Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, photos

boss
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Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, photos

Postby boss » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:40 pm

(Posting this as while I was dealing with the problem, I couldn't find any info anywhere on wind noise from Thule 591's... other than, well, they're noisy and you gotta put up with it. Hopefully if poeple have this solution and google it, they'll come across this thread.)

So, my partner and I recently bought ourselves a new car (Mazda3 hatch), got roof racks and some Thule Proride 591 bike racks for it.

When we drove away from the dealer with the genuine racks on (but no bike racks), the car was perfect. No wind noise, I don't mind the look of racks either, so we were both happy.

First stop was the roof rack shop, where we bought the Thule 591 racks.

Got home, got kinda confused by the instructions, then worked it out and put the racks on.

All well and good. Until we drove it.

There was a horrific whistling noise coming from the passenger side. Sounds like your window is ever so slightly open open and you're doing 100kmp/h. But your window is shut. All the windows are shut. And you're doing 45kmph.

When you get to 60, it's enough to drive me crazy.

And we are talking about serious wind noise with no bikes on the racks. Just rolling around with vacant Thule 591's aboard genuine Mazda racks. When you pop bikes on the rack (either side), there's no increase in wind noise.

I thought, it's gotta be these fricken bike racks. I take the passenger rack off, and voila, no noise.

That left me curiously puzzled, Because after all, they are the same rack - why is the passenger side creating noise, but the driver's side rack is as happy as (a very quiet and contented) Larry.

I popped the passenger rack back on the car, and noticed that the passenger rack was offset forwards to avoid handlebar congestion, I assume. It fouled the rake of the windscreen (if it were to continue upwards, so I thought maybe that was the problem.

Moved the rack backwards on the mounts. No dice.

So I continue scratching my head, fiddling around, and then notice that the mounting plastics of the passenger side rack are set forwards of the rack, while on the drivers side, they are set backwards. The plastics aren't sealed at the bottom, and have a collection of structural fins under there.

Get some gaffer tape, seal the bugger up. Wind noise gone.

I am going to get some plastic and work on a more permanent blanking plate to seal it up. But for now, the noise is gone. I have ended up removing the gaffer and replacing it with standard packing tape, just because I don't fancy peeling the gaffer residue off when I use a blanking plate.

I'll post up some photos later, but if you have a rack and you have this issue you should be able to see the problem by just looking at the way the passenger side rack is orientated compared with the drivers side rack.
Last edited by boss on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

boss
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - passenger side wind noise, solutio

Postby boss » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:58 am

I don't think anyone will be playing along at home right now, but in the interest of helping out some google searchers who are frustrated with their Thule 591 racks... The thread has managed to make it as 2nd on google for "thule wind noise" so that's certainly a good thing.

But yes - as promised, some photos...

The drivers side. As you can see in the picture, the entire Thule 591 mounting unit sits behind the roof rack. No wind noise created.

Image

The passenger side. On the passenger side, the front half of the Thule 591 mounting unit sits in front of the roof rack. Looks a bit clunky, but more importantly, wind is able to get underneath it and into the structural baffles. This creates a lot of wind noise. On our Mazda3, it verges on unbearable if you're in the car for longer than 5 minutes.

Image

I messed around with the mounting unit itself. Basically the issue is that Thule has engineered the 591 unit to be suitable for use on either the left or right hand side. You just flip the unit around and change a few screws, and voila, a lefty = righty or righty = lefty. As you can see in the photos, though, a righty has to sit in front of the rack, which is bad. Really, for the money you pay, it's a shame they didn't engineer and produce two separate units.

I was tempted to experiment and flip around the unit AND locking gear (you leave the locking gear if switching from left->right or right->left) to see if it would result in a more desirable mounting position. However, at $230 a rack, I wasn't keen on pulling apart the locking components in case they weren't servicable. At $180-$230 a rack, it'd be an expensive little experiment. If I can pick up a cheap 2nd hand rack I might mess around with it and see what results.

Anyway, as you can see in the photo, I've just used clear packing tape to seal the void and baffles. It has held up for a few days, and doesn't look as bad as it does in the photo (night + with flash makes it look pretty ugly). I will be working on a neater blanking plate of some description, I have a few ideas... would prefer not to irrevocably seal the unit up.

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RonK
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby RonK » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:32 pm

This makes a far more annoying noise... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Image
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boss
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby boss » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:53 pm

RonK wrote:This makes a far more annoying noise... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Image


And you can't fix it with a bit of packing tape either.

(Gaffer tape, on the other hand, I'm told will fix anything.)

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby TTar » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:15 pm

RonK wrote:This makes a far more annoying noise... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Image



The whimpering noise coming from the riders would've been the worst sound of all.

The devastation looks to be complete, even the middle bike appears to have had its front wheel buckled and probably the rear end is crushed beyond recognition.

What a sickening photo -- it should come with a warning.
Sent from my fortified compound

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby RonK » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:21 pm

TTar wrote:What a sickening photo -- it should come with a warning.

Ahhhh - well, the photo is the warning...
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

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clackers
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby clackers » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:26 pm

Image

That'll buff right out.

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clackers
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby clackers » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:30 pm

Great details, Boss - including labelled photos!

My wife and I have 561s on our Mazda 3 and 6 - some noise, which I might check if electricians' tape might mitigate, but it's a simpler design.

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby boss » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:41 pm

clackers wrote:Great details, Boss - including labelled photos!

My wife and I have 561s on our Mazda 3 and 6 - some noise, which I might check if electricians' tape might mitigate, but it's a simpler design.


