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Old    Kauffman (tkauffman)      Join Date: Aug 2017       11-17-2017, 9:58 AM Reply   
I'm looking to buy my first wakeboat and have been looking at v-drives from the early 2000's. Obviously prices are lower on boats that don't have factory ballast built in. I never had any experience with wakeboats growing up, and always wakeboarded and skied behind an inboard/outboard. Of course, I'd like to get a boat with factory ballast if I can find one for the right price. My question is how much of a pain is it to add and use ballast (either fat sacks with manual pumps or an aftermarket automated system) on a boat without factory ballast. Is the higher price worth having factory ballast for convenience, performance, space, etc.? Thanks for any input!
Old     (dakota4ce)      Join Date: Oct 2015       11-17-2017, 10:09 AM Reply   
I would prefer a boat not have factory ballast. Then it could be done well and up to 2017 standards. Especially if you want to surf. Factory ballast from those days is a comparative joke to today’s. If you’re handy, installing your own is the strong preference.

I once bought a 2006 Tige 24Ve and scrapped the entire factory ballast system immediately to make room for some real ballast.
Old    Rich (theloungelife)      Join Date: Jun 2012       11-17-2017, 10:14 AM Reply   
Are there any specific boats you're looking at? Most you'll end up tearing out or at least adding to the factory ballast. For example, I used to have a 03' malibu vlx. I tore out the rear 250 tanks and replaced them with 750 fly high bags. If I had bought the boat without the ballast system, I would have done the same thing, but would have had to drill some holes in my boat (or have a professional do it). That would be the only thing to think about.
Old    TigeMike (chpthril)      Join Date: Oct 2007       11-17-2017, 10:22 AM Reply   
Depends on the boat and how you want to use it. if its a 5 yr old or older boat and you want to make a surf machine, factory ballast could actually be a hindrance. Piggybacking additional ballast will be slow and likely problematic. May end up gutting that factory ballast and starting over. In the 5 yr and newer range, we've seen manufactures either add surf specific ballast or at least some plug-n-play ballast plumbing for the dealer or buyer to add their own sacs.
Old    Boarder 42 (jhartt3)      Join Date: Jan 2012       11-17-2017, 10:50 AM Reply   
without ballast is better you can get it cheaper and put your own in.
Old    Jason L (NorCal_Jason)      Join Date: Feb 2017       11-17-2017, 10:56 AM Reply   
I bought a 2004 SANTE 210 last spring that had original factory ballast. It ended being one of main issues over the summer due to cracked drain pumps and bad check valves. I would look for a boat where someone has already done the upgrades and save yourself some cash after the purchase. I'm now tearing out the factory hard tanks and replacing them with bags and reversible pumps which for your reference is about $1K for the system with me doing the install. Note- this cost is just for the rear ballast, does not include belly which I'm leaving stock for now.
Old    Scott (chilidog)      Join Date: Dec 2007       11-17-2017, 11:50 AM Reply   
I had a boat with no factory ballast, carried around a 1K of lead but my tows are less than 10 miles between, home, gas, and storage/launch. I bought all the parts to do a DIY ballast that if I didn't have kids I could have pulled off in free time, but it seemed like a pretty daunting project and I ended up selling off most of it.
Personally I think a boat with stock ballast that you retrofit to suit your needs would be the best bet. Or just supplement off the stock ballast with lead or fatsacks piggybacked. Now I have a boat with fully automated factory ballast and the flexibility far exceeds what I dealt with for years with lead and fat sacks, for our uses of switching from boarding to surfing to kids boarding to tubing all day long.

Last edited by chilidog; 11-17-2017 at 11:56 AM.
Old    Kauffman (tkauffman)      Join Date: Aug 2017       11-17-2017, 12:14 PM Reply   
I'm really just looking at any boat that looks like a good deal to answer theloungelife's question. I plan on having it only 2-3 years before selling and upgrading. I've been eyeing some Tige 22v's and Centurion Avy's that have popped up but have also seen a few Sangers and Supra Launches near me that seemed like a good deal. All have been between 04's and 06's except the Sanger, which I believe is a '08 215V.

I appreciate everyone's replies. My main worry was about getting a boat without ballast, and it sounds like that may actually be a better option over just stock ballast. Ideally, it sounds like I'd want a boat with recently upgraded ballast if I can find one for the right price or just plan on upgrading myself.
Old    Eric R (Shakarocks)      Join Date: Mar 2013       11-17-2017, 12:34 PM Reply   
Factory ballast usually isn't enough. It's not hard to supplement it. If you have no ballast just get on the web forums for whatever boat you have and they will most likely be able to point you to a good aftermarket setup. It's really not that hard of a DIY.
Old    D C (DCross)      Join Date: Jul 2016       11-17-2017, 12:42 PM Reply   
I basically agree with everybody else... I had an 07 Supra 21V with factory ballast and wanted to pull my hair out nonstop because it was sooooo slow to fill/empty, and was always getting air locked. You will DEFINITELY want ballast so my recommendation would be buy one without it and be sure you've got enough cash on the side to take it straight to your local dealer to have 'new' factory, upgraded ballast installed. Just a guess, I'd say be prepared to spend around $3k to load it up. Winter is a great time to get a deal from the dealer because they'll be slow anyway...
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       11-17-2017, 1:13 PM Reply   
It's a double-edged sword.

Just keep in mind, you can easily spend $2500 putting in an automated 3 bag ballast setup.
Old     (dakota4ce)      Join Date: Oct 2015       11-17-2017, 1:37 PM Reply   
Even if you’re not automating it, I still don’t see much good in factory. Tanks are puny, plastics are old and brittle....

But depends on what it actually is
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       11-17-2017, 2:30 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota4ce View Post
Even if you’re not automating it, I still don’t see much good in factory. Tanks are puny, plastics are old and brittle....

