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  • Bow seating and integrated ballast upgrade

    • Year: 2011 Brand: Malibu Model / Trim: Vride 21 Cost: $500-$999 Ballast Modifications: Fat sac(s), Pump(s), Hose, Switches, Wiring, Fittings DIY or Professional Install: I installed it

    The Malibu VRide doesn't come optioned with a front ballast hard tank like the wakesetters.  It is a budget version of the wakesetter and its platform is the previous hull design (08 vlx hull on the 2011 vride.) Instead of bow mls, it has a U shaped seat base and storage under the playpin seating.  The center tank is also an option which my boat didn't have, however the previous owner plumbed aerator pumps for a bag in place of mid tank.  They also plumbed for rear bags with dedicated pumps for each locker.  I added a 580 lbs center bag and 750 bags in rear to previously installed system using quick connects. It does have 200 lbs rear hard tanks on each side.  All plumbed bags and tanks are controlled by toggles for fill and drain.  I also ran a 750 bow sac on top of seat and a 370 sac under coffin seat port side which I had to fill with manual pumps over the side of the boat.  In an effort to gain back my bow seating and integrate all ballast bags into automated system, I began the following mod.

    First, I removed the seat base which was very simple.  8 screws.  The hardest part was finding the screws in the carpet.  


    I then cut a modified seat base out of 3/4 plywood (this will be temporary until I can redo with hdpe)  I removed the brackets from the bottom of cushions so they would sit flush on base.  The new base is also supported with a 4x4 and a plastic post base which was installed to set in the gap of the u shaped bow bag.  I used the cushion brackets I had removed by attaching to the modified  base to hold it in place.  This was done to avoid wear from moving, sliding and possibly damaging the vinyl.

    I sanded and smoothed the edges of  the wood and then used a rhino liner type product to seal and protect the wood.  I hope it will last through this season until I upgrade the material to hdpe next winter.


    I placed the bow bag under bow seating and it fit very well, much better than with the OEM seat base.  It will allow more weight in bag.  I would guess about 350 to 400 lbs before the seat base begins rising. 

    I then began the ballast install.  I had two tee handle drain plugs.  One in vdrive area and the other at midship.  I used the one near the vdrive and installed a ball valve to a Y fitting and 1 inch hose split to two jabsco reversible pumps I located under port coffin seat.  Reversible pumps will fill and drain from through hull.  I then ran hose from one pump under coffin seating into battery compartment, over wall and into bow under seats to bow bag and attached with quick attach fitting. The other pump feeds the coffin bag.  I have since used another Y fitting to split the hose in the battery compartment and run another piece to the bow bag.  I installed another quick coupler on the other side of the U shaped bow bag for better fill and drain.


    I wired the pumps to the included rocker switches.  I wired the power to the circuit breaker panel.  I had a few open breakers that I swapped out with 30 amp breakers.  I grounded under the helm on the ground bar.  I cut holes and mounted rockers under drivers arm rest next to where I plan on mounting my GSA controller. This location was easiest to get wire to and also is protected from passengers accidentally engaging pumps.  I chose not to vent the bags since neither bag will fill completely before seats begin raising and the reversible pumps suck them flat with no air left inside.  



    I also added 200 lbs of lead to bow and another 300 to use as needed in the cabin.  The bow bag can also be placed on top of seats or below with ease.  The lead and bag placement gives me a few different options depending on crew size.


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    Nice work and sweet mod. You got 99 problems but bow rise aint one ;) Just playing obviously. 

    I dont know much about surfing Bu's. Seems like with your sac #s and counting lead bags you are pushing 1300lbs of midship/bow weight. I have only really played with an older 23LSV with a wedge and a homemade gate(with 800s plumbed in the rears over tanks). Is this how much bow weight you need?? Just curious because you also mentioned GSA controller. Are you running GSA currently?? Suc gate??


    Always like to learn from others how they like to set up their boats, and as mentioned, have minimal Malibu experience. 



    Edited by freeheel4life
    • Like 1

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    With my hull the consensus seems to be that it should be close to a 40% bow and mid to a 60% rear ballast weight ratio as a baseline for an optimal surf wave with a suckgate.  With this ratio my wave is fairly tall and has good length and push.  After lots of trial and error, I've found this setup gets about the most I can from my boat.  The more weight to the rear, the wave will be shorter but taller.  Its definitely surfable but the extra bow weight lengthens the wave and moves the pocket further back behind the boat.  This is also true for the lsv with the same hull.  Im 280 lbs and can surf 15 ft behind the platform.  My lighter riders are almost 20 ft back with current setup.  I just installed GSA and have not surfