Tech Tuesday - Removing Bike Rack Rattle

Jan 24, 2012
by Mike Levy  
Kill the klunk: While there are a few great bike racks available, not many incorporate any type of anti-rattle system into their design. Having your bike rack, especially one that's fully loaded, shake and rattle as you drive has to be one of the more annoying things in life. Not only does it make your vehicle sound as if it's about to fall apart, it also seems to get worse and worse over time. There are a few different ways to eliminate that clatter, but we're fans if the threaded insert design that the Curt unit shown here employs. There is a downside to going this route, as opposed to a clamp-type system, in that you can no longer use a locking hitch pin, making the rack more vulnerable to theft. It should also be kept in mind that this setup forces the threaded hitch pin to shoulder much of the load from the rack, rather that letting the receiver to do the work. Do you spend a lot of time of rough roads with a loaded rack? This mod may not be for you.

Tech Tuesday
The Curt anti-rattle kit includes an insert that fits inside the rack bar, a threaded hitch pin (bolt) and a safety cotter pin. When the insert is installed into the rack bar, threading the hitch pin into place sucks the rack up against the inside wall of the receiver.
Tech Tuesday
What's needed: anti-rattle kit, socket wrench (our's needed a 3/4'' socket), Loc-tite
Tech Tuesday
Step 1 - Start by removing the rack from your vehicle and giving both the hitch and receiver a good cleaning. You can use a spray of WD-40 and some steel wool to remove any rust that may be present.
Tech Tuesday
Step 2 - The Curt anti-rattle kit that we installed includes a locking washer on the bolt, but a dab of medium strength Loc-tite on the threads is still something that we'd recommend doing. Keep in mind that you won't likely check the hitch bolt often, and while the cotter pin on the opposite side should keep the bolt from falling out if it does come loose, a bit of Loc-tite can only help matters.
Tech Tuesday
Step 3 - Our Curt anti-rattle unit uses a small tab to keep it from falling into the rack bar, but it also keeps the insert from sliding deep enough to allow the holes to match up. You'll likely find this issue on all bike racks, but it can be easily fixed. We used a large crescent wrench to bend the tab back flush with the rest of the insert, letting us push it deep enough into the rack bar.
Tech Tuesday
Step 4 - The next step is to slide the insert into the rack bar. Push it deep enough that the threaded nut in the insert lines up perfectly with the hole in the rack bar. Misalignment will make it difficult to thread the pin in, possibly damaging the threads. If the insert fits in loosely a dab of thick grease can be used to keep it from shifting when reinstalling the rack on your vehicle.
Tech Tuesday
Step 5 - Slide your rack back into the receiver, being sure to align the pin hole with the hole on the receiver unit.
Tech Tuesday
Step 6 - Thread the bolt into the anti-rattle insert, making sure that the locking washer is in place under the bolt's head. Use a socket wrench to finish tightening the bolt; a regular wrench will likely not fit well around the receiver. Test the installation by giving the rack a few good shakes - it shouldn't rattle at all. Re-check the bolt after to be sure that it's tight.
Tech Tuesday
Step 7 - Install the cotter pin and you're done! It is a good idea to check the bolt again after a few days to see if the rack and hardware have settled with use.

Do you have a trick or tip to add? Put 'em down below!

