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Monster MTk tower on a 2011 185 - installation report-gctid383922

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    Monster MTk tower on a 2011 185 - installation report-gctid383922

    Thanks everyone for all the advice and opinions over the last few weeks. I installed my Monster MTk tower last weekend, here is my install thread. I really appreciated and benefited from reading others experiences before I started, maybe this will be helpful to some others as well.Here are the pics of the finished product, my posts below detail the project and include some in-process pics too. Enjoy!

    [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687446=27904-20120521_180750.jpg[/img]

    [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687446=27905-20120521_180800.jpg[/img]

    [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687446=27906-20120521_180814.jpg[/img]

    #2
    I ordered the tower from Marine Max of all sources, I only knew them as the big Sea Ray dealer network, but they have a decent online store front with seemingly competitive prices. I was looking for free shipping and immediate delivery, and was a little leery of ordering from a store I had never heard of.

    Everyone seems to sell this tower for the MSRP of $1299, so shipping (and tax) seemed the only opportunity to save any money. I discovered that the Marine Max site offers a free 30 day trial membership in their rewards club that includes a 5% discount of all orders. I signed up just before placing my order and was given a $75 discount on the tower plus free shipping plus no sales tax. I was pleased with that deal. I chose not to order board racks right away because my family also skis and kneeboards and I'm not entirely sure what racks I want yet.

    The tower shipped the day after my order, and I was able to track it to my door via UPS. It arrived in less than a week. I opened it immediately and was happy to see that not only were all the parts present (I read one or two reports of missing pieces from Monster) but there was even an extra bag of spare fasteners just in case. I thought that was a nice touch.

    I decided that this would be an all weekend project so I could take my time and get it just right, that was a very good decision in hind sight. I began right after work on Friday, worked on it Saturday morning, again Saturday evening (soccer games in between) then finished it up on Sunday afternoon (after a morning soccer game). All in all, it took probably 8-12 hours to complete, I could do another one on the exact same boat on 4-6 now that I know what to do, much of the time is spent just planning and thinking about the next step in the job.

    Comment


      #3
      Pulled the boat out of the garage and took the cover off. I knew that my factory bimini could no longer be used so I removed it then unscrewed all the deck and windshield frame brackets that it used. Anybody looking for one? It's listed in the classifieds.

      Here's the first helpful tip. Empty the boat out entirely. I did not do this and paid the price in cleanup once the boat began to fill up with fiberglass dust and metal shavings. Trying to vacuum off life jackets and boat cushions and lines is much harder than it sounds.

      As you may have read in my other posts, I struggled with deciding whether to do top or side mounts. I went with the top mounts in the end because I felt it looked more 'clean' which I know is entirely subjective. This added some complexity to the job which I'll describe below. In addition, my cockpit cover needs to be modified to fit around the four legs. I dropped that off at a local canvas shop this morning after chalking up the changes myself.

      Once I decided on the top mount, I had to determine placing, For this I studied the 2012 Bayliner website because this is the factory OEM tower and there are plenty of pics there. I decided to mount it as far forward as possible without overlapping the molded non-skid. This placed the front mounts directly over the one bimini top mounts. That was nice because I actually reused the front-most hole and just had to widen it out.

      Unlike most towers, the MTk mounts are a fixed distance apart and cannot be adjusted, this presented an unforeseen complication that I'll describe below as well, as I spent a lot of time considering where the front mount would be then very little time thinking about the back mounts.

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        #4
        Following the directions that came with the tower, the first step is to measure the approximate width of the boat then loosely assemble the tower to that width. This part went very well and I had the tower together laying in the front yard within about a half hour. The instructions say to be very careful not to scratch or ding the tower during assembly, and that is definitely important. It would be really easy to put a mark somewhere with a wrench, bolt, etc. Be careful!Next I covered the approximate mounting points on the boat with blue painters tape. The instructions said to place the front mounts in their positions then trace the outline and hole positions. I discovered after doing the first two that there is an easier way to do this. The backing plate is exactly the same size as the mount itself, and since it is so much thinner it's much easier to trace, especially the holes.The instructions say to drill out both holes, first with a small bit then with the larger one, then put a chamfer on the holes. Here is another trick I learned on the second one. It is very hard to get the holes in the exactly-right place using the circles drawn on the tape. Starting on the second one, I drilled only the front hole, then put the backing plate in place with a front bolt and drilled the back hole right through the plate. This puts the back hole in the perfect place. I found that the best tool to do a nice chamfer in the gelcoat is a dremel with a small sanding drum.The next step is where I ran into my first complication with mounting on top. Before I committed to mounting on top, I confirmed that the backing plates would fit flush underneath, and they just fit so I figured I was in good shape. What I failed to realize was that I was not mounting in the exact center of the top surface, but slightly inward. Once I ran the bolts thru the holes, the mounting plate underneath was off center just enough to no longer fit, it was maybe 1/8 inch too wide. I solved this problem not by trimming the mounting plate but by widening the bolt holes using a dremel and a cutting bit. This turned out to be an easy fix and didn't add very much time at all to the job.I read a lot about the different ways people reinforce the mounts with additional backing plates of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, composite, etc. I decided to take a simple approach and used 2" wide 1/4" thick pieces of hardwood (oak in my case). This material is easy to find at Lowes and only cost me about $5. Since the underside of the gunnel is not exactly flat, I used liberal amounts of liquid nails on the wood to secure it in place and provide an complete surface contact between the wood and the fiberglass.Here's how I did this part. I cut the wood into 6 inch sections the same width as the backing plates. Then I used the backing plates as a template and drilled the holes in the wood. I reamed the holes out a little bit for the same reason I had to adjust the mounting plates to work off-center. Once I had them drilled, I checked one final time to ensure that the wood, the rubber gasket, and the backing plate all fit on the bolts without binding at all.In order to seal the holes and make then watertight, I applied a liberal amount of clear silicone to the bolts before sliding them through the holes. Be sure to apply it only to the very top of the bolts, maybe the top 1/4 inch or so.Then I covered the wood with a liberal amount of liquid nails and slid it up into place on the bolts. Be careful, that stuff drips down when the bolts are tightened, I had to wait until several large blobs completely dried to carefully get the off the carpet on my side walls.The liquid nails held the wood in place nice and tight so sliding the rubber gasket and the backing plate on was easy, then I tightened everything down just until the rubber began to deform. Final tightening needed to wait the 24 hours for the liquid nails to be completely set.I finished the front mount on each side then waited until the next day for the liquid nails to set up so I could do the final tightening and mount the tower.

