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Discussion Starter #1
I already searched, but couldn't find an exact answer.

I was looking for opinions on the Yakima Skybox 16, 18, and 21. REI has their Anniversary sale with 20% off everything which is the incentive for me to pick something up. I have the OEM Roof Rack which is supposed to support only about 66 pounds, although others have put a lot more weight on there than that. I added the weight and dimensions of the Skyboxes below. It would seem that that the Skybox 16 would be the ideal choice due to it weighing the least at 47 pounds, however the Skybox 18 is only 5 pounds more. The Skybox 21 is way too heavy at 62 pounds (at least with the OEM bars).

Can anybody that has either one of the Skyboxes on their Element, tell me if it was a good size or whether a larger or smaller one would have been more ideal and why?

Skybox 16
Product Specs:
Weight: 47.00 lbs
Dimensions: L 81.00in x W 36.00in x H 15.00in


Skybox 18
Product Specs
Weight: 52.00 lbs
Dimensions: L 92.00in x W 36.00in x H 16.00in


Skybox 21
Product Specs
Weight: 62.00 lbs
Dimensions: L 92.00in x W 36.00in x H 18.00in
 

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I assume these weights you list are for the empty box and don't account for the weight of items you would them place inside (?) I think it comes down to what is a realistic weight load for the OEM racks as I find it hard to believe they can't handle more than 66lbs. Another consideration is the overall length of the box, since the E bars are so close together. I have a SkyBox (not sure what size until I can get home and look at it - I bought it at Costco about 4 years ago) and have used it regularly with my 2003 E that has Yakima racks but haven't yet tried it on my 2004 that has OEM racks. I have to move the attaching points fairly close together to make it fit the Element rack spacing, so usually I'm more concerned about how this might put tension on the tower attaching points as I drive down the highway and it's subjected to wind pressure etc. I've never given a ton of thought to the supposed weight limits themselves but I never fill it with anything but sleeping bags, tents, thermarests, clothing bags etc., none of which is particularly heavy...I basically but that stuff up there to reduce the bulk in the car and then put the heavy stuff in the car itself. I'd love to hear input from folks on how realistic that OEM rack weight limit is before I start using it significantly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I assume these weights you list are for the empty box and don't account for the weight of items you would them place inside (?) I think it comes down to what is a realistic weight load for the OEM racks as I find it hard to believe they can't handle more than 66lbs. Another consideration is the overall length of the box, since the E bars are so close together. I have a SkyBox (not sure what size until I can get home and look at it - I bought it at Costco about 4 years ago) and have used it regularly with my 2003 E that has Yakima racks but haven't yet tried it on my 2004 that has OEM racks. I have to move the attaching points fairly close together to make it fit the Element rack spacing, so usually I'm more concerned about how this might put tension on the tower attaching points as I drive down the highway and it's subjected to wind pressure etc. I've never given a ton of thought to the supposed weight limits themselves but I never fill it with anything but sleeping bags, tents, thermarests, clothing bags etc., none of which is particularly heavy...I basically but that stuff up there to reduce the bulk in the car and then put the heavy stuff in the car itself. I'd love to hear input from folks on how realistic that OEM rack weight limit is before I start using it significantly.
Yes, those were pulled from Yakima's website and are the weight for each one. From what I've read, the 66lb limit is basically Honda's legal safe limit, but some people have put up a lot more weight on there.

How are the Yakima racks installed? Do they attach to the same factory bolts or do new ones have to be drilled on top of the roof?
 

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Yes, those were pulled from Yakima's website and are the weight for each one. From what I've read, the 66lb limit is basically Honda's legal safe limit, but some people have put up a lot more weight on there.

How are the Yakima racks installed? Do they attach to the same factory bolts or do new ones have to be drilled on top of the roof?
The Yakima racks bolted right up to the roof attachment points...of course you have to buy the specific towers that fit the E. I don't remember exactly but I think the total setup with bars, towers and locks was something like $250 (?). They work well and one advantage to them is that the bars extend out beyond the towers, so you can fit wider stuff up there. One downside is that they seem a lot noisier than the OEM racks - not a big deal as I got used to it but once I got my 2004 E with the OEM racks, I noticed how much more aerodynamic they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Yakima racks bolted right up to the roof attachment points...of course you have to buy the specific towers that fit the E. I don't remember exactly but I think the total setup with bars, towers and locks was something like $250 (?). They work well and one advantage to them is that the bars extend out beyond the towers, so you can fit wider stuff up there. One downside is that they seem a lot noisier than the OEM racks - not a big deal as I got used to it but once I got my 2004 E with the OEM racks, I noticed how much more aerodynamic they are.
Ah ok, thanks for the info, I didn't know that before. That's good to know.

