if a blast of wind from an 18 wheeler should get under them....
If you go with the Toyota crossbars, after attaching them, try to slide them along the side rails. If they move, put another turn on the clamps, until they won't slide....works for me....
G/L
 

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If you go with the Toyota crossbars, after attaching them, try to slide them along the side rails. If they move, put another turn on the clamps, until they won't slide....works for me....
One note of caution! Don't put too many turns on the screw. I did that, and when I went to unlatch the clamp to remove the crossbar . . . the clamp broke. I cannot unmount that rack. When I take it in for its 10k oil change, I'm going to see if I can get it replaced under the new vehicle warranty.

- - -

On another note, can you explain more about those "thingies"? I've never tied down the bow or stern of my kayak for fear of damaging the paint. I guess I've just been lucky so far. I would certainly tie it down if I was sure it wouldn't rub the paint.
 

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I don't have a host for pics, but you can goggle "Seattle Sport Quick Loops". There are quite a few vids on You Tube showing how to use them with canoes.
I felt more comfortable putting them up by the hood hinges so there's no chance of warping the hood. I only used them once so far, and they held the canoe very secure, but the strap part marked the paint slightly.....next time I'll put a couple of layers of black electrical tape in that area to avoid any scuffing....nice thing about electrical tape, no sticky residue.....
I think it depends on how much the ropes or straps vibrate. My ropes were short so didn't vibrate much.
 

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I have Yakima bars and clamps that I used on my 2012, but now I have a 2015. I haven't had a chance to try the clamps on the 2015 - anybody know whether they'll work?
 

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I use the Rhino Rack Vortex SX cross bars. They work great. I got the 50" model. They look a bit wide on the rav4, so I might cut them down in the future. So far I have used them for a snowboard rack. No real noticeable noise or whistling from them either. In terms of you using your 2012 cross bars on your 2015, I don't think they will work. While I was researching various cross bars, the models that worked on the 2015 rav4 only worked from 2013+.

Vortex SX Roof Rack | Rhino-Rack
 

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1. Would the OEM (or OEM clone) crossbars for 2013-2015 work for the 2016 Hybrid? I'm guessing yes, but I want to make sure. Nobody seems to mention the 2016 yet on eBay.

2. How good (or bad) are the lower cost eBay racks?

3. Any disadvantages of the OEM Toyota ones? Is the clamp weak or something?

4. How cross-compatible are crossbars with various rack manufacturers? I'm thinking of getting perhaps ski/snowboard racks and a bike rack.

5. For a brick and mortar store/chain in Toronto, which might you recommend?

Forgive the basic questions, but I'm new at this. I use to transport my bikes always using a hitch ratch, but I'm holding off attaching a hitch to the RAV4 Hybrid since it appears all the existing hitches require modification of the install, sometimes with trimming pieces of the RAV4, something I don't want to do. I already have a Yakima 2" hitch mount bike rack though.
 

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I'm using the Thule 450 Crossroads with square bars. I have a Thule Stacker Kayak rack and Yakima Rocket Box that can be carried because my bars are pretty long. My understanding is legally the bars can extend to the side mirrors but not beyond. The factory cross bars are okay if you only plan on one item at a time. I want to use my Rocket Box and Kayak rack at the same time and the factory cross bars are too short for it.
 

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I have a 15 with factory rails and crossbars. I removed the crossbars and would like to use my old Yakima system components. I purchased some lowrider mounts off of craigslist, but they are fairly permanent. I really do not want to leave my bars up there all the time as it will take a hit on fuel consumption.

Ideally I'd just be able to pop them off, like I used to with my control towers and Q towers. Anybody with experience with the lowrider Max or ez-rider? Can you take them off fairly easily?
 
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