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How To Remove 2010 RX350 Roof Rack Cross Rails

wrahnwrahn Posts: 45
I just picked up the 2010 RX350 and asked the salesperson to provide the cross rails for the roof rack. I figured as long as I had the roof rack, I should also have a set of cross rails in case I need them in the future.

I don't want to keep them on all the time, but can't figure out how to remove them. Does anyone know how to remove them? If you do, would you please share the procedure.



  • billdavbilldav Posts: 18
    The side rails must be removed first, then the cross bars will release. Be careful, you may damage/scratch the roof while doing it. It takes a bit of doing and I would recommend having your service people remove them. As for me I just didn't want the hassle so I left them on.

  • wrahnwrahn Posts: 45
    Thanks for the input, but it seems more difficult then it should be.

    First, I can't understand why an auto maker would sell a utility vehicle with a roof rack, without cross rails and then if you want them you have to pay extra. Second, once you have them you can't easily install or remove them as you want.

    I would rather not even have the roof rack, but since I do have it, it's useless unless I have the cross rails in case I need them. So I worked out a deal to get them, but I only want them on when I need them. I believe based on my interstate ride home yesterday the cross rails cause wind noise, so I want them stored off the RX until I need them.

    If I remember corectly my 2003 RX300 had cross rails that I could Install when I needed them.

    Thanks again,
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    You may just want to get an aftermarket rack. My Yakima rack lives 99% of the time hanging on the garage wall.
  • wrahnwrahn Posts: 45
    I went to the Lexus dealer and asked the service rep assistant how can I remove the crossbars and he told me the wrong procedure. Then he got a tech who indicated you remove the rear end caps. I told him I knew that, but couldn't remove them. I then said you have to pull them, but it didn't work. I then pull and twisted at the same time and it came up. It's easy once you get the technique down.

    The best way to describe it is to grasp the end cap with the right hand close to the rear of the end cap and your left hand next to your right hand while facing the car with you fingers spread on the back side and your thumb on the front side of the crossbar Squeeze the back side with your four fingers while pulling upward toward you carefully and the cap will loosen. If done correctly, it doesn't take a lot of effort. Once the cap is off, the loosened crossbars slide out the back of the rail. There is no other hardware to remove. When you replace them, the front tab is inserted into the rail and then you squeeze the cap as you lower the back end carefully. It will "snap" when it's in place. I was surprised how easy it was. At first I had tried to pull straight back, but the pull should be upward and toward you while squeezing the cap.

  • >>The side rails must be removed first

    anyone know how to remove the side rails

    i'll never use them & don't find them overly attractive
  • wrahnwrahn Posts: 45
    The side rails are not removed. The end caps of the side rail are the only part of the side rail that is removed as indicated in previous posting.

  • suv44suv44 Posts: 3
    What color are the crossbars--are they aluminum to match the roof rails?

  • wrahnwrahn Posts: 45
    Mine are black. The car is white the roof racks are grey and the crossbars are black and they claim they have a design team.
  • jacks2jacks2 Posts: 45
    Can you possibly post a few photo of this procedure. thx
  • jacks2jacks2 Posts: 45
    Can you possibly post a photo of this procedure or at least of the end cap removal.
  • I bought 2010 RX450h just about a week ago. Oddly, the roof rack bars were not part of the package but I negotiated to buy them at cost as part of the deal. Having felt that I spent enough for the car and bars, and confident in my mechanical abilities, I was sure that I could save the dealer labor cost by installing these myself. My first attempt had me thinking I had to remove the pair of screws under the rail at the back end. This was useless. Next, I realized that the back end cap on each rail had to come off. Having read the posts here, I was ready to try again but found these posted instructions to be unsuccessful as well. Finally, having figured out how to do this myself, I cannot understand how any of the previous post instruction coudl work.

    Here's how you remove the RX350 / RX450h roof rail end cap.
    First however, a brief description of what's inside the end cap so you know what you are dealing with.
    1) The forward portion of rear roof rail end cap, that sits on the rail, wraps around the top and sides of the rail. At the bottom edges it does not clip on to the bottom edges of the rail. There is nothing to pry here.
    2) The forward-most portion of the rail end cap has a plastic tab or tongue on the very top that inserts under the roof rail. The tab is about 3/8" and deep, and about 1/8" thick. This should not concern you either as this will pull out easily once you get the rear of the cap off.
    3) The rear of the end cap, that covers the bracket attaching it to the roof, has two spade or tongue-like plastic tabs inside that point down vertically from the top-inside of the end cap. These press-fit into slots in the underlying metal bracket, in-line with the rack and spaced about 3.5" apart from each other. They are each about 5/8" wide and protude down about 1.5". They are spaced equally from the bracket foot front and back edges.
    4) On the inboard side of the end cap, the flat side facing toward the car's center, there are two small protusions or "catches" on the inside of the end cap along the bottom edge. These protrude in about 3/32" and are evenly spaced along the foot of the end cap about 3-4" apart. They each catch inside on lips on the underlying roof racket metal bracket.

