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Discussion Starter #1
Before I start, my apologies for a long post!!!!!!

There is a photo at the end of this post depicting my mod!!!!!!!

I have recently installed a Thule 726 Ski Rack w/ the Fat Mouth Clamps. Awesome set-up.

For those who don't know, Thule is replacing most of their adapters with the Fat Mouth which is universal & adjusts to fit almost any factory rack. The MDX is not (at the time of this post) listed in Thule's printed or on-line guides, but, customer service is now informing customers that it will fit the MDX, and will be in their updated guides.

The Fat Mouth clamp is extremely easy to use, with it's 1/2 turn cam, which allows you to mount & remove your rack quickly.

My only issue was with the mechanism which locks the Fat Mouth Clamp to prevent theft.

There is a grey locking tab on top of the Fat Mouth which slides and clicks in place, preventing the cam from being loosened it's 1/2 turn. To remove the rack and fat mouth from the vehicle, you need to remove the rack from the Fat Mouth clamp, stick your car key or screwdriver in the whole on top of the Fat Mouth, (which when the rack is attached is covered up by the rack itself) and click the grey tab back out; this allows the cam to be rotated it's 1/2 turn to loosen the clamp.

I for one think it is a bit silly to have to remove the rack from the clamp, in order to remove the rack from the car, especially since Thule created such an easy to use clamp in the first place. This is not such a big deal if you own the 724 or 725 rack, since the wing-nut type fastners from the rack to the clamp are really easy to use; but on the 726 model (pulls/slides out to the side for easy loading) you need to use a special lock washer and nut and drop both into a small cavity on the slide out side, to mount the rack to the clamp. To remove said assembly, is a little cumbersome and roundabout in my opinion when again, the Fat Mouth is supposed to be a "quick" mount.

While I was in the Ski Shop, I noted a new Snow-Board rack, the "575", which comes with the Fat Mouth. The difference here is that the rack is riveted to the clamp, permanently covering up the key slot to slide & unlock the grey locking tab. So... it doesn't even have a grey tab. Instead it has a tamper proof screw (actually a modified TORX design) right under the cam that you tighten with a special wrench, that prevents the cam from opening. Now this is a lot easier than removing the rack from the clamp, just to remove the rack from the car!!!!!!!!! To add fuel to the fire, if you go to the Thule website @ http://www.thuleracks.com, and view the 724, 725, or 726 rack and under accessories, click on the Fat Mouth clamp, the photo shows the clamp WITH this screw, just like on the 575, but when you purchase it, it comes with the grey tab locking feature instead.

I called Thule to discuss this, and they kind of agreed with me. The slot for the screw and the nut needed to thread the screw in, are molded into the Fat Mouth, you can see this slot beneath the cam lever.

To make a long story (and long post) short, I have acquired the parts to convert the clamp, it takes about 15 seconds per clamp to modify and works great, so I thought I would pass along the info to all .org members who have, or are thinking of getting this set-up. It's the least I can do since I have acquired such terrific information from other members of this site.

Call Thule Customer service @ 800-238-2388 or go to the on-line store on the website and order these part #'s:

Tamperproof Screws & Nuts (you need 4 each) -
"853526903" & "8535385"

Wrench - "853527002"

Dave
 

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Speedy,

Interesdting article. I have some fatmouths (my wife would say I am a..........). and they came with the "Torx locking screw" Bought them in Nov 01. Not sure on the locking tab you mention, mine does not seem to have, May be they realzied the poor design and fixed it fairly quickly. For older ones, am glad there is a fix since Yakima and Thule have both told me they are not doing clamps for the MDX. Yakima said they spent too much on the towers, so are not do the clamps.......
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mcclendons;

Glad to see you have the good ones. I take it yours came with the wrench?

I think you actually have "old" ones, and the "new" ones come with the tab vs. the screw. At least this is what Thule is telling me. It appears they started production with the screws then switched to the tab. Obviously yours (and my fix) are better.

I'm curious, even though you have the screw, do you have the slot for the tab, and another slot for the key to go in on top that says "insert key here to unlock", you would have to remove the rack from the clamp to see the latter.

Dave
 

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sspeedy7056,

Were you at Camelback in the Poconos on Saturday? There was one in the parking lot, the first Redrock I've seen in person, and my brother (who has a mahogany) and I thought it was awesome looking. I think it even had the same ski racks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
HOLY S--- MDXtrous......THAT WAS ME!!!!!!!!!!

I was in the lower parking lot, that's too funny, it is a small world. Was it warm or what on Saturday?????????

And...Thanx, I love the Redrock color.

Dave
 

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Wow,

What a small world!! That was sure a warm day!! Sunbowl Lodge... Did you see the black MDX in the same lot? Too bad it was full when we got there, otherwise my brother would have parked a third (Mahogany) MDX in that lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did see the black one, I was thinking to myself that I saw a lot of MDXs that day.
 

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Picked up my 726 Ski Rack with FM-1 and a couple of locks from a store called Sports Rack in Costa Mesa...

They have a bunch of stores in Northern Cali. The guy I bought was aware of the screw length being too long and had the shorter screws on hand.

