Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Dealer-Installed Bayliner Element Sports Arch - Is it Safe?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Dealer-Installed Bayliner Element Sports Arch - Is it Safe?

    I'm looking to get my dealer to install a sports arch (the factory "Monster" tower) on a new Bayliner E18. My fears of long term damage (spider crack / gel coat crack) are exacerbated by reading a bunch of horror stories that are probably a small minority, and most likely due to misuse or poor installation. That said, I'm still looking for a few answers that can alleviate my (hopefully) exaggerated fears.

    1. What, if any, is the difference between dealer installed vs manufacturer installed tower on these models? Does the manufacturer add support that can't otherwise be added by the dealer?
    2. Has anyone encountered cracking issues with this particular model , whether it is dealer or manufacturer installed?
    3. How critical is a sports arch for wakeboarding/skiing on this boat, anyways?


    #2
    Was hoping somebody else would answer you to save my pathetically slow typing...but no such luck. There are several threads on this already. I have the factory installed arch (2017 E18), and have experienced no issues with it at all. I have used it for slalom skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing.

    Please note that there are two warning labels on my boat. The boat distant so I don't recall the exact wording, but one of the labels says that the arch is only to be used with skis AND towables, and the other labels says NOT to use it with inflatable towables. There is another label that says "400 pound maximum load." As far as I can tell, the "No inflatable towables" label is only put on Elements that are sold in the American market.....so it is likely a liability limitation from the legal department rather than a structural limitation from the engineering department.

    In normal use, a good slalom skier will put more stress on the arch or pylon than a tube. The potential issue with a towable tube is that it could "submarine" on startup, which will put a huge amount of stress on the arch, the rope, and the tube, and something is going to break and someone could get seriously injured. A careful helmsman/captain can (and must) avoid such issues by making sure that the riders lean back on startup, and watch carefully to make sure that the tube rides over it's bow wave when getting started, and immediately cuts the throttle if he or she sees an issue. In 30 years of pulling tubes, I have never seen a tube "submarine" once it is on plane. If it does, or if the captain doesn't cut the throttles immediately if they see an issue, something is going to break and someone could get hurt. Probably just as well if it's the arch, 60 feet from the riders.

    I have not been able to "look" to see how the factory arch is installed, but I a-s-s-ume that backing plates are used. That is the standard way to secure such things. If there are no backing plates (and nuts and bolts), that thing will pull right out. It seems to me that the only way to install the arch with nuts and backing plates is to install it before the cap is attached to the hull, or to cut holes and install "pie plate" covers. To install the factory tower aftermarket (after the cap is secured to the hull), then I don't see how to do it without cutting a bunch of access holes. I would ask the dealer how they would install it, and then I am not sure that I would believe what they say.

    A wakeboard tower is another option, but the same issue would exist regarding how to get access for nuts and backing plates (though there is likely more flexibility regarding access holes).

    You could just attach a ski harness to the rear tow eyes instead of using an arch, but the stern eyes are very low and the rope will drag in the water and create challenges for the riders and the helmsman. As mentioned in the other threads, there are shock balls or power balls (Airhead, O'brien, Sportstuff) that can help mitigate the "dragging rope" issues.

    Next time I am at the boat I will try to see if I can eyeball the backside of the splashwell to see if I can see the nuts/backing plates. But, IIRC, I tried once before and couldn't see anything without removing the battery, which I have no plans to do until next year...(sorry.....I only mess around with batteries when I have to....).

    You might also want to check with a local fabricator to get their thoughts on what they might be able to customize for you. They might have more experience with aftermarket arches and towers than a Bayliner dealer.

    Comment


    • 6104696
      6104696 commented
      Editing a comment
      EDIT 2/23: OK I see that you guys are talking about overhead towers; I was referring to the factory "watersports arch" that is mounted to the transom. So, ignore my comments above.....

