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Old     (kent_fowlie)      Join Date: Mar 2003       04-27-2005, 8:38 AM Reply   
My family just bought a 2003 X-Star (New model) and we're looking to install some extra ballast in the boat. We are trying to decide between hard tanks and fat sacks. We want the system to be 100% automated, so that when it's full, the water will be pumped out the side of the boat.

I'm looking at the Launch Pad 350 sacks. Will the fittings hold, so that once it is full the water will be pumped out of the sac?

Any opinions on hard vs. soft would be great.

Also, if anyone has a 03-05 X-Star, what ballast are you running?


Old     (erik_c)      Join Date: Jan 2005       04-27-2005, 10:21 AM Reply   
If you want automated then you need hard tanks if you leave sacs hooked up to long they leak and its a mess and its a hassle to hook up. I guess you could make the existing tanks bigger, but I dont know where else you could put more hard tanks so I guess it would have to be sacs.
Old    ozonerider            04-27-2005, 2:02 PM Reply   
I've got a 2004 X-Star and just run the standard factory ballast system. I don't think I'd want/need to add more to the front system since the bow sits so low already when that's filled.

However, my opinion on adding more tanks to the back would be to go with hard tanks in the rear storage areas. I would guess that you would be able to run the new tank in series with the stock tank on each side so that everything would work with the existing pumps. I'd look at taking the overflow from the stock tank and routing it to the bottom inlet on the add-on tank, then running a hose from the top inlet of the add-on tank to the overflow fitting. If the bottom inlet on the add-on tank is higher than the stock tank's overflow fitting everything should work except the ballast gauge will be off (it will read full when the stock tank is full but you won't be able to tell the level of the add-on tank by the gauge, but the empty reading should still be valid). A big advantage to hard tanks would be that you could even carpet them and make them the new floor of the storage area.

If you put anything in your boat, please let us know how it turns out! I wouldn't mind having this type of setup for wakesurfing...
Old     (sbt3)      Join Date: Jun 2002       04-27-2005, 2:26 PM Reply   
You can fully automate sacs just as easy as hard tanks. Look at the new pro-x series sacs from fly high. The have threaded fittings instead of the bs waterbed fittings that most sacs use. I just put a system in my supersport which has 2 of the sacs in the rear 750lbs each and 1 sac in the locker which is 650lbs. I am using the simer pumps which you can run in reverse to drain them. They are impeller pumps so they self prime. You can search for simer pumps and will find tons of threads dedicated to them. I also put in overflow vents so when the sacs are full the start to spray out of the thru hull fitting. The sacs are nice cause you can take them in and out easily. Fly high also sells quick disconnet fittings for them. Good luck with your project
Old     (whit)      Join Date: Feb 2001       04-27-2005, 2:38 PM Reply   
Add some lead. A little bit of lead was the key to tweaking out my boat. The boat stays on the water through--only goes on the trailer once every fifty hours for maintenance.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       04-27-2005, 3:55 PM Reply   
i prefer sacks for two reasons - they are generally bigger & conform to any space, and you get the storage back when they're empty for the ride home.

as long as the fittings don't leak, they work just as well as hard tanks in systems. the only drawback is having to straighten them out sometimes while filling if they get wrinkled or twisted.
Old     (kevin_bird)      Join Date: Dec 2002       04-27-2005, 5:02 PM Reply   
I prefer tanks for one big reason. Sacs if you forget to turn off etc will leak and can pop of even if clamped on hard tanks are the way to go hand sdown and you can use teflon and make sure the fittings are water tight.
Old     (cdm)      Join Date: Aug 2003       04-27-2005, 10:13 PM Reply   
kent - sacs.

I have an 03' X-Star as well. I suggest you use sacs...

more weight, more storage, less expensive, water tight (never had a problem), removable (easy), reduces mold etc build up under tanks (it will get wet in the rear compartments, trust me!).

Here is a quick desc. of my set-up..

Remove the rear center wall (two screws), this will reveal the ballast pumps and manifold etc. Study this set up. notice how the main thru hull water intake passes through the check valve and then into the manifold? I tapped into this manifold and added two hose connections. line it up, bore two holes and then seal it up... no big deal.. then mount two more self priming pumps and run the wires. easier said than done.. run independent hoses from the two pumps to the sacs squeezing the hose around the two side rear walls near the bottom outside corners. it will fit. this will complete the filling. emptying... now splice into the two rear stock drain thru hulls. they are located up under rear corners of boat. look. install two T connections, one on each side up under the corners.. now connect the T hose to each rear sac. make sure to use those metal connection tightener fittings on all connections. I can run all five jebsco pumps without a problem off the two stock batteries.

sum.. water passes through the large intake check valve and goes to the manifold. there the water is sucked into the tanks and sacs. when the pumps are reversed the water is sucked out the tanks/sacs back into the manifold. it cannot drain out the main intake because the main large check valve, so therefor it is forced out the two side drain ports starboard and port(stock set up). because you added the 2 T fittings on the two drain hoses you will need to also add two more small check valves one on each sac vent hose. this will prevent the draining water from the stock tanks from entering the two rear sacs along side the engine... now you have 3 stock tanks and 2 sacs along side the engine..

