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Cockpit Table Support Arm Z2664, Read Before Installing

Cockpit Table Support Arm Z2664, Read Before Installing


Proper mounting point is critical! The dimension from the hinge axis to the mounting points must be equidistant.

Most hardware on a Catalina including winches, blocks, hatches etc. are over sized compared to those found aboard other boats. Catalina chose this part for its unique articulating design. We wish it were stronger. A more robust version is not available or Catalina Direct would offer it. We provide the following information to explain several issues that will cause rapid failure. Read, install and use carefully and the support will work fine. Ignore these suggestions and the part will fail.  

Measure the mounting bracket positions before installing

Don't assume your old support was properly positioned

The support arms used by Catalina allowed for a variety of installation configurations. Although versatile, these support arms are susceptible to failure due to a misalignment or uneven installation between the main table support and the leaf bracket locations. See L(leaf) and L(main) measured from the hinge axis to the mounting locations on the table and the table leaf. These dimensions must be the same so that, when in the down position, the top of the tubes are aligned.

An earlier version of this support arm used a tiny internal bungee cord to supply the self-deploying spring action. Several years ago, as the rubber inside the bungee aged out they began to fail. In response to these failures, the manufacturer replaced the bungee with a spring and a lanyard design. Unfortunately, although the spring/lanyard configuration doesn't degrade over time as the rubber bungee did, it also doesn't have as much travel. It has plenty of travel to articulate as necesssary to fold, but it doesn't have extra travel to accommodate improperly positioned mounting brackets. Therefore, although the bungee equipped version might have worked for several years even when improperly installed, the new version will not. 

Here the difference in height at the top illustrates how improper mounting bracket location places undue stress on the connecting components. The spring/lanyard assembly is already at its full extension. Push the leaf even a bit farther in and the support arm will fail. All of the available travel is consumed by the mis-alignment and none is left for it to articulate properly.

Avoid over-extending the internal components

Hinge to bracket distances must be equal

If the mounting points are not equidistant from the hinge axis, the end of one tube will be higher than the other when folded. This mis-alignment will cause undue stress on the interior springs and small line that connects the two springs when the table is lowered.

Before installation, check L(leaf) vs. L(main) to ensure they are equadistant from the hinge axis.  If the distances are different, take the time to dry fit the replacement hinge such that the distances are equal. When in the leaf is in the up position the distance between the mounting brackets (with the support straight) must be the specified 13”.

Unfortunately you cannot assume that Catalina's original installation was perfect. You may have to fill and re-drill the mounting holes and move the brackets slightly to have L (main) and L (leaf) equal. 

Frayed connecting lanyard resulting from improper positioning of the support arm mounting brackets.

Proper use for long life:

Tips to avoid dinner on the cockpit sole!

1) Always lift the table leaf slightly to disengage the middle joint first before pushing the center of the support out of column and lowering the leaf. Pushing the center of the arm to one side without disengaging the overlapping components will damage the support.

2) Don't lift the leaf too far or too hard. Too much force on the internal spring and lanyard will break the lanyard free. Once the lanyard is loose, the support arm will no longer snap into column. Only a small gentile lift is required.

A slight lift of the table leaf is all that is needed to properly push the center of the support arm and lower the table leaf without causing damage to the support arm. Never push the center of the support arn forward or aft in an attempt to release it. You will break it!

Again, avoid over-extending the internal components

Do not lift the table leaf too much or you will damage the support arm.

It does not take much to over extend these support arms. Make sure you and any guests using the table know to lift only as much as required to collapse the support arms in the propper manner.