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Discussion Starter #1
Here are a bunch of pictures of my Thule Excursion cartop carrier. It mounts to the exising factory crossbars with no modifications.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The Excursion opens from the rear and hinges upward. Two spring-loaded support arms do most of the work of holding it open. The carrier opens wide enough to load from the rear or sides. When you close it these same arms hold the carrier tightly shut.

Total capacity is 13 cubic feet and there are four tie-down points inside. Thule includes nylon belts to use for this purpose. There is a lot of room in this thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The carrier has a latch and lock on the back. You can latch it without locking it and Thule provides two keys with the carrier.
 

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This was the part I found difficult to understand until I got my carrier. Attaching the carrier to the cross bars is very simple. There are four padded steel plates on the bottom of the carrier. These plates rest directly on top of your crossbars.

On each end of the steel plates there are two 1/4" bolts that pass the front and back of the crossbar. A smaller padded steel plate swings into place to make what can best be described as a crossbar sandwich. Once you have the plates all connected you tighten the bolts by screwing down wingnuts inside the carrier. If you look at the picture of the open carrier above you can see the black plastic wingnuts.

It's really easy to attach everything and it is rock solid once you get it mounted.
 

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Thanks for the pics. Where did you buy the carrier and how much did it cost? Also, were there any other makes/models that one should consider before making the purchase? Great post.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My Thule cost $240, which was $45 less than the Honda dealer wanted for the Honda-branded version. I got it at a bicycle shop that carries Thule bike carriers. They special ordered it and had it within three days.

This is one of the smaller cartop carriers available but you'd be surprised how much room is inside. It's a very clean mount to the existing factory crossbars and is padded to prevent scratching the bars. There is no contact at all with the roof of the Pilot.

I looked at several other carriers but liked the Thule and got a good price for it so I jumped.
 

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Thanks for the response Chuck! The Thule looks like a great solution if you already have the Honda crossbars, which I do.

One other question...I have the Honda ski racks, so is there enough room to put the Thule box on one side and the ski racks on the other?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nope. The Excursion is pretty wide and there is less than 3" of space left on either side of the crossbars when it is mounted.

I know this because my original plan was to mount a Rocket Rack on each side of the box but there just wasn't enough room.
 

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Thanks Chuck. I had a feeling that was the case. I have very long skis which probably don't fit in the excursion. It sounds like the longer cargo boxes, that would fit long skis, stop the back hatch from opening.

So the question is, is there a solution that allows you to carry long skis and cargo, or are you stuck with either carrying skis or cargo but never both?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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other options

Thule has a new series of boxes called the Cascade. According to the Thule fit guide, they will fit on the Pilot factory rack. The smallest of the series, the Cascade 1100, is only 21 inches wide, holds skis up to 180cm, and is designed to accomodate other gear on the racks.

I'm considering the Cascade 1500 as an alternative to the Excursion - at 15 cubic feet, it's larger than the Excursion, and opens from the side. I'm also considering the Sears Sport 20 SV. Does anyone have any experience with these?
 

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That sounds good. My only concern would be with a carrier that long, whether it would interfere with the hatch opening. Folks on this board have had some problems with the long carriers stopping the hatch from fully opening (e.g. Yakima Rocketbox).

Does anyone know if the Cascade creates a problem with the hatch?

Thanks.
 

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Hop 23, we just bought the sears cartop carrier you mentioned, last week. It was on sale for 159.00 which included the mounting brackets. There was minimal wind noise, I couldn't hear anything at all, my husband could barely. So that was no problem. We had extra space left over after four bags of luggage, four smaller bags of luggage and some other stuff we put in there. It mounted easily on the Honda cross bars and for the money I was extremely pleased. Also when it was my turn to drive, we went to Corpus Christi from Tulsa for Memorial Day, I could not tell it was up there on the straight away. On curves it was noticable but not any worse than when I went from driving a car to driving the suv type of feeling.
 