when adding weight to the back, you will need to add some to the front. this is easy. more sacs. open the passanger seat backrest and remove seat... see the hose coming out of the floor? disconnect it from the thru hull on the side of the boat and connect it to your new custom sac. the sac will need two connection points. one on the bottom rear and one on the top. when your stock ballast system is full it will spill into the front bow sacs. perfect and easy! do the same for the port side. you will have to remove the wall infront of the drivers seat. be careful, it folds. dont force it, when you move it correctly it will come out.. on this side you will have to run the hoses over the wall. to empty your bow sacs just flip the stock switches. the bow sacs will drain first, emptying into the stock hard tanks. your done.. this will complete you custom ballast system. I estimate 1100 stock ballast, 1000 - 1200 more for the two rear sacs and another 500 in the bow. total - 2800 lbs plus I added two 65 lb leadheadz in the middle to perfect the wake..
Old     (sacdeep)      Join Date: Aug 2001       04-28-2005, 1:38 AM Reply   
I got a pair of hard tanks that would probably fit perfect in yor rear storage. I used them in my VLX they each hold 25 gallons and have threaded fitting to easily add to your existing system. I will sell the pair for $100 plus $40 for shipping. E-mail me at if intrested
Old     (kent_fowlie)      Join Date: Mar 2003       04-28-2005, 5:55 AM Reply   
Thanks guys for all your advice. It seems that there's a big split between hard and soft and each one has its pros and cons.

At this point I think I'm leaning to soft tanks (pro-x series sacs from fly high) as Stan suggested since they are supposodely really well built. I just want to make sure that whatever gets put in is done right so that there are no hassels riding throughout the year.

Arnie, I like your idea of how to do it and I think that may be the way I'll tackle it, assuming all the levels work out.

CDM, good point about the mildew. I always removed the Fat sacs from our last boat, but your right, that could get really rank back there really quick. I'm going to go home and look at how you did it for ideas. I have to admit I like what Arnie suggested since I wouldn't need any extra pumps.

I'll keep everyone posted. I'm hoping to decide in the next two weeks on how to do this.

Thanks again.
Old     (joe_788)      Join Date: Aug 2003       04-28-2005, 10:10 AM Reply   
Last year on my 04 X2 I plumbed a 350lb sac on each side of the rear in line with the stock hard tanks. It was set up pretty well, and the sac was T'd into the over flow with the hard tank, so it would pee out the side, just like stock. Emptying was always a pain. The hard tank would always empty first, so it would be sucking air instead of water from the sac. We had shutoff valves on the hard tank and sac, but somebody had to climb back there and shut them off/turn them on every day in order to get them to suck all the way dry.

This year, I removed those 350lb sacs and hard tanks, and replaced them with the 750+lb Pro-X sacs from Fly High. The big sacs are plumbed in to the stock pumps for easy filling. I also have a simer pump plumbed in and stashed under the front seat cushion. I just pull out a 600lb sac, hook up the hose from the Simer, hit a switch, and fill 'er up.

Keep in mind, the Pro-X sac is 750lb if you calculate the intended shape (Square). When you fill it with water, it bulges into a massive round tube, and weighs significantly more than 750lbs. When full, this sac consumes my ENTIRE rear storage compartment, side to side, front to back, and about 4 inches from the underside of the hatch. There's JUST enough room for a few life vests.

The rear sacs, the 600lb sac in the front, plus the stock locker sac in the floor all combine to make the greatest wake I have ever seen, as long as you've only got 3-4 people.
Old     (cdm)      Join Date: Aug 2003       04-28-2005, 1:19 PM Reply   
i agree using existing pumps in a custom install is nice, however you also have to take into account the amount of time it will take to fill your additional sacs. In my case I thought it would take too long. I wanted a total push button system that filled and dumped in 5 minutes. and it does... you should see it when all 5 pumps are dumping ballast out the two side holes its jaw dropping! people give you some very interesting looks. sometimes I just flip the switch to see what reaction I can get..
Old     (joe_788)      Join Date: Aug 2003       04-28-2005, 7:59 PM Reply   
You're right CDM, my stock Jabsco pumps are pretty much shot, and they are due for ANOTHER $28ea impeller replacement. I'm replacing them with two Simers as we speak. The replacement impellers for the Simer are about $6 each. Based on how often the $28 DOLLAR Simer impellers need replacing, the switch will be worth it.

Those MASSIVE sacs take a little while to fill, but it's not too bad. By the time everybody gets situated, the motor is warm, and we're away from the no-wake zone, the sacs are just about finished.

Old     (kent_fowlie)      Join Date: Mar 2003       04-29-2005, 6:56 AM Reply   
Joe, are you replacing them with the Simer BW8512 pumps? I had one of those in our last boat, it was cheap to buy ~$100USD and was quick. I had it installed under the rear bench seat in an I/O. Will it be a problem using it in the engine bay of a V-Drive since it is not intended for marine.


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