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View Full Version : Ballast System needs HELP!!!


prostar205
07-06-2007, 11:37 AM
Hey guys (and gals) -

Took the boat to Lake Chelan (Central Washington area) for the week. It was moored all week. The boat ran great and we all surfed and boarded all week long. However, my problem will is the ballast system and the length it takes to fill my sacs. I have 2 of the BI ProX Fat Sacs (750lbs ea.) in the rear storage lockers and a custom BI ProX sac in the ski locker. In the spring, I did some upgrades to the ballast system which included:

1) changing the output hoses to 1" diameter from the .75" diameter ones that came stock.
2) inverted the center and port ballast puppy pumps so the impeller was below the motor - same configuration the starboard side pump is mounted from the factory.
3) routed the fill/drain hoses to fill and drain from the top of the sac rather than from the bottom.

Here are my problems.

1) fill times are still around 30 minutes - unacceptable to me.
2) draining from the top takes for ever

Does anyone have any thoughts?

I am thinking of getting rid of the manifold and connect the hoses directly to each pump. I believe the manifold is not able to feed the pumps with enough water. In fact, I can only fill one rear sac at a time because the two pumps "fight" over the water from the manifold.

tommcat
07-06-2007, 03:19 PM
How are you able to empty from the top at all? i know mine have to be mounted with the hose on the bottom of the sac

lav
07-06-2007, 06:25 PM
How are you able to empty from the top at all? i know mine have to be mounted with the hose on the bottom of the sac
have to add swing check valves in overflow lines

lav
07-06-2007, 06:42 PM
750lbs of water is appx 93 gal @ 6gpm (if you have jabsco waterpuppy pumps they fill at appx 7-8gpm empty at appx 11 if bag is empty at bottom) should fill in appx 15min did you check your impellors even if one vane is missing it can hurt fill time.
if you want it to fill in half the time add extra pump to every bag. i think if you do this you may have to mirror the manifold system or add intake for each additional pump to add more volume to make sure you dont starve pumps .

prostar205
07-06-2007, 09:42 PM
have to add swing check valves in overflow lines

Yes, I have swing check valves on the vent lines.

prostar205
07-07-2007, 11:37 AM
750lbs of water is appx 93 gal @ 6gpm (if you have jabsco waterpuppy pumps they fill at appx 7-8gpm empty at appx 11 if bag is empty at bottom) should fill in appx 15min did you check your impellors even if one vane is missing it can hurt fill time.
if you want it to fill in half the time add extra pump to every bag. i think if you do this you may have to mirror the manifold system or add intake for each additional pump to add more volume to make sure you dont starve pumps .

All the impellers are brand new a month ago. I went with the new style yellow impellers. I can not run even two pumps at the same time because one with starve the other for water. I know I have one pump that is weaker than the other - my port pump is weaker than the starboard one.

Approximately, how big is the manifold in people's boats? Can someone measure there's and post it here. Maybe I have a really old manifold that is too small. I believe MasterCraft went from using bilge pumps to these Jabsco Ballast Puppy's in 2002. I am sure there has been some refinement in the system since 2002.

One other option I am thinking about is plumbing in 2 more thru hull inlets so each pump has its own source of water.

Harvey
07-07-2007, 01:05 PM
Clog in the manifold or line leading to it? I can run all three of my ballast puppies at the same time and they fill in 2000 lbs of ballast in under 15 minutes.

prostar205
07-07-2007, 01:53 PM
Clog in the manifold or line leading to it? I can run all three of my ballast puppies at the same time and they fill in 2000 lbs of ballast in under 15 minutes.

Harvey -

Thanks for the tip. This is pretty much the only area that I have not done anything to. I removed the swing check valve only to find out it is completely shattered inside. The guts of the flapper valve are in several pieces. Luckily all the parts inside the valve body and did not get up inside the pumps. I will replace it this morning and hope that is the end of my ballast problems. All the other intake lines look clear and clean.

Thanks for the tip.

Tom

prostar205
08-16-2007, 04:45 PM
Update on the ballast system:

I took the day off (kids went to Summer Camp) to took the boat out to do more work on the ballast system. After replacing the swing check valve on the main inlet to the system, everything works OK.

I was filling from the top and "trying" to drain from the top as well. It took forever to drain from the top so today I re-routed the fill/drain line back to the bottom of the sacs. It still taking me 30 minutes to fill all three sacs (center ski locker 400 lbs, 2 rear sacs at 750 lbs). My problem is I can only run one pump at a time. If I try to run 2 or all 3 pumps at the same time, the strongest pump (starboard for me) will take all the water and nothing goes to the others.

Has anyone tried removing the stock MC manifold and drilling 2 more holes on the boat to directly feed the 3 pumps?

prostar205
08-16-2007, 07:46 PM
Bump

Bump

Bump

Harvey
08-16-2007, 08:22 PM
I am not sure how you have one pump pulling water that much faster than the other two (unless you have an odd pump that is stronger). I usually have one sack (typically starboard but sometimes the KGB) that will fill faster than the others but once that one is full I will switch it off and then the other two will fill at about the same speed. It seems to me that all three pumps pulling water into the manifold will actually help fill the system faster (overall). If you switch two off then you are going to fill much slower. A couple questions: are you filling at speed? or standing still? What model boat?

