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Discussion Starter #1
I have (like many others) many Thule accessories for skis and bikes. I was at my NH dealer for service the other day and noticed a big "Thule" sign hanging behind the parts department counter. WHen I returned home I emailed Thule about fitting Thule Attachments to the MDX here is their response:

"At 02/12/2001 11:29 AM we wrote - Unfortunately we have been unable to find a Clamp-on fit for the Acura MDX. We hope to have complete fit information on that vehicle within the next few months. Thank
you."

Does anyone know if they really make the attachements for the MDX. If so, wouldn't ya think they had a solution? Does anyone out there have a bike attachement? Does it say Thule anywhere on it??
 

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thule mounting hints

See Ardvarkus's message #1544 on the Edmunds Townhall for the MDX. It regards Thule mounting bolts that work in the crossbar channel on the MDX (and points out that the Thule advice people don't know about it).
 

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OK Folks.

Maybe a big mistake here, but...

Thule has the bolts you'll need. Nobody at the front line knows. The guy I spoke with is:

Jeffrey Ransden with Thule.

At first he didn't even know about the Acura-Thule 'deal', but then spoke with the OEM engineers.

It is not a clamp, as I posted it is a square-head bolt, 3/4inch per side, around 1/8inch thick, with a 1/4-20 threaded shaft to go up into the rack/carrier/etc.

Good Luck

Ard
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Ardvarkus but I'm a little confused. I "peeled" back the rubber from the factory rack which revealed a "channel" where (I assume) the square headed bolt would go. My confusion is the other end or bike mount side. My mounts require a "square headed" bolt there as well. SO I am missing something. Can you (or anyone else) provide any more detail to explain what I may be missing. I need racks badly!
 

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So am I...

You don't need "mounts" with the factory rack...

For example, the Thule 724-725 ski racks simply have a hole in the bottom, the threaded bolt comes up through, and the nuts supplied with the Thule ski rack screw onto this. Tighten down.

Which bike mount do you have? I can check it out and let you know...

Also, did you see how to get at the channel from the end? I did not like peeling the rubber strip up, because it is a BEAR to get back in from on top. Best to slide it from the end.

Ard
 

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Thule T-bolt

Now you have me interested too. I went to the Acura dealership to see if I could get instructions for installing the bike rack that bolts on to the rail since I have an identical Thule bike rack that clamps on to the Thule rails. The parts guy was very helpful and printed out the instructions so I could see how to take out the center rubber strip from the rail. THe only difference between my Thule bike rack and the Acura rack is the "T-BOLTS" (that is what they are called in the instructions).

I asked if they could just order the t-bolts but no go. I then went to REI and had no luck.

Where can we get these t-bolts? Maybe Tim can get them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I didn't have problems with the rubber in the channel but I assume if you were to remove the whole thing, it would be easier to slide in from the end. All I did was lift it out a bit on one end and take a look at the channel.

I just went down and took a look at my Thule Ski Rack(s). I could see exactly where the square headed bolt would work for those. The bike mount is different. Mine are fork mounted (I don't know what model they are as they are about 4 or 5 years old). Anyway, there is a "channel" right down the underbelly of the rack that currently requires a square headed bolt to go into. The bolt then goes though the "Mount" of the standard Thule Rack and then threaded into the '4-pegged' Thule Bolts. This setup is exactly opposite of the ski rack in that the ski rack bolts thread "up into" the rack and the bike mounts thread down.
..hmmmm.

Does anyone have a picture of how the "Acura" bike accessory "mounts" to the factory rack. (Acura only sells those silly "upright" mounts, correct?) I will only use fork mounts..
 

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I just looked up the 599XT instructions.

Near as I can tell, you do NOT need the "clamp" or the" t bolt". The bolt coming up from the factory rack would go through the hole on either side of the tire channel, and screw down the lever.

I've not seen the T bolt, so can't tell you if it is the same as the 3/4 by 3/4 inch headed bolt. (It looks more rectangular, so probably not...)

If you look at the Thule site:

http://www.thuleracks.com/thule/product_spare.asp

there are three bolts on that page. These are what slide into the channel.

Thule has em- just need to find someone with a brain there.

Once you start telling them "MDX" they'll try to look that up and head down the wrong path. Keep asking for the square head bolts and you'll do better.

Ard
 

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Danny,

Yes I see the problem. The older mounts are different. And I agree the fork mounts are the way to go.

I guess you need a 1/4 inch hole in one or the other. :( Your choice :)

I don't have the Acura instructions, but the rack is the 599xt and you an download that at thule.

Seems like the Acura parts folks are willing to let you look as well..

Ard
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you look up 599xt on the Thule site, you'll see the "blow up" parts list. On that illustration are the 'T' bolts marked "J".. the description is:

J 853-2040 3 T-bolt $1.20

You can order them right off the site. SO this will solve some foks problem but I don't think it will fix mine. I must have a fork mount system and it doen't look like Thule sells a "similar" fork mount system.
 

