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MC4SNETS
01-28-2011, 12:40 AM
I am in possession of my ND tower I purchased for my 2001 MariStar 210. I plan on posting a step-by-step chronicle of the installation. This is obviously a lot of work taking many pics along the way and detailing each and every step. I hope there is some interest and I hope this will help others with future installations.

I plan to begin in the next few weeks depending on weather.

Anyone interested in the process? What, in particular, can I document regarding the installation process that you have not seen here or on other sites? My goal is to provide a post that others can use as an example and as a guide to tackle a new tower installation.

CantRepeat
01-28-2011, 07:20 AM
Some ideas.

Layout - how you pick the mounting points

Hull reinforcement - building up the kitty hair and placement of the aluminum backing plates.

Hull protection - the steps you took to protect the hull while drilling mounting points


When I did the install on my 210 I did the layout, marked and drilled the holes. Then put the kitty hair and aluminum plates in and then redrill the holes through the hair and plates.

Good luck.

eficalibrator
01-28-2011, 07:23 AM
I think many people would be interested in seeing some more detail on how the tower attaches to the hull and what any reinforcement plates might look like. You always see the external structure, but knowing what is hidden might be useful. FWIW, I'm having a ND tower installed on my ps214 at their factory (down the street from MC) before the boat is shipped up here for delivery this spring.

cf_koch
01-28-2011, 08:29 AM
I am definately interested in the planning and reinforcement issues since I plan to add a ND tower to my Maristar 215 in the near future.

MC4SNETS
01-29-2011, 12:34 AM
Layout and Hull Reinforcement:

My 2001 Maristar 210 has hull reinforcement plates built in....or at least that's what I think.

I took a good look today and found that where the tower mounts there are added reinforcements fibergalssed into the hull. So I called ND and spoke to Chad. His words were essentially that if i drill through and see aluminum shavings, there is no need to add any reinforcement, the factory backing plates are there.

That said, the kit came with aluminum backing plates and fibergalss resin kit for boats without aluminum backing kits in place. I don't think I will need them.

I have a problem today with the camera I used so pics are forthcoming.

Note: When you receive your tower, save some of the tube padding. It will be useful to protect the ends touching the ground while assembling - re-use it accordingly.

I did assemble the entire tower today and it looks great. As per the ND instructions, I have the front mount hole layout done in pencil. I will set the assembled tower in place over the marks and mark my drill holes from the assembled tower as soon as I have two volunteers to hold the tower in place for me.

Layout: My tower cam with specific instructions for my model; it showed where to measure from for an approximate location for holes. Then you build the tower and have some friends hold it in position to mark the real drill holes.

A couple hours into it and it is not rocket science.

CantRepeat
01-29-2011, 06:35 AM
Did you put masking tape down on the hull before you did you pencil marks? If not, you should. It help keep the gel coat from chipping up.

Thrall
01-29-2011, 09:18 AM
Did you put masking tape down on the hull before you did you pencil marks? If not, you should. It help keep the gel coat from chipping up.

Yes and oversize the first 1/8" deep drilling, run the drill backwards to keep the gel from cracking, then use the correct size bit to go thru the 'glass and backing plate.
I put a ND tower on my '96 and found that it really only "fit" in one spot. I dry fit the entire tower before drilling making sure it was centered side to side and made minor adjustments in location until all the feet laid flat on the hull. Ended up being slightly skewed from perfectly center (like less than 1/2"), but it's not noticable and the tower did not bind when folding or unfolding.
If you have the plates embedded, that's good. I used some 3/8" aluminum plate, backers were 3-4" square, cut to fit around existing hull contours and such on the underside.
Personally I don't think it's necessary to glass the backing plates in unless you need to build up the underside surface to get even bearing on a curved surface. Locktite the attachment bolts even if they're nylock so they won't loosen up. Never had to re-tighten my tower bolts ont he '96, but my '06 needed to be snugged up fromt he factory install after the tower had some use on it.

MC4SNETS
01-29-2011, 02:49 PM
I will be placing tape before drilling. The pencil marks are just a rough estimate on where to drop the assembled tower. Once in place, I will mark the drill spot through the mounting hole.

First step is using a 1" forsner bit just through the gelcoat then drill the 5/8 hole for the mounting bolt. That is what NDT recommends in the instructions to keep the gelcoat from stress cracking.

wgwollet
01-29-2011, 03:28 PM
How much is a ND kit for our boats?

And I am sure you done your homework, is ND the best for our Maristars?

thx

CantRepeat
01-29-2011, 06:28 PM
I used a 3/4 counter sink bit to do the reliefs in the gel coat and only sent in about 1/8 inch, as per the instructions that came with the tower.