But depends on what it actually is
At least you get some base functionality. Some wiring is done for you. Switches are located. You have a few pumps. Some plumbing and through-hulls exist.

You can always replace ****ty tanks with bigger bags. That's a lot easier and cheaper than starting from scratch.
Old    Swatguy (xstarrider)      Join Date: Jun 2007       11-17-2017, 2:42 PM Reply   
Ballast systems on most older boats were cumbersome, and not efficient at all. Most people end up gutting them anyways. I would prefer buying a boat with no ballast for that era and installing one from scratch. It’s simpler to do and you’ll get way better performance.
Old     (dakota4ce)      Join Date: Oct 2015       11-17-2017, 3:08 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by boardjnky4 View Post
At least you get some base functionality. Some wiring is done for you. Switches are located. You have a few pumps. Some plumbing and through-hulls exist.

You can always replace ****ty tanks with bigger bags. That's a lot easier and cheaper than starting from scratch.


The pumps in my 2006 Tige were tiny useless leaky junk. I thought the same until I tried to use them.
Old    RB (boardman74)      Join Date: Jul 2012       11-17-2017, 4:00 PM Reply   
What most have said is right on. Also with or without ballast in those year ranges(and price) your talking shouldn't make a difference in value. Like most have pointed out the systems are garbage anyway, so they surely aren't worth any more money.
Old    Scot Carper (Scotty)      Join Date: Apr 2012       11-26-2017, 10:55 AM Reply   
With most boats the above advice is spot on. Early 2000s boats had ballast from 250lbs in the Centurion to much more in the MBs. This ballast was made to beef up your wakeboard wake - not for surfing. In the early 2010s surfing had really exploded but everyone was listing (weighting 1 side heavier) their boats to change surf sides. Then came the surfgate and fakegates. This changed everything. Now you just had to weight the whole boat with attention to nose weighting to keep it down and the "gates" changed surf sides for you. I did research on factory ballast and found that no one in the 2000s was offering as much factory ballast as MB. The 2005 B52 V23 Team Edition was one of the earliest big hitters at 2500 lbs. In 2016 Malibu's top stock offering was 1825lbs - with an option to add 550lbs of plug-n-play bags. (See Waterski Mag article from 2016 below)

There are many good reasons to choose some of the more well known brands. But, if you are looking for affordable stock ballast that works well or potentially better with a pump upgrade, consider the MB. My 2003 220V had 1600lbs of hard aluminum tanks below the floor no-hassle "surfable" ballast. We added bags to get another 1k lbs or so but it was simple and cost effective to get to 2600lbs. Look at the different years to see what each one had. For simple affordable stock ballast, MB was way ahead of their time.

2016 Wake Boats – Factory Ballast Capacities – Waterski Mag May 17th 2016.
Five years ago, the Centurion Ri237’s 5,100-pound ballast system would have been the wakeboarding equivalent of ¬science fiction. Today? Well, honestly, that 2˝-ton setup is still a bit hard to fathom, but it feels at home in today’s world of gargantuan ballast systems, rather than in some distant future where a robot drives your morning session. (We’d love to see a Google boat.) Ever since Nautique kicked off the big-wake revolution with the epic displacement of the G23, the biggest trend in ballast has been big, bigger and biggest. At the time of its inception, the G23’s 2,850-pound system seemed astounding. Today that kind of weight is the new norm. In fact, virtually every major wakeboat builder offers a ballast package comparable to that number.

Weight Gains
Centurion is on the leading edge of that trend with three models that handle more than 4,500 pounds of ballast: the Ri237 (5,100), FS44 (5,050) and FS33 (4,550). MasterCraft’s all-new X23 boasts 2,450 pounds of hard-tank ballast, complemented by 590 pounds of plumbed bags for a grand total of 3,040 pounds. Malibu’s quad hard-tank systems max out at 1,825 pounds, but the company’s Plug N Play option allows advanced riders and surfers to add two 550-pound rear sacks, taking the total ballast capacity to 2,925 pounds. Tigé’s XL ballast package totals exactly 3,000 pounds, while Supra’s Liquid Lead system maxes out at 3,200 pounds in the flagship SE. Axis doesn’t have a model that eclipses the 2,850 mark, but it has four models that break 2,500
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       11-28-2017, 8:36 AM Reply   
I've done both. Much easier to start with a system, then tear down and replace you want. A lot of wiring/switches/thru hulls are already there. yes, thin walled plastic will likely be cracking and need to be replaced.

BUT, it's definitely not difficult to put a system in where there was no system before. Installed a complete system in the old MC. just need to plan out everything. It's kinda fun seeing how much weight you can hide out of sight. Used a water bed mattress for my big rear bag also there was some a great article on here years ago. looked the other day and couldn't find it. actually Trace post the other day (author of the ballast system article). Kinda nice cuz you can design it however you want.

design it to fill underway
be able to isolate your rear bags (separate drain pumps and line. You can T and check valve to one drain thru-hull if you want)
obviously, put the biggest pumps in that make sense for your system

Last edited by denverd1; 11-28-2017 at 8:45 AM.
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       11-28-2017, 8:39 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by boardjnky4 View Post
It's a double-edged sword.

Just keep in mind, you can easily spend $2500 putting in an automated 3 bag ballast setup.
really??? I'd like to see how you blow 2500 on a 3 bag system
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       11-28-2017, 8:53 AM Reply   
to answer your question, it's a factor but not a deal breaker one way or the other. In any case, you're going to be working on ballast. it is has a system, you're upgrading/repairing parts of it right out of the gate. if not, you have a blank canvas and can do what you want.

best advice is to get familiar with the types of systems and learn to work on them. or you can spend big $$$ for your "dealer" to do basic wiring and plumbing.

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