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winterizing ballast tanks and pumps


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18 replies to this topic

#1
speedyalex

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This year I upgraded to a 2005 Sunscape with 2 rear ballast tanks and a bow ballast bag. I have always winterized my inboard in the past so understand all of the major steps to winterizing. Any advice on what needs to be done with the ballast tanks and pumps. Do you use compressed air or run a little RV antifreeze through the pumps. Thanks for your help.
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#2
WaveGAR

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  • Boat: 2007 Malibu Wakesetter VTX
I tried once to put the fake A Lake up to the suction inlet and a short hose in a pail of Boat/RV Antifreeze and it would not suck it up. Now,I put a small submersible pump in the pail, (Still with the Fake A Lake),, It then sucks it up great. You dont need much as long as they are M/T. I flush them in the Spring before hitting the water. This set up also works great for getting it in the engine as well,after it has been drained. Shower and Heater on, and it goes everywhere. It gets to -40 below here and have had no problems what so ever. Good Luck!!

#3
sp0tts

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I just drain them and run the pumps dry for a little, never had an issue.

#4
skicrave

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The tanks are totally fine, you don't need to do anything with them. For the pumps, just pull the cartridge out of the housing and that will prevent any damage. There's absolutely no need to use anti-freeze for anything in the ballast system (which saves you money, and prevents it from ending up in the water).

#5
wakeboarder3780

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I know this is an older post but I have a unique scenario where I'm going to be driving to the east coast, driving a boat and then will have to winterize it immediately after before nightfall when it will reach freezing. I have never been in or seen the boat I will be doing but I assume it's similiar to the OP's boat. I don't want to threadjack but I don't want to spam another thread on the same topic either.

I will be looking at an 06 23LSV. This cartridge that you speak of, where is it housed? Does it contain the pump right in it? I'm assuming you pull the cartridge out which holds the pump and then you just store it indoors? How many pumps/cartridges are there? Like the OP I planned on forcing some antifreeze up through it. If I don't have to that would be great but I'd need a little more information before I just show up on the sellers doorstep (who doesn't know how to winterize it) and expect to reliably winterize the boat.

If I should have just made a new thread, I apologize, I thought this would be cleaner for the forum.

#6
Bill_AirJunky

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You should be able to unscrew a cap on the top of the pump. Inside you will see an impeller. Done.

#7
Macutak

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How many pumps you have will be determined by how many ballasts were installed. You could have up to 4 tanks. However, if you make sure the ballast levers are open and then pump them dry, you should have no problem. I have never winterized the pumps or even unscrewed them. The only problem I had is when I forgot to open a ballast valve on the intake of one of my pumps and it cracked the valve. I just replaced it with a brass valve from Home Depo for $9.00. The pumps are blue and the cap has a set screw that has to be removed first. Be careful with that, they have a tendency to drop out of your hands and you never find them in the bottom of your boat. Then unscrew the cap if you must and pull the inner cartridge motor out with the blue impeller. But to emphasize that they do not require this, Malibu puts two of your pumps on the left and right ballast pump outs under your floor board. to get to it, you would have to unscrew all all the screws in your locker floor, take out the slide brackets for your engine wall and table mount, and gangway slide door out, then bend (and I mean bend ) up your composite floor until you can sit scrunched up on your ballast tank with you floorboard pushing at your back and perform this maneuver on your ballast pump at the back of the tank against the transom. Of course you will need to do this again in the spring to get in there and put the pump back together. Simply said, it is not necessary. with open valves everything drains out nicely if you just pump them dry.

Edited by Macutak, September 29, 2010 - 07:46 AM.


#8
skicrave

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I agree, on the older boats getting access to the drain pumps is a pretty big hassle (starting in '07 they added an access port in the floor that makes it much easier). Given that this isn't your boat, I would definitely spend my time ensuring the engine, heater (if equipped) and shower (if equipped) are properly winterized. Those are significantly more expensive to replace than the pump, which is only $40-50 if something were to happen.

#9
wakeboarder3780

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Ok so sorry if this is noobish, but basically there is a lever that will allow the pumps to dry and all I need to do is lift it, and then let them drip dry? (I don't need to run the pump once i lift the levers)? Sorry for requiring so much hand holding but I've gotta get it right the day I show up or there goes money out my pocket straight away.

It doesn't have a heater or shower so I'm square there. I think I can handle engine winterization just fine thanks to the article posted by (I think Pete would like me to emphasize 'not written by') Pistol Pete.

Thanks for all the help!

#10
skicrave

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Yes, there is a bronze (very different from the cheap brass ball valves you can buy at Home Depot and Lowes) ball valve between each fill pump and the thru-hull connection is pulls water in through. It will look similar to this Bronze Ball Valve, and will have to be open in order for the tanks to fill. If the ballast system fills then the ball valve is open and you don't need to do anything when you winterize it. As soon as you pull the boat out of the water the pumps will drain.

Edited by skicrave, September 30, 2010 - 08:06 AM.


