Yakima & Thule Roof Rack Tracks: Good, Bad or Indifferent?

grahamfitter

Expedition Leader
I'm looking for a roof rack for my "new" '05 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Its got a hard top which I'm thinking about leaving on permanently so one obvious solution is a roof rack track system from Yakima and Thule:

Yakima_Track.jpeg

This is significantly lighter and lower profile than the Congo Cage I have mounted on my TJ. I usually carry an Autohome Overcamp RTT (120 lb or so) and a couple of kayaks (60-80 lb) so the rack needs to hold about 200 lb dynamic weight total.

Any scare stories out there?

Cheers,
Graham
 

Haggis

Appalachian Ridgerunner
You know, I have a set of 54" Thule tracks, risers and crossbars sitting in the closet I bought last fall for my LJ's hardtop. My thoughts where that I could throw an occasional ladder (one of my shorter ones) for work or one of the canoes on top without lugging the weight of a permament heavy duty rack. But it took me a long time to find a good deal on a LJ hardtop and now I'm loath to drill holes in it. So I'm waffling as to what to do. I don't think I'd put the kind of weight your talking about on with basically the hardtop as the bearing structure. I'll now observe quietly as the response to your post rolls in. Maybe it will end the waffling.
 

Nullifier

Expedition Leader
Having been a dealer for both for a long time, I will tell you they use the same tracks with different end caps. However skip the tracks. Both companies make feet that will bolt through the hard top. This is stronger then mounting into the aluminum tracks. Plus you will have less holes in the roof. You will sacrifice having an adjustable track however given the short length of the roof section you should not have to worry about that. Just keep in mind that with a RTT you will want 3 crossbars to handle the dynamic load.

Now as for the quality of the components, go for the Thule. Imo it is better. Thule racks under go a euro testing cert process yakima does not. Also the yakima control tower is a nylon composite system and can be really finicky with how it is torqued down. The Thule system uses a steel rod for the tower to connect to and is easier to install.
 

rickc

Adventurer
Thule cross bars are rectanglar in section and Yakima are round in section. For heavier kayak handling when rolling onto the truck from behind, the rectangular section bars are much better as the yak saddles do not roll forward or backwards as they are prone to on round section tubes.

I have Yakima "Hulley rollers" fitted to Thule cross bars. You can buy Yakima, rectanglar section clamps for use with Thule bars.
 

7wt

Expedition Leader
However skip the tracks. Both companies make feet that will bolt through the hard top. This is stronger then mounting into the aluminum tracks. Plus you will have less holes in the roof.
Does this apply to fiberglass canopies as well? If so, what are they called? Is there a part number? I just ordered a canopy and didn't get it with the tracks. I am kinda kicking myself for that but if there is something actually better then it makes it look like I know what I was doing!
 

Haggis

Appalachian Ridgerunner
Does this apply to fiberglass canopies as well? If so, what are they called? Is there a part number? I just ordered a canopy and didn't get it with the tracks. I am kinda kicking myself for that but if there is something actually better then it makes it look like I know what I was doing!
I just installed my old ('96 vintage) Yakima racks on that used cap I put on my Tundra. I had to get new mounts, in my case they were the "artificial rain gutter" type to match the older style clamp risers of the Yakimas. Each rack has it's own style (though some cover multiple styles) of mounting feet to match the risers footprint. When you order your racks just tell them you want the mounting plates for a cap and you'll be good to go. And yes I like the Thule stuff a little better too, though the Yakimas have preformed well on three different trucks over the last 13 years.
 

grahamfitter

Expedition Leader
Does this apply to fiberglass canopies as well? If so, what are they called? Is there a part number? I just ordered a canopy and didn't get it with the tracks. I am kinda kicking myself for that but if there is something actually better then it makes it look like I know what I was doing!
These pages have some photos of what's possible:

http://www.backcountryracks.com/cu.html

http://rackattackboston.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/2005-jeep-wrangler-custom-yakima-trackcontrol-tower-system-with-thule-boxter/

Cheers,
Graham
 

dnellans

Adventurer
I use the yakima tracks on the fiberglass track of my tacoma. I'm satisfied with them for sure. No leaks after 2 years - the mounting hardware is decent (even comes with silicone) and the one ******** up i've had where i had the rack on and forgot while pulling into a garage...:(

The roof rack feet ripped out of the aluminum tracks before the tracks ripped out of the cap. so the weak point certainly isn't the track 2 cap mounting

not a jeep top - but an experience with them. i regularly have a modified colman rack filled with "crap" and my 13 foot kayak mounted next to it for my summer fishing trips.
 

Nullifier

Expedition Leader
Does this apply to fiberglass canopies as well? If so, what are they called? Is there a part number? I just ordered a canopy and didn't get it with the tracks. I am kinda kicking myself for that but if there is something actually better then it makes it look like I know what I was doing!
THe Thule compnents are tk-13 and tk-14 (these are the bases). TK-13 is for mounting to fiberglass shells the other is for going through sheet metal. It was stated by someone who ran into the garage threshold, that the feet ripped out of the aluminum track. That is the week spot. It is ok to use the tracks for things like canoes and kayaks on non offroad apps but I am adiment about them not being a great idea for dynamic loads on offroad apps. If you are in need of having multiple cross bar locations in order to go from boats to bike or cargo boxes get an extra pair of feet and mount them where they are needed rather then install a track system.

Personally I have installed well over a 100 of these systems on various cars and trucks over the years. I have never had one of mine come back either track or feet style. However I have installed both types on one of my personal vehicles and the amount of flex that you get in the track style is alot more then the feet style. There for I do not run the tracks on my offroad trucks.
 

7wt

Expedition Leader
Thank you all for the excellent responses. Now when I am ready to get a canoe or some other toy, I can know I can mount it up top without fear.
 

grahamfitter

Expedition Leader
I'm still waffling about whether its practical to mount a rack to the Jeep's hard-top because its curved front-to-back and...

Just keep in mind that with a RTT you will want 3 crossbars to handle the dynamic load.
... so the three crossbars won't line up.

The only way I can think of making it work with two crossbars is to put some kind of brace between the rack mounts and the roll cage.

Still waffling.

Cheers,
Graham
 
Top