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Custom Tower for Sunsetter VLX


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I am looking to get a folding tower on my 1999 sunsetter VLX. I found someone that is selling a basically new flight control 3 tower off his 2018 ski nautique for $1200.  The tower is 85” wide from base to base, when the beam on my boat is only 80”. 
 

I’m wondering if it would be a good idea to cut 5” out of the top section of the tower and have it professionally welded back together so it would fit the beam on my boat? This would be significantly cheaper than going to Samson or any other tower manufacturer that makes nice folding towers like these... and also it’s a great looking tower, I just want to make sure it is safe and or doable to begin with. I just thought I would check out opinions on this.

 

let me know!

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The feet will need modifications too.  Many of the aftermarket (sampson, titan, monster) have flexible feet, so they can adapt to many different surface shapes.

 

I THINK the flight control tower had fixed plate style feet.  Can it be done?  Absolutely.  But may not be cost effective if you aren't going to do the modifications/welding yourself.  

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BlindSquirrel

You can get a new tower for $~3k, so a little more than double the used price you found... but with a new one you get the piece of mind it's welded correctly, correct fit, and warranty. Oh, and you don't have to cut it and have it welded, then powder coated. Not sure what the cost would be for that. 

I'd say pass and save up for a new one that is designed for your boat.

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20 hours ago, dhcomp said:

The feet will need modifications too.  Many of the aftermarket (sampson, titan, monster) have flexible feet, so they can adapt to many different surface shapes.

 

I THINK the flight control tower had fixed plate style feet.  Can it be done?  Absolutely.  But may not be cost effective if you aren't going to do the modifications/welding yourself.  

The flight control tower is very similar to the Roswell aviator pro tower... it has a wide base and a forward sweeping design with a slight arch back at the top... because of this I think the base would mount to my boat fine... as far as modifying the tower I’m not sure if shortening the top section would effect something besides the stance of the base of the tower... 

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The questions is getting the feet to hit a flat surface.  Some mount to the deck, some mount to the side.  The old FCT's were flat deck mount, and not sure if the plate is the right size/angle as where you'll mount on the malibu.

 

Many of the universal ones have articulating feet, which would allow you to mount to varying angles of deck surface.  

 

To keep the tow point in the center, you'll probably need to remove equal sections from either side of hte top.

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9 minutes ago, cowwboy said:

That's mine. Shipping would be a pain but it is available for pickup if he wants to make the drive.

 

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cla10beck

I’ve got the titan series one tower on my boat and I highly recommend.  It is rock solid.  
 

Here is another option for the skylon swoop.  My parents have this on their 2004 vlx and it works well.  In was probably second to the titan in the early 2000’s.

 

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/193287569265153/

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coldwater-echelon

I'm not familiar with the tower the OP mentioned, but I took a Titan III and sectioned 12" out of the middle to make it fit a narrower boat. I sleeved the sections going back together so it is plenty strong. Before going with the used tower be certain the feet will mount to your VLX and know the tower material to figure out if it can easily be welded or not.

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On 5/7/2021 at 2:23 PM, coldwater-echelon said:

I'm not familiar with the tower the OP mentioned, but I took a Titan III and sectioned 12" out of the middle to make it fit a narrower boat. I sleeved the sections going back together so it is plenty strong. Before going with the used tower be certain the feet will mount to your VLX and know the tower material to figure out if it can easily be welded or not.

This is essentially what I’m looking to do.  I’m not sure if the tower is aluminum or steel. This will affect whether I sleeve where I make the cut or not. Does anyone know what material the FCT3 is made of? 

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On 5/7/2021 at 11:34 AM, tbullard said:

That's mine. Shipping would be a pain but it is available for pickup if he wants to make the drive.

 

Unfortunately that’s too far of a drive. Thanks for reaching out though! 

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On 5/5/2021 at 1:06 PM, dhcomp said:

The questions is getting the feet to hit a flat surface.  Some mount to the deck, some mount to the side.  The old FCT's were flat deck mount, and not sure if the plate is the right size/angle as where you'll mount on the malibu.

 

Many of the universal ones have articulating feet, which would allow you to mount to varying angles of deck surface.  

 

To keep the tow point in the center, you'll probably need to remove equal sections from either side of hte top.

My best bet will be to tow my boat down and check out the tower to see if the feet will sit flat on the deck of my boat. It’s only a 45min drive... 

 

I know this tower mounts to the deck and has 3” wide mounting bases. That will fit on my deck, the question is if it is flat in the location that the tower needs to go... and also I’d have to make sure I keep the tow point in the center... 

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coldwater-echelon
13 hours ago, sbays09 said:

This is essentially what I’m looking to do.  I’m not sure if the tower is aluminum or steel. This will affect whether I sleeve where I make the cut or not. Does anyone know what material the FCT3 is made of? 

The TIII was stainless steel so it made tig welding easy and provided good results. My sleeves were probably 6” long. The sleeve to tower ID was not a perfect fit so I slit the sleeve and used an exhaust pipe expander to expand and hold the sleeve to the ID of the tower. I drilled 3 holes a couple inches in from the tower to tower seam so the sleeve end could be welded as well. Overall the tower is super strong and looks great. Let me know if you have any other questions. 

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