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Michigan Tim

Ballast configuration for a direct drive

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Michigan Tim

I have a 2006 Malibu Sunsetter LXI that we use to board at 20 MPH with the wedge half-way down. (Hallf way down is much bigger than all the way down). Pretty nice wake, but my son is needing to go bigger. I'm thinking about fat sacs, as I have no built in ballast tanks. I have the rear ski locker, but there is a warning label not to load more than 75 pounds in that area. Has anyone ever loaded it down and if so, what have the results been? I also have a ski locker in the walkway to the bow. That locker looks very secure and I think I can add some significant weight there. Looking for feedback as to what my option are for those 2 areas on the boat. BTW, this is my first ever post, so glad to be part of the crew.

Thanks

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Michigan boarder

Welcome to the crew! And the SSLxi is a nice boat, congrats.

I have a '94 Echelon, which is also a direct drive (DD), but narrower and shallower than your boat. So I can't comment on your specific model. However, I typically just use the wedge for boarding but add ballast for surfing on my boat. A basic rule of thumb is not to just add weight to the back of the boat, but to the mid and front as well to better shape the wake. So yes, use your ski locker. I put a 400# sac in there when we surf. You should see a difference in that alone, with your wedge set up. Hopefully someone else can comment on the rear lockers.

When you say he needs more air, is he already doing inverts, 360's, etc.? If not, your wedge alone should be plenty and he might be better off to focus on technique.

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REW

I have a DD wakesetter (04) with factory ballast in the ski locker under the floor. (500#). I have added a 300# bag under the rear seat and will do some modifications on the seat this winter that will allow it to fill almost all the way up. right now I get about 200-250 in it without turning the rear seat into a rolly polly :whistle: . we did a lot of that when we had a small crew.

the major issue with putting a lot of weight in the rear locker (trunk) is the fuel tank right under the floor of the trunk. I am planning (year or two) to strengthen the floor and add another 300#bag there as well, but the floor has to be strengthened. If you crush the floor you will cursh the fuel tank.

With a full crew and the factory ballast full the wake was meaty and large but no lip adding the 200-250 under the rear seat really shaped up the wake well.

Hope this helps'

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Michigan Tim

Thanks Michigan boarder. I am from the Metro Detroit area, but love the west side of the state! In terms of the air comment, my son is getting great length, but not much pop. He can do a 360, but is scared to do inverts and from my perspective (the drivers seat), it doesn't look like he has enough air time to complete an invert. He is attacking the wake, but seeing inconsistent pop. I do think his own weight and momentum might be part of the problem. He is only 10 and weighs in at 75 pounds, so not alot of momentum coming across.

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Michigan Tim

Thanks REW. That's what I thought about the trunk floor. Crushing the fuel tank wouldn't be too cool. In terms of the back seat, I have 2 storage areas that are relatively small under the seats with the cooler in between. I don't want to modify the cooler, as that's a great place for it and is heavily ultilized.

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Michigan boarder

Thanks Michigan boarder. I am from the Metro Detroit area, but love the west side of the state! In terms of the air comment, my son is getting great length, but not much pop. He can do a 360, but is scared to do inverts and from my perspective (the drivers seat), it doesn't look like he has enough air time to complete an invert. He is attacking the wake, but seeing inconsistent pop. I do think his own weight and momentum might be part of the problem. He is only 10 and weighs in at 75 pounds, so not alot of momentum coming across.

Well then he's off to a great start! And based on that, I would definitely say he needs to work on technique and don't worry about a bigger wake yet. He needs to at least be consistent on his pop and clear the wake (wake to wake) before making any changes. So, some suggestions, IMO:

-Check the gear. Make sure he has a good board that is not too heavy/big and he can move it around well. Sounds like he does if he is turning 360's.

-Stand up tall at the wake. That is, he might be absorbing the wake with his knees, and that is minimizing his pop. He needs to be extending his legs when hitting the wake, and it'll shoot him way up there.

-Check your wake. Make sure he is hitting the wake at a good spot, at a nice solid rampy part, not where it is washing out. You may need to speed up or slow down. You also can shorten or lengthen the rope to help get that done. If he's comfortable or used to that speed, then don't change it and instead adjust the rope length. I still ride at 60', 21 mph.

-If he is getting good length he probably is cutting well into the wake. That's a good thing!

Watch lots of youtube over the winter. And do you know where Skier's Pier is? That's where my boat last originated.

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Michigan Tim

Michigan boarder.

Thanks for all of the great thoughts and ideas. Skiers Pier is about 10 minutes from my home. The original owner of my boat bought it at Skiers Pier. He traded it in a few years later as his marina (Pine Lake Marina) shifted to a Mastercraft arrangement and that is where I bought it from last year. From what I can see, they are a good group of folks at Skiers Pier.

