FRAME & FLOATS ASSEMBLY FOR SINGLE-NOSE BOATS KITS WITH 26
REQUIRED TOOLS

Assembly of our recreational pontoon boat kits with 26" wide floats requires some basic tools and supplies. Below we have provide a list of everything that you'll need, as well as part numbers and links to where you can get the somewhat special tools. We recommend McMaster for all but two of the specialty items we have listed (step drill bit and anti-seize). McMaster is an industrial supplier that we thoroughly trust and do business with on a daily basis. For the step drill bit and anti-seize, if you do not already have those items, Amazon has better pricing, so we have provided links to searches for exactly what you'll need. Many customers will already have the majority of the required tools, if not all of them. Most of the tools listed below will also be stocked at your local hardware or home supply store.

39/64" transfer punch McMaster PN: 3374A461
Center punch (optional) McMaster PN: 3451A31
3/8" drive ratchet
9/16", 3/8" drive socket
3/8" drive extension
1/2" drive ratchet
15/16", 1/2" drive socket
1/2" drive extension
15/16" box wrench
5/16" hex-key wrench (Allen wrench) McMaster PN: 7122A25
Linesman pliers
Stiff wire (coat hanger or welding wire)
1/2" electric hand drill
Drill press (optional)
1/4" drill bit McMaster PN: 8870A27
5/8" drill bit McMaster PN: 2933A28
7/8" step drill bit (must have 5/8" step) Link to Amazon search
Carpenter square
Tape measure
2 saw horses
4 C or F style clamps
2-4 ratchet straps
Steel hammer
Rubber or plastic hammer
Paint or ink marker McMaster PN: 7162T11
Anti-seize lubricant Link to Amazon search




STEP 1

Place two of the pontoon Main Beam extrusions across two saw horses. The Main Beams are the aluminum tubes that have a "T" shaped cross section with two slots on the top. Place one of the "straight" pontoon floats on one end of the two extrusions as shown and have the "lateral mounting flange" (pointed out below) face the front of the boat. It really doesn't matter which way it points, but it's good to have consistancy for aesthetic reasons. This float is at the rear of the pontoon assembly. Use a square to ensure that the two Main Beams are even at the opposite end of the assembly, as shown.


STEP 2

Use two "C" or "F" style clamps to clamp the Main Beams to the saw horses. Adjust the placement of the float so that the end of the float is even with the end of the Main Beams. Wrap a ratchet strap around the float and the Main Beams and tighten the ratchet strap. The strap should be tight, but not so tight that it deforms the float. If you need to adjust the placement of the float after the ratchet strap is tightened, you can use a rubber or plastic hammer to tap the float back into position.

STEP 3

Place the next straight float onto the pair of Main Beams and tap it against the first float. Install a ratchet strap around this float as well. Do the same with the rest of the straight floats on the pontoon assembly, and then place a nose cone onto the front of the Main Beams. Double check that all the floats are pushed against each other and make adjustments with a rubber or plastic hammer if needed.


STEP 4

Using your 39/64" transfer punch, go down both sides of the pontoon assembly and use the punch with a hammer to mark EVERY bolt hole position through the molded-in bolt holes in the floats. You will have to do this from both the outside set of holes and the inside set of holes. This means that you'll have to crawl under the pontoon assembly on your saw horses to mark the inner holes. It's inconvenient, but 100% necessary. The ratchet straps will hold the straight floats in position for this, but the nose cones will have to be heald in position when you do this. The sides of the nose cones may not be 100% perfectly aligned with the straight sections, but this is okay. The two shapes cool differently when manufactured, so the overall widths can differ slightly.



STEP 5

Remove the ratchet straps. Before removing the floats, number the positions of the floats on the Main Beams as shown here. Number the floats and Main Beams on both sides of the pontoon assembly. For instance, if you're building a 12' long float, you'll want to label position 1, 2, 3, and 4 one one side and 5,6,7, and 8 on the other. This ensures that you don't mix up the positions of the floats after you drill the holes. You can use a piece of masking tape to write on or you can use a marker to write on the floats and main beams if you have lacquer paint thinner on hand. If using a permanent marker to write on the floats, lacquer paint thinner will not hurt the floats or the Main Beams when you use it to wipe off the writing later on. Now you can remove the floats and unclamp the Main Beam from your saw horses.

STEP 6

Using a standard style center punch, make the marks you made with the transfer punch more pronounce. This will make the holes easier to drill in the next step.