Past Tech Tuesdays:
TT #1 - How to change a tube.
TT #2 - How to set up your SRAM rear derailleur
TT #3 - How to remove and install pedals
T #4 - How To Bleed Your Avid Elixir Brakes
TT #5 - How To Check And Adjust Your Headset
TT #6 - How To Fix A Broken Chain
TT #7 - Tubeless Conversion
TT #8 - Chain Wear
TT #9 - SRAM Shift Cable Replacement
TT #10 - Removing And Installing a Headset
TT #11 - Chain Lube Explained
TT #12 - RockShox Totem and Lyric Mission Control Damper Mod
TT #13 - Shimano XT Crank and Bottom Bracket Installation
TT #14 - Straightening Your Derailleur Hanger
TT #15 - Setting Up Your Front Derailleur
TT #16 - Setting Up Your Cockpit
TT #17 - Suspension Basics
TT #18 - Adjusting The Fox DHX 5.0
TT #19 - Adjusting The RockShox BoXXer World Cup
TT #20 - Servicing Your Fox Float Shock
TT #21 - Wheel Truing Basics
TT #22 - Shimano Brake Pad Replacement
TT #23 - Shimano brake bleed
TT #24 - Fox Lower Leg Removal And Service
TT #25 - RockShox Motion Control Service
TT #26 - Avid BB7 Cable Disk Brake Setup
TT #27 - Manitou Dorado Fork Rebuild
TT #28 - Manitou Circus Fork Rebuild
TT #29 - MRP G2 SL Chain Guide Install
TT #30 - Cane Creek Angleset Installation
TT #31 - RockShox Maxle Lite DH
TT #32 - Find Your Tire Pressure Sweet Spot
TT #33 - Three Minute Bike Preflight Check
TT #34 - MRP XCG Install
TT #35 - Stem Choice and Cockpit Setup
TT #36 - Handlebars - How Wide Affects Your Ride
TT #37 - Repairing A Torn Tire
TT #38 - Coil spring swap
TT #39 - Trailside help: Broken Shift Cable
TT #40 - Installing a Fox Float Air-Volume Spacer
TT #41 - Replace the Seals on Your 2011 RockShox Boxxer World Cup Fork
TT #42 - Clean and Lubricate Your Fox F32 Dust Wiper Seals
TT #43 - Thread Locker Basics
TT #44 - Install a SRAM X.0 Two-By-Ten Crankset
TT #45 - VPP Suspension Bearing Service
TT #46 - Rotor Straightening
TeT #47 - Finding and fixing that creak
TT #48 - Bleed and Service Magura Marta Disc Brakes
TT #49 - Cup and Cone Hub Basics
TT #50 - Install and Adjust Pedal Cleats
TT #51 - Cup and Cone Hub Rebuild
TT #52 - Converting Mavic Crossmax SX Axles
TT #53 - Cassette Removal and Installation
TT #54 - Cane Creek AngleSet Installation
TT #55 - American Classic Tubeless Conversion
TT #56 - Wider Rims Are Better and Why Tubeless Tires Burp Air
TT #57 - Pedal Pin Retrofit
TT #58 - Bleed RockShox Reverb Remote Lines
TT #59 - Cutting Carbon
TT #60 - Silence That Squeaky Disc Brake
TT #61 - Five Minute Wheel True

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  • + 96
 I just turn the music up more
  • + 2
 I still say this is one of the better Tech Tuesday yet. I deal with this all the time and I have a Thule T2
  • + 1
 I have a Thule T2 as well. With the 1 1/4" to 2" hitch adaptor it doesn't make any noise.
  • + 2
 I run the 2" one, and it's probably because I always move it around. I have split doors on my truck and you have to drop the rack everytime you want to open the doors, so maybe all that force has pushed it around?
  • + 7
 Either way that rack is the best, heavy as f*ck but built to last! 5 years strong so far. Even after I straddled a dead deer going 75mph not thinking and absolutely clobbered it with just the rack. I had deer carcass injected into the square tubing! XD Lmao
  • + 4
 My NSR4 ( came with this type of system including a security locking pin as an integrated unit!
PS: Great rack
  • + 2
 NSR4 - 2 years strong no rattle.
  • + 7
 A guy I used to ride with stuck his spare change in the gaps and we never heard it since.
  • + 4
 Thats pretty awesome.
  • + 11
 "There is a downside to going this route, as opposed to a clamp-type system, in that you can no longer use a locking hitch pin, making the rack more vulnerable to theft."

Swagman makes several. Other than that nice write up.
  • + 2
 YES! Always rocked the Swagman rack and locking pin. Worked at a shop where we sold those racks, really good quality.
  • + 1
 put a threaded pin with a lock on it ... like the one with the Thule T2 ... anywhere that sells hitches has generic ones ...
  • + 0
 not true - pin style lock...
  • + 8
 Good fix Mike, but I think your vehicle is still going to sound like it is about to fall apart ... get new tires yet?
  • + 1
 Ya he's got some bad ass tires now and we're all safer for it. Not sure who put that rack together though...
  • + 3
 This solution has been around for around 10 years. My super old Sportworks Transport (bought by Thule and became the T2) already has the threaded "nut" welded to the inside of the rack; then a giant bolt gets ratcheted through the hole in the receiver and threads into that part inside the rack. I have no rattle problems on this old design.
  • + 1
 Yep this is a helper for racks that do not have this built it. My T2 was great as well.
  • + 3
 I drilled a hole in the receiver and welded a nut on the top of the hole then I screw a bolt in. Like a set screw. No rattle.

  • + 2
 much easiear way: just get a solid a nail that is just a tiny bit big for the gap between the bar and receiver and hammer that in to on of the corner gaps as far as it will go. no movement at all and it takes 30 seconds. held perfectly for a 3200km round journey on terrible roads with not even the slightest wobble!
  • + 2
 Or just run a cable lock through the bikes and rack and lock it to the hitch through the safety chain holes.

Locks on bike racks aren't worth 10 cents anyway...

