Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for Boat Covers 

FAQ for Tarp Systems

Q. Why do my tarper arms lift crooked (Driver’s side lifting before the Passenger side covering and Passenger side lifting before Driver when uncovering)?

A.  These tarp systems (Magnum, Autocover 2CH and CushNcover) use a Master/Slave hydraulic arrangement and cannot be bled like a traditional setup (cracking hoses until no bubbles). All of your hydraulic flow goes to the Driver’s cylinder, base port first. Once it leaves the rod port of the Driver’s cylinder it then travels to the base port of the Passenger cylinder. As it leaves the rod port of the Passenger cylinder it then goes back to the control valve and back to tank. Instead of cracking hoses, you will need to make sure that your tarp roller is sitting in the bottom of the cradle. Once the roller is sitting in the bottom of the cradle, you will need to retract the lower cylinders until it sounds like you are bleeding over the relief. At that point continue to retract the lower cylinders for 3-5 minutes. This should fix your synchronization issues. Other causes for the lower cylinders to lift crooked could be:

• Cylinder’s need to be rebuilt or replaced
• Offset linkage (Magnum) bent and needs to be replaced. This can be diagnosed by looking at where the lifting cylinder attaches to the offset linkage (LP-MD or LP-MP) and its relation to the access hole. If the pin is not center or off to where the pin can NOT be removed through the access hole, the LP-MD or LP-MP is bent and needs to be replaced
• Lifting cylinders have trash in the rephase port. Remove the cap from the rephase port (capped port beside the base port on the lifting cylinders). Carefully remove the check ball and spring and “burp” the system by retracting the cylinders to purge the port. Replace the check ball and spring and reinstall the cap.

A2.  For the OTS tarp system, these hydraulic cylinders are your standard hydraulic arrangement and can be bled traditionally. If this system is out of sequence:
• Make sure that the pivot bolts are torqued to 100 ft/lbs on each side.
• Check to see if either arm has been damaged or significantly bent to cause the arms to be crooked. Fix or replace as necessary
• Check hoses to make sure they are not pinched. Repair or replace as necessary
• Cylinders may need to be rebuilt or replaced

A3.  For the Duracover series, these arms are spring loaded. No bleeding is necessary.
• The tarp may be out of square. Square tarp at tarp roller or at tarp bar
• Pivot point may not be at the same location from side to side. Reinstall pivot point
• Tarp arms may not be the same length. Measure and adjust as necessary
• Gantry may not be square with hoist. Measure and repair as necessa
ry

Q. Can my O’Brian Tarp Systems tarp roller (RSA) be used on a Pioneer Rack & Pinion or K-PAC tarp system?

A. Yes it can with minimal modification. You will need to re-drill the arm mounting hole on the Driver’s side (Pioneer). Install the tarp roller as you normally would with the machined flat spot on the tarp shaft on the Passenger side. Leave enough of the tarp shaft sticking out of the Driver’s side for you to mount your tarp tensioning device to. Mark/ Drill the hole through the tarp shaft. Tension the tarp roller 10-12 turns counter-clockwise from the Driver’s side and install a 3/8” bolt as you normally would. Or, you could simply purchase one of our universal rollers (RSA-U) that already has the bolt holes for an O’Brian and a Pioneer pre-drilled. For the KPAC tarp system, we have been told from customers that our roller is a direct replacement for their roller with no modifications required.

Q. Can I purchase tarps, replacement parts or tarping systems direct from O’Brian or do I need to go through a dealer distributor?

A. We prefer that all transactions and interaction be routed through one of active dealer distributors. They are the ones who can take care of you before, during and after the sale with product support and knowledge and can be found by clicking here . If there isn’t an active dealer in your territory we can help you find a dealer or we can help you directly.

Q. What is the difference between a factory O’Brian tarp and the tarp I can pickup from the local supply house?

A. That is a difficult question to answer without actually looking at the tarp you are considering. What I can tell you about our tarps is that these are made right here in the USA, (no Chinese child labor went into the production of these tarps!). Our tarps come standard with 9” flaps on both sides for operators to use to further contain their load, come standard with 10’ of heavy vinyl on the front for a good seal across the container top and for additional wear support. Our standard mesh is a heavy denier to allow for air flow to prevent wind whip.

