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    Thread: Thule Roof Rack load bar length? 53" or 47"?

    1. Member
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      07-12-2012 05:24 PM #1
      For those of you have that roof racks on your vehicle, especially Thule, what load bar length did you go with?

      I used the Thule Fit Guide online, and it is recommending the Aeroblade ARB53, which is 53" long.
      I've seen some set up using 47" load bars, and Thule does offer ARB47.

      At the risk of being flamed... is longer better?

      I've searched but am not able to find any specific info.

    2. Member mattA3's Avatar
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      07-12-2012 10:56 PM #2
      I have the original oval Rapid Aero bars with the 480 foot pack and the bars measure about 50" with the end cap so I assume it is a LB47. I have only about one inch of overhang past the foot pack.

      Go with whatever Thule recommends and you can always cut the bars down.

      Thule new fit guide for the A3 is kind of confusing. Looks like there is a different rack and bar length for Open Sky or normal roof. (I have Open Sky)

      That new AeroBlade bar looks nice. I was concidering the Whisbar but went with Thule. Wish I new they had this coming.
      Last edited by mattA3; 07-12-2012 at 11:21 PM.
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    3. 07-13-2012 01:48 AM #3
      i had 50 inch orginally, went down to 47 which is almost flush.

      50 inch still has a bit of overhang as pictured. what go narrower? less chance to bang your head!


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      07-13-2012 05:35 AM #4
      I've got the 53" Whispers. They hang a tiny bit wide over the roof but well short of the body. Doesn't look out of place at all.

    5. Member neu318's Avatar
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      07-13-2012 08:13 AM #5
      I have 50" with my Thule square bars. hangs a little like posted above but it's not that bad.
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      07-13-2012 08:55 AM #6
      I prefer the look because it is flushed with no overhang, but i couldnt find any info if they clear the open sky, so my second option is Thule.

      Audibmi: yours doesn't have the factory rails, or does it?

      Seems like the Thule fit guide recommends 47" for a3 with factory rails, and 53" for those without.
      Thanks for the info guys. Hopefully the 53" works out otherwise I may have to cut it or exchange it
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    7. 07-13-2012 10:59 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by aspw View Post
      I prefer the look because it is flushed with no overhang, but i couldnt find any info if they clear the open sky, so my second option is Thule.

      Audibmi: yours doesn't have the factory rails, or does it?

      Seems like the Thule fit guide recommends 47" for a3 with factory rails, and 53" for those without.
      Thanks for the info guys. Hopefully the 53" works out otherwise I may have to cut it or exchange it
      mine does not have roof rails. i initally had the euro 50" version but wanted to reduce the overhang so I ordered a set of 47" thule aero bars. pm me if you are interested as i returned the a3 and these bars are too short for my B8.

      here is what the 47" bars look like:

      Front overhang:


      Rear overhang:


      Plenty of clearance for opensky:

    8. Member t_white's Avatar
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      07-13-2012 11:17 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by audibmi View Post
      mine does not have roof rails. i initally had the euro 50" version but wanted to reduce the overhang so I ordered a set of 47" thule aero bars. pm me if you are interested as i returned the a3 and these bars are too short for my B8.
      If the PO isn't interested, I am.

      However can someone tell me what the part/model numbers are for the mounts? I do have open sky on my car.

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      07-13-2012 02:37 PM #9
      Too late for me I had just placed an order for the 53" bars this AM.

      I have open sky as well. I ordered:

      1. Thule ARB53 53 Inch AeroBlade Load Bars (these are shaped slightly differently that those posted in AudiBMI's photo)
      2. Thule 480R Rapid Traverse (these are the towers)
      3. Thule Traverse Fit Kit 1417

      Quote Originally Posted by t_white View Post
      If the PO isn't interested, I am.

      However can someone tell me what the part/model numbers are for the mounts? I do have open sky on my car.
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    10. 07-13-2012 04:43 PM #10
      yes, those are the correct part numbers. the fit kit actually comes with 6 clips to fit both the sportback and the 3 door a3.

      i'm parting out my rb47 rapid aero load bars and 1417 fit kit if anyone needs them. keeping the footpack though since i can still use them.

      480r footpack


      1417 fit kit



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      07-13-2012 04:58 PM #11
      Audibmi: i kept going back and looking at the photos you posted with the 47" bars on your A3. I really like the short-overhang look. Did you experience any difference when going from 50" to 47"?
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    12. 07-13-2012 05:03 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by aspw View Post
      Audibmi: i kept going back and looking at the photos you posted with the 47" bars on your A3. I really like the short-overhang look. Did you experience any difference when going from 50" to 47"?
      i found the 47 to be a much better fit, and makes for a cleaner look. there's almost no overhang in the front since the body is wider. in the rear there a bit of an overhang though.

      absolutely no issues with sliding accessories on and off the t-tracks.

