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Discussion Starter #1
First, here is where we are going:

BarsFront.jpg

BarsRear.jpg

Note that the crossbars are well above the radio antenna, and should support a box well. Although it isn't obvious, the crossbars are slightly curved which looks great. And the top of the crossbars are 60" wide - lots of room for toys.

The bars can be quickly unlocked, unlatched, removed, and covers put on the pads:

Pads_NoBars.jpg

These pads can be easily removed by backing out a single 6mm socket head from each one, leaving only four 1/4" hole in the black plastic trim strip. These can be easily plugged with truss head trim fasteners from any auto parts or hardware store. But re-install requires adjustment so probably only a seasonal effort.


Background:

Personally I dislike the bling-y, non-functional silver plastic OEM rails - they only serve as mounting points for the crossbars, with no place to attach straps. For $560+labor? Not a chance, Acura. Also the crossbars are short - reduced more by the mounts - and low as some have noticed when buying storage boxes. New lower price: $250. Of course they can be had for about $600 total through our sponsor Acura Parts | OEM Acura Parts | Factory Acura Parts, but it is still not a very desirable option (YMMV). I could have bought the OEM rails and a Yakima tower and rails but that is both expensive and not very attractive IMHO. So I did some research and came up with this approach, which is similar to many modern luxury, and non-luxury, cars today (Acura: please stop squeezing extra profit out of us and just put the threaded mounts under the trim, with plugged holes or access doors, like the Germans do)! The cost should work out less than the OEM system, depending on discounts and where you get the mounting plates. [See EDIT below.]

Required:

Yakima Roof Rack

Skyline Towers (4 pack), Jetstream crossbars, medium (60") in black or silver (one pair), and Landing Pad 11 (two 2 packs), plus keyed-alike locks for towers and any mounts that will be used with the crossbars. I bought a kayak mount, and am looking at a bike mount but it is a high lift…

Mounting plates

I made mounting plates from 3/16"x3/4" stainless steel bar stock, although mild steel would be easier to drill & tap (and require painting). I ordered five (one extra for mistakes) 3-7/8" (+1/8"-0") long pieces from Speedy Metals (cutting is free) for less than $20 delivered. I have a decent drill press and the experience with stainless to do the drilling and tapping, so this worked for me - but was not fun and cost a few cheap drill bits in the process. (Without drill press and experience just get the parts made at a local metal shop - you will be glad you did.) I drilled two holes 68mm apart for the M8 studs located in the roof channels, and a single M6 threaded hole in the middle. In retrospect I would have placed the M6 hole offset to the inside by 1/8" to better center the landing pads over the channel, and would consider also moving the M6 holes forward an inch for the front plates to increase separation. Also required are 8 (low profile) M8 jam nuts and 4 lock washers.

Parts.jpg

This is what the plates look like installed:

Mounting.jpg

Closeup of the pads shows that it would be a bit better to offset the M6 holes inward, but the mount as is works fine and appears to be well supported.

Pads_Closeup.jpg

I used masking tape on the outside of the channels to mark the location of the M6 holes, refit the trim and marked the holes, then removed again and drilled the 1/4" holes above the M6 holes on the plates. The I put back the trim and mounting the landing pads, towers, and crossbars per Yakima's instructions.

It is probably possible to install a Thule system with these mounts if someone wanted to do the research. Personally I am very happy with the Yakima.

I hope this helps. Happy to answer questions…

Greg

EDIT: I should add that I dislike the type of racks that have the straps that attach to the door openings to clamp the towers down, although that is easy and still cheaper than OEM. I had them on my last car and hated the way dirt collected under them and couldn't easily be cleaned without removal of the racks. I don't much care for the looks either.
 

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First, here is where we are going:

View attachment 83554

View attachment 83562

Note that the crossbars are well above the radio antenna, and should support a box well. Although it isn't obvious, the crossbars are slightly curved which looks great. And the top of the crossbars are 60" wide - lots of room for toys.

The bars can be quickly unlocked, unlatched, removed, and covers put on the pads:

View attachment 83570

These pads can be easily removed by backing out a single 6mm socket head from each one, leaving only four 1/4" hole in the black plastic trim strip. These can be easily plugged with truss head trim fasteners from any auto parts or hardware store. But re-install requires adjustment so probably only a seasonal effort.


