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Finally Some Illusion X tower Bushing Measurements


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Ok, so like everyone else, I've been battling the tower rattle on the illusion x tower. My boat is an 04, but my tower was replaced by the dealer in 09 I believe. It's the tower with a bolt in the front, and the pin in the back that locks, and you slide down.

See dimensions in attachement

The front bearing is the swivel bearing, from MCmaster Carr it looks like they stock the EXACT one here:

http://www.mcmaster....earings/=cu4pmo

1/2"1 1/16"5/8"25/64"25°9551071K165.78

That should work exactly.

The rear is a bit different. It looks like a sleeve bushing, but there is no exact size that matches the OD/ID as seen here:

http://www.mcmaster....earings/=cu4scy

They do have straight bushings .75 long which would span the entire leg thickness that have an ID of .5 and OD of 7/8. Found here:

http://www.mcmaster....-liners/=cu4wnc

or

What they refer to as case hardened steel bushing liner seen here:

http://www.mcmaster....-liners/=cu4ult

Although I forgot to measure the diameter of the shoulder, and it's thickness.

Anyone have any input on what works best as a replacement for the rear of the tower for the .5 inch diameter pin?

Let's sort this out once and for all, and skip the dealers.

post-15086-095546500 1308621563_thumb.jp

Edited by Indyxc
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Ok, as an update.

I ordered the swivel bearing as shown above. It looks to be the exact one that comes on the tower. I will confirm once it comes in.

For the rear of the tower, where the removal pins go, I ordered a standard 1/2" id X 7/8" od X 3/4" L standard lubricated sleeve bushings from a local place (Mcmaster carr didnt have that size). From my readings seems the ID of the tower will vary where this bushing goes, so depending on what size your hole is your bushing od will vary.

I also ordered 4 rubber washers 1/2 id, 1 od, and 4 plastic washers to put between the legs of the tower and the base, so if it still moves sides to side that it doesn''t rattle.

I will update this when I get it installed, and hopefully this helps someone else.

Edited by Indyxc
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It will definitely help me, although Ryan has already told me that he was able to find a bushing that had the right OD and a smaller ID and just drilled it out.

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It will definitely help me, although Ryan has already told me that he was able to find a bushing that had the right OD and a smaller ID and just drilled it out.

Why bother drilling? If you measure your tower, you can find the appropriate od/id combo, unless it's worn to some non standard size.

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Ok, as an update.

I ordered the swivel bearing as shown above. It looks to be the exact one that comes on the tower. I will confirm once it comes in.

For the rear of the tower, where the removal pins go, I ordered a standard 1/2" id X 7/8" od X 3/4" L standard lubricated sleeve bushings from a local place (Mcmaster carr didnt have that size). From my readings seems the ID of the tower will vary where this bushing goes, so depending on what size your hole is your bushing od will vary.

I also ordered 4 rubber washers 1/2 id, 1 od, and 4 plastic washers to put between the legs of the tower and the base, so if it still moves sides to side that it doesn''t rattle.

I will update this when I get it installed, and hopefully this helps someone else.

You did exactly what I did and it works well. The swivel bearings are an exact match and much less expensive from McMaster than from Malibu. The trouble I had was locating the rear bushings for the pins. In my case I drilled them out to fit a standard off the shelf size. The next problem I had was the slop in the pin on the BASE. That was difficult to fix so what I did was buy shim material and wrap it around the circumference of the pin. In my case it worked okay because I never lowered the tower and went for a ridiculously tight fit; I didn't force it but a hammer did help it slide in:)

My future repair was to drill out the base and replace that with a bushing too. I thought about going with a larger pin but then I was still faced with an aluminum bearing surface against a stainless pin-not a good design.

