Author: Ron Warner
I have a 2010 Premier Cast-A-Way 221 with twin tubes powered by a Suzuki 115. The problem was that my kids love to tube, but my stock pontoon wasn’t fast enough for them, even when it was running full blast. I saw the Pontoon Water Glide and thought it would be the perfect solution, and I was right. The results were dramatic: Fully loaded, the boat’s top speed went from 21 mph to 32 mph. The first time I drove it, I was really excited. I yelled to my wife, “It feels like we’re floating!” She laughed and said, “Of course we’re floating … it’s a boat.” But she knew what I meant. The handling improved tremendously. We can even waterski behind it.
I installed it myself in one day, but having two people would definitely make this an easier job. There’s a detailed installation section at pontoon?waterglide.com, and whenever I had a question I called Dave, who was great at helping me with the installation and dialing it in for the best performance.
Since each pontoon boat is different, it’s extremely important you complete the order sheet accurately, which involves taking a number of measurements that include measuring the waterline of your pontoons while your boat is in the water (do this with people and gear on board). Pontoon Water Glide personnel will calculate your unit’s optimal placement.
You can get the Water Glide without the aluminum performance sheets, but they made a huge difference on my boat, making it much quieter. Starting at the back of the boat, place the bent side of the sheets toward your pontoons, pressing the corner of the bend tightly into where the deck and risers meet. (I didn’t do this the first time and later sheared off several bolts because they weren’t tight enough.) The installation is easier if you clamp the sheet into place first after it’s positioned (picture 1). Drill pilot holes using a 1/8-inch drill bit, and fasten the bent section of the sheet to the pontoon risers and the flat part of the sheet to the floor joist/cross members with ¾-inch stainless steel self-tapping screws. Don’t place screws near the outer edge of the sheeting where the rails on the Water Glide will be mounted. TIP: When installing the sheeting, use silicone between the sheets where they overlap, to eliminate rattling.
If your “R” measurement (calculated by the manufacturer) is less than 16¾ inches, you’ll have to measure and mark a cut line (picture 2) and trim the top of the Water Glide with a circular or jig saw (picture 3). Cut the full length of both sides, taking care not to cut past the curve into the nose where the flotation foam is located.
To install the mounting rails to the Water Glide — using 3/8-inch hex bolts, washers and nylon insert lock nuts — use the “D” dimension calculated by the factory and measure that distance forward from the back of your pontoon. Mark that location on the inside of both of your pontoons, taking note of the closest cross member for the rails to mount to.
Now that you know how far forward or back you are locating your mounting rails, clamp them to your Water Glide, making sure they are the same distance from the stern and the ridge on the side of your Water Glide (picture 4). Measure twice, drill once.
Before maneuvering the Water Glide into position prior to installing it, mark the location of the floor joists, since they will be covered when the Water Glide is in place. Also mark the location of the Water Glide’s mounting rails on the splash sheeting. You will use four of the screws and star lock washers per floor joist and two per mounting rail. Tip: Use an anti-seize compound on the threads of these screws during installation.
Prior to drilling and fastening, have your Water Glide positioned and blocked in place under your boat, usingrags or blankets to cushion it. Double check to make sure the Water Glide is centered between your pontoons, front and rear and on each side (picture 5). Now drill pilot holes using a 5/32-inch drill bit and fasten your Water Glide. Tip: Only use hand wrenches for the final assembly of these bolts, as power tools will increase the heat produced and raise the risk of the bolts binding.
Now that the Water Glide is mounted (picture 6), you need to confirm the depth it is sitting it the water when the boat is loaded. Ideally, the ridge should be submerged between 1 and 1½ inches. After running your pontoon the first time, double check the tightness of all the screws.