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Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

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  • Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

    Anyone out there have a Sportfish with the Ski Tow Bar that mounts over the motor?

    I just purchased one for my 1850, and am going to be installing it. It doesn't come with very good mounting instructions, so wondering if anyone that currently has one, could snap some pics for me to take a look at how theirs is mounted.

    I would GREATLY appreciate it. Thanks much.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

    I do not have one but I wonder how your install went? I am thinkning about one of these for my older Crestliner PhantomV170. It looks like a good place to mount comm antennas as well as keep the rope away from the engine.
    88' Crestliner Phantom V170
    81/97 Evinrude 115HP V-4

    88' Phantom Build Thread Click Here.

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    • #3
      Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

      88Phantom, the install went well. I had to move my existing swim platform, as it interfered with the final location, but that wasn't a big deal. I tried to be as particular as possible, as there is something a little unnerving about drilling holes in your boat below the waterline. =-)

      I didn't follow the instructions completely (which were mainly "tips" from the Crestliner CS). And, in the end, glad i didn't. There tip was to basically center the tow bar (which i did), but drill & install the upper bolts about 2 1/2" from the top edge of the transom.

      In my prep work, holding the bar to those specs, the bar just seemed REALLY high. On the trailer it positioned the rope ring/post WAY above the top of my windshield. So, i ended up mounting it about 5" below the top of the transom edge.

      Also, as you might be able to see from the pics, there are basically 3 pieces to this design. 2 side bars, and one "U" shaped top bar that slides into & then bolts to the two side bars. I noticed that there was an opportunity to drill two additional holes into this "U" shaped bar and lower it even further into the side bars (about an addt'l 2").

      So in total, i lowered the whole unit close to 5". All i can say is...GLAD I DID! After the install i measure from the floor to the top of the bar and it was 93". Add 5" to that, and it might have been an issue getting it out of the garage with an 8' door! Nobody ever noted anything to me about that.

      Things to consider if you're going to install:

      1.) Crestliner told me that these bars require a 25" transom. Might want to call CL & make sure your boat has this.
      2.) At one point i found the actual manufacturer of this unit online, and noted that they do make custom bars for particular boat designs. I'd have to search out the company again, as i can't recall the name.
      3.) Having an another person to help install would have been helpful, as this unit is a little heavy and bulky for one person to hold/align/mark drilling locations. As I did it by myself.
      4.) Check your total bar height before drilling. =-)

      All in all, i'm very happy with it. It is sturdy as hell, and will definitely do the job.

      Sorry for the crappy pics, but was all i could get with it in the garage.
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

        Thanks Summett for the advice on how to install. I've been thinking of purchasing one for my 1850 Crestliner but was concerned about the height over the motor and if it would interfere if fishing. However, with your suggestions to move it down 5" I don't think it will be a problem.

        I live in Canada and there doesn't seem to be a lot of dealers that sell the tow bar. Can I ask where you purchased yours and for how much? I was quoted $1700 Cdn by one dealer. Just wondering if cheaper to purchase in the States.

        Thanks.

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        • #5
          Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

          Originally posted by Lewis99 View Post
          I live in Canada and there doesn't seem to be a lot of dealers that sell the tow bar. Can I ask where you purchased yours and for how much? I was quoted $1700 Cdn by one dealer. Just wondering if cheaper to purchase in the States.

          Thanks.
          Lewis, i purchased mine directly from Crestliner. I think they prefer that you go through a dealer, but i don't care for our local dealer that much and they were marking it up $100 just to buy it through them. So, customer service at Crestliner agreed to sell it to me directly. It definitely was pricey ($975), but it really seems like the only option for the 1850 with the fold down seat/live well. That, and they're only about 30 minutes from me, so it was a pretty easy transaction (no shipping costs, etc.).

          I'm very happy with it.

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          • #6
            Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

            I have a 2009 Crestliner 2150 Sportfish SST. I'm trying to find a ski/tube bar to mount on my boat. Has anyone mounted the crestliner transom ski bar on their Sportfish with the SST transom...not the OB transom and had it work. Crestliner says it will work but Ive looked at my buddies bar and it doesn't look like it will fit. If anyone has mounted one on the SST transom please let me know and tell me how you did it. The OB has a much taller transom. The bar Ive seen is 39 inches wide and 16 inches top to bottom in the two spots where the bar mounts to the transom. At 19.5 inches to the left and right of the center of the back of my boat my transom is only 15 inches tall. Anyone with experoience with this would be greatly appreciated. By the way the name of the manufacturer is AMF....Advanced Metal Fab., Inc. Mishawaka, IN 46544....http://www.am-fab.com/transommountskitow.html. Thanks