Why the designers chose to go with a pin mount in that orientation is beyond me and not using a tapered pin in the current orientation also is a poor solution. Then the fact that you get side to side play just results in reduced life of the bearing surface. The thrust washers you put on the side also helped mine but make sure you rotate the tower from stowed to up position to make sure you don't have any binding during rotation. To much will put excessive pressure on the base and could result in a fracture due to the long leverage arm you have when rotating the tower.

My boat now has G3 tower on it and all of those problems go away.

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Thank you for responding. Good to know that the McMaster Carr bushing are the exact ones. I suspected they might be, but good to know we have the actual source.

For the front of the tower to put between the bases, I got 2 plastic washers, and 2 rubber washers, both the same size. I don't lower my tower much ever (it's on a cover boat lift all summer), but the plan is to put the rubber on the tower size, and the plastic on the base side so when the tower is lowered it plastic rotates and doesn't bind again't the base. That should cover the front.

For the rear the current plan is to try the broze bushings. You are right, it seems everyone's tower varies in size. Some people's rear tower hole is close to 3/4" while mine is closer to 7/8". My tower was replaced under warranty by the dealer in 2009, so it seems like a new tower, with old hardware. HOPEFULLY my base hole that locates the pin isn't worn. Doesn't look to be as the powdercoat is still on it.

I browsed around more, and found this nylon flanged bushing, which seems to be exactly what I have in the rear now.

http://www.trailerpa...ic=PE182&eq==

If I can't get the broze to align properly, that is always an option too. The overall length of those including flange is 5/8" with a flange thickness of 3/8''. The leg thickness is roughly .725", so you can put it one per side if you sand the shaft down slightly, and it shoud span the entire gap.

You are right though, tower design is terrible. Why not taper the rear tower leg into a v, that slides into a v shaped based, to eliminate side to side movement, and always load the pin so it doesn't bounch.

When I get all my parts, I'll take some pictures, and post them back there, for anyone else if they have issues in the future.

DId you end up swapping the Illusion X for the g3 completely? Wow, how did that go?

Edited by Indyxc
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From what I hear, Bakes has a solution for the Illusion x bushings also. One stop shop and no messing around finding sizes ect. Hit up Paul over there of ya don't wanna mess with it.

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From what I hear, Bakes has a solution for the Illusion x bushings also. One stop shop and no messing around finding sizes ect. Hit up Paul over there of ya don't wanna mess with it.

Good to know. I had read in a thread for 2010 era when searching he didn't have the bushing available, so good to know. Paul can you confirm if you sell a kit?

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Thank you for responding. Good to know that the McMaster Carr bushing are the exact ones. I suspected they might be, but good to know we have the actual source.

For the front of the tower to put between the bases, I got 2 plastic washers, and 2 rubber washers, both the same size. I don't lower my tower much ever (it's on a cover boat lift all summer), but the plan is to put the rubber on the tower size, and the plastic on the base side so when the tower is lowered it plastic rotates and doesn't bind again't the base. That should cover the front.

For the rear the current plan is to try the broze bushings. You are right, it seems everyone's tower varies in size. Some people's rear tower hole is close to 3/4" while mine is closer to 7/8". My tower was replaced under warranty by the dealer in 2009, so it seems like a new tower, with old hardware. HOPEFULLY my base hole that locates the pin isn't worn. Doesn't look to be as the powdercoat is still on it.

I browsed around more, and found this nylon flanged bushing, which seems to be exactly what I have in the rear now.

http://www.trailerpa...ic=PE182&eq==

If I can't get the broze to align properly, that is always an option too. The overall length of those including flange is 5/8" with a flange thickness of 3/8''. The leg thickness is roughly .725", so you can put it one per side if you sand the shaft down slightly, and it shoud span the entire gap.

You are right though, tower design is terrible. Why not taper the rear tower leg into a v, that slides into a v shaped based, to eliminate side to side movement, and always load the pin so it doesn't bounch.

When I get all my parts, I'll take some pictures, and post them back there, for anyone else if they have issues in the future.

DId you end up swapping the Illusion X for the g3 completely? Wow, how did that go?

