Desperately seeking roof rack for 2016 Prius (Four Touring)

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by dpbsmith4, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. dpbsmith4

    dpbsmith4 Junior Member

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    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Four Touring
    Does anyone know of a roof rack that will (for sure) properly fit a 2016 Prius Four Touring (i.e. the regular liftback, not the Prius v?)

    We had Whispbars (Yakima aerodynamic rack) on our 2005 Prius. We called the dealer who'd sold it to us and they said yes, they could transfer it to our 2016, perhaps with some new fit parts, and made an appointment two weeks out to do it. Only after we got their did they discover that Yakima does not list a fit kit, and neither does Thule. We had always figured the genuine Toyota accessory roof rack, actually pictured in our 2016 Prius brochure, was our fallback, but the dealer informs us that they have no information on it, no part number for it, and can't order it.

    It certainly looks as if the old style (non aero) Thule racks ought to have the adjustment range to fit it, so we suspect this is just a case of Thule not having gotten around to measuring a 2016 yet, but the rack dealers say no, they will not install a rack without manufacturer's approval for the car model.

    (P.S. Yes, we know what this does to mileage. Our 2005 got 48 mpg normally, 38-40 mpg with a cargo box on the roof. It's still more than your average SUV, and we only have the box on when we're taking summer road trips).
     
  2. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    Looks like PW301-47000 is the part number for the official Toyota cross bars, if that helps.
     
  3. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    I too am waiting for the roof rack situation to shake out, and likewise mistakenly assumed that the Toyota bars were available as a fallback. I phoned Yakima several times about a clamp-on fitment, and was told they would have a solution in a week or two - this was a few weeks ago. Looking at the roof, I suspect that the problem is in the rear bar. The points where the "feet" supporting it should land on the roof are quite far from the door jamb, where it would be clamped. Moving the bar forward would help, but then you'd end up with two bars rather close together, not a good setup.

    Another solution is a permanent base like Yakima's Tracks screwed to the roof, with crossbars that clip to it when needed. Very little additional aero drag when the bars are off (they probably fit inside the car), a few seconds to clip them on, and greater load carrying capacity than crossbars that mount to the door jambs. The downside is that holes must be drilled into the roof of the car in the right places to (a) provide good structural support and (b) avoid hitting airbags and other things. Leakage is not a problem because the screws go into waterproof "shields" inserted into the holes. Not a DIY job, at least not for me.

    Your sig indicates you are in New England. I use Rack Attack in Framingham, MA (just off the Mass Pike). They mounted Yakima Track setups on my Gen 3 Prius and on my friend's Gen 3 as well. We carry boats, so we prefer the strongest mounting possible. Other friends used clamp-on bars to carry boats on Gen 3's but it didn't look secure to us. Yakima also offers a fixed-point solution called Landing Pads, but those seemed likely to concentrate the stress under the Pads rather than distribute it as the Tracks do.

    I don't need my rack for another few months, so I am waiting for Rack Attack and Yakima to gain knowledge and experience with mounting Tracks on Gen 4's before bringing mine in.

    It would be SO much simpler if Toyota would build threaded mounting points into the roof under the rubber strips on each side of the roof. If you wanted a roof rack, you would simply remove the rubber strip and bolt on side rails, to which you would attach crossbars. This is how it is done with some Hondas and I think with other Toyota models.
     
    #3 JohnF, Apr 11, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  4. dpbsmith4

    dpbsmith4 Junior Member

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    Thanks for your insight and suggestions. At the moment we are a little bit down on the dealer you mentioned because they're the unnamed dealer I mentioned in my original post, but perhaps we should forgive and forget and explore some of your suggestions with them.
     
  5. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Be sure to check out the 2016 OEM Roof Rack in the Prius Chat SHOP!!!

    That's something we've never had before for a prior Gen.
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    If you go the Yakima Tracks route, ask when you can get an appointment with their tech with the most experience with installing Tracks.

    If you decide to go with the Toyota accessory crossbars, the Prius Chat Shop may be able to get them even if your dealer can't. My dealer's parts dept was utterly clueless about the Toyota accessories shown online on the Toyota site. So I ordered everything thru the Prius Chat Shop and got it no problem, quickly.
     
  7. rcsting

    rcsting Toyota Fanatic

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    I'm also hoping to find a roof rack for our Kayaks but no luck yet :(.
     
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  8. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    In California, Yakima recommended Rack n Road (800-722-5872) as a good place to go to have Yakima Tracks (or the Thule equivalent) installed. They have various locations in Northern and Southern California.

    I checked yesterday and neither Yakima nor Thule shows fitments of clamp-on bars to the Gen 4.

    I don't know if the crossbars shown in the Toyota Accessory Shop actually exist.

    Please update here on what you find out because I could use help too. The shop I have dealt with out here (Rack Attack) was unaware that the Gen 4 roof is completely different from the Gen 3. Scary.
     
  9. dpbsmith4

    dpbsmith4 Junior Member

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    Here's where things stand. I called Thule and even suggested I could drive to Connecticut if they wanted to try a test fit. They said no, they are all set on having a Prius to work with, and it's in the queue and they should have a 2016 Prius fitting kit by June. I didn't press on the date because that's way too late for us as we will be long on our trip. I've now checked with two dealers who confirm that the part number shown here in the online Prius Accessory Shop is valid--and that it's not available, they can't order it, and don't know when it will be available.

    For the time being, we think we can get by carrying a few lightweight, soft items (our sleeping bags) in a "Rightline" cargo bag that straps to the top of the car.
     