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REW

Well then he's off to a great start! And based on that, I would definitely say he needs to work on technique and don't worry about a bigger wake yet. He needs to at least be consistent on his pop and clear the wake (wake to wake) before making any changes. So, some suggestions, IMO:

-Check the gear. Make sure he has a good board that is not too heavy/big and he can move it around well. Sounds like he does if he is turning 360's.

-Stand up tall at the wake. That is, he might be absorbing the wake with his knees, and that is minimizing his pop. He needs to be extending his legs when hitting the wake, and it'll shoot him way up there.

-Check your wake. Make sure he is hitting the wake at a good spot, at a nice solid rampy part, not where it is washing out. You may need to speed up or slow down. You also can shorten or lengthen the rope to help get that done. If he's comfortable or used to that speed, then don't change it and instead adjust the rope length. I still ride at 60', 21 mph.

-If he is getting good length he probably is cutting well into the wake. That's a good thing!

Watch lots of youtube over the winter. And do you know where Skier's Pier is? That's where my boat last originated.

:plus1: You can also adjust the weight distrabution in the boat to change the shape of the wake. Moving just one person from the observers seat to the rear seat will make a real differance in the shapeof the wake. We did a lot of this before adding the bag under the rear seat (yes mine is a bench that will hide the bag under it).

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windy1

I am also pondering more sacks. my son (15) is doing tantrums, backrolls, 360's and more all with only the wedge (manual). we just got an old fat sack given to us late in the summer and it does make a differance but takes up room. we put it right behind the motor. I think it's about 400 pounds. right now I'm thinking (a) one sack on each side of motor all the way back and one in the center locker or (b) finding a deal on a vlx and do it right. I love the sunsetter but it looks like we are going to be doing way more wakeboarding in the future.

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Michigan Tim

Thanks to all for your great feedback

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Michigan boarder

I am also pondering more sacks. my son (15) is doing tantrums, backrolls, 360's and more all with only the wedge (manual). we just got an old fat sack given to us late in the summer and it does make a differance but takes up room. we put it right behind the motor. I think it's about 400 pounds. right now I'm thinking (a) one sack on each side of motor all the way back and one in the center locker or (b) finding a deal on a vlx and do it right. I love the sunsetter but it looks like we are going to be doing way more wakeboarding in the future.

They do take up a lot of space. Effective, but yeah, PITA. At his level, I'd say it's V-drive time.

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msuwaterski

If you're willing to put in a little elbow greace you can add a automatic ballast bag in the trunk. I did it and have been VERY happy with the results. I now have 400lbs in the ski locker and 500lbs in the trunk. Follow this thread to first reinforce your trunk and the follow this thread on how to install and plumb the auto ballast.

Good luck!

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Michigan Tim

MSU Waterski,

What happened to Sparty yesterday? I'm a U of M guy, but have to admit that State looks pretty good this year. Lincoln has never been an easy place to play and yesterday was no exception. It certainly is shaping up to be an interesting stretch run.

Thanks for the great thread. The shape of the transom on yours looks different than mine in terms of having a "shelf" to brace the cross support. I haven't taken the floor out yet, but think that my transom is almost straight up and down, so not sure how I would brace the support. In terms of your ski locker up front, did you just lay a fat sac up there? I see that you have 400lbs there. I didn't realize that locker was so big, but very hard to judge. I was going to get the 270lb tube sac, but maybe can go bigger. What sac do you have up there? Any support needed or is the factory locker there strong enough? In terms of the floating wedge, I have the power wedge, so wondering if you replaced the power wedge or if there was some other type of wedge other than the power and the floating.

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REW

MSU Waterski,

What happened to Sparty yesterday? I'm a U of M guy, but have to admit that State looks pretty good this year. Lincoln has never been an easy place to play and yesterday was no exception. It certainly is shaping up to be an interesting stretch run.

Thanks for the great thread. The shape of the transom on yours looks different than mine in terms of having a "shelf" to brace the cross support. I haven't taken the floor out yet, but think that my transom is almost straight up and down, so not sure how I would brace the support. In terms of your ski locker up front, did you just lay a fat sac up there? I see that you have 400lbs there. I didn't realize that locker was so big, but very hard to judge. I was going to get the 270lb tube sac, but maybe can go bigger. What sac do you have up there? Any support needed or is the factory locker there strong enough? In terms of the floating wedge, I have the power wedge, so wondering if you replaced the power wedge or if there was some other type of wedge other than the power and the floating.

Your transom is different so the bracing will have to be different. My current plan is to bring supports up from the stringers, and over the gas tank, this will allow the weight of the ballast to rest on the stringers. Use the other thread as a guide and design your system for your boat. If yours is like mine you will have to take out the rear seat back to get access to the tank, floor, and stringers where you need to. Any other mods you were/are planning near the transom should be incorporated into this one.