The swap was done by the factory in Merced and from what they told me they fabricated special bases to make the tower fit on boats with a 100" beam. There is absolutely no comparison between the two. It is taller, wider at the top, much easier to fold, and doesn't move. Malibu did a very good job engineering the G3. I have about 60hours of use on it and have no complaints.

-Dave

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From what I hear, Bakes has a solution for the Illusion x bushings also. One stop shop and no messing around finding sizes ect. Hit up Paul over there of ya don't wanna mess with it.

When I called around looking for the bushings at Malibu dealers they were running over 20 bucks a part. McMaster is not known for low prices but is known for a very large stock if I recall it was $5 bucks. I try and support the dealers when I can but they need to have things in stock not on order or I can order it on the web myself and it comes to my door no tax and many times no shipping charges

-Dave

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Just as an update, I installed all the components, and for roughly $12 bucks in hardware, the tower is ROCK solid. :thumbup:

A summary of the components:

For the front (bow side) I installed one of these sleeve bushings with the flange side the on the inside of the tower. IT worked absolutely perfectly as the flange provide the perfect amount of nylon spacer between the tower leg, and the base leg. Pin was able to get in, but it required someone rocking the tower while I spun the pin, and it went in. Rock solid. $.57 per side. Only caviate for some is my leg ID hole is 7/8", where some people's seem to be 3/4".

http://www.trailerpa...ic=PE182&eq=

For the rear, the Mcmaster carr sleeve bushings are the EXACT ones that come with the tower.

1/2"1 1/16"5/8"25/64"25°9551071K165.78

I installed those, and from lowe's I got .5 X 1 1 1/8 x 1/8 nylon washers and put those on each side of the tower legs, between the the base. Rock solid and took out all the side to side movement. New sleeve bearing took out all the up and down movement. My old ones were wrecked.

I also tightened the 3 bolts (per side) under the legs to the gunwale of the boat. Mine were loose. Result again, entire tower is rock solid. No noise at all, with the exception of when it bends, it creeks the fiberglass base mounts, but nothing you an do there.

Edited by Indyxc
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For the rear I installed one of these sleeve bushings with the flange side the on the inside of the tower. IT worked absolutely perfectly as the flange provide the perfect amount of nylon spacer between the tower leg, and the base leg. Pin was able to get in, but it required someone rocking the tower while I spun the pin, and it went in. Rock solid. $.57 per side. Only caviate for some is my leg ID hole is 7/8", where some people's seem to be 3/4".

http://www.trailerpa...ic=PE182&eq=

Are you worried that these are nylon now? Do you think the nylon will hold up and not loose it's shape/size quickly?

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Are you worried that these are nylon now? Do you think the nylon will hold up and not loose it's shape/size quickly?

The factory ones from malibu are nylon or delrin. Basically not much difference between what was in there and the nylon.

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  • 1 month later...

Just as an update, I installed all the components, and for roughly $12 bucks in hardware, the tower is ROCK solid. :thumbup:

A summary of the components:

For the rear I installed one of these sleeve bushings with the flange side the on the inside of the tower. IT worked absolutely perfectly as the flange provide the perfect amount of nylon spacer between the tower leg, and the base leg. Pin was able to get in, but it required someone rocking the tower while I spun the pin, and it went in. Rock solid. $.57 per side. Only caviate for some is my leg ID hole is 7/8", where some people's seem to be 3/4".

http://www.trailerpa...ic=PE182&eq=

For the rear, the Mcmaster carr sleeve bushings are the EXACT ones that come with the tower.

1/2"1 1/16"5/8"25/64"25°9551071K165.78

I installed those, and from lowe's I got .5 X 1 1 1/8 x 1/8 nylon washers and put those on each side of the tower legs, between the the base. Rock solid and took out all the side to side movement. New sleeve bearing took out all the up and down movement. My old ones were wrecked.

