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Old 12-17-2009, 02:17 PM   #1
dhammer
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Default Installing racks on factory roof rails (08-10)

When I bought my '09 OBS, I thought to myself, "oh good, factory roof rails, that'll make it easy to carry my skis and bike around". This is my first experience with a rack on my car, and let me tell you that Subaru did not make it easy on me with these racks.

First off, the most important thing: There are two sizes of rails that look exactly the same. Apparently Subaru got a bunch of complaints that the "fatter" rails (the ones I have) create a lot of wind noise so they went to a thinner design. The parts department at my local dealer did not seem to know this, so I have had some issues getting the part that corresponds to the correct rails throughout this process.

In this thread I'll offer some suggestions based on my experience thus far and ask a few questions since I'm still trying to get this all correct. On to the pictures!

Here's the car how it sits right now, extremely dirty.



From this picture you can see that I have a Yakima ski rack with some universal mounts that I bought the day I got the car, and an OEM Subaru tube mounted (I think that's the term) bike rack with an Inno fairing.

First off, I know people have had difficulty with having to rig up a way to get a Yakima or Thule fairing to mount to the factory cross bars. This fairing (http://www.buy.com/prod/Inno-Fairing...212349496.html) mounts perfectly to the bars without any fabrication. The medium size is the way to go. Here's a closeup of how it mounts to the rails:



The ski rack, shown here with the universal (e.g. bulky, tall, and ugly) mount kit:



I am in the process of replacing the universal mounts with the OEM clips that are smaller, shorter, and better looking:


(Subaru part #E361SFG000).

All I need are the bolts and the wing nuts to go with the rack. Does anyone know what exactly I need? My bike rack came with these wing nuts from Yakima:



The long wing nuts, apparently, mount that so when the ski rack is closed, a little plastic flange on the top piece of the rack hits the wingnut and prevents someone from stealing the whole rack. I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction as to what size bolts I'll need, otherwise it's a trip to the hardware store and some more trail and error for me!

Lastly, the final (and probably stupidest) question is about my bike rack. The arm doesn't attach anywhere and seems like it would flop up when I hit bumps when my bike isn't there. Is there a part that I'm missing that secures the arm when there's no bike on it? I got the rack used so maybe I'm missing something. Should I be securing it down somehow or am I being overly cautious?



Thanks in advance for answering my questions and hopefully this thread helped out others who are working on similar setups.
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:07 AM   #2
.HaVoK.
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I dont think the Arm came with anything to mount it down. As for the universal mounts, to be secure, I think I'd just stick with the mounts the rack came with JUST IN CASE. Remember, the mounts came with the racks because it was proven to work. Something might go wrong while you've mounted the other one.

Otherwise, nice car.

Edit: Also, good idea with the INNO fairing. I know everyone has issues mounting Yakima and Thule ones to factory bars.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the pictures!

I'm in the process of looking at ski racks for my OEM cross bars.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:47 PM   #4
dhammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .HaVoK. View Post
As for the universal mounts, to be secure, I think I'd just stick with the mounts the rack came with JUST IN CASE. Remember, the mounts came with the racks because it was proven to work. Something might go wrong while you've mounted the other one.

