Thule Tracker II roof rack on Prius C - solid and removable!

Discussion in 'Prius c Accessories and Modifications' started by Reid_in_QC, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Reid_in_QC

    Reid_in_QC New Member

    Jun 10, 2018
    les C├Ędres, QC
    2012 Prius c
    We acquired a used 2012 Prius C last fall and I immediately starting reading up on rack solutions for the cargo box, bike racks and canoe carrier necessary to make this rather small car meet all our family's needs. Like many of you I was surprised that there was no simple roof rack solution for the Prius C. My thanks to other forum members for speeding my education on the subject.

    Lucky for me I am fond of drilling holes in shiny things and even more than that I like things to be strong, and clever if possible. To that end I pieced together a sweet system from new and old Thule parts including bolt-on rails and removable Tracker feet. I'm quite pleased with the results.

    "top tracks" rails were still available new from Thule though at first a local dealer was unable to order them for me. I ordered online from Thule and they came in the mail. Instructions were adequate, the kit was complete, decent silicone sealant and an adequate rivnut setter were included. No challenges drilling and installing roof rails with a bit of patience. 8 stainless rivnuts per rail gives me confidence. I think they'll stay put.

    I don't seem to have photos from the rail install but I can take some if it would be useful to someone.

    Here's a recent pic showing the rails pretty clearly

    The real beauty of my system came from remembering Thule's old Tracker II feet/towers. These were often used to install load removable bars on truck toppers, RVs, etc and they are nifty cool, though no longer available new. I had to get them used through eBay and get the correct Tracker base for rails from another vendor but they're great! Rails wear only small feet when the bars are removed and removal/install is tool-free but racks can lock to rails when mounted using standard Thule key tumblers. That translates as, "schlack, schlack" we have a roof rack... "yoink, yoink" it's gone! Literally seconds.

    I think Yakima also made or makes some kind of removable tower for rail mounted bases but I'm not sure.

    In the winter I actually keep the roof rack bars attached to the ski box and hang the whole assembly from two ropes above the car in our garage. Releasing the ropes drops the ski box and bars onto the waiting rail-mounted bases below. Click, click, click, click there's a ski box on our car. Sorry no photos of that either but hopefully I'll think to take some this summer when we load the box to go camping with the kids.

    The combination of removable bars and solidly mounted roof rails is almost perfect in my mind. It takes some doing as certain parts are obsolete and not available new but you can find what you need on eBay. I ended up just buying the load bars used locally, even with the old style wind deflector, which I pruned to Prius C dimensions, for something like $50. All told the project still cost several hundred bucks but it's way nicer than anything on offer new, in my opinion.

    The last piece of the puzzle took longer to assemble and I only finished today: a proper solid canoe carrier for our rather hefty canoe. Given that the front end of the C offers next to nothing solid for a bow rope I opted to make really strong brackets to pinch and strap the canoe as securely as possible to the roof bars and forego bow and stern ropes. This meant building brackets from scratch and though it took a few hours I was so pleased with the result that I even painted them (rare for me).

    The final touches of used belting as padding went on yesterday and today we went canoeing with our two kids and our large dog. It's kinda dog _or_ luggage but still a pretty good load for a Prius C. The canoe is a 15' Grumman that weighs about 70 lbs. It's quite a bit longer than the car but the bike rack on the rear hitch clears okay and the hatchback still opens about 70% of the way with the canoe on. Tested up to 100km/h with nary a wiggle. I say success.

    More photos to come when I remount the cargo box. Initial measurements suggest that it'll fit without removing canoe brackets and both are designed for same bar spacing.

    Yes this canoe rack is very specific to our canoe and might not work for any other. That's okay with me for now. My dad bought this canoe when I was a kid and it's aging far better than me so I think I can count on it for a few more decades.

    Here's hoping this helps someone else who buys a Prius C, realizes how few options there are and likes drilling holes in the roof of his or her car :)

    ~ reid
    cyeremian and skayaks like this.
  2. cyeremian

    cyeremian Member

    Apr 10, 2013
    SF Bay Area
    2012 Prius c
    very clean set up. Looks good. I like the wheels too!