STEP 7

Now you need to drill holes where you marked with your punch. For this operation, you can use a hand-held drill, but we find it much easier and quicker to use a drillpress. If you have a drillpress, you will need to use a spacer block such as a piece of 2"x4" lumber to make the material surface level. If using a hand-held drill, be careful to keep the drill bit perpendicular to the surface you are drilling through. You can't undrill holes, so take your time.

Using a SHARP (prohibits wandering of the bit) 1/4" diameter drill bit, drill through ONE WALL of the Main Beam from each marked position. This means that you are NOT drilling all the way through both sides of the Main Beam at once during this operation. Drill through every position on one side of the part, flip it, and drill through every position on the other side of the part. Do this with both Main Beams for the pontoon assembly.

STEP 8

For this step, we strongly suggest using a "step drill bit". This type of drill bit is tapered, can drill multiple diameter holes, and has a self-centering design that ensures that your hole is centered by a pilot hole (drilled in prior step). The downside is that if you are not careful, you can easily over-size the hole by drilling in too far. Please be careful with this operation, because as stated before, you can't undrill the holes. A link to this type of drill bit is listed in the table at the top of this page.

Install your 3/4" step drill bit into your drill. Use a paint or permanent marker to mark the stopping point for drilling a 5/8" hole. We like to use a white paint marker as it's easy to see the marking, and we mark the two diameters larger than 5/8" on our drill bit. That means that we stop drilling when these diameters get to the surface of the material, NOT THROUGH IT. This step is VERY important as you do not want the holes to be too large.

Drill EVERY hole out to 5/8" diameter. Once again, drill through EVERY hole in the pair of Main Beams for your pontoon assembly. You'll have to drill into both sides of each Main Beam, just like when you made the smaller holes. After drilling the holes, be sure to debur the holes. We like to use a countersink type drill bit for this, but a little bit of sand paper will do the trick as well.


STEP 9

Place your two Main Beams back onto your saw horses. Place the rearmost float back onto the rear end of the main beams (match up the numbers), visually line up the Main Beam holes and float holes on both sides, and install a ratchet strap back around the float and Main Beams. Matching up the numbers you wrote earlier, place all the remaining floats back onto the main beams. Line up the bolt holes visually and place ratchet straps around the remaining straight floats. Once again, if you have to adjust the positions of the floats, you can use a rubber or plastic hammer to tap them into position.


STEP 10

Starting at the rearmost float, use a 5/8" standard drill bit and a hand drill to drill through one set of holes on the float. You will want to drill all the way through the Main Beam and through the plastic flanges on the other side of that one Main Beam. This operation ensures that chips are clearded from the hole and that the bolt holes are perfectly aligned. Drill through just one hole and move onto the next step.

STEP 11

Install a 5/8" flat washer over one of the 5/8" x 5 1/2" stainless hex head bolts and tap it through the hole you just cleared out from the outside of the float. A couple hard smacks with a rubber or plastic hammer will drive the bolt through the hole. It will be a tight fit and you will not hurt anything if you hit it hard. DO NOT INSTALL A NUT YET.

Drill through the next hole with your 5/8" drill bit and drive in a bolt with a washer. Drill, drive the next bolt with a washer. Do this for all of the rearmost float bolt holes, and then move onto the next float forward until all the bolts are driven into the holes with washers.

DO NOT INSTALL NUTS YET.


STEP 12

We find this step to be much easier if you flip the pontoon assembly over (top-side up). None of the bolts will fall out of you flip the pontoon over at this point, but as the pontoon assembly will be fairly large, please either use equipment to do this, or be sure to have some help to flip the pontoon. When we assemble these pontoons at TPB, we typically remove the pontoon from the saw horses at this point and place them on a soft piece of scrap carpet on our shop floor. With the floats upright, it is much easier to access to bolts to install the nuts.

With the float right side up, use a rag to wipe any chips off the protruding bolt threads. Place a 5/8" flat washer over every bolt on the pontoon assembly and then brush a healthy amount of anti-seize on the bolt threads. If you are unable to access anti-seize (link to product provided at top of page), a bit of axle grease will do the trick, but lubricating the threads of the 5/8" bolts is SUPER IMPORTANT. The nuts WILL jam if you don't lubricate the threads. This is just the nature of large stainless nuts and bolts.