Otherwise, nice car.
Thanks! The Yakima ski rack I have and the OEM Subaru rack are the exact same other than the label; one says Yakima and the other Subaru and costs more. I guess now I know that the increase in price pays for the specialized mounts versus the universal ones. Live and learn, I guess.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhammer View Post
Thanks! The Yakima ski rack I have and the OEM Subaru rack are the exact same other than the label; one says Yakima and the other Subaru and costs more. I guess now I know that the increase in price pays for the specialized mounts versus the universal ones. Live and learn, I guess.
Where'd you get the Yakima rack from/which one is it? I was looking at the "Big Powder Hound" I believe. I wouldn't mind the "universal" mounts as long as they work! Looking on Yakima's website it seems like I'd have to sell the car to have enough money for a rack from them
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elwray View Post
Where'd you get the Yakima rack from/which one is it? I was looking at the "Big Powder Hound" I believe. I wouldn't mind the "universal" mounts as long as they work! Looking on Yakima's website it seems like I'd have to sell the car to have enough money for a rack from them
I bought mine from the dealer, it was about $50. I was shocked. Works well enough, but I thought spending an additional $20 or so was worth it for the correct attachments from Subaru. You can always go used, too.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:40 PM   #7
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Nice find with the INNO Fairing.
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:53 PM   #8
elwray
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$50!? Holy cow, good deal!
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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I bought the Subaru ski rack for my OBS through my dealer and it works great. Installs and removes in minutes without tools too. The Subaru rack is just a rebranded Yakima.
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:55 PM   #10
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johnny cupcakes!
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:36 AM   #11
scratch12
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Default My solution to the Impreza racks-$$$

After a bit of research and looking at the universal mighty mounts from Yakima, I realized that using them to adapt the Subaru crossbar to my Yakima racks was going to be a PITA. So, I ended up buying the landing pads and towers and for about $250.00 I can use my Yakima round bar from my old car and stick with the Yakima Hully Rollers, Mako saddles, ski racks, and gunwale bracket racks very easily. Those universal mighty mounts looked like a lot of trouble and the sales person at Rack Attack seemed to think so as well. I also wasn't sure how to lock the Yakima gear to the Subaru crossbars and now I have a totally lockable system-well, (except for the boating attachments which don't have core locks.) Subaru could have done us all a favor and just left the rack off the OBS and let us fend for ourselves. Now I have the factory rack to sell on craigslist, what a pleasure.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:04 AM   #12
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Partial hijack but - how do the OEM crossbars install to the roof? I see what looks like covers over the mounting area on the car? Are they easily installed and maybe more importantly REMOVED again?


We're kinda tempted to install a hitch, not for any towing but to instead use hitch mounted racks...

any thoughts on this?
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:17 AM   #13
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I had a 1 1/4" trailer hitch installed on my car the day I bought it. It is for my bike rack, which is a Thule T2. It works extremely well, and has been working perfectly for 2 years. Since I only need it for the bike rack, I saved some money and did not have a trailer wiring harness installed.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev m View Post
Partial hijack but - how do the OEM crossbars install to the roof? I see what looks like covers over the mounting area on the car? Are they easily installed and maybe more importantly REMOVED again?


We're kinda tempted to install a hitch, not for any towing but to instead use hitch mounted racks...

any thoughts on this?
If you take a screwdriver, pop open those "covers" on the roof. There are two sets of female threads under each cover. The OEM crossbars thread into those. Pretty quick install/removal. I think they look pretty nice, too -- they just don't have the weight rating that the aftermarkets do... but for just carrying skis/snowboards or a bicycle, shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elwray View Post
If you take a screwdriver, pop open those "covers" on the roof. There are two sets of female threads under each cover. The OEM crossbars thread into those. Pretty quick install/removal. I think they look pretty nice, too -- they just don't have the weight rating that the aftermarkets do... but for just carrying skis/snowboards or a bicycle, shouldn't be a problem.
this is also where Yakima's landing pad 11 bolts to the roof.

+1 really easy to install/remove
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:43 PM   #16
kev m
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubaru 08 View Post
I had a 1 1/4" trailer hitch installed on my car the day I bought it. It is for my bike rack, which is a Thule T2. It works extremely well, and has been working perfectly for 2 years. Since I only need it for the bike rack, I saved some money and did not have a trailer wiring harness installed.
Glad to hear

Quote:
Originally Posted by elwray View Post
If you take a screwdriver, pop open those "covers" on the roof. There are two sets of female threads under each cover. The OEM crossbars thread into those. Pretty quick install/removal. I think they look pretty nice, too -- they just don't have the weight rating that the aftermarkets do... but for just carrying skis/snowboards or a bicycle, shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks for the info!
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:40 PM   #17
minibrings
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Pic of my 09 Impreza GT with Factory Roof Rack. I attached a Thule 532 fit kit to the roof rack (but you need to order the longer screws from Thule).



