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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, I finally got around to installing the Thule Roof rack after having pieced it together from various places in an effort to save money. Simply put this rack is stupid expensive even with the appreciation for the German engineering (yes, I know it Swedish, I'm joking).

Anyway, thought I would document the install process because the manuals for just awful. Like really bad.

The Thule Roof rack for the premier with the integrated roof rails is made up of 3 parts/kits, 4 if you include the optional locks.

You have in order of installation

Thule 3168 Roof Rack Fit Kit. List $119. This is the part that actually attaches directly to the integrated rail.
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26123&thumb=1
Thule 460R Podium Foot Kit. List $199. This is the part that connects the cross bars to the Roof Rack Fit kit and integrated rails
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26125&thumb=1
Thule Wingbar Evo 118 (47"). List $219. Cross rails used for mounting other mounts, i.e. bike, kayak, cargo, etc.
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26127&thumb=1
Like I said stupid expensive, but I was fortunate enough to grab the 460R from an REI Garage Sale dirt cheap. Used a discount coupon on the Wingbar. The Foot Kit for the bolt was tough to run down. REI doesn't even carry. Ended up catching a short sale at Amazon.

Installing this was far harder than it probably needed to be in no short part to the crappy Thule instructions. Like everything though now that I have done it I could do it in probably a quarter of the time.


Installation Process:

The fit kit is two parts assembled together and bolted to the factory holes. The issues with the manual start here because it is not very clear where the screw go and in fact, they combine screws from the fit kit along with the screws from the podium kit. The picture below actually has the screws wrong for this step, but you wouldn’t know it reading the manual

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26129&thumb=1

Correctly installed

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26131&thumb=1
Connecting the fit kit to the podium in this next step proved to be a bit more challenging than it should have been. Here is what I ended up doing. Is it the correct way, who knows but it did work for me?

Here is the podium kit attached to the mounted fit kit. The trick here is twofold. Install the podium kit as shown below only on one side of the Bolt. The other side will be mounted to the cross rail before being installed to the fit kit on the other side. I made the mistake of installing all 4 podiums to the fit kits which proved to be a mistake mounting the cross rails.

Another note of caution. DO NOT tighten the two screws on the podium until after the cross rails are installed. These need to be loose in order for the “catch” to allow the cross rails to slide thru.

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26133&thumb=1

Another note of caution. The supplied installation wrenches for all steps are just long enough you will scratch the car if you’re not careful. You can get full range but need to be careful about it.

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26135&thumb=1

So as mentioned I installed one of the complete fit and podium kits on the passenger side rails.
The right side I installed the podium kit to the cross bar. Fit kit installed on factory rail.
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26137&thumb=1

From here slide the Wingbar onto the passenger side podium kit and secure the driver side cross bar/podium to the fit kit on the driver’s side. Don’t tighten until you check that the overhang is equal on both sides. Once confirmed tighten the Podium screws.

For me I had just a tick over 5” on the rears and 4.5” on the front cross rails. Again, this measurement being the distance the cross rails pass the podium kit.
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26139&thumb=1

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26141&thumb=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
From here it is just tidying up putting the end caps and rubber gaskets on. Gaskets first, end caps last.
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26143&thumb=1
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26145&thumb=1

Final product. Very sturdy. Doesn’t leave any concern that adding 1 or 2 bike racks or cargo box will be comprised in anyway.

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26151&stc=1&d=1563071206

Adds 4” of clearance above the roof line, like this is going to be a problem… lol
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26153&stc=1&d=1563071206
 

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From here it is just tidying up putting the end caps and rubber gaskets on. Gaskets first, end caps last.
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26143&thumb=1
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26145&thumb=1

Final product. Very sturdy. Doesn’t leave any concern that adding 1 or 2 bike racks or cargo box will be comprised in anyway.

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26151&stc=1&d=1563071206

Adds 4” of clearance above the roof line, like this is going to be a problem… lol
https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=26153&stc=1&d=1563071206
I'm pretty sure you have these on backwards. Think of an airplane wing. Here is one of many images from a google search:

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm pretty sure you have these on backwards. Think of an airplane wing. Here is one of many images from a google search:

Yep, your are correct. I'm sure at that point I was frustrated with the manual and assumed. Well we all know how that turns out.
 

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Yep, your are correct. I'm sure at that point I was frustrated with the manual and assumed. Well we all know how that turns out.
I have this same setup so I started to question if mine were on right. ;)
The front seems to splat a lot of bugs but I was pretty sure from an aero standpoint...
Putting them together was not straight forward or simple - but once you have done it once, it is simple to do.
I also really like the finished product...

