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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our T2 has developed a substantial side to side wiggle which I traced down to worn brass bushings where the 4 large bolts go through the main support bars/beams. I searched on Thule's web site & found the parts list & diagram. Unfortunately, it looks like the bushings themselves are not offered, only the beam that they press into and that's $185.

I'm thinking my rack can't be the only one out there that has developed this kind of problem. I will contact Thule & find out if those bushings are available, but I thought I'd ask if anyone else has dealt with this. Thanks!
 

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I've never dealt with Thule customer service, but I would contact them directly and see what they say. Some companies are more open to selling smaller parts than others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I sent an email inquiry on Saturday. Thule responded today telling me that they'll be sending those bushings to me gratis. This rack is 7 years old and has pretty much been on the back of my wife's SUV the whole time. That's pretty amazing service. Those bushings can't cost much but I sure didn't expect Thule to send them to us free of charge. Well done, Thule!
 

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I have contacted Thule twice and was told the bushings are not sold separately. Do you have the part number or the contact that you used?
 

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I was having the same issue with my T2 and noticed one of the bushings was missing. They are available through etrailer part #853-7011. I am also going to have the male end of square steel that goes into the receiver remade out 1/4 inch thick stock to replace the 1/8" thick OEM one.
 

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Our T2 has developed a substantial side to side wiggle which I traced down to worn brass bushings where the 4 large bolts go through the main support bars/beams.

I'm thinking my rack can't be the only one out there that has developed this kind of problem. I will contact Thule & find out if those bushings are available, but I thought I'd ask if anyone else has dealt with this. Thanks!
Indeed. Those bushings appear to be underdesigned and are a weak link in an otherwise "lifetime" mechanism.

For anyone experiencing the same problem, check to see where the bushings are worn. Of mine, 5 of 8 had a groove worn into them on the external surface so that they no longer fit snugly into the walls of the square tubes where they are mounted. 3 wore completely through at that point. While the bushings are probably sufficiently spec'ed for their inner bearing surface, they are supported in a thin (1/8") wall that concentrates the load on an area only about 1/3 that of the inner surface. The overload, along with vibration and similar motion cause the outer surface to prematurely erode away. An apparent design oversight. :confused:

Fortunately, both OEM replacements and alternatives are readily available.
I emailed Thule a photo and they are sending me replacements as a warranty item.
To simply buy them, #853-7011 is the Thule part number (they do not appear on the website, but you can order from Thule by phone). As has been noted, ETrailer.com stocks them.

In any case, the OEM bronze bushings are nothing exotic - just an off-the-shelf "oilite"/bronze flanged bushing - 1/2"ID x 3/4" OD, 1/2" length, flange 1" OD x 1/8" thick. They can commonly be found in the the nuts-and-bolts section of your local hardware store.

While McMaster-Carr (under "Bearings") offers many options. OEM equivalents:yawn: are #6338K422. But their best option is probably the less expensive:thumbsup: AND more durable:thumbsup: #2938T15 "High-Load Oil-Embedded Flanged Sleeve Bearings" (aka "Super Oilite") @$1.09 ea.

Another interesting option for a drop-in replacement is this relatively inexpensive Igus - "Iglide R" option from Zoro.com. I installed a set with hopes that they will outlast the originals. Although they work very well, I cannot yet vouch for their long term suitability.
 
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