Another view:
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:50 AM   #18
kev m
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Those air damns on the Thules - do they help?

I removed the crossbars from my Baja about a year ago and picked up a couple of mpg (I was shocked it was that much) and that was without any racks attached.

Anyone compare their milege with and without the Thule racks?
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:09 PM   #19
minibrings
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help in terms of mileage or wind noise? a little less wind noise, does not help with mpg... i still lose 1-2 mpg with the rack installed..
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:57 AM   #20
kev m
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minibrings View Post
help in terms of mileage or wind noise? a little less wind noise, does not help with mpg... i still lose 1-2 mpg with the rack installed..
Yeah, I was asking about mileage!

Thanks for the reply!

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Old 01-09-2010, 12:06 PM   #21
darren94
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Great post. Also Just to add, the yakima 2v clamps are the ones you can buy from any yakima dealer that will allow you to attach the yakima ski/snowboard system to the newer aero style subaru rack.

You can get them from you local stealership too!
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:39 PM   #22
pvalure
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Default Stock Clamps on thule rack?

Hi, I thought I'd throw this out there since you guys seem to have experience with the stock rack. I have an 09 OBS and am kind of annoyed with it.

I had a Thule rack, the flat top 6, and I'm looking for a way to get clamps on it that either hide the bolts (like the yakima mounts) or have no bolts visible (like the Subaru Clamps pictured above). Thing is, I don't know about the compatibility. The guy at the dealership tried to tell me that their clamps will work with all ski racks and I'm hard pressed to believe him because he also said that Subaru's Ski Attachment is Subaru, not a rebranded Yakima.

Anybody try this yet? Can I literally just change out the clamps and bolts?

thanks.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:27 PM   #23
elwray
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Does anyone have any other pictures of the Subaru clamps? I'm trying to figure out a different mounting method for my Inno Nexess ski rack so it doesn't sit up so high off the cross bars...
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:58 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stock09 View Post
this is also where Yakima's landing pad 11 bolts to the roof.

+1 really easy to install/remove
agree with you on that one. i have an 09 impreza sport 5dr, so it didnt come with the factory rack. paid about $225 for the yakima control towers, landing pads, bars, and locks through my local ski shop. i already had a yakima ski and bike rack from my old car, so i just needed to use the universal mighty mounts for the yakima round bars. i can take the rack off and on in about 30 seconds without having to unscrew the rack from the roof. the landing pads just stay on the roof with a little plastic cap when the rack is off. i'd highly recommend going this route if you can, since everything just works together much better than trying to get yakima stuff to fit on the funky stock bars. only downside is pretty bad wind noise if you don't get the fairing. i've got the 44" and it helps a ton, except when i have surfboards up top.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:15 AM   #25
kev m
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justo8484 View Post
agree with you on that one. i have an 09 impreza sport 5dr, so it didnt come with the factory rack. paid about $225 for the yakima control towers, landing pads, bars, and locks through my local ski shop. i already had a yakima ski and bike rack from my old car, so i just needed to use the universal mighty mounts for the yakima round bars. i can take the rack off and on in about 30 seconds without having to unscrew the rack from the roof. the landing pads just stay on the roof with a little plastic cap when the rack is off. i'd highly recommend going this route if you can, since everything just works together much better than trying to get yakima stuff to fit on the funky stock bars. only downside is pretty bad wind noise if you don't get the fairing. i've got the 44" and it helps a ton, except when i have surfboards up top.
OHHHHHHHHHH, that sounds pretty good.

Does anyone have pics of JUST the landing pads installed? Might help convince the wife this could be a good way to go.
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