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J 853-2040 3 T-bolt

This t-bolt is not the right one. This is the one that only works with the Thule rail. It is too long and it does not have a square end.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oopps sorry thanks for the clarification. I figured since it said "T" bolt that it was the right one...
 

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Email to Thule

dancall

No problem. I just finished sending an email to Thule's customer support so hopefully they will come back with something.
 

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T-BOLT

I talked to a Thule customer support person today and was able to get some information. They have a kit for VW that has 8 of the t-bolts for $9.00 a kit. The part number is VWADAPT and you can order it from a Thule dealer. I ordered one today through REI. I'm hoping these bolts will work for the 599xt bike carrier and my ski carrier. I'll let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Let us know how it goes. As for me, I need a fork mount solution. :( I guess I could drill a few holes and rig a rack but my damn bikes are worth more than my cars..! (ok not quite anymore...)
 

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I was thinking of using the slot in the MDX roof rack bars to mount regular Thule cross bars, using T-bolts and a spacer to hold the Thule cross bars about 1" above the MDX bars. This would allow me to use all the Thule attachments I now have without further adapters.
I think the MDX roof rack setup is the most useless I've seen on any SUV.
 

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OBEE,

That is an excellent idea. That way the curvature of the Acura rack doesn't impact anything you add. A little more binding clearance. (Down side might be more wind noise, but compared to the kayack and two bikes....)

Any luck with Thule? I've sent them a picture of their bolts, and am trying to get a part number to post here...

Ard
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ObeeJr has given me an idea for a possible solution. I have a Thule system that "plugs" into factory rack grooves. Basically the "nuts" that are used are little "square" bolts. Maybe they'll fit in the groove and I can mount my entire rack to the MDX factory rack. The more I think about it the more I am really dissappointed with the MDX factory system...

One other note, I "lifted" the black strip that runs lengthwise on the roof. Revealed below was a "groove" or channel that maybe a proper groove system could be added??

Hell, I'll try anything. I just want something that works and Thuke ain't moving fast enough (my email from them said a few months...!)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I wish I had a Digital Camera so I could post a picture of what I'm going to try to explain. My Thule rack has "feet" that are bolted to the car via semi square Nuts whose hex bolts are revealed under a locking Thule Mechanism. This rack fits in "normal" factory grooves.

I lifted the rubber in the factory rack revelaing the groove that runs across the top of the factory rack. I just wanted to see if my square "nuts" would fit into the groove. I quickly realized that I had to lift the plastic piece that is just to the left (looking forward) of the rubber stripping. My square "nuts" were too large to fit (because there is a ridge that prevents that legnth of nut to slide in). However, it would be ridiculously easy to just use any type of flat or square nut. You would just slide the nut end from the end and tighten. The only problem with this method (for my rack) would be that I would only be able to put one bolt per foot into the rack. I'm not sure I want to mount a battleship load of Titanium to my roof only secured by four bolts. (The advantage of this would be that I would still have the locking mechanism which would be fairly secure.)

The other possibility is to mount my factory Thule Fork Mounts directly to the factory rack. This could be accomplished again using a "sguare" headed nut that a hex nut from above screws into in the front. In the rear, I could just use a longer metal plate to screw the factory rear bolts into. This is definately do able. I think I'm going to try it as it eliminates the need to have to drill anything. (also, if I drill an extra hole through my front mounting plate, I would have a more secure mount).

I am going to pursue this as I am pretty sure I can mount my factory fork mount racks to the roof with little or no damage to the fork mounts. I will post my findings as they are available and possible try to post pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Success! I may be the first MDX owner with a Thule Fork Mount Bike Rack!!! :D :D

Anyway, I found that if I removed the side cover of the rack that I could expose the left side of the channel which made for much easier "installation". (The cover removes by some gentle but firm pulling. If you look closely at the other side, you'll see a square hole underneath where you can insert a screwdriver to help "push" the cover off.) I went to the hardware store today and bought some stainless steel hex screws and a piece of metal with holes on each end that would fit under the rear of the bike rack such that I could screw the three pronged plastic Thule screws underneath the rear rack.

I used the nuts from the feet from my old factory "grove mount" rack. Basically, the nuts are about an inch long and 3/8 inches wide. They fit perfectly into the groove in the MDX Factory rack and act as a "self holding" nut for the hex screw from above. I was able to just thread the screw down from the top of the Fork Mount into the "screw". It worked great! However, I was a little nervous that only one nut and bolt would be holding the rack to the car in the front, so I screwed two little holes in the metal piece that normally goes under the standard Thule rack. I threaded two 6mm stainless screws into a lock washer and the Thule Square nuts. It held like a charm. In fact with the Thule lock system, when I lock the fork into the rack, it is a pretty secure design.

In the rear, I removed the two square bolts from the Thule rack and just replced the metal which normall goes under the standard rack with a longer piece to fit the MDX and WHAMMO!, I've got a fork mount. It is very solid!!

I'll try and look up the "nuts" on Thule's website and post here. My solution is robust, and definately good enough until Thule comes up with a "perfect" solution.

But hey, for $2.60 worth of parts.. not bad!
 
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