MatraSport Forum

Each model => Espace => Topic started by: Anders Dinsen on February 11, 2010, 01:22:24 pm

Title: Thule roofbox
Post by: Anders Dinsen on February 11, 2010, 01:22:24 pm
I just fitted our new roofbox on our Grand Espace. I started searching for some additional luggage space since we're having a friend of one of my four sons with us this year when we go to Provece during Easter. That means we're going to have all 7 seats occupied on the trip => not enough luggage space inside the car. It will also allow us to fit two more persons in the car when we go to Le Mans, and we also knew we would need it during our summer holidays.

There are many cheap boxes around, but I finally settled on one of Thule's top range boxes. Thule is good quality, it has universal fit claws, opens both sides, is collision tested, and then it sits low on the roof racks, reducing the effective frontal area somewhat.

I've taken a few photos of the box showing how it's sitting on the car:


We also had a roof box for our previous Espace. That was fitted using the special clamps from Renault/Matra which are tailor fit around the roof racks. Here's a photo of it:

If you compare with the Thule box, I think it sits better on the car than the old one did with the custom clamps. The reason is that the Thule box is well supported. Of course the clamps will protect the roof rack bars better, but I think Thule's system is plenty good enough.

Tip hereby passed on!

And no... we can't wait to go to La Côte d'Azur and get away from all the snow!


Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: jack daniels on February 11, 2010, 08:16:53 pm
Very Nice Anders.
what is the price for such a box there in Denmark?
And, is it noisy on the motorway?
when I have my roof bars in that position with nothing on them there's quite a noticeable wind noise over about 80km/h.
do you happen to know what max. weight  the roof-bars are rated for or the roof box as it's mounted now?

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: Anders Dinsen on February 11, 2010, 09:38:26 pm

The price was 3700 DKK plus shipping so it ended at 4000. The model is "Spirit 780".  I couldnt' find it much cheaper, not even in Sweden. I bought it here:

I haven't tried it on the motorway yet. I might do so in the weekend. I expect will make some noise. And also increase fuel consumption a bit.

As far as I remember, the bars can take 50 kg. With the box weighing some 16 kg, that leaves a good 30 kg for cargo, which should be all right. We still have a fair amout of space behind the back seats for heavier items.

One thing, that's really nice about this box is that it opens both sides. The way the claws are tightened inside the box and can be slided back and forth makes it really easy to fit and remove.


Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: marko ucha on February 11, 2010, 10:11:19 pm
And what about fuel economy........?  ;D

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: jack daniels on February 12, 2010, 08:22:58 pm
      I guess using the most fuel efficient tyres such as michelin energy saver would about compensate for the extra fuel consumption.

4000 kr. is a reasonable price, about the same as

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: Anders Dinsen on February 19, 2010, 04:13:30 pm
I have had the box on for a few days now, and you don't notice it's there. Not much noise at any speed, actually. When I removed it, however, I left the racks where they were instead of pushing them back to the rear most position - and now I know what you mean Jack about noise - they make a hissing noise. But interestingly, not with the box on.


Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: colin4255 on March 01, 2010, 08:55:10 pm
I had same problem las summer. All seats filled, going camping with my daughter, her husband and my FOUR grandaughters (even more expensive than an Espace!! I really must have a word with her about contraception!!).

I bought a cheap roof box off ebay and then some clamps so it will fit the espace bars. It was all fine, and we got everything in,  but when I loaded it up it was close to bottoming out. (I have only standard dampers, not self levelling). I wondered if anyone has any experience of fitting those rubber coil spring assisters, or a good source of supply? Or, maybe I need a trailer!!

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: Anders Dinsen on March 02, 2010, 10:08:12 pm
I've been looking for uprated springs for a while as I think the rear springs of the Grand Espace are too soft and have a tendency to go too low when the car is loaded. But I haven't been able to find any. The early Espace's had an option for uprated "Ambulance" springs.

I don't like the idea of putting rubber in the springs, as the spring rate of rubber is always going to be different from the coil so the handling may be strange when pushed a bit. Besides, they aren't legal - at least not here in Denmark.

