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Yakima (Whispbar) and Thule keys – one key to rule them all?

HOME FORUM RIDING FEELS GOOD FORUM TECH TALK Yakima (Whispbar) and Thule keys – one key to rule them all?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Whynot 3 years, 11 months ago.

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    So I have a Thule hitch rack (T2), Whispbar rails (Railbar) and Whispbar roofbox (WB701). I love them all, but it also means I now have three different keys for attaching/opening/removing them. Is there any way to get new keys/lock cores and one (1) key to operate all of them? Am I screwed because I went across brands? I could just call a LBS/rack place, but it’s much more fun to post here.

    Thanks for any replies.



    Here’s one person’s take (from another online forum – I am sure it sounds simpler than it is to actually do):

    I am sure like many others I have a single key for my Yakima accessories and now I have another key for my Thule keyed Touareg bars. I should mention that I just purchased a Thule North Cape Roof box. I wanted a single key solution and have discovered how to do just that. If you are interested in a single key solution for all of your accessories then the following may be of some interest. My instructions are below and I apologize for no pictures; the free posting sites I found via a forum search indicated no more room at this time.
    Also this procedure will work to key Yakima cores to work with a Thule key.

    First some general info.
    -Thule and Yakima lock cores are produced by the same factory although the cores themselves are physically different. The Thule core is longer and has a fifth tumbler. The cores themselves are therefore not interchangeable.
    -The dimensions and spacing of the tumblers are the same for both the Thule and Yakima lock cores. Which means the tumblers themselves are interchangeable. (this is the key to the solution)
    -The tumblers are the small brass pieces that move in your lock core.
    -I should mention that neither Yakima or Thule will allow you to order lock cores keyed for their competitor nor do they endorse this procedure. Proceed at your own risk! If you do not feel like doing this yourself you could have a locksmith do it. Just take them my instructions and all the required parts as the tumblers themselves are not readily available.
    -This is relatively quick to do it took me a minute or so per core.
    -My description below will be to key Thule cores to Yakima keys.

    What you will need.

    -1 Yakima or Thule core removal key. (comes with lock cores)
    -Any Thule core that works with your accessory.
    -1 Yakima core(s), keyed for use with the key you want to use. (You will end up sacrificing this core to get the tumblers you need)
    -1 slotted screwdriver or appropriate tool to push out the tumblers.


    For me there was no cost since my Thule keyed accessories already had cores and I had plenty of spare Yakima cores.


    -Purchase and or remove all the lock cores you will need.
    -Remove all tumblers from the Thule core with the exception of the keeper which is the last one. (furthest from where the key enters the lock) Do not remove the keeper from either lock core.
    -To remove the tumblers push them out of the lock with the screwdriver with moderate force from the side at which their width dimension is smaller. (this will be obvious when you look at the lock) They will pop out and a small spring may come with them. If it does, just make sure it is in place in the Thule core prior to putting the tumblers in.
    -One by one remove the tumblers from the Yakima core and move them to the same location in the Thule core. -Position one from Yakima to position one on Thule etc.
    -As mentioned before the Thule core has 5 tumblers and the Yakima only has four so you will not be placing a tumbler in the fifth position in the Thule core.
    -Verify you have done this correctly by placing the Yakima key in the lock and that all tumblers with the exception of the keeper are flush with the lock core.
    -Remove the key and place the “removal key” in the lock and place the lock in your accessory.
    -Verify again everything is working and you are finished.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    What the other poster provided seems like it will work and is the “correct” way to do it without leaving a trace of modification on the units.

    It is fairly straight forward to swap a tumbler out of a lock, especially if you have the proper tool for the lock.

    The other option is to replace the entire lock mechanisms. A wee more money, not that hard to do either. Check out easykeys.com or one of the many other suppliers (probably a domestic one, I’ve never bought just used them to see what types of keys are out there for various projects).

    Somewhat ironically, 95% of locks are equally easy to pick, especially if it is only 4 or 5 tumblers on one side…So I use a kevlar woven strap and commercial grade lock that requires expert picking skills or some serious equipment to cut into. The locks that come on most of Yakima or Thule storage devices do little more than insure the box won’t open while in transit… if for that reason alone you want to save the hassle of multiple keys, look into replacing the tumblers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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