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Highlander 2nd Generation (2008-2013) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 2nd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 21 Old 06-18-2011, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Canada Car top carrier

My first trip with my 2011 Hl now includes daughter and two grand kids.. The space behind the 3rd row seats will not do.

Anyone with any thoughts / advice on those clam shell / coffin like carriers I see on other vehicles? What is important.. brands? Are they reasonably water proof?

My HL came with side rails and two cross rails that appear to be adjustable to move fore / aft. Are there standard attaching methods?? What weight capacity will I need to consider?

Thanks for any info / experience you can share.
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post #2 of 21 Old 06-19-2011, 08:38 AM
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I haven't put my old Yakima box on mt '11HL yet but I sized the mount to the cargo box options and it's no problem. Any brand product should have no problem fitting the mount. I think the the short boxes are a much better fit than the long boxes unless you have long gear. Weather proof is no problem.

The Toyota rails are listed at 100lbs capacity and this cargo box at 80lbs. Stuffed with light gear and sleeping bags, it clears a lot of room inside.

The one problem I see with my old style clamps on my roof box is that my hands have to reach underneath and struggle to fasten it. Not looking forward to that. Something to consider when purchasing is how close the cross bars are to the roof.
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-19-2011, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph6410 View Post
My first trip with my 2011 Hl now includes daughter and two grand kids.. The space behind the 3rd row seats will not do.

Anyone with any thoughts / advice on those clam shell / coffin like carriers I see on other vehicles? What is important.. brands? Are they reasonably water proof?

My HL came with side rails and two cross rails that appear to be adjustable to move fore / aft. Are there standard attaching methods?? What weight capacity will I need to consider?

Thanks for any info / experience you can share.
Then you might be interested in reading these threads:

My Roof Top Cargo Box

Do the stock cross bars....

There a other threads that I didn't link to that also talk about boxes. If you're interested in checking them out just use "Yakima" as your only search word and you'll turn up other threads that might have interesting reading for you.



-------------------------


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post #4 of 21 Old 06-19-2011, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.. interesting discussions. I wonder if the crossbars are still the same style / strength that were stock back in 2009. The thought that the crossbars flex so much as to allow the carrier to hit the roof is disturbing. Something to check out before I commit to using the OEM crossbars.
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-20-2011, 10:24 AM
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I have a Sears XCARGO box and a THULE Ski Box that both fit fine on top of my 2011 HL with OEM crossbars.

Definitely add's a ton of space (And the Sears boxes are like 1/2 the price of Thule /Yakima Stuff)
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post #6 of 21 Old 06-20-2011, 02:19 PM
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I've been trying to research the best cargo box for my applications as well. From what I've found, the 2008+ highlander can fit length wise, up to a Thule Atlantis 1800 or Yakima Skybox 16. The Thule is 18 cu ft while the Yakima is only 16 cu ft. Depending on what you're carrying, you can opt for a different shape cargo box.

The only problem with the two mentioned above is that you will be required to get aftermarket crossbars. The oem cross bars doesn't allow you to extend it far enough forward to clear the rear spoiler once your lift gate is fully opened. Aftermarket crossbars give you an extra 1-2" of rear clearance needed. Another issue is oem bars flex at high speeds. It's probably still safe but I haven't heard of that complaint with aftermarket bars. An option to get a longer box that fits skis and etc is to get the Thule Boxter. From the specs its rear is 1-2" shorter than the Atlantis 1800 and should fit on the oem bars. Problem is, it's an $900 box.

If someone has a Thule Boxter or Yakima Skybox 16 installed on a highlander, could you chime in and post a pic? I saw one of the Skybox 16 a while back but it wasn't that clear but the owner said it had 1" clearance.
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post #7 of 21 Old 06-20-2011, 08:39 PM
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i have a thule 16cf box. Pic is posted in forum pics thread. Its great for travel. I do use thule bars and adaptors though. very strong with zero flex.

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post #8 of 21 Old 06-20-2011, 09:46 PM
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The other cheaper option, if you have a hitch is a cargo basket, that are $60+ from places like harborfreight. I also got the $30 water resistant bag to go with it, and it holds a lot of gear. Which for us is two medium suitcases, stroller, umbrella and other gear. Plus, the rack is rated to hold up to 500lbs. I also have a $10 hitch pin lock from HF so no one else takes it. Works out great...

