Winter Readiness: Thule Repair

Among the casualties of last year’s epic ski season was my Thule Mountaineer: a fifteen year old ski bin which I picked up last fall, second hand for $150 bucks, sight unseen with help some help from my friend Rob and the TGR Gear Swap Forum.  The thing had been in some guy’s garage for God knows how long, but it had clearly seen some action.  The hardware had seen better days; I immediately replaced the mounting bolts with new ones borrowed from my kayak carriers.  The whole thing mostly held up for the duration of the winter, but towards the end of season some fractures in the shell began to develop in a few isolated spots.  Hoping to get some extra longevity out of my investment, I endeavored to repair things before it worsened.

The patient: some severe cracking to the left and below the latch.  Possibly
a stress point? 

The second region of concern: less complex pattern, but larger and
precariously closer to an edge.

The same crack as above shown from the inside of the box.

The proposed plan: drill out the intersections and endpoints of all of the fractures to prevent them from propagating any further and and then attempt to repair the material using some kind of plastic cement.  My Dad dug around the basement and eventually came up with something which claimed to cause localized melting and subsequent re-bonding of many typical plastics.  I figured I’d give it a shot.

A power drill and the smallest bit which will span the largest of the cracks…

Rear fracture: drilled out endpoints and intersections.

Side fracture.

Side fracture after applying the cement to the outside.

Side fracture with cement applied to the inside.

Rear fracture with cement applied to the inside.

Rear fracture after cement from the outside.

Side fracture after a few ski and hiking trips.

Repaired rear fracture.

Repaired rear fracture from the inside.

So far, so good.  I’ve loaded it up pretty heavily and gone for a few long road trips and it’s still in one piece. I have to imagine it’s not as strong as it originally was, so I hesitant to claim that it’s permanently fixed, but for now I think it’ll get the job done.  If this plastic cement eventually fails, I may try using some kind of fiber glass.

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One thought on “Winter Readiness: Thule Repair

  1. Brian Sweeney

    Welp, the season has come and gone, and the fissures in the rear of the box have opened up again. The ones near the lock have remained solid however. Could be I did a bum job of sealing the back or maybe those were just bigger and plastic cement was not the tool for the job. Either way, I think I’ll take another stab at the plastic cement, and failing that I’ll just have to bust out some fiber glass and resin. In any event, it has not gotten any worse over the course of the season, so it’s probably no big deal.


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