MC4SNETS
01-30-2011, 01:39 AM
How much is a ND kit for our boats?

And I am sure you done your homework, is ND the best for our Maristars?

thx

There are lots of towers out there.....the NDT is a custom fit tower, basically a factory tower.

My 210 came with the backing plates factory installed. The ND tower mounts to those reinforced points. When I driled my four holes, I drilled through 3/8" aluminum plates fibergalssed into the hull from the factory. You will not find that in a semi-custom tower.

I do not have to do any fibergalss work to mount the aluminum plates that came with my tower. I talked to ND folks who install these towers.....they will spend time on the phone helping you....walk you through....they know what they are doing.....they install towers, they make towers, they know MC Boats, they built MC towers for years. What else do you need?


Anyway, my tower is mounted, holes drilled, bolts in, but not tightend. I had a couple friends today volunteer to help me and in about three hours, the job is basically done.

I am still fighting with my camera....I will post a step-by-step process with pics as soon as my camera cooperates. I will say this: Installing a ND tower on a boat with backing plates in the hull is EASY....like a no-brainer. Just follow their instructions. Seriously, easy.

Oh, and price.....$2600 with a light on top and two board racks. Includes $300 shipping to CA.

jakethebt
01-30-2011, 09:21 AM
Great thread... cannot wait for pics.

Did you look at their biminis? If you go with their towers, are there biminis the only option? I think there mini towers look great but would need a bimini but not sure there is enough room under their mini tower for a bimini.

More questions for NDT but figure you may have looked into it.

carlsonwa
02-01-2011, 12:09 PM
I installed one of these 2 years ago on my Sportstar, installation wasn't too bad, having 3 extra buddies to help position made it much easier. The trickest part I had was once I had the kitty hair on the plates and was about to stick them to the inside, getting the holes to line up before it began to set up.

I see someone suggested just re-drilling the holes, which may have been a touch easier.

In one location under the hull I drilled through a small plastic square that was imbedded in the fiberglass, about 1" x 1" by .5" thick. So I had to order a longer bolt stainless then what was provided by New Dimension from McMaster-Carr.

Good luck, ND look super clean!

Shooter McKevin
02-01-2011, 01:08 PM
When I put mine on, the instructions didn't say anything about where to run the wires for the pylon light. I was heading houseboating the next day so I was on a bit of a tight schedule so I left them wrapped around the tower leg. Now I have been trying to decide the best way to run them. I emailed Chad and he wasn't much help. Below is a photo (if it works) of how they ran them from the factory (found a good thread on the topic, thanks Sodar). This is what I want to do, but think I will have to take my tower off to drill the hole.

Did your tower come with the wiring hole in the bottom of the foot? Something to think about.

Kevin

64111

Sodar
02-01-2011, 01:19 PM
I'd pretty much guarantee your tower came with a hole for the wires...

carlsonwa
02-01-2011, 04:13 PM
Mine had one hole just like that photo on the drivers side front leg.

Had to drill a secondary hole in the hull, quite big as well. Since I wired speakers, pylon light, and HID fog lights inside the tower.

Shooter McKevin
02-01-2011, 06:11 PM
Hmm... I don't remember a hole. I wonder if they covered it with the rubber pad. I guess I'll have to loosen off that side of the tower to check. Hopefully it's there, I'm not excited to try to drill at that angle.

Thanks for the optimism guys.

Shooter McKevin
02-01-2011, 06:41 PM
Great thread... cannot wait for pics.

Did you look at their biminis? If you go with their towers, are there biminis the only option? I think there mini towers look great but would need a bimini but not sure there is enough room under their mini tower for a bimini.

More questions for NDT but figure you may have looked into it.

Hey Jake,

I got the mini. The mini tower bimini is tower height. I think their full tower bimini is also tower height. I thought that would be a little too high. If I did a full tower I was going to get an under tower bimini from http://www.towerbiminis.com/index.aspx . I decided the mini was more proportional for my boat. I'm not 100% happy with the flat shape and angle of the bimini but it works great, I might try to mod it a little some day.

64117

mpslakept
02-02-2011, 11:22 AM
Hi, did you ever post the step by step instructions to mounting your ND tower?

thatsmrmastercraft
02-02-2011, 11:33 AM
Hey Jake,

I got the mini. The mini tower bimini is tower height. I think their full tower bimini is also tower height. I thought that would be a little too high. If I did a full tower I was going to get an under tower bimini from http://www.towerbiminis.com/index.aspx . I decided the mini was more proportional for my boat. I'm not 100% happy with the flat shape and angle of the bimini but it works great, I might try to mod it a little some day.

