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Old 04-30-2012   #11
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 945
I was driving up Big Thompson canyon after running the river. I have a blazer with factory racks...Well I got up to about 20 miles per hour when my creek boat flew off, well actually slid off the front scratching my hood. I was gonna call Chevrolet to see if they could do anything since it did scratch my hood but I didn't decide to since I forgot to tie it down.

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Old 04-30-2012   #12
NathanH.'s Avatar
N/A, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 325
I'm not sure but I think Yakima has a policy with their snowboard/ski carriers. If you equipment comes off the rack they assume the liability for it. You might look into that.

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Old 04-30-2012   #13
Horserump, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 458
37 years boat'n and I use to loose boats all the time. Not since cam straps. However I do not use one long strap that runs to each rack. I tie the boats to each rack with one or two straps per rack. Also if you notice that the rack is loose you may want to tighten it. I've had up to 8 boats on the rack on nasty roads and high speed roads. Good luck.
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Old 04-30-2012   #14
latenightjoneser's Avatar
steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 417
I use Yakima q towers. They can be loose, making me nervous. I recently had to replace the little rubber pads that sit under each tower. The pads had rotted in the sun to the point that they were like jelly. This could be the problem?
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Old 04-30-2012   #15
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Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
I've had problems with Yakima as well, and from what I've heard, I would put more trust in Thule racks these days.

I had a 2004 Hyundai Elantra with Yakima racks PROFESSIONALLY installed (on two different occasions, a second time after problems as described below.) Not long after installation, the rack began to slide. The sliding rack caused damage to the side roof area of my vehicle and also got worse, making me fear that boats would go flying off of my vehicle. I no longer own the vehicle or use that type of rack, and I never contacted Yakima about it.

I would suggest using one strap per cross bar on your rack. By using one long strap through both bars, you are essentially pulling them together (or at least putting pressure on them in such a way.)

After reading this thread, I do believe Yakima is at fault. Their website clearly stated that the rack was good for my model of vehicle, and it was not in my situation, and it sounds like other car owners have experienced the same.
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Old 04-30-2012   #16
Columbus, Indiana
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 135
So did the stackers come off, or was it the entire rack?
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Old 04-30-2012   #17
Laramie, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 171
I definitely agree with the comments on here about using only one strap per cross bar. THe one strap system is slick and handy, but definitely has a tendency to pull the bars together. Especially with Yakima Q clips, as soon as those towers are anywhere besides their precisely described positioning on the car, the clips don't match the contour of your vehicles frame and they're ripe to come off. If Q clips and towers are your only fit for your vehicle, it is probably worth keeping your installation instructions and remeasuring the Q tower positioning once a year or something.

Other rack set ups than the Q clips seem stronger too. If you like your cars cheap, and your kayaks to stay put, use old school 1A raingutter towers, they've never been anything but solid for me.

Q towers in particular are just kind of a finicky design. I'm not sure what Thule makes to fit the same vehicles, but I can't imagine it's way more foolproof. I worked at a shop that sold Yakima for a lot of years, we did see some Q towers come back in that had failed dramatically like you're saying, but I never saw any type of failure on any other variety of Yakima towers.
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Old 04-30-2012   #18
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Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 48
Flying Mazda 3

It's a good thing those boats came off. Landing a Mazda is tough without air traffic control support.
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Old 04-30-2012   #19
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
A Mazda Protoge I had years ago also suffered some roof damage from Q towers sliding under a load of 4 playboats and highway speeds. I ended up using bow/stern lines on long drives in that car after noticing the damage and potential for failure.

If you want to use A1 raingutter towers (Yakima or Thule) but your car doesn't have raingutters, you can bolt some "Thule Artificial Rain Gutters" or "Yakima Bolt Top Loaders" to the top of your car. These will allow you to use the Rain Gutter towers/feet. I've used them on two vehicles in the past and they're bomber. The A1 towers can slip on a regular rain gutter, but the artificial ones are crimped on the ends and prevent the towers from slipping off.
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Old 04-30-2012   #20
OlyPen, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 85
Kayak position makes a difference

All these boats and/or racks that flew off--were the kayaks sitting on their sides (as with J-cradles or stackers) OR were they sitting flat (either right-side-up or upside-down)?

If the kayaks are on their sides, they act like sails with big scoops (cockpits).

If the kayaks are sitting flat, they present less of a wind wall.

Not saying that is what caused the OP's failure, but it could contribute to overstressing the set-up at Interstate speeds, especially with crosswinds. And especially if there is little spread between the crossbars, as is common on small cars. The kayaks act like giant levers twisting the mounts.

Standard protocol with rooftopped long kayaks and canoes calls for bow and stern painter lines. I have yet to see a short kayak with such lines, though it's a good idea.

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