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Question: How can I mount a roof rack to the 2008 Subaru Forrester factory side rails? I'm confused as to how I would attach a rack to the side rails as they are flush with the roof (no space between roof and rail to connect cross bars to them). I need a roof rack cross bars system that will then allow me to attach gear carriers to the crossbars.
Answer: Your 2008 Subaru Forester does indeed have factory side rails that are flush with the rooftop. Both Thule Racks and Yakima Racks have developed specific rack systems to mount to flush side rails such as your 2008 Subaru Forester. As of this writing (5/4/2011) we highly recommend the following options...
From Thule Racks we highly recommend the Thule 460 Podium roof rack system (includes a Thule 460 Podium Foot Pack, set of 4005 Podium Fit Kit brackets and a pair of 50 inch load bars with end caps). This is a superb system specifically designed to mount to the '08 Subaru Forester flush side rails. Simple installation (easy to follow instructions included), each of the four Thule 4005 Fit Kit brackets attaches to each of the four Thule 460 Podium Feet and the assembly clamps right onto the flush side rails. You now have a rock solid multi-purpose base rack foundation with cross bars to attach any gear carriers to.
Additionally, you have the option to also use the Thule 460R Rapid Podium roof rack system (includes a Thule 460R Rapid Podium Foot Pack, set of 4005 Podium Fit Kit brackets and a pair of RB47 47" Rapid Aero load bars with end caps). This system works exactly the same way as the regular 460 Podium roof rack system except that you will be using the premium Thule Rapid Aero load bars instead of the classic square load bars included with the regular 460 Podium roof rack system. You will use the same Thule 4005 Podium Fit Kit with the Thule 460R Rapid Podium Foot Pack. The Thule RB47 47" Rapid Aero load bars are the recommended length for the '08 Subaru Forester rooftop.
And from Yakima Racks you can use the Yakima RailGrab roof rack system (includes set of four Yakima Towers with clamping claws specifically designed for your vehicle's flush side rails and a pair of 48 inch cross bars with end). While the RailGrab system clamps down on the flush side rails for a super-duty, reliable base rack system that you can then attach any gear carriers to. Easy to follow installation instructions included.
With any of the base rack systems listed above installed as a 2008 Subaru Forester roof rack cross bars system, you can then connect any gear carriers to the cross bars. Most gear carriers are universal mounting, allowing you to choose the model that you like best, independent of whether it is the same manufacturer as the base rack system. Each product page will specify what base rack system crossbars the gear carrier is compatible with.
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