I can tell you that the trick to me emptying ballast is to run all three pumps at the same time and do it while running the boat at 20 mph or higher.

prostar205
08-16-2007, 08:28 PM
When I am filling, the boat is pretty much standing still with the engine on. I may kick it in gear and go really slow.

The baot is a 2002 X30 and the pumps are the original pumps but I have changed out to the yellow impellers and flipped the port and KGB pumps "upside down" so the motors are on the top and the impeller section is on the bottom - exactly the same configuration as the starboard pump from the factory.

Since I re-plumbed the rear sacs to fill/drain from the bottom, emptying is no problem and I do agree with you that going about 20 mph helps the draining process.

Harvey
08-16-2007, 08:42 PM
Well that kills my theory. Filling at speed never works. I find that I usually get just as much air as water when filling at speed so it takes FOREVER to fill that way.

Well I am spent its been a long day and my brain is like a hard boiled egg. Try filling with all three pumps sitting still at idle and when one fills just turn it off and let the remaining ones fill. See how long that takes you.

prostar205
08-16-2007, 08:54 PM
Harvey -

I am afraid if I fill with all 3 pumps on with no water going thru 2 of them, they will overheat and go into thermal shutdown.

nmcjr
05-10-2010, 10:01 PM
Digging up an old thread--did you ever figure out how to get all 3 to fill at the same time or if it can be done? I have the same problem, I can't even run two at the same time which seems strange to me.

venetrex
05-11-2010, 09:40 AM
On my custom ballast in my old boat I needed an 1 1/2 inch pickup and manifold for 3 ballast puppy

Smoothie
05-11-2010, 11:19 AM
I have the EXACT same problem in an 2002 X Star. That was the early years of ballast building. I am pretty sure its only a 3/4 pick up to the manifold. So you can only fill on tank at a time. I can even fill just the backs at the same time. Next project is to add through hulls for each of the two in the back and bypass the entire system. Here is probably how I am going to do this. The other issue I get if I am filling the center only I get some water in the rears. To me it just makes since to have separate through hulls.

mccobmd
05-11-2010, 12:14 PM
Clog in the manifold or line leading to it? I can run all three of my ballast puppies at the same time and they fill in 2000 lbs of ballast in under 15 minutes.

that is how it is on my 2006 X1, I can fill 2 750's and a 350 in the ski locker in 15 min. I know it would be a pain but you could bypass it all with a tsunami pump filling one and the system filling the other. It is my personal policy never to drill a hole through the hull but then again I'm not a very good DIY guy.

Smoothie
05-11-2010, 12:28 PM
Willing to bet that MC figured out they were starving the newer ballast puppy pumps with a small intake. Back in 2002 I think they were older slower pumps so you could fill all three at the same time. Now the BPs are so fast you can't get enough water to the manifold they also may have made the manifold bigger or reconfigured it. Any other ideas for us guys that don't have newer boats.

TallRedRider
05-11-2010, 04:25 PM
On my custom ballast in my old boat I needed an 1 1/2 inch pickup and manifold for 3 ballast puppy

Malibu uses one through hull for each pump, so one option is to add new through hulls. A single 3/4 inch through hull is not enough for 3 pumps, but should be fine for just one pump.

My 2006 has a 1.5 inch hose on the through hull and feeds plenty of water into the manifold.

I don't think you guys who have a single 3/4 inch through hull have any other option that does not involve drilling the fiberglass.

NoSubstitute
05-11-2010, 11:50 PM
On my custom ballast in my old boat I needed an 1 1/2 inch pickup and manifold for 3 ballast puppy

Where did you get the 1 1/2 pickup? I'm pretty sure mine is a 3/4 ('03 X10 stock system), and I'd like to upgrade to a larger intake for the manifold.

prostar205
05-12-2010, 03:38 AM
The pickup on my stock 2002 system is 1.25" (not 3/4"). I believe the "bottleneck" is the manifold. It's just too small to feed all three (3) pumps. What I've done is to polish all three pumps (much like polishing and porting the heads on a Chevy 350) for better laminar flow. I've also gone to the green impellers. While I still can't fill even two bags at the same time, at least my fill times are down siginificantly.

Holman J.B.F
05-12-2010, 03:53 AM
i drilled 2 more holes and added 2 more pumps for the Fly High Sacs.kept the mc Ballast original and installed 2 more switches on the dash.
fill thru hull /empty thru side wall,works fine...but $$$$ fill time aprox 10 minutes.

http://members.chello.nl/j.holman/tmc10.jpg

http://members.chello.nl/j.holman/tmc11.jpg

Smoothie
05-12-2010, 10:50 AM
The pickup on my stock 2002 system is 1.25" (not 3/4"). I believe the "bottleneck" is the manifold. It's just too small to feed all three (3) pumps. What I've done is to polish all three pumps (much like polishing and porting the heads on a Chevy 350) for better laminar flow. I've also gone to the green impellers. While I still can't fill even two bags at the same time, at least my fill times are down siginificantly.

