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Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-10-2010, 3:56 PM Reply   
I have an '00 MasterCraft 230 VRS (23') with a 330 HP LTR engine that I bought 2-3 months ago. Been wakeboarding since '92 but only 1-2 times per season until this year. I'm an advanced rider as far as my air goes but intermediate as far as big tricks are concerned. Had big plans for a big ballast system.

I'm starting to wonder if these huge ballast systems are even worth it though. It will easily cost $2,000+ by the time I figure in 4 big bags, pumps, plumbing and a new prop. Also, I assume the wear and tear on the engine is increased because with the reprop and the weight I will be turning higher RPM at a given speed.

I'm pretty happy with my wake with 4 adults and 750 lbs of water ballast but that may be just because I don't have much experience with more than that.

Would I likely need a reprop with 2 400s in the rear and a 650 lb integrated bow sac in the front? The boat handled 750 lbs with no problems with the factory prop. I wonder how it would do with double that. We did have to turn 4-500 RPM to maintain the same speed but holeshot was still great and it held speed great.

All things considered I really need another prop anyway because I don't want to leave town with the boat and bend a prop without a spare.

Just wondering if I should scale back my plans. I know I could do underfilled 750s in the rear and have room for expansion but they I will just be itching to do do what it takes to fill those 750s until I actually do it. At the same time this is a big boat and I don't want to waste my money on smaller bags for the back and then "have to" go back and spend more on 750s.

Can anyone comment on wear and tear on the hull, engine and transmission running 2,500+ lbs of ballast in a 23' boat?

I know I saw a post from another member a couple of days ago regretting going to big on his Maristar 210. Does anyone else regret going too big?
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       08-10-2010, 7:26 PM Reply   
Filling and emptying bags using unplumbed pumps is a pain in the a$$. But the wake is totally worth it. 2500 lbs in that boat should be fine especially if you decide to reprop. Just stay on top of your maintenance.

Do you know any other boarders that could let you borrow some sacs to give your boat a test run?
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-10-2010, 8:02 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by wake77 View Post
Do you know any other boarders that could let you borrow some sacs to give your boat a test run?
Not really. I borrowed those 2 375 lb fat boys and that made the wake a little firmer and bigger. Everyone else I know has plumbed, factory ballast systems (X-2, and 2 SANs) that I can't exactly pull bags from. I don't know them that well anyway.
Old    AtTheLake (bmartin)      Join Date: Jan 2007       08-11-2010, 5:24 AM Reply   
Go for it. I have never heard of someone regetting putting more balast in and go with the biggest that will fit. There is no rule that you need to top off the ballast all the time. I only fill my to capacity when we have a crew of 4 or less, but glad I have it. With a 23' boat it will need some weight.

$2K sounds pricey. There are good, better, and best systems and in the end they will crank the same weight, just a matter of speed and convenience. You should be able to get systems south of $1K if you do the work yourself. I have less than $500 in mine. As far as wear on the drive train, it is a factor, but a minor one compared to how well it is maintained. You will blow through more gas though.

Edit: If you want a test run, just invite some spectators. Weight is weight and see how the wake looks with a crew of 10+

Last edited by bmartin; 08-11-2010 at 5:28 AM. Reason: add though
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-11-2010, 6:22 AM Reply   
$2k is pricey! $600 of that is for a prop.

The bags themselves are $670.

8 aerator pumps are $320.

$30 worth of fittings for each bag are $120

$80 for 4 switches.

2x 1 1/4" thru hulls with bronze valves will be close to $200

That's not even factoring in tubing, misc. fittings, etc.

Anyway, it adds up quick. I'm sure I could shave some $$ off here and there by finding sales and used deals. I could plumb the bow sac and the tube in the ski locker together and save $150 or so but I'm not sure how badly that would affect my fill times.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-11-2010, 9:21 AM Reply   
Definitely get the biggest bags that will fit wherever you plan to put ballast. You'll regret it if you don't, and you can always partially fill them.

I've been tinkering with ballast systems since about '99, and sometimes I question whether they are worth the maintenance hassle. They're by far the least reliable system on a wakeboat, and they are not "touch free" - you still have to make sure bags are straightened out while filling, that they emptied completely, lifting them up to let carpet dry out, etc. The biggest advantage is being able to tune the wake while pulling someone. If you don't fiddle with the weight during the day, a system doesn't save you much more than maybe 15 min of extra time in a day on the water, and you'll easily spend that saved time plus some maintaining the system when you're off the water.
Old    Eric Roberts (ers906)      Join Date: Feb 2010       08-11-2010, 10:36 AM Reply   
I agree with going as large as you can as far as bags go. You never know if you will want to try surfing etc, which will require a whole lot more weight. easier not to fill to capacity rather than adding more bags/upgrading bags. Just my 2cents. Also, if you upgrade the ballast system, and keep your current prop, you can always upgrade that after the fact if it does not pull the way you would like. I recommend calling Jason at wakemakers and getting his opinion when you decide size and pump type. his advice is invaluable.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-11-2010, 10:39 AM Reply   
Well, 15 minutes to fill and 15 to empty isn't that big of a deal if we're going out for a full day but I tend to make a lot of 5 PM to dusk outings after work. So, that's 30 mins less boarding time on an already short trip. So, whatever I do will have to be able to be filled and emptied quickly and easily.
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       08-11-2010, 11:30 AM Reply   
I have a fast system, but it still takes 10 min or so to fill, and includes making passengers move so I can jerk the wrinkles out of sacks and such. My point is that I wouldn't do it just for the time savings, because it's maybe a net of 15 min total savings per day for both filling and emptying.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-11-2010, 11:42 AM Reply   
Well, it would offer more time savings from the ability to multi task. I could flip the switches as soon as it's off the trailer. While I'm maneuvering to the dock to pickup the other passengers it would be starting to fill. I could then take a peek at the bags and make sure they're in order then leave them filling (under the supervision of another passenger) while I go pull the truck up. Get back, check the bags again and start idling out of the no wake zone.

