Having spent most of my weekend trying to fit Thule roof bars and a cycle rack to my 159 and having a real job of it I thought it might be useful to post some advice to anyone thinking of doing the same. I hope it helps.
The Thule components used/required are:
Thule 754 foot pack
Thule fitting kit 1419
Thule 120cm standard roof bars
Thule 591 cycle carrier
The 1419 fitting kit is for both the 4 door saloon and the SW (without roof rails) and fits all models from 2005 to 2010.
First thing to say is that the instructions are not very good (Thule are Swedish and must share their instruction-writing company with another famous Swedish outfit), in an effort to cut costs I guess, there are no words just pictures which are exactly the kind of instructions I hate. However, assembling the foot pack, attaching the bars and assembling the cycle carrier can all be done without needing any additional tools and not very much time once you’ve fathomed what the pictures are trying to tell you.
The difficult bit comes when you take everything out to the car.
The instructions give some specific measurements. They say that for the front bar the foot should be set at a setting of 28.5. What that means is that basically the foot slides along the roof bar and there are some marked measurements, you simply have to line up the foot to the 28.5 mark on both sides and then clamp the foot into place. For the rear bar they give a setting of 25.5. For the SW it’s a slightly different setting at the back (25) if I remember correctly.
They also give some measurements on how far away from the windscreen line the front bar should be (240mm) and how far behind the front bar, the rear bar should be (650mm). Now, these appear to be very dodgy measurements indeed and this is where all of my problems started. If you put the bars at this setting then the fixing bracket at the front appears to be approx 4 inches too short and 2 inches too short at the back. No amount of force or pulling is going to make the bracket stretch that far! If you decide to set the feet further apart to make them fit and fit 240mm away from the windscreen as it says, then the bars are clearly at about a 50 degree angle and there is no way the cycle carrier is going to fit, more worryingly at this setting the brackets don’t sit square around the door frame. Plus it looks stupid.
So after much faffing about (about 2 hours) changing the feet distances and changing the distances between the bars by trial and error I noticed quite by accident that in the shut line of the car right at the top there are 2 very distinct “hoops” in the weld line. They are there in both the front and back door frames. They also seemed to correspond with where the roof was flattest and when I measured between the centre of the 2 front hoops and the 2 back hoops – guess what – 650mm exactly. What a revelation albeit about 2 hours too late! Anyway, if you place the front foot bracket right in the middle of these 2 hoops then the 28.5 setting on the roof bars makes perfect sense and the bars fit, anywhere else along that door and they don’t, even half an inch difference. Same for the back. Once tightened up using the built in tightening tool they are a really good fit and they are not budging and they are both level.
As for the cycle carrier, it is really easy to assemble and fits onto the roof bars with no problem at all (as long as they are not at the above mentioned 50 degree angle!). Out of the box it has to go on the driver side since the tightening device is on the right hand side but you can swap this over if required. It’s really easy and actually looks quite smart when attached.
And that’s it – hopefully this might save someone some time when doing the same thing.
All the best.