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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Element Owners! I'm considering buying an Element, you can read all about it here:

http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60098

It would be my Fiancé's car, but we would use it on road trips for mountain bike races and hang gliding adventures / competitions. To haul all of our gear we would have to outfit it with a hitch bike rack and roof rack for the glider(s) and possibly a rocket box. If it was acting as a chase / retrieve vehicle it would need to be able haul at least 4, possibly 6 gliders. I've had crammed 12 gliders and 13 people in my Tacoma before (it was down right scary). Here are the specifics:

The glider is about 18 feet long and needs to be supported for at least 10 feet of its lenght i.e. 4 feet can hang off on each end. I would like to get away with 4 bars on the roof, but might need to do a custom bar on the front if the roof isn't long enough. Is there a place on the front end where I can engineer a front bar like this? On my truck I bought an aftermarket bull bar and tied the risers into that. I haven't seen any Elements with bull bars, do they make one? Otherwise I would have to go off the frame or mount a reciever hitch on the front. Any thoughts? Here's what I'm talking about:

Side View:



Front View:



45 Degree Angle View:



4 gliders would weigh about 350 pounds, 6 would weigh over 500. In just gliders alone I know I'm getting close to the max usable payload, but it wouldn't be for long durations. Can the roof support this? Ursa Minor's Pop Top site says that the roof has to support the weight of the vehicle upside down and has no problem with two adults up there, but what to you guys think?

Any hang glider Element drivers out there?

Cheers...
 

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One of the first homemade Element roof racks that I saw online back in 2003 was meant for a glider. He used the stock rack mounting pads in the center (these are about 27" center to center), a front 'goal post' that bolted to the tow loops under the front bumper, with lengthwise tubes connecting back to the center rack. I'm not sure if there was a rear extension or not. That front structure was removable.

In an REI parking lot I've see another full length rack. That extra mounting points welded to the roof near the tailgate.

Another option in back is a 'goal post' mounted in the 2" receiver - a stock item often used on pickups.

Handling the length isn't a big deal if you are handy with a bit of metal working. But I would not advise pushing the roof load much above 150 lb. Yes the roof is strong enough to hold this, and more as 'dead weight' (when parked). But on the road, a heavy load will adversely affect handling and stability.

The Element is spacious, but not a cargo hauler.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was thinking a front reciever with a goal post would be the most elegent. It also is removable which makes a big difference in gas mileage too. I didn't even notice there was a rack and hitch forum. I guess I'll ask in there if anyone has mounted a reciever hitch in the front.
 

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I think that 2003 rack used a 'J' shaped structure - with the long leg of the J along the top, connecting to the center rack, and short leg reaching under the front to the tow loops.

Between the tow loops, and inner bumper brace that can be accessed through the grill, there is enough structure to support a 'decorative' bull-bar. I've also recommended that people look at the mounting directions for a Blue Ox tow bar receiver plate.
http://www.blueox.us/Baseplates/baseplates.htm
 

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Cool!

I'm a bag pilot (paraglider for the wufos). I've put a hangglider rack on my Element on a temporary basis when going on joint PG and HG trips. No real problem, though I was mostly using a rack that one of the HG guys had.

I already had the Honda racks in the middle and we put his temporary racks on front and rear.

Btw - the Element works out as a great PG (possibly HG?) vehicle. The downsides are that the ground clearance could be a bit better and I wish it had a little more go on some inclines when fully loaded. On a short term basis we've had 9 PG pilots inside, five PG wings on top and made it up a really crummy road to launch. At night I sleep in it just fine - 6'2" no prob.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice. Glad to meet another pilot. Where are you located? Is putting 4 after market racks on the Element a possiblity? What are you flying upside down in your avatar?
 

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Nice. Glad to meet another pilot. Where are you located? Is putting 4 after market racks on the Element a possiblity? What are you flying upside down in your avatar?
Likewise!

I'm in Norcal. In the avatar I'm flying an RV-7 :twisted:.

My two standard racks are done using the stock mounting spots. To add two more you'd have to use some sort of gutterless mount. I don't really know about that though - possibly check the Thule site?

Definitely consider the Element, it can make it to almost any launch and the completely flat floor/easy clean makes it easy to load a bunch of people/stuff inside. A number of folks at launch/LZ/campsite have been positively impressed with it as a pilot's vehicle. The ground clearance is pretty good (but not great), the not quite AWD works well.
 

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I didn't even notice there was a rack and hitch forum. I guess I'll ask in there if anyone has mounted a reciever hitch in the front.

No need to go to another topic with the question.

The vast majority of people use the new posts button at the top of the page. That will show you all the new posts in all topics.

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You the prize for "most random thing ever asked on EOC".
Yes!!!

Likewise!

I'm in Norcal. In the avatar I'm flying an RV-7 :twisted:.

My two standard racks are done using the stock mounting spots. To add two more you'd have to use some sort of gutterless mount. I don't really know about that though - possibly check the Thule site?

Definitely consider the Element, it can make it to almost any launch and the completely flat floor/easy clean makes it easy to load a bunch of people/stuff inside. A number of folks at launch/LZ/campsite have been positively impressed with it as a pilot's vehicle. The ground clearance is pretty good (but not great), the not quite AWD works well.
Right on, I know a few NorCal pilots. Paris Williams moved out there from Boulder. The RV-7 is an awesome plane, must have been fun! I did a bunch of flight training out of OAK. Lived in Alameda for 3 years.

I ended up going with the 325 wagon instead of the Element. At first I'm going to do a removeable ladder on the cross bars. Eventually I'll fab up a custom reciever front bar using some airfoil down tubes as the uprights. I'm picking up a new glider from WW in January and was going to try to hit some CA sites and the point on the way home. I'll prob take the truck. If I make it to NorCal on the trip I'll shoot you a PM.
 
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