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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 07-20-2008, 08:15 PM
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archrenov8 archrenov8 is offline
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Unhappy Thule Roof Rack whistle

I just installed Thule's 450R Rapid Crossroad Aero System on my factory rack, and so far, I have installed the 830 Max stacker Kayak racks, and have them in the folded position. I set the crossbars about even with the B-Post, and just beyond the C-Post.

So far, without any bike carrier components, I noticed a distinct whistle that starts at about 25 mph, and gets louder as speed increases.

Now, firstly, I have not installed the rubber insert into the top of the crossbars yet, because I intended to reuse my 599xt and it uses an adapter that interrupts the rubber insert.

So, I was wondering if the whistle is being created by the Kayak stacker, the fact that I put the crossbars in a particular position, the fact that I have installed the kayak carrier, or the fact that the rubber inserts are not installed yet.

Is there a fairing that could be used to reduce or eliminate the whistle?
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2008, 08:53 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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My Kayak whistles (actually rumbles) if I dont have the skirt on. Other ethan that I don't go very far and over 45 mph to my launch sites.
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2008, 09:02 PM
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Mine is whistling without a kayak up there, just the kayak stacker.
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2008, 08:47 AM
ubermax ubermax is offline
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When you say factory rack, I assume you mean the raised side rails ? I also just purchased the 4 Thule feet that attach to the side rails but got the square load bars since I wanted to continue using my older bike cradles - the fairing is the only thing that I know of that would reduce the wind noise but, as I mentioned in another post, I don't think it would work if you wanted to ride with the sun roof open since the fairing feet sit on the sun roof ( and unless you keep the feet clean you run the risk of scratching the plexi ) - I just carry bikes in the warm weather and cross country skis during the winter months - I'm just gonna suck up any noise for now - Thule could I suppose come out with super long fairing legs but then the angle from horizontal would be too shallow and the wind would start a whistlin !! -- good luck & let us know if you find a solution .
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2008, 06:15 PM
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Yes, by factory rack, I was referring to the raised rails.

I have never had a whistle this loud on a roof rack before. I used to use the square Thule Bars on my ML, and before that the round Yakima bars on my Grand Cherokee, and now on our VW Golf.

I have tried moving the leading crossbar as far forward as possible, figuring that the wind coming up off the windshield might behave better, and it actually became more pronounced. Now I will try moving it back about six inches behind the B-posts. I have not ordered the fairing yet, but will check it out tonight. Not too worried about the sunroof, as I don't really use it.

Funny, I already owned a square crossbar that I used on my ML, but I decided to upgrade to the "aero" system to get quieter performance. Hmmmffff!. At least it looks nicer.
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Last edited by archrenov8; 07-21-2008 at 06:54 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2008, 09:02 PM
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Well, moving it back behind the B-post reduced the whistling a little bit, but not enough. I ordered the Thule 871XT fairing. I will see how that does.
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  #7  
Old 07-26-2008, 11:24 PM
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archrenov8 archrenov8 is offline
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Well, I installed the Thule Fairing last evening, and it is working perfectly. I am not even aware that the roof rack is up there. And quote frankly, since the four little feet that rest on the body of the roof sit on the glass, and not on the painted metal, I can probably open the sunroof, at least partially, if I were to be so inclined.
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2009, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archrenov8 View Post
Well, I installed the Thule Fairing last evening, and it is working perfectly. I am not even aware that the roof rack is up there. And quote frankly, since the four little feet that rest on the body of the roof sit on the glass, and not on the painted metal, I can probably open the sunroof, at least partially, if I were to be so inclined.
I have the same setup. I am trying it a little further forward, so that the feet just touch the painted metal. I installed the adhesive protectant pads. I want it off the glass so that there is no issue when the sunroof is open there are no issues.

How is it working for you on the glass?
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2009, 07:37 PM
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Well I just drove with the rack on its first road trip. Even with the fairing attached I hear a whistle. I reached out while I was driving and it seems the majority is coming from the foot area. There is a small gap between the aero bars and the feet, which I assume is what is making the whistle. Has anyonenalso had this issue? Solutions?

