Joystick Tower Install on a Prostar
So this is what it took to install a Joystick Tower on my 1991 Prostar 190.
Like other install threads I have read, usually they emphasize reading the directions first. This I did, along with the install .pdfs / instructions for just about every other tower manufacturer that puts instructions on their web sites. I found Joystick's instructions usable, but not nearly as complete as some other manufacturers. They omitted seemingly accepted practices as taping hull and chamfering holes, as well as any detail on fabricating additional reinforcing plates.
The best resource was from a guy named Richard Hartman on his website, while it referenced a Seadoo runabout, the concepts are the same and quite detailed. I liberally used his ideas and techniques. A thank you to him for sharing his experience.
This is also a mini-review of the Joystick tower, pros and cons I have found so far.
First, I found Ron at Joystick very accommodating regarding the pre-purchase question phase of the transaction. He had stock photos of the tower on my year (series) boat, as well as a number of different boats with various colored towers that I inquired about. In the end, I went with white, after seeing a number of older PS with white towers I think it looks sharp.
The tower was shipped in a reasonable amount of time via FedEx ground.
The packaging was very impressive to say the least. Everything was tightly bundled in the box and well protected from damage. The SS hardware is very nicely machined (in the USA, not China).
A note here before I really get started on the actual install. You will (likely) have to purchase a few things before getting started.
-Marine Plywood / Aluminum Backing / Starboard. These are all either expensive or difficult to source. I have my favorite. A polymer cutting board. Works great, lasts a long time, easy to find and inexpensive. I prefer the basic giant board from Costco, for about $12.
-5/8 drill bit. Pretty big, and I did not have one. $17 at Home Depot
-3/8 Hex wrench. Again, I have a lot of hex wrenches, not one of those. $5 at auto parts store
-Epoxy / Bonding agent. Liquid Nails / 3M 4200-5200/Loctite PL etc. I chose to follow Mr. Hartman and went full tilt, with Evercoat Fibertech. Expensive but pretty cool stuff. O'Reilly Auto sells it ordered into store. $38 for small size.
So, you want to make some backing plates for the tower legs, as detailed in the above link. The year PS I have does not leave a tremendous amount of room to work with under the hull, but I settled on 3x8" polymer backing plates. The aluminum plates that come with the kit are 2x4. Drill the poly pieces with the aluminum as a template. Samson, a maker of excellent quality towers, uses a similar poly backing plate in the kit included with their product.
Now for the entertaining part, measuring and drilling the actual 20 holes in the hull. This was quite uncomfortable for me, know that if I d*cked it up, I was going to be a) embarrassed for being a dumbass, but b) upset that I damaged the hull and might not be able to get the tower mounted properly.
They say measure twice, cut once, but I measured at least 20 times and drilled once. Maybe I have OCD, but I really did not want to make a mistake. You really need a reference point to make sure both sides are equal. Here is a picture of what I came up with:
The PS hull toward the front of the windshield flows from a sidewall to the flat surface of the bow. So you run out of room to side attach the front mounts. I found that about 43" from the edge of the windshield that I chose to reference was about the most forward I could get and have a flat mounting surface (with no rocking of the mount on hull). Joystick recommends (with good reason) a side mount to ensure the tower folds without crushing the windshield.
Here is the mount mocked up and ready for drilling.
The first drill is the most daunting. Of course, use painters tape in hull and drill in reverse to protect gelcoat. Joystick recommends a 57" space from front to rear mounts. Now I know there is a great deal of knashing of teeth on the correct angle for tower legs and that goes along with all the noise about the religion regarding a tower on any closed bow Prostar. Rather than than try to get into high school calculus regarding angles, I just followed the directions. Again, I measured about 20 times side to side and had the level on the mount to ensure the correct alignment of the rear mounts.
Then chamfer the holes with a dremel and stone. Here is one mount drilled and chamfered.
Once the mounts are drilled (5 holes x 4 mounts), on to the reinforcement phase. Working with a small batch at a time (enough for one poly plate), glue the plates to the inside of the hull. The epoxy sets fairly quickly, so you have to keep a move on. Don't mix more than for one mount at a time. I used some bolts to hold it in place. RH used zip ties. I wanted a strong bond, so it seemed to work out.
Now that you have all reinforcing plates installed, mount the mounts with the 4 bolts and mount the mounting ears to the aluminum mounts.
You are nearly done!
Just bolt up the remaining tower assembly (as detailed in the Joystick instuctions). This is where you need that 3/8 hex wrench. Not spelled out in directions either, it's a little easter egg for you to find on your own.
Here is the finished result, minus the top connecter with the rope mount. As you can see, I am blocked by my garage door opener. I used a scrap 2x2 to connect the tower so I could see the result. So this will have to happen in the spring when I prep boat for use and pull it out of garage. The tower folds with the removal of two bolts (where the back legs attach the front).
I have not attached the additional aluminum racks on the sides yet, but they look like nice kit from Joystick as well.
All in all, a fulfilling project. A couple of days working methodically and taking lots of time to think things through, as well as re-reading the directions from time to time.
1991 ProStar / 351W with 1:1 Velvet Drive
Last edited by Lumbergh; 03-24-2013 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Public School Education