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      07-13-2012 05:23 PM #13
      I bought the whispbar setup yesterday for my opensky A3

      I installed it and it looks cool but you cannot use the sunroof at all.

      I took it back and ordered this exact rack per Thule's recommendations. I did not realize the 53" bars overhang that much and didnt know 47" bars would work

    14. 07-13-2012 05:36 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by empivw View Post
      I bought the whispbar setup yesterday for my opensky A3

      I installed it and it looks cool but you cannot use the sunroof at all.

      I took it back and ordered this exact rack per Thule's recommendations. I did not realize the 53" bars overhang that much and didnt know 47" bars would work
      yes, and with the thule bars, you simply can't cut them down to length, since the underside has notch cutouts to hold the endcaps in place. i went through two set of bars before i was happy


    15. Member mattA3's Avatar
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      07-13-2012 06:41 PM #15
      Can be cut down but it takes some work with a dremal tool.
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      07-13-2012 11:26 PM #16
      I got the Thule black Aerobar 47" (per Thule's website suggestion) and I have factory roof rails.

      It's not installed yet, but will be installed next weekend.
      Last edited by ipponrg; 07-13-2012 at 11:28 PM.
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    17. n00b
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      07-15-2012 09:58 PM #17
      Fits great, very little overhang. The Open Sky still works with the bars on, but it hits the clamps when the roof box is mounted. Just did a 2,000 mile trip with this set up and no problems.

      Good luck.

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      07-16-2012 07:33 AM #18
      Thanks for the update! What happens when the open sky hits the clamps? Does the glass stop moving?
      What roof cargo box do you have? That's the next thing I have to decide on and buy...


      Quote Originally Posted by michael_v View Post
      Fits great, very little overhang. The Open Sky still works with the bars on, but it hits the clamps when the roof box is mounted. Just did a 2,000 mile trip with this set up and no problems.

      Good luck.
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    19. Member asal's Avatar
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      07-16-2012 01:17 PM #19
      i've got inno bars 50" on the Thule 460Rs attached to my roof rails. very nice easy on/off. don't have any pics of straight on, but they don't over hang too much


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      07-16-2012 01:45 PM #20
      i ordered from rackattack last friday and the loot should show up at my doorstep tomorrow evening. can't wait.

      i think i will keep the ARB53 load bars, and order the ARB47 and see which ones I like better and return the one that doesn't work out.

      oh, and also get some contact paper so i don't scratch up the paint.
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    21. n00b
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      07-16-2012 03:57 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by aspw View Post
      Thanks for the update! What happens when the open sky hits the clamps? Does the glass stop moving?
      What roof cargo box do you have? That's the next thing I have to decide on and buy...
      ********

      I went with the 603 Ascent 1500. Some of the other options were longer than I wanted as I didn't want overhang. With the box set back far enough to still leave about an inch of clearance with the hatch when it is open, I don't have any overhange in front that I can see while sitting in the vehicle.

      I did a test fit for interference by standing outside the vehicle and working the sunroof button while watching. I can raise the sunroof to the vent position without interference, but it hits if I try to retract the sunroof. As soon as the glass came up against the roof box clamps I reveresed the button, so I don't know if it would reverse on its own and didn't want to find out.

      The Ascent 1500 box I got has rubber covered metal C-clamps. I have some friends with an older Thule box (not sure of the model) and theirs looks like it has rubber straps that lay pretty flat. The older style might work.

      Good luck.

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      07-17-2012 04:31 PM #22
      Brilliant. As if you knew what I was going to ask next! Thanks for the info on the cargo box, I was worried about the front overhang if I go with a longer box, despite what Thule's fit guide said would work for the A3.

      I'm borrowing an ascent 1600 from a friend to test fit. If it looks too long, I may have to go down one size to the 1500.

      Thank you for the details. This helps a ton.

      Quote Originally Posted by michael_v View Post
      ********

      I went with the 603 Ascent 1500. Some of the other options were longer than I wanted as I didn't want overhang. With the box set back far enough to still leave about an inch of clearance with the hatch when it is open, I don't have any overhange in front that I can see while sitting in the vehicle.

      I did a test fit for interference by standing outside the vehicle and working the sunroof button while watching. I can raise the sunroof to the vent position without interference, but it hits if I try to retract the sunroof. As soon as the glass came up against the roof box clamps I reveresed the button, so I don't know if it would reverse on its own and didn't want to find out.

      The Ascent 1500 box I got has rubber covered metal C-clamps. I have some friends with an older Thule box (not sure of the model) and theirs looks like it has rubber straps that lay pretty flat. The older style might work.

      Good luck.
      2003 Platinum Grey MKIV Jetta 1.8T Tip[sold]
      2002 Dolphin Grey B6 A4 1.8T 5spd Quattro[sold]
      2005.5 Quartz Grey B7 A4 2.0T 6spd Quattro[sold]
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