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self-effacing bmw owner
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522 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i just got my Thule Atlantis 1600 roofbox mounted on my 325i over the weekend (excuse the crappy cameraphone pic):



it's on 753 bars ($25 on craigslist! though i did need to get $24 in spare parts from Thule, but still a steal). i got the box on sale for $440 shipped from Sport Chalet (list $580, $490 at amazon was the best regular price i could find). so i managed to keep the cost just under $500.

it looks a little high and awkward in the pic, but in person it's actually pretty slick. i was going to get the cheaper Ascent 1500 box, which comes in matte black, but my friend convinced me that matte black roof boxes look like crap ("looks like an enormous trash can strapped to your car"). i really didn't want to spring the extra $$$ for the Atlantis, but i have to say it looks *very* nice with its metallic silver finish - even my wife likes it! she liked the bars by themselves too, thought it gave the car a sporty look.

mounting the bars and box was a cinch - can easily do both in 15 minutes, though you will need a second pair of hands to get the box up. BMW's built-in mount points are genius, so glad i don't have to use clamps like most other cars. Thule's quick-clamps are great too, and slide forward enough to avoid getting any windshield overhang.

i did a 250 mile drive over the weekend and everything was solid. there is a little rattling over bumps from the bottom of the box slapping the bars, but this is only over bad bumps (i live in NJ after all) when the box is empty - on the highway or with anything in it, it's quiet. the bars themselves have a decent amount of wind noise, particularly between 25mph and 45mph where they whistle, but if you keep the sunroof/sunshade closed it's barely noticeable. at highway speeds you can hear a slight whooshing, but it's subtle - the soundproofing on our cars is pretty great i have to say. the box did not add any additional wind noise at all until maybe 60mph+, where you start to hear just a bit more "whoosh" and feel the extra drag - i'm pretty sure there is a significant mileage drop, at least 5-10% and probably more when you get > 75mph. at 80mph i was losing a lot on my mpg gauge so i stayed < 75mph, where i was still able to get a 30mpg reading... better not to get speeding tickets anyway. :) you can definitely feel the extra top-heaviness in the handling, but it's not too bad considering - i noticed it a little after first mounting, but quickly got used to it. on a larger car with a higher center of gravity (e.g. SUV) it's probably much less noticeable.

i'm thinking of modding the bars to fill in their hollow spots - i think this is a significant source of wind noise. as an experiment, i crammed some paper into one of them, and i'm pretty sure that made a significant difference. so i might try wrapping them with plastic, or maybe filling them with insulation foam...

anyway, can't wait for my vermont vacation at the end of the month! my wife and i are heading up with our 2 dogs, a friend and our musical instruments, so there was no way we were going to make it with just the boot. it was a little hard to find info/pics of roof boxes on E46's (there's one thread at e46fanatics, but none with the Atlantis box), will try to post better pics soon.
 

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is a Texan
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1,400 Posts
Looks good for what it is, considering its a usefull item not really meant to add style.

If you do add the foam to help reduce noise and you want to go a step further then look into the aerodynamic fairing for the front, it should help even more with noise (I know mine does) and maybe even a small bit with the mpgs.

Here is one for example, I think with paitence you could find one on ebay or craiglist for around $30

http://cgi.ebay.com/Thule-872XT-Fai...tem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item335eb53ff9
 

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self-effacing bmw owner
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522 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks - i was thinking about a fairing, but i heard with a roof box it actually increases drag. the box has channels at the bottom which are meant to direct air flow. i could see it helping with bikes/skis/etc. though.
 

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self-effacing bmw owner
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522 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
here's some more pics of the Thule 686XT Atlantis 1600 box mounted. incidentally i was able to all but eliminate the whistling noise from the 753 bars by taping over the slots at the ends with black electrical tape - completely silences the high pitch between 20 and 40 mph. i think filling the hollows of the feet would further reduce noise, but that's probably more effort than i'm willing to put in.






 

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Cogito Ergo Zoom
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3,579 Posts
A fairing will not only reduce wind noise but will also improve gas mileage .

Also , thule makes plastic caps to go over the end of the bars . Not only do they stop the whistling , they also keep you from losing an eye when you bonk your head on it . (ask how I know) Most bike shops , including mine , have a box of spare thule crap in the basement . If you ask , I'm sure you can find them cheap .
 

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self-effacing bmw owner
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522 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A fairing will not only reduce wind noise but will also improve gas mileage .
i have heard that this is not the case for roof boxes, which are specifically designed to allow air to flow underneath (there are slotted air channels on the bottom). i remember reading somewhere that a person with an A4 avant had to remove the fairing w/the box because it was actually increasing drag (though noise may be reduced).

Also , thule makes plastic caps to go over the end of the bars .
yup, i have the end caps. that's not the source of the whistling - it's the slot on the underside of the bar, which is there to allow you to adjust the width of the feet for different cars (e.g. e46 vs. e39).

as i mentioned before Thule will sell you the entire parts bag for the 753 for $25 + s/h, but fyi it is tough to get a hold of... they seem to order them in spurts from europe so they are in and out of stock. definitely worth it though, it's everything that comes new with the 753 sans bars and feet - end caps, screws and washers, inserts for the bar, etc.

(yes, i spent a lot of time obsessing over this stuff before i bought it... you can ask my wife. :p)
 
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