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Old 11-13-2013, 07:32 PM   #1
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bow thrusters

looking to install a bow thruster on 38' marine trader, single screw. any advice on size/hp and make or other suggestions. thanks!
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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I have a 7 hp Sidepower on my 2003 Mainship 390. It has 3 bladed props. They now make them with 4 blade that are supposed to be stronger and quieter. Boat weighs about 27000 loaded and 7 hp works quite well
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:05 PM   #3
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Ask around and find the best fiberglass fabricator in your area.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:07 PM   #4
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Most of the bow thruster companies have sizing charts on their websites. Find the brand you want, look at the size they recommend, then buy one size larger. I've never heard anyone say "I wish my thruster was a bit smaller."
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
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I think the Sidepower is the best on the market. Consider going with a 24volt unit with two batteries and a series parallel switch. More power, less current draw, longer run time.

You can buy a series/parallel switch from any of the marine outfits for $1k plus or buy one from a farm equipment outfit for around $200.00
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:16 PM   #6
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I installed a sidepower on my boat. If nothing else go to the sidepower or imtra website and read up on installation. I read all of the manufacturers installation instructions and sidepowers were by far the best. They explained the why as much as the how. Good learning.

PS: I found it helpful to read it with a Norwegian accent.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:25 PM   #7
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I have a 7 hp Sidepower on my 2003 Mainship 390. It has 3 bladed props. They now make them with 4 blade that are supposed to be stronger and quieter.
IMO that would be a great choice for the 38 MT.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:04 AM   #8
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Yes, 7 HP should be a good size for the OP. I went for Lewmar's largest 12V unit, 8 HP. But were I doing it again I would do as Boatpoker suggests and go for a 24 V unit, a couple of sizes up. The Lewmar is giving good service, but in strong winds or currents it isnt large enough for my boat. Sidepower would be my first choice too.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:26 PM   #9
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Not sure if you have looked into it, but hydraulic gives you unlimited run time. I have a hydraulic stern thruster and like it.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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I've got a 5HP Lewmar on my 25,000 lb. Manatee and it is marginal at best. Another friend's Manatee has a later model 7 HP Sidepower and it kicks "A". Let me add that I have about a 20 ft. run of cable to the house batteries that power the unit, and that hasn't helped. Part of the plan is to install a good starter battery under the berth within a couple of feet of the thruster to give it some instant kick.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:01 PM   #11
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I've got a 5HP Lewmar on my 25,000 lb. Manatee and it is marginal at best. Another friend's Manatee has a later model 7 HP Sidepower and it kicks "A".
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:04 PM   #12
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If budget allows:

1. Buy bigger.
2. Use higher voltage.
3. Variable speed/continuous use.

Most builders install thrusters that work fine with up to 15 knots wind or so and for about 60 seconds or so. Bigger and longer running are better - especially when you need it most!
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Old 11-15-2013, 06:27 AM   #13
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ONLY have a yard that has installed a couple of dozen do the work.

Too many problem areas to treat a yard to a Learning Experience.
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Old 11-15-2013, 07:16 AM   #14
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Why not do it yourself. If time out of water is an issue, install the tube and lower leg, launch her and finish up in water, I did it in a weekend. It's not a difficult job if you plan it out carefully before starting. This will save you $$$$$$
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:52 AM   #15
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Why not do it yourself. If time out of water is an issue, install the tube and lower leg, launch her and finish up in water, I did it in a weekend. It's not a difficult job if you plan it out carefully before starting. This will save you $$$$$$
Hey Poke.....I don't suppose they sent you the hole saw in the installation kit did they? With a cored hull, I'm scared of making an alignment error on my own, otherwise I'd have swapped mine out for a fresh 7 hp long ago.
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:47 AM   #16
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Hey Poke.....I don't suppose they sent you the hole saw in the installation kit did they? With a cored hull, I'm scared of making an alignment error on my own, otherwise I'd have swapped mine out for a fresh 7 hp long ago.
No holesaw required. The instruction for tube installation actually came with the thruster.

First thing is to locate the center point of the hole on either side of the bow. You can do this with a jig or intersecting arcs drawn in pencil.

Then drill a 1/4" hole at that center point.

Buy a steel rod (I used stainless) bent into a "J" with the short end sharpened to a point. The bend should scibe a circle the same diameter as the tube.

Insert the long end through both 1/4" holes and rotate to scribe the shape with the sharp end. Then I cut it out with a jig saw.

If you look at the photo with the tube next to the boat you will see that I had already put the tube in place and marked it with magic marker for the final trim to shape.

The yard had quoted me 15k for the thruster and installation. I managed to get a 24v boat show display thruster (complete with acrylic display unit) for $2,200 and a series/parallel switch from a tractor for $150, $20 for a relay from an auto parts store and If I remember the tube was about $300 and the J-rod from a local machine shop for $30
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Old 11-15-2013, 09:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
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No holesaw required. The instruction for tube installation actually came with the thruster. First thing is to locate the center point of the hole on either side of the bow. You can do this with a jig or intersecting arcs drawn in pencil. Then drill a 1/4" hole at that center point. Buy a steel rod (I used stainless) bent into a "J" with the short end sharpened to a point. The bend should scibe a circle the same diameter as the tube. Insert the long end through both 1/4" holes and rotate to scribe the shape with the sharp end. Then I cut it out with a jig saw. If you look at the photo with the tube next to the boat you will see that I had already put the tube in place and marked it with magic marker for the final trim to shape. The yard had quoted me 15k for the thruster and installation. I managed to get a 24v boat show display thruster (complete with acrylic display unit) for $2,200 and a series/parallel switch from a tractor for $150, $20 for a relay from an auto parts store and If I remember the tube was about $300 and the J-rod from a local machine shop for $30
Wow. You have way more skills/cojones than me.

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Old 11-15-2013, 10:52 AM   #18
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No .... I'm a Scot. I just could'nt bring myself to fork over 15K. I thoroughly planned my approach, assembled everything I needed and ran through the job in my mind a hundred times. When I was ready to start .... well to be honest and sat and looked at it for a couple of weeks before I could drum up the courage to drill the first hole. I was scared shi..less. Once I got started it was much easier than I thought. I am totally convinced the average handyman could do this job with a little forethought.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:21 AM   #19
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No .... I'm a Scot. I just could'nt bring myself to fork over 15K.
On that. I did exactly the same thing with my own boat. Working up the courage to start is way harder than actually doing it.

Besides, if the absolute worst happened and you really screwed up the job you will know when it happens and then you can hire an expert to fix the mess you made.

It only consumes a bit of pride and money in that case.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:04 PM   #20
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Get to know someone who has worked with polyester or epoxy a lot and have them take a look, offer suggestions. In the last 13 years working in the boating trades and increasing complexity of composite work...it's pretty easy..but there are a few "gotcha's".
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