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Thread: DIY PWC Rack

  1. #1
    83Gator's Avatar
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    OK, after many request, (and much delay on my part) I am posting a "How To DIY" build for my PWC Rack. Before I go any further, however, I'd like to thank Lasportsmn for providing the original "blue print" that my build is based on. Thanks, GL.

    Rack in Use Pix: http://greenhulk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=116574 Start at Post No. 7

    For a complete pictorial w/captions: http://picasaweb.google.com/billy.crews/PWCRACKMODS

    Before we start however, keep in mind the following: The rack shown was custom built for the 2006 SeaDoo 215 SC RXT platform. It was also used for a Kawi Ultra 250X one day w/no problem, so I have no doubt of it's versatility. That being said, please customize this build for your own particular ski.

    PICTURES IN THIS POST: I've tried my best to attach a picture immediately under the steps being taken for this project. If the pic. is too small, scroll down to the bottom of this post for a larger view. Please keep in mind, the pics. at the bottom of this post may appear out of order... sorry for any confusion.

    TOOLS NEEDED: Hack Saw*, pencil or pen for making cut marks, measuring tape. *A chop saw will greatly decrease your time spent cutting pipe.


    MATERIALS NEEDED:
    50 Feet of 1 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe and the following "Slip" joints:
    "T" Joint: 36
    "Cross (+)" Joint: 21
    "L" (90 deg.) Joint: 32
    Couplings: 10
    Two 16oz. containers of Heavy Duty PVC Cement
    Rags or paper towels (not shown) for cleaning excess cement off of joints.


    PIPE LENGTHS TO BE CUT:
    Risers (12) @ 4 & 1/4 inches.
    Basket Bottom, Aft Spine Footings & Horizontal Front/Rear/End Wall (25) @ 5 inches.
    Top & Bottom Vertical Front/Rear/End Wall (21) @ 5 & 1/4 inches.
    Basket Bottom & Front/Rear Wall Extension (12) @ 7 & 1/8 inches.
    Forward Spine Footings (2) @ 8 & 1/4 inches.
    Rear Wall Vertical (3) @ 11 & 3/4 inches.
    Interior Couplings (Many) @ 1 & 7/8 inches*. (*Your's may differ.)

    CAUTION: Be sure to buy all of the required joints at the same time/place - while all PCV Sched. 40 is the same on the inside; joints made by different manufactures, or of different brands, can vary in size/length on the outside. Joints of varying exterior dimensions can cause measuring problems.

    ABOUT CEMENTING JOINTS: Prior to cementing sections, "dry fit" your project. Also, your pipe may expand if you're working in the heat/sunlight. This will make dry fitting a little tough - I've found it best to work inside the shop (ventilated!) or in the shade. Make sure the joints are "lovey-dovey". A gap will cause your measurements to be off and you will have to take a saw to your build and start over. The left joint shows a correct job. The one on the right is wrong and will cause you grief.


    CEMENTING TIP: When cementing, apply your body weight. When you can - stand on the unit after cementing a section/joints (adding Basket bottom to Spine, or Basket wall to rack). This PWC rack is strong and will support your weight. (Tested to 225lbs.)

    WARNING: Before proceeding, be sure to follow all directions regarding the use of PVC cement. Wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area. Also be sure to wear eye protection if using any power tools.

    BUILDING THE RACK

    STEP 1: Construction of the "Spine": The "Spine" is the very base of the rack that elevates the "Basket" portion of the rack. By elevating the basket, you can increase the dimensions of the rack as opposed to being contained on the inside of the gunwales.

    Start by cutting some "interior couplings" (ic): Cut at least 3 dozens pieces of pipe to lengths of 1 & 7/8 inches - you'll need more later. You will use these interior couplings to join the varying joints next to each other. Since the Spine is all joints, there is no need to measure. (I should mention here, that you should dry fit the 1 & 7/8 interior coupling dimensions for correct joint fitting. Once again, the exterior dimensions of joints can differ, by brand, and you may need a smaller (shorter) sized interior coupling.


    STEP 2: Shown below are all the joints needed to create the spine. The joints on either end are dry fitted in this fashion: "T"-"ic"-"Coupling"-"ic"-"Cross", going from outside to inside. Other than interior couplings, which are shown dry fitted below, there are no other cut sections of pipe in the Spine.


    The Spine is now completely assembled. NOTE the two "T" joints left and right of the center "Cross". Be sure these are set at an approx. 45 deg. angle. This will be necessary for securing the rack to the ski.


    STEP 3: Next we expand the Spine via the forward and aft "Footings" on both the left and right sides. The forward Footings (top of Spine) are each 8 & 1/4 inches long. The aft Footings (bottom of Spine) are 5 inches long.