Using your 15/16 box wrench, hold the bolt so that the flat part of the hex head is parallel with the top of the float flange. This is necessary because of the taper of the mounting flange. Thread on a nut and tighten the nut and bolt until the mounting flange just barely starts to flex inward. We do not have a torque speque beyond this. Do the same for every bolt until every bolt on the pontoon assembly has a nut installed and all the nuts and bolts are tight.

The pontoon assembly is complete!





STEP 13

Set the first pontoon assembly aside and move onto the next one. Follow step 1 through 12 until the second pontoon is assembled. With the two pontoon assemblies completed, place them both on a flat surface and put them a few feet apart. The floats end up landing around 70" apart center to center, depening on the kit purchased.

STEP 14

From here forward you will need to reference the appropriate diagram below. You can print this diagram or just scroll up and down the page when you need the info. We will be referring to these diagrams as "the crossmember diagram".

If you purchased a transom from us (engine or motor mounting bracket), locate the Hat Channel crossmembers that have the words "Rear Set" written on them. These crossmembers will have holes drilled in the middle for your transom to bolt to. Depending on what size boat kit you purhcased, if you purchased a transom as well, you will have 3, 4, or 5 Hat Channel crossmembers labeled "Rear Set". If you did not purchase a transom with your boat kit, all of your Hat Channel crossmembers are identical and none are labeled "Rear Set".

Referencing the crossmember diagram for your boat, slide 4 of the 3/8" square nuts into the Main Beams for each position of the Rear Set crossmembers. You do not have to measure for this, but just approximate the location by eye for this step. Every place that the Hat Channel crosses a Main Beam, 4 nuts are required. That means that each Hat Channel crossmember uses 16 nuts.



STEP 15

Place one of the Rear Set Hat Channel crossmember on top of the rear portion of the pontoons and align the back edge of the channel with the back end of the aluminum Main Beams. You will note that the outer set of holes on either end of the hat channel are slotted. This accomodates minor flange width variation that occurs during the float molding process. Align the mounting holes with the nuts in the aluminum main beams and loosely install 7/8" hex head bolts with a 3/8" lock washer and 3/8" SAE flat washer as shown for each of the 16 bolt holes in the channel. Use your carpenter square to square up the pontoon Main Beams with the hat channel. You will have to do this for both pontoon assemblies. Slightly tighten the bolts on the hat channel, but don't torque them down in case you need to make adjustment in the next couple steps.


NOTE:

Crossmembers have an "A" written on one end. Be sure to place the marked ends of the crossmembers on the same side of the boat. When the hole pattern is machined in the crossmembers, this is the end that is referenced on the machine cutting the holes. Placing the "A" end of all the crossmembers on the same side of the boat ensures perfect alignment of all the mounting holes.



STEP 16

Place the remaining Rear Set Hat Channels on your frame in their approximate position. Referencing the crossmember diagram, measure their placement and loosely install the bolts and washers for all but the frontmost Rear Set hat channel. Another part needs to be installed before you can bolt down the frontmost Rear Set hat channel.

STEP 17

Referencing your crossmember diagram, slide in the remaining square nuts for the crossmembers. Once again, each place the hat channel crosses a Main Beam, 4 nuts are required. The front square tube crossmember requires 2 nuts for each place it crosses the Main Beams. Double-check your count of the nuts before moving forward.

Place the 2"x2" square tube front crossmember across the front end of the Main Beams. Align the edge of the square tube with the front ends of the Main Beams and align the square nuts with the bolt holes in the square tube.

STEP 18

Next, from your hardware kit, find the bag with the 3/8" x 3/4" socket head cap screws (bag may say "Allen Bolts"). You will need eight of these screws. Place a 3/8" lock washer and 3/8" SAE flat washer over each of the eight bolts. To install these bolts, you will need to make a special tool with a formable piece of wire such as a length of welding wire, coat hanger, or household power wire. Below we have pictures showing how to do that. This special tool allows you to insert the bolt and washers through the end of the square tube crossmember to line it up with the square nuts below.

With your formed wire tool, insert the bolt with washers into the end of the square tube crossmembers and insert the bolt into the hole in the bottom of the tube. Using a 5/16" hex key wrench (Allen wrench), loosely thread the bolts into the captured nuts under the square tube crossmember. Do this for all eight bolt holes in the square tube, double check the position of the square tube (even with the end of the Main Beams), and then tighten the bolts completely. A great way to get extra leverage on your hex key wrench is to use an adjustable wrench or box wrench as shown to the right.







