I WISH I had read more reviews before I purchased the Showboat roller over the Hullavator. The advantage to the Showboat is that you can load two kayaks, so that was the determining factor.
This was installed by my dealer and it worked fine for the first two times. But then I experienced the same complaint as others. The roller separated from the crossbar on the right side! Thank goodness it happened the first time at home and I had the Allen wrenches. I tightened the screw and it didn't happen again. All was fine for another two trips and then the roller separated on the left side, this time because the crossbars wouldn't slide out. Again I was at home and I tightened the screw but that isn't the problem. It's that the crossbar just won't slide through easily. I am short (5'1") and have a small SUV so I have to use a steps tool ALL the time. And I got this so I wouldn't have to have help loading and unloading my kayak. Now I keep my Allen wrenches with me at all times. I SORELY regret this purchase and will ask my dealer and Yakima to help me. I am just wondering what the NEXT problem will be!I am having the same problem with the Showboat as the previous reviewer was having in 2008! That is the roller bar assembly comes apart from the rods that run from the back to the front on either side of the car. If I had seen his review before buying the Showboat I never would have purchased it.
(P.S. Glad I read about not using WD-40. I was going to do that when I take the yak out this weekend.)
To stay attached to the rest of the assembly, the roller bar depends on good contact with the end of a small bolt which can come loose very easily. This means you have to tighten this bolt frequently. I am short which means I have to carry a small step ladder with me in order to reach the bolt. I also have to use some sort of lubricant to get the roller to slide easily toward the back of the car.
The very small bolt that holds the roller bar assembly to the bars that run back to front on the car come loose often. Needs a fix. The roller bar assembly and the front-to-back rods should be permanently attached!
Today I had a new problem. I didn't realize that the red levers could come completely off the bolt they are connected to.
Come on Yakima! You can do better than that! A friend of mine just has saddles and uses a piece of rug to slide her kayak to the top of the car. Maybe I should just take the whole showboat off and return it to the dealer.I purchased the Yakima rack system from ORS for my Old Towne Guide 147 with the additional Showboat and 66 inch extension bars and the gunwale kit to fit on my 08 Mercury Mountaineer.
My needs were that I needed a safe and easy way to load the canoe and not ding up the SUV in the process and free my wife from having to help load/unload a 76 lb canoe.
I installed everything myself and it was painless. You have to measure the distance between the support bars and make sure you have the correct distance between the extension bars. There's a handy ruler printed on the outside of the box but I opted for a tape measure.
I practiced taking the rack system off and on a few times to get the feel for it and I'm amazed at how simple it is.
The extension bars and the Showboat roller work very well and I know how to make adjustments if the bars feel hard to pull. It's mainly a matter of alignment and how tightly the brackets for the extension bars are set and does require a little patience in finding the right tightness.
The biggest problem I had was with my fat canoe. When loaded over the center of the vehicle it sits on the towers so I had to offset it over the driver side a little in order to use the gunwale brackets. I have 44 inch bars and it is crowed between the rack towers and the brackets for the gunwale kit and the showboat system.
Loading the canoe if exceptionally easy. Just follow the directions of setting one end of the canoe on the roller (fully extended and locked) and pick up the back of the canoe and push it on while keeping the angle above the racks until it's in a position to be on the racks where you want it to be. It will hang on the brackets otherwise. Unloading the canoe is equally simple. I just pull it back and stay underneath the canoe until the yoke is on my shoulders and I back up and wander off to the water in a portage carry.
I am very pleased with this product so far and I find it a very clever solution for loading a canoe by yourself.This device would be great and has been great to load my kayak from the back of my Subaru Forester, if it would stop disconnecting from the crossbars, which I also had to purchase. I purchased the Showboat in 2 different stores, the 1st one I brought it back and got my money back because they apparently didn't install it correctly and it was difficult to get the Showboat (the roller part) to pull out from the crossbars. I didn't like from the beginning, that the store where I purchased it, used WD-40 oil on the crossbars to get the Showboat to slide easily & questioned them about this, stating I didn't want to have to carry WD-40 Oil with me in order to maneuver the roller part when I needed to load or unload my kayak. The store told me, the ease of operation would fall into place once the parts were moved back and forth a few times; well, this didn't hold to be true and the more I had to tug to get the Showboat (the roller part) to pull out to load my kayak, this is when it disconnected from the crossbars. After calling Yakima and revealing all this to them, they agreed, that WD-40 oil should not have been used to make the Showboat easier to slide out from the crossbars. Yakima said the store probably didn't make the crossbars evenly spaced in the front and back and felt this is why the roller part was difficult to pull out to load the kayak.
Yakima was very nice and called the next store I decided to go to, to have the Showboat installed correctly; Yakima even made a deal with the other store so I received a 25% discount on the Showboat and Crossbars since I had such a bad experience at the 1st store. Unfortunately, after 2 hours of installation and much hard work by the owner and his assistant at the 2nd store, I'm experiencing the same trouble I did with the Showboat and crossbars; Showboat (roller part) difficult to pull out and it was like this after the 2nd store installed both pieces, which got me concerned, but after they worked for 2 hours installing it and also moved my Yakima roof racks to a different position, thinking that this would correct the problem that the 1st store did not do, I felt guilty not purchasing the Showboat so I brought it and paid over $100.00 in addition to giving the owner a tip of $30.00 since installation was free!
This past Sunday, when I went to load my kayak after paddling, I thought I was going to yank my back out trying to pull the Showboat (roller part)away from the crossbars and guess what happened, the Showboat disconnected from the crossbars. For those of you familiar with Yakima's Showboat, yes, the red clamps were opened as they are supposed to be when pulling the roller part away from the crossbars to load the kayak. There was a man who came to help me place the Showboat back onto the crossbars and he said, as I knew, the screw that holds the clamp on the Showboat, was as tight as it could possibly be; it couldn't be tightened any more, so this would not solve the roller from disconnecting from the crossbars.
I called Yakima again and reported this 2nd same problem. The Yakima dealer wasn't as nice the 2nd time around as he was when I initially called him. He told me he hasn't gotten any other complaints like mine from others who have purchased the Yakima Showboat, but did tell me as I tried to troubleshoot with him, that if the Crossbars are damaged (dented in any way) that this could be why the roller part is so difficult to pull out from the crossbars. I then checked my crossbars and it does look like they are a bit dented toward the front so I will show this to the 2nd store owner tomorrow.
I would really appreciate hearing from anyone else who purchased the Yakima Showboat and Crossbars to hear if you have or had the same difficulty that I've experienced twice from 2 different stores.
If the Showboat would operate with easier pull out from the crossbars and not disconnect from the crossbars, this piece of equipment would be a gem for any Subaru Forester or higher vehicle.