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View Full Version : Replacement Tower Pad DIY/ How to /fix shaky tower


willg
07-07-2013, 11:56 PM
Ok, so after calling dealers for weeks, I decided to make my own set of tower pads. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures, but the procedure is straightforward. I have a 2002 MC X-Star w/ zero flex flyer tower. My tower shook badly enough to hit the windshield when I went over waves.

1) Order the rubber. I used this Ultra-Strength Neoprene Rubber, Plain Back, 1/8" Thick, 4" Width, 36" L, 70A Durometer (http://www.mcmaster.com/#9013k62/=nixwfr). This is much thicker than the factory pads, but worked perfectly. Had plenty for at least 8 individual pads.

2) Buy a hot knife. I used this one Harbor Freight Hot Knife (http://www.harborfreight.com/5-in-1-hobby-woodburner-38593.html), and bought this knife for the blades Harbor Freight Hobby Knife (http://www.harborfreight.com/13-piece-precision-knife-set-32099.html)

3) Remove the tower. I removed the top section of my tower first, then the legs. For the legs you need a 1/2" allen wrench (or socket) and a 19/32" socket. Also I needed an 19/32" wrench to get to the rear tower nuts (if you don't have these tools, Harbor Freight has them for a good price). Some anti-seize compound on the ends of the bolts before removing the nuts eases the process. I had to cut the wires for my tower light, but was able to use crimp connectors to reattach it.

4) Make a template. On the front of the legs, I only made a template for the hole in the bottom of the tower (where the light wire ran through) and the bolt hole. The backs just have a bolt hole. Once I made this out of paper, I cut those two holes into a ~2"x4" piece of rubber. This allowed me to remount the tower.

5) Remount the tower w/ rough pads under legs. Tighten the bolts to ~75% of the final torque. For me, this was when the rubber began to squish out from under the leg.

6) Trace the leg for the tower on the pad. I used a silver sharpie.

7) Remove tower & pads.

8) Cut out pad with hot knife. I still had some nicks and rough spots around where I cut, so I actually sanded the edge of the pad with 120 grit sandpaper. This evened it out.

9) Reinstall the tower. I cleaned the threads of the hex bolts and liberally applied anti-seize. I torqued the bolts on mine enough so that the rubber squished out maybe 1/16" out around the leg. Just tight enough that when I turned the hex bolt without a wrench on the nut, it was stiff. It's hard to say what torque to tighten to, because the threads were wet.

10) My boat was missing the appropriate plastic washers that fit in the hinge of the tower (where the top section attaches to the leg in the front). I used neopreme washers from Home Depot, two on each side. These (http://www.homedepot.com/p/5-8-in-x-2-in-Black-Neoprene-Washer-89448/100338770#.Udo3gPnCaSo) exact ones.

The tower used to rattle and shake quite badly. Now it is MUCH stiffer. I can barely shake it with my hands. Overall, this was a huge improvement and well worth the time and effort. All in, it cost me about $38 (I had the tools). I was so impressed with the results I had to post this up

mikeg205
07-08-2013, 12:12 AM
Show us some picss...use photobucket.com.

willg
07-08-2013, 12:24 AM
Show us some picss...use photobucket.com.
Im not with the boat right now, but can try to get some next weekend.

mikeg205
07-08-2013, 12:26 AM
that would be great

Mark rsa2au
07-08-2013, 01:09 AM
yes please - pics!

Nice write up!

Seattlite
09-14-2014, 03:23 AM
Nice write-up - thanks (I have the same problem)

When I tried to tighten the tower nuts with a 1/2" allen wrench, it just spins..
Not sure how do you even get to the nut underneath..

willg
09-14-2014, 04:19 PM
You are going to need to put a wrench on the nuts on the bottom. IIRC it's like 19/32". The rear two are the hardest to get to, I used a mirror and flashlight to see where they were, the stuck the wrench up there and hooked it on. The front two are much easier. Passenger side is easily accessed from under the observer's seat. For drivers, you can get it from under the bow seats, but unless you are quite small it is easier to remove the driver's kick panel or sub if you have one. Make sure to lube up the bolts and nuts. I think the Allen bolts are aluminum and they get pretty hot (and can bind) running through the big nylock nuts.

Seattlite
09-14-2014, 09:19 PM
This is no easy task!

I have a flashlight, a mirror, a Dewalt video inspection camera, a rare flexible 3/8" extension, an universal joint on a standard 3/8" extension with a socket, a standard wrench...

This is ridiculous! I can't come even close to actually touching the inside nut with my finger. Even with video assist, it seems essentially impossible to engage it with a socket on a universal joint and with the flexible extension, or with a standard style wrench! (I guess this is what is going to ultimately be required..)

ALSO - 19/32 is a very odd size - I could not find one in my collections, and the local O'Reilly's Auto Parts doesn't event carry that size. Are we sure it isn't either 5/8" or 15mm (very close sizes, and much more common)?

I am going to enlist the help my son (younger an more flexible) but this is not an easy "nut to crack" if you ask me.. What a pain! Tempted to let the dealer deal with this problem, but I want to fix it - to feel safer when using it NOW!..

willg
09-14-2014, 09:34 PM
For some reason when I did it I seemed to think it was 19/32", but that is a weird size, and it probably is 5/8". I think I laid down in the passenger ski locker to get to the passenger side one, and reached my arm up. My face and body faced the sky and my arm went up. You for sure need a second hand to work the allen heads while you hold the nuts. You might have luck working on the driver's side first, it's easier to get to. I also enlisted the help of my 13 year old brother when I was doing this because he could easily reach the nuts.

Are you having trouble with the fronts or the rears? The fronts aren't too bad. I think to do the rears I used the closed end of a wrench and reached it up and hooked it on. Getting the nut and washer back on though was a PITA. I don't believe there is any way to put a socket on the rears, there isn't enough clearance, but I might be wrong.

Also, I tried tightening them, it didn't do anything. I had to put new pads in to affect any real change.

BTW my pads are working great. Absolutely no shake after two seasons.

Seattlite
09-20-2014, 02:54 PM
Thanks a lot for the follow up - good to know they are holding up

For others - Wayne at New dimensions does have base gasket sets

wayne@newdimensiontowers.com (865-995-1000) (he also has the knobs [soft touch], and the plastic washers for between the frame joints)

I have also ordered a set from new dimensions, and will compare these to the neoprene material I got online per willg's suggested fix.

One thing to be aware of is that (Wayne says) one reason the gaskets are twisting out is that the adhesive has broken down. These gaskets have an adhesive that sticks to the under-surface of the tower base - so when replacing them one needs to thoroughly clean the base, and if you make your own, consider using an adhesive on the tower side of the replacement pads.

The size of the nuts on the inside is actually 15/16" or 24mm