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rustie

Gelcoat cracks at Tower Mount.

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rustie

I've got a '06 247 LSV with only 40 hours on it, and I've noticed several gelcoat cracks just forward of the tower mounting contact area to the hull.

One side has slightly more cracks than the other, but it seems like there's a phenomenal amount of load stress imparted to the deck by the weight of the tower itself....and all the pounding at the forward mounting point by the overhung design (both in the water and when traveling on the trailer).

Anybody else experience this? Have you had the gelcoat repaired, and if so...did the repair solve the cracking?

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WakeGirl

It's a common problem. The difficulty though may be in when your warranty runs out. When did you take delivery?

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Bill_AirJunky

I've seen it on numerous boats, factory installed & aftermarket installs. Typically they don't effect the strength of the fiberglass & it's a cosmetic problem.

A couple of questions..... Illusion or Titan tower? And have you towed anything other than a boarder or skier with it?

Definitely report it to your dealer.

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rustie
It's a common problem. The difficulty though may be in when your warranty runs out. When did you take delivery?

Bought it used only a few months ago, but just had the remaining warranty transferred to me (wasn't cheap either!) Only has a few months left on the engine warranty, so I didn't transfer that....only picked up the lifetime hull warranty (which should cover the gellcoat cracks).

Edited by rustie

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WakeGirl

I don't believe that the lifetime hull portion covers this type of thing, but maybe that's changed. You need to get it looked at ASAP if you're close to the end of your coverage.

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rustie
A couple of questions..... Illusion or Titan tower? And have you towed anything other than a boarder or skier with it?

It has the Illusion tower. Haven't even had it wet yet (except for testing at the local Malibu dealer). This is the exact same boat/color combo (including triple axle trailer):

a10e_3a.jpg

Malibu247LSV.jpg

Edited by rustie

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Bill_AirJunky

Nice setup. I'd get that into a dealer ASAP. No clue how the warranty can be applied.

If you strike out with the dealer, I think I'd have a top plate fabricated.... maybe out of billet aluminum, to help spread the load out a bit more.

I would wonder if someone hit a garage door with the tower, or has been pulling huge tubes or parasails with it. I'm sure it's possible it's a defect from the factory too, but one would hope not.

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WakeGirl

It could be either, it's very common with that tower. Not so much with the Titan.

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skyskier

For your info and peace of mind....................If the work is done right, the repair will be 100% invisible. Doing it right means removing the tower, tower base, and interior vinyl instead of taping up and trying to work around all of it.

The bad news.............there is a very good chance the cracks will reappear. I suspect that towing with the tower up leads to a lot of these problems. Especially if your tower is weighed down with lots of gear. One good bump in the road is all it takes. Then there is the issue of taking on rollers or double ups with a gear laden tower. My best advice is just don't do it. Especially after repair work has been done.

I have heard the hole for the tower needs to be chamfered to relieve stress on the edge. I have also heard if the gel is too thick it will crack instead of flex.

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WakeGirl
For your info and peace of mind....................If the work is done right, the repair will be 100% invisible. Doing it right means removing the tower, tower base, and interior vinyl instead of taping up and trying to work around all of it.

The bad news.............there is a very good chance the cracks will reappear. I suspect that towing with the tower up leads to a lot of these problems. Especially if your tower is weighed down with lots of gear. One good bump in the road is all it takes. Then there is the issue of taking on rollers or double ups with a gear laden tower. My best advice is just don't do it. Especially after repair work has been done.

I have heard the hole for the tower needs to be chamfered to relieve stress on the edge. I have also heard if the gel is too thick it will crack instead of flex.

Not sure that I agree with that. I've had 2 boats now that have had this very problem, both repaired under warranty (1 was a Skylon Swoop, the other an '06 Illusion). Anyone that's seen either boat also knows that I'm not shy about putting stuff on the tower. Repairs on both boats held up fine (we did some additional work to the hull with the Swoop just to be sure). If the repair is done correctly, it shouldn't be a problem....IMO of course. YMMV

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rustie
If you strike out with the dealer, I think I'd have a top plate fabricated.... maybe out of billet aluminum, to help spread the load out a bit more.

Yep....My thoughts exactly. Good to hear it from someone else!

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rustie
......Repairs on both boats held up fine......

Yeah...I will have my dealer give his opinion, and repair if offered...but the aluminum plate idea to spread the load seems like a good one too.

Anyone here added any reinforcement plates? Pics???

Edited by rustie

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WakeGirl

You can try that, but I can tell you after pulling the Illusion off that there isn't a whole lot of room to work with. Add to it that the spring system has certain clearances & tolerances relative to the thickness of the hull.....not sure that what you're saying would work.