Q. Can I get your tarps without the flaps?

A. Yes you can. But keep in mind that if you purchase a tarp with flaps but don’t use them, the flaps act as an additional reinforcement on the front edges and corners of the container. It’s like you have 2 additional layers of tarp material for longer tarp life.

Q. Do you have different tarp materials to pick from?

A. Yes we do. Check out our different tarp materials that we offer here . For the time being, we are offering the Gator-Mesh material option at no charge.

 

Q. I have a unique application where a standard tarp system simply won’t work. Can you design or customize a tarping solution for me?

A. Yes we can. Just like our tarps, we design and build all of our tarp systems here in the USA so customization is no problem. Keep in mind that with ANYTHING custom, we will have to build the system for you and will require a partial payment upfront. Also, non-stock replacement parts will not be stocked and will be built at time of order so replacement times will be longer than standard. To minimize this, we try to use as many standard and stocked parts as possible to lessen this inconvenience.


Q. Is each boat cover custom made for my boat or do you have patterns that you will use?

A. Each cover is custom made to YOUR boat; we do not have patterns to go by. If you are planning on making any changes to your boat (adding seats, poling platforms, trolling motor, power pole, etc) we STRONGLY recommend that you do these modifications before you commission a cover made for your boat. Your cover will look and function a lot better if we can design the cover after the modifications are made instead of having to cut apart and modify an existing cover.

Q. Do you need my boat to make the cover?

A. Yes. We do not have patterns to go by and require your boat to be here for proper fitting.

Q. Is it a 1, 2 or more piece cover?

A. All of our covers are a 1 piece design with a zipper on one side. Which side we put the zipper on is up to you.

Q. What material do you use for your custom covers?

A. We use a synthetic material called WeatherMax 80. We used to use Sunbrella material but switched to WeatherMax 80 about 3 ½-4 years ago. The reason we chose WeatherMax 80 is that it breathes better than Sunbrella, weighs less than Sunbrella and has 5 times the abrasion resistance than Sunbrella. In our opinion, WeaherMax 80 is a superior material to Sunbrella and thinks that you will be happy with it too.

Q. How long does it typically take for you to make my cover?

A. Times will vary depending on boat size, level of customization, etc but we typically require 2 full days from start to finish. In other words, if you dropped your boat off Monday morning at 8am, you typically could pick it up Tuesday afternoon close to quitting time.

Q. Will my boat be stored inside or outside?

A. You boat will be stored inside our facility but under EXTREME circumstances, we will store your boat at one of the owner’s houses. We do not have enough room inside to offer boat storage longer than a couple of days. If you require boat storage longer than a week, we will impose a daily storage fee of $15 per day.

Q. Can 1 person put the cover on? If so how long will it take?

A. By NOT going over the T-Top, 1 person can easily install and remove the cover. We typically use 4 industrial grade Delrin buckles for quick and easy cover attachment. We do NOT install anything to the T-top itself. Your first time installing the cover, I would plan on taking about 15-20 minutes to make sure everything is where it needs to be. After you are comfortable with installing the cover, I think you should be able to get installation time down to 8-10 minutes.

Q. Can I just zip the side zipper down and attach the straps?

A. NO! You must use the zipper, straps and tension rope together to prevent water from ponding on the cover. Water ponding can and will rip the cover, pull out/destroy the zipper and over time stretch the cover out of shape preventing the cover from fitting properly. The extra time you spend making sure your cover is properly installed will maximize your cover’s life, protect your boating investment and give you extra time to go fishing.

Q. What do I get for the price of the custom cover?

A. A cover custom designed for your boat, personal instruction on how to install and remove the cover and a handy oversized storage bag

Q. Do you only do boat covers? Can I get enclosures made while getting a boat cover?

A. We can do 3 piece and 5 piece enclosures, leaning post covers, center console covers, motor covers, etc. If you want a custom cover and a 3 or 5 piece enclosure, we will need your boat for 1 week.

Q. What payment methods do you accept?

A.. We accept cash, check, Visa and MasterCard. We do not accept Discover or American Express