View Full Version : Phender Pro install

09-16-2013, 12:37 PM
This summer, I finally installed the phender pro clips I bought last Christmas.

I really like the clips - they are very easy to plug in and remove, and they have a positive lock so they can never fall out. Plus the fender are always at the right height because you never undo them from the clip. Even young kids, or guests with no boating experience, can now have the responsability of putting the fenders out when docking because the clips are that easy. As a driver and owner, that makes me happy.


I had bought three clips per side, and ended up only installing two per side. When laying out the fenders before drilling, I decided that the third fender really needed to be at the tower. Rather than installing a receiver there, I thought it would be easier and better to tie the third one around the tower. So I put a gated hook on the center fender line so I can loop the line around the tower and hook it onto itself.... Believe me, its easier to do than to describe.

These directions worked for me - your mileage may vary

Tools required
- loctite (I used blue)
- 3/8" allen key or allen socket.
- 1-1/2" socket (optional). This is the same size as a socket for a 2" trailer ball, so you may already have one. However, you do not need the socket as I could get it tight enough by hand and you really don't want to overtighten these.
- drill with 1" drill bit. The typical Home Depot spade bit is fine. I bought a new bit and it was fine for the four holes - no chipping.
- one extra person is handy when threading the nuts on.

Mechanical difficulty: 4/10
Fear factor of drilling 4 big holes in your boat: 11/10

(10 minutes) First, figure out where they go. Consider the following factors:
a) each fender should be in the right location to fend off the boat. With a few minutes of experimentation, this meant somewhere around the rear cleat, and somewhere near the front of the windshield on my boat.
b) once you figure out where they should be so the fenders can do their job, then make sure you can easily install them in those locations. The rear ones were simple on my boat, because I put them 4" behind the existing cleats. These were easily accessible from the compartments on either side of the V drive engine. The front ones need to go near the front of the windshield. The spotter side was easy to get at by flipping up the seat. The driver's side had a small access hole high up above the driver's knee. Make sure you're not drilling into wires/cables/ structural pieces. Be particularly careful on the driver's side. Consider putting something in to protect the cables there.
c) On my boat, the top deck has a flat strip about 2" wide that runs from front to back. The cleats are installed on this strip and it made the most sense to install the receivers on teh same strip.
d) put the receivers in the same spot on each side of the boat. Once I determined where the access hole was on the driver's side, I took measurements forward from the tower and back from the forward cleat so that I could get the fender at the same point on each side of the boat. Don't use the bimini clips or windshield as a reference point: I found the bimini clips were mounted in slightly different spots on each side (weird) and the curved windshield was no good for accurate measurements.

(5 mins per hole) Drill the holes
a) so now you've marked the spots, its time to drill the holes. You should have an exact spot marked with a pencil that is dead center of where you want the clip to be. For example on mine, the rear one was 4" back of the cleats, and halfway up the 2" flat strip (see picture).
b) centre punch each hole so that the drill bit has a place to start without wandering. Don't have a centre punch? - use a small nail and give it a few taps just to score the surface. Drill the hole from the outside towards the inside. I stopped about a third of the way through, and then used the hole in the centre to drill from the inside just to score the inside fibreglass so that it didn't chip. Then continue drilling from the outside. Do not dril too far from the inside. ALWAYS FINISH THE HOLE BY DRILLING FROM THE OUTSIDE - otherwise you risk chipping the gelcoat. Note: I was not be able to drill from the inside on the driver's side at all because of access problems, so I just drilled from the outside only.

(5- 10 minutes per clip) Install the clips
a) Dry fit the clips. You'll need an extra person. They can insert the clips from the outside, and you can screw the nut on from the inside. Finger tight only at this point - do not turn from the outside: there's less risk of chipping the gelcoat if the outside piece does not move.
b) Have a look at your job.
i) If the clip is flush to the boat on the outside, then you can remove nut, put loctite on the receiver threads and retighten. Do not overtighten - rely on loctite because too much torque will chip or crack the gelcoat. Done!
ii) If the clip is not flush, then the issue is that while the gelcoat surface is flat on the outside, the fibreglass on the inside is rounded. The nut contacts one side of the inside fibreglass and pushes the clip so that it is not flush. You have a couple of options: you can dremel away teh extra fibreglass so that the nut can go flush (I did not do this); you could insert something under the nut to make it flush again (perhaps plumber's putty or wire - wood would not be a good long term solution); or you could use the retrofit receiver, which is much narrower. Since I had purchased three receivers including one retrofit, this was my solution. See discussion below on the drivers front clip. Once you get it so that it is flush, then loctite and tighten. Done!

The front clip problem
The only problem I had was with the driver's clip. Extra care is needed due to the wires, however that was not a big deal. The real problem was trying to get it flush. While the outside was flat, the inside hull was quite rounded and the nut on the phender pro is huge. When you thread it on, it contacts the fibreglass on one side and offsets the receiver so that it is not flush with the outside. Since I had an extra retrofit receiver (see page 4 of the phender pro brochure, linked above), I found that worked much better because it is much narrower (maybe 3/4" instead of 1.5"). However a piece of gelcoat flaked off on the driver's side when I screwed the receiver together. The issue is unlike the nut, the retrofit receiver 'nut' does not turn, so you have to turn the receiver body from the outside. The missing flake is not that noticable - it is almost all covered by the receiver. In fact noone has noticed it except me, but anyone with MCOCD would spot it after 10 seconds of looking at it. If I had to do it again, I can't decide whether I would use another retrofit clip and just not tighten it that much, or whether I would use the regular nut and use something as a spacer underneath to flatten things out. Maybe I should have taped the hole before screwing on the retrofit receiver. Hmmm.

Would I do it again?
Absolutely. These just clean up the lines completely and are very easy to use. I am very impressed with the quality.

1) Front clip
2) Rear clip
3) rear clip from inside. Phender pro on left, cleat on right.
4) front clip on spotter's side - this is a retrofit receiver. (front of the boat is up, rear is down). You can see why the larger nut would have problems in this area
5) this is before putting in teh retrofit receiver. It's not flush!

09-16-2013, 12:51 PM
great write up!

09-16-2013, 11:37 PM
Nice write up. I have had both the Pender pros and the new pop up cleats out tonight trying to get up the nerve to drill 12 huge holes in my boat. I need to drill them a bit farther up on the top deck so the low freeboard fenders hang right. Also trying to keep them out of the way for any possible tower adds in the future. On my 205, I may end up with the Pender pro socket being drilled into the air intake on the top tack for the front location. I don't think it matters much.

09-17-2013, 12:41 AM
Nice write up. I have had both the Pender pros and the new pop up cleats out tonight trying to get up the nerve to drill 12 huge holes in my boat.

Yup- 11/10 on the fear factor. x3 for twelve holes!

Drilling the holes turns out to be the easy part. the most important thing is to get them in the right spot before drilling. Measure everything twice. Maybe even leave it overnight and check the next day to make sure you're still sure.

Here's one more pic i just found on my phone. I like the clean look of moving the fenders off the cleats.

04-01-2014, 07:06 AM
Looks great... now... where did you actually buy them? A google search didn't turn up a retailer...

04-01-2014, 01:24 PM

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