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Old 05-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #1
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Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

I was always bothered by the wind noise from my Thule square bar rack. I have had fairings on my car racks for years, they help but usually crack after four years or so from the UV. For the van, I felt even the widest fairing was not going to do much and it was pretty pricey.

I was all set to go to TAP plastics and have them make up a unit when I came across a posting about a wrapping solution. The suggestion was to wrap cording spirally around the bar from side to side. This is supposed to create /induce vortex shedding (for all you engineers). This breaks up the airflow around the bar and minimizes/eliminates the noise created by the bare bar.

Bottom line, does it work? I was so skeptical and yet so frustrated with the noise that I thought I would try it out on our trip to Yosemite a few weeks ago. It works and it works great!!! Not completely silent but at least 80 to 85% quieter. The bonus is less frontal area (I know, really marginally less) due to no fairing, and 100 "van units" to be deployed elsewhere.

So if noise from the racks is an issue, this is worth the effort. I used a multi-strand cording that will likely last a couple of years. Next time I will find a better cording for UV exposure.

Apologies if this has already been covered on SMBforum, could not find it in a search. I would love to hear feedback of your experience.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

Interesting. Never would have guessed that would help.

Does make me wonder if you have to wrap it in the other direction when driving south of the Equator.


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Old 05-15-2014, 07:47 AM   #3
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

For Yakima bar owners, their small "windjammer" device works great at cutting down noise. It's a fairly small airfoil that simply snaps over the front bar. $25. I used to use Fairings, but this actually does a better job at cutting noise.

http://www.rei.com/product/618464/yakima-windjammer
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:51 AM   #4
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Interesting. Never would have guessed that would help.

Does make me wonder if you have to wrap it in the other direction when driving south of the Equator.


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Oh yeah this is very interesting! Gives rise to the question is the pitch or spacing between the spirals important? Would increasing or decreasing it change its perceived effectiveness?
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:43 AM   #5
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

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Originally Posted by JWA
Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Interesting. Never would have guessed that would help.

Does make me wonder if you have to wrap it in the other direction when driving south of the Equator.


Herb
Oh yeah this is very interesting! Gives rise to the question is the pitch or spacing between the spirals important? Would increasing or decreasing it change its perceived effectiveness?
Don't forget the diameter of the cord as a variable too. Who's got a wind tunnel?

This is such a simple fix, it almost makes me wish my roof rack was on my tow vehicle, instead of my trailer.


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Old 05-15-2014, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
For Yakima bar owners, their small "windjammer" device works great at cutting down noise. It's a fairly small airfoil that simply snaps over the front bar. $25. I used to use Fairings, but this actually does a better job at cutting noise.

http://www.rei.com/product/618464/yakima-windjammer
After discussing the wind noise issues with Aluminess when installing my full length rack, they discouraged me from a using a fairing due to mpg loss. The noise was really bad, there was a wicked moan from a resonance at speed. I tried the windjammers and they worked great.

You can see them on the rack in this photo here, I used 4, 2 on top and 2 on the lower bars.

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Old 05-15-2014, 08:47 PM   #7
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

I just use a canoe
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:51 PM   #8
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

I use a cord wrapped around the front bar of my Thule rack and it works great. No noise at all.

I bought a length of bungee cord and tied a loop in each end. Hook loop over one end of the rack bar, spiral wrap a few times, hook other loop over other end of bar, done.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

I pulled the fairing off my rack because it made wind noise worse. The spiral idea is a good one. If you look at chemical plants, the stacks for corrosive exhaust all have spirals, as this prevents low pressure on the leeward side which would otherwise suck the exhaust behind the stack, where it would cause damage.
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Old 05-17-2014, 05:57 AM   #10
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Re: Wind Noise Thule / Yakima Racks

It occurs to me we're missing the antenna on most E-Series vans have this same treatment. Of course that'd didn't hit me until just after reading about this fix first time.
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