CUSTOM WAKEBOARD TOWER INSTALLATION
ALWAYS FOLLOW THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED WITH YOUR WAKEBOARD TOWER. THEY MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN THE PICTURES AND GENERAL GUIDELINES LISTED BELOW.
Here are some pictures that a viewer was kind enough to sent us and give us permission to use on this site.
This is one of the nicest custom fabricated backing plate sets that we have seen. Shaped aluminum plates were cut and custom bent for this install. If you use plywood backing plates the same steps will apply. You may have more filler in between your hull and the plywood backing plate (we recommend epoxy putty filler in this case to better fill the gap that the flat plywood and curved hull may produce).
Having really solid backing plates was very critical on the wakeboard tower installation below as the hull mounts required four holes be drilled per mount. The holes were also located near the edge of the hull mount. This setup is notorious for causing gel coat fractures (also called spider cracks) in our experience with poorly reinforced hulls.
Correct installation procedures greatly reduce the probability of gel coat fractures and spider cracks.
STEP 1 - Mask off your hull to prevent damage to your hull during install and mark your hull where you want your mounts to go (use your wakeboard tower mount as your template and mark your holes through the wakeboard tower mount holes.
CUSTOM OWNER FABRICATED HULL MOUNT BACKING PLATES
STEP 2 - Cut your backing plate to the correct size. This was a sophisticated backing plate in that it was cut to size and a metal bending brake was used to get the correct curvature. You can also use plywood, do a bit of shaping, and then use an epoxy compound to fill in any voids. Either will work just fine. Using the plywood is easier and cheaper. This installer had the tools and the knowledge to work with aluminum.
STEP 3 - Drill your holes after you have your plate and bolt locations traced onto your masking tape. IMPORTANT - RUN YOUR DRILL IN REVERSE AS YOU! DRILL THROUGH YOUR GEL COAT!!! If you don't you will chip the gel coat on your hull and risk "spider cracks" in the future.
STEP 5 - After drilling the holes in your hull, hold your backing plate up on the inside of your hull and mark the tower mount bolt locations. Once these are marked, drill the holes in your backing plate. This was an important step in this installation as the aluminum backing plates were shaped to exactly fit the hull curvature. If you are using plywood and epoxy, you can determine your mount location, epoxy your plywood in, and then drill your holes once the epoxy cures. You just need to find away to hold the plywood securely to the hull on the inside. You can also drill you mount holes as above, drill through your plywood for the tower mount holes, apply your epoxy, and then use a bolt to hold the plywood in place as the epoxy cures. A bit of grease on the bolt will keep the epoxy from sticking to the bolt. Use a long shouldered bolt so that the epoxy doesn't lock into the threads within the plywood. We'll get some pictures of this technique up on this site soon.
STEP 6 - Any burs in the aluminum were ground down. If you are using plywood, you would want to make sure that any chips or extra wood is sanded or filed down.
STEP 7 - Apply your adhesive. This install used a construction adhesive. Although this owner was happy with his install, the product he used is not recommended for aluminum or fiberglass. We always recommend a two part epoxy product for tower installations. These epoxy's cure hard (can be sanded and drilled) and adhere to fiberglass, plywood, and aluminum superbly. One important fact is that when you use plywood (instead of custom shaped aluminum as in this install) in that your epoxy will be filling voids between your boat hull and the plywood backing plate. The construction adhesives, although cheaper, simply don't have the compression strength that the epoxy's do. What does this mean? It means that if you have a 1/4" gap to fill with an adhesive, the epoxy's will not compress when you tighten up your wakeboard tower hull mounts. Construction adhesives have good adhesive properties with the correct materials, but will compress when tightened up with thicker applications. This will cause excessive tower hull mount movement and frequent re-tightening later on.
STEP 8 - Install your wakeboard tower hull mounts per the manufacturers instructions.
A LOOK FROM THE INSIDE OF THE HULL
THE FINAL PRODUCT