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Discussion Starter #1
The Premium hatchback model I recently got has side roof rails but no cross rails. I have 30 years worth and many $$$ of Yakima and Thule roof rack mounts, adapters, bars and accessories. I'd like to attach my Yakima cross bars to the existing side bars. For a mere $350 or so I can buy the Yakima mounts. Subaru has something, I recall, and Thule likely does. The Yakima version looks like they may need to be drilled into the side rail bars. I'm done with dropping big coin on this simple issue. I could simply lash my cross bars to the side rails with stout line and be done. Duct tape would work, in a pinch. I've also thought of using some Bondo to mold & fashion "saddles" for the round bars to sit atop the side rails and distribute the load onto them more evenly.

When I was dealing with this same issue last year with a new Outback, there were threads of people using ingenious adaptions and hardware to beef up and increase their roof rack capacity. I got away lucky with the Outback, under $100 with a Yakima mount that allowed a wider cross bar than the supplied Subaru

Anybody out there that is dealing with this issue? I ain't in no hurry, as in god forsaken, frozen tundra, wasteland Wisconsin all the water right now is frozen solid. (it is a nice 42 F, partly sunny day, today). I typically carry a heavy tandem fiberglass sea kayak atop my rigs, or a cargo box, on occasion.

I'll work the problem, in the thinking phase now, but is anybody out there thinking about this issue too?
 

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I'm not even there yet—the Canadian models don't have the side roof rails!

I have a set of cross-rails on the order from the dealership, but they don't have the ETA. Apparently, it's all new.
 

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i've got my share of yakima stuff on my current vehicle and i've been eyeing the sales brochure of pictures of the 5-door and its factory rails. it appears you can't just attach some yakima crossbar mounts to the factory rails because even though they would fit it appears the rais slant slightly lower towards the rear of the vehicle(anyone with a 5-door could verify this). it looks like the actual subaru crossbars are designed with a specific front/rear crossbar set-up(ie. the rear crossbar is taller). this would create a flat surface to mount things like cargoboxes and paddleboards(because subaru owners are active) and air wouldn't lift under as you drive. again, this is all by looking at pictures, but i've been thinking the same thing you have.
 

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OEM Crossbars

My dealer sold me the OEM crossbars for $149. I think they are $199 on the web site.

They will do the trick for me.

At first I was told the 2017 crossbars weren't out yet, but my dealer discovered they are the same ones from last year (part #E361SFJ100). They are black instead of the silver "side rails" that come with the car.

I think Thule racks are meant to work with the Subaru "side rails" versus Yakima.
 

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My dealer sold me the OEM crossbars for $149. I think they are $199 on the web site.

They will do the trick for me.

At first I was told the 2017 crossbars weren't out yet, but my dealer discovered they are the same ones from last year (part #E361SFJ100). They are black instead of the silver "side rails" that come with the car.

I think Thule racks are meant to work with the Subaru "side rails" versus Yakima.
What's do you think of the build quality? I heard from other owners that it could be better, but that might be because they got from a bad batch.
 

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side rail towers

I was able to attach used rail grabbers from yakima. I had to take the rubber padding off so that they would fit. I was a little concerned that it would cause some slight damage to the rail but like you I got sick of dealing with it. It's been working well so far. I see that the new timberline towers are a bit more versatile but like you say, they are ridiculously overpriced.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I finally got a warm 60F & sunny day to muck about outside. I started to think and play with methods of attaching my Yakima cross bars onto my side rails. Picture is attached of a mock-up concept. I'll buy longer 1/4" X 1-1/8" X 3.5" U-bolts, 8 total. I'll machine a thick 1/2" or so piece of Delrin plastic (tough stuff) with 4 holes to fit the U-bolts. The plastic bar will go beneath the side rails and I have thumb screw fasteners so wrenches won't be needed. I'll pad the underside of the cross bar to prevent marring. This looks like a cheap, simple and effective method of using the many hundreds of dollars of Yakima stuff I have for the round bars.

If I were to obtain Subaru or other vendor crossbars they are flat Aero style and my kayak saddles and other attachments would not work, unless I spent more hundreds of dollars for adapters. So some tinkering is in the future, and cost should be under $10. I could drill into the side rails, but I'd rather not. I may make some cross bar foot to spread the load of the bar over a larger surface area than just the tangent point of contact as shown in the photo.

Anybody got any suggestions, cautions or advice with this concept? I ain't buying anymore factory or 2nd party stuff and will duct tape the dam cross bars if I have to.
 

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There is a $30 adaptor(RoundBar SL Adaptor - REI Part# 102-617) that will attach to the Timberline Towers 4-Pack(REI Part# 102-596) so you could use your existing RoundBars, Windscreen, and any accessories designed for the RoundBars. Yes, this $229 investment is still a lot. However, if your idea doesn't work I'm just saying you may not have to spend $350. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the details luckystar, but I went the $8 route for the Yakima crossbars. I need the extra width of the bars over the aero cross bars as my kayak is 36" wide and with the saddles I have I need probably closer to 48" width.

