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2012 VLX integrated ballast install


Brett B

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A few people have asked me about my ballast install so here are some pictures. After researching the piggyback systems a bit, and seeing how well the factory system works with the presets, I decided t

Since you can only "Like' a post once, this one deserves a X2 as well. I do about a dozen custom setups a season and many of them are designed with 2 pumps sharing a t-hull. It save hardware mounted

I second what Brett says, I am also running same setup and it is working great. I read an article that stated the 3/4" inlet could supply up to 2000gph, well beyond the rated capacity of both pumps

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Great work man!!!!

Have you tried draining the port side while filling the starboard side rear bags. I would be interested to know the outcome.

OMG - I just noticed you don't have vent hoses....get ready for the haters to come out and tell you how big of a mistake that has...

FWIW - I'm not going to use vent lines either!!

Edited by Murphy8166
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Great work man!!!!

Have you tried draining the port side while filling the starboard side rear bags. I would be interested to know the outcome.

OMG - I just noticed you don't have vent hoses....get ready for the haters to come out and tell you how big of a mistake that has...

FWIW - I'm not going to use vent lines either!!

Thanks guys!

Yep you can drain one while filling the other, it just goes a little bit slower. It only takes a few minutes to get everything filled/drained though, I'm actually surprised with how fast it goes even with the shared inlet. I used 1" hoses and fittings for everything.

We mostly wakeboard, and I never really fill the rears up more than halfway for wakeboarding, so not having a vent on those doesn't concern me too much. That was part of the reason I went with a bag bigger than I needed, so it wouldn't be pressurized without a vent. When we do surf I just open the hatch and watch it to see when it's full.

Not sure about the metal shells on the fuel hose. All the 2012 Bu's I saw have them. I'm guessing they may be some sort of burst protection or something required with the new Cali compliant sealed fuel system.

Edited by Brett B
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I don't have a full list handy but I got just about all the major components from Bakes and Wakemakers. I also had some stuff sitting around from other projects (electrical connectors, polycarbonate, etc.)

One thing I forgot to note. Getting the front pump to fit behind the subwoofer was a lot of work. The 1" hose has a very large bend radius and the pump is pretty large so there are limited spots where you can fit that pump if you have a factory heater. I actually had to angle the pump a bit more than shown in the picture, and I had to trim off the back corner of the sub box a little bit. I wasn't real impressed with the factory sub box, so I plan on improving it over the winter anyway. Without either the factory heater or the factory sub box it would be way easier.

Edited by Brett B
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That's the best bow set up I've seen. You don't always want a bag sitting up on your bow seats, so making this a true plug-n-play option is awesome.

Questions:

1.As to the rear locker... where do the bags empty? back through the t-handle inlet?

2. If you did decide to drain the rear bags through the existing side ports, would you need a second pump on each side to do so?

3. How does that much weight do in the bow? I've got a 2005 VLX and haven't even fully filled the 750 sac in the bow. We usually put a 400 in the bow and still take a few over the bow once in a while.

Edited by kayakwv
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The pumps are reversible, so the bags drain back out through the same T-handle thru-hull fitting when the pump spins the other direction via the rocker switches. They actually drain much faster than they fill, probably since the bag is elevated above the pump slightly.

If you wanted to drain out the side ports you would need to add more pumps, which pretty much defeats the purpose/simplicity of using the reversible pumps. If you wanted to go that route you could use the tsunami pumps instead since they are much cheaper, but you have to mount them down low right at the thru-hull fitting as they are not self priming like the Johnson pumps.

With the bow triangle full I have not taken a roller over the bow yet but I have to drive very carefully to make sure I am parallel to any rollers. :)

Also, I would not recommend using quick disconnect fittings on the rear bags. The quick disconnect fittings use an o-ring seal and are not real robust. I have noticed that if the fitting is tweeked or torqued from the weight of the bag that it can leak. So you want to make sure the fitting isn't under any bending pressure. This is easy to do with the bow triangle fitting since it sticks out into the walkway. But the rear bags will be sitting on the fittings, so just use the regular screw-in barb fittings. They are much stronger and do not leak when the bag puts pressure on them.

Edited by Brett B
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Brett,

Great set up. Going to add it to my 05 VLX asap. I do think I would want vent lines, since I am constantly forgetting to turn off the stock pumps, and wouldn't want to burst the bags. And I'll have to learn a little more about the wiring, but it looks good to go. The bow line hook up is a really convenient idea, and in hidden spot.

I guess the only way you know the rear bags are empty is by visual inspection, or can you hear the pump when they are dry?