That spring system actually has quite a bit of reinforcement built into it, at least compared with some of the other tower systems that I've seen.

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CRASH

Almost every boat we have repaired the cracks on have been caused by improper chamferring of the holes. I have not seen one come back cracked again after repairs. Malibu will typically take care of this unless the boat is way way out of warranty.

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johnsvt

My boat had the same problem. If you have the warranty transfer a dealer MAY be able to get your cracks covered...MAY.

My cracks developed, also at about 40 hours in, because of 6 bolts holding the illusion tower had come loose, about a 1/2 turn each. Therefore, I have added the 6 bolts as a PM to check with every oil change.

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Sunscape fan

I was at my dealer getting my boat winterized last fall. At the time, he was repairing a 08 23LSV that had gel coat cracks around the illusion tower base. I enquired with him if this was common. He told me that the owner of that particular boat placed way too much weight on his tower, ie: 4 wakeboards, two waterskis, two surfboards, 8 tower lights, and 6 tower speakers. He told me that with that much weight along with the pounding on rough waves, there was nothing that could be done to avoid gel coat cracks. In my opinion, if the tower isn't fully loaded up like that then there shouldn't be a problem. If the boat and or tower is abused, then there will be consequences to suffer. Just my opinion.

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martinarcher

Any info on properly chamfering holes in the hull to prevent this type of cracking? I just drilled my 16 holes for mounting my Titan tower last night. Sounds like I need to run a counter sink down into the gelcoat to chamfer the holes. I was planning on running a 7/16" inch countersink into the now 5/16" holes. Also, I've read of guys oversizing the holes and putting epoxy plugs into the the holes and re-drilling for the final size before mounting in order to seal the layers of the hull together. I guess it prevent water ingress and delamination of the hull. Anyone ever done anything like it? Sounds like a good idea to me.

http://members.toast.net/boatguy/drill.htm

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99response
Almost every boat we have repaired the cracks on have been caused by improper chamferring of the holes. I have not seen one come back cracked again after repairs. Malibu will typically take care of this unless the boat is way way out of warranty.

Plus1.gif

Chamferring holes is a problem with every boat maker. Lazy installs of windshields, towers, biminis, fuel fills, anchor lights can all cause cracks.

The only time I've seen an "overloaded" tower related cracks is when marine partrol decided to tow a boat off the rocks by the tower....swamping the boat.

-Chris

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JohnDoe
The only time I've seen an "overloaded" tower related cracks is when marine partrol decided to tow a boat off the rocks by the tower....swamping the boat.

-Chris

Shocking.gifShocking.gifShocking.gif

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Bill_AirJunky
If you strike out with the dealer, I think I'd have a top plate fabricated.... maybe out of billet aluminum, to help spread the load out a bit more.

Yep....My thoughts exactly. Good to hear it from someone else!

I talked to Don at SkySki about this a while back.... he's an engineer.... a guy with a real edumacation. He mentioned that the best way to reinforce the area for mounting a tower would be to add both top & bottom plates, sandwiching the fiberglass, then drilling mounting holes & chamfering them correctly. The top & bottom plates should be as large as possible, have rounded ends, no corners, and be bonded to the glass with a heavy duty epoxy or resin. Longer bolts may be needed at that point. And double nutting each bolt would be ideal.... or at least using nylock nuts.

The combination would make for the strongest surface ever for a tower foot to be mounted.

If & when I ever mount another tower on a boat, or repair someone else's install, I'll be overbuilding it to this degree.

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SunriseH2OSkier
Any info on properly chamfering holes in the hull to prevent this type of cracking? I just drilled my 16 holes for mounting my Titan tower last night. Sounds like I need to run a counter sink down into the gelcoat to chamfer the holes. I was planning on running a 7/16" inch countersink into the now 5/16" holes. Also, I've read of guys oversizing the holes and putting epoxy plugs into the the holes and re-drilling for the final size before mounting in order to seal the layers of the hull together. I guess it prevent water ingress and delamination of the hull. Anyone ever done anything like it? Sounds like a good idea to me.

http://members.toast.net/boatguy/drill.htm

I don't think I would go to the trouble with the epoxy. The tower mounts will never see enough water to be concerned with water ingress and delamination. And IMHO, you would still need to chamfer the oversized hole before you filled it to be safe. The issue is a sharp edge (90°) in the gel - this is the weakest part of the gel, and will crack under any stress at all (never mind the loads from a tower). Once the crack starts, it will just propagate. And if your epoxy fill doesn't bond cleanly with the gel around the entire perimeter of the hole, you are still susceptible.

I would just countersink as you suggested. This is the method I have used when drilling holes in the gel, and have never had a problem.

