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Unstoppable
03-15-2012, 12:39 PM
I have a '97 Xstar with an original tower and I need to have it fold. When it lays back it's as tall as it is upright.

I'm wondering if anyone has refitted one like this or if anyone has any other advice. I don't know who originally made this tower so I'm attaching a pic- maybe someone can help identify it. I called Mastercraft & they said that the individual dealers used different brands and put them on in the showroom- they didn't actually come from the factory.

I will probably talk to a fabricator to see what he can do and what it will cost.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Jeff d
03-15-2012, 12:52 PM
If it gives enough clearance you could cut the front legs off just below that cross member and then have an alignment sleeve (i.e. a piece of aluminum tubing 6-7" long that's the same OD as the ID of the tower leg.) welded in to the resulting lower section of the legs with about 3-4" sticking out. Then you'd drill through the upper segment, through the alignment sleve and secure it with a bolt. To make it easy to deal with maybe have an aluminum nut welded on one side of the bolt hole and then use some bolts with knobs on them.

Then all you'd have to do is fold the tower to the rear, remove the bolts and pull the legs out.

Another option along the same lines, if this is the right size, would be to cut the legs and weld in some of these "flap joints":
http://www.diywake.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=537

They may not provide quite the same 360 degree stability but would likely be sufficient. You could swap the allen bolts out for some suitable bolts with hand grips on them.
http://www.diywake.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=595

The hardware on this page may give you some more ideas:
http://www.diywake.com/shop/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=74&cat=Hardware

Also, McMaster Carr can be a good source for hand grip bolts and what not:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/118/2207/=gobfs1

Jeff d
03-15-2012, 01:04 PM
I was also just thinking that if you needed even more clearance you could weld in a set of those flap joints on the rear legs too just below the bend. Then you could grind a bit of a radius on the leg side of the "flap" that would allow it to pivot when the bolt is loosened.

Then, after you fold it back you could loosen the "flap" bolts and effectively take that bend out of the rear upright, allowing the superstructure of the tower to sit a few inches lower to the hull.

Not really worth doing if the front leg measures gives you enough clearance though.

Jeff d
03-15-2012, 01:10 PM
Ohhh... Sorry, I keep looking at the pic and coming up with more ideas. Could it fold forward? It's hard to tell from the pic but it looks like it could but may protrude past the bow. If that's acceptable you could make a little cradle stand of sorts that would sit on the tongue of the trailer. Then fold the tower onto that stand and then just do the sleeve or flap joints on the rear two legs. With that setup it looks like the resulting height would be at or below the windshield height.

Unstoppable
03-15-2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks Jeff, this really helps. It looks like that "Flat lap joint" opens some doors for me to work with. I would then look for a local guy to weld it in, after I confirm the clearances that I need. It needs to fold to be stored in a rack in a building at a High and dry marina. Do you have any experienced with it? I guess it would be very important for that joint to be solid when it's closed.

Which brings me to my next question...

None of the four feet connections are tight where they meet the tower. the previous owner put some washers in the joint but the tower wiggles left & right while underway- is that a problem?

Jeff d
03-15-2012, 03:44 PM
Ha, I misread and was calling it a Flap Joint.

It would be ideal if the tower was solidly mounted. With it moving around like that I'd think you'd be more likely to see stress cracks in the gelcoat and possibly have more metal fatigue at joints in the tower.

I thought I recognized the tower earlier but I assumed it was just because it was OEM for early X-Stars. I think it may be a Trick Razor though:
http://tricktowers.com/1752.html

It looks a lot like it but it's not really a complex design. Maybe contact them and see if they've done any modifications for other customers to fold with more clearance. They might be able to sell you some fittings or something that your fabricator could weld in.

Jeff d
03-15-2012, 03:48 PM
Looks like the second thing they mention on the trick towers page I linked above is a $300 removable rear leg option and they show a pic of the tower folded forward.

That may not be ideal at a "high and dry" marina though since it won't be on a trailer. On the trailer you could make a cradle to catch it. They probably won't want to deal with your tower hanging over the front of the bow with their fork lift. Folding to the rear, and therefore keeping the "footprint" of the boat the same, would probably be more ideal. I could see the tower hanging 2 ft. over the front while they're racking it getting caught on something and causing problems. It's also easier to fold a tower to the rear (unless we're talking about a reverse arch) since you just have to lower it down. To fold forward you have to lift the weight of the tower (+ speakers + lights) up and over. If you're not 6'+ and of above average strength it can be pretty hard.