I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately for new bottom poles for Galtech aluminum umbrellas. Replacements aren’t expensive, and in the case where one goes missing you have no other choice but to buy another one. I will gladly help you with this.
Note: The following information applies to aluminum umbrellas made with a 1 1/2″ diameter thin wall pole.
Some people need new bottom poles to replace ones that bent when a strong wind blew their umbrella over. While it is not possible to insure that this will never happen again, it is possible to reinforce a bottom pole ahead of time to make it stronger.
This post tells you how to insert a piece of 1” Schedule 40 PVC pipe inside the bottom part of your main umbrella pole. This reinforcement helps to prevent the side wall of the original aluminum tube from collapsing on the downwind side when a strong force pushes the top of the umbrella sideways above it. You should always close your umbrella when the wind is too strong for your comfort. Take it down altogether when the wind approached gale force. Very strong winds can break umbrella poles even in closed umbrellas.
This procedure is not recommended for Galtech 936 and 986 LED umbrellas. These umbrellas have fittings and wires in their bottom poles that give you no room for adding a pipe inside.
Take down your umbrella and remove the bottom pole.
Galtech 736 Standard Auto-Tilt® model:
The 736 model has fiberglass ribs, one pulley at the top of the pole and a plastic crank housing. The bottom pole slips over a smaller pole below the crank housing and two buttons hold it in place.
Find a piece of 1” Schedule 40 PVC pipe at least 42” long. Remove the bottom pole from your umbrella, and put the PVC pipe inside it making sure it goes all the way to the bottom. Put a piece of blue painter’s tape on the PVC pipe to mark the location of the top of your bottom pole on it. Remove the PVC pipe from inside the pole.
Now mark a new location on the side of the PVC pipe 3 15/16” closer to the bottom of the pipe from the previous mark you just made. This shortens the PVC pipe to allow for the tube that goes inside the bottom pole to hold it in place on your umbrella.
Cut off the PVC pipe at the second mark you made, and push it all the way down to the bottom of the pole.
Your reinforced bottom pole should now fit back where it belongs on your umbrella.
Galtech 727 737 779 789 Deluxe Auto-Tilt® models:
These umbrellas have aluminum ribs, two pulleys at the top of the pole and a metal crank housing. A variation in the same family has a shiny chrome crank housing with two brass bands around it. The bottom pole screws into the bottom of the crank housing in these models.
Some umbrellas in this series may have an optional Bar Height Pole attached to them. Start with a piece of 1” Schedule 40 PVC pipe at least 48” long.
You have to put the reinforcement PVC pipe into the bottom pole from the bottom for this series. The bottom pole has a threaded fitting pressed into the top. The hole through the center of the fitting is too small for the PVC pipe to go through.
Remove the cap from the bottom of the bottom pole. The easiest way to do this is to drive it out from the inside. Put a broomstick or piece of PVC, etc. through the hole at the top of the pole in order to do this. Turn the bottom pole upside down over the stick you select and tap the end cap out. It will come out pretty easily.
Now put your 1” PVC up into the pole as far as it will go and mark the bottom location of the pole on it. Pull it out to make another mark on the PVC ¾” closer to the top to make the finished piece. This makes it short enough to allow you to put the end cap back where it belongs.
Cut the PVC on the second mark you made and assemble your reinforced bottom pole.
You may wonder about the effect the pipe will have on the four holes cut into the lower portion of your bottom pole. The fact is that no one quite knows why those holes are in the pole in the first place. They don’t line up with the thumb screws on any umbrella base I’ve ever seen. I can see no value in providing a way for water to get into the pole. They are too high up to be an effective way to drain excess water out of the pole…
Perhaps the engineers who designed the poles thought it appropriate to leave a mystery the likes of Sherlock Holmes might enjoy!
It is possible to over-tighten the screws on your umbrella base crushing the sidewall of the pole. Your new reinforcement will help prevent this from happening. Remember to stop tightening these screws when they are tight enough to keep the pole from turning.
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