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  1. Default Need advice on roof top carriers

    Hello, my family is moving across the country. We are driving from Virginia to California with a few stops along the way to visit relatives. We purchased a Hitch Haul soft carrier for the trip, but unfortunately, it was way too noisy. I taped all the straps down, but the fabric of the carrier rubbed against the wind and created a motorcycle engine like noise while going less than 70 mph. I can't bear to drive all the way to California with that sound. My question is will getting a hard top carrier eliminate the noise?

    Our car is a 2010 Subaru Forester, but has no cross bars, only the factory installed side rails that run front to back. I can invest $200-300 for a hard top carrier and cross bars as long as it is high quality and will not make lots of noise on the highway. I am leaning toward http://www.amazon.com/SportRack-A263...f=pd_sbs_sg_15

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Getting a hard top carrier might improve the noise, but generally speaking putting a big wind block on the top of your car is not going is still going to create some extra noise. It's also going to make your car more top heavy, and cause your car to handle differently and see much poorer gas mileage.

    If you already have the hitch haul, have you looked at other options to take advantage of that? I'd think just getting some big rubber storage tubs and strapping them down would be a much easier and cheaper solution.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you have a hitch, you might want to rent a small U-Haul trailer one way for the trip.

  4. #4

    Default Clarification needed

    Hello Amy,

    My read on your original post is that you've purchased a Hitch Haul Soft Carrier and have tested it on the ROOF of your car (where it is perfectly logical to attach it) but you've found the wind noise and "flapping" of the carrier's material against the rooftop or side rails to be objectionable.

    If that's correct, two solutions come to mind:

    1) If the carrier was not chockablock full when tested, you might try stuffing it completely full and trying again, where the fullness might tighten the material up enough to avoid flapping.

    2) If your Subaru has a receiver-style trailer hitch (many if not all I've seen do) you can acquire a steel Hitch Haul rack which "plugs in to" the receiver hitch and your bag will strap to the steel rack. This should largely to completely eliminate wind buffeting since the bag will be for the most part outside of the windstream. This also eliminates the worst of the handling and fuel mileage effects of having a "billboard" atop your small vehicle.

    I have a hitch haul steel rack for the rear of my 2010 Chevy Equinox and I can strap a hard-sided box on the hitch-haul and still have clearance for my hatchback to open. With that in place, I can blast 80 mph down the highway and not have a scrap of wind noise or handling problems.

    Here in the East (I'm in NC) you can find a hitch-haul or similar product at outlets like Northern Tool, Tractor Supply, and probably a number of other common sellers of recreational equipment. I imagine REI carrys them, too. Since you already have a weatherproof bag, the steel rack is likely the least expensive option.

    Foy

  5. Default

    Hello, I don't have a hitch. What I purchased was a 18 cubic feet carrier, which I already returned to the store. I do like the hitch haul rack idea, just need to figure out how or if I could attach it to the back of my Forester.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'd recommend that you get a hitch - I believe the Forester is rated to tow about 2400#. You could either rent a small trailer or get a hitch rack. Putting stuff on the roof is going to hurt your gas mileage and power more than something like that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Ah, I was assuming you already had the hitch, since it was a hitch-haul bag. Basically the idea I had is the same that Foy uses, with a box on a hitch mounted rack.

    A hitch should cost you $150 or so. Uhaul is one very big name that sells and installs them, but its not a real difficult job and anyone who works on cars should be able to install one for you. The hitch-haul would be about another $100. I'd agree that would be a better option than any roof rack, especially when you're talking about noise.

  8. #8

    Default The hitch install

    What you are looking for is called a receiver hitch. They come in two sizes, a 1.25 inch and a 2.00 inch. The "one and a quarter inch" size is rated for smaller capacities. There is possibly an issue with installing one on a Forester where the 1.25" hitches I'm familiar with are rated for 3,500 lb towed loads, and that apparently exceeds the rating of your car. U Haul is very particular about renting trailers which might exceed the towing vehicle's weight rating, and I'd expect them to be similarly skeptical about installing a 3,500 lb hitch on a car rated with a max capacity of 2,400. If it turns out the "one and a quarter inch" size goes down to 2,000 capacity, then you should be good to go. You'll find the hitch will accomodate the hitch-haul rack, bicycle racks, and any number of other useful items. Having returned the bag to the store, you may want to get the hitch installed, select a hitch-haul rack, and see what in the way of carry-bags will fit upon the rack. You'll definitely want some sort of waterproofing, as anything on the rack will get thoroughly soaked by rain and spray kicked up by your vehicle.

    Foy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    If it is possible, I'd recommend getting a 2 inch hitch (Class 3) as long as it is available. 2 inch hitches are more common, and there are a lot more options for accessories. Class 3's are rated for 5,000 lbs, but even if the hitch is rated higher than your car's capacity, that's ok, as long as you aren't assuming that it means you now have more towing capacity (and it doesn't sound like you'll be towing anyway). However, as Foy accurately points out, UHaul can be sticklers about this sort of thing (probably from having too many customers blame them for "user error"), and they might not agree to install it.

    If you have to go with a 1.25 (Class 1 or 2), it will be ok, you'll just have to look harder for things like bike racks and hitch hall platforms, and often you'll have to go online or special order what you need. I've got a 1.25 (factory installed) hitch and finding exactly what I need is usually a little difficult to find and/or more expensive than if I had a 2'' option.

  10. #10

    Default All correct, and.........

    .......I've seen hitch manufacturers produce a 2" hitch designed for < 5,000 lbs and, believe it or not, they pre-drill the hitch pin hole further towards the mouth of the hitch AND install a plate on the inside of the square tube to prevent a longer drawbar or accessory male end from getting too far in. The idea is of course that a shorter penetration translates to a lower capacity. I mention this since it may frustrate the user's attempt to use routinely available attachments for a 2" hitch since their male ends would likely be of a length and pre-drilled to match up with a normal Class IV or V 2" receiver hitch.

    There are, fortunately, inexpensive adaptors which fit into a 1.25" receiver and "expand out" to a 2" square tube. The advantage of using an adaptor is that it moves the rack rearward from the bumper/hatchback door by another 6-8" or so, further allowing access to the interior and/or opening the entire hatchback without disturbing the load in the rack. The disadvantage is that same rearward repositioning of the rack decreases the carrying capacity somewhat (due to the physics of leverage). We don't often "push the limits" with luggage, coolers, etc anyway, so this is not likely a real issue. The other disadvantage to using an adaptor is the rack will have somewhat more propensity to wiggle around a bit, possibly providing a rattling sound. I've solved this by use of stout bungee cords applying pressure to both sides of the rack. I'm able to stretch my cords back to the hitch's connection points for a trailer's safety chains. The result is that if my hitch-haul rack gets to moving about, I have far worse problems.

    One further comment: I happened to have a sturdy, hard-sided plastic pickup truck tool box when I got my hitch-haul rack. It's fully weatherproof and lockable. By fortunate coincidence, it fits perfectly in my hitch-haul rack. I'm therefore able to mount it, secure it with ratchet straps, and place a small padlock on the latch. Of course, the lock merely keeps honest people honest, but it's comforting to leave it unattended with the hard-sided box being locked up to a degree. One can obtain locking hitch pins which would retard a thief's ability to remove the whole hitch-haul and its attachments from the vehicle, too. In my neck of the woods, Northern Tool carries a full line of receiver hitch adaptors, locking hitch pins, hard-sided lockable truck tool boxes, and ratchet straps. My next trick is to through-bolt my plastic box to the expanded-metal floor of the rack, eliminating the ratchet straps.

    Foy

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