Filling them manually requires a lot more attention and can't occur in parallel with those other tasks.
Old    AtTheLake (bmartin)      Join Date: Jan 2007       08-12-2010, 8:43 AM Reply   
Here are a few cost cutting things to consider. You can save money by going to Lowes or the big orange store. Fittings and hose can be easily found. You can also save by shopping bags on ebay and other online stores. Not much to save on integrated bow bags, but your rear locker bags can be found pretty cheap. Also you can get aerators for $20. I would go with the biggest to fill Tsunam 1400s ($40 at BassPro) but can easily use any $20 800GPH pump to drain - draining bags is quicker and emptying cuts less into time on the water. With a hose clamp, the smaller aerators can be attached directly to standard (waterbed) fitting in bags. Lastly you can skip the throughhull for filling and have a hybrid auto ballast. Wire your fill pumps and plumb them to your bags and simply throw the fill pumps overboard when you launch your boat. The biggest hassle with maually filling bags is hooking everything up. Def. not as convenient as a complete through hull pushbutton system, but this hybrid system eliminates the biggest hassle by having everything permanently hooked up and you can always go with a through hull system later with your existing equipment.
Old    Bhyatt (bhyatt_ohp)      Join Date: Oct 2007       08-12-2010, 8:59 AM Reply   
These bags are very affordable. http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=aer....c0.m270.l1313

put 550's in each of those rear lockers, put them in the floor, bow walkway, etc. Also, don't forget you can get 50lb sand bags for about $3 a bag and buy a nice sand bag cover for about $1 online. Sand or lead is another great way to supplement ballast in your boat without compromising a lot of space.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-12-2010, 9:08 AM Reply   
How bad of an idea would it be to plumb the integrated bow sac and the ski locker sac together? I assume that the ski locker bag would fill first before water started going higher to the bow sac.

I'm just wondering if I'd need independent control over what's in each of those bags.
Old    Jeremy (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       08-12-2010, 9:55 AM Reply   
"How bad of an idea would it be to plumb the integrated bow sac and the ski locker sac together?"

It would work, but it just seems like to me, it would take forever for the bow sac to fill if it was on the overflow from the ski locker. It just seems that would eat up just as much time as filling it with a manual (unplumbed) pump.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-12-2010, 1:02 PM Reply   
Well, I suppose on a budget I could do a pair of those Aerial 550s in the back and a pair of Aerial 350s in the ski locker.

For the ski locker I'd just leave the one all the way in the front full all of the time unless I'm trailering a long distance. I wouldn't be able to get the rearmost 350 completely full because my ski locker is 78" long and the 2 bags l would be 100" completely full.

On second thought maybe I should get the fly high integrated bow sack and then the Aerial 550s for the rear. To make things a little faster I'd run wire to each location and then just throw the pumps overboard to fill like bmartin suggested.

The Aerial bags are 1/4 of the price of the Fly High 750s and I'd bet if I wanted to go to 750s I could sell the Aerials on craigslist with minimal loss.
Old    Bhyatt (bhyatt_ohp)      Join Date: Oct 2007       08-12-2010, 1:09 PM Reply   
If you are concerned on cost and want 750 in each rear locker, get (8) 50lb sandbags for $25. Put 4 on the bottom of the floor in the ski locker on each side. Fill the aerial 550lb'ers right on top of the sand bags. May want to consider sand somewhere in that ski locker too. Possibly even under seat storage areas in the bow.

Here are some sand bags you can put the sand in for $0.39 per bag. http://www.esandbags.com/ggg.html Or check local army surplus or hardware.
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-12-2010, 1:24 PM Reply   
I'm not interested in putting any extra weight in the boat that's not neutrally buoyant though. It's not worth the risk to me.

I don't necessarily want 750 lb bags. That's just what everyone keeps telling me I "need".
Old    Kam Sheffield (lffish133)      Join Date: Oct 2007       08-12-2010, 1:55 PM Reply   
You are already good enough to know that you don't need a ton of weight in your boat. I think a lot of people get carried away with extra weight. Your wake should be big enough that you don't have to spend all of your energy trying to get air, but not so big that someone with no technique can pop high. Plus the least amount of weight you can get away with will help your boat do better on gas, and it helps the lake stay flatter for everyone. I wish wakeboarders and wakesurfers would consider this when adding extra weight to their boats.
Old    AtTheLake (bmartin)      Join Date: Jan 2007       08-12-2010, 2:40 PM Reply   
The cost difference between putting 750lb bags and a 400lbers in your lockers is almost negligible when you add everything up. No one is really saying you 'need' that much weight, but it is nice to have the capacity should you ever want to go there. I agree with Kam for the most part and ride a decent moderate sized wake most of the time but it is fun to charge a monster every once in a while.

As far as filling your bow and center bag with a single pump, it would be more feasible if you split the line soon after the pump and put some ball valves to control the flow to the individual sacs. If you just plumb them in series with a single line, your belly will have to max out before the bow will begin to fill as has been stated.

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