Background:

Personally I dislike the bling-y, non-functional silver plastic OEM rails - they only serve as mounting points for the crossbars, with no place to attach straps. For $560+labor? Not a chance, Acura. Also the crossbars are short - reduced more by the mounts - and low as some have noticed when buying storage boxes. New lower price: $250. Of course they can be had for about $600 total through our sponsor Acura Parts | OEM Acura Parts | Factory Acura Parts, but it is still not a very desirable option (YMMV). I could have bought the OEM rails and a Yakima tower and rails but that is both expensive and not very attractive IMHO. So I did some research and came up with this approach, which is similar to many modern luxury, and non-luxury, cars today (Acura: please stop squeezing extra profit out of us and just put the threaded mounts under the trim, with plugged holes or access doors, like the Germans do)! The cost should work out less than the OEM system, depending on discounts and where you get the mounting plates.

Required:

Yakima Roof Rack

Skyline Towers (4 pack), Jetstream crossbars, medium (60") in black or silver (one pair), and Landing Pad 11 (two 2 packs), plus keyed-alike locks for towers and any mounts that will be used with the crossbars. I bought a kayak mount, and am looking at a bike mount but it is a high lift…

Mounting plates

I made mounting plates from 3/16"x3/4" stainless steel bar stock, although mild steel would be easier to drill & tap (and require painting). I ordered five (one extra for mistakes) 3-7/8" (+1/8"-0") long pieces from Speedy Metals (cutting is free) for less than $20 delivered. I have a decent drill press and the experience with stainless to do the drilling and tapping, so this worked for me - but was not fun and cost a few cheap drill bits in the process. (Without drill press and experience just get the parts made at a local metal shop - you will be glad you did.) I drilled two holes 68mm apart for the M8 studs located in the roof channels, and a single M6 threaded hole in the middle. In retrospect I would have placed the M6 hole offset to the inside by 1/8" to better center the landing pads over the channel, and would consider also moving the M6 holes forward an inch for the front plates to increase separation. Also required are 8 (low profile) M8 jam nuts and 4 lock washers.

View attachment 83578

This is what the plates look like installed:

View attachment 83586

Closeup of the pads shows that it would be a bit better to offset the M6 holes inward, but the mount as is works fine and appears to be well supported.

View attachment 83594

I used masking tape on the outside of the channels to mark the location of the M6 holes, refit the trim and marked the holes, then removed again and drilled the 1/4" holes above the M6 holes on the plates. The I put back the trim and mounting the landing pads, towers, and crossbars per Yakima's instructions.

It is probably possible to install a Thule system with these mounts if someone wanted to do the research. Personally I am very happy with the Yakima.

I hope this helps. Happy to answer questions…

Greg
Great work. Nice if you can remove when not needed. So what was the cost for all the parts? Also what tow hitch did you go with? I want that too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
For just the towers, crossbars, landing pads & locks it adds up to slightly more than $550 list ($199+$199+2x$48+$59). I got mine during a sale of 20% off, which is a bit unusual - more typically 10%-15% if you can get a discount at all. I also got a very nice kayak mount with lock, and the (discounted) total was about $630 IIRC. The raw stainless plates cost about $18 as stated above, plus a 6mm tap and a handful of cheap HF Ti-plated bits - and a good drill press; otherwise I would expect a metal fab would charge around $100, possibly more, but well worth it.

As long as you're OK with leaving the pads on the car the rest of the rack comes on and off easily and quickly.

A bit off-topic but to answer your question, I went with the OEM hitch - it really is head and shoulders above the aftermarket ones. It is the only one that mounts through the bumper fascia (not under), with a replacement section, which not only looks great but keeps the mount higher for greater ground clearance. It also comes with a nifty Acura logo plug for the receptacle; consider modifying it so that it can be locked or someone may collect it (I have posted elsewhere how to do it). The OEM hitch and the trailer wiring kit (for 7-pin connectors) install easily and don't cost a lot more when bought from our sponsor Acura Parts | OEM Acura Parts | Factory Acura Parts. The aftermarket hitches work fine, just lower the ground clearance a bit and don't look quite as nice - but why compromise? If you have any DIY in your blood then this is one to do at home - it is easy and the only pro tool that is needed is a torque wrench. (It is worth buying anyway as the bolts need to be re-torqued after 1k miles of towing.)

