Thule 1600 Evolution cargo box instructions/review
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This is a discussion on Thule 1600 Evolution cargo box instructions/review within the Exterior and Appearance forums, part of the Tutorials & DIY category; Time for me to pack up my stuff and move from Florida to Canada. When I originally moved south I ...

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    Registered User jutus's Avatar
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    Smile Thule 1600 Evolution cargo box instructions/review

    Time for me to pack up my stuff and move from Florida to Canada. When I originally moved south I shipped my belongings using UPS. They DESTROYED my belongings and never reimbursed me a cent (international shipments are uninsured) . This time around, I decided to load up my worldly goods (not much) into my WRX wagon. I needed extra junk room so I started looking at cargo carriers. Being a complete newbie to the world of cargo boxes and roof-mount accessories in general, I found very little information so I've put up these pictures to show how these things work. In the end I picked a Thule Evolution 1600 over boxes from Yakima or other brands. I couldn't find any online reviews of the Thule boxes, so I'm hoping this post offers information to those interested in the Thule Evolution cargo boxes (WRX and non-WRX owners alike). Review is at the bottom.

    Before you get your box:
    Pretty much all cargo boxes attach to crossbars. If you have the Subaru factory crossbars they will mount fine. However, the factory bars are not the strongest bars around. They are limited to a 100 lb load (total), and the Thule 1600 cargo box is 39 lbs empty. I don't plan on putting heavy items in my box so I chose to stick with the factory crossbars, whose flat profiles result in less wind noise (but are weaker than the round bars from yakima or the square bars from thule).

    If you plan on carrying heavier items, I'd recommend buying railkits and crossbars from Yakima or Thule. You don't want this thing flying off on the highway.

    Installation:
    First you'll need to adjust your cross bars (most likely). Thule recommends you to install the box as far back as possible to reduce wind noise (and probably improve gas mileage). On the Subaru WRX wagon, you'll have no choice but to move the front crossbar as forward on the rails as possible, since the 1600 will interfere with the hatch opening (pics below). Adjusting the factory crossbars is easy, just unfasten each railfoot with the Subaru provided torx screwdriver (check your glove compartment). My recommendation is not to re-tighten the crossbars until you have adjusted the box to the way you want it.

    Factory railfoot:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1.jpg  

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    Registered User jutus's Avatar
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    part 2

    The cargo box connects at 4 points by clamping the crossbar with a U-bolt as pictured below. The U-bolt is fastened inside the case... rather ingeniously.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2.jpg  

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    Registered User jutus's Avatar
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    part 3

    Here's a picture from inside the case. The U-bolt protrudes through the adjustable pair of holes. Again, on the WRX wagon you'll need to mount the box as far forward as possible.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 3.jpg  

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    part 4

    This is the cool Thule fastener, you slide it onto the bolts and apply moderate pressure...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 4.jpg  

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    part 5

    Then you push down the grey lever, which binds the U-Bolt to the cargo box floor...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 5.jpg  

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    part 6

    Then you lock it the fastener by pushing down the red lever. Adjusting or removing the box is a snap since the procedure is just reversed. It's roughly a 20 minutes job for 1 person or a 5 minute job for 2 people.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 6.jpg  

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    part 7

    It's hard to visually demonstrate how large cavernous the space really is. At 16" high, it can swallow quite a lot of junk. The Thule box opens and locks from either side (but not both at the same time. The hinge is spring loaded so short people like myself can open it with no problems.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 7.jpg  

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    Registered User jutus's Avatar
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    part 8

    As you can see, the rear hatch is obstructed a bit. Normally without the box on top the spoiler would be perpendicular to the ground when the hatch is fully open. Not a big deal for me since the hatch opens up far enough to allow loading. With no spoiler (if you have a 2.5 TS), you'd have no problems.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 8.jpg  

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    part 9

    From the front:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 9.jpg  

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    part 10

    From the side... note that there is no overhang in front, so the driver really can't see the box unless he/she is leaning over the steering wheel and looking straight up (poor man's sunroof).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 10.jpg  

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    Registered User jutus's Avatar
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    Review

    Review for the Thule 1600 Evolution:

    Pros:
    - Aerodynamic, VERY little wind noise.. pretty much nothing. I'm hoping this means great fuel economy.
    - Larger than it seems in these pictures: 76" x 33" x 16"
    - Tool-free installation onto just about any crossbar (that does not exceed 3" in width)
    - Made of vacuum-molded ABS plastic, lighter than fibreglass and probably more durable. Light enough for one person to lift and install, but two people can install faster.
    - Opens from both sides
    - Hinge is spring loaded so even short people can open this thing.
    - Sized just right for the WRX wagon, doesn't impact driver visibility AT ALL
    - For you silver car owners, this is a pretty good match!

    Cons:
    - Water gets in the front (might be curable with weather stripping)
    - On the WRX wagon, the box interferes slightly with the hatch opening

    On the whole if you have to get a cargo box for your Impreza wagon, I'd say this is the one. Much better deal than the Subaru cargo box, which costs roughly the same.

    Bottom line:
    1) You can't do this with an EVO or SRT-4. The utility/performance/price balance of the WRX is pretty unique. Maybe if they made a Mazdaspeed Protege wagon, or a Honda Element Type R... hehehe
    2) You could always stick a JATO in that thing and get some performance. (jk) http://www.rocketcarstory.com/
    3) UPS can kiss my ass.

    I'll post gas mileage information and 1/4 mile times when I get the chance.

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    Moderator aussieinstlouis's Avatar
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    Awesome review - thanks a lot.
    I got the wagon because of the limitations I found with my WRX sedan back in Australia.

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    Registered User jutus's Avatar
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    Mileage data

    Well, 3000 miles later...

    On a stock MY02 WRX wagon, heavily overloaded with crap, I managed to get exactly 24 mpg. Not bad, I guess the aero case helps.

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    Another advantage other than extra load capacity of going the aftermarket crossbar route is that elevates the box a few more inches. Therefore the rear hatch maight just open all the way.
    I have the Yakima Lowrider System. These are great but one needs to also purchase the fairing otherwise windnoise is unbearable when bars are empty.

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    I think this box is the same as the extended cargo box that Subaru sells. Subaru part number is E361SAJ200. It is ~$425+tax from local dealer. If you have Subaru bucks then the deal is pretty good.

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