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I have an 08' with a bare roof and I want a roof rack installed. Will be used mainly for transporting kayaks and other sporting equipment on the lighter scale. Is it better to install rails first and then attach crossbars? Or is it better to have crossbars mounted straight to the roof (similar to a 1st gen MDX)? Having a difficult time understanding the best way to approach this.

Also, does anyone have suggestions on where to get parts that would be relatively affordable?
 

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The OEM system is expensive, I had the dealership install, need to install the rails+cross bars, and they are not very wide if you need to put a kayak and skinny roof box side-by-side.

Depends on how many times a year you need the roof rack. Maybe an aftermarket solution like the yakima jetstream with wider cross bars might work? You can just attach the cross bars for your trip and remove the other +340 days a year. Plus, the Yakima system might work with other vehicles if trade the MDX or need to rent another vehicle for down the road.
 

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I'm in the same boat here. I have a new-to-me '08 MDX. Slicktop.

I want to add a Yakima Skybox Pro 12 and Kayak J's (the Skybox 12 seems to be only one narrow enough to accommodate a boat).

I plan to keep it on 365 days per year.
 

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I surfed around and picked up the black OEM rails and crossbars on-line. Sorry, I don't recall the price, but wasn't too bad. Installed it myself, very easy to do. Solid. Looks great.
 
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