    Step 4: Connect the footings as shown. Keep in mind the two "T" joints left and right of center on the bottom of the Spine. They will always face to the rear of the Rack and your PWC. They should be at approx. 45 degs. and are used for attaching the Rack to your PWC.


    Below you can see how the expanded Spine looks next to a completed rack.


    STEP 5: Now we construct the Basket bottom. Shown below are all the pieces needed, except for all of the interior couplings. Also note that the "L" and "T" joints are shown, but not in their correct final position. They will need to stand up or down. All of the pipe sections (except the interior couplings) are 5 inches long.


    STEP 6: Assemble the Basket bottom, first in linear stages, front to back, then left to right - one section at at time. This step would be a good time for "dry fitting" to insure proper placement and measurements. You can do this by laying the sections on top of the Spine. (Also shown below are the Basket extenders from STEP 7 below. You will also notice that the far right center "T" is in the wrong position - it should be facing down. )


    STEP 7: Now add the Basket extenders to each the top and bottom of the left and right sides. These extenders will ultimately determine how wide your completed rack will be. Mine shown are 7 & 1/8 inches. Shown below is the the fully completed Basket bottom.


    STEP 8: With the Basket bottom completed, insure proper distancing of joints so that it will match up with the Spine. If all is good, add the "Risers" to the Spine. Each is 4 &1/4 inches long and will be inserted into each "L" & "T" joint in the Spine.


    Now all the Risers are in place.


    STEP 9: Now that we have all the Risers in place, it's time to fix the Basket bottom to the Spine. (Take a look below to see what a correct attachment looks like.) This is a good time to get some help - there's lot of cementing going on and you may need a little push and pull aid also to get all the joints together. The cement sets up pretty quick, so you will need to move fast. Once you've got it together, stand on it (while the cement is still damp) to make sure all the joints are seated well.


    STEP 10: Now we build the Rear Wall: The Top rail is all joints and interior couplings, plus two 5 inch pieces (Rem., the width of your Basket, as it "goes up", has to match the Basket bottom.). The three inner vertical sections are 11 & 3/4 inches each while, the left and right vertical ends have a 5 & 1/4 inch piece on top/bottom of a "T". EDIT: It was pointed out to me that I forgot to show the Rear Wall Extensions. There is an upper and lower extension that connect to each "T" on the left and right outer legs. Each extension (4) measures 7 &1/8 inches. You can see them shown on a completed and inserted Rear Wall three pix down.


    STEP 11: With the Rear Wall of the Basket complete, it can now be attached. Once again, the Rear Wall extensions are not shown, but should be as noted above and shown one picture down. (Rem., the two angled "T"s in the bottom of the Spine are facing the rear of the Rack.)


    Shown below is the Rack under construction next to a completed Rack.


    STEP 12: Next we construct the Front wall of the Basket. Note the pieces laid out below: The two internal horizontal sections are 5 inches to match the width of the Basket bottom. All the vertical sections are 5 & 1/4 inches and the four Front wall extensions (two left & right) are 7 & 1/8 inches.


    Shown below is the Front wall completely assembled and facing the joints where it will be attached.


    STEP 13: With the Front wall now complete, cement it into the basket opposite the Rear wall. With the Front wall in place, flip the Rack over and stand/lean on the freshly cemented areas to help seat the joints. Your Rack should now look like this:


    STEP 14: The final pieces of construction are the End walls. You will need two of these. Shown below are the pieces laid out, but remember - the "L" joints are not in their final position. All the vertical sections are 5 & 1/4 inches and the horizontal sections are 5 inches. Of course, you will need the interior couplings for cementing Joint to Joint.


    Shown below is the End wall coming together.


    STEP 15: The End wall is now complete and only needs to be attached to either end of the Basket.


    STEP 16: Simply repeat STEPs 14 & 15 to build the second End wall, attach and your are finished with the construction portion of this PWC Rack.

    This pic. shows the End wall attached:


    And this pic. shows the PWC Rack built but in need of a paint job:


    STEP 17: Paint your Rack! Over time, sunlight will cause PVC to become brittle; protect your build via spray paint (Three cans should suffice.). Prior to painting, let all your cement work cure for 48 hrs. Be sure to remove any excess gobs of cement and knock down any ugly burs by sanding. Just before painting be sure to wipe your Rack down w/a damp cloth and allow to dry. Shown below is the brand I have used w/success. Follow all safety precautions listed on the can. And, finally, do not paint your Rack in direct sunlight. It will cause the paint to dry too quickly and result in a wrinkling effect. Allow the paint to completely dry overnight before attaching the Rack to a PWC or putting it under any load.