    1) Prep: put duct tape on the roof along the inside and outside edges of the end cap. This will protect the paint from the pry tools. Also, put a rag or towel on teh roof to lay the pry tools on.
    2) You will need a very blade with a curved end for leverage. I had some odd dental tools that had a spade tip that was about 1/4" wide and an inch long. I put two of these under the outer lip of the end cap, the edge that is closest to the windows. By prying up this edge, the center, vertical tabs will release. Leave the tools inserted.
    3) On the bottom, inside edge of the end cap, facing the middler of the car, you will need to get a pry tool under and inside this edge (in the center) that can pull this edge outward. This disengages the plastic catches on inside this edge. The tool I used looked like a thin pick with a 90 degree bent tip about 1/8" long. Once inserted under the edge, I could turn the tip up to catch the edge and pull outward.
    4) While pulling on this tool, lift the end cap up. When it desengages the forward tab at the front of the end cap will slide out as the end cap lifts up and your pry tools fall to the ground.
    5) To reinstall, insert forward tab and whack the cap down wiith the palm of you hand.

    Now here's the sad part. I got the #@!**! end caps off but could not get the roof rack bars to fit in the rail slots. The slot did not seem large enought to take the diameter of the largest roller bearing. If I had tried to force it, I feared I would damage the slot (which seems to be made of plastic). I reinstalled the end caps. Decided that car was too expensive for me to mess it up and that it would be better for the dealer to muck with this. If they supplied me with the wrong roof rack bars it would then be there problem. At this point, paying to make it their problem is also worth my time and peace of mind.

    Nevertheless, I have posted these instructions because I could not find them anywhere on the web, and us "McGyvers" need to know we at least tried.
  • Inside of Roof Rail End Caps and the tools I used
  • jacks2jacks2 Posts: 45
    If you posted photo's I can't find them.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    If you need a place to host your photos, you can set up your CarSpace page and use the free photo albums there.
  • Epilogue:
    I went to the dealer today because, as noted above, it didn't seem like the crossbars they gave me would fit the roof rail slot. I got the blasted end caps off but the rollers on the crossbars seemed too big for the slots. I was right! They sold me the wrong bars! I have a 2010 RX450h and the sold me ones for a 2009.

    When they get the 2010's in I am going to let them install them. Less than 1 hour job at $125/hour. If I do it, it will be more than an hour, fraught with risk of breaking the end caps even though I now know how to remove them. If I didn't already have 2 hours into this I would consider investing more time. At this point, I need to get this behind me.

    So, the photos I posted of the end caps are for a 2010 RX. It may be different for 2009. Best of luck.

    Nutso caveat: my next project is replacing the stock speakers (12 speaker system) in the doors. I am an audiophile and the bass sounds way too muddy/indistinct to me. So my next trick will be to figure out how to get the door panels off. Then find the right size and impedance speakers. I've heard that Lexus uses 8 ohm speakers when the industry standard is 4 ohms. Two 4 ohm speakers in series would do it, but I doubt there is room for this, or a 4 ohm resistor might be good to. Depends how much time as to whether I will really do this. :)
  • jacks2jacks2 Posts: 45
    Can you grab the installation instructions that come with the cross bars and scan them?


  • I will ask when the new ones come in. However, there were none with the ones I had. One box was open when I received them. The other was not. Neither had instructions.
    I'll let you know next week. I'll see if the dealer will let me back in the shop.
  • I got the right rack bars installed yesterday. The dealer did this at no cost considering their screw-up ordering the wrong bars and my wasted trips to the dealership (2 hours round trip each time ).
    There were no instructions in the box. It looked pretty straight forward once the rear end caps came off. It was a 15-20 minute job for the dealer.
    They must have the right pry tool. Or, they can afford to take risks since the replacement cost for them is minor. For the rest of us, we have to finesse it.
    Best of luck,
  • In removing the end caps, there is no need to use any special tools and do not pry anything yet. If you start prying, you have a good chance of nicking the paint on the roof. DO NOT DO THAT.

    Check out post #5 by wrahn. Just using both hands, grab the end cap and twist counterclockwise and up (or twist away from you). The endcap will loosen. It should come off. If not, pry carefully with A SMALL SCREWDRIVER at the end where its already loose. The end cap should come off.

    I can post pictures but on this forum, posting pictures is not easy.
  • ggcampggcamp Posts: 1
    I have a 2010 RX 350 and had an easier time getting the rear rail caps off. I used a small piece (3x5 inches) of corrugated cardboard laying down on the inside of the caps for protecting the metal, and used a thin, but strong little 1/4 inch wide screw driver to pry underneath at the roof on the inside of the cap about an inch down from the front of the cap. With a slight turn, and I heard a small pop, then gently worked the inside and back until it came all the way off.

    There is a tab at the front of the rear cap that fits under the top of the rail, so don't attack it there.

    I had no trouble getting the cross rails to slide inside the side rails.
  • Yea, you don't need tools to remove the end caps! Just use both hands to grab the entire cap and squeeze and lift the rear end of the cap up. Not more than an inch and then, slide the cap aft or to the rear of the RX. There's a Christmas tree plastic keeper (One on each side). You will need tools to remove this tree. I used a needle nose pliers and a large screw driver. Grasp the tree with the pliers and use the screw driver between the pliers and metal rack mount. Twist the screw driver gently and lift the tree out. Take your time, let it come out slowly almost by it self. You will have to reinsert the tree in the plastic cover before you install it. There is a 8 mm bolt/screw that needs to be removed before you can slid the racks out. Remember to reinstall it before you install the caps. Now find a spot in the garage to put yet another piece of unneeded something. Oh, don't forget to bring them down to the dealer when you trade RX in. That way I can put them in my garage!
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