Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

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Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:03 pm

When I have the time to document my experiences with Mk1/2 Boxer rear door mounting bike carriers then I'll give you the full torrid story. Suffice to say for now, if your thinking of getting a bike carrier I would certainly not recommend the Thule Omnistor 18 8002 00, whereas I would recommend the Fiamma Carry Bike 200D.

Please contact me if you want to know more.

Bartfarst
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by -mojo- on Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:02 am

I've never liked the idea of putting the weight of one or more bikes on the back door or tailgate of a vehicle. The hinges will not have been designed to carry that sort of load.

With my new van I'm planning to fit a towbar specifically to mount a bike rack on, because a towbar can take the weight, and your van's bodywork probably can't for anything other than short periods.

I should add that, on their current T5's, VW have decided (by not fitting the internal wiring harness) to make it ~extremely~ difficullt to retro-fit a towbar to a T5 and still have everything (such as ESP) work properly. At some point this will annoy prospective T5 owners enough for them to look at other makes of base vehicle, but at present their latest tactics do not seem to be widely known, so they will get away with it for now...

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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:17 pm

I share your reservations regarding loading weight on the rear doors. In practice however the hinges are not the main issue - they're relatively strong - but the spacing and positioning of the mounting points on the door where the loading is applied is critical i.e. Omnistor at bottom and middle, Fiamma at bottom and top. The twisting moment on the door is therefore much greater with the Omnistor to the point where, in my case, the door seals parted at the top by up to 5mm continually when driving over uneven surfaces i.e. Belgium. All the more surprising as that's where Omnistor stuff is designed and made!

But the greater differences exist in the fundamental design of many elements of the Omnistor product. It is inherrently designed with excessive clearances between joints so that whatever you do, within reason, it rattles and shakes about. The lower LH mounting point of the door slips as it is without positive location, the frame also sags and a ridiculous construction principle involving self-tapping screws engaging into a slot in an aluminium extrusion just does not work: they loosen or pull out under vibration and I narrowly avoided loss of bikes and carrier first (and only) time out. Note that all my experiences were with 35kg of bikes on the carrier i.e. within the 40kg limit. Under identical loading conditions the Fiamma 200D coped fine.

When faced with purchasing a replacement for the original Omnistor, I was offered their alternative model with the optional capability for up to three bikes as a stronger alternative. However even though the mounting points are spaced similarly to the 200D, it still features the dreaded sloppy joints so I'm afraid I didn't even give it a second thought. Once bitten......

There are more issues with the Omnistor to which I have not yet eluded. Suffice to say that I got a full refund on the Omnistor product through motorcaravanning.co.uk where the main man, Neil, gave me first rate customer comminucation and support.

Bartfarst

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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Minniesmum on Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:01 pm

Thanks for posting about your experiences. up! I was considering a bike rack for my. Symphony Boxer rear doors and had looked at the Fiamma one.
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by peugeotboxer on Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:35 pm

Minniesmum wrote:Thanks for posting about your experiences. up! I was considering a bike rack for my. Symphony Boxer rear doors and had looked at the Fiamma one.


If you have a tow ball I can recommend this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/THULE-9502-Ride-On-Tow-Bar-Mount-Cycle-Rack-2-Bike-with-Lightboard-/271113131964?pt=UK_Car_Accessories_Touring_Travel&hash=item3f1f9a17bc

PB
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Minniesmum on Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:41 pm

peugeotboxer wrote:
Minniesmum wrote:Thanks for posting about your experiences. up! I was considering a bike rack for my. Symphony Boxer rear doors and had looked at the Fiamma one.


If you have a tow ball I can recommend this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/THULE-9502-Ride-On-Tow-Bar-Mount-Cycle-Rack-2-Bike-with-Lightboard-/271113131964?pt=UK_Car_Accessories_Touring_Travel&hash=item3f1f9a17bc

PB
unfortunately I don't have a towbar :( I'd looked at the Thule system for my Doblo but the extra cost of getting a towbar fitted made the whole thing very expensive as I really wanted the back box as well.
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by -mojo- on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:04 pm

Bartfarst wrote:In practice however the hinges are not the main issue - they're relatively strong - but the spacing and positioning of the mounting points on the door where the loading is applied is critical

Agreed - I would worry about a sloppily-made rack wearing through the paintwork if it cannot be clamped down securely, or excessive twisting were being applied at the mounting points.

In addition to the Thule - which looks pretty good for the price - there is also one by Westfalia that folds down to a more compact size when not in use:

http://www.westfalia-automotive.de/index.php?id=80&L=1

A 200litre carry box is an option:

http://www.honeyfieldtrailers.co.uk/product/2462-370/Westfalia-cycle-carrier-with-box

But at £500 for both rack and box it ain't cheap!
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Minniesmum on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:10 pm

I costed up the Thule towbar carry system last year- getting a towbar fitted , then rack plus bikerack and box altogether about £800. Likely more than that now.
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by -mojo- on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:14 pm

Minniesmum wrote:unfortunately I don't have a towbar :(

If you're able to DIY it's generally pretty simple to fit one. Having just taken the one off my Transit, it's typically just a few bolts that go through holes already there in the chassis, and you can get a complete kit for around £90, including a wiring harness that just plugs in.

