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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still hung up on which crossbars to get. I found the OEM ones for $155 and being the cheapskate I am, now I don't really know what to do.

The Thule alternatives that I want (the only ones I would consider) are $320 in comparison.

Thule pros:
-- They hold up to 165 lbs.
-- They are square so I'm certain our cargo box will fit

Thule cons:
-- They are $320
-- They sit pretty tall (not sure if I'd be able to pull in/out w/cargo box on)
-- I would likely want to take them off when not in use/put them on to use
-- Maybe more wind noise?

OEM pros:
-- Look good aesthetically
-- Are only $155
-- are lower than the Thule setup (closer to roof)
-- would leave on all the time (no off/on for use)

OEM cons:
-- Only hold 100 lbs.
-- reports of them being "cheap" (pressure screw to lock in place, cheap material)
-- Pretty sure my cargo box will fit but it may be a bit bigger of a pain to get attached as I'll have to tighten the bracket down all the way.

My main concern is the load capacity. I'm thinking 100 lbs is not going to be enough. I'm pretty sure the cargo box alone is about 44 lbs. So I can only put 56 lbs. more of stuff in the box? Is that going to be enough I wonder... If that math is correct, that means if my cargo box is 18sqft. I have 56lbs./18sqft = 3.1 lbs per sqft. We usually just put clothes up there (in suitcases) but I've never really weighed them.

So does anyone have any experience, specifically with load weight, on the OEMs?

For reference, I did search and found this thread:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/125-4-4-exterior/140513-cargo-box-factory-cross-bars.html

and while a few mention using a cargo box with the OEM's, nobody really addresses how much weight they were able to put up there succssfully.

Thanks!
 

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Crossbar Use

I use the OEM crossbars to haul a couple of whitewater kayaks and their paddles. I have yet to explore the limits of the crossbars, but I think I could get four kayaks up there. That load would be more than 100 pounds, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it.

Concerning OEM crossbar quality: they seem to me to be highly engineered and very high quality. The main span is an airfoil-shaped aluminum tube; strong, stiff, and light. The clamps contain some fiber-reinforced polymer of some kind, but then so do Yakima (and I suspect Thule) towers. The clamps use an overcenter method, very similar to the method used by Yakima to secure their towers to the car. I installed the bars myself, and was impressed with Toyota engineering and quality as I did.

The OEM crossbars are bowed slightly upward. This presents no problem with kayaks, but might affect the attachment of a flat bottomed box. I doubt it is a problem.

There is no wind noise at all with the OEM bars, given their extreme aero shape. Round crossbars will certainly create wind noise (I know this from many years of Yakima experience). I don't know about square bars and wind noise.

Wish I had more for you concerning load capacity. Like you, I read somewhere that the OEM bars were chintzy. I just couldn't disagree more. I was very impressed with them.

Edit: Concerning on/off. The OEM bars can be removed or installed in under 5 minutes. Initial installation may take 30 minutes as you climb the learning curve and make initial adjustments.
 
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Edit: Concerning on/off. The OEM bars can be removed or installed in under 5 minutes. Initial installation may take 30 minutes as you climb the learning curve and make initial adjustments.
Are there instructions for removal posted somewhere?

My new RAV4 has the bars and I doubt I'll ever use them so I liked to take them off to make snow removal easier. Thanks.
 

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Here's How To Remove Them

Hi Mainiac. Here it is, step by step.

The first pic is a top view of the left rear crossbar clamp. The arrows on the oblong portion of the clamp lock are pointing the the locked position icon. The key I'm holding is supplied with the crossbars. It engages the oblong feature on the clamp lock as shown in the second picture.

Insert the key, and turn the lock counterclockwise 90 degrees until the arrows line up with the unlocked icon as shown in the third pic. If you don't have the key, you will have to figure out to turn the lock by some other means. I can actually unlock mine with just my fingernails, so it is not really so hard to turn.

