A few months ago I forewarned you of the top three things to know before assembling a Lifetime Basketball Hoop. Today, I'm going to share with you some of the specific hurdles I alluded to in that post that we crossed along the way when assembling our own Lifetime Basketball Hoop (model 90228). To be honest, I'm kind of embarrassed to share my story with you given some of the pretty major "oopsies" we had. After all, since I work for Lifetime, you'd think I'd know how to assemble the products. Not necessarily true. This was my first time assembling a Lifetime Basketball Hoop. Let's just say, I can definitely empathize with our customers now!
Before we started assembling, we laid out all of our parts and pieces to make sure we could easily find everything. Thankfully, all the parts and bags of hardware are labeled well. Simply read what part you need in the directions, look at the parts list in the front of the instruction manual to see what bag the part is in, and find the matching hardware bag.
The first few steps seemed pretty easy. Then, we came to the step of putting the poles together (section 1.5). Since I work for Lifetime and hear from a lot of customers, I knew this is one of steps that is most often done incorrectly. If you jam the poles together too soon, they will be stuck together incorrectly and you are unable to separate them. (If this happens to you, please call the Lifetime Customer Care department!) But, if you follow the instructions, there are little warning signs in the corner of the pages that try to highlight areas that may be challenging and require attention to detail. So, we took our time and - ta-da - poles were assembled with no problems.
But then we got to section 2.2 - inserting the axle through the wheel, through the pole, and through the other wheel. Directions say, "Then have one adult position the Bottom Pole (ALE) within the Base as shown with the lip at the bottom of the pole facing outward." Key word: Lip. For some reason, we thought lip simply meant "edge" of the pole. But, look carefully at the bottom of the pole! One side has a curved edge that almost looks like it's dented - this is the lip! Make sure that lip faces away from the base! (You'll find out why that's important really soon, I promise. Read on…)
During section 2.3 we attached the pole braces to the base - backwards. Sigh. Not a huge deal, because we quickly noticed when we tried to attach the braces to the pole and the hardware wouldn't fit through the holes. Tip: Look at the picture closely to really figure out which end of the pole brace goes where.
We made it to section 3 in exactly one hour. Yay!
So, it turns out section 5.2 was our nemesis in more ways than one. First, we were supposed to bend the end of the Cotter Pin after we inserted it into the Clevis Pin. (Sounds more like medical surgery than basketball assembly, huh?) The diagram is a little confusing to really understand what it should look like finished, so I took a picture to hopefully make it a little easier for you. But, that was minor compared to the next hiccup…if you can even call it that. A round pole is round…it has no front or back. Right? Wrong! Unfortunately, we didn't notice that we put the pole on the base backwards (like I mentioned in Oops #2) until this section 5.2. when it was time to attach the adjustment mechanism to the pole. Hmmm, that's odd... our adjustment mechanism is on the front of the pole instead of the back of the pole like it should be. (Insert several big screams, throwing of tools etc.) Yes, we painstakingly took off the backboard, removed the wheels and pole, and reassembled it all correctly. It took every ounce of muscle and patience we had, but it was possible. Not easy, not quick, but possible.
Fast forward one hour… now we were back on track.
The rest of the assembly was easy to understand, just awkward to accomplish at times. Awkward because once you have the backboard on the pole, you lay the system forward and have one adult hold it while you finish attaching the adjustment mechanism arms. We were hesitant to put any weight on the rim until the system was assembled but my arms were getting tired from holding the heavy system! So, we ended up using a sawhorse to help me support the weight of the system. It's not in the manual, but it worked nonetheless. The next morning, we let our kiddos climb up on the step ladder and help with the last final step... hanging the net!
We really did try to make a video to document our assembly and help you. However, because we ended up having to reassemble so many steps, I fear it would just be more confusing than helpful. We'll see, maybe I'll get motivated to edit it someday. In the meantime, hopefully these few words of wisdom, er caution, will help. In all, with our one hour redo, it took us four hours to assemble. So, hopefully, you'll have less do-overs than us and finish in about three hours.
Now that's it's been several months since we assembled our basketball hoop, the assembly headaches are long gone. They've since been replaced with fun family memories of playing H-O-R-S-E and Around the World with our kids and neighbor kids.