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            • #7
              Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

              Originally posted by lewisfire1 View Post
              I have a 2009 Crestliner 2150 Sportfish SST. I'm trying to find a ski/tube bar to mount on my boat. Has anyone mounted the crestliner transom ski bar on their Sportfish with the SST transom...not the OB transom and had it work. Crestliner says it will work but Ive looked at my buddies bar and it doesn't look like it will fit. If anyone has mounted one on the SST transom please let me know and tell me how you did it. The OB has a much taller transom. The bar Ive seen is 39 inches wide and 16 inches top to bottom in the two spots where the bar mounts to the transom. At 19.5 inches to the left and right of the center of the back of my boat my transom is only 15 inches tall. Anyone with experoience with this would be greatly appreciated. By the way the name of the manufacturer is AMF....Advanced Metal Fab., Inc. Mishawaka, IN 46544....http://www.am-fab.com/transommountskitow.html. Thanks
              If i were you, i would contact Crestliner Customer Service (320)632-6686. They'll ask for your hull # and they'll be able to tell you if it'll work or not. You could check with your dealer too, but most dealers around here don't know much about the tow bar set-up. Crestliner CS told me that you need to have a 25" transom for it to work. Good Luck!

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              • #8
                Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

                What is the number to crestliner as it is not on the website anymore. thx

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                • #9
                  Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

                  Can you post some pics with the install from mthe inside and outside. thx

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                  • #10
                    Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

                    I couldn't get any info from crestliner customer service. Its like they knew nothing of the ski bar. I found a dealer not too far away that had one in stock. I bought it and low and behold it was different than my buddies. It was only about 14.5 inches from top to bottom install point with the top being cut off flat to go right under the lip of the transom. The bottom point goes right down to the bottom of the boat without hanging over. This must be the one that they make for the SST transom that is not as tall as the OB transom. I got lucky and mounted it. Works awesome! I called Crestliner customer service there were two different bars and they said theyd put a note in the computer. LOL Even stranger than that is I called the am-fab company and they said they only make one bar. Surely they are making both bars for crestliner. Does anyone know whats going on anymore? LOL

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

                      Summit, sorry to reply to an old post but I you are the only one I can find that has info on installing this ski bar. I am curious what type of hw you used on the bottom mount, did you use lags or did you use a bolt and nuts- if so how did you access them at the bottom I bought a newer boat and he had the bar with it but not installed. Just the top holes drilled Another question do you use it to tow tubes? Thanks in advance

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                      • #12
                        Re: Sportfish Ski Tow Bar

                        Not a problem Bcdan. Glad to help, as I couldn't find much info either when i did it.

                        I used stainless lag screws (philips flat head), with marine silicone. Can't remember the length, but my transom is probably about 3" thick at the top, maybe thicker towards the bottom. I tried to find ones that had threads the entire length of the lag for more grip.

                        I have two compartments on each side of the boat against the transom, but as i stated above since i moved the whole thing down a little, the lower mount areas were below where those compartments were. In using the lag screws, I guess my rationale was that it wouldn't matter too much on the bottom mounts because if you think about it, almost all the pull is on the upper mounts...and i couldn't get to them anyway, so really had no other choice. =-)

                        And yes, I've pull both adults and kids on a tube (& skis). It's a very sturdy tow system. I do think that the original set-up instructions place it TOO high...IMHO. My thoughts there were the higher it was the more torque would be placed on the boat when you had someone to the outside (thinking of it as a longer lever arm scenario). That...and i didn't need the extra height above my motor...there is plenty of space.

                        Hope that helps. As i stated above...drilling that first hole below the water line was the first challenge...after that, the other 5 went easier. =-) If you have any more questions, I'll try and answer the best that i can. Good luck!

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                        • #13
                          Summit, were you able to recall or find who the actual maker of the ski bar is? For I have been searching for just such a ski bar for years, at least 10 yrs.! I can't find one of these today and still I want and need one. I await your reply sir. please.

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                          • #14
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                            Flywelder...as stated in an earlier post, the original manufacturer was Am-Fab (at least back in the day). But, it looks like the website for them is no longer up and running. Not sure if company is no longer, or what. Not sure what direction to point you in, as it seems from other posts that these tow bars are hard to find and Crestliner is not offering solutions.

                            ????

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