Thule Bike Rack Access Swing Away Hitch Extender Review and Installation

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Review and How to Install the Thule Bike Rack Access Swing Away Hitch Extender

Adam: Hi, everyone. Adam with Today we're going to be taking a look at the Thule access swing-away system for all your Thule bike racks that you may have. What this is going to do is get you full access to the back of your Jeep, SUV, or truck. With the 90 degrees that it gives you, we don't have to worry about our door hitting our bikes and we can either grab what we need for the trails that day or, if we're hanging out afterwards and we just want to hang around all of our rigs and just talk, you can do that as well. Whether you are just relaxing after a long ride with a couple of buddies or you're just grabbing your gear at the beginning of a ride, whether it be a helmet, maybe some shoes, backpack, whatever it may be, it's always nice to be able to utilize your vehicle to its maximum capacity without having to take away some of the features.

Luckily, with the swing-away system, we can do that. To activate our swing-away system, pull this pin here. It does have a little cable so you won't lose it. Once that's done, we really just have to start swinging it away.As you can see here, we have a nice 90 degree angle. This is going to be great for granting rear hatch access, whether it's a Jeep, SUV, or a truck.

But, whenever we're done using the swing-away feature, there's going to be a little pin down here. You just got to pull this out a little bit, and that's going to allow us to start tilting it back. This swing-away system is going to be made up of mostly steel and it's going to be powder coated, so it's going to resist against rust and corrosion over time, and also look pretty good as well. It is going to get you about 250 pounds of weight capacity as well.Our cap here is going to come with some keys, and what this is going to be is just a little theft deterrent just to make sure that this swing-away system is going to stay in our hitch. That's going to reveal the anti-rattle mechanism in here.

This is going to be the tool that you're going to have to either loosen it to get it out or tighten it to tighten it up and make sure it doesn't have any shake and play. Once you're done, you can replace it. If you are struggling with a worn out key lock cylinder, we do sell some replacements here, or we sell a kit of four. So, if you wanted to have this lock match your Thule bike rack lock along with the cable locks that are integrated in some of these Thule bike racks, you can go ahead and do that so you only have to worry about having one type of key to get everything undone. With our straight shank here, obviously our hitch isn't going to be exactly where it was if we didn't have the swing-away installed.

It's going to be up about two and three quarter inches. It's also going to be sticking out an additional 13 and a quarter inches as well. So, it'll act good for an extension, but you could also swing it away as well.Thule does recommend using their bike racks, either the T2 Pro, as you see here or, the T2 Classic. It'll work, really, with any bike rack, whatever brand. All it has to be is just a two inch solid shank. If you're in the market for a bike rack and a swing-away system, Thule does offer the Apex XT. That is going to basically get you just the normal bike rack style, but also adding that feature of the swing-away. The only downturn to that is they're only going to be limited to the hanging style bike racks. With this, you grab a swing-away system for Thule and you can put any of your Thule racks or whatever other two inch solid shank rack that you may have. Whether it's platform style or hanging style, you'll be able to use all of them with this one part.This is also going to be extremely useful for our pickup trucks. By utilizing the swing-away feature, we don't have to remove this bike rack or our bikes off of our bike rack to be able to enjoy our tailgate, or even just grab something out of the back. This is also going to work great for your larger hatched vehicles that you may have. On our Pacifica here, we have quite a large hatch, so instead of having to remove our bike rack and our bikes, we don't have to with the swing-away. We're not going to have any issues. We can grab whatever we need, or just use it just to hang out after a long ride. If you guys are shopping here at and are wondering which swing-away system you want to go with, we're going to do a comparison for you guys.We're going to have the Kuat right here, and we are also going to have the Thule on this side. I'm just going to start by letting you know the only benefits to the Thule would be it is going to stick out a little bit farther from your hitch receiver. That might be good for some spacing issues you guys may be dealing with. It's also going to sit a little bit higher as well. What I mean by that is our bike rack is going to be a little bit higher on the Thule than it is going to be on the Kuat. But, in my opinion, the Kuat is definitely going to be my choice. It's really, really simple to get everything unlocked.We have a little lever here, and it swings away, honestly, a lot smoother than most. And, of course, to get it back, the lever is a lot easier than this knob on the Thule. The Kuat definitely beats it there. Super easy. And, the Kuat actually gets you 120 degrees as well. So, if you want a little bit more room, you have that option with the Kuat. Other than that, it does come with a pin and a little locking cylinder on the end here. We won't have any bolt going through the shank of the Thule. That might be a good thing for you, it might not be something you really want. But in my opinion, if you guys want my opinion, I definitely would go with the Kuat.You guys just got to the trails, but we have some valuables that we're going to take with us in the back of our Jeep. We can try to grab it by utilizing our tilt feature on our bike rack. Some have some, some don't, but it's still going to be kind of a task to reach in there and fish around for what you need. This isn't necessarily ideal, so we do have a solution for that. Let's just see if the Thule swing-away is going to help us solve that problem. The first thing we want to do is take our part here and put it into our hitch. It's pretty heavy, might need an extra set of hands. It comes in about 52 pounds. We do want to put it all the way, until it backs up to that plate, and you'll hear it. Now that we have this as far into our hitch receiver as possible, what we're going to do next is pull this pin here. That's going to allow us to actually swing this out, and it's going to reveal a lockable cap. We will get keys with our kit. Put that in, unlock it, and then we can get this cap off the inside there. It is somewhat watertight.We have three different lips here to kind of suck it into place, but it wasn't the easiest thing to get off. Once we do that, we have another tool that comes with our kit and we can start tightening down this bolt here. That's going to act as our anti-rattle device, so it's going to spread out a piece of metal on the inside of our shank, which is going to eliminate all that shake and play. You might want to lean it up a little bit when you're tightening it down just so it's not going to be sagging towards the passenger side of the vehicle. Be sure to get it nice and snug. Now we can replace our cap. Give it a good push, and we can go ahead and lock that. After that, swing it back in. We will have to pull the little release knob and then replace our quick release pin. I'm just going to to push that down in there and it should be ready to go. Lastly, for safety, we do have a little strap here. We're going to take it and put it where our safety chain loops would go on our hitch, and then we can go ahead and tighten this down a little more.Now you can go ahead and install whatever bike rack you may be using. It's going to be the same exact as before. The only difference is we're going to have this swing-away system in between our hitch and our bike rack. Be sure to pick a true two inch bike rack to put into the system because that's what it calls for. Also, if you have one that has a anti-rattle bolt or even just a pin that goes through these holes, the holes are pre-drilled out so you don't have to worry about not being able to use that feature. Now we can just go ahead and load our bikes up.As of right now, I can already tell a difference with the little extension that it gives us. I actually have a little bit more clearance already, to the back of my Jeep, and we're not even swinging away yet. We'll start here, just by pulling this pin, and then that's going to enable us to slide this out to 90 degrees. It is going to lock into place, so if you're on the trails and it's not necessarily the most even terrain, you don't have to worry about this coming back and swinging, slamming against your Jeep. Or, if you're standing or sitting right here, you're not going to get crushed. So, it's definitely a safety feature that I'm a fan of. With our swing-away at the 90 degrees that it gives us and our door completely open, I'm even pushing this thing pretty hard, we're not hitting our bikes at all with our stock tire here. If you have a Jeep and you got bigger tires, you might have a little bit more of an issue, but I really don't think we're going to have any issues today. Now, with it swung away, we have full access to grab whatever we need out of the inside of our Jeep here. But, other than that, it's just about all you really need to know about the Thule access swing-away system.

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