Now that the clamp is unlocked, flip the clamping lever up 90 degrees as shown in the fourth pic. Grab the lever as in the fifth pic, and turn it several turns counterclockwise. You will notice that the clamp has completely released its grip after a turn or two, but continue turning to gain easy clearance between the clamp and the roof rails.

Do the same thing on the other end of the crossbar.

Now rotate the crossbar as required to completely disengage it from the roof rails. Lift the crossbar away.

This takes about 2 minutes per crossbar, maybe a bit longer if you don't have the key. For the rear crossbar, I stand on the rear tires. For the front, I open the front doors and stand on the (protected) sills. Just reverse the above procedure to reinstall.

Hope this helps.

Clearly, I need to trim the hair from my knuckles. :) I never thought of myself as ape-like. Maybe time to reconsider.
 

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Hi Mainiac. Here it is, step by step.
Thanks for the great instructions with pictures even!

Unfortunately I just checked the vehicle and the key is nowhere to be found. I'll be e-mailing my salesman with a picture of it and telling him I expect to have one waiting for me when I go in Thursday to have the body side molding put on.
 

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I drove my Limited for a couple months before installing OEM crossbars. With the sunroof open the OEM crossbars definitely create more noise than with no bars. With the sunroof closed there is no noticeable difference in noise.
 

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I don't think it should be surprising that having the cross bars in place would add to wind noise in some way but it shouldn't be excessive if the bars are designed properly, ie: aerodynamically!

On the weight loading questions, the one thing I wonder about that I haven't noticed anyone addressing is, what kind of weight can you put up there without adversely effecting the Rav's handling? The top of the car really is the worst place to be adding a lot of weight. I can't help but wonder how much that fact was considered in Toyota's loading recommendations for the factory cross bars at only 100 lbs? I think we all understand that they will err on the conservative side and maybe adding more will not produce any unusual problems under normal driving conditions but what happens when the unusual happens?

Just trying to offer a little food for thought! :)

Drive Safe,
Steve R.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys! I really appreciate you taking the time to review and discuss.

My main concern was weight and "cheapness" of the bars. It sounds like those are somewhat unfounded.
 

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On the weight loading questions, the one thing I wonder about that I haven't noticed anyone addressing is, what kind of weight can you put up there without adversely effecting the Rav's handling? The top of the car really is the worst place to be adding a lot of weight. I can't help but wonder how much that fact was considered in Toyota's loading recommendations for the factory cross bars at only 100 lbs? I think we all understand that they will err on the conservative side and maybe adding more will not produce any unusual problems under normal driving conditions but what happens when the unusual happens?

Just trying to offer a little food for thought! :)

Drive Safe,
Steve R.
As with all vehicles,common sense tells us that the more weight you stack on top the easier it is to have a roll over as it has increased the vehicles' centre of gravity.
I do agree with you though that Toyota(or any other company for that matter) would only recommend the weight load would be less than what the bars can handle. :thumbs_up:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
yeah, I'm not as concerned with throwing off the CoG or handling dynamics... I don't typically drive very fast when carrying carog anyway. Heck, we don't drive fast AT ALL.... I just looked last night and we've had our rav for nearly 800 miles. I don't know if it's the trip average MPH or the overall vehicle average MPH but on the display between the gauges it says the average MPH is 17 lol. No matter what timeframe that's for, that's about right for how my wife drives.

Anyway, I'd probably be loading the thing up to 125-150lbs. I don't *think* that would be a problem if distributed evenly...
 

