97 2-Door and a Thule Rack, Take 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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97 2-Door and a Thule Rack, Take 2


Elite Explorer
September 12, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Durham, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT, 97 XL
Bought a Thule roof rack system as separate parts (used, eBay) for a 97 Explorer 2-door with no stock rack: 400xt towers, 50" load bars, 136 Fit kit (Explorer-specific rubber feet for the towers and hooks for the roof), 477 short roof adapter kit.

Managed to get the load bars, towers and short roof adapter loosely assembled - set it on the roof to size/space everything. Planning on mounting the front towers square with the front of the drain channels and spacing the rears according to the length of the short roof adapter bars.

Now the big question: how do I mount the Explorer-specific hooks? At first glance, they appear to slide between the roof and the upper door molding. They have a screw hole - do I drill a new hole in the edge of the roof or do I drill out one of the rivets holding the molding and use that hole? Does pressure on the molding from the closed door prevent the screw from backing itself out?

The foot section that is inserted between the roof and molding is relatively stable, sideways. Besides, it will be clamped in place when the roof rack frame is assembled and tightened down. However, it is NOT secure when pressure is applied from the front or back (relative to the entire vehicle).

While I don't have any issues with either drilling out the rivet or drilling a new hole, I wanna make sure the thing doesn't fly off the roof at interstate speeds... last thing I need is to pay for someone else's windshield, etc...

Picture #1: short roof adapter clamp and 136 fit kit foot. Note lowest triangle-shaped section with hole - this piece slides in between roof and door molding.

Picture #2: clamp and foot placed on roof.

Picture :3: door molding spread open to show existing rivet.

Thanks for any replies.


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