    ATTACHING THE RACK

    MATERIALS NEEDED: A length of 1 inch foam pipe insulation (self adhesive) and two nylon webbing/ratchet sets. (These are also referred to as "come-a-longs".)

    You will also need two "home made" webbing slings. The slings will be made from the leftover webbing of the ratchets. Once you cut the left over webbing create the sling via the water knot: http://www.animatedknots.com/waterkn...matedknots.com


    STEP 1: To attach the Rack, place it on the rear of the PWC and be sure it's centered. Now cut the foam pipe insulation and fix under all contact points of the Rack. This will protect your PWC gel-coat and matting. Be sure to also place insulation where ratchet webbing will drape over the rear rub rail.


    STEP 2: Attach the webbing/ratchet sets as shown: Right Spine hook, back then over Basket bottom to left bottom PWC tow hook. Repeat for the opposite side. Be sure the top of the front wall is directly under the center grab rail while the bottom is not touching the rear seat deck/"hump". Making sure the rack doesn't shift in position, snug down and cut off excess webbing from ratchet to create webbing slings. After removing excess webbing, relax the ratchets so that the Rack will slide around.


    STEP 3: Now, with plenty of slack on the back tow hooks (You can actually unhook them at this point.), attach the front of the Rack. To secure the front of the Rack you will need to attach the sling where shown via a Girth Hitch: http://www.animatedknots.com/girth/i...matedknots.com


    The front webbings should pass through the rear-side grab bar and then into the rear upper tow hook. Repeat for opposite side.


    STEP 4: With the front webbing slings secured, pull the Rack back towards the rear of the PWC. This will insure no part of the Rack is bouncing off your PWC gel-coat under the rear seat. If the Spine base comes off the rear deck, your slings are a little long and need to be shortened. Now tighten down the ratchets on each lower tow hook. Once snug, your rack should not move up and down OR left to right.

    STEP 5: Go ride!

    CLICK ON ANY OF THE BELOW PIX FOR A LARGE VIEW:
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    Last edited by 83Gator; 01-10-2011 at 10:05 PM.


  2. #2
    Moderator #985 lasportsmn's Avatar
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    Built one today. Hour and a half cutting and assembling mock up 5 hours assembling finished product. I have built many and I have to emphasize one part Bill will mention. Properly prep and glue all connections. I have tried all the short cuts and they only lead to you building yourself a new rack. Trust me. If you properly sand, clean and glue all your connections this rack will hold up in the roughest conditions with a good load in them. To show the person I built the rack for today how strong they are, I stood in and began jumping on it. 200#s and not a single crack. I am that confident that after almost 7 hours of work I did this display of its strength. Follow this building procedure and you can alter measurements for your personal application. Be sure to mock up and put on ski prior to final assembly. That one idea of change once on your ski can easily be done if not glued.

    Enjoy this Thread and your "Nice Racks"
    P.S. building in am inclosed shop keeps you happy through all the frustration of the final assembly...
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  3. #3
    Moderator #985 lasportsmn's Avatar
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    Fittings

    Sorry to jump in again but There is another mistake I made in the past I want to pass on to everyone. Be sure to use fittings from the same MFG. DO NOT mix a TEE from Lowes and another from Home Depot or Ace. They will have slightly different lengths. Use all the same name brand fittings.
    Also to keep things pretty apply the glue to the inside the fitting not on the pipe getting installed. This way the run off glue will be inside the fitting rather than dripping all over everything.

    Sorry to hijack Bill but I felt I have to share these things.

  4. #4
    83Gator's Avatar
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    Nice rack you built; man you move fast! And yes, I did mention about buying all the joints at one time and same place. But thanks for making it stand out. As we both have learned - it's really important! Come by today and visit on your way home - you can supervise the rest of the build.

  5. #5
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Nice Job! this deserves a Sticky! is this section

  6. #6
    Man you do have some really nice racks! I look forward to making on of these in the future!

  7. #7
    Moderator beerdart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RX951 View Post
    Nice Job! this deserves a Sticky! is this section

  8. #8
    83Gator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beerdart View Post
    Thanks, BD. Now if I could only figure how to make this just one thread... maybe you can help me put this whole thread together, when I'm finished .

  9. #9
    Moderator beerdart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 83Gator View Post
    Thanks, BD. Now if I could only figure how to make this just one thread... maybe you can help me put this whole thread together, when I'm finished .

    Sure when you are finished Ill combine it.

  10. #10
    83Gator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beerdart View Post
    Sure when you are finished Ill combine it.
    Thanks, man. It's a work in progress. I hope to be done in a few days and I'll advise via this thread.

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