'00 230 VRS Automatic Ballast System Install
I've seen a lot of people asking about how to set one of these boats up but not too many writeups on what was successful so here's what I ended up doing. It's still a bit of a work in progress but I've used the rear portion of the system a couple of times now and it's a big time saver.
-Enough weight to be able to accommodate intermediate to advanced wakeboarders. Surfing would be a nice side benefit but I've surfed once since I bought the boat a year ago.
-Fill times under 15 minutes. This would be pretty attainable without the biggest and badest pumps on the market.
-Minimal manual interaction once the switches are flipped.
-Minimal to no plainly visible ballast bags
-2 FlyHigh W707 750 lb bags for the engine compartment. These are installed and working well.
-1 FlyHigh W711 650 lb integrated bow sac. This is scheduled to arrive Monday and I estimate that it will hold about 500-550 lbs when under the seats.
-2 Skylon Fat Buddies (280 lb each w/ waterbed fittings).
I already had the Fat buddies and will not be automating them into the system. One will go in the front of the ski locker and likely only hold 60% of its rated capacity due to space constraints where it will be left full at all times accept for long trailering runs. The other will go in the rear of the ski locker or on the floor in the bow depending on how the boat handles the weight. If in the ski locker it will probably hold about 70-80% of its rated weight due to space constraints. The rear bag will be filled/drained "manually" with my portable pump. These bags aren't really that great for an automated system so I decided to save the money I would have spent on fittings and what not for them and get a FlyHigh tube sac next season if I felt the need.
The hardest part was the decision making and preparation. I kept waffling between going with the Rule 1100 GPH pumps w/ 1” hose and fittings or the Tsunami 800 GPH pumps w/ 3/4” hose and fittings. In the end I opted to save the $150-200 between the pumps themselves, the more expensive hose and more expensive fittings and went with the Tsunami 800s. I ended up beating my 15 minute fill/drain goal by 2-3 minutes with these but I still wonder if I should have just bitten the bullet and gone with the faster stuff. I then had a hard time deciding whether to go with a manifold and a single 1 1/4" thru hull vs. individual 3/4” thru hulls for the intake so much so that I ended up ordering both options from WakeMakers and seeing which would work best. In the end the manifold just wouldn’t work. That 1 1/4” hardware is huge. By the time everything was assembled with a pump on the end it was about 18” long. I had surprisingly little room to work with in a 23’ boat because there are a lot of enclosed voids that are inaccessible and I assume filled with foam. The 61 gallon gas tank doesn’t help either. So, I ended up drilling individual 1” holes for the 3/4” intakes. There is one in front of each engine mount and the other is further forward on the port side for the bow sac.
The drain pumps are screwed right into the front of the bags for optimal priming per a recommendation from WakeMakers but this may sacrifice the more complete drain that I'd get putting them on the rear with a 90 and a length of hose. I couldn't screw them right into the rear of the bags because that would press the pumps against the rear of the hull when the bags are full and likely mess something up. It leaves about 20 lbs of water in each bag and I have to lift them to make the water go towards the drain pump if I want all of the water out. I haven't decided if this is a good tradeoff yet but I definitely haven't had any priming issues.
Here’s a link to some pictures that I will update as soon as I have some time:
I took it out on a test run on Sunday to check for leaks and then on an actual wakeboarding outing yesterday. Since my bow sac has not arrived I had to borrow a FlyHigh Fat Brick and put it in the bow with my Fat Buddies.
I’m not a wake connoisseur but I think the wake is great now. I could always go wake to wake with around 6 ft of air or boost way out into the flats with 8+ ft of air with around 1,600 lbs in the boat. With the new weight wake to wake jumps require much less “work” with more vertical pop. I’ve never landed any inverts but I feel it coming now. I used to have to put so much full body effort into getting a sufficient jump that I’d end up flailing around disoriented with little success. I tried a couple of backrolls yesterday and they were the best I’ve had in a while because I could let the wake do the work and just worry about my body rotation and what I was doing with my hands. I also can’t charge the wake like I used to because I get so much air that I can’t absorb the impact on landing. I guess that’s a good thing. May be with some practice I can actually land those 10’+ jumps.
Last edited by Jeff d; 05-20-2011 at 10:18 PM.