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After a few frustrating weeks waiting for a new wiring harness, the local Yakima dealer spent a few hours repairing the wiring with success. The wiring harness then arrived and we kept it just in case. Well, guess what. Last week we loaded up to head out with the kayaks and found during a lights test (which I do every time now) that we have the same problem again. Another kayaking day that didn't happen. So I get out the wiring harness only to find that it is too short. Ok, but I thought I would plug it all in outside the trailer tongue to see if the new harness was going to be the fix. It isn't!! So here we are with a trailer that we don't trust and unknown problems.
The main problem is that we can't find ourselves rolling along the freeway at night or any other time with no brake or turn lights strictly from a safety point of view. The local dealer was quite helpful if ultimately unsuccessful in the repairs. Yakima less so. We'll see how this next experience is. I'm not hopeful.
This afternoon (8/31/13), I took the wheels off so I could clean and re-grease the wheel assembly parts. While I had the wheels off, I noticed that one of them was severely deformed ... this is after 1 year of use and less than 1,000 miles of driving at a maximum speed of 60 m.p.h. Unfortunately, due to the holiday, it will be another 3 days before I can speak to anyone - no kayaking this holiday!
Basic design and construction quality were excellent. The only modification I did was to install the tongue extender so that it would accommodate my QCC700. I got the unit with the shorter cross bars which still had plenty of room for two boats on Malone J-racks and a rack for my recumbent bike in between.
I am not a quality control engineer but in three years and many thousands of miles there have been zero issues. I drag it a couple of hundred miles weekly to get to good boating water. Several of my fellow kayakers have borrowed it for long trips to the Great Lakes so that four people and their boats can go together. Again – no issues. One person was sufficiently enamored the he bought one too.
It is very light and easy to roll. I drive into my double garage at the top of a hill and unhook the trailer to pull it into the other half of the garage. Several times I have been pinned into a location where I could not back it up so I just unhook it and roll it to a better spot. I pull it behind a Honda Civic with no appreciable loss of mileage and no obvious impact on drivability of this small car. I use it for 90% of my kayak transport needs and only use the roof rack for unusual situation (like when someone else it driving it across country).
The only down side I can see to this unit is that it is expensive but given the savings in physical therapy on using an old back by not loading boats on the roof and not having to replace a boat because a wind gust blew it off the roof before it could be tied down (I know I am not the only one here) it has been a reasonable investment.
The "fix" is a ridiculous engineering snafu. If you ever have a flat tire, you must carry needle-nose pliers and/or metal cutters to remove the "recall supplied" cheap ass cotter pin, which is located on the inside of the frame and requiring you to crawl on your hands and knees under the trailer for access. Yakima supplied the smallest (Made in Taiwan) cotter pin when they should have supplied a hitch pin clip, also referred to as hairpin cotter pins, which are spring-style cotter pins that facilitate rapid assembly and dis-assembly. I went to Home Depot and purchased .093 x 1-5/8 Hitch Pin Clips (~ 70 cents/each) and can now easily remove the wheel and reuse the hitch pin with any new tire. I pity the fool who has the misfortune of a R&R flat tire!
When I installed the tongue extension I drilled out the trailer to accept the same larger sized bolts supplied with the tongue extension. Put our Thule Slipstream car rack on the trailer, nice! I pull it behind our Honda Element and our brand new little Honda Fit. Can't even tell it's there. The best feature of all with this trailer is the light weight suspension. Unlike all other kayak trailers, when you hit a bump or a pothole with a Rack & Roll the boats just rock up and down endo-wise. Sorta like the suspension on an old fashion baby buggy. The trailer's wheels never leave the ground. Most other trailers are design to carry much more than couple hundred pounds, and when they hit a pothole they bounce up off the road and thud back to the pavement. That's tough on glass boats! With a CD Titan and an Impex Currituck, and one of those black body boxes for carrying gear we can't possibly have more than 250 pounds on the trailer. I don't think the tongue weight of the loaded trailer is over 50 pound either.
It costs a ton of money, almost 3 grand, but worth every penny. Make sure you lock the trailer to the ball hitch and the ball hitch to the receiver, then you know the trailer will still be in the parking lot when you take-out. Never have to worry about the boats. It's simple to back up to a boat ramp or turn around, especially with the tongue extension. Our boats are near or at 18 feet long, thus the need for the tongue extension. With two repaired shoulders it so cool to drive down the boat ramp, put the trailer wheels to the edge of the water, lift the bow of the boat up 3' and slide it on the trailer. How cool is that! No more lifting the boats to the car's roof top, and it's so much easier to put straps on at waist level. No more climbing around on the car. I always put 2 Thule straps on the hull and two ratchet lines on the bow and stern. with a red flag clipped to the stern of one of the boats. Another neat thing with this trailer is if you go to unknown put-ins for the first time, or say you get lost on a little two track trial and it dead ends and there's no place to turn around. Simply take off the trailer. Turn the car around and put the trailer back on. It's that light and easy to move around by hand. Believe me, I've done it a few times!