64117

Fantastic picture of a great looking boat. Agreed on the bimini, it needs another bow up front and for the leading edge to come down a little like the rear. The rear of the bimini looks great.

LaRue
02-02-2011, 11:39 AM
agree. beautiful boat! Not an expert so i must ask, what year is your ProStar?

Shooter McKevin
02-02-2011, 12:07 PM
Thanks Mr. MC,

It sucks that ND didn't copy the OEM bimini a little closer. Those are super sweet.

64136

I'm hoping I can shorten the front support to get the same look without having to adjust the sunbrella or the pivot locations. We all have our "boat list" in our heads don't we?... Hopefully a couple of mine will soon show up in the "work I did today" thread.

MC4SNETS, How's the progress on your tower going. We are patiently awaiting your pics!

Shooter McKevin
02-02-2011, 12:09 PM
agree. beautiful boat! Not an expert so i must ask, what year is your ProStar?

Thanks. She's a 2000.

jakethebt
02-02-2011, 01:42 PM
Hey Shooter, Looks Great! I see what you mean on the front, but it still looks nice. If you shorten up the front leg, will the front bar of the tower act like a bow?

Also, how tall it is from the floor of the boat? Can you stand under it? The closer to the boat I think would be the way to go to keep the shade in the boat better. How many times have you hit your head on it?

From what i can see, the mini seems like a good compromise of looks and function. Do you have any shots with the Bimini zipped up?

Sodar
02-02-2011, 01:47 PM
Hey Jake,

I got the mini. The mini tower bimini is tower height. I think their full tower bimini is also tower height. I thought that would be a little too high. If I did a full tower I was going to get an under tower bimini from http://www.towerbiminis.com/index.aspx . I decided the mini was more proportional for my boat. I'm not 100% happy with the flat shape and angle of the bimini but it works great, I might try to mod it a little some day.

64117

Shorten up the front bow and get a little angle out of it. That is about the only difference between OEM and ND....

M-Funf
02-02-2011, 01:58 PM
Shorten up the front bow and get a little angle out of it. That is about the only difference between OEM and ND....

If you shorten the front bow, will it prevent it from moving to a position that allows a zippered cover over it? Does that make any sense?

Edit: We need a close up of the sun deck on that white 197, Sodar ;)

TX.X-30 fan
02-02-2011, 02:16 PM
I smell something funny......................

Sodar
02-02-2011, 02:25 PM
If you shorten the front bow, will it prevent it from moving to a position that allows a zippered cover over it? Does that make any sense?

Edit: We need a close up of the sun deck on that white 197, Sodar ;)

Looks like the attachment point of the front bow is higher on the white PS197, than the 2000 PS190. That probably allows for that fine young lady to fold the bimini on her own and zipper it up... but only after she finishes wiping the interior. :)

M-Funf
02-02-2011, 02:26 PM
Looks like the attachment point of the front bow is higher on the white PS197, than the 2000 PS190. That probably allows for that fine young lady to fold the bimini on her own and zipper it up... but only after she finishes wiping the interior. :)

Got it...now where is that close up of the sun pad? :wait:

Shooter McKevin
02-02-2011, 02:44 PM
If you shorten the front bow, will it prevent it from moving to a position that allows a zippered cover over it? Does that make any sense?

Edit: We need a close up of the sun deck on that white 197, Sodar ;)

Shorten up the front bow and get a little angle out of it. That is about the only difference between OEM and ND....

That's exactly where I'm hung up a little. I think I could go a little shorter on the front support and it would still line up with the tower when folded. I have to decide how much shorter I need to and can go. Right now the fabric is really tight, and shortening the support will make it even tighter so I would likely have to shorten the side braces as well.

Sodar, I saved that awesome 197 photo ages ago. That's ironic if it's yours.

Hey Shooter, Looks Great! I see what you mean on the front, but it still looks nice. If you shorten up the front leg, will the front bar of the tower act like a bow?

Also, how tall it is from the floor of the boat? Can you stand under it? The closer to the boat I think would be the way to go to keep the shade in the boat better. How many times have you hit your head on it?

From what i can see, the mini seems like a good compromise of looks and function. Do you have any shots with the Bimini zipped up?

Bimini Folded
64137

I know the height from floor is exactly 5'6.5" because I'm 5'6", I can stand under it (just barely). I've walked into the lower part of the bimini when moving to the helm before but it's not as solid as the tower would be on the head. (Another plus for the bimini). If I was ordering a bimini from ND again I would talk to Chad about doing the modifications we are talking about when they build it.

