Repair a Thule Rooftop Carrier

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About: Everything I make is done with love and imperfection.

Intro: Repair a Thule Rooftop Carrier

Crunch!!! Ooops! Ever forgotten that you had your Thule carrier on the roof and then backed into the garage door? Well I guess that happens more often than you would think!

I was looking for a Thule and I found one for a good price but unfortunately it had been badly damaged. The owner had tried to fix the gaping hole by cutting out some plastic and bonding it into the space, but as you can see from the picture it was not a particularly good job and looked awful. I felt I could improve the repair job and this instructable shows how I did it. The same steps will apply whether you are repairing a repair job (like me) or did the damage yourself.

Step 1: Products

The products I used included:

  • Strong plastic;
  • Epoxy;
  • Plastic Fibreglass repair or Waterweld adhesive (I used both - but they are similar products);
  • Liquid rubber (FlexSeal);
  • Painters tape and newspaper;
  • Spraypaint.

Step 2: Repair the Damage

If you are starting with a hole, start by adhering some strong, thick plastic over it using epoxy.

I was fortunate in that the previous repair job, while unsightly, did at least give me a foundation to work on so I didn't need to do that step.

According the the package directions, mix the plastic repair kit and mold them into the depression covering the plastic cut out and along any cracks. Make sure to cover the damage completely.

Once dry, sand down the area to make a smooth surface.

I started with the plastic fibreglass repair which is very easy to use. There wasn't enough for my project so I switched to JB Waterweld, which I found to be a very similar product, maybe a little more flexible to mold into place. The result of embedding this over the entire damaged section is shown in the three pictures.

Step 3: Fill in the Gaps

It still looked pretty rough and uneven, in spite of careful sanding down. That is when I turned to my next product: the Flex Seal. I taped off the area and tried to fill the low spots with several layers of spraying. I laid it on really thick and spread it while it was still wet with a putty knife.

I then allowed it to dry and gave it a final once over coat to blend it all in.

Step 4: Spraypaint

I removed the taped off area from the previous step and then retaped leaving an extra 3-4 mm gap so that my final finish would totally overlay the Flex Seal. I then sprayed over the whole area again using Tremclad rust paint. The paint is supposed to match the colour of the cap, but I found it to be quite a bit lighter than the look of the cap. Nevertheless it was an acceptable finish.

Step 5: Recap

My new improved Thule had gone from a giant hole to a sleekly repaired and functional rooftop carrier.

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    3 Discussions

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    PonchN

    Tip 2 months ago on Step 2

    Using cloth or mesh of any kind (I used window screen & turned out fine) helps give stability during process & long term. I've also used fiberglass resin and it was messy, but turned out great after few tries!!

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    grannyjones

    2 years ago

    it's always better to go for less than perfect, to discourage theft.

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    Toxictom

    2 years ago

    Since it on top of the car most people won't even notice the repair. Good job.