    #3
    Originally posted by John_R View Post
    I'm looking to get my dealer to install a sports arch (the factory "Monster" tower) on a new Bayliner E18. My fears of long term damage (spider crack / gel coat crack) are exacerbated by reading a bunch of horror stories that are probably a small minority, and most likely due to misuse or poor installation. That said, I'm still looking for a few answers that can alleviate my (hopefully) exaggerated fears.

    1. What, if any, is the difference between dealer installed vs manufacturer installed tower on these models? Does the manufacturer add support that can't otherwise be added by the dealer?
    2. Has anyone encountered cracking issues with this particular model , whether it is dealer or manufacturer installed?
    3. How critical is a sports arch for wakeboarding/skiing on this boat, anyways?
    Hi John,

    I see only one post by you, so not sure if you'll be looking back at this, but maybe if not others will find this useful. I installed a Monster Tower on my E-18 (2016 was the XL) aftermarket, it was not the one Bayliner has Monster build, it's a standard wake tower that is used on lots of boats. To answer #2- I have had zero cracking issues and my install was the two front legs on the gunnel and the two rear ones in the side. Both places i had to build up support underneath- i did some glass work on the sides first, both i installed a strip of aluminum and used a rubber waste nipple cut lengthwise as well. Then used the monster plates as well. Not a single crack now 3yrs installed. I wakeboard and have had others who push 200# (I'm 165) - I learned on this boat (+ some lessons) and have progressed along doing wake to wake jumps, so i definitely load the line and stress it some. My element has the 115hp engine and when I've taught some drivers how to manage the speed- I'm still thinking about a PP setup, there are mods to work w/OB engines.

    I did try to wakeboard pulling from the stern cleats, it doesn't go well. If you want to wakeboard, i highly suggest a tower, and even the Monster aftermarket route. I spent $600 and installed it myself w/very little assistance- I used my extension ladder one on each side of the boat and a board across a high rung as a hack job crane! Worked really well. Biggest issue was deciding on location- took me a while but i love it - chose far enough back to integrate w/the back of the bimini while still keeping it clear enough to get back on board w/o hitting your head- it's actually a very nice hand hold too! Good luck.

    Comment


      #4
      Thank you both for your insights, it was very informative.

      @6104696 - your post led me to contact two bayliner dealers for more specifics around the install. Both of them independently told me that they don't have to add supports because it is done at the factory before the deck is attached to the hull.

      Dealer A said the arch will be installed exactly like the factory. They do not have to add supports since this is done at the factory before the deck is attached to the hull. The dealer will drill the holes and countersink them to prevent cracks from coming.
      Dealer B said The Top Cap is reinforced in the build process on all hulls depending on weather it geta an arch from the factory or not. The Arch is thru-bolted with backing plates under the fiberglass. SAME as the factory.

      Both dealers didn't give me a clear answer on whether or not they would cover long term cracking issues through warranty, so I am guessing they are dodging that. Not sure if a factory install would cover that either though.

      You said you might not believe what they say, but given the above, what are your thoughts now?


      @kenw2w - very cool you were able to install a non-factory arch. What motivated you to go that route instead of the factory tower? What's motivating the PP setup, and what exactly have you looked into for that? I was looking at something similar (Turbo-swing) but read some people saying that it voids the mercury warranty, which is ridiculous.

      Comment


        #5
        Originally posted by John_R View Post
        Thank you both for your insights, it was very informative.

        @kenw2w - very cool you were able to install a non-factory arch. What motivated you to go that route instead of the factory tower? What's motivating the PP setup, and what exactly have you looked into for that? I was looking at something similar (Turbo-swing) but read some people saying that it voids the mercury warranty, which is ridiculous.
        When I bought my Element in 2016 I hadn't thought much beyond pulling tubes, and I didn't build the model, but bought from dealer stock without the arch. There was one with the arch and really nice in green but was about 4-5K more than mine. I didn't see the need, so went w/my blue one w/the 115hp - there was a red xl (18') w/90 hp, I did want the larger engine- there was the 16' as well, but knew I'd want a bit larger, and the 16 wouldn't fit as well in my garage (by about 2"!) so that advantage was out.