I use a locking pin and don't worry about the rattle unless I'm driving more than 100kms... Then I pinch the rack to the receiver with a $2.50 u-bolt from the exhaust parts section.
  • + 1
 I had a locking hitch pin on my Saris Cycle-On... couldn't remember where I put the key when winter rolled around, but it turns out the other bolt (where it pivots to flip up in non-bike-carrying-mode) is just another regular bolt that someone can undo in about 30 secconds. Good to know that someone can steal my $500 rack and $5000 bike in about 30 secconds WITH a locked hitch pin doing basically nothing.... Not that I would rely on that, but you think they would really design this stuff better.
  • + 1
 I ditched the stock pin and just bought a long hardened bolt, put a lock washer on it, and tightened down the racke. The bolt is long enough to run all the way through the receiver. On the end I put another lock washer and a nylock nut on top of that. No loctite anywhere and that rack is never coming loose.
  • + 1
 Another way to eliminate rack rattle is to drill a 3/8 hole in the bottom of the receiver an inch or two forward (toward the front of your truck) of the locking pin. Then tap threads and and tighten a bolt to put pressure on the rack. Use some washers to take up any gap between the bolt head and receiver to prevent to bolt from loosening up. This way you can keep a lock for your rack and save some money. Any shade tree mechanic can do this.
  • + 2
 I wanted to note that you should drill for a 3/8 bolt, not a 3/8 hole.
  • + 1
 its a good idea to also consider putting some antiseize on the threads and receiver...i know i know, counter intuitive when using locktite but the reality is, that rack is in a filthy, abusive location on your car, after a season of sitting on your car, if you don't take it on and off regularly, the whole thing can get bound so tight you need to have it almost pressed out to remove it...fwiw
  • + 1
 You should check out the back of Jason's subaru... just don't park to close Smile
  • + 4
 This has solved one of lifes biggest problems!
  • + 35
 A first world problem.
  • + 1
 positive props to that...
  • + 2
 easy fix. once the rack is in the hitch, whack a bead of weld right around it. this method is sure to prevent both rattle AND theft.
  • + 1

I bought his from MEC. cheap ,secure . I use this with my north shore rack , no problems
  • + 2
 buy a bolt and a tap, problem solved.

or just keep a small wedge of wood Smile

I skipped both of those and just bought a truck.
  • + 1
 My T2 rack has an anti rattle pin BUT, I use an extension and the extension is solid inside. I get a ton of noise between the extension and the hitch. There is no way to insert a anti-rattle piece. Any other suggestions?
  • + 1
 read zrider79's comment above. sounds like an option that could work for you.
  • + 2
 The locking issue can be easily solved by buying the locking version of the same product.
  • + 1
 Some thin wood shims do the trick. Just install the rack, have some lift up the rack to expose the extra space between the hitch and the receiver, and knock in the shims.
  • + 1
 The Yakima racks (at least my hold-up does) has this feature in it. Also, you can put a lock on it rather than just a cotter-pin.
  • + 1
 and for the super easy fix................................ just turn the volume up on the stereo (doh, Karpiel beat me to it)
  • + 3
 Or you could buy a Yakima, bought mine in 06 and it has this built in.
  • + 2
 I've got a Yakima too. You can add a locking system to it as well. Highly recommended!
  • + 2
 So does my Thule... Rolleyes
  • + 1
 with that tiny little tack weld the nut is likely to spin on some units over time... especially with the Loctite, not sure why they recommend that when using a lock washer...
  • + 1
 You can probably drill out the cotter pin hole, and attach a small lock in place. It might not be the *best* theft deterent, but it'd better than nothing.
  • + 1
 Like Karpiel073 said... Crank the tunes. I heard a couple metallica albums will do the trick
  • + 1
 Its nice, thank God its not made by some bike company, else it would be like 10x the price
  • + 1
 Go and get a Kuat rack - something so simple that others competitors can't find it so far.
  • + 1
 Or just use a nail and pound it into one of the corners, $0.10 and easy and fast to do.
  • + 1
 I cut a piece from a light tube to wrap the receiver no more rattles and way cheaper.
  • + 1
 put a threaded pin with a lock on it ... like the one with the Thule T2 ...
  • + 1
 I put a little lock through where the keeper pin goes, just as a precaution.
  • + 1
 Wonder if one could just put some kind of shim in there, or wrap the male end in a strip of old tube before inserting
  • + 1
 Or weld a chunk of flatbar to a nut so you dont even need a wrench and go ride.
  • + 1
 Kuat NV amazing rack with this already built into the rack.
  • + 1
 Easy Fix Drive A Pick Up Buy A Dakine Pad Save Hundreds Of Dollars
  • + 1
 New Thule t2 has both the anti rattle and locking pin built into it.
  • + 1
 so stupid but so good at the same time?
  • + 1
 Or just buy a great rack from the get go. 1UP USA quik rack.
  • + 2
 Yep! Awesome rack and no rattling!
  • + 0
 ...Really?..anybody know of this little dial called a volume control??.."turn it up so lemmy can hear it"-hahaha
  • + 0
 Or but a Kuat
  • + 2
 i prefer to live near the trailhead. drive less
  • - 3
 what a stupid artical, if you buy a quality hitch rack you won't have such an issue
  • + 3
 how about shut up
  • - 1
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