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I have a long box from Thule - the Frontier or something like that. I have found that you can move it forward enough to miss the rear hatch. There are several pairs of holes in the bottom of the box that allow you to move it forward when attaching it.


srelyea said:
That sounds good. My only concern would be with a carrier that long, whether it would interfere with the hatch opening. Folks on this board have had some problems with the long carriers stopping the hatch from fully opening (e.g. Yakima Rocketbox).

Does anyone know if the Cascade creates a problem with the hatch?

Thanks.
 

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Thule "long box"

Mkell,
I see a range of long boxes offered by Thule. The Mountaineer and several others are between 90 and 91.5" long. I am considering a box in the range of 76" and 88" If yours is over 90", sounds like any Thule box would fit. Is your box 90"+ ?
 

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Frontier

OK, I found the Frontier = 88.5". That fits, so I'm OK. Thanks
 

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I believe that I have the mountaineer. It is the wider long box that is black. It works great. The problem is that the wind noise is terrible without a fairing - so much so that I take off the rack when I'm not using it.
 

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I like the Mountaineer because it is offered in white or black, plus the 28+" width does look good. Since my Pilot won't come for another few weeks, I can only observe other cars, but the Pilot rails do not seem to go very far forward. How far forward does the leading edge of the box wind up relative to the cross bar (if your box is on the car now)?

Interesting about the wind noise.

Do you hear that with the Thule cross bars without the box, as well as when the box is installed? Maybe that's why Thule automatically suggests a fairing (for $45) along with a box when you go through their fit guide.
 

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The Fairing May Be Mandatory

I think the box nose is close to or just over the point at which the windshield begins, but it's been since last summer since I had it on. The wind noise is due to the bars only. The box did not really change the noise. The bars were so bad that my mother-in-law said - "what's that awful noise" in her first ride in the Pilot (w/out box on it). I then pulled the bars off at the next stop and had blissful peace in the cabin. The noise is very serious - I don't think it's practical to leave the bars on permanently without the fairing. I'm really not fond of this option. The big Thule lettering is tacky to me and the fairing intrudes on the Pilot's looks. The Yakima rack has a slick aerodynamic cover for the front bar that is shaped like a tear drop - round in front and long tail in back. It fits between the rack feet and gets rid of the noise - so I hear on this site anyway. It would be great if a small retrofit like that worked for the Thule. I would have bought the Yak for that reason alone if I had not already owned the Thule with 2 bike racks, ski racks for six pairs, and a kayak carrier. It's been on four cars. Maybe I can scrape the Yakima lettering off the bar cover and paint "Pilot" on it. Hmmm.

jazcar said:
I like the Mountaineer because it is offered in white or black, plus the 28+" width does look good. Since my Pilot won't come for another few weeks, I can only observe other cars, but the Pilot rails do not seem to go very far forward. How far forward does the leading edge of the box wind up relative to the cross bar (if your box is on the car now)?

Interesting about the wind noise.

Do you hear that with the Thule cross bars without the box, as well as when the box is installed? Maybe that's why Thule automatically suggests a fairing (for $45) along with a box when you go through their fit guide.
 

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Originally posted by Mkell
The bars were so bad that my mother-in-law said - "what's that awful noise" in her first ride in the Pilot (w/out box on it). I then pulled the bars off at the next stop and had blissful peace in the cabin.
Somehow I think I'm being baited here, but if this were my mother-in-law, the removal of the bars would have resulted in blissful peace before I put the car in drive again ... for a few seconds :2:

Say, THULE and PILOT have the same number of letters. Maybe a few well placed paint strokes would transform the stock fairing to say "PILOT" !
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Are you talking about the factory cross bars making noise? They have an aerodynamic front and back. If you put them on backwards they will make a horrible howling noise. Try reversing them and see what happens.

Do a search on cross bars and you will see several threads on this subject. My bars are silent with and without my Thule attached.
 
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