Does the BMW rack have the same issue? It looks like the attachment feet are designed differently on the BMW rack, even though the bars are basically the same but shorter. I have the 53" bars on mine.

Any help/guidance would be appreciated!
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2009, 03:29 PM
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Well, firstly, the outer pads on the fairing don't touch down to the glass sunroof until I am traveling, as the wind forces them down. I don't see any wear on the glass from this.

I am not sure what the difference is between BMW's "foot" and Thule's, if any. Here are some detailed photos of my Thule setup.

Is the small gap the triangular opening around the roof rails where the soft flap grips around the roof rail? If so, I wonder if filling that triangle with something might make the whistle go away.

Can you take a picture of your BMW "foot"?
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  #11  
Old 09-13-2009, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archrenov8 View Post
Well, firstly, the outer pads on the fairing don't touch down to the glass sunroof until I am traveling, as the wind forces them down. I don't see any wear on the glass from this.

I am not sure what the difference is between BMW's "foot" and Thule's, if any. Here are some detailed photos of my Thule setup.

Is the small gap the triangular opening around the roof rails where the soft flap grips around the roof rail? If so, I wonder if filling that triangle with something might make the whistle go away.

Can you take a picture of your BMW "foot"?
I have the Thule also, not the BMW rack. So do you have issues when you open the sunroof, or do you just leave it shut while traveling? Do you hear any whistle still? Yours is a few inches back from mine. My fairing touches the metal right in front of the glass.

I did narrow it down (I believe) to the gap between the bars and the foot, facing forward. I am thinking of getting some this black foam and trying to push it in there to see if it helps.

Also, 1 of my stupid rubber pads on the bottom of the fiaring is starting to come off already. I thought I had it on well, but it is peeling!

What attachment is on top? The standard Kayak carrier? I ordered a Hullavator from REI since they had a 20% off sale. My tandem Kayak is pretty heavy and my wife had surgery and has a hard time helping to lift weights high. The Hullavator should make it pretty easy. Expensive though! Are the standard saddles easy to use?
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Last edited by madurodave; 09-13-2009 at 08:24 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-14-2009, 11:49 AM
pl869 pl869 is offline
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I have the same setup...try moving the fairing up more (if you can). If you are concerned with the fairing pads toucing the metal (scratching paint etc.), it hasn't been a problem for me yet after 2 winters with an Ascent 1100 attached with skis, boots, and gear in it. What noise I seem to get comes from the Thule foot and the side bars. Be sure to let me know how the foam works!
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  #13  
Old 09-14-2009, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pl869 View Post
I have the same setup...try moving the fairing up more (if you can). If you are concerned with the fairing pads toucing the metal (scratching paint etc.), it hasn't been a problem for me yet after 2 winters with an Ascent 1100 attached with skis, boots, and gear in it. What noise I seem to get comes from the Thule foot and the side bars. Be sure to let me know how the foam works!
I think any noise from the bars is effectively quieted with the fairing (although I have not tried driving with no fairing yet). The only noise is coming from the foot/bar interface.

I will look for foam this weekend (or something) and try it and post results.
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  #14  
Old 09-14-2009, 10:15 PM
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I am using the Thule 835PRO Hull-a-port Pro, which is a folding kayak carrier. It does a nice job of holding them securely, and the setup I have enables me to carry two kayaks securely, mounted back to back in the center, with a bicycle on either side.

I had considered the Hullavator, but it would have interfered with the bike mounts.

I find that I need to use a short step stool (I am only 5'-6" tall) to help me put the bikes up solo, and need help with the Kayaks. Fortunately for me, I am partnered to a guy, and he is tall, so that helps in getting the kayaks up there when we head out together.

But I am considering a wagon for my next ride, for the convenience of a lower roof mounting height- especially so I can go kayaking alone. I think we could get the same amount of gear, if not more, in a 325xi Sports Wagon, an A4 Avant, or possibly the Jetta SportWagon, when my lease is up in 19 months. I will surely miss the superior winter handling, and the upright seating position, but I am not getting any taller, and must rely more and more on my roof to haul around our toys.

