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Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Roof Rack Installation - 2021 BMW X3

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How to Install the Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Roof Rack on a 2021 BMW X3

Hey everybody, today we're going to be going over and showing you how to install the Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Crossbar system here on our 2021 BMW X3.So this is what our roof rack is going to look like installed. As you can see here we have this nice Aero Crossbar shape. This does a couple different things. Number one, it's going to cutdown on wind noise, so we're not going to have to worry about that noisy crossbar system on our roof here and hearing it inside the cab. And number two, it's also going to be more wind resistant, which again plays into wind noise but it also helps retain our fuel economy here. We're not going to have those bulky square crossbars that can actually decrease your miles per gallon.So the roof rack is going to be an excellent option for our X3.

It's really going to make our vehicle much more versatile. We're going to be able to attach plenty of different rooftop-mounted accessories, such as a cargo box, a bike rack, a surfboard carrier, a ski carrier, or even a kayak rack. The possibilities really are endless.So right now we have the black crossbars installed on our vehicle, they're really going to blend in well with our dark blue paint here. There is, however, also an option for a silver crossbar. So it's really just going to come down to preference and which option you feel best matches your vehicle.So here we have the mounting feet, which is what pretty much holds our crossbars to our flush rails.

So all X3s are going to come equipped with these flush rails and they really make it very easy to install our roof rack here. There's only going to be two components to our kit, we just need the crossbars and then the mounting feet. We're going to have a little groove here, inside the channel of our flush rails, one on either side. And there's going to be sort of two teeth, if you'll call them, which are going to be some rubber-coated hooks which really grab into those lips there and hold it in place. As you can see it's very sturdy.The Rhino-Rack roof rack is really one of my favorite options on the market.

They don't quite have the big brand name appeal as Thule and Yakima but they really offer some great features in an affordable price. Something they do that Thule and Yakima doesn't do is they actually include the lock cores for you, which is just an extra measure of security.So in regards to weight this particular system here is going to be rated for 176 pounds. However, you do want to take a look in your vehicle's owner's manual to ensure that the capacity of the roof rails either meets or exceeds this. If it does not you'll have to go by the lower of the two ratings.A couple measurements here for you. Number one the length of our crossbars, it's going to be 54", so that's going to give us plenty of room to fit multiple items on the roof.

Something also I like to give is the distance from the top of the roof here to the bottom of the crossbar. Granted the roof does curve but at the highest point it's likely going to be about 2-3/4", which is going to be plenty of space.So now a common question we get is whether they can open their glass roof with the crossbars installed. And as you're about to see now that's not going to be an issue here for our X3, we'll have plenty of room.So now that we've gone over some of the benefits and features of our system here let's go ahead and jump right into that installation, so we can show you how it's done.So the first step of our installation we want to get a crossbar ready, along with two of our mounting feet. Now your crossbars may or may not come pre-installed with the end caps. If they are pre-installed we need to remove them. We're going to have a key in our kit that looks like this, we'll insert that into the end of the crossbar until we can turn the dial there to the unlocked position. Once we've turned it to the unlocked position we can go ahead and remove the end cap. We'll need to do this on both sides.Also, we're going to have to remove the protective channel lining here, if it comes installed. We'll just simply peel them out here, these little channels here line up with the grooves on the back. So we'll remove those from both sides as well, if they do come installed.So now we're going to take one of the feet here that comes in our kit, we're going to slide this into the channel on the bottom of our crossbar. The smooth side here, with our locking knob, is going to be facing outward away from the vehicle. So you'll see a little channel here that'll line up with the channel in our crossbar. We'll slide that onto position. We'll do that on both sides.So now with both of our feet on we'll take our end caps here. You should be able to see this little smooth surface here, with the locking symbols, those need to be facing up. And we'll just go ahead and press those on and then we'll lock them in place here, with our key. We'll do that on both sides.So we've already got one of our crossbar assemblies installed on our vehicle here. We actually have it installed over the B pillar. We're now going to go ahead and set the other crossbar assembly, that we just put together, over here on the back of the vehicle on the C pillar. Keep in mind we do have a recommended spacing between the center of the front bar and the center of the rear bar that Rhino-Rack recommends. This is going to be located in your instructions.We'll come up here and position the rail. We'll need to adjust the width of our feet here to line up with the flush rail atop of our vehicle. So next we're actually going to take the keys that come in our kit here, for our mounting feet, we're going to need to unlock those. Because once we do that we should be able to flip out our handle here. And right now the feet are a little bit too close together. Or the clamps, rather, on the feet are too close together to be able to fit on top of this flush rail, so we actually need to rotate this. Loosen it to the left to open that up, so then we should be able to sit it into position on our flush rail. Like that.Now what we're going to do is we're going to go ahead and adjust, evenly, the spacing or the overhang rather. Rhino-Rack recommends measuring from the front of the mounting feet here on the bar to the very edge of the bar here. So we just want to make sure that distance is even between the two sides.But once we get the correct distance we're going to go ahead and start to turn our little lever here to the right to tighten everything up. While we're doing this, however, we need to pay careful attention to the clips here and how they sit on our flush rails. There's actually going to be a rubber-coated metal clip here that's going to need to line up with the groove here in our flush rails. So while we're tightening down we need to make sure that that metal clip goes in this little groove here on our flush rail. If we don't do this we could risk actually deforming and damaging our flush side rails. But once we ensure that we're actually in that channel we can go ahead and tighten both sides down. Once we have it nice and snug we'll go ahead and re-lock our mounting foot. And that's going to stop the handle from being opened, and being loose, and to take off.Finally, if you remember the strips that we took out of the channels on the crossbar earlier we're actually going to need to cut these to a certain length, which is going to be relative to the space we have inside of our channel here. It's going to be inside the mounting foot, we're going to have a little space here to here. We need to measure that. And then we'll cut our strip to that length and install it into the channel. They just simply snap into place.And that'll do it today for our look and installation of the Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Crossbar system here on our 2021 BMW X3..

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