This is the rack configuration Yakima recommends for a 1994 Honda Civic hatchback. I'm really impressed with the amount of thought and engineering that went into this rack. It goes on and off easily, yet it mounts very solidly. And this on a car that was obviously never intended by Honda to have a roof rack.
Assembly took me about two hours. A lot of that time was spent checking and double-checking the various measurements. None of that, except for finding the location for the front and rear bars, needs to be done more than once; after the first time, all the other adjustments stay locked in and you simply unlatch the Q Towers to remove it. On the Civic, the rear bar is located by the Stretch Kit (those arms you see running along the sides), so there's actually only one measurement that has to be re-done every time. I plan to use a Sharpie marker to mark where the front clips go, on the inside of the door frame where it won't show. That way I'll be able to re-mount the rack without getting out the measuring tape.
The instructions are well written. The only slightly confusing part is that the Stretch Kit and Q Towers each come with their own instruction sheets, so you have to switch back and forth a bit. The only tools you need (an allen wrench and a measuring tape) come in the box.
|The rack before I installed the fairing. Yakima says this rack, on this car, is good for up to 125 pounds.|
|There's an interferance issue with the radio antenna -- when extended, it goes right through where the front left Q Tower needs to mount. See below for my solution.|
|Everything clears the sunroof just fine. (Don't try this if you've got an upright bicycle mount or a gear box on the rack, though! If you think you might forget, take out the sunroof fuse when you attach stuff like that.)|
|Here's the rack with the fairing installed.|
Wind noise is less of a concern than I expected. With the sunroof open there's a definate increase in noise, mostly the hiss of the air going around the edges of the fairing, but around town it's not objectionable. (I almost never open the sunroof on the highway.) The fairing actually makes a pretty good wind deflector for the sunroof, reducing the wind buffeting inside the car with it open. (You get less airflow coming in, though.) With the sunroof in vent mode instead of fully open I did notice turbulance from the fairing bouncing the sunroof slightly. It looked less severe than the bouncing it gets going over bumps, so I don't think this is much of a concern.
With the sunroof closed I didn't notice much noise, even at freeway speeds. I'm sure the wind noise is increased to some extent, but a Honda Civic is not exactly a Cadillac, and on the concrete freeways around here the tire noise usually drowns out the wind noise anyway.
The mounting clamp is an electrical ground clamp meant for 1" water pipe. Any hardware store will carry them. The antenna mast is a "universal" replacement from Meijer. I removed the terminal screw from the clamp and threaded in the mast, using one of the adapter studs that came with it. The washers keep the stud from bottoming out in the hole. The electrical connection is just a length of wire with a ring lug on one end, and an alligator clip on the other. The ring lug goes on top of the washer stack, against the base of the antenna mast, and the alligator clip gets clamped onto the stock antenna. The antenna mast is 31" long, so it needs to be mounted angled towards the back of the car to fit under parking garage roofs. I mounted it in the middle of the front bar of the rack, since I thought that would be the least likely to get in the way of loading bicycles. (If you're putting a canoe on your rack, you'll probably want to mount it at one end of one of the rack bars.) I padded the jaws of the clamp with a piece of vinyl so it wouldn't puncture the vinyl coating on the rack bar.