Anyhow, back on topic, I had found with the fairing up as far forward as it could go, that the noise was much greater. It is possible to open my sunroof at low speeds, without too much turbulence. But with the whistle, it is not very pleasant, so I don't bother.
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  #15  
Old 09-14-2009, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archrenov8 View Post
I am using the Thule 835PRO Hull-a-port Pro, which is a folding kayak carrier. It does a nice job of holding them securely, and the setup I have enables me to carry two kayaks securely, mounted back to back in the center, with a bicycle on either side.

I had considered the Hullavator, but it would have interfered with the bike mounts.

I find that I need to use a short step stool (I am only 5'-6" tall) to help me put the bikes up solo, and need help with the Kayaks. Fortunately for me, I am partnered to a guy, and he is tall, so that helps in getting the kayaks up there when we head out together.

But I am considering a wagon for my next ride, for the convenience of a lower roof mounting height- especially so I can go kayaking alone. I think we could get the same amount of gear, if not more, in a 325xi Sports Wagon, an A4 Avant, or possibly the Jetta SportWagon, when my lease is up in 19 months. I will surely miss the superior winter handling, and the upright seating position, but I am not getting any taller, and must rely more and more on my roof to haul around our toys.

Anyhow, back on topic, I had found with the fairing up as far forward as it could go, that the noise was much greater. It is possible to open my sunroof at low speeds, without too much turbulence. But with the whistle, it is not very pleasant, so I don't bother.
Thanks for all of the details! I wil let you know how the foam works out. My hullavator is due in tomorrow, so I hope I can test it out this weekend if the weather is ok. I do need to order another tow hook so I can tie the kayak to the front and rear as well. I hope it works well. A few reviewers complained about the latches on the hullavator releasing on their own and letting the kayak spring up suddenly. Hopefully I will not see this issue! I will have to decide within a couple of weeks if it is worth the cost of not. I could save around $300 with the Hull-a-Port Pro, but it still would not help me with loading since my wife can't lift that high.

Pics to follow in a few days!
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  #16  
Old 09-18-2009, 03:21 PM
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I tried the Hullavator today. I love thed unit. However, I do not love the way it attaches to the Aero bars. It sits on TOP of the bats and is held down with 2 bolts. I don't like the arrangement so I am going to swap the 53" Aero bars for 50" square bars. That way the Hullavator attach will sit down further on the bars and have a large warp-aroound clamp to hold it in place. I think that will make it more secure.

Plenty of side clearance on the Hullavator, so a 1.5" per side smaller bar should not present any issues.
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  #17  
Old 09-18-2009, 05:38 PM
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I have Thule rectangular bars, the older #415 feet, and Hullavator. No whistling without Kayak, does with it. Whistling was tolerable for ~75 mile trip from home to Anacortes this last weekend. I recommend extra straps to tie boat to crossbar regardless of carrier type, and bow and stern lines connected to tow hooks on the bumbers too. (Loose loads in WA can wind you up in jail so I'm really concientious about tying loads to the car, not just the rack.)

Madurodave: 50" might be too short - buy from somebody with an easy return policy.
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  #18  
Old 09-18-2009, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archrenov8 View Post
I am using the Thule 835PRO Hull-a-port Pro, which is a folding kayak carrier. It does a nice job of holding them securely, and the setup I have enables me to carry two kayaks securely, mounted back to back in the center, with a bicycle on either side.

.
I don't like to put bikes on top of any car. Bearing seals on bicycles are not meant for 70 mph highways speeds in the rain. Most headsets have no seals at all. And then there's the motel entrance effect.

A swing-away trailer hitch mounted rack works for me. Consider that as an alternative, albeit the hitch is quite an investment on the X3, which you are not going to keep that much longer.
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:21 PM
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Madurodave: 50" might be too short - buy from somebody with an easy return policy.
Same place I bought the Aero bars - REI. I will check with them before I buy. If it does not fit, I will exchange next weekend again (58" are same price). As I said, the 53" Aero bars have plenty of clearance. I think the 50" should work since 1.5"/side shorter should be fine.
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  #20  
Old 09-18-2009, 08:41 PM
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In my pictures (posted above on 9-13-09) you can see how the 58" aerobars fit. They give you room to mount things directly above the X3 rails. I am not sure if 50" bars would quite make it.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archrenov8 View Post
In my pictures (posted above on 9-13-09) you can see how the 58" aerobars fit. They give you room to mount things directly above the X3 rails. I am not sure if 50" bars would quite make it.
The 53" Aero bars worked fine.

