I purchased an Element XL in 2016 from the dealer's floor and have thoroughly enjoyed it. At the time I didn't think the lack of the sports arch was a big deal- I could always add on later, right? Well, that time came along quickly and two issues arose- 1) Dealer wanted me to leave the boat for an extended period of time instead of when they'd be ready to install it (I wasn't willing to give it up during the season so would wait until later) 2) Cost is double that of having it built in from the beginning! so an extra $1k or so is crazy. I like the look, but really at +2k, that's a bit much, though I still toss it around.... so,
I've been thinking about not overspending on this, but still want something functional and that looks good. There's the one that attaches to the engine mounts (sorry don't recall the name), but that really only lifts about 2' off the current transom pull spots and at ~1k that seems little "improvement". Look is fine however. A sports tower like the ones from monster tower (or really other sites too) is quite nice, however render my bimini top another item to gather dust in the garage. Not interested, not to mention not sure how this boat would look with that, it's not a ski boat per se, though I've certainly have skied and boarded behind it! This leaves a ski pylon, which I'm fine with the look (simplicity) and like the function (higher pull spot) and should be straight forward install on the deck with support below (around the battery area?), so now the questions / thoughts prior to more research-
1) Can I install a ski pylon that sits on the back in front of the bilge with support built up below (i.e. just above the battery)? Is one well built up support below adequate, or do I need outriggers(?) as I've seen on some pylons, and if so where best to attach?
2) In trying to keep the hull from being impacted, the above idea doesn't go through the deck, does this not absolve Bayliner from hull warranty? Concern here is based upon my install, though if needed I have a dealer install to keep hull warranty. My additional concern is the water in sponson issue- of which I am unaware of having any to date.
3) Any other ideas / suggestions for an alternate ski pylon?
I like the idea of a higher pull point, whether or not this makes much difference in the actual performance isn't important to me, just want to have the option to pull higher.
Here in the mid-atlantic, there are some good custom fabricators that will do a custom ski/tow bar for $600-$700.
Anything that you do to the hull that causes a failure will not be covered under the factory warranty. Just because you add something does not (can not under Federal Law; Maguson-Moss) "void" your warranty. If they deny a warranty claim because of something you've done, they need to show that your modification caused or contributed to the failure, and that the failure was not a manufacturing defect. Your warranty covers manufacturing defects.
If you don't drill into the sponsons or add anything which stresses the sponson chambers, this should have no effect on how they handle a leaking sponson issue if you have one.
As to what is and what is not strong enough.....obviously the factory arch is plenty strong enough, so with backing plates (I have not looked but I assume that they use backing plates) those four mounting points are pretty solid. I know I have put a lot of stress on mine and it is solid as a rock, with no stress cracking of any sort.