I had seriously scoured the net several times for information on 591's and wind noise... all I could find was 'buy a wind Thule fairing/deflector'. I wasn't opposed to buying a fairing (even though they're $130-150) so much as I was worried I'd buy a fairing and not fix the issue. It's funny though, I'll probably end up buying the fairing as I reckon they look cool. Haha!

But back on point, it was only after I had fixed the issue (and narrowed it down to being a passenger side rack issue) that I was able to find some discussion about the passenger side mount design causing wind noise, and then one guy fixed it with some tape like I already had. It was in a dark corner of the net somewhere, a MTB forum or something.

All other discussion had revolved around 'live with it', 'take the racks off when you don't use them' or as I said 'buy a fairing'.

So I figured it was my turn to contribute something useful, so the next poor bugger that can't stand the wind noise will have some useful information to assist him :)

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby ValleyForge » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:43 pm

I just put a little bit of blu-tack into the hollow sections. It's just enough to stop the wind splitting and it fixed it.

I did it about 6 months ago and I haven't even bothered to check if it's still there. No whistle though.....
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boss
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby boss » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:44 am

I'm going to go to the shops, buy some blu-tak and try your idea out.

Will look neater than sticky tape, and if it works, I won't have to take the rack off (yet again) to measure up and fit a blanking plate.

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby ValleyForge » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:14 pm

boss wrote:I'm going to go to the shops, buy some blu-tak and try your idea out.

Will look neater than sticky tape, and if it works, I won't have to take the rack off (yet again) to measure up and fit a blanking plate.


The crazy part was I opened my sunroof to see where the noise was coming from and stuck my finger into the open base of the rack. Worked out where the critical point was; was going to drill a hole but thought of the blu-tac. Even simpler.
Ha ha ha! Cookies on dowels.

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brett.hooker
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby brett.hooker » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:25 pm

Someone should up Thule for the rent... They spend enough money on r&d for their products to ship without this issue...

Buy a faring sounds like sales got involved in the problem solving... Love it...
Loving my Merida's and working towards adding a Pinarello to the stable... Go go go...

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby boss » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:18 pm

ValleyForge wrote:
boss wrote:I'm going to go to the shops, buy some blu-tak and try your idea out.

Will look neater than sticky tape, and if it works, I won't have to take the rack off (yet again) to measure up and fit a blanking plate.


The crazy part was I opened my sunroof to see where the noise was coming from and stuck my finger into the open base of the rack. Worked out where the critical point was; was going to drill a hole but thought of the blu-tac. Even simpler.


Ah, you've got a sunroof. Lucky bugger. Mine was trial and error... racks off, racks on, adjust the rack backwards and forwards on the mount, etc etc etc. Took a while to for me to register the differences between the two rack mount points, then the penny dropped.

brett.hooker wrote:Someone should up Thule for the rent... They spend enough money on r&d for their products to ship without this issue...

Buy a faring sounds like sales got involved in the problem solving... Love it...


Yeah, to be honest, that's my biggest gripe out of the whole deal. Pay premium prices for a rack and then it makes a tonne of noise. In my case, there was more noise coming off before I taped up the mount than now when I have two bikes on the roof.

Clearly Thule have no interest in fixing the issue - it's quite a mature product.

I can only hazard a guess that they prefer to have one mount workable on both sides. The wind noise is a secondary concern to them.

At the end of the day, it's an easy fix, but only if you know that its fixable.

Of the many, many, many posts I read about 591's and wind noise, 99% said that wind noise was just what you have to deal with... if you don't like it, take the rack off or get a deflector.

mtb lover
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby mtb lover » Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:36 am

Just signed up to this forum to say thanks boss! This whistling noise has been driving me insane for years, and never knowing where it was coming from, I was never able to fix it. It never occurred to me that the big hole underneath the rack might have something to do with it! I also came across the same 'get over it' type posts elsewhere, which of course weren't very helpful. I've now covered it with duct tape and the whistling noise has gone and my sanity is assured. Thanks again for taking the trouble to post your photos and instructions. Cheers boss!

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby Leaf T » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:03 pm

clackers wrote:
That'll buff right out.

:lol: :lol: I bet you've used that in rush hour :)

Yesterday I saw a Thule rack mounted at the rear.Was an amazing looking thing with tail lights and lockable clamps etc. Made me think how simple my NZ made tow bar rack is.

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby coffeeandwine » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:28 pm

Thanks Boss, just read this and will try the fix tomorrow.

My wife wants to marry you :shock: :lol:
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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, photos

Postby pdxdaly » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:49 pm

You are a beautiful, wonderful man. Even if you name yourself after a horrible apparel brand. Or a Trump-loving character from Dukes of Hazzard. Thank you for the solve! For me at least, only a six-month long saga. Sticking my hand through the sunroof across different areas while trying to maintain a high speed; stealing play-doh from my 4-yr old and putting it in various cavities; praying that this is all part of VW/Audi/Porsche Dieselgate so I can gain a settlement. Alas, a man in Australia. I love you guys! Thanks, Boss!

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Re: Thule 591 Bike Rack - pass. side wind noise, solved, pho

Postby pdxdaly » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:50 pm

mtb lover wrote:Just signed up to this forum to say thanks boss! This whistling noise has been driving me insane for years, and never knowing where it was coming from, I was never able to fix it. It never occurred to me that the big hole underneath the rack might have something to do with it! I also came across the same 'get over it' type posts elsewhere, which of course weren't very helpful. I've now covered it with duct tape and the whistling noise has gone and my sanity is assured. Thanks again for taking the trouble to post your photos and instructions. Cheers boss!


me too! Thanks Boss!

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