I tried the 50" square bars. They could work but just barely. I little too close for comfort. I will go with the 58" instead.

BTW - the whistle with the Aero bars? Not there with the square bars. It is the bar/foot interface making the whistle on the Aero bars. The square bars feet wrap around the bars with no gap to trap moving air. I did get some hum with the fairing off, but not bad enough to bother me too much. I will return the fairing now that I have the square bars. Also, my mpgs went back up with the square bars (to 24) while the Aero bars got 22 mpg. So much for Aero meaning aerodynamic!
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  #22  
Old 10-17-2009, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archrenov8 View Post
I just installed Thule's 450R Rapid Crossroad Aero System on my factory rack,

....I noticed a distinct whistle that starts at about 25 mph, and gets louder as speed increases.
It seems from reading your posts that u thought you'd solved this by the fairings but it seemed to come back again. Also MaduroDave was able to solve the whistling by switching to the square bars, which came with "different feet" ?

I see from the Thule website that the Thule Rapid Crossroad "foot" could be replaced with either the Thule Rapid Railing 755 or the Thule Rapid Intracker 4900 (both of which do not have a large gap between the strap and the railings) and STILL used wit h the Aero bars.

My guess is that Aero bars came packaged with the first type of foot, but the square bars came packaged wit h the 2nd or 3rd type (non-gappy = non-whistling).

I'm writing this, not to be pedantic, but for my own benefit as i'm selecting a rack system right now, and for the benefit of othes coming after us :-)
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  #23  
Old 10-17-2009, 06:26 PM
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I see from the Thule website that the Thule Rapid Crossroad "foot" could be replaced with either the Thule Rapid Railing 755 or the Thule Rapid Intracker 4900 (both of which do not have a large gap between the strap and the railings) and STILL used wit h the Aero bars.

My guess is that Aero bars came packaged with the first type of foot, but the square bars came packaged wit h the 2nd or 3rd type (non-gappy = non-whistling).
Unfortunately, all I see that fits the X3 here in the U.S. is the 450 Crossroad or the 450R rapid crossroad which uses the aero bars.

So far, I am very happy with the square bars. The 58" work better with my hullavator. A standard kyack mount could get by the 50" square bars. I may still cut my 58" bars to 54" but not until spring.
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  #24  
Old 10-17-2009, 08:24 PM
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Well, I am thinking that my whistle was likely coming from the little triangular gaps that exist in between the foot and the factory rail. I may try stuffing something into that space when I reinstall next spring.

I just took the racks off for the season now, to get a quieter ride for winter, and better mpg. I watched as my mileage almost instantly improved by over 1 mpg in around town and some highway driving. Nice to be back over 20 mpg around town.
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  #25  
Old 10-18-2009, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by madurodave View Post
Unfortunately, all I see that fits the X3 here in the U.S. is the 450 Crossroad or the 450R rapid crossroad which uses the aero bars.
Good point, my post outlined the 3x types of feet that Thule produce, but I can't assume that they all fit the X3.

Funnily enough, when I go on the UK version of the Thule website, the Rapid Crossroad (with the metal strap, and triangular gap) and the Rapid Railing (more of a clamp, seems tighter fitting to rail) are both available, depending on the X3 model (and heres where it gets confusing, because on their model list, its impossible to distinguish between the two "models", see
http://www.thule.co.uk/appguide/carMakeList.asp )

Quote:
Originally Posted by madurodave View Post
So far, I am very happy with the square bars. The 58" work better with my hullavator. A standard kyack mount could get by the 50" square bars. I may still cut my 58" bars to 54" but not until spring.
I take it the feet that you have fitted with your square bars are the Rapid Railing (more of a clamp, seems tighter fitting to rail), or at least not the Rapid Crossroad (with the metal strap, and triangular gap) ?

thanks
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