8 U-bolts, 1/4" X 1-1/8" wide by 3.5" are used. I have trimmed about 1/4" off the ends to make it easier getting on a nyloc nut. I've added some tape cushion on the treads and metal straps to minimize roof rail scratching. Very secure mounting. Pic attached.

I also added tie-down straps to the front. These fold out of the way when not in use and under the hood. I've used these on other vehicles and they are a secure way to tie off the bow on a boat. I've made my own, but these were given to me....just 1" nylon strapping and a large grommet in the end. They use existing car assembly bolts to hold them in place.
 

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looks good! i like the strap idea under the hood. i've heard people say sometimes the s-hooks don't like to stay put under the front/rear lips of vehicles. is there just one or do you have one on each side of the hood? also, for the rear do you just utilize a towhook?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, there are 2 straps, one each side of the front. S-hooks can come loose as rope can stretch with gusts, etc. and the hook can drop out of place. There are 2 tow rings beneath the Impreza front, but they are set back a ways and are awkward to access. A lanyard attached to them and then routed up with a loop to tie off to could be useful if you do not have the fender straps.

I don't know what I'll do for the rear, but the tow eyelet is a likely candidate for use.
 

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I ordered a pretty loaded Limited that included the cross-bars....they are a different color than the side rails, but I wasn't willing to take a chance on finding something that didn't look like it "belonged" ...... The different colors issue isn't huge, but my very first thought upon seeing them was...."Can I paint the rails black to match?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You could paint the rails to match, but adhesion of the paint may be moderate. One thought is to obtain black shrink tubing large enough to fit over the rails, shrink it with a hair dryer or heat gun and obtain a pretty durable smooth finish. McMaster-Carr is an industrial supply house that carries the shrink tubing....all manner of colors and sizes.

I've used that technique on some piping I wanted colored but paint wouldn't stick well on the galvanized surface.

Just a notion.......
 

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Tried the 8 U-bolts approach and it was secure enough. Great idea. Thanks. The biggest drawback for me was the install effort to get it all screwed down without it all rolling off the car roof. Getting a wrench on the 16 nuts was a bit much for my 70 year old wrists and hands. My round bars are noisy enough to drive me crazy so I'm not inclined to leave them on the car for any longer than required.

So with exciting vacation plans developing I ordered these "feet" from Amazon. Yakima Railgrab to grab my roof rails (good marketing here - name the things what they are) and let me use my old Yakima round bars and locks. They should go on and off quickly enough. Appear to work with just about any rails out there. Maybe a family heirloom? So I bit on the $146.88 price tag. The exciting vacation plans put me in the spending mood!!!

Impreza 5-door to transport 3 adults for one week at Deer Valley YMCA family camp in central PA with the rack loaded and maybe a bike or two on the back. Driving up Mount Davis looking a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies. Joined there by two more of my adult family and two grand-kids aged 2 and 4 1/2.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The Yakima mounts look to be a very sensible and reasonable cost adaption for the Subaru rails. I agree the 16 nuts is a hassle and time consuming. Time is money. I have a superabundance of time, the sort of which is not money, so for the once or twice a year I may use these U-bolt adapters, it's a pesky chore, but doable.
 

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Update to my 3/18 post. Railgrab for Yakima round bars and 2017 Impreza Premium 5-door roof rails

Yakima Railgrab let me use my old Yakima round bars on the Impreza Premium 5-door roof rails and worked well. The units came with three different "jaw" sets for different size/height/shape rails and the Impreza took the mid-size. The jaws can be adjusted up and down to grip under or insert into different rails. This thing gripped the rails to the point that I think the car's roof rails would peel off (take the roof with them?) before the bar mounts would let go.

Bought a new key set as I'm gifting my old Yakima towers and long long bar set to my son. I can't say for sure if the old tower locks would work on this mount. Bottom of the mount's main foot thingy is thick rubber and seemed to quiet the bar's "humming in the wind" as well as protect your rails from damage. Round bars resting right on the Impreza roof rails with the 8 U-bolt approach was really noisy. This mount's noise is at least a lot less irritating to me. Oh, and the mounts came with new bar end caps so you don't need to buy those. Any old ones will likely break up as you remove them to insert the old bars into the new mounting system.

They should go on and off quickly enough and appear to likely work with just about any rails out there. Only real criticism I have is the mounting/removal requires a lot of screw turns. The jaw (see the thingy hanging down in the 3/18 post above picture) is drawn up to and under the rail with a hex keyed bolt. Your electric screwdriver and a hex bit are the ticket here.

I'll recommend the Yakima Railgrab even though it's not inexpensive at $150 plus locks and bars.
 

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...I was able to attach used rail grabbers from yakima. I had to take the rubber padding off so that they would fit.....
My new Yakima Railgrab setup came with three different size jaws and the mid-size fit fine with the rubber padding on my 17 Premium 5-door. I bet Yakima could get you a set of 4 jaws.
 
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