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Old 02-09-2020, 04:50 PM
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Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
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Roof rack cross bar length adjustment, W210 S210, wagon

Hello-
I am the newish owner of a 2003 W210 (S210) wagon. I recently found a pair of MB roof rack cross bars at an auto salvage yard and would like to use them on my car. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I am trying to figure out the correct way to adjust the length of the cross bar. I have searched and searched for this question, but was unable to find the exact same issue. Attached is a picture of a cross bar on my car (see first pic, and please excuse the drippy appearance which is Kroil which I sprayed on the thing).

At the length I found them, it has to sit right above the sunroof, which makes a lot of noise when I have the roof open. I would like to move the front cross bar further back, if at all possible. Since the side rails get closer together, this will require slightly shortening the cross bar. They have a slot and appear to adjust in length, but I don't want to break anything. Mine certainly don't slide easily but I haven't bashed the thing too hard yet. Please see the second picture (which I stole from Ebay; thank you random ebay user) for the underside where you can see a slot and maybe a pin in that slot.

Any thoughts on changing their length? Do I just need to be more brave with use of force? Thanks for your help.

Attached Thumbnails
Roof rack cross bar length adjustment, W210 S210, wagon-img_0394.jpg   Roof rack cross bar length adjustment, W210 S210, wagon-s-l1600.jpg  
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1968 220D, W115, /8, OM615, Automatic transmission.
2003 E320 wagon, S210, M112, Automatic transmission.
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Old 02-15-2020, 05:44 AM
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I recommend removing the front cross bar and spraying some penetrant in the slot so you can adjust the length. Although I am unfamiliar with the geometry of your wagon, it would make sense to move the front bar forward. Not sure how often you intend to use the roof rack, but it may make more sense to install the cross bars only when you need them. Otherwise, leave them off so the slide mechanism doesn't rust.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:04 AM
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Only install them when in use. Those cross bars won't hold very much weight. If you're planning to install a bike rack or cargo box, look for Yakima or Thule cross bars. They're fully adjustable and much stronger than those things.
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:18 AM
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Thanks guys for the suggestions. My w124 wagon has those rubber protector strips on the roof of the car, so I have never used my crossbars when transporting 10-20 2x4s from the lumber yard. But my w210 does not have anything on the roof other than the side rails of the MB roof rack. So I had planned to leave the cross bars on the car at all times, so that, without advanced planning, I could put something on the rack without it actually scratching the roof paint. I don't do a lot of highway driving these days, so the fuel economy hit wouldn't be big. I know they aren't supposed to actually hold a load, but they are actually pretty stout pieces of metal. I bet they could support 100-200 pounds if it was distributed like pieces of wood. But yes, for a kayak or bike rack, quality aftermarket crossbars would be necessary. Thanks again.
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1968 220D, W115, /8, OM615, Automatic transmission.
2003 E320 wagon, S210, M112, Automatic transmission.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:59 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: The slums of Beverly Hills
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortsguy1 View Post
Thanks guys for the suggestions. My w124 wagon has those rubber protector strips on the roof of the car, so I have never used my crossbars when transporting 10-20 2x4s from the lumber yard. But my w210 does not have anything on the roof other than the side rails of the MB roof rack. So I had planned to leave the cross bars on the car at all times, so that, without advanced planning, I could put something on the rack without it actually scratching the roof paint. I don't do a lot of highway driving these days, so the fuel economy hit wouldn't be big. I know they aren't supposed to actually hold a load, but they are actually pretty stout pieces of metal. I bet they could support 100-200 pounds if it was distributed like pieces of wood. But yes, for a kayak or bike rack, quality aftermarket crossbars would be necessary. Thanks again.
Removable cross bars are extremely versatile. In my opinion they're a much better solution than the rubber strips on the 124 wagon or those permanent factory cross bars. You can put them on and take them off in about 5 minutes and store them in the trunk of the wagon when not in use. Or you could slide then all the way to the back of the roof to minimize noise.

This is a pair of cheap generic cargoloc cross bars.
https://i.imgur.com/bBG3mqB.jpg

I use yakima round bars with my roof box.
https://i.imgur.com/hkFZ5wT.jpg

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Last edited by tjts1; 02-16-2020 at 11:36 AM.
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