I'll give it a strong 10 outa 10. Couldn't be happier. Only thing hard to do was spend the money, but afterwards, very pleased!
We have two 12' kayaks and two bike racks on it and pull it with a midsized car. It tracks perfectly and handles bumps flawlessly. You have to keep looking back to remind yourself you are actually pulling a trailer, it is so smooth. I can even use it as a cart to hand deliver the kayaks to the shore. I have looked at other trailers, but none come close to the Rack and Roll. It is important to follow instructions during assembly about lubricating the pins for the wheels so they can be removed when you want to change a flat, or remove the wheels for storage.
I would recommend the Rack and Roll for anyone who wants to save their back and not lift the kayaks onto their car roof.
That being said, so far I do like the trailer. I haven't tried to conquer the art of trailer backing (let the husband do it) but I feel comfortable unhitching it and I am able to lift it with a canoe and kayak on it. I changed out the square bars for longer round bars. We can also use our Thule Ascent gear box on it. It does drive smoothly and if we don't have any more incidents with it I should be happy with it. It is a good gear solution for me as I downsized from an SUV to the smaller vehicle. Now, I can still carry all my rec toys and get decent gas mileage.
The reason for my rating it 8 so far is because of the tire issues putting us at risk and my disappointment at getting something defective right at the get go. Also, I wasn't sure if the trailer would work with my Pontiac Vibe and I contacted the company twice before making my purchase and received no return email. I also sent the company an email just letting them know about our initial experience with their trailer and how the dealer handled the matter and received no comments or apology for our difficulties. To me that shows a disinterest in their customers. Always carry your tools with you!!!
As for their advertising it as SEXY....I'd rather have it be sturdy and reliable :) .
So far it has been great, we have used it 20 times, 45min to 1hour each way at highway speeds. You really don't know it is there. The kayaks are strapped to the trailer, not just the jay carriers and we have the fronts of the boats tied to the tongue, which adds stability. It is very nice not to have to unload and load the kayaks at the house and move them to a storage area. We just put the trailer in the garage, they are nicely stored in the shade and we can just hitch up and go in minutes. AT the launch,it's nice that we don't have to lift the heavy boats very high.
The company service has been excellent. They told us about the recall, supplied the part and gifts for installing it. Nice people.
Now that everything is finally done and good to go - I ordered the trailer in March but didn't get it until May - I will have to say that its a great trailer. In my opinion, yeah, it is very expensive but the trailer is made with good material. You get what you pay for....
Here's some tips -
Cons? I have a few, if you've visited the Rack and Roll website before they have a video of this woman who seems to have no problem breaking the trailer down. When I did it, I had lot of trouble removing the pin that connected the tongue to the trailer, I also had trouble removing the pins that connected the wheels and the shock absorber to the main trailer although it wasn't quite as bad as the tongue and trailer. There are locks that connect the tongue to the trailer and the wheels and shock absorber to the trailer. Those were a nightmare to remove, you have to push down on the handles really, really hard to unlock them. Yesterday, it took me about 30-40 minutes to put it all together because of the lock and pin issue I mentioned earlier. It almost seems like the holes on the trailer are just a tad bit too small for the pin and yes, I made sure they were aligned properly. On the storage side of things - the license plate doesn't quite align to the pre-existing holes on the trailer so I had to use zip ties to attach them - what does that have to do with storage? Well - if you store the trailer upright - when you attach the license plate its about ankle height so if you're not looking where you're going you can easily scrape your ankle/leg against it. And yes, I definitely emailed Rack and Roll about this. We'll see what they say.
The license plate protrudes out further than the trailer. This was an issue in a earlier post. I purchased a brass hinge and mounted it using an extra square headed bolt in the slot. Drilled holes in the furnished bracket, it now it folds up against the frame.
With the 16" tires you can roll the trailer and boats to the water. It's surprising how much of an incline you can get up and down. You get what you pay for and for me it's worth the price.
I am 5'2. We bought a Nissan Xterra. Obviously, carrying the boat on top of the car was simply not an option for me. I researched trailers and it seemed that in terms of durability and road-worthiness, the Rack and Roll was the only choice.
It made the trip to NC and back in great form. The manufacturers make it clear that if the trailer is going to fail, it will fail in the tires, so I was very particular about checking the pressure and inflating every morning that it was being driven. One tire held the pressure pretty consistently, the other was always down by 7 lbs after sitting overnight. We will be taking that tire to be checked for a leak. I'm sure it can be fixed, and given that this trailer was a year old when I bought it (it was a demo), this cannot be held against the manufacturer.
It follows the car very closely so there is no need to compensate with wide turns, etc. I normally take a 14-foot kayak on it, but for the NC trip I had a 15' boat on it.
Yes, this trailer is expensive, but isn't reliability on the road, and therefore your safety, worth a little extra expense? I highly recommend this trailer.
The nearest dealer was about 100 miles from our home, so I arranged for the purchase by telephone. The dealer offered us a floor model, which included an optional spare tire, for a significant discount, so I paid for the trailer and arranged to pick it up after work one day the following week.