        By the end of my first yr boating, I bought skis and a Zup/versa board (essentially made to allow for "all" water sports behind the boat- nice for starting out, but not really for any well. Had lots of fun though! 2nd yr i learned how to ski (2 skis, gf can slalom) and struggled learning how to wakeboard- very hard to learn pulling from the stern cleats, so skiing was primary sport at that time. By end of the season I was getting up regularly and really enoyed it.....sooo.... needed a tower! I bought the MT2 on a sale (600, just checked now "sale" price is 900 ouch! I suspect it might come down a bit). I also looked at the turbo swing, but price was similar, tow point much lower, just very easy to install (hadn't heard about warranty void).

        Now, 3yrs of wakeboarding later w/tower and learned a lot, took some lessons, and I've added ballast, this helps! I am not going to do inverts, but do like w2w jumps and hoping for grabs this year. No need for a wake boat, though it would be fun too, just limit usability. We've learned a lot and how to manage speed, but a PP setup would be really nice, it's an investigation for sure this year- if I can get comfortable w/the install. Also, unless i sell this boat to someone who really wants for water sports too, I'll keep the PP for next boat, if needed. Still I've kept looking at wake boats, mostly used, especially for the thought of wake surfing. During the winter here in PA I'm dreaming of another setup, a prop guard. Figure if i get one welded up and attached to skeg & cavitation plate, with the right design i might then be able to try wake surfing behind this boat! That of course depends if i first can get the push needed- will test that first while on a short rope w/wakeboard- figure ballast and diy wake shaper. If it works, would be cool too... Also this summer i plan to test some used wake boats, and even the Yamaha jet boats (fear it might be too noisy) for their abilities, and by end of summer decide on what do do next w/this boat.

        Long answer, eh?!

        Comment


          #6
          Here's a picture of it at a dock at the lake, w/ bimini down, w/it up it works very nicely as if almost all one piece, why i can't find a picture w/bimini up i don't know! And, pictures of my hack crane to make the install much easier!

          Comment


          • nclexman
            nclexman commented
            Editing a comment
            Man that looks like a PIA to do. If I tried it, I would have broken my neck! You are a better person than I.
            I have a manufacturer installed sports arch/tower on my 2016 green E 16 with no problems.

          • kenw2w
            kenw2w commented
            Editing a comment
            nclexman, thanks it was surprisingly not difficult. I heard of folks able to do this in their garage, and building a hoist, my garage is too low- really need a barn! So i came up w/my own high tow point, and it worked well. BTW- that Green on the elements is sweet, enjoy!

          #7
          kenw2w Wow that looks really nice. Impressive job! I liked hearing about your progression, as I suspect it will end up being a similar story for me.

          How was skiing from the stern cleats? Are those strong and safe enough to be pulling skiers? What would the experience be like if you used the tow eyes?

          Comment


            #8
            Originally posted by John_R View Post
            kenw2w Wow that looks really nice. Impressive job! I liked hearing about your progression, as I suspect it will end up being a similar story for me.

            How was skiing from the stern cleats? Are those strong and safe enough to be pulling skiers? What would the experience be like if you used the tow eyes?
            Ahhh geez, that's not what i meant, sorry for the confusion, yes of course the two hooks, not the stern cleats (I knew what I meant, but well....!). I suspect the cleats would tear out on first pull. It worked fine, key w/these boats, and any water sports, is getting the handle of the speed- if a rider is pulling hard then you will need to increase speed- but feather it to avoid huge swings in speed. I'm also certain that a skier can't carve nearly as well (hard) on these as behind a ski boat, but still lot of fun to be had.

            I hope you have a similar experience, indeed the progression has been a ton of fun, and there's a lot to learn even w/o crazy tricks the good riders can do- fun just carving the wake (I like to adjust the line length sometimes fairly short for better wake) and lots of surface tricks, riding switch and backwards, changing speeds, it never gets old. Enjoy!

