2017 roof rack rails - how to fit a Yakima rack to these rails ideas? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2017 roof rack rails - how to fit a Yakima rack to these rails ideas?


August 20, 2016
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2017 Explorer
I don't know why Ford changed the rack rails for 2017 by putting on a black plastic base that fills in completely the space under the rail?! This prevents using a tie-down to wrap around the bars because there is no way to pass a strap under the bar.

This design also prevents use of a Yakima clamp to fit around the side rail bar. I contacted Yakima and Thule and they have not figured out how to fit their rack yet. I thought someone here may have figured something out. Can the plastic under the bar be removed and the side rails still work? It does not look possible because it is all one piece with the base.

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Do you have the cross bars installed?

no crossbars installed, I have the Yakima towers that fit the side rails of my old Ford Freestyle.or I would buy new towers if Yakima made something to fit. I did see aftermarket crossbars that are made to fit 2017 side rails for under $100 - I prefer to use the long Yakima bars I have since they can accommodate two kayaks side by side. Using the factory type crossbars, I can only fit 1 kayak on top. Thanks for reading my post.

Ford Explorer only supports 45lbs of weight with a moon roof and 100lbs without. Granted, it appears to be a center of mass issue, rather than a structural issue. Details are in the owners manual.

I did not know this before I purchased... but at least I didn't have any gear from a prior vehicle. We like to ski, so that limits us to an open skip rack. Perhaps that's why the roof rails were designed this way, to prevent super large loads? I've never owned a roof rack before... so this is my next project.

Thanks guys. I will update if I hear Thule or Yakima finally get around to making towers to fit a rack to the car. I will offer a word of advice I wish I started buying Thule (rectangular bar) components instead of Yakima (round bar) because some taller attachments for Yakima can rotate on the round bar and drop on your roof. It did not leave a mark or dent on my old car but it could.