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mtman222

Adding Pop Up Cleat to older boat

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mtman222

I have a 1996 Echelon LX and I wanted to add Malibu pop up cleats to it.  I was wondering if anyone has done so and how it has worked.  Is it safe to do so?

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JeffK

Yes.  Safe and not difficult.  measure three times, cut once.  I would make a pattern out of cardboard and use that as your guide.  And do yourself a favor and buy a nice, sharp, brand new hole saw to cut with.  Put masking tape down and cut away. 

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mtman222

Thank you JeffK.  It doesn't seem too difficult.

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JasonK

My pop-ups suck. They're missing the plastic catch basin that mounts from underneath to catch the water that comes in from the cleat. And it should have a small hose at the bottom that routes to your bilge. I should order new ones. Wonder if the dimensions are the same.

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mtman222

I found some OEM Malibu ones 4.5" on eBay...I'm hoping they'll be fine. ?

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JeffK
5 minutes ago, JasonK said:

My pop-ups suck. They're missing the plastic catch basin that mounts from underneath to catch the water that comes in from the cleat. And it should have a small hose at the bottom that routes to your bilge. I should order new ones. Wonder if the dimensions are the same.

None of the newer ones require this, especially if you mount them on the side of the hull instead of the top.  They are pretty tight.  I'd look at something like the Attwood neat-cleat

Just now, mtman222 said:

I found some OEM Malibu ones 4.5" on eBay...I'm hoping they'll be fine. ?

You should be fine.  Start slow with the cut and after you get through the gel coat and are down to the actual fiberglass, you can pick up speed.

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JeffK

ONE IMPORTANT THING I FORGOT TO ADD!!!!

After you cut the hole, lightly sand around the lip of the hole you made to help prevent spider cracking.  Just grab some light sandpaper and circle the hole you just cut.

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blk93jeepzj

Start drilling in reverse till you get thru the gel coat then you can drill in forward. 

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formulaben

It was already mentioned, but worth mentioning again: use a NEW drill bit designed for fiberglass and CHAMFER THE HOLES after you drill them!  I used a dremel to chamfer my holes, but there are several ways...just do something otherwise you risk spider cracks or chipping in the gel coat.  Make sure you have backing plates (seems most cleats do not come with them) and some thread locker won't hurt either.  Measure several times and have an extra set of eyes for alignment when drilling.  You'll be glad you did.  Pretty obvious, but also make sure there is no wiring or obstructions below where you are drilling.

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JasonK

Whoever installed mine must not have chamfered any holes. I have spider cracks. But it is a 26 y.o. boat with 1150 hours. It has a lot of cracks everywhere.

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EchelonMike

So I did the pop up install on my Prostar 205 a few years ago.  Turned out great, and not hard to do.  All good advice on this forum.  My main concern was chipping the fiberglass.  When the drill bit first pierces the surface, it can "snag" and chip off a bigger area than you want.  I put blue painters tape down on a big area where I wanted to cut.  The painters tape really helped prevent any chipping, and i drew my cut-out onto the painters tape.  The idea of running the bit in reverse first is genius, I would try that for sure if I were ever to have to do this again on a future boat.

Here is the cleat I used with its backing plate:

Cleat3.jpg.bfc222fdce222e49dd084c2823c74

I used the backing plate as a template for my cuts.

cleat1.jpg.1109079f55a017110b4f9585b4224

Then dropped the new cleat thru the hole, and used the backing plate and hardware to secure it.  I put a very thin bead of silicone between the cleat and the gelcoat to both prevent any water entry, but to help secure it firmly to prevent any form of cracking.  The finished product looked great and I never had cracking issues.  Measure 80 times, cut once!  :-)

 

cleat2.jpg.11bf3481be0a73adfb843083da429

Just take your time, make sure you have access to the back side to attach, make sure you are not cutting any wires or hoses, etc.

Good luck!

        -- Mike

 

 

 

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formulaben

And just an FYI, I highly recommend the Atwood Neat Cleat, as you only drill 2 holes...I bought a Milwaukee "Diamond Grit" hole saw and it went through the fiberglass surprisingly quick, unlike a couple previous hole saws. 

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riggowrestler

You can also go with the stock Malibu ones they are a bit pricey but they look work great. Just 2 holes to install and bakes sell the backing plate for 8 bucks that also works as a template  http://www.bakesonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=753.  

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mtman222

This has been very helpful.  Just got my 4 Malibu pop up cleats with back plates.  I'll post photos when complete! 

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