Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How-to Install Hobie Sidekick AMA Outriggers Without the Well Nuts

Like many others, I wanted to add some stability to my kayak. Sure the Outback is a very stable and very buoyant kayak but the hull design isn't the best for standing in, ..it's not that you can't do it, you can, and I do, but it's a little shaky. I want super stable for the 'deck' that's coming. I also have a sail, and again the Outback will sail just fine without them, but I plan on hitting the Great Lakes, and it can get hairy out there fast, safety first as they say. They are also portable, they fit in the hull, so if I do decide to hit the big lake for salmon, I can bring them along, if things start to look iffy, pull 'em out and put 'em on.

Here's a shot of the kit. Not a whole lot to it, three bars, a couple inflatable outriggers, couple round mounts with bolts and .....ugh, WELLNUTS!!!  eeek (more on that in a bit), and a couple puncture repair kits.  Hopefully I won't be needing the latter anytime soon, these inflatable outriggers are made of some really tough looking stuff.  If you want the standard install instructions 'at high level' check out the Hobie video on YouTube where they stick a set on an Outback. If you want to rid yourself of those nasty well nuts, and get some nitty gritty detail, read-on. 

I'm not going to get into all the details of why I dislike well nuts however here's a few; 1) sooner or later the rubber is going to deteriorate and fail and out she comes... and chances are it won't be at a good time since it'll likely need a little help, ie. force on the mount due to prevailing conditions, 2) why the heck would I want to drill a giant hole for a small bolt!, 3) hot day = hot plastic and soft rubber, sounds like a recipe for an even bigger hole, especially avoid well nuts if you have a dark coloured hull that likes to get nice and hot on a sunny day (I never could figure out the draw of the dark green and camouflage coloured kayaks except for maybe hunting in the fall, you must feel like eggs frying in the summer).

If you want to follow along with your own install, you are going to need marine Goop, a cutting board or similar for plastic stock, and four stainless nuts and four stainless washers to fit 10-32 thread bolts ...and if you want to be really certain you aren't having to make a parts run half-way through the install (like me!) you may want to get four stainless bolts that are a quarter inch longer than the ones provided, these aren't absolutely necessary, but it's such a tight fit and awkward process those few extra threads will make your life mondo easier.

At one point you may be pleased to have some hard liquor around too ...oh, and Advil, but in the end it will all be worth it, we need to rid well nuts from the world of kayaking, and give ourselves some added piece of mind.

Let's get to it. 

Roughly position the bar where you think you'll want it, I say as far forward but behind the seat as possible on an Outback, Revolution or Adventure. Push on the seatback as much as possible while holding the bar to make sure their is no contact with the seat. Position the curved top piece of the mount on the bar and mark the holes.

Temporarily stick in place with tape or putty then have a seat, guaranteed you'll probably need to move it back another inch like I did.

When you are finally ready to drill, make sure you put the whole thing in place before drilling, the cross bar with upper and lower mounts. This is critical, if necessary get a helper. Why?  ..well the rails aren't perfectly parallel, meaning they aren't straight, and aren't perpendicular to the bar. If you hold the mounting bracket so that it fits down the center of the rail it will be crooked when the bar is inserted, the mount needs to be on a slight angle. It may not look like it's out much but believe me it is very noticeable when you put the bar in place.

After feeling inside the hull at roughly the point where I want to put the crossbar mounts I discover my first challenge, the point where the nuts and washers will need to go is concave, almost perfectly half-round. I needed to come up with some sort of backing.

What I did was cut four thin pieces of cutting board about two to three times the length of the cross bar mount, and the same width as the inside of the rail, a little smaller is OK (~3/4 of an inch). I'm going to use two for each side.

I took two of these pieces and rounded them length wise, I then glued a rounded piece together with a flat piece using marine Goop.

At this point I flipped the kayak and opened up the centre hatch.

I took each of my home made plastic backing pieces and smothered the curved side with marine Goop (sorry this pic is a little out of focus ...ok, maybe a lot). I then reached in from underneath and placed them approximately centered over the drilled holes. This is why you need the extra length when making the backing plates; it's hard to be accurate, especially when you are stretched to your limit. At just over 5' 10" I was at my absolute limit of my reach with this mounting spot. Push them down in the rail so that they are nicely seated.

If you got it right you should see shiny Goop trying to drip out of the holes. I let the Goop covered backing plates set overnight.

Next day I flipped the kayak over and re-drilled through my original holes to continue the hole through the backing plates.

I then put a bead of Goop over the length of where the mount is going to sit, being sure to cover the holes, and put the bar, mounts and bolts all in place.  Then let it setup for a good 30 minutes. After it's nice and tacky it's time to flip it over again, and crawl underneath with your nuts and bolts. This is where you find out just how good of a fit you got with backing plates and Goop job. If it's not super precise you may find yourself taking a trip to the store like I did to get the longer bolts I mentioned at the top. If so you'll also need to repeat the previous step and wait for it to setup again. The reason you need it to setup up a bit is it's a long reach; you will have a hard time holding one side while tightening a nut on the other. That little bit of Goop is a big help.

If you are tall with stretch arms then don't worry about reading this next paragraph, otherwise read on.

If you've made it this far, make sure you have your liquor close by. This was so much fun for me I needed a few drinks to help get those nuts on, and then when I was done I needed some Advil to further reduce the pain from my battered arm pits and biceps.  It was worth it though, and so glad I didn't have to succumb to the evil lazy boy well nuts. You should have seen the bruises I had the next day in the arm pit/bicep area.

Finally, here it is mounted. (Notice the brass bolts, my only option at the last minute, they are 2").

Hopefully get around to my spin on making a sail furl soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment