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Aerator pump below waterline


sbays09

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Hey all,

I am looking to do a full automated ballast install on my 1999 Malibu Sunsetter 21VLX. I am going to go with one of the wakemakers kits they have available. I understand the difference between the aerator vs impeller pumps, however my question arises when configuring where to locate the aerator pump if i go with that option. Since the aerator pump is not self primed and doesn't pull a vacuum, it has to be placed below the waterline. Is there anyway to tell on my b oat where the waterline is while the boat is on the trailer? I prefer to go the aerator pump route for cost savings and also the faster fill/drain times. Does anyone have experience with both and have a preference? I'm open to doing either, need some advice!!

thanks

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10 minutes ago, sbays09 said:

Hey all,

I am looking to do a full automated ballast install on my 1999 Malibu Sunsetter 21VLX. I am going to go with one of the wakemakers kits they have available. I understand the difference between the aerator vs impeller pumps, however my question arises when configuring where to locate the aerator pump if i go with that option. Since the aerator pump is not self primed and doesn't pull a vacuum, it has to be placed below the waterline. Is there anyway to tell on my b oat where the waterline is while the boat is on the trailer? I prefer to go the aerator pump route for cost savings and also the faster fill/drain times. Does anyone have experience with both and have a preference? I'm open to doing either, need some advice!!

thanks

I have an 01 Wakesetter VLX with stock MLS and no added ballast. Looking into doing a ballast system as well. What kind of bag setup are you doing? 

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1 hour ago, sbays09 said:

Is there anyway to tell on my b oat where the waterline is while the boat is on the trailer?

About the level of the floor

1 hour ago, sbays09 said:

I prefer to go the aerator pump route for cost savings and also the faster fill/drain times

Just an FYI. In the real world, an aerator can lose 20%-25% of its flow rate by time the water hits the ballast sac. So that 700'ish GPH impeller pump is about as fast as that 1200 GPH aerator pump. Factor that with the fact that all in, a complete aerator install is not much less then a complete impeller pump install for a system that can be just about the same flow rate and less complicated plumbing wise.  

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6 hours ago, ChadFulton said:

I have an 01 Wakesetter VLX with stock MLS and no added ballast. Looking into doing a ballast system as well. What kind of bag setup are you doing? 

My boat has the same setup, just a stock MLS. I bought four 50lb lead ballast sacks and I placed 2 on each side of the bow under the seats. I did not want to deal with plumbing ballast bags for the front so I went with the permanent setup. I plan on buying two of the wakemakers complete ballast kits for the rear lockers. I measured the size of each locker and I plan on buying bags that fit those dimensions, wakemakers has the best selection of bags IMO. I plan on getting roughly 700lbs per side in the rear lockers. I might have to beef up the engine wall dividers cause mine are pretty crappy, but that will be easy with some marine grade plywood.

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4 hours ago, MLA said:

About the level of the floor

Just an FYI. In the real world, an aerator can lose 20%-25% of its flow rate by time the water hits the ballast sac. So that 700'ish GPH impeller pump is about as fast as that 1200 GPH aerator pump. Factor that with the fact that all in, a complete aerator install is not much less then a complete impeller pump install for a system that can be just about the same flow rate and less complicated plumbing wise.  

Good to know, I'm assuming that is just due to back pressure from turns in the hoses and what not? But either way, for a couple hundred dollars more it sounds like the impeller driven pumps are the way to go. You also don't need check valves or a separate drain line with them which is nice. Thanks for the input!

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52 minutes ago, sbays09 said:

I'm assuming that is just due to back pressure from turns in the hoses and what not?

Mainly lift (height from pump to outlet) and distance. Impeller pumps, being a positive displacement pump, are not effected by lift and distance, so they maintain their rated GPH

Yes, no need for a check valve or vented loop on the fill line. No additional drain line. 

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18 hours ago, sbays09 said:

My boat has the same setup, just a stock MLS. I bought four 50lb lead ballast sacks and I placed 2 on each side of the bow under the seats. I did not want to deal with plumbing ballast bags for the front so I went with the permanent setup. I plan on buying two of the wakemakers complete ballast kits for the rear lockers. I measured the size of each locker and I plan on buying bags that fit those dimensions, wakemakers has the best selection of bags IMO. I plan on getting roughly 700lbs per side in the rear lockers. I might have to beef up the engine wall dividers cause mine are pretty crappy, but that will be easy with some marine grade plywood.

Awesome! For plumbing the rear locker bags, will you tie into the stock MLS plumbing or install new through-hulls? 

Also, when you set the MLS switch to empty, does it fully drain the center locker? Mine is holding water and when I set it to drain I can hear the pump running and initially water was coming out of the side but but it doesn't get all the water out and there is quite a bit standing in the locker. Also the balast bag was unzipped when I bought the boat so water fills the entire locker, not just the ballast bag. Is this normal? Should I manually empty the locker and then only ever fill it if the bag is fully zipped up?

Apologize for the novice questions... I'm a newbie to inboards and boat ownership...

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On 1/22/2021 at 2:24 PM, ChadFulton said:

Awesome! For plumbing the rear locker bags, will you tie into the stock MLS plumbing or install new through-hulls? 

Also, when you set the MLS switch to empty, does it fully drain the center locker? Mine is holding water and when I set it to drain I can hear the pump running and initially water was coming out of the side but but it doesn't get all the water out and there is quite a bit standing in the locker. Also the balast bag was unzipped when I bought the boat so water fills the entire locker, not just the ballast bag. Is this normal? Should I manually empty the locker and then only ever fill it if the bag is fully zipped up?

Apologize for the novice questions... I'm a newbie to inboards and boat ownership...

I’m going to go ahead and install two new thru hull fittings for the rear bags. You could probably get away with just installing one bigger one and put a splitter after it. But I wouldn’t tie into the MLS thru hull for 2 additional pumps, it needs more flow. Plus the wakemakers kits come with all the hardware. 
 

when I switch to empty for mls it drains about 90% of the water. If you’re is holding a lot of water my guess would be that maybe the pump is getting air locked? You might look at a new pump.... also something to note for the stock MLS, the actual bag is inside a more coarse outer shell bag that has a zipper on top. I leave mine unzipped (not sure what it’s use is). For winterizatuon this year I actually disconnected everything and took the entire bag out and found that out. I do get some standing water in the MLS compartment, but not an overflow or anything. If your having problems with the bag leaking i would just replace it, and then if your pump keeps having problems I would replace it too. Those pumps are very cheap.

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On 1/24/2021 at 10:35 AM, sbays09 said:

I’m going to go ahead and install two new thru hull fittings for the rear bags. You could probably get away with just installing one bigger one and put a splitter after it. But I wouldn’t tie into the MLS thru hull for 2 additional pumps, it needs more flow. Plus the wakemakers kits come with all the hardware. 
 

when I switch to empty for mls it drains about 90% of the water. If you’re is holding a lot of water my guess would be that maybe the pump is getting air locked? You might look at a new pump.... also something to note for the stock MLS, the actual bag is inside a more coarse outer shell bag that has a zipper on top. I leave mine unzipped (not sure what it’s use is). For winterizatuon this year I actually disconnected everything and took the entire bag out and found that out. I do get some standing water in the MLS compartment, but not an overflow or anything. If your having problems with the bag leaking i would just replace it, and then if your pump keeps having problems I would replace it too. Those pumps are very cheap.

Awesome, thanks!

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