  10. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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  11. dpbsmith4

    dpbsmith4 Junior Member

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    Yes and no. The body style seen from the side looks like Gen 4, but--this is a biggy--in that picture, the groove in the roof run parallel to the side of the car. One of the issues is that--on my 2016 Prius Four Touring, anyway--the grooves curve in toward the center of the car, while the door opening curves downward, and as a result, the distance between the roof rack's "tower" and the place where the clip grabs spreads out to nearly five inches. It might need a specially designed clip to bridge that wide a gap.
     
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  12. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    Yes I had noticed that and could not see how the rear bar could attach given the huge "grab spread" needed. Figuring out a clever way to deal with that may be what is delaying Yakima and Thule. They keep telling me they'll have a fitment in a week or two.
     
  13. dpbsmith4

    dpbsmith4 Junior Member

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    "Grab spread!" What an excellent way to describe the problem!
     
  14. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    Well I stole it from you.....
     
  15. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    Update on roof racks:
    (1) I weaseled my way into the inner sanctum of Toyota USA's parts dept today, and was told that Toyota's Prius Cargo Cross Bars are still in manufacturing, there is no ETA, and they can't be ordered yet. The part number shown in the PriusChat Shop, PW301-47000, is inactive and will probably be superseded. Toyota shouldn't be listing accessories for sale on its website in February when they are not available for sale for more than 3 months later! I had a Gen 3 with a roof rack (which I used, it wasn't decorative) and I sold that car and bought my Gen 4 trusting that I could get the accessories shown on the website. The Toyota website lists a 165lb capacity for them which seems good for my purposes.
    (2) Thule says the parts for their crossbars are presently being made in their factory in Sweden and will be crash tested in Germany before they are shipped here in early to mid July.
    (3) Yakima says they are working on a fitment but can't/won't say when theirs will be done.
    (4) Yakima Tracks and Thule Top Tracks are available now, but require drilling holes in the roof. Not sure I trust Rack Attack to do that, there don't seem to be other rack installation specialists in the area, and I prefer not to do it myself, given the bending necessary in two dimensions to fit tracks to the roof. I don't know the normal function of the two grooves in the roof that the tracks would have to mount into, and am not confident tracks would have 165lb load capacity.

    I hoped to enter two races in July, but maybe I can borrow a car with a rack to get my boats there.

    Hopefully this is useful to anybody else in the same dilemma with the Gen 4.
     
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  16. eric1234

    eric1234 Active Member

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    Thanks John - please do keep us posted - I'm in an almost identical situation :)
     
  17. dpbsmith4

    dpbsmith4 Junior Member

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    This is very helpful in confirming that we need to go on our camping trip next week without a roof rack, and there's no point calling every Toyota dealer within hundreds of miles to ask if they have one. In place of the cargo box we'd been using, we are going to settle for a soft-sided cargo bag in which we are carrying only lightweight gear (sleeping bags and an air mattress). Effect on fuel efficiency and handling doesn't seem to be too bad. So we will go this year without a roof rack, and hopefully everything will be ready for 2017. I really think it is disappointing for Toyota to show pictures of nonexistent accessories in their brochure. If they'd at least slapped something across it saying "Available late 2016" or something like that, it would have been OK.
     
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  18. rcsting

    rcsting Toyota Fanatic

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    Wondering if there's been any updates on availability ?
     
  19. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    I have made some calls (again!) over the past couple of weeks:
    (1) Toyota Customer Care told they have no idea what is going on with the Toyota Cargo Bars that were listed among the 2016 Prius Accessories on the Toyota website and that I should phone my dealer, who would know more (than Toyota USA???). The bars are no longer shown on the website, but a Prius Accessories brochure shows them, there is a Toyota video about clip about them, and a set of installation instructions are posted online - all referencing the 2016 model year.
    (2) Thule says they have engineered a prototype which they have sent to Germany for crash testing (!). If it passes, it will go to Sweden for production and "might" be available in the US sometime towards the end of July.
    (3) Yakima says they are working on a fitment but have no specific information.
    (4) I plan to drive to Boston in the next couple of weeks and will stop at Rack Attack in Framingham to see about having tracks screwed to the roof (Yakima or Thule).
    (5) If all else fails, I'm going to call the GM of my dealer and ask about borrowing or renting one of their demo Toyotas that has a roof rack so that I can pick up a 20' surf ski I'd like to buy.

    What a mess!

    This website seems rather sick, by the way.
     
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  20. JohnF

    JohnF Active Member

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    Further updates:
    (1) Phoned my dealer's parts guy, who called Toyota, who told him that there was a problem with the original version of the Prius Cargo Bars and that part number was withdrawn. They are definitely working on a new version, no ETA on when that will be available.

    (2) Phoned Rack Attack in Framingham MA and the guy said they had looked at the 2016 Prius Liftback's roof and decided it has too much curvature to bend tracks to follow the roofline. So they are not fitting tracks on our cars. He said they would do a 4-point fixed mounting (screwed-in 'feet"), but I am concerned that would localize stress and might cause distortion of the roof sheet metal.

    (3) Phoned Thule and got hopeful news. The new fitment kit has passed testing, is approved, and has a part number: p/n KIT1824, $99.95. Thule is currently predicting release in the US on August 1. Recommended bars are the $199.95 p/n ARB53 aero aluminum 53" long with a 2 3/4" wide foil section, which would take the $199.95 p/n 480R footpack. Alternatively one could use the 50" long traditional 1" square steel bars p/n LB50 with the p/n 480 footpack. The bars and footpacks are all standard parts available now; the fitment kit would have to be ordered as a backorder item.
     
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