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Old 05-22-2016, 11:37 AM
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jafo9 jafo9 is offline
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02 X30 Tower Knob Removal

Hi all. I finally got around to removing the 4 knobs and 2 socket cap screws from my 02 Zero Flex Flyer. I don't know if my tower has ever been lowered as my knobs and screws were corroded. I figured I would outline what I went through and the sizes of the parts as a reference for folks doing the same thing.

First I soaked everything in PB Blaster for a few nights. This was only effective on one of the tower knobs. I was able to remove one of the lower knobs with a strap wrench. All the other knobs broke with the strap wrench. The part that failed was the small retaining pin that holds the plastic part to the stud. In hindsight, I think drilling out the retaining pin would have been a better approach, at least for the rear/lower knobs. The process of breaking the retaining pin damaged the threads and left a weak spot which led to failure and the stud ripping in two using the double nut method. This wouldn't be as important if you could get the small removable tower leg off the boat. In that case, you would have much more thread to work with to double nut.

Unfortunately, the double nut method only worked once for me. As a note, I used a 3/8-16 die to "fix" my threads prior to attaching the 2 nuts. The 2 socket head screws snapped at the "shoulder" of the threads. On the remaining studs, I tried vice grips, etc, with no success. At this point I was left with drilling out the 4 studs remaining. I had to do 3 of them on the boat which left a huge mess all over the carpet and vinyl. I also broke/dulled several drill bits so make sure you have spares. I found that starting with a 1/4" drill bit and then finishing with a 5/16" bit yielded the best result. You have to finish with a 5/16" bit as that is the size you will need to tap the 3/8-16 hole. Drilling this out was difficult as the drill bit was always trying to wander away from the stainless steel stud into the supersoft aluminum of the tower. It was very helpful to use a drill press on the small removable legs to help keep the bit true. If I were doing this again, I would have started with more drill bits as they tended to dull quickly on the stainless and prolonged the drilling time.

I ordered 4 knobs online from a ski shop and paid $100 prior to starting the project. I just ordered a pack of 5 from McMaster-Carr for $14 to have as spares. The sizes are:

Knob: 3/8-16 pitch and 1 1/2" length
Socket Cap Screw: 3/8-16 pitch and 1 1/8" length

My guess is that these dimensions are the same for that generation of tower, but I would recommend checking the pitch with a gauge prior to drilling/tapping. I will also use anti-seize on a regular basis to avoid doing this again.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:27 AM
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76S&S 76S&S is offline
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Do you have a link to the McMaster-Carr item that you ordered?
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:29 AM
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jafo9 jafo9 is offline
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http://www.mcmaster.com/#91185A871

http://www.mcmaster.com/#92196A625

Here are the parts I ordered. I can't confirm fitment as they haven't arrived. I'll post confirmation when they arrive.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:12 AM
Greg123 Greg123 is offline
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Did the new parts from mcmaster.com fit correctly? I am going through the same problem right now and need to order all new hardware as I broke them trying to remove to collapse the tower on my 04' X30.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:35 AM
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jafo9 jafo9 is offline
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I should have updated this sooner. The knobs from mcmaster are way too small to be useable long term. the handle looks fine online, but in your hand its too small. also, the socket head bolts were too short, i reordered them in a 1 1/2 inch length and that was perfect.
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