I agree it's a fair bit to add, ~but~ you end up with a mounting point that is designed to cope with the loads of a 1 tonne trailer, so it eliminates that nagging doubt that something is going to shear off and drop your bikes while you're doing 70mph on the motorway!


Last edited by -mojo- on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:15 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : smelling error!)
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:20 pm

-mojo- wrote: Agreed - I would worry about a sloppily-made rack wearing through the paintwork if it cannot be clamped down securely, or excessive twisting were being applied at the mounting points.

Wearing through paintwork: this is not so much of a worry as in the Omnistor mounting method for the carrier the lower fixings of the frame were connected to an extruded aluminium rail which is then clamped to the edge of the door. The RH end rests on the top of the lower door hinge but the LH end, by design, relies upon clamping force to hold it, which it doesn't as the LH end takes the majority of the load from the carrier and bikes. However tight I fixed it slippage took place. That said, Omnistor did provide a protective film to apply to all areas of the door paintwork against which the carrier rests. But in the real world, once you start mounting carriers to the rear door, and both the types I've tried need some through holes and metal bashing, it's best not to be too concerned over matters such as paintwork: the back of the van is no longer a thing of beauty but of function. However I do take the point that whatever solution one chooses it's best not to tempt corrosion etc.
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Minniesmum on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:20 pm

-mojo- wrote:
Minniesmum wrote:unfortunately I don't have a towbar :(

If you're able to DIY it's generally pretty simple to fit one. Having just taken the one off my Transit, it's typically just a few bolts that go through holes already there in the chassis, and you can get a complete kit for around £90, including a wiring harness that just plugs in.

I agree it's a fair bit to add, ~but~ you end up with a mounting point that is designed to cope with the loads of a 1 tonne trailer, so it eliminates that nagging doubt that something is going to shear off and drop your bikes while you're doing 70mph on the motorway!
thanks. My diy skills are just about non-existent Lol. Actually I only really need a carrier for a back box rather than a bike-rack. The problem with the Thule carrier is that it doesn't swing out of the way of the rear habitation door which is how I get into the van. Was the same with the Doblo. There were a few negatives around a Towbar fitted rack too.
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:24 pm

The obvious issue with towbar-mounted carriers is that use of your rear doors is made virtually impossible whereas with the Fiamma, it is feasible to use the door with the bikes attached, albeit with great care and certainly no slamming. With the Omnistor I had to strap the two doors together at the top inside the van to stop the continuous flexure and creaking of the rear door under load. So, effectively this had no advantage over a towbar mounted carrier.

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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by -mojo- on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:51 pm

Bartfarst wrote:The obvious issue with towbar-mounted carriers is that use of your rear doors is made virtually impossible

Both the Thule and Westfalia have a (supposedly, though I have yet to actually try one) easy-to-use clamp on the towball so that the carrier - with bikes still on - can fold down to be level with the ground, giving access to the boot/tailgate/rear doors. Though I would imagine that stepping over them to get inside would be pretty awkward!

My current carrier (a Witter, IIRC) plugs into a socket that's bolted onto the towbar flange - so you can simply unlock whatever security device you have on it and just lift it off to access the back. However "just lift it off" is not a 1-person operation if you have 2 bikes mounted on it!

So neither is exactly elegant.

I would like to custom-make a rack with a hinge at one end, so that you can unlock it and swivel the bikes out like opening a gate, so that they end up sticking out of the back on one side. This would allow full access to the back of the vehicle, though I suspect that it would be quite heavy, as I tend to over-engineer things like that...
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by peugeotboxer on Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:39 pm

[/quote]Both the Thule and Westfalia have a (supposedly, though I have yet to actually try one) easy-to-use clamp on the towball so that the carrier - with bikes still on - can fold down to be level with the ground, giving access to the boot/tailgate/rear doors. Though I would imagine that stepping over them to get inside would be pretty awkward![/quote]




Certainly the Thule does drop down, but really it is designed for hatchback cars to gain access to the boot.
Whilst mine drops down, you still can't open the rear doors more than a couple of inches. But then that's not an issue for us.

Each has their own preferences.

PB
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by boxerman on Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:09 pm

Bartfarst wrote:With the Omnistor I had to strap the two doors together at the top inside the van to stop the continuous flexure and creaking of the rear door under load. Bartfarst

I'd be interested to know how you strapped the doors together.

I have a Fiamma 200D, although we don't use it much now as we do very little cycling nowadays, when we do use it on uneven roads the top of the offside door flexes enough for me to be able to see daylight between the doors through the mirror which is somewhat disconcerting.
On our old Trafic, both doors had top & bottom bolts so this didn't happen but the Boxer offside door is only secured in the centre, as you know.

Frank
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:41 pm

Frank,

Whilst on the road with the old Omnistor, the situation was so bad that I had to buy a box of woodscrews from a Belgian 'B&Q' with which I screwed pieces of pallet to the doors. This made a mess as you can imagine.