Makes since I am going the Malibu way and doing two more through hulls.

Kaboom
05-12-2010, 10:37 PM
I am having problems with my 2002 x-9. My pumps are working fine, I have checked the impellers and they are yellow type but all vanes are in good shape and flexible. I can hear the pumps turn and the water gurggles like the pumps are not primed. When you put a hose on the intake the ballast pumps work but when in the water they do not fill or should i say barely any water gets in the bags (front and rear).... Whne you turn on the empty cycle the bags empty nicely with full stream going out the side. I also tried filling at about 10-12 mph to force water in the intake but that did not chagne anything. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

nmcjr
05-12-2010, 10:55 PM
Try blowing hard into the discharge thru hulls by making a seal with your lips. You should not be able to blow into them. If you can it means one of the check valves is stuck and losing suction. I found this on one of mine so I'm going to replace it and hopefully that is my issue. I'll know tomorrow....

Kaboom
05-12-2010, 11:07 PM
I have not heard this and am trying to think how this works...so what you are saying is that air is getting into the pump through the distribution box or at least the box is not air tight due to a leaking check valve and sucking air in through this discharge line? I think this makes sense and sounds like a good thing to check. Let me know if I am thinking this through correctly. Where are these check valves located, I do not recall seeing them close to the distribution box discharge points?

Thanks

nmcjr
05-13-2010, 02:00 AM
All the hoses connect to the manifold and there are checks valves on the input and output hoses, 1 and 2 respectively. They are midway on the hoses between the manifold and thru hulls, on the bottom of the bilge next to the engine and are white. This being my problem is speculation at this point but my theory is that the starboard output check valve is allowing air in thereby reducing suction at the manifold to a point that can support one pump but not two, and maybe both of yours are leaking. I'll post an update tomorrow.

Kaboom
05-13-2010, 10:18 PM
Thanks a ton, there are two through hull holes on each side. On the starboard side I blew through both and water came out the rear one on the port side and the other on the starboard I could not get air through, i.e. the check valve must be holding. On the port side I did the same thing and air went in but no water came out the starboard, must not be any water in line...? and could not get air on the other. So I am not sure but this would seem to me that the valves are holding. On the intake I have the ball valve turned to open and the hadle is parrell to the direction of flow, so I believe I have this open, although I can not see water flowing, the hose is clear and not black from the intake to the manifold box. Very frustrating....I wonder where I should begin to disassemble and check for problems, should I start at the pump or the distribution box?

Thanks

nmcjr
05-14-2010, 01:12 AM
This was my problem for sure!!!

I wasn't able to replace it, but when filling if I put my finger over the starboard discharge thru hull I could feel the suction, so you could try this test too--this will only work on the water, or maybe with the intake closed, though I'm not 100% sure about that variation of the test. With it plugged I could fill all three at once, so huge improvement. You should try both sides at the same time (two people) in case they are both bad (since I didn't quite understand the results of your test.)

So, back to yours, it sounded like you had one on each side that you could not get air into? Can you follow those down to make sure they are the ones that go to your manifold and have the check valves and not the vent lines? Where you lost me was when you blew into the one side and water came out the other side, I'm having a hard time picturing how this could happen unless the check valve was bad, but I am at a loss since I don't know your ballast system.

Your intake valve is in the open position, so I still think you have a leak somewhere, either the check valves or maybe a hole in one of the hoses or a loose fitting, less likely is a kink in the intake hose. I would explore the check valve issue a little further. Mine was pretty hard to detect the leakage while blowing and I only noticed it because it gurgled. If yours aren't leaking bad it may be hard to perceive. So, the test where you plug the discharge thru hulls with your fingers is going to be a more reliable test. Again, its important to do both at the same time in case they are both bad, and make sure you know which are the vents and which are the discharge lines. You should feel no suction on those fittings, and if that is the problem your ballast will start filling when they are plugged.

Kaboom
05-14-2010, 10:57 PM
You are dead on! Awesome job and thanks a bunch! I took off the back panel to expose the pumps, distribution box, and back flow preventers. On the side I could blow through I found the flow valve, it was right on top of the ballast pump. I easily disconnected from the hoses and immediatley heard a rattle...case closed! Flow valve was broken inside and let air into the distibution box. I made a quick trip to Ace Hardware, purchased a $7 dollar one way flow valve, reinstalled, and walla it works perferct! I am a happy! The problem in detecting this issue is that myself and the repair shop both put a pressurized hose on the intake pump side of the distribution box and this negated the suction problem. So while a hose was connectedto the intake side of the distribution box or under the boat connected to int intake maifold the pumps worked. ONce the pressurized water was removed the pumps would not stay primed or draw water as the flow valve was broken allowing the pumps to draw air through the distribution box. Nice job on detecting this issue and thanks a bunch!

I hope I can help someone in the future like you helped me.

nmcjr
05-15-2010, 02:00 PM
Nice!! Glad it worked for yours too--can't beat the $7 fixes!

wxnic
05-19-2010, 06:19 PM
i could use help on mine now. i sent you a pm kaboom.