However, the pier is somewhat annoying to set up because the center bolt won't couple the base to the tube to aid in assembly and further stabilize things
Hi Hal, that would be a big help, but the center bolt is only designed to hold the legs inside the tube when they are folded for transport. One thing that you can do to increase stability is to increase the torque on the lower and upper cap screws.
This is best done by removing all the panhead cap screws and replacing them with socket cap screws the same size. The socket cap screws will have a larger allen socket and allow you to apply more tightening torque on the screws. Caution, tight is tight...too tight is broke..
I have the 42" pier too, and that's what I did to eliminate the slight looseness in the tube. I also put a 12v 9ah battery inside the upper tube, but that's another story.