part of what i need from a vehicle is the ability to transport my canoe. i like to fish and for most of the year that involves moving a canoe from spot to spot. this means that i need a roof rack and any car i use significantly. i bought one for my 626 and it has been sitting around since the 626 was sold for scrap. i recently started contacting thule to determine how to make this rack (which i loved using on my 626) fit fred the sentra. you see the roof rack is meant for a 4 door car and fred is a 2 door coupe. thule has a short roof adapter (sra) that is supposed to make it possible to use the the roof rack on a coupe but thule’s website says it won’t work with my roof rack because of the feet i have. i have the 480xtr feet. these were the higher end rack feet when i bought the rack but they have since released new model feet.
those of you who know me might be surprised that i bought the higher end foot pack but at the time they were actually cheaper than the lower end feet. why? well i bought a refurbished roof rack. don’t ask me how you refurbish a roof rack. i have no idea. all i know is that it was significantly less expensive than the lower end foot pack and they have worked great for three years.
so i contacted thule through their support website to ask if it was possible to make the sra work with the 480xtr feet. i received no response. i sent another request for information. again, there was no response. i sent a third request and this time i was told that the sra sure would work if i bought new feet. of course the answer completely ignored my real request so i sent a final request and was told that i should call an unlisted customer support phone number. i called, was placed on hold for 10 minutes, and then told by recording that office hours had ended. i called again the next day and was told by a rep that he wasn’t really sure why but his forms said the sra wouldn’t work with the 480xtr feet and asked if there was anything else he could help with.
this just didn’t seem right. i looked at the sra and my rack feet and i was sure they would work together or at least that i could make them work together. so i found a used short roof adapter on ebay for $40 and ordered it assuming that if it didn’t work i could resell it and get at least $40 back. here’s what i discovered. the only thing that keeps the sra from working with the 480xtr feet is the plastic cover of the xtr feet. this plastic cover is purely aesthetic (pictured right). i can’t believe that this plastic cover does anything for the operation or structural integrity of the 480xtr feet. the short roof adapter works by small hooks fitting into each foot (pictured left). these hooks are pull into the feet by a center “fit kit” holding onto the back edge of the door frame. the plastic hood of the xtr foot blocks the hook from being able to grab a hold of the foot. removing the plastic hood from the 480xtr feet enabled me to use the sra just as it was meant to be used. without the plastic hood the hooks fit perfectly. i installed the rack and everything works perfectly.
surely thule knows this. i can’t believe they wouldn’t tell me such a simple fix. removing the plastic hood doesn’t appear to change anything about the structural integrity or operation of the rack foot. it ticks me off that their support’s advice was simply to buy new feet. my rack works on fred for $40 plus $15 for a used sentra fit kit off ebay. thule’s advice would have cost me $360 (new feet, new short roof adapter, and new fit kit) just to enable me to use the roof rack that i bought from them 3 years ago.
the next step for the roof rack is taking a dremel to the plastic hood to make room for the sra’s hook. then i’ll have the pleasing look of the smooth hoods on my rack feet again. this will make me even more happy.
next step for fred is working on the the exhaust system. there is a front exhaust pipe that needs to be patched or replaced. btw does anyone know how to weld? i’ll need some welding to fix the rusted out body sections at each rear wheel well.