STEP 19

Place a Hat Channel crossmember across the Main Beams and butt it right against the square tube front crossmember. Bolt it down securely using the 3/8" x 7/8" hex bolts, 3/8" lock washers, and 3/8" flat washers. Tighten the bolts completely.

STEP 20

If you DID NOT purchase a transom with your boat kit, skip this step and move onto step 22.

If you DID purchase a transom with your boat kit, you will now need to loosely bolt it to the underside of the boat to ensure that all the bolt holes align. If you have one of our 6 or 20 HP capacity transom kits, they bolt together as shown below, and you will need to do this before mounting to the crossmembers. With our 6 and 20 HP transoms, you will want to only loosely bolt them together at this point. If you purchased a trolling motor mount, they come fully assembled, as shown to the right.



STEP 21

Locate the bag of hardware that is labeled "Transom Mounting Hardware" or similar and pull out the 3/8"x1 1/4" hex bolts. Place them in the center set of holes in the "Rear Set" of hat hannel crossmembers. The 6 HP transom and trolling motor mounting bracket will not use all the holes in the Rear Set of crossmembers. With those in place, use C-clamps to clamp the transom assembly against the bottom of the boat and line up the holes. The 3/8" x 1" bolts will drop into the transom arms and are used just to ensure that all the holes are aligned during this operation. With bolts inserted through every hole in the transom arms and rear set of hat channel crossmembers (may require minor placement adjustment), tighten all the bolts at the ends of the hat channels on the boat. If your transom doesn't use the frontmost Rear Set crossmember, double check the placement of that part with your crossmember diagram, and bolt it down securely. At this point, all of the frame crossmembers on the boat should be bolted down securely.

Remove the transom from the boat and place it aside. Remove the transom mounting bolts and place them back in the bag of transom mounting hardware for use later on.



STEP 22

You can now start to bolt all the remaining hat channel crossmembers onto the frame. Working from the rear of the boat forward, position a crossmember, check your measurement against the diagram, and bolt it down loosely with the same 3/8"x7/8" bolts flat washers, and lock washers as used for all the previously installed hat channel crossmembers. Install the next hat channel forward, bolt it down loosely, and then the next hat channel until they are all loosely bolted into place.

Once again, working from the rear of the boat forward, tighten every bolt holding crossmembers in place. If you want a handy way to know that you don't miss any bolts, use a marker to make a mark on each bolt head after you've torqued it down. That way you can do a quick visual check to make sure you didn't miss any.


THIS PART OF YOUR PROJECT IS COMPLETE!

You have now completed the assembly of the frame and float system for your Tiny Pontoon Boat! Pat yourself on the back as you did a great job. If you purchased a transom from us for your boat, please read through the simple instructions below for final installation of your motor mounting bracket.

TRANSOM INSTALLATION

Now that your frame is fully assembled, it's either time to install the decking or your transom. If you purhased our aluminum decking package with your boat kit, the final installation of your transom happens AFTER the decking is fully installed. Decking installation instructions are listed HERE. If you are using marine grade plywood decking, you can install the transom before the wood is installed.

Installation of any of our engine and motor mounting brackets is very simple as you've already lined up the mounting holes during the frame assembly. To install you transom (includes trolling motor mounts), once again, locate the bag of hardware labeled "Transom Mounting Hardware" or similar, and place a 3/8" SAE flat washer from that bag over each 3/8" x 1 1/4" bolt in the bag (you will have extra). Insert a bolts with a lock and flat washer in each of the "Rear Set" crossmember holes that remain unused in the middle of the part so that the bolts hang down. Now, put the transom up to the bolts and wiggle it a bit so that every bolt fits throught the 3/8" diameter holes on the top of the transom mounting arm (trolling motor mount) or arms (6 and 20 HP transom). Using either a helper or a couple clamps, clamp the transom under the boat temporarily.

To install the lock nuts, you'll require a 3/8" drive ratchet, extension, and 9/16" socket. From under the boat, place a 3/8" flanged lock nut in your socket (facing updward) and feed the socket into the large hole on the bottom side of each transom mounting arm. Thread a nut onto each bolt inside the mounting arm or arms. When each bolt has a nut, tighten every bolt holding the transom in place and then double check that every bolt is tight. No additional Loc-tite is required for these bolts.

That's all there is to it and now your transom installation is complete!