#11
Macutak

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Yes, there is a bronze (very different from the cheap brass ball valves you can buy at Home Depot and Lowes) ball valve between each fill pump and the thru-hull connection is pulls water in through. It will look similar to this [url="http:="http://www.wakemaker...valve-3-4.html" Bronze Ball Valve[/url], and will have to be open in order for the tanks to fill. If the ballast system fills then the ball valve is open and you don't need to do anything when you winterize it. As soon as you pull the boat out of the water the pumps will drain.



Now you have me nervous about the valve I got. The price sounds like brass, but it looked like good quality...I like the handle much better since it did not have the simple nut that often comes off and is lost and makes your handle come off. Anything I should worry about? The valve itself had a nice polished ball with the same seals on both sides that my original had. Let me know if there is something I should be changing out.

#12
Bill_AirJunky

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Yes, there is a bronze (very different from the cheap brass ball valves you can buy at Home Depot and Lowes) ball valve between each fill pump and the thru-hull connection is pulls water in through. It will look similar to this [url="http:="http://www.wakemaker...valve-3-4.html" Bronze Ball Valve[/url], and will have to be open in order for the tanks to fill. If the ballast system fills then the ball valve is open and you don't need to do anything when you winterize it. As soon as you pull the boat out of the water the pumps will drain.

Man, I hope the valves you guys got are better than the ones on my Vride. The handle fell off the midship intake valve some time ago. The valve is a POS in every respect.

#13
wakeboarder3780

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Oh we're talking manual shutoffs, I gotcha. So you just run the pumps dry for just a bit to make sure its all out and you leave it be. I *may* still opt to put a bit of the pink stuff in there just to give me a warm fuzzy but thanks for the info!

Edit: I'm sure I can find this out when I get there, but how many ballast inlets are there? Do they have 1 major one that they branch from or a few of them?

Edited by wakeboarder3780, September 29, 2010 - 12:49 PM.


#14
Macutak

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Oh we're talking manual shutoffs, I gotcha. So you just run the pumps dry for just a bit to make sure its all out and you leave it be. I *may* still opt to put a bit of the pink stuff in there just to give me a warm fuzzy but thanks for the info!

Edit: I'm sure I can find this out when I get there, but how many ballast inlets are there? Do they have 1 major one that they branch from or a few of them?



One intake valve with a shut off handle and pump for each ballast. And one pump mounted at the low end of each ballast tank (without a shutoff valve) for each ballast. So two pumps per ballast and one shut off valve intake per ballast tank. How many ballast tanks? Depends on the boat. You will look at the center hold to find the intakes for the bow ballast and center ballast and the draining pump for the center ballast will be there also. The two side ballasts will have intakes coming on either side of your transmission, if you have them. As I mentioned, my boat has drainage pumps hidden up under the front seat for the bow ballast and under the locker floor boards for the two side ballasts. I would leave those alone, or at the most, inject antifreeze into the through holes where the water pumps out. But I never do any of that to mine. Let me know if you get this ok or if you want I can post a picture of what it looks like down in there.

#15
wakeboarder3780

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Let me know if you get this ok or if you want I can post a picture of what it looks like down in there.


I think I've got a fuzzy mental picture, but if you're willing to post some pictures, please do. I'll never turn down extra help. Then I would know *exactly* what it looks like before i get there.

#16
skicrave

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Now you have me nervous about the valve I got. The price sounds like brass, but it looked like good quality...I like the handle much better since it did not have the simple nut that often comes off and is lost and makes your handle come off. Anything I should worry about? The valve itself had a nice polished ball with the same seals on both sides that my original had. Let me know if there is something I should be changing out.

Brass undergoes galvonic corrosion at a much faster rate than bronze. It doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the product (I'm sure the one you got is well made), but rather the chemical properties of the material it's made out of. Brass is fine in home plumbing (which is why Home Depot and Lowes sell them) because everything is grounded. In a boat that's not the case, so you need to use bronze. You can read more about it in this blog post. This is more of an is sue in brackish or salt water, but still occurs in fresh water, which is why all of the underwater gear on boats is made from bronze (or another non-corrosive material like stainless).

Edited by skicrave, September 30, 2010 - 10:43 AM.


#17
wakeboarder3780

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Brass undergoes galvanic corrosion at a much faster rate than bronze.


FIFY

#18
skicrave

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FIFY


Whoa, thanks for catching that! Posted Image

#19
Macutak

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Brass undergoes galvonic corrosion at a much faster rate than bronze. It doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the product (I'm sure the one you got is well made), but rather the chemical properties of the material it's made out of. Brass is fine in home plumbing (which is why Home Depot and Lowes sell them) because everything is grounded. In a boat that's not the case, so you need to use bronze. You can read more about it in this blog post. This is more of an is sue in brackish or salt water, but still occurs in fresh water, which is why all of the underwater gear on boats is made from bronze (or another non-corrosive material like stainless).



Had no idea. I am going to have to watch that now and see how it fairs. I put a brass ball valve on my closed cooling system heater as well. Maybe it will do better since it is radiator fluid. But now both are going to be suspect. That was a nasty corrosion picture they had on the web site. I wonder how long it took to look like that and if it was in salt water. Funny thing, I went to the web site top see how much their ball valves were for ballast tanks and they were about twice as much but the description for the part listed them as BRASS. I had to chuckle a little. Anyway thanks for the information since I was totally unaware of the issue.




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