The factory locker under the floor runs along the keel of the boat and will support a lot of weight, as much as you can get into it in. Measure the locker and remember you can push any bag you want a long way forward to get more in. My factory bag is 500#.

The power wedge is the latest and greatest avaliable. The orginal was a manual wedge that had to be locked in place. then came the floater, now we have the power.

Hope this helps.

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msuwaterski

MSU Waterski,

What happened to Sparty yesterday? I'm a U of M guy, but have to admit that State looks pretty good this year. Lincoln has never been an easy place to play and yesterday was no exception. It certainly is shaping up to be an interesting stretch run.

Thanks for the great thread. The shape of the transom on yours looks different than mine in terms of having a "shelf" to brace the cross support. I haven't taken the floor out yet, but think that my transom is almost straight up and down, so not sure how I would brace the support. In terms of your ski locker up front, did you just lay a fat sac up there? I see that you have 400lbs there. I didn't realize that locker was so big, but very hard to judge. I was going to get the 270lb tube sac, but maybe can go bigger. What sac do you have up there? Any support needed or is the factory locker there strong enough? In terms of the floating wedge, I have the power wedge, so wondering if you replaced the power wedge or if there was some other type of wedge other than the power and the floating.

Yeah, Sparty laid an egg on Saturday. They played a flawless game against Wisconsin so they were bound to goof up and it cost em.

I did not realize when I posted that your LXI is an '06. Yes, the transon is different on your boat so my reinforcement thread probably will not be much help. In regards to the center locker. The standard fly high tube sack will fit nicely but will not maximize the space. Fly high makes a custom sack for Moomba boats that is same width and height as the tube sack but it's 8" longer. The dimensions are 10x16x70. That is what I have and how I got 400lbs in there. Those Moomba sacks usually available for sale on the Moomba forum or just do a google search for those dimensions.

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Michigan Tim

Great feedback. I am now comfortable knowing that I can get lots of weight into the ski locker up front in the walkway to the bow. I'll have to measure mine and see how big of a sac can be placed there. I am quite intimidated to try the trunk re-inforcement, so maybe i can just use a big sac on the rear seat when the crew is small and the crew can act as the ballast when they are on board. I'm excited to see how 400 or 500 lbs in the ski locker impacts the wake. Unfortunately, the boat has now been winterized and put into storage, so it will have to wait until spring. :(

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windy1

Anyone have any feedback on the sacks used in place of the back seat. can you really use them as a seat. wakemakers has a 580 pounder or a huge 1100 pound bag that with a locker bag I'm sure would give me the wake I want. I'm still considering the move to a V but it's hard to justify the money when I have a boat that runs perfect and is paid for.

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REW

Anyone have any feedback on the sacks used in place of the back seat. can you really use them as a seat. wakemakers has a 580 pounder or a huge 1100 pound bag that with a locker bag I'm sure would give me the wake I want. I'm still considering the move to a V but it's hard to justify the money when I have a boat that runs perfect and is paid for. :yahoo::thumbup::rockon:

I have never use the large FatSeats but would love to know if you can sit on it as well. However I will say that if you add 1100#'s in the back you are going to have to add some in the bow area to keep the boat ballanced. A good starting point is 60/40 stearn to bow. Once you get to a starting point you can then customize and adjust with "dynamic" ballast to make the wake do what you want at your speed and length.

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windy1

I have never use the large FatSeats but would love to know if you can sit on it as well. However I will say that if you add 1100#'s in the back you are going to have to add some in the bow area to keep the boat ballanced. A good starting point is 60/40 stearn to bow. Once you get to a starting point you can then customize and adjust with "dynamic" ballast to make the wake do what you want at your speed and length.

A sack in the locker in front of the motor is a given. then it's just a mater of how big behind the motor. with 400# only behind the motor and 2 people in back in addition to the driver the bow goes up to far on takoff. If I move the paople up front it's fine. I was surprized how the wake is effected by moving people around.

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Michigan boarder

I have never use the large FatSeats but would love to know if you can sit on it as well. However I will say that if you add 1100#'s in the back you are going to have to add some in the bow area to keep the boat ballanced. A good starting point is 60/40 stearn to bow. Once you get to a starting point you can then customize and adjust with "dynamic" ballast to make the wake do what you want at your speed and length.

A sack in the locker in front of the motor is a given. then it's just a mater of how big behind the motor. with 400# only behind the motor and 2 people in back in addition to the driver the bow goes up to far on takoff. If I move the paople up front it's fine. I was surprized how the wake is effected by moving people around.

Yeah, that all sounds like a lot of weight for wakeboarding. I just use the wedge, with a crew of 1 adult driver and 3 kids for wakeboarding.

I put the 400# in the locker and a 750# in the rear/side, and the wedge down, to surf. Can't imagine running all that weight at 21mph.

Edit: then again, I have an Echelon, which is a different boat.

Edited by Michigan boarder

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