I also tightened the 3 bolts (per side) under the legs to the gunwale of the boat. Mine were loose. Result again, entire tower is rock solid. No noise at all, with the exception of when it bends, it creeks the fiberglass base mounts, but nothing you an do there.

In this thread, you mentioned that you used some flange style nylon bushings for the REAR. Later in the paragraph, you mentioned the REAR again and said you used Mcmaster CArr Sleeve bushings. Did you mean the Mcmaster Carr bushings were used on the front?

Thanks

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I keep hearing about the bushings in the Towers, but my 05 doesn't have any. Mine is straight aluminum with a steel allen bolt. I can see that it is just starting to egg shape the holes, but they are still tight enough that it has to be aligned perfectly to get the bolts in and out.

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Doublenut- you are correct a typo on my part. I corrected it up top.

For the bow side (front) I used the mcmaster Carr swivel bearing part with a nylon washer. It's the same exact part as came from the factory.

For the rear I used the etrailer nylon sleeve bushing, no washer. After 20+ hours of use, the tower is still rock steady.

Edited by Indyxc
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well another update in the never ending tower saga..

After what I did above, the tower did pretty well. Recently, it started to rock again. Dam it I thought!! :cry: Maybe I am picky, but any movement to me is not a good thing. It had a little movement in it again.

So I decided to replace my rear nylon bushings (they had worn a bit) with precision made bronze bushings. I had a local machine shop make me some .875 OD, .510 ID, .7 length bushings. See picture.

The quick release pins basically slide into the bushings, and have zero play in them. I installed the bronze bushing in the tower last night, and I realized WHY Malibu did not use precision bushings. The reason is Metacraft couldn't make a precise product. On one side of the tower, the pin slide in, albiet with a bit of effort. On the other side, the pin wouldn't go in, because of course now with a close fit, the pin doesn't line up with the tower. I had to slightly drill out my tower base so it aligns perfectly. I was then able to get the pin in. Precise bushings make the pin a bit hard to get in and out, so I wouldnt recomend it for someone that raises and lowers their tower often. I don't. Overall basically now, the rear can't wear much anymore (aluminum, bronze, ss steel). It's tight and don't move.

Now for the front, where the swivel bearings. I had replaced them, with the OEM MCmaster carr part. After 15-20 hours, the swivel bearing has also developed some play. Not enough for me to want to mess with it yet, but I've come up with a solution, which is a precision high load metal bearing.

Here is what I bought: http://www.mcmaster....2780t58/=dux3eb

To install these, I'll have to enlarge the front tower hole slightly by 1/16 of an inch from 1/16 to 1/8. I'll do this over the fall, but for now I'm happy.

Hopefully this helps someone else. I've decided though, if you want your tower to lower and raise fairly easily, as in getting the pin in and out, you'll always have some play in your tower. I hate that about this design.

post-15086-086762300 1314800114_thumb.jp

Edited by Indyxc
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Sorry you had to do all the leg work, but it's good to know this info for the rest of us. I am one of those that put my tower down very often, so I will just get a large supply of nylon washers and replace them when I feel it's needed.

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I keep hearing about the bushings in the Towers, but my 05 doesn't have any. Mine is straight aluminum with a steel allen bolt. I can see that it is just starting to egg shape the holes, but they are still tight enough that it has to be aligned perfectly to get the bolts in and out.

I have an 05 as well and my whole tower was swaying. The base was loose where it connects to the boat and the rear hinge bolt is really loos. It is a steel allen bolt. I haven't taken it apart yet so I'm not sure if it has any bushings at all. What year and model of the boat these guys in the posting are trying to fix?

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I keep hearing about the bushings in the Towers, but my 05 doesn't have any. Mine is straight aluminum with a steel allen bolt. I can see that it is just starting to egg shape the holes, but they are still tight enough that it has to be aligned perfectly to get the bolts in and out.

