Thule Aerobars + Thule Ski Rack = Bass Humming

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by MrSteveB, Nov 25, 2018.

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  1. MrSteveB

    MrSteveB Member

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    I’ve had AeroBars on my car for about a year with very little humming or whistling. I removed one of bike racks and installed a Thule ski rack. I’m not currently running a Thule fairing, or any other windscreen. At speeds from about 50-70 I get this mad bass noise as if a subwoofer is strapped to my roof. I’m sure it’s the low pressure pocket of air between the 2 racks causing my roof to vibrate. Has anyone experienced this and does a wind fairing actually help. It’s so loud and annoying I’m tempted to take the racks off until I head to the mountains.

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  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    You can save lots of money in gas mileage by only having the racks on when you need them... Also consider spending $100 on a trailer hitch and $40 on Hitch haul and mount all your gear on the back of the car where it won't kill your MPG or make a loud noise.
     
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  3. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Don't get your hopes too high for this. My hitch mount bike rack still kills MPG, most of the bikes stick beyond the car's narrow slipstream and into the direct wind.

    But it is much more convenient to load and unload, especially for the shorter spouse.
     
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  4. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yea... Wheels off and tarped up as tightly as possible for bikes. And if your skis are longer than the vehicle is wide mounting them at same height as side rear view mirrors will help a little...
     
  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I've never had skiis as short as my car width.

    Used 210s in the old days, am now done to 174s on alpines but still longer on the free-heel varieties. Put them inside, bagged, with the tails atop the center console. No external air drag, no sandblasting of the bases nor salt or road grime in the bindings.
     
  6. MrSteveB

    MrSteveB Member

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    I do have a trailer hitch on this car, and I had the Yakima Hitchski on there which is what I first tried. It was an incredibly poor performing thing since the tubing on the Hitchski was so thin and the Yakima bike rack I had, had channels that were too deep. I tried building up the diameter of the tubing with everything I could find but it never really worked that well and the snowboards caught lots of wind and I could feel them throwing around the car. If I could strap the gear into a completely rigid system where the skis would not bounce and flex it would actually be a great situation. I ended up selling the bike rack and Hitchski as I really preferred having the bikes on the top of the car. I lost a ton of gas mileage mounting bikes to the back. Side profile doesn't seem that bad on a bike but when you have 2 mounted on a rack it seemed to act as a big sail. I may just take this rack off and only use it when I head to Keystone. Thanks for your reply.


    I encountered the same thing. I opted for wheel-on Rocky Mountain Brass Knuckle bike racks. I don't notice nearly as much gas mileage loss with the 2 on top versus the 2 on back.


    Before the ski rack I had been putting one of the seats down. I just wanted this ski rack to be more convenient and help keep the interior cleaner and more dry.
     
  7. MrSteveB

    MrSteveB Member

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    I have been putting them inside. I just thought a ski rack would be better.. So far I am definitely wrong. However, the rack came with my Aerobars since I bought them from Craigslist, so it's not like I just spent 180 bucks on these POS'. Maybe I'll just pick up a ski bag to keep the melting snow off my interior.
     
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Yes, much easier to dry the bag outside the car, than to dry out the car. Don't even need to zip it all up, just use it to collect the melt and cushion against any scratches.
     
  9. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yea... Most external mounting systems aren't design with Prius, or MPG in mind...

    What I like about the hitch is it's a solid base to build your DIY rig off of...

    Like last Spring...

    I have a 10hp wood chipper for up to 4" diameter branches (less than 200 pounds) that I had to drive on a 1700 miles round trip last Spring. So I bolted a custom-shaped board to a chunk of steel that connected to the hitch... I then bolted the chipper to the board as low and as close to the back of the car as possible. Made sure it was a super bomb proof design and spent way, way too much time building it!

    Then I dismantled and wrapped the chipper in multiple tarps so it was as small as possible with no gaps or places where the air passing over the car could get trapped, or cause a vacuum and 1700 miles later I was still at ~50mpg. Only regret is tongue weight limit of hitch is 200 pounds and everything was fine till I had to drive in SF Bay area on super nasty stretch of hwy 880 in Oakland-Berkeley area where the pace of traffic is insanely above 70mph just to get on and off that particular stretch. I knew right away the loads at those speed were gonna be bad... It bent back of hitch down 3/8 of an inch... :-(
     
    #9 PriusCamper, Nov 25, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  10. MrSteveB

    MrSteveB Member

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    I ended up taking the ski racks off. They're easy enough to put on that it's worth it to leave them off until needed.
     
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