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2018-2500-159" aka Sun2 -NE Ohio
214 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ref: Low profile roof rails for kayak rack - Part 1

As I outlined in a previous post, mounting kayaks on a PM has no great off the shelf solutions. Trying to keep the boats as low as possible entailed making my own low profile rails and custom crossbars. Avoiding an air conditioner and solar panels complicated the job.

After many many delays I finally have a road worthy setup. I had settled on the Thule Hullavators as a lift mechanism. Unfortunately (as I expected) the cradles supplied were a terrible fit for our kayaks. Plus these light-weight ABS kayaks need better support than the average plastic kayak. I had to make custom cradles too. The advantage of my design with upright arms is that the kayaks "stick" in the cradle while side loading giving time to get the tie down straps on.

Thule claims the gas struts in the lift mechanism will assist 40 pounds of weight. Sure enough, these boats are about 40# each and will lift with little effort. Because the cradles are spaced further apart than the normal installation (mine are 67" apart) it is a little awkward as front and back are independent of each other. I need a little practice to figure out the best grip for lifting.

For the time being, the pads are taped in place. While road worthy in the short term, I will need a better method. tape, glue to attach them.

The road test... No noticeable noise of any kind up to about 60mph. At 65-70 mph there may have been the slightest wind noise but I can't tell if it's the kayaks or regular road noise.

And the height? The highest point of the kayak is the rear of cockpit rim. It is 10'-1" high. Not too bad considering everything. I'll be watching for low bridges and tree limbs. Time will tell about the cross winds and truck turbulence.

And some photos, of course... KenA
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