Thank you for taking the time to write up the assembly - it will most certainly be helpful for others who go this route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yakima also makes a system for the Bolt Premier. Did you look at that one and decided to use the Thule? Any advantage of one over the other?
I personally never looked or considered the Yakima. I just happened to grab one of Thule kits really cheap early on and never looked back.
 

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Yakima also makes a system for the Bolt Premier. Did you look at that one and decided to use the Thule? Any advantage of one over the other?

I have the Yakima system (Skyline towers + Landing Pad 19 + CoreBar).



* The Yakima system costs less if you choose the lower cost aerobar without the T-slot (CoreBar). Thule does not have such an option for crossbars. Cost is similar for similar type of crossbar (i.e. if you specify aerobar with T-slot, or old-style round/rectangular bars, for both).
* The Yakima system raises the crossbars fairly high.
* The Yakima towers and crossbars are very quick and easy to remove and reinstall as a unit after initial assembly. Locks are more important in this case.
* If you have old Yakima Control Towers, those can be used (with Landing Pad 19) instead of Skyline towers, but only with round bars.
* The Thule system is also sold through Chevrolet dealers, so a Chevrolet accessories sale may be another way to get it at an attractive price (beyond the usual occasional sales for Thule and Yakima racks at the usual stores that sell racks).
* Both Thule and Yakima also offer their door-clip systems for Bolts without flush rails.
 

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Can someone measure the width of the towers under the bars or at least the usable space?

I have the Cadillac crossbars, but I recently installed 2 roof mounted bike racks on my roof and the bikes are too close together (handlebars clash). The rear bike rack mount on the rail has 2 attachment points and I have about 5" of space in between them. Wondering if I switch over to a Thule system with 47" bars, whether or not I can straddle the rear rack mounting so that one is on the inside and one on the outside of the towers.

Thanks.
 

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Can someone measure the width of the towers under the bars or at least the usable space?

I have the Cadillac crossbars, but I recently installed 2 roof mounted bike racks on my roof and the bikes are too close together (handlebars clash). The rear bike rack mount on the rail has 2 attachment points and I have about 5" of space in between them. Wondering if I switch over to a Thule system with 47" bars, whether or not I can straddle the rear rack mounting so that one is on the inside and one on the outside of the towers.
I can't help with the Thule racks but they work essentially the same as the Yakima ones and with those there's no problem using bars that are considerably longer than the distance between the towers. I put 60" bars on my Bolt so I could fit two sets of kayak saddles. Each saddle has one half mounted within the towers and the other half mounted outboard of them.
 

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Besides using longer crossbars that stick out beyond the towers to get more mounting space for bicycle carriers, other options for bicycles include:

  • Alternating direction of the bicycles (i.e. mount one bicycle forward and the one next to it backward). Note that this is also commonly done on hitch mounted racks.
  • Using different bicycle carriers that position the bicycles differently so that the handlebars do not clash.
 

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Besides using longer crossbars that stick out beyond the towers to get more mounting space for bicycle carriers, other options for bicycles include:

  • Alternating direction of the bicycles (i.e. mount one bicycle forward and the one next to it backward). Note that this is also commonly done on hitch mounted racks.
  • Using different bicycle carriers that position the bicycles differently so that the handlebars do not clash.
I have INNO INA388 racks. With one facing backwards, I won’t be able to open the hatch as the rear mounting point on the rack is fixed. Also I can’t just put the bike backwards because the bike has to face the front of the rack or I risk losing a bike. Also the rack has a single mounting point in the front but 2 in the back.

I’m considering switching from my Caddy crossbars to a Thule/Yakima setup and have longer bars.

It might just be more cost effective to get one different roof bike rack and face it backwards.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Well, I bit the bullet and replaced my Caddy crossbars with a Thule Aeroblade setup. When considering how much my bikes cost, this needed to happen. Besides, I scoured the internet for bargains one piece at a time.

I ended up with 43" bars as I don't want the bars to stick out too much. The rear clamps on my Inno racks now straddle the rear Rapid Podium Foot and surprisingly enough, the front clamp barely makes it to inside of the front podium foot, butting up against it.

I've attached some pictures. I figure I'd give an update here so that others shopping for a roof rack and planning to use pre-existing equipment can see all the caveats before purchasing stuff and trying to make it work. Thanks again to the OP for this post. It is very informative.
 

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