He also mentioned that there is a package deal with a universal mounting kit; however, the 1+inch spacers can not be added for additional clearance.

They also had the 725 (same as the 726 but does not slide out) for a great price... Their website is:
www.gearonthego.com
 

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sspeedy, thanks for the post. I have the same setup and would like to try the conversion. If you get around to it, could post some detailed picture of disassembled clamp? I know I'm asking a lot, but picture works better for me. Just whenever you get a chance... if you want to...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'll be glad to upon next dismount of the rack from the X.
 

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proskunetes said:
Picked up my 726 Ski Rack with FM-1 and a couple of locks from a store called Sports Rack in Costa Mesa...

They have a bunch of stores in Northern Cali. The guy I bought was aware of the screw length being too long and had the shorter screws on hand.

He also mentioned that there is a package deal with a universal mounting kit; however, the 1+inch spacers can not be added for additional clearance.

They also had the 725 (same as the 726 but does not slide out) for a great price... Their website is:
www.gearonthego.com
proskunetes,

I'm about to order the Thule 726 and what to communicate to whomever answers the phone that I need the shorter screws that come with the 725. How many do I need? How much sorter are these screws?

Thanks!

rflagg
 

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rflagg,
If you are going to use "spacers", you do not need the short screws at all. But if you do not use the "spacers", you just need 4 short screws (1 package). The screws themselves are shorter by a little more than an inch... to be more accurate, they are shorter by the height of the "spacer."
Also, if you're NOT going to use spacers, consider getting the ski rack package. They have both the 726 and 725 models in the packages, the only drawback is that you wouldn't be able to attach spacers afterwards in the event that you needed more roof clearance. These packaged racks are much more convenient to assemble and mount and will save you a few bucks too.
*One last thing, don't forget to use the coupon on their website...
 

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What are "spacers" for?

proskunetes,

I don't understand the purpose "spacers", or the need for them. My MDX will have the factory roof rack and rear wind deflector.

My requirements are to have the Thule 726 somehow attach to the factory roof rack. That's it. I'm looking for a simple way to attach and remove the rack, that also keeps it secure. (ie. I don't what theives to remove my rack.

If I can do this with the 726 "package", it sounds good to me.

What do you think?


rflagg
 

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Spacers are mostly for snowboards that have bindings that stick out a lot. Some ski bindings need that extra room too. If you need more clearance, you need to insert the spacers to the ski-rack to raise it and give you that 1 1/4 inch of additional space between the snowboard/ski binding and the roof of the car.

Picture this from top to bottom:
5. 726 rack or 725 rack on the spacer
4. Spacer (optional to give more clearance) on the Fat mouth Clamp
3. Fat Mouth Clamp on the roof rack
2. Roof Rack on the MDX roof
1. MDX roof

The screws you need attach the ski-rack(726 or 725) to the Fat Mouth Clamp. Without the spacer, the ski rack goes right on the clamp (see the first picture in this thread) and so, you don't need the long screws... Just think of those spacers as square fat washers.

Hope that helps...

*One other option would be to not get a ski rack altogether and just have everything stick out of the sunroof...:)
 

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proskunetes,

Thanks for the info! Based on what you've told me, it makes sense to have the spacers. They may come in handy if I ever need to carry snow boards.

But since I'm just carrying skiis for now, the spacers won't be used. So, I will need the 4 shorter bolts that come with the 725 model.


rflagg
 

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Rflagg,
I noticed that you live in Los Angeles...
If you don't mind a 45 minute drive, you could go to the store in Costa Mesa... The people there really know what they are doing and will just throw in the screws. Also, while you are there, check out ski gear at Peter Glenn Ski and Sports which is about 5 minutes away... They are another one of those specialty stores that have huge selections and very knowledgable sales staff.
 

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Looks like a good deal...

I drove down to the store in Costa Mesa less then a month ago and the damage was $186 for:
726 Ski Rack
Fat Mouth Clamps
2 pk. lock cylinders
Spacers
Screws
 

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Discussion Starter #20
rflagg;

Take a look at the photos I posted in the beginning of this thread if you want to see a 726 on Fat Mouths on the MDX.

It's real simple. Buy the 726 Rack, and the FM-1 Fat Mouths + 2 lock cylinders.

The bolts that come with the Fat Mouths are too long. Just take a DREMEL or similar rotary tool, or a hack saw, and cut them down to the proper length. As you assemble the clamps to the rack, you'll be able to determine the amount to cut.

That's all you need to do. If you buy the 725, you won't need to do this, but the 726 is way cool since it slides out to the side for easier loading. The reason you need to cut the screws is that they are in the way of the slide out mechanism. Thule plans to supply the correct bolt later. The Fat Mouth is so new, they are trying to work out the particulars of matching to all racks offered.

With the Fat Mouth clamp, the rack sits up pretty darn high and for most ski-bindings, you won't need the lift kit. If you do want to add the lift kit for snow board clearance, THE KIT IS NOW INCLUDED WITH THE 725 & 726 Racks.

Read my posts in the beginnig of this thread about the locking mechanism. If your Fat Mouths don't come with the screw locks, it's easy to retro-fit and well worth it to change them.
 
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