            Comment


              #9
              As an update, I got an email from Brunswick themselves and they further reinforced what the dealers said:

              "Thanks for writing, The supports have already been installed from the factory and there would not be any difference in how the dealer installs compared to the factory . The dealership would be take ownership of the gel coat / spider cracks in that area if they install the sports arch . Hope this helps."

              I think it's safe to say that dealer installs should be mostly fine for these archs. That said, I am still not sure I will be getting it right away as I will mostly be skiing the first couple years, and sounds like I don't really need the tower for skiing. I'll be giving it some test runs and see how it is with just the tow eyes.

              Comment


                #10
                One last thought, the reason i also went w/the wake Tower from Monster, as opposed to the sports arch, is getting this done by the dealer after the sale is double the price of getting it when ordering the boat. Something about an outrageous cost for shipping the arch. So I'm not even talking about it installed as I was willing to do the install myself. I was shocked by how much, I do like the look. I also looked to get one fabricated, was nearly the same price as i recall.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Originally posted by John_R View Post
                  Thank you both for your insights, it was very informative.

                  @6104696 - your post led me to contact two bayliner dealers for more specifics around the install. Both of them independently told me that they don't have to add supports because it is done at the factory before the deck is attached to the hull.

                  Dealer A said the arch will be installed exactly like the factory. They do not have to add supports since this is done at the factory before the deck is attached to the hull. The dealer will drill the holes and countersink them to prevent cracks from coming.
                  Dealer B said The Top Cap is reinforced in the build process on all hulls depending on weather it geta an arch from the factory or not. The Arch is thru-bolted with backing plates under the fiberglass. SAME as the factory.

                  Both dealers didn't give me a clear answer on whether or not they would cover long term cracking issues through warranty, so I am guessing they are dodging that. Not sure if a factory install would cover that either though.

                  You said you might not believe what they say, but given the above, what are your thoughts now?


                  @kenw2w - very cool you were able to install a non-factory arch. What motivated you to go that route instead of the factory tower? What's motivating the PP setup, and what exactly have you looked into for that? I was looking at something similar (Turbo-swing) but read some people saying that it voids the mercury warranty, which is ridiculous.
                  John: As I said above, I was referring to the transom-mounted watersports arch, and it seems that you guys are talking about the big overhead tower, so my comments might be somewhat off base. But the issue will be access in order to put the nuts on the bolts. If they have access through the seat backs or elsewhere, then that is fine. Otherwise they are going to need to make access holes somewhere.

                  I looked at the Turboswing for our other boat. It cannot "void" your entire Mercury warranty (the Magnusson Moss act prevents that), but if there is any failure of the mounting points or anything related to the Turboswing installation (mounting the Turboswing requires you to remove at least one set of engine mounting nuts, and possibly bolts, and the Turboswing is mounted to the engine mount), that would not be covered by Mercury's or Bayliner's warranty. I just didn't like the installation design, and as a slalom skier I want to be pulled hard from a fixed point, not a traveling pulley. If I am going to deal with a traveling pulley I will just use a $20 harness instead of a $1000 aftermarket thingamajig.

                  As for cracking, cosmetic cracking is usually excluded from warranty coverage, though some dealers or manufacturers might cover it under "goodwill." I would not expect much goodwill on an entry-level Bayliner, but ya never know. Structural cracking should of course be covered if it is a factory part installed at the factory or by an authorized dealer.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Hey @6104696 , actually I was talking about the transom-mounted sports arch. Brunswick told me that the access is underneath both Port and Starboard cushions , but an extension might be needed for the top stanchions .

                    Comment


                      #13
                      OK, I was doing some work on the E18 this weekend so I did some poking around. There is an access hole above the battery. This photo shows one of the bolts from the front mounts for sports arch (the one at the bottom of the picture; the one at the top coming in at a 90 degree angle is for the handhold that is above the battery door). That's a small slot, so perhaps a contortionist midget with rubber arms could get the washer, nut, and a wrench up there after they remove the battery. There might be access to the rear mounts through the fuel compartment and the starboard storage compartments, but that would require removal of at least the plywood panels at the back of each compartment and the foam blocks behind each panel......

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X