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UCLAMDX has Q-tower type Yakima rack

jmh,

I believe UCLAMDX has a Yakima rack with Q-towers/Q-clips installed on his MDX. Maybe he can post some pictures.

I researched the Q-tower option prior to installing Yakima tracks and rack on my MDX. This solution did not work for me. There are limitations on where the crossbars can be positioned because of the way MDX rear doors/c-pillars curve. The Q-tower type installation results in the following deficiencies.

Functional:

1. The front cross bar is directly above the moon roof - loads may block or interfere with the moon roof, wind noise is more obvious and fairing can't be used to reduce it.
2. The rack is positioned too far forward on the roof - it is difficult to evenly distribute longer loads.
3. The maximum spread between the bars with Q-towers is 32" - some utility is lost if you need your bars to be spread farther apart.

Esthetic:

4. The 58" cross bar recommended for Q-towers on an MDX is too wide and sticks out on the sides too much - this does not look very good, in my opinion.
5. The actual Q-clips that hold the Q-towers on the MDX roof are very obvious because of the shape of the MDX roof (2"x3" black metal strips will be visible between the Q-towers and the top edges of MDX doors, unless you have a black MDX) - this, again, is not very esthetic, in my opinion.

Of course, if the deficiencies outlined above are not significant obstacles in your case, then Q-tower type Yakima roof rack may be the right solution for you. Otherwise, you may want to consider permanent installation of Yakima tracks with Railrider towers. It is not that difficult, it provides a secure and flexible solution, and it looks good.

Good luck.
 

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jmh, in reply to your questions above:

1. What length crossbar did you install? ...
I used 48" cross bars. This gives me approximately 40" of usable cross bar space between the towers. Cross bars stick out only 3" beyond each tower.

2. I am looking to be able to put up to three bikes on the rack at a time, do you have any space limitations with the narrower bars?
According to Yakima, up to 4 bikes can fit on 48" cross bars.

3. How much weight can the Yakima Railriders with the Tracks hold? ...
Although there are no fit specifications for the MDX, this type of installation on similar SUVs is rated up to 125 lbs. As long as you do not exceed the weight limit, you should easily be able to add a cargo box.

You can find additional detailed information and pictures of this setup installed in this Yakima rack discussion thread.
 

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...do the tracks have a rubber seal that goes between the track and the roof...


jmh,

There is no rubber seal, there is a plastic "gasket" that covers the bottom of the entire track.
 

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Placement of 42" tracks - picture and measurements

...Do you have any other photos that better show the exact placement of the tracks on the roof?...


jmh,

As promised, picture incorporating measurements for placement of 42" Yakima tracks is attached.
 

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Need to know from those of you with non-touring models whether there is a removable section of the plastic rain gutter trim (about 5-6" long) where the fixed posts for the factory rack would go...

TheyCallMeBruce,

There is no removable section on the channel trim. When roof rack is installed on a non-touring MDX, the roof channel trim moulding is cut to specific dimensions to accommodate the roof rack. In order to cover up the "fixed posts" for the factory roof rack you will need to buy the complete new channel trim moulding that covers the entire length of the roof channels.

I intend to carry 4 kayaks with a total weight 200 lbs... Because I'm exceeding the load recommendations by upteen pounds, I need to use the bottom bolt-through version of the Yakima rails. ...the heavy weight of my loads kept pulling up on the track (with every upward bounce) and eventually the plusnuts became loosened and I had to install gasketed nuts on the bottom side anyhow...

The bolt-on version of the Yakima tracks is rated at 150 lbs maximum. I would not recommend that you exceed this limit even with bolt-through installation since you can damage the MDX roof. Whether the plus nuts or regular nuts and bolts are used is irrelevant, since it is the strength of the track (and the roof) itself that is in question, and not necessarily the hardware that holds it down.

I also intend to install the rails on the outer side of the rain gutter, not the inner side, to accommodate the heavier loads. Its obviously much stronger at the edge of the roof, but don't know if there are any full-length channels that run underneath that would obstruct bolt and nut placement. ...

The roof section directly below the outer edge of the roof channel is supported by the "irregular-shaped" roof frame. There is no access to the roof sheetmetal at the outer edges unless you are willing to drill through the roof support frame and use 3"+ bolts to attach the Yakima tracks (standard bolts that come with the tracks are 1"). I would not recommend this type of installation since drilling through the roof support frame will definitely weaken the MDX roof structure.

Good luck in finding the solution appropriate to your needs.
 
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