I have an 05 as well and my whole tower was swaying. The base was loose where it connects to the boat and the rear hinge bolt is really loos. It is a steel allen bolt. I haven't taken it apart yet so I'm not sure if it has any bushings at all. What year and model of the boat these guys in the posting are trying to fix?

My boat is actually an 04, but the dealer replaced the tower in 09 (previous ownwer) with the last generation tower. From what I can gather in 04-05 and maybe 06? The illusion X tower had bolts front and rear. That's not actually a bad thing, the rear bolt should keep everything tighter when it places some clamp load on the assembly. It's just more difficult to quickly raise and lower.

Jimmy- Sounds like your tower is in decent shape. As a datapoint does it rock at all, meaning any detectable movement when you try and shake it by the front hoop?

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My boat is actually an 04, but the dealer replaced the tower in 09 (previous ownwer) with the last generation tower. From what I can gather in 04-05 and maybe 06? The illusion X tower had bolts front and rear. That's not actually a bad thing, the rear bolt should keep everything tighter when it places some clamp load on the assembly. It's just more difficult to quickly raise and lower.

Jimmy- Sounds like your tower is in decent shape. As a datapoint does it rock at all, meaning any detectable movement when you try and shake it by the front hoop?

I know mine will rock up and down quite a bit (I need to replace the nylon bushings where the pins go through). However, I don't think I'm having any problems with the front bolts (pivot point). They seem tight and no side to side movement but I haven't checked recently. I can give it a good look this weekend. I know I've been meaning to at least replace the pin bushings soon. There is quite a rattle when in rough water or boarding.

Don't get me wrong I love the looks of the Illusion towers, but one of the best things Malibu has ever done was start building the towers in house. Some of the people that talk about the company loosing it's luster should think about that.

Edited by Jimmypooh
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I know mine will rock up and down quite a bit (I need to replace the nylon bushings where the pins go through). However, I don't think I'm having any problems with the front bolts (pivot point). They seem tight and no side to side movement but I haven't checked recently. I can give it a good look this weekend. I know I've been meaning to at least replace the pin bushings soon. There is quite a rattle when in rough water or boarding.

Don't get me wrong I love the looks of the Illusion towers, but one of the best things Malibu has ever done was start building the towers in house. Some of the people that talk about the company loosing it's luster should think about that.

Jimmy,

If your front rear bushing is worn, the front swivel bearing is most likely also worn. It's fairly easy to check. When your tower is in the folded position, pull one of the bolts (just one side). Lift leg of the tower up, and throw a rag between the base and the tower. The swivel bearing will be visible. Put the bolt back in it (not through the base), and see if it has play. I'm guessing it does. It' s a 5 dollar part, so might as well order them, and replace when you are doing the rear bushing.

Edited by Indyxc
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Jimmy,

If your front rear bushing is worn, the front swivel bearing is most likely also worn. It's fairly easy to check. When your tower is in the folded position, pull one of the bolts (just one side). Lift leg of the tower up, and throw a rag between the base and the tower. The swivel bearing will be visible. Put the bolt back in it (not through the base), and see if it has play. I'm guessing it does. It' s a 5 dollar part, so might as well order them, and replace when you are doing the rear bushing.

Isn't there the spring tensioned cable I have to worry about or is it not enough tension to really do anything?

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Isn't there the spring tensioned cable I have to worry about or is it not enough tension to really do anything?

On mine it isn't enough to really make a difference. You can still lift and move the tower over with it connected.

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  • 1 month later...

Good to know. I had read in a thread for 2010 era when searching he didn't have the bushing available, so good to know. Paul can you confirm if you sell a kit?

I have checked with Paul at Bakes on several occasions and there still is not a kit available for the Illusion X. I have also checked with my local dealer, who advised me to call Moomba and see if they have the parts. I have heard the towers have been modified some, but the internals may be the same. I also attempted to contact Xtreme Towers on several occasions with no response.

Has anyone tried to contact Moomba to see if they have the parts?

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