When I arrived at the dealer's, the trailer was waiting, a little shopworn but as described. The "fun" started when the trailer was hooked to my van and blew several fuses. In the process of deciding whether my wiring or the trailer's wiring was at fault, they hooked the trailer to someone's truck, and of course several of their fuses blew. By this time it was getting dark, and I had to drive a long way home, so they came up with replacement fuses for me and I left, sans trailer. (Hint: if you tow a trailer you'll probably need spare fuses at some point, so buy a kit and keep it in your vehicle.)
The dealer called a few days later to say that they'd disassembled the trailer and found several of the wires pinched between elements of the frame. The trailer essentially was a dead short, which of course led to the blown fuses. It took them a week or so to "fix" the wiring. (Hint: if you assemble one of these yourself, be very careful not to pinch the wires when assembling the frame.)
Back we went to pick up the trailer. We were happy to see the lights come on and stay on, and at our request one of the dealer's employees escorted us to an inspection station to make sure the trailer passed inspection. We drove home.
Somewhere between the inspection station and home some of the lights stopped working. No way we were going to drive 100 miles back, so I pulled out a multimeter and started checking the wiring. Sure enough, the wire that powers the left turn / left brake light was open somewhere inside the trailer.
I called the dealer, who instructed me to take it to a local trailer shop and send him the bill. The bill turned out to be $80 - when they opened up the trailer they found that several of the wires were scuffed up, so they replaced the entire wiring harness.
So, would I recommend the trailer? I would, but make sure you buy from a reputable dealer. Even despite the problems I felt that the dealer did try to resolve our problems, but perhaps some of his employees were less than competent with mechanical/electrical assembly. I also recommend buying from a dealer as close to your home as possible (in our case the next closest dealer was 200 miles away.) As for the trailer itself, it does work very well, and there are really few alternatives if you want to transport 3 or 4 kayaks. Towing the trailer is very easy as it is very light weight. (Hint: you'll want to tie red / reflective flags to the back of your boats since they will stick out several feet behind the trailer's lights - this will also help you when passing other cars.)
My rating would have been 9 had I not had the problems with this particular trailer.
I've had my RackandRoll out a couple of times now and am completely delighted with the performance. So far I am down to five minutes break-down time. This includes removing the wheels and securing the trailer to the garage wall. The securing levers at the break points all have key locks.
I really enjoy having a trailer and am thrilled to have my RackandRoll, but I never write a review without finding something negative to say. I'll do what I can to nitpick, but it's a stretch! Probably brings my true rating down to 9.9.
The bars only separate by 4 feet. Probably a good tradeoff between spacing and trailer weight/cost, but if all else were equal, I would rather have 5 feet for my sea kayaks.
The wiring for the taillights was dressed in a simple loop with a cable tie. I felt the need to dress it up with a couple more ties. The butt connectors in this wiring are exposed to road splash, so I covered them with some liquid electrical tape.
The license plate is just a stainless bracket with a couple of holes for the plates top holes. License plates are thin these days, at least in my state. And when the trailer is stored in my garage, the plate sticks out at ankle height. I bought a license plate frame to protect the plate and passersbys. And I added a some aluminum plate to the back of the frame for a little more strength. The trailer, license, locks and Thule gear are expensive. But you really get what you pay for in this case. Or, sometimes, what your wife pays for and gives you for your birthday! __big grin__
By the way, I agree with the previous review that the manufacturer's customer support is absolutely SUPURB! Fast and very effective, even with questions that have to be referred to engineers. You wind up feeling like you have a friend looking out for you!
I have Yakima Mako saddles in the middle with Yakima Hull Raisers on the outboard sides. I can carry three boats. If I get the longer bars, four boats. It was a great idea marrying The Thule and Yakima systems to a trailer. These systems really coddle your boat and are a perfect addition to a kayak trailer. The trailer is totally foldable and even has wheels on the leading ends of the trailer in order to help you move the trailer around in the garage once folded.
This trailer has it all and is very well thought out. It is very light and is very easy to move around with it's sixteen inch aluminum wheels and wide tires. I purchased the spare tire, complete with the same "bad to the bone" wheel (not like my truck which came with a metal wheeled spare). I have also ordered the trailer extension so that I can pull my 22 ft. tandem. The trailer is a roof rack that you pull. Bringing it home from the dealer's shop, I didn't even know it was back there. It pulls that good. I am tired of lifting boats onto my tall SUV and then climbing all over the truck in order to tie them down. RackandRoll is just that. The owner, Patrice, was/is a delight to work with and made my puchase experience even better.
I guess I'll have to use my trailer but it seems like a shame to use it...I still think it belongs in the house. My kayak buddies are going to be green with envy but I know they'll smile real big when I tell them I am going by their houses to pick them up. The trailer, it's not cheap, and I think I may have cried that line to Patrice more than once, but the trailer is in a class by itself.
Traveling down the road you don't even know it's back there. It is very well designed and quite sturdy. Shock absorbers, mag wheels, lifetime bearings, anodized aluminum construction, etc. sweet! And when you are done it all takes apart and packs away in the garage! I can't think of one thing I would change.
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