Greg
 

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Nice DIY!

thanks for sharing detailed pics! This is a great DIY option and the build is basically what i've seen with any other oem mounting style (similar to what I had on a subaru). I plan to PlasTdip my chrome rails and call it a day. Next winter I'll get the pads to mount to the oem rails.
 

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For just the towers, crossbars, landing pads & locks it adds up to slightly more than $550 list ($199+$199+2x$48+$59). I got mine during a sale of 20% off, which is a bit unusual - more typically 10%-15% if you can get a discount at all. I also got a very nice kayak mount with lock, and the (discounted) total was about $630 IIRC. The raw stainless plates cost about $18 as stated above, plus a 6mm tap and a handful of cheap HF Ti-plated bits - and a good drill press; otherwise I would expect a metal fab would charge around $100, possibly more, but well worth it.

As long as you're OK with leaving the pads on the car the rest of the rack comes on and off easily and quickly.

A bit off-topic but to answer your question, I went with the OEM hitch - it really is head and shoulders above the aftermarket ones. It is the only one that mounts through the bumper fascia (not under), with a replacement section, which not only looks great but keeps the mount higher for greater ground clearance. It also comes with a nifty Acura logo plug for the receptacle; consider modifying it so that it can be locked or someone may collect it (I have posted elsewhere how to do it). The OEM hitch and the trailer wiring kit (for 7-pin connectors) install easily and don't cost a lot more when bought from our sponsor Acura Parts | OEM Acura Parts | Factory Acura Parts. The aftermarket hitches work fine, just lower the ground clearance a bit and don't look quite as nice - but why compromise? If you have any DIY in your blood then this is one to do at home - it is easy and the only pro tool that is needed is a torque wrench. (It is worth buying anyway as the bolts need to be re-torqued after 1k miles of towing.)

Greg
Thank You, yea I think we will be getting the OEM hitch. It looks so much better. I put an after market one on our 08. But it appears on the 3rd gens it makes a big difference. Still debating on the roof racks though. Thanks again
 

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Late to the message board, but curious if the yakima landing pads are mounted with a single 6M fastener? Seems a little light if you're carrying a canoe or something similar at high speeds. Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Late to the message board, but curious if the yakima landing pads are mounted with a single 6M fastener? Seems a little light if you're carrying a canoe or something similar at high speeds. Thanks in advance!
Sorry for the delay - somehow I lost track of this. Yes, I used a single M6 bolt for each landing pad. However if it concerns you the landing pads also come with M8 fasteners so just drill and tap the larger hole in the plates. There isn't much force on the bolt - the weight rests on the landing pad. As for any horizontal movement the large rubber base sticks well to the roof so I doubt the screws carry any sheer loading.

I would definitely recommend offsetting the hole 1/8" towards the inside to better center the landing pads over the channel.

Greg
 

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Nicely done. Thanks for the excellent, clear instructions. This is literally the only rack solution I am considering at this time. I'm a little concerned that if I put a longboard or paddleboard up there the angle of attack when driving will put a load on the rack. Is it anywhere near level? I can't tell from the otherwise excellent photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No, it is not level. It is mounted at the same points as the crossbars on the OEM racks so has the same angle.

The mounting points are each a pair of studs in the channel, and I drilled and tapped the plates in the middle for the hold-down bolt. If I were to do it over I would use longer plates and place the tapped hole ahead of the two mounting studs. This should reduce the angle somewhat by shifting the rack forward to a more level place. I have also considered mounting the forward towers at the forward-most (single) stud, with a short plate held down by the stud and a tapped hole as close as possible - not quite as strong though.

Another approach to consider is this one: Roof Rack - another option . While it is more visible it has the great advantage of a broad range of mounting points. If I were to go that way I would fit it as neatly as possible and then have it black anodized - it would be very unobtrusive.

I recommend that you first pry off one of the channel covers and have a look at the available studs. Usually there is no problem doing this but it is possible to break or lose one of the mounting clips if not being careful but they are cheap parts so don't worry about it. You might even come up with a better approach.
 
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