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WakeGirl
If you strike out with the dealer, I think I'd have a top plate fabricated.... maybe out of billet aluminum, to help spread the load out a bit more.

Yep....My thoughts exactly. Good to hear it from someone else!

I talked to Don at SkySki about this a while back.... he's an engineer.... a guy with a real edumacation. He mentioned that the best way to reinforce the area for mounting a tower would be to add both top & bottom plates, sandwiching the fiberglass, then drilling mounting holes & chamfering them correctly. The top & bottom plates should be as large as possible, have rounded ends, no corners, and be bonded to the glass with a heavy duty epoxy or resin. Longer bolts may be needed at that point. And double nutting each bolt would be ideal.... or at least using nylock nuts.

The combination would make for the strongest surface ever for a tower foot to be mounted.

If & when I ever mount another tower on a boat, or repair someone else's install, I'll be overbuilding it to this degree.

If it comes to that for me, I'll just buy a Titan & be done with it.

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Bill_AirJunky
If you strike out with the dealer, I think I'd have a top plate fabricated.... maybe out of billet aluminum, to help spread the load out a bit more.

Yep....My thoughts exactly. Good to hear it from someone else!

I talked to Don at SkySki about this a while back.... he's an engineer.... a guy with a real edumacation. He mentioned that the best way to reinforce the area for mounting a tower would be to add both top & bottom plates, sandwiching the fiberglass, then drilling mounting holes & chamfering them correctly. The top & bottom plates should be as large as possible, have rounded ends, no corners, and be bonded to the glass with a heavy duty epoxy or resin. Longer bolts may be needed at that point. And double nutting each bolt would be ideal.... or at least using nylock nuts.

The combination would make for the strongest surface ever for a tower foot to be mounted.

If & when I ever mount another tower on a boat, or repair someone else's install, I'll be overbuilding it to this degree.

If it comes to that for me, I'll just buy a Titan & be done with it.

Hehe, I said that when I bought the Vride.

I've said it before & I'll say it again, that funky lookin old Titan II is the strongest tower under the sun. Titan I is essentially the same thing, with a lesser tow knob. And the Titan III is right up there in strength too. I haven't looked at any of their other towers but I see they are making towers for multiple boat manufacturers now days.

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WakeGirl

It's not the strength that's the big difference in the case of gel cracking, it's the way in which it attaches to the hull. Any tower, even the Titan, has a certain amount of play under load & at speed. What makes the difference though is how the tower is set up to handle that play. Towers like the Illusion X & Skylon Swoop, among others, have a rigid attachment point at the hull. There is no joint, the tower structure attaches directly to the hull. As such, the energy generated from movement in the tower frame is directly transferred to the hull. Titan & other tower manufacturers (Samson is one) utilize heim joints that help to disperse that energy. It's not a coincidence that you rarely see mention of gel cracking related to Titan towers on this board & the old MBO. Yet I can't tell you how many times I've seen it mentioned with Swoops & Illusion X, both here & talking with people about it in the real world. That's not to say that you will have cracking if you have one of those towers, there are a lot of people that don't. But it's a lot more critical to get the installation really right with one of these towers than it is with a Titan. The Aerial tower that Sunsetter95 just put on his boat should be good to him for the same reason.

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Bill_AirJunky

Agreed, 100%. Thumbup.gif

I don't have any idea why the Titan works so well, but having owned several boats, and knowing tons of people who own practically every brand imaginable, and reading all the stuff on the web, it wasn't tough for me to come to the same conclusion.

In our own experience, we've seen towers literally ripped off the boat. One time in a competition during a double front flip attempt by a big powerful Aussie rider.

I had a conversation with Charlie Pigeon (Tige owner) some years ago about Metcraft towers (that were on Tiges & Calabrias at the time). Notice that Tige doesn't sell those any more..... thats because Charlie has perfect hind sight.

A friend of mine is the owner of a soCal tower manufacturer, and we don't use it because it just doesn't fit our needs.

Just a few examples, but the point is that I don't know of any of these stories involving Titan. And some of the guys I ride with are big, go big & don't let go very often. I'm an easy 225 lbs, my brother is like 230, Curley is probably 280, LC is little guy but rides in a BIG way, the list goes on & on.

Actually, funny story..... the ONLY bad experience I know of involving a Titan. Roger is another big guy out of St Louis, Mr Clean bald, probably 250 lbs., owns a Sunsetter, like a 2000, with the Titan I. Loves his boat & tower. He puts it on the boat lift, the kind that is a cradle hanging from a boat house. He jumps out, hits the button & runs up the stairs to the house. For some reason the boat lift didn't stop when it was supposed to.... but kept going up. It CRUSHED the Titan & the windshield. No damage to the boat or boat house though. But thats the kind of thing it takes to wreck a Titan.

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