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post #9 of 21 Old 06-21-2011, 11:53 AM
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espresso makes a good point about some of the longer boxes such as the thule skybox. with OEM crossbars the rear hatch spoiler comes into play. I was wrong in my previous post about my long Thule box, i do use the thule mounts on the stock rails to raise the box above the level of that spoiler.

The Sears x-cargo boxes fit fine though on the OEM crossbars. Also, as uconn said, the hitch carriers are another great option to add space. i use both when we travel on long trips. here is a quick pic

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post #10 of 21 Old 06-21-2011, 12:22 PM
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^Do you have pics of the rear hitch carrier you have? Can you open your liftgate without moving it?

This is off topic but how does your Highlander with 19" wheels handle on the sand? How much do you air down and do you notice any scratches on your wheels due to the sand? Btw, which beach is that? I'm considering take my limited 4x4 on the sand but not sure how well the car or wheels will fare.
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-21-2011, 01:13 PM
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here is a link to my sand experience

Stuck in the sand today. Anything to do other than turning off VSC/Traction Control?

didn't notice any scratches on the rims. handling was ok but not great. did not air down my tires though i should have. this was in the outer banks

i don't have any other pics of my hitch rack but trunk opens fine with storage back on hitch rack. though my rack sits pretty far back from hitch mount and im not sure if some racks sit closer to the trunk?

i bought a 55 gallon plastic tub at walmart and a waterproof hitch bag off amazon and now i've got tons of storage.
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post #12 of 21 Old 06-21-2011, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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A cargo hitch is out in my case as I have made a carrier hitch to carry my wife's walker.. those things take up an incredible amount of space..

On third party cross rails.. it would be difficult to have them any further forward or back then the OEM cross rails so other than being stronger and not flexing how would they help in positioning the carrier far enough forward to prevent the rear lift gate from hitting it.
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post #13 of 21 Old 06-23-2011, 07:48 AM
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On our Sienna we use the Packasport roof carrier. The carrier has indents on the bottom of the carrier to make it conform to the rails, minimizing air resistance. They are expensive new, I bought a used one on ebay at a great price. Have not yet tried it on my just acquired 2011 Highlander.
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post #14 of 21 Old 06-23-2011, 04:54 PM
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Here is a couple of options for storage on your Highlander.

I bought all of this stuff off Craigslist locally. This is a great way to get your stuff cheap!!! I got all of this stuff for about 80% off MSRP.




This is a Thule setup. The crossbars are 50 inches mounted on the Crossroad 450 mounts. The box is a Cascade 17 with 2 basic bike trays on either side. The rear box is a Thule Transporter which has a 4 pin brake light setup.

I highly recommend the Thule crossbar setup. It feels welded to the roof, with zero flex. The Cascade box is not properly fit for the car, but I was able modify the box. I had to make 4 new holes to move the box forward to allow the tailgate to fully open. It took all of 5 minutes to do. There is no movement of the box at highway speeds and very little wind noise. The bikes make a bit of noise though.

The rear box is very sturdy as well and much more accessible. It has less storage than the roof box, but its dimensions will hold some larger objects.

Keep an eye on Craigslist and modify a box if you have to. There is tons of stuff like this. You don't have to buy a new Atlantis box for $500 plus a $250 rack system.

Maybe I should have bought a bigger car.... I don't use both boxes at same time - these are illustration pictures only...
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-07-2011, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all. I "splurged" and bought a Thule 686XT 1600. But now I have a new issue. It attaches with a double claw kind of clamp. But, as the HL cross rail shape is slightly too wide for the clamp, it does not work as well as I think it should. I am sure it is secure enough but my concern is that the clamp is very close to the top of my roof. Only some 5/16 of an inch of clearance.
This does not seem enough.. loaded it will likely be reduced some and perhaps a bump would cause contact / damage to my paint.
Anyone else have this issue.. and how did you resolve it? I am tempted to modify the claw type clamp by some judicial grinding to make it wrap the bar better.
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