How to modify your existing Thule ski carrier to hold your rods more securely while traveling
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
Thule ski carrier
B-line or Kindorf channel, 1 ½ inch size (available at electrical supply stores)
2 ¼" Schedule 40 PVC (available at Home Depot)
2" straps for B-line or Kindorf (electrical supply stores) for each rod you'll carry
Self-tapping sheet metal screws 8-18, ¾"
Rust preventative spray paint (black)
Tube of silicone caulk
Hack saw (a Dremel tool is helpful, but not a necessity)
Screw drivers (flat & Phillips)
STEP 1 - Mount one complete bar carrier on your vehicle, make sure it fits as securely as it will when you're driving. Mark the bar at each end between the two mounting brackets. This is your usable working space and will determine the length you will cut your b-line channel to. Remove the carrier from your vehicle.
STEP 2 - Measure the distance between the two marks on the bar and cut your B-line channel to that length with the hack saw.
STEP 3 - With the closed side of the channel facing up, drill six evenly spaced holes, large enough to accommodate the 8-18 sheet metal screws(11/64" bit)
Decide how many rods you'd like to carry (a four pair ski carrier will hold six rods,
A six pair carrier will hold eight.) Lay out the B-line along with enough straps for the amount of rods you'll be carrying and apply the spray paint
STEP 4 - Now cut the PVC into as many 7 inch lengths as rods you'll carry. Stand each section vertically, determine the approximate center of the circumference of each and mark. Now measure down vertically 3 inches on either side and draw a line from the top to that mark, draw another line joining the two vertical lines at the 3 inch mark. The area inside the lines you've drawn will be cut away and discarded, use the hack saw for this. What you should have left are tubes that are completely round for the first 4 inches and a semi-circle for the last 3.
STEP 5 - Lay one tube with the open side facing up, the remaining part of the area you cut should look like a cradle. Measure the width of the stem of your largest spinning reel. At the edge of the complete circle nearest to the open area, mark the width, making sure it's centered and measure down from the edge ¾".Now using a hack saw blade cut out that area (this is where the Dremel is really helpful) Repeat this step for the remaining tubes. This notch will hold your reels securely and prevent them from flopping over in transit.
STEP 6 - By now the paint should have dried on the channel and straps. Lay the channel open side up on the bar carrier making sure to place it between the marks you made earlier. Drill pilot holes for the screws in the bar carrier with a 1/16" drill bit. You can drill through the holes in the channel you made earlier. Put a dab of silicone at each hole and run the screws in.
STEP 7 - Now mount the ski carriers on the second bar. The ski carriers will be used to secure the tip section of your rods only. (If you're buying the racks for this project you will only need to buy one set of 2,for example what you see some folks carrying on one side of their vehicle, front and rear constitutes 1 set. If you've already got two sets, you'll only need one) Mount the PVC tubes to the channel using the straps but don't tighten down all the way (make sure the notch on each tube is facing up and the cradle is pointed at the ski carriers. Line up the tubes with the ski carriers making sure there is adequate space between each to fit your rods and tighten down the bolts on the straps. Mount the two bars on your vehicle and you're ready to go.
A few parting comments. You will be carrying all your rods, both spinning and conventional, reels up. These racks can be mounted to carry the tip section or butt section forward, it's just a matter of how you mount them on your vehicle. Those who have a pick-up without a cap will like them because both bars can be mounted on the cab and still hold the rods securely. Those who do have a cap but are vertically challenged (like me!) can mount them this way and easily access your rods. Last but not least, if you use rods with a trigger reel seat, you will need to drill holes in the cradle part of the PVC tube for the trigger to pass through and allow your rod(s) to lay flat. GOOD LUCK & GOOD FISHING