Another point I considered in choosing the mini over the full is I suspected the mini would have less sway. This is speculation because I have not tested an ND full. My tower is totally rock solid. Some towers I've seen have 8-9" of side to side wobble at the pylon.

I feel like I've been jacking the thread but if we remove the "Maristar" from the name this is just a New Dimensions Tower Thread right? Plus, we're just keeping it warm while we wait to see the OP's handywork.

Edit: I can stand under the bimini but not the tower, so the height from the floor to the fabric of the bimini is 5'6.5". Height from the floor to tower is more like 5'4"

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 02:52 PM
Ah, I finally got a new card reader which was the problem!

Here are some pics. The wiring holes are just like the picture a few posts back on the driver side.

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 02:56 PM
Here is the first hole just through the gelcoat with a forsner bit...And the second pic shows drilling through the aluminum backing plate.

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 02:59 PM
And here is drilling the wiring hole......

Double D
02-02-2011, 03:14 PM
Hope you have that drill in reverse doing that.... :)

Shooter McKevin
02-02-2011, 03:19 PM
Did your heart sink into your stomach the first time the drill touched the boat?

Then after the first hole was done the others were a piece of cake?

BallBushing
02-02-2011, 03:37 PM
How did you get the bow seat back out to get beneath that hole on the front drivers side?

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 03:41 PM
I drilled holes in my old boat so no big deal.....but this is a MasterCraft!

Drill was never in reverse. It looks like I'm leaning into it pretty hard but not really. You do have to put some pressure to get through the aluminum plates with the 5/8" drill bit though. See the aluminum shavings in this pic....

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 03:47 PM
Take the carpeted panel under the dash out....it's easier. Four screws, remove speedo tube and unplug two wiring harnesses to the speedo unit.

Sodar
02-02-2011, 05:10 PM
That's exactly where I'm hung up a little. I think I could go a little shorter on the front support and it would still line up with the tower when folded. I have to decide how much shorter I need to and can go. Right now the fabric is really tight, and shortening the support will make it even tighter so I would likely have to shorten the side braces as well.

Sodar, I saved that awesome 197 photo ages ago. That's ironic if it's yours.

It should be easily re-workable.

Here is a pic with it folded...

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_m3bPnaMHpYM/RtTzCF9lLVI/AAAAAAAABmw/SPVpZ_Lvd1M/s800/DSC01897.JPG

fstaslp
02-02-2011, 05:20 PM
Looks good. I like the side maristar plates. Where did you get those?

Double D
02-02-2011, 05:44 PM
I drilled holes in my old boat so no big deal.....but this is a MasterCraft!

Drill was never in reverse. It looks like I'm leaning into it pretty hard but not really. You do have to put some pressure to get through the aluminum plates with the 5/8" drill bit though. See the aluminum shavings in this pic....

Playing with fire there. Glad there were no gel coat cracks after you were done. I was always taught, and always drill through my gel coat with the drill in reverse. Still gets through but less chance of gel coat cracking. Worst thing in the world is the feeling when you first drill into your boat.. :o I never drilled below the waterline, I had the dealer install the PP with the paddle wheel.

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 06:04 PM
When the tower arrived, I pulled out the box containing hardware and instructions. You get a set of general instructions and a set for your boat model. The instructions for the specific model have pictures and dimensions to get you layout started.

The measurements get you pretty close. Close enough so that you will already have tape down when you set the tower on.

MEASURING AND LAYOUT:

The tower itself: Using the provided dimension chart, measure as shown to make sure the upper part of the tower’s leg width is correct and it is in square. Mine was dead on and no adjustment was necessary. The instructions describe how to adjust if it is out of the +-1/4” tolerances. Assemble the tower completely on the ground, protecting the ends touching the ground. (like in my pics)

Front mounts: I hooked my tape measure over the bow light and measured back to the flat area in front of the windshield at 74.5 inches and penciled a line there on the tape I laid down first. Then measure 2.75 inches from the edge of the deck and mark an X.

I then put tape over the gelcoat on the rear mounting area. (Which I just estimated visually)

That was really all of the measuring needed – because this is a custom tower and you set it on the boat assembled.

SETTING THE ASSEMBLED TOWER ON THE BOAT:

Grab some good friends – 3 works good, four is better to hand you tools and such. Lift the tower over the bow and set the front legs down close to or on your marks. The rear will support itself – or at least it does on a Maristar because it sits over a curve in the hull – but I always had someone with hands on it.