More recently, I drilled the tops of the two doors and put in metric thread inserts. I then made a bridging piece of steel with two holes in it. I can remove it in less than one minute. Good for security too.

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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by boxerman on Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:29 pm

I have some 8mm nutserts, I may give that a go. I assume you didn't drill into the lock mechanism at the top of the nearside door.

Cheers up!

Frank
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:32 pm

Correct Frank: I found it relatively easy to avoid that. I did mess-up the inside trim on the rear doors but, based upon the age of the van, this is getting all brittle now anyway.

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Fiamma Carry Bike 200D Advice

Post by JohnG on Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:37 pm

Hi
Just read your 2012 posts on bike racks. I have a 1997 Harmony and have bought the 200D rack for it, but I'm a little concerned about the mounting position for the upper brackets. Because the rear window is 660mm wide and the bracket centres are max 600 you are left with no option but to position the brackets on the radius for the window both top and bottom holes look dodgy things to drill being adjacent to the pressed body panels. I know it's a long time ago, but can you tell me how you positioned and drilled yours. Gratefull for any advice.

Thanks
John
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:12 pm

Hi John, I've just been out to the van to remind myself how it went together.

I aligned the brackets flush with the top of the door and symmetrically about the window. In that position, the upper mounting hole for the upper bracket goes nicely through the flat area of the top of the door. The washer beneath the nut just starts to ride-up the radius where the inside skin of the door comes away, but that's not a problem. The lower holes for the upper bracket come through both skins where they are flat and parallel. I had to put large holes in the inside trim to clear the capped nuts, but that looks OK in my van.

I can take photos and share them with you if you wish.

Hope this helps?

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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by JohnG on Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:30 pm

Hi Bartfarst
That's exactly what I have done, thanks for confirming that I was on the right track! I also reversed the top bolts so the nut is outside leaving a flatter profile in the top of the door and made some oblong metal "washers" to spread the load on the door top to get around the washers not fitting snugly.
Spare wheel rack to attack next!!
Thanks again for replying.
John
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:30 pm

Glad to help!

What issue do you have with the spare wheel rack?

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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by JohnG on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:31 pm

Looks a bit corroded and ,as yet, I haven't dropped it to check the spare wheel and ensure all works as it should.
Don't suppose you've replaced the U channel in the sliding Windows?
John
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by boxerman on Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:00 am

JohnG wrote:Looks a bit corroded and ,as yet, I haven't dropped it to check the spare wheel and ensure all works as it should.
Apparently, you're supposed to use the jack to take the weight and lower it once the hook things have been loosened. Same with refitting, use the jack.
I only found this out quite recently after struggling with the damn thing for years! its HEAVY!
Don't suppose you've replaced the U channel in the sliding Windows?
John
Not yet - they need doing though.

Frank
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Re: Boxer Harmony/Symphony/Symbol Bike Carrier

Post by Bartfarst on Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:03 am

John,

There are a number of issues with the spare wheel rack which, in my view, make it vital that you check this out before you have to do it at the side of the road in anger.

Peugeot design intent is that you loosen the two bolts from above using the ratchet handle and extension provided. However in vans of my age AS blank-off the area where the bolts are located with a plastic trim piece into which two rectangular apertures have been cut for the ratchet handle to go directly onto the bolts from the side. Issues are:

In my van the holes were too small and they severely restricted the throw achievable on the handle, so I enlarged them.

[This is important] Over time the bolts rust into the 'J'-nut which hold the spare wheel up against the body. The logical thing to do is lubricate the bolts? Yes indeed, but then, believe me, it is impossible to undo the bolt! The reason is that the ratchet pawl in the ratchet handle provided by Peugeot is so strong that it retightens the bolt on the reverse stroke (no clicking) and, because you cannot hold the ratchet extension as per the original Peugeot method, you're stuck! What I did was lightly 'sprain' the pawl in the ratchet handle so as to reduce the force which helps to a degree, but poking this thing through the rear trim panel to lower the spare wheel remains one of those tasks that you'd very much like to see the original AS designer doing at the side of the road in the pouring rain, whilst you sit in the van!

Experience has taught me one thing in this respect: if I need the spare wheel, the first thing I do is find my cross-head screwdriver and remove the rear panel. Mine's been off and on so many times it's a doddle. This really helps. You still can't get from above as per original Peugeot design intent because of the overhanging chipboard floor, but at least you can see what's going on and, if the weakened ratchet still isn't clicking, then a thumb pressed on the centre of the bolt head might just help.

But it's vital that you determine how to do this in the comfort of your drive rather than on the hard shoulder of the M6!

Frank: I agree that the jack is useful to raise and lower the spare wheel rack, more so for putting it back-up of course. That said, I usually manage without, particularly as I need to coax the rack both up and down as I have a tow bar fitted, and this doesn't help at all! In fact what has helped me is if I can park the van somewhere where the rear wheels are higher than the surrounding area. Once I did it with one rear wheel on the kerb - just enough to give you that extra room to work beneath the van.

Hope this helps.

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