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Old     (tj_in_kc)      Join Date: Jan 2008       06-02-2008, 10:18 PM Reply   
I purchased a new wakeboat this year. Because I want to keep it for a long time i decided to get a boatlift for my dock. (Not cheap) To make a long story short, there is only one kind of lift that would work for my situation. A front mounted floating lift. Got it installed. (econolift)

The issue I'm having is that as soon as i let the lift down, and before the bunks even touch the water the boat slides off the lift back into the water outta the dock. This is not that much of a problem if you are ready for it, boat is brand new so it starts everytime, don't have to worry about floating into the dock/boat right behind me really.

When the lift is down and i'm coming in for the day i line the boat up on the bunks, which are sticking out of the water at the front i have to Power the boat up onto the bunks. I then turn the boat off and go flip on the switch to start raising the lift (raises from the back).

THE PROBLEM. is that if you are not careful, when the lift starts raising the boat tries to slip out off the bunks and out of the dock. This weekend the rope with carabiners i had been attaching to the bow eye actually pulled straight out of the 2x4 on the dock, pulled the threads on the eye hook straight out of the dock board. and the boat slipped off and out of the dock.

MY QUESTION. Is this setup too steep?? Do you have or have you seen issues like this in the past?? How did you overcome it, what do you do differently now?

OPINION. wondering what you think about these options, and what suggestions you have on options i might not know about.

1.) Lowering the front of the lift on the mounting plate a couple notches. This would lower the nose of the lift, possibly fully submerging the bunks, possibly making the angle less? Not sure about this. Might also make the boats bow lower than its stern when boat is fully raised on lift in storage position making rain water run into the boat instead of off the back??

2.) Installing a winch at the front of the lift on the dock just like a trailer has. Don't have a ton of walking room on the dock as it is, this would take up some more. Would i winch the boat onto the lift or just attach it and winch it the last few inches after powering it up on??

3.) For now i took one of my transom tie downs and i'm hooking that into the eye as soon i power it up into position. it keeps it from slipping backwards but so much weight of the boat on it its scary to undue the tension after the boat is lifted up! don't want to keep that up or someones gonna get hurt.

4.) Fresh ideas...

here are some pics so you can see what i'm dealing with here...if you have any ideas please help me figure out what to do!


Old     (ttuclint)      Join Date: Sep 2003       06-02-2008, 11:29 PM Reply   
that does seem to lift the boat pretty high out of the water.

I don't know if it needs to be that high or not. I would think you would be able to lower the front down quite a bit.
Old     (reachjims)      Join Date: Aug 2007       06-03-2008, 4:47 AM Reply   
are you able to adjust the height yourself? or is it either all the way up or all the way down? if you can adjust the height i would say lower the front mounts and and just raise the boat high enough so water can drain.

if the height is not adjustable i would install a winch at the front, unload your crew and gear then winch it up on the lift and raise it.

are the bunks adjustable?
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       06-03-2008, 5:33 AM Reply   
By attaching the boat via the bow eye, you are creating one heck of a lever and a lot of tension as the boat comes up. As the stern drops down the direction of you line causes it to get tighter and tighter.

You have a floating dock system so you will always be out of the water. I would lower the front of the lift. If you have to attach to the bow eye, find an anchor point that is higher up even if you have to run a longer line to shore and remove it out of the way once the boat is on the lift.

It may not be possible, but an alternative would be to tie off the boat to the lift at the rear.

You may also try a little weight in the bow as your lifting. It may keep the boat pinned to the rail.
Old     (tj_in_kc)      Join Date: Jan 2008       06-03-2008, 7:40 AM Reply   
thanks for the responses!

the front of the lift is adjustable, see the pic of the bolt going through the front mount, there are holes all the way down the mount. so you can see its currently one down from the top. (2nd hole) I'm going to get the lift company to come out and lower it 1 or 2 holes lower to the water, to see if that helps.

jimmy the bunks have to be that high else the prop hits the metal frame on the lift in back. Had to get these special i think they are either 18 or 20 inch bunk brackets.

i'll keep you posted on the progress, please keep the ideas coming as you have them.

never thought about running a line from shore, i do have a place i could tie it off on shore. that would keep the tension off as the boat goes down, right? thats what you are saying? the stern falling causes the bow to rise and puts tension on it?

lifting is the biggest problem as people are out of the boat then and its harder to jump into the boat unexpectedly if it slips down off the lift. plus the power is still on and the lift is rising. tricky. i wish i had a video to post, it would look like something off a bloopers reel. maybe later.

(Message edited by tj_in_kc on June 03, 2008)
Old     (atvr)      Join Date: Jan 2003       06-03-2008, 11:23 AM Reply   
Tim makes a good point about the strap on the front. Attach that thing to the metal cross member in the front of the lift that the pivot bearings are welded to. My lift is basically identical. I have a stop bolted down to the dock like what is on the front of the trailer. I leave the boat idling in gear when tieing off the bow line.
Old     (tj_in_kc)      Join Date: Jan 2008       06-03-2008, 12:34 PM Reply   
tell me more about what you mean...

are you saying move the hook that goes from the bow eye to the mounting plate down a little so it goes from the bow eye to the cross member the pivot circles are on?

i'm willing to try anything, but i'm not sure what you mean. that sounds contrary to what Tim was saying about moving the anchoring point up.