Adjust the front legs to the marks or at last very close. You don’t want to “spring” the tower in or out. If it’s too wide or narrow by a bit, spilt the difference and center it. It should be very close since you already measured it earlier. Mine was pretty much dead on the marks.

Now mark those front holes and take the tower off remembering to protect the legs.

DRILLING:

Remember, my boat had the aluminum backing plates so I am drilling through fiberglass and aluminum.

Instructions say use a 1” forsner bit and go down past the gelcoat – I think like 1/8” Then drill your 5/8” bolt hole. I drilled a ¼” pilot hole to make going through the aluminum easier.

REAR MOUNTS:

I set the tower back on and bolted the front legs down. Mark the rear holes. The directions give a dimension to measure up from the rub rail. The front-to-rear measurement is not necessary as it is set when you bolted the front down.

Drill the rear holes in the same fashion as the front.

WIRING HOLE:

There are no instructions for the wiring hole. I just drilled a hole about the same size as the hole in the tower leg at a little angle to make the wiring a little easier. It’s covered by the leg.

Set the tower back on and install the bolts. Use the provided anti-seize on the stainless bolts.

Some tower end pads or gaskets were supplied. I used them. They look bad and don’t really fit well. M-Funf is going to take a look at them.

Let me know if I missed something…..

Shooter McKevin
02-02-2011, 06:56 PM
You missed the after photos!

M-Funf
02-02-2011, 07:01 PM
Some tower end pads or gaskets were supplied. I used them. They look bad and don’t really fit well. M-Funf is going to take a look at them.

Let me know if I missed something…..

Looks Great! Looking forward to seeing it in person tomorrow!

MC4SNETS
02-02-2011, 07:50 PM
You missed the after photos!

Yes, I did.

After I bolted it up, I folded down the tower to back the boat under the cover you see in the first pic. It's too tall by about 4 inches. I need to cut that facia board. Being that rain was in the forecast and I was already late for a date with my wife, I took the top of the tower off and backed her in. Have'nt had a chance to get those things done yet, hopefully this weekend.

So, "After Pics" will be coming.:D

M-Funf
02-02-2011, 07:58 PM
Have'nt had a chance to get those things done yet, hopefully this weekend.

Should be a great weekend for it!

MC4SNETS
05-23-2011, 01:14 PM
Spring cleaning was yesterday so finally got a chance to take some pics of the final product.....

Kyle
05-23-2011, 01:40 PM
Someone has a nice camera:)

Good job with the install.

k2knapke
05-23-2011, 03:57 PM
Sweet work MC4SNETS! Where did ya find your mirror for the tower? Iv'e been looking for one that fits the ND towers.

CantRepeat
05-23-2011, 04:12 PM
Someone has a nice camera:)

Good job with the install.


And is rather good with it too.


ditto on the install.

fstaslp
05-23-2011, 04:38 PM
I saw a tower mirror on overtons for like 19 bucks. I also have the ND tower, but I am not sure what size the tubing is. Can anyone tell me?

CantRepeat
05-23-2011, 04:52 PM
I saw a tower mirror on overtons for like 19 bucks. I also have the ND tower, but I am not sure what size the tubing is. Can anyone tell me?

You would divide the circumference by 3.14. Get a soft tape measure and measure around the tube = circumference.

MC4SNETS
05-23-2011, 05:43 PM
Thanks all for the kind words regarding the installation......and the photos.

Thanks to M-Funf for making those slick tower pads!

The mirror bracket is from Monster Tower (http://shop.monstertower.com/p-96-carbon-fiber-mirror-mount-bracket-only.aspx), carbon fiber.....$70

When I got it it did not look like it was going to fit, looked like the hole was too small. I managed to get it on though slowly tightening all four bolts.

Camera is a circa 2004 Nikon D70 with a Nikkor 50 mm - f/1.8 D-AF Lens.....if anyone was interested....

Kyle
05-23-2011, 07:41 PM
Camera is a circa 2004 Nikon D70 with a Nikkor 50 mm - f/1.8 D-AF Lens.....if anyone was interested....

That is Greek to me lol.

I barely know how to use a throw away camera

DooSPX
05-23-2011, 08:24 PM
Not a bad camera. I loved the D70, nice macro lens as well.
I sold my D70 when I switched brands to Olympus. I love the Oly but I miss the trusty D70.

MC4SNETS
05-30-2011, 11:33 PM
I saw a tower mirror on overtons for like 19 bucks. I also have the ND tower, but I am not sure what size the tubing is. Can anyone tell me?

1-7/8" or 1.875". That's OD.