        [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687450=27907-20120518_184401.jpg[/img]

        [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687450=27908-20120518_193509.jpg[/img]

        [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687450=27910-20120518_183053.jpg[/img]

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          #5
          Mounting the tower was tricky and took three people, especially since we were figuring out how do do it as we went. The instructions say to connect the tower to the front mounts then position the back mounts by rotating the tower up into position with the back mounts attached to it. Here's what ended up working for me. We tried to use two people to hold the tower in its upright position while the third person frantically connected it to the front mounts. This did not work. Then we got smart and laid the tower down in the folded position (it rests perfectly on the steering wheel), and rested each side on a life jacked on the gunnel just in front of the mounts. With the weight off, we were able to carefully position it and connect it to the front mounts without difficulty.

          After that, standing it up to trace the back mount positions was straightforward and only took a few minutes. I again used backing plates to position the holes and got them all drilled and chamfered pretty quickly.

          Here's where I hit my second unforeseen complication. In Bayliner's infinite wisdom, they chose various places inside the boat to glass very small pieces of wood in which to screw wire ties and loops. Wouldn't you know that they chose places on both sides almost exactly where my new mounting holes were now drilled. These small pieces of wood are maybe 1/2" by 2" and are in no way sufficient backing material on their own.

          I got out the dremel again, and my keyhole saw, and did some fancy woodworking to make my 2" by 6" wood plates fit right around the existing wood. That took a lot of trial and error, and climbing in and out of the boat, but in the end they fit perfectly.

          Mounting the back mounts went exactly like the front ones, nothing different to report.

          Comment


            #6
            The only thing left was to stand up the tower and square it off so the final bolts could be drilled and installed. No tricks here, just lots of measuring back and forth before committing to a position. I bet we measured a dozen times before it was perfect. This is the part of the install where it definitely pays to take it slow. Once we had the tower perfectly square, I carefully began tightening the four bolts in the upper section to lock it into position. I re-measured after each round of tightening and I did have to make a few small adjustments during this step. Take your time, there is no correcting mistakes here.Once all four bolts were completely tight, and I was sure the tower was still perfectly square, all that was left was to drill out the four non-adjustable bolt holes and install the fasteners. The instructions were very good here, start with a 1/4" pilot hole the switch to the bigger bit.Here's where emptying your boat completely will pay off. I had metal shavings going everywhere. Probably a good idea to cover all your seats with towels too, I was really nervous about those shavings putting tiny tears in the vinyl. I must have stopped drilling to run the shop vac five or six times to keep everything clean.That's my report. Long weekend, fun but glad it's over. Tower looks great, and the kids can't wait to try it out this weekend. Happy skiing and boarding everyone!

            [img]/media/kunena/attachments/vb/687452=27909-20120521_180827.jpg[/img]

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              #7
              Looks very sharp my friend. I hope you enjoy your time out on the water as much as me and my family do.

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                #8
                The tower looks great! Congratulations. And, thanks so much for posting the pictures and such great detail. I plan on doing my installation this weekend, and you've given some great tips. Very appreciated.

                Kent

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                  #9
                  The tower looks really good on the boat. I'll be interested to hear how stable it is when you are cranking on it.

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                    #10
                    Nice job, looks awesome!

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                      #11
                      Very Nice! Looks really sharp. You'll love riding behind that tower.

                      Remember to take allen wrenches and sockets on your first couple of trips. I had to tighten things up after the first two trips but everything has stayed tight and solid since.

                      Enjoy!

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                        #12
                        Awesome write up mate.

                        I'm planning on installing a tower on my 175 in the next month or so. Im not planning on going a MTK as I think a tower with that much presence will dwarf my boat and look out of place. But the information you have provided will assist me with my install of a different tower

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                          #13
                          Looks great! Get some pics of your family being pulled by it!!

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                            #14
                            pat8839 wrote:
                            Looks great! Get some pics of your family being pulled by it!!
                            Here are some pics from our summer with the new tower...

                            http://baylinerownersclub.org/media/....jpg[/img]

                            http://baylinerownersclub.org/media/....jpg[/img]

                            http://baylinerownersclub.org/media/....jpg[/img]

                            http://baylinerownersclub.org/media/....jpg[/img]

                            http://baylinerownersclub.org/media/....jpg[/img]

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                              #15
                              Nice job and great write up. I cant decide on the MTK or MT1. The extra work required for the MTK for the install and the cutting of my cover is leading me to lean more toward the MT1. Totally different looks too!

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