Also, can you explain what this means?

"i have a stop bolted down to the dock like what is on the front of the trailer."

by stop what do you mean? a rubber bow-tie roller or V shaped piece the boat bow would hit if you were coming in too hard? Or something else?
Old     (bmartin)      Join Date: Jan 2007       06-03-2008, 12:48 PM Reply   
Seems this is all about geometry. For starters, I would go with your first thought and mount the lift as low as possible from the front of the dock to decrease the angle as much as possible when the lift is down like Tim suggested. If possible adjust your bunks to compensate for the change in angle when the boat is all the way out of the water.

Next may take trial and error to find the sweet spots on how much bouyancy to maintain when loading and unloading your boat. You will probably not need to let all the air out to unload and can have someone stand on the dock to let the remaining air out after you have unloaded the boat to get the lift down so you can reload. I have used air lifts and with practice you will be able to adjust the air you put in/take out so the angles will work better. My old lift was a lot easier as it had air tanks in the front and rear and the angles never got so steep, but even that took a little getting used to.

I guess a winch or tie off mounted as high as possible could be used if all else fails.

Nice V-ride BTW.
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       06-03-2008, 1:06 PM Reply   
Changing your bunks at the rear probably will not help, your just reconfiguring the problem. I'd make a call to the manufacturer. I built a similar lift and it was a common installation on the lake. The difference was the front was permanently attached to a pile and we lifted from overhead so we did not rely on a float. To get the boat higher out of the water you would end up further nose down.

FYI, unless you have hydraulic steering versus a cable, it's best to have the water in the bilge sit forward than in the rear of the boat. Malibu's steering cables have a tendancy to freeze up if bilge water sits in the rear of the boat.
Old     (atvr)      Join Date: Jan 2003       06-03-2008, 1:52 PM Reply   
If you do not attach the strap to the pivot point of the lift it effectively needs to change in length when your boat is lifted vs lowered. This is why it pulled your 2 x 4 out of the dock.

The stop bolted to the dock is in a V shape piece that the boat bow would hit. Mine is like what is found on a lot of trailers for Nautiques'.

I will second the recommendation of having your bow a bit lower in an effort to keep water away from the steering cable. I am on my third cable in five years.
Old     (allen)      Join Date: Apr 2005       06-03-2008, 4:09 PM Reply   
Why not add a piece to the front of the lift its self and add a boat buddy from a trailer to the lift. When the boat goes up in the lift it will click its self in, then you can lift the boat out of the water and undo the boat buddy. That way there is NO ties to get tight and loose, everything moves with the lift.

I can make some drawings for you if you like, I just need some dimensions from you.

Old     (tj_in_kc)      Join Date: Jan 2008       06-04-2008, 6:52 AM Reply   
yes, good points. tony you are right on in that a major pain is that the strap needs to change lengths as the boat goes up and down. i see what you mean about attaching it to that beam in front instead. good idea.

i don't know about the boat buddy or stopper in front. although it might work if i can get the front lowered enough. you see the way it is now, there is NO WAY the bow could ever hit the front of the dock, b/c of the angle of the bunks, when the boat bow is that close (forward) it's already 2-3 feet in the air...above the dock board.

allen, the lift is 20ft long, and 9ft wide. boat hangs out the back a little. i think i can see what you are talking about though....i think i like it. would it be like a heavy duty aluminum bracket that extends at a 45 degree angle from that cross member in front w a boat buddy on the end?
Old     (allen)      Join Date: Apr 2005       06-05-2008, 8:04 AM Reply   
YES TJ that exactly what I am saying. I would make it so you can mount it with U-bolts. you don't want to drill or weld on that nice gal. lift. You whould also want to put guide poles on the lift in the back.
Old     (512boarder)      Join Date: Jul 2004       06-05-2008, 9:26 AM Reply   
i think the cheapest easiest way would be to make youself a rope with a caribeener (i have no idea how to spell that) that just loops around the front steel frame member of the lift. or you could do two ropes of equal length going to either side of that middle bearing on the front beam. that would hold the boat with no leverage on the ropes.
Old     (tj_in_kc)      Join Date: Jan 2008       06-05-2008, 11:49 AM Reply   
Okay you guys are coming up with some really good ideas.

i've never actually seen a boat buddy up close. I think that would work, and be pretty convenient and clean. Although calculating the exact length and angle and custom making a piece of galvanized bracket wouldn't be that cheap or easy. It would be clean and elegant so i'm not opposed...

The rope with caribeener idea just doesn't work. It will hold, but the problem is that once i start letting the boat lift down, the boat wants to slip down off the bunks and out of the dock, the entire weight and force of the boat pulling down and back on the rope makes it tight as hell, and in order to unhook it from the eye on the boat or the lift i need some slack.

The good news is the boat lift co is coming out tomorrow, so i should have it resolved by then.

Going to get them to

1. ) lower the front a couple notches.

2. ) attach a chain to limit the distance the backend of the lift drops in the water if necessary.

i'll let you know how it goes for sure though!
Old     (ericlee)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-05-2008, 12:38 PM Reply   
We had a couple boat lifts growing up and I think your right on with what your going to do. Definately lower the front. I think thats the big problem. We alsy had chains on one of our lifts. I think lowering the front is step one and if that still doesnt work then add chains to the back of the lift.


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