Would you still be able to take out the ball valve from time to time to drain oil, or would I just need to get an oil pump?

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Couldn't you just use a check valve and a y fitting to push it out the side?

Yes you are right, but for what you are describing you would need 3 check valves per pump. One to stop the water going back out the T-handle line, one to keep the pump from pulling in air in thru the vent line when filling, and one to prevent dumping water back into the hard tank thru it's vent line when draining the bag. Draw out the diagram and you will see what I mean.

Certainly it could be done but I am not sure why you would want to add that many more fittings, Y's, valves and lines when it empties faster thru the T-handle fitting all with one hose. The pumps make enough noise that it's very clear when the bags are empty.

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Brett,

Great set up. Going to add it to my 05 VLX asap. I do think I would want vent lines, since I am constantly forgetting to turn off the stock pumps, and wouldn't want to burst the bags. And I'll have to learn a little more about the wiring, but it looks good to go. The bow line hook up is a really convenient idea, and in hidden spot.

I guess the only way you know the rear bags are empty is by visual inspection, or can you hear the pump when they are dry?

Would you still be able to take out the ball valve from time to time to drain oil, or would I just need to get an oil pump?

You can hear the pumps pretty well, and they definitely change tone when dry.

I used the 3M 4000 marine adhesive on the ball valve thru-hull threads to make sure there were zero leaks, so I don't plan on removing them anytime soon. I used an oil pump last time I did the oil change and it worked well but it was time consuming since it pumped very slowly.

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Yes you are right, but for what you are describing you would need 3 check valves per pump. One to stop the water going back out the T-handle line, one to keep the pump from pulling in air in thru the vent line when filling, and one to prevent dumping water back into the hard tank thru it's vent line when draining the bag. Draw out the diagram and you will see what I mean.

Certainly it could be done but I am not sure why you would want to add that many more fittings, Y's, valves and lines when it empties faster thru the T-handle fitting all with one hose. The pumps make enough noise that it's very clear when the bags are empty.

I get that. I like the simplicity of what you have done.

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since I am constantly forgetting to turn off the stock pumps, and wouldn't want to burst the bags.

from most accounts, thats what you'll get if you are lucky.... several folks have come on here with reports of busted fiberglass and much bigger issues, saying the fiberglass will break before these bags do.

I love the simplicity of his setup also, and ive been watching all of these closely, and I too am worried about the one time I get distracted from a call on the cell, child slips and falls....and fiberglass, compartments and bracing starts snapping. Or a kid, elbow or something inadvertantly hits a fill switch.

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Somebody accidentally hitting a switch and causing damage is a good point. The pumps are louder than the engine at idle so again you would have to be pretty negligent to not know they were on, but I guess anything is possible when alcohol, kids, and loud stereos are involved.

Installing a vent line wouldn't be hard to do and would add a level of safety. You could also just keep the ball-valve closed when not in use so you don't unknowingly fill a bag, at worst you would burn the pump impeller. If you didn't want to plumb in a vent hose you could also install a pressure relief valve on top of the bag to prevent anything catastrophic, something like this should work:

http://www.mcmaster....-valves/=iuk7om

Part Number: 48935K45

Edited by Brett B
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Brett, I'm not all that smart on this stuff, but couldnt you just put a one way check valve and Y into the existing overflows?

You may need one more check valve on the existing overflow line so when pumping out the bags water doesnt hit the Y and head down south to the tanks. I am tracking only 2 check valves req'd. No additional dirlling, just Y into the existing overflow line.

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Brett, I'm not all that smart on this stuff, but couldnt you just put a one way check valve and Y into the existing overflows?

You may need one more check valve on the existing overflow line so when pumping out the bags water doesnt hit the Y and head down south to the tanks. I am tracking only 2 check valves req'd. No additional dirlling, just Y into the existing overflow line.

Yep, that would work just fine for overflow when filling.

Edited by Brett B
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old skool malibu

I get that. I like the simplicity of what you have done.

I was going to add the check valves as well Trent but it was really over complicating the system. I am quite happy with draining out the bottom.

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from most accounts, thats what you'll get if you are lucky.... several folks have come on here with reports of busted fiberglass and much bigger issues, saying the fiberglass will break before these bags do.

I love the simplicity of his setup also, and ive been watching all of these closely, and I too am worried about the one time I get distracted from a call on the cell, child slips and falls....and fiberglass, compartments and bracing starts snapping. Or a kid, elbow or something inadvertantly hits a fill switch.