You could try a new set of springs. They do have a tendency to soften over the years.


Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: colin4255 on March 03, 2010, 12:37:59 am
You are right about springs being too soft. I did get some uprated dampers recently, but not found any stiffer or stronger springs.  I understand your point about the rubber inserts, but its also not so easy to fit a towbar with BIII electrics!! I had a look at this but decided against it on the basis it looked like I may damage something if I wire it up incorrectly.  A trailer would be the ideal solution really. 

I noticed in the items 4 sale section you have some special clamps to go round espace 3 roof bars before fitting a box.  I never seen these before and have just used standard clamps with the one I bought. I just bought normal 'U'-clamps that fit the wider bars used on the espace.  Do I really need these special clamps? If so have you still got them?

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: Anders Dinsen on March 03, 2010, 06:30:19 am
You are right about the towbar wiring, but don't the towbar suppliers have a wiring kit available? The original kit from Renault comes with a loom that connects in the fuse box in the engine room. I don't remember how the one on our car is connected. I don't think it's original, but it was on the car when I bought it in 2005 in Germany and I haven't worried about it since.

Trailers are ok if you don't go too fast. Don't forget how badly suspended most of them are. In this country the max speed with a trailer on in 80 km/h - not funny if you're going to France with the family (1950 km drive) as we are in a few weeks :)

Oh yes the clamps. Yes I still have them. They are very useful for protecting the bars. The bars are rather soft being made from aluminium and plastic and I've seen a couple of examples where they've been deformed by oridnary U-clamps, so I guess the benefit with the special clamps is that they can be fitted tightly, where you'll have to be a bit gentle with the U-clamps. I don't mind shipping them to the UK.


Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: colin4255 on March 05, 2010, 10:29:50 pm
Thanks Anders, I' ll sort something out about buying them off you when you get back. I am working away from home at moment.  Yes Renault sell a wiring kit that connects to main fuse box, but the wiring kit in the UK is £197, plus 3 hours fitting charge!! I spoke to three towbar fitting compnies here and none of nthem seem to know much about BIII electrics and the need for special bits to ensure the indicators etc work OK. I am just not  confident using any of them after talking to them all and finding so many different answers to my questions.   But neithert can I afford £300 to fit the renault wiring kit, then up to £175 to have the towbar fitted, then however much more for a trailer!! I guess we will just have to travel light!! Problem is a tent to fit me, my daugher, son-in-law and four kids is quite heavy along with all the stuff we need to put in the car

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: renaultbiler on March 06, 2010, 08:44:55 am
I remember on one of my good old Renault 30 it was mounted a "caravan" spring inside the factory fitted spring using some existing mountings upper and lower, and the spring had a diameter of an average rear chock absorber ++ making it removeable without dismantling the main spring. A neat solution that made the car stiffer on the back. I dont think it was Renault made (but who knows), just a clever product adapted to the car perfectly.

Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: Anders Dinsen on April 03, 2010, 10:15:53 am
We came back yesterday from 2 weeks in France with the roofbox. It works great, even with 7 people aboard the car. The Grand Espace trunk is ok sized even with both rear seats in use, but with the roofbox we had just that extra amount of storage we needed. With the car and box totalling 2.1 meters height, it's only just low enough to pass french "peage", so I'm glad I didn't pick a "fatter" box.

Fuel economy was between 9 and 8 km/l (i.e. between 11 and 12.5 l/100 km), which is what we've done before on the same trip, so nothing bad at all to notice there, even with the addtional load of the car!


Title: Re: Thule roofbox
Post by: TheJoker on April 26, 2010, 02:26:50 pm
We're also using a roof box for our Espace when we take the bikes onboard.

We just use a cheap Halfords one. It's not noticeable from inside the car. No extra noise, no extra fuel consumption.  8) I made my own "holders" by bending a 6mm threaded bar into suitable U-shapes. I use double nuts on the inside of the box to secure the four clamps.

Does 36 mpg with the two bikes in the car, the roofbox on top at GPS indicated 80mph.
And yes, the rear is sagging a bit. I've been thinking of airbags inside the springs, or wherever they're mounted.