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2011 EX 4WD auto
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wind Whistling Solved-

It was my oem roof racks. I thought the whistling was coming from the front drivers side window, or maybe the rubber around the door jam. The whistling would start around 60 but was quite evident at 70+. It was annoying to both myself and my passengers. One of the passengers who was sitting behind me said the whistling was coming from the rear glass area. The glass on the drivers side that doesn't open, the glass behind the rear seats. So I had him drive and I sat back there. Yep, it sounded like it was coming from back there, but I also thought it sounded like it was coming from the rear hatch. We all agreed, perhaps there was more than one problem, maybe the rubber on the drivers door, and the rear hatch, and the rear side window would need attention.

So I decided to get some masking tape, tape off all the problem areas, one at a time and take the car for a spin on the freeway. Each and every time there was no difference. The whistling remained. Finally I had the entire interior of the car masked off with masking tape. The whistling was still there. I started reading past posts of other E owners who had similar issues and it was mentioned that it might be the oem racks. I thought wth, I'll give it a try. I removed the racks and went back out to the freeway. Silence!

The racks are now on the floor and my next step is to make sure they are installed in the correct direction/orientation, whatever that is... I noticed on each rack there is a fatter leading edge, or should that be a trailing edge? I don't know. Does it matter which rack is in the front? I also need to make sure there are no open channels or holes.

It was very surprising the whistling created by the racks sounded exactly as you would expect from a leak in a rubber door or window seal. Anyway, I'm grateful the whistling has stopped.

Tim
 

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Interesting. My car has had the OEM rack for most of its life and I am not sure if I recall additional wind noise (vs the few months without the rack), but I did recall seeing very slightly lower gas mileage (maybe -1 mpg) after the rack install. Assuming it's airfoil-shaped, the leading edge would be thicker or fatter.

Note - if you've ever had the windshield pillar trim pieces removed/reinstalled (such as for windshield replacement), they are more likely to introduce wind noise / vibration at highway speed if the clips aren't holding tight. The clips can be replaced relatively easily if broken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank-you Micro,

Yes, this is what I've been referring to as a guide. Unfortunately it isn't clear enough for me. I've tried fitting the roof rack in both directions but the end caps will only fit flush if the longer narrow portion is toward the front. It seems to be contrary to the drawing. So, I don't know. I really would like to know the proper orientation.



Maybe a few people wouldn't mind posting pics of their oem racks?
 

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when I installed a set of used OEM roof racks on my Element I had the same whistling problem, I cant remember what combination of front/back off the top of my head fixed it but eventually I did get it installed with no wind whistling on the highway

here is a picture of mine, not sure if that will be of help to you

Automotive parking light Car Vehicle Automotive lighting Hood


the right side of this picture is the front of the car
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! Do you still have these on your E? It looks like the leading edge is the longer portion? These crossbars are not symmetrical. They have a shorter, stubby side, then a rubber strip, then a longer more streamlined edge. I'm trying to figure out what edge is supposed to be facing forward. I thought the stubby short side was supposed to be out front, and the longer more streamlined edge follows out back. But my crossbars don't want to install that way. The feet don't like the orientation. It's weird, I thought the feet would be interchangeable and should go on either side. But I can see from the following persons instructions, the feet are marked LH and RH. The feet on my racks are not marked. No markings at all.


T.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK, I think I've answered my own question, as Micro's installment PDF plainly shows, the short stubby side does indeed face forward. Back out to the E to see why these feet don't want to sit correctly. :)
 

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I think when I first installed these I may have had the front one on the back and vice versa, it was awhile ago and I cant remember everything, I had to try a few configurations and drive it to see what worked
 

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I took a look at my crossbars and can confirm that the short stubby side is the leading edge. The leading edge still has "FRONT" labeled on it (similar to picture in step #7 of Chuie's post that JMT Enthusiast quoted).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It seems this has been an issue since 2004!

Well, I did get the rack and crossbars mounted correctly and still had a whistling issue. Yes, the stubby end was forward, the more streamlined longer side was the trailing edge. It seemed like the whistling was lessened, but it was still whistling. The rubber piece on top of the crossbars did not cover the entire crossbar. On each end there were 1" slots that were bare. Someone said the wind will whistle through it like a coke bottle top. I covered them up with a few inches of tape and went for another test drive. The dang thing was still whistling. So in a last ditch effort, I taped over the entire top of the crossbar, the rubber strip and all. Guess what? Silence!

Yep, 65+, no wind noise at all. So I guess the lesson learned here is that the rubber strip might be part of the problem, at least in my case it was. Maybe it leaks, maybe the rubber strip has hardened and doesn't lay flat enough. The wind going over it made it whistle.

I mounted the rack backwards just to see what would happen. Again, Silence! The rack is silent mounted in either direction. In the end I have both racks mounted correctly and both are covered on top with black duct tape.

Road surface Grey Asphalt Automotive tire Bumper
Bumper Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Rim
Hood Automotive lighting Automotive design Motor vehicle Automotive exterior
 

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Hmmm I like your idea. I have an aftermarket rack and it makes some noise. I might have to get fancy with some tape.


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