I can speak from personal experience that a vent may not be the complete answer to a distraction (depending on the installation). I have a single 1100# bag in the right rear locker, hooked up to a reversible pump and a vent. In addition, I did reinforce the engine divider. The other day when filling the bag I got distracted and next thing I heard a "crack" from the engine compartment. At the same time one of my crew members commented on the flow of water from a thru-hull fitting and I realized immediately what had happened. I probably got close to the full 1100# capacity before the bag popped the engine divider rail from the floor and everything moved into the engine compartment. Fortunately no permanent damage and I have now added an L shaped bracket to reinforce the engine divider rail but obviously the best solution is to monitor the filling of the bag.

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Ok guys, I know a few people are putting a similar system together so here is the parts list. Warning, it's not cheap!

You will also need some additional power wiring and various electrical connectors (spade, butt, ring terminals, etc) for the switch wiring work, but these are the main parts. The 1" ballast hose is very stiff, so use some soapy water and a hot air gun to slide it over the barb connections.

(2) Stainless Steel Ballast Thru-Hull Shut off Valve 3/4 Male to 3/4 Female

(3) Johnson Ultra Ballast Reversible Pump

(2) Fly High Pro X Series Fat Sac

(1) Fly High Pro X Series Open Bow Sac

(30 ft) Ballast Hose - Black 1"

(2) 3/4" Thread x 1" Hose Barb Fitting

(1) Hose Barb Wye Fitting 1-1/8"

(2) Fly High 1" Hose / Sac Thread Adapter W733

(1) Fly High 1" Elbow Flow-Rite Quick Release Connector W746

(1) Fly High 1" Flow-Rite Quick Release Connect W743

(15) Stainless Steel Hose Clamp 1"

(1) 3M 4000 Marine Adhesive

(3) Ballast Rocker Switch

(1) Ballast Rocker Switch Mounting Panel - Middle

(2) Ballast Rocker Switch Mounting Panel - End

(40 ft) 12 Gauge 2 Conductor Marine Pump Wire

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My approach to Piggybacking ballast was slightly different .I am using 1100lbs sacs in a 2012 VLX and took a slightly different approach to Piggy Backing the sacs into MLS . For a small additional cost I had the sacs made with an extra drain outlet at the bottom beside the standard one.

I removed the rear hard ballast tanks and had 3 fittings put into the rear of them - two at the top in the centre and one down in the bottom corner beside the existing drain fitting .- I did by spin welding threaded fittings into the tanks to ensure strength and leakproof..

The sac is then plumbed into the hard tank via the two new fittings at the top back of the tank. With two 1 inch hoses the bag fills (and drains) much more quickly once the hard ballast is full compared to the usual piggy back system, and I also don’t have the problem of air getting into the drain pump when emptying which happens if you tee off the drain pump fitting as suggested elsewhere.

Fitted two more fill pumps teed off the existing T-drain hole beside the sump and ran them via anti siphons to the existing vent inlet on the tanks. The sacs now act as the vent line. Attached another l pump to the additional drain hole I fitted in the back bottom corner of the hard tanks - had to connect via short length of hose and have them in the bilge to ensure the water drains down to them and I dont get any airlocks.

This second drain pump hose runs up beside the first and is teed into the vent hose outlet so there is no need to drill holes in the side of the hull. I put a check valve on the vent hose from the bag to stop the flow back down this hose to the bag.

The pumps are wired in parallel to the existing pumps so they operate off the MTC MLS switches. I now have the rear hard ballast tanks filling at 2200GPH Once the hard tanks are full I just touch the MLS switch again on the MTC to fill the bags and stop when it flows out the vent.

Speeds up the fill and drain process to less than 5 mins for effectively 1300lbs x2 and if I throw a Tsunami into the top of the bag we are down to a little over 3 mins.

With the two drain hoses at the back the Bag drains quickly and any last water runs out as we head for home and the boat is up on the plane.

Moved the Battery out of the locker to keep the area clear of objects - Stiffened up on the engine dividers as has been suggested by others .

If I was serious about it I would drill two additional intake holes in the hull and two more vent holes in the sides so as to not need to tee off hoses.

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Lots of options here.... nice job on all the installs. This is what I chose, two seperate 1" thru hulls, with Johnson pumps (little bit faster than Jabsco), and vented bags with a one way check valve. Personally, I would never run a bag without a vent using impeller pumps, they are way to powerful and could easily snap a fitting off or burst a bag. To get full benefit of the impeller pumps you really need a seperate thru hull for each pump. This also allows you to fill and drain simultaneously with both pumps.

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Edited by Fman
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