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Anyway, I'd probably be loading the thing up to 125-150lbs. I don't *think* that would be a problem if distributed evenly...
Let us know how that goes. I plan on hauling a couple of canoes in the summer, which I'm pretty sure combined would weight more than 100 pounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I bit the bullet and got the Thule system. It should be here Wednesday or Thursday. I'm going to test fit, drive on the highway to check road noise, test fit the cargo box and drive on the highway with that on too. I'll take some pics and post my impressions. The true test will be loading the box up! I don't see a problem and I intend to weigh everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I got them this evening. I opened them up and they're all dusty and covered in what appears to be grease or lube. At first glance, I'd say they're used and returned (the box is in horrible shape but that's cause Amazon shipped it in the Thule box) but there is no extra tape on the box, only the stuff that I cut open. There's a small gouge in one of the load-bearing surfaces -- probably from the horrible packaging (or lack of) during shipping. I'm OK with cosmetic defects really cause I'm going to be banging them up, no dobut.

I'm still on the fence as to whether I want to send this pair back and roll the dice that the next pair is in better shape or just suck it up and keep them.

I test fitted to the RAV. They fit and secure really nicely. I threw the cargo box up there but my wife had to leave so I didn't get a chance to fully secure it down and go for a drive. I'll probalby do so later tonight. I got a few pics though and I hope to get more!

I'll update accordingly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
it's done. I got (what I believe to be) the PERFECT crossbars for the Rav. Fit my 30" wide box and allow me to pull in and out of the garage! They look awesome too!

Nobody seemed too interested last time lol so I won't take the time to post pics or details... but if someone stumbles across this post and is curious or looking for a solution of their own, feel free to PM me and I'd be glad to share my thoughts and some pics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Your solution! By request only? wtf!

Sorry! I took all these pics of my first attempt (a different set of Thule Crossbars) and posted in this thread all the pics and my thoughts. I didn't note the views before and after but nobody said anyting so I figured nobody really cared (which is fine with me, my feelings aren't hurt or anything). I just wasn't going to take the time to post pics and my thoughts if it wasn't going to benefit the community.

Plus besides a longer 60 MPH test drive, I haven't fully loaded the whole rig (cargo box) and gone any distance. I have zero doubt everything will perform beautifully when I do.

I'm very excited about it cause the new bars look SO MUCH BETTER than the old. Expensive. Way more expensive than I was planning on. But it's one of those where you kinda pay for what you get.

If you twist my arm (more like if I find some time later today) I can upload a few pics and give my impressions!
 

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Hi Mainiac. Here it is, step by step.

The first pic is a top view of the left rear crossbar clamp. The arrows on the oblong portion of the clamp lock are pointing the the locked position icon. The key I'm holding is supplied with the crossbars. It engages the oblong feature on the clamp lock as shown in the second picture.

Insert the key, and turn the lock counterclockwise 90 degrees until the arrows line up with the unlocked icon as shown in the third pic. If you don't have the key, you will have to figure out to turn the lock by some other means. I can actually unlock mine with just my fingernails, so it is not really so hard to turn.

Now that the clamp is unlocked, flip the clamping lever up 90 degrees as shown in the fourth pic. Grab the lever as in the fifth pic, and turn it several turns counterclockwise. You will notice that the clamp has completely released its grip after a turn or two, but continue turning to gain easy clearance between the clamp and the roof rails.

Do the same thing on the other end of the crossbar.

Now rotate the crossbar as required to completely disengage it from the roof rails. Lift the crossbar away.

This takes about 2 minutes per crossbar, maybe a bit longer if you don't have the key. For the rear crossbar, I stand on the rear tires. For the front, I open the front doors and stand on the (protected) sills. Just reverse the above procedure to reinstall.

Hope this helps.

Clearly, I need to trim the hair from my knuckles. :) I never thought of myself as ape-like. Maybe time to reconsider.
Thanks for putting up the pics and showing how they remove. This has been my major concern to the factory cross bars, they don't actually lock. I rarely ever leave gear on my car over night unattended but I would like to leave a bike rack or kayak rack up there for a few days if I know I'm going to use them over and over. But the no lock thing really bothers me. Yakima and Thule lock, but I have yet to see how the interface with the factory roof rails and I'm thinking the fit is not going to be anywhere near as good or clean.

If anyone does have picks of the Thule or Yakima versions installed I'd love to see em!
 
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