If you could let me know about the size of your Skybox whenever you have the time to check it and whether you think it's a good size or not, I'd be interested to hear your opinion on that as well.
 

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Ah ok, thanks for the info, I didn't know that before. That's good to know.

If you could let me know about the size of your Skybox whenever you have the time to check it and whether you think it's a good size or not, I'd be interested to hear your opinion on that as well.
I couldn't find a model # on my SkyBox - it just says Skybox on the side but looking at the Yakima website, I'm pretty sure it's the "SkyBox 12 Carbonite" as the dimensions match. It's about 7-1/2' long, 2' wide and 16" tall. I've only used it on my Yakima rack so far but the bar spread is the same for Yakima vs. OEM racks and I haven't had any troubles with it as far as that goes. Mine is narrower than the ones you are looking at - it works well for my camping gear needs but I can see where a wider box would have appeal as well depending on your needs. Of course wider box means more space and potentially more weight up there. I bought it at Costco about 4 years ago for something like $300, which is quite a bit cheaper than the MSRP price listed on the Yakima site. One thing I like about it is it is light enough that I can put it on/take it off myself. A wider box may take two folks, just by the sheer size of it if not the weight. At 41lbs (according to Yakima website), I doubt I put much more than ~25lb of gear up there, so it should be able to work even with the OEM rack on my 2004 E I just got...just haven't tried yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I couldn't find a model # on my SkyBox - it just says Skybox on the side but looking at the Yakima website, I'm pretty sure it's the "SkyBox 12 Carbonite" as the dimensions match. It's about 7-1/2' long, 2' wide and 16" tall. I've only used it on my Yakima rack so far but the bar spread is the same for Yakima vs. OEM racks and I haven't had any troubles with it as far as that goes. Mine is narrower than the ones you are looking at - it works well for my camping gear needs but I can see where a wider box would have appeal as well depending on your needs. Of course wider box means more space and potentially more weight up there. I bought it at Costco about 4 years ago for something like $300, which is quite a bit cheaper than the MSRP price listed on the Yakima site. One thing I like about it is it is light enough that I can put it on/take it off myself. A wider box may take two folks, just by the sheer size of it if not the weight. At 41lbs (according to Yakima website), I doubt I put much more than ~25lb of gear up there, so it should be able to work even with the OEM rack on my 2004 E I just got...just haven't tried yet.
Thank you for the information! I can see the potential of the Skybox 12 as you can probably stick a bike rack or something else next to it. That sounds like a great price that you got for it off of Costco, unfortunately they don't sell it there anymore.
 

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Thank you for the information! I can see the potential of the Skybox 12 as you can probably stick a bike rack or something else next to it. That sounds like a great price that you got for it off of Costco, unfortunately they don't sell it there anymore.
Yes, at least with a Yakima rack I could easily fit something else up there that's not too wide and if I really needed extra room, I could just buy longer bars so they stick out more. With the OEM rack, I'm not sure there's width to do much more than the box. Yeah, it was one of those one time Costco items that I haven't seen since, at least at our Costco (which isn't nearly as big as many).
 

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I’ve got an identically sized Thule box (maybe 10’ long) and it’s great for all the reasons above. Mine’s on factory bars. The Thule has a lot of structural ribbing. I don’t worry much. It’s pretty floppy when open but stiffens up significantly when closed and locked.

I also moved 250lbs of extruded steel an the OEM bars for ~3 miles. I was very careful with bumps and very nervous. I thought oem bars were 125 lbs at the time. I’ve definately often had that much up there with two separate E and not had problems personally. Your mileage may vary.

(Thought the starter was bad. Ended up being a battery, doh)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I’ve got an identically sized Thule box (maybe 10’ long) and it’s great for all the reasons above. Mine’s on factory bars. The Thule has a lot of structural ribbing. I don’t worry much. It’s pretty floppy when open but stiffens up significantly when closed and locked.

I also moved 250lbs of extruded steel an the OEM bars for ~3 miles. I was very careful with bumps and very nervous. I thought oem bars were 125 lbs at the time. I’ve definately often had that much up there with two separate E and not had problems personally. Your mileage may vary.

(Thought the starter was bad. Ended up being a battery, doh)
Whoa.. that's a LOT of weight to carry on the factory bars, good to know, and of course, totally understand the YMMV. Thanks for your input!
 

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It was my OEM bars or a student with a late model rav 4. I fully understood the consequences in a way that the student may not have. I figured I’d be fine or be fine with fixing whatever broke. Luckily I’ve not cracked my arm tachment points yet.
 
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