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Discussion Starter #1
Couldn't find any postings on whether or not Yakima has MDX towers, so I emailed and asked them. Here was their response:

Yakima to the rescue!

Your absolutely right about that factory roof rack, it's a pile of junk. That's why we develop the recently released Q116 clip that works in conjunction with our highly versatile Q Tower System. This system will work around the factory rack and give you the ability to carry bikes, skis or a basket. If you would like more information about this rack system contact your local Yakima dealer.

Chris Dannewitz
Category Business Manager
Yakima Products / Watermark Gear
[email protected]
 

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How far apart can you get the bars with the Yakima system? I need to carry a very large 21' canoe, and a smaller kayak.
 

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Q-towers for the MDX - not the best option

jediwebdude and wckrause,

Yakima has been making Q-towers for the MDX for about 6 months now. I researched this 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. Per Yakima, the weight limit for the Q-towers is only 125 lb - the factory roof rack (and Yakima tracks/rack) has the weight limit of 165 lb.
4. 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:

5. 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.
6. 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.
 

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mgmdx -- Thanks for your report on the Yakima Q-towers. I've read all of your posts on the Yakima tracks system. I think that is the way I'd like to go, except that I'd like to see if I can get the longer ones to fit, and I'd like to find somebody to do the installation. I'll do it myself if I can't.

I need to be able to carry both a 21' canoe, and a smaller kayak, and then switch to a ski rack for the winter.
 

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Longer 54" tracks should work

wckrause,

54" Yakima tracks are also available. I believe they should work for you.

Someone on this board had them installed by Sports Rack (aka Gear On The Go). I think this info was posted on page 3 of my original Yakima Rack post (see link in my signature).

Good luck. Let me know if you have any further questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thx

THx for providing the link to your installation thread. I looked at your photos and understand what you are talking about.

I have those toweers and bars already, which were used years ago on a Ford Explorer. I don't like the idea of having to install the tracks.

While my hitch Yakima rack will suffice for hauling our mtn bikes, there will be times when hauling the whole family on vacation will require a roof-racked carrier, and that is what I am primarily after.

Looks like I'll buy one of those cage/tray devices that attaches to the receiving hitch instead.
 

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Will this Q116 clip and Q tower fit the 2002 MDX? The Yakima web site listed this for the 2001 model only. Anyone knows why? Thanks.
 

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Will this Q116 clip and Q tower fit the 2002 MDX?


Yes, it will fit. But see limitations/deficiencies outlined in my post above to determine if Q-towers will meet your needs.
 

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I have done extensive research on this topic as well, and I have to say, so far, mgmdx's setup is the best I've seen in terms of both aesthetics and versatility. If all you need to carry are bike and skis, there are Thule options out there that'll fit on the factory rack (which is what I'm using right now.) If you want to put a cargo box, you can IF you don't have a rear tailgate deflector (which I have:mad: ). Main problem is if you want to put multiple things on top (which I really need to do), like bike rack with a cargo box - then you need either Thule or Yakima crossbars.

I haven't put the tracks on yet, but someday, I shall.

mgmdx, did you get a new mt bike yet? Saw your old thread. Trek Fuel 90 is awesome, almost bought it but got Gary Fisher Sugar 2 instead. Klein Adept is nice too but frame is too nice to go off-roading. I'm looding for a used road bike now, too slow to commute on my Sugar 2;)
 

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A frustrating Yakima response!

Mgmdx,

The Q116 clips and the Q Towers do indeed fit the 2002 MDX. However, after we purchased and installed the Yakima rack, we made a call to Yakima with some questions, and they asked that we should remove and return the racks immediately because Yakima did not test these racks on a 2002 MDX. Well, that was just great! In addition, Yakima claimed that their rack is only good for 125 lb., whereas the stock rack is good for 165 lb. So does that mean Yakima only excel in the versatility but not the load carrying capacity?

Liability issue aside, once installed, we understand your concerns with these racks.

1. The entire Yakima set up is indeed a lot closer to the front than the stock racks. The cross bar will be over the moon roof, but it does not interfere with the moon roof operation. The Q Tower is at the same height as the factory rack, so the Yakima bars would have the same clearance to the roof. Wind noise could be a problem but not much can be done.

2. Like you said, the Yakima racks are positioned too far forward on the roof. According to the installation instructions, the edge of the front Q tower should be about 5” from the edge of windshield. That looks a bit ridiculous. At best, we were able to move it to about 8.5” from the windshield, and move back the rear Q tower back accordingly. Even so, the Yakima set up is about 12” to 18” in front of the stock rack. The Yakima bars are more centered above the wheels, instead of above the roof like in your setup. Carrying long load can certainly be a problem, but it will work for what we need.

3. The maximum spacing between bars is about 32”. This actually works well with the Yakima cargo box. With the cargo box closer to the front, the hatch can be opened fully without the box interfering with the tailgate deflector. If install the Yakima cargo box at the stock rack position (provided some new holes be drilled in the box), the hatch could only be opened halfway. (Similar problem exists with skis mounted at the stock rack position).

4. We used the 58” cross bars because extra width is needed to tie down our windsurfing boards next to the cargo box. They do not stick out too much to knock over some innocent bystanders.

5. The clips and the Q towers do look like they are hanging out at the edge of the roof, and do not integrate with the car nicely. Again, this is where function has to sacrifice esthetic.

6. One thing should be mentioned is that if the Yakima rack is installed and the factory rack is removed, you will have to buy two rack molding strip to cover up the roof gutter. That is additional $32 per strip. In addition to purchase the rack setup, locks may be a good investment too.

Having said all that, Mgmdx, have you ever check with Yakima to see if they would “warrantee” your setup? Also, what is so different between 2001 and 2002 that Yakima needs to retest its design? I am completely perplex looking at this pile of roof racks in my garage!
 

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I understand your frustration

MDXcrazed,

...they asked that we should remove and return the racks immediately because Yakima did not test these racks on a 2002 MDX.

I understand your frustration. I am certain that Yakima is simply trying to shield themselves from liability. Testing the Q-tower fit on 2002 MDX is simply a formality for them since roof design is identical on 2001 MDX. They are not doing this for the consumers, but rather to satisfy their lawyers.
...Yakima claimed that their rack is only good for 125 lb., whereas the stock rack is good for 165 lb.

Per Yakima Customer Service, while the weight limit for Yakima Q-towers is 125 lb, it is 165 lb for Yakima tracks/rack application, so load carrying capacity is not lost while versatility is gained.
One thing should be mentioned is that if the Yakima rack is installed and the factory rack is removed, you will have to buy two rack molding strip to cover up the roof gutter. That is additional $32 per strip.

While true for the Touring model, this does not apply to the Base MDX. If someone is considering adding a fully functional rack to the Base model, Yakima tracks and rack is simply a better alternative than the factory rack.
In addition to purchase the rack setup, locks may be a good investment too.

My last post on page 2 of the original "Yakima Roof Rack" thread (see my signature) provides a complete cost breakdown, including locks.
...have you ever check with Yakima to see if they would “warrantee” your setup?

I did check with Yakima Customer Service. They have indicated that the tracks/rack carries the same 3 year warranty as the rest of their products, even though they do not have a recommended fit for the MDX.

Realistically, I do not think there is much to worry about. I have been using the same Yakima tracks/rack application on my previous SUV (Pathfinder) for the last 8 years without any problems. If the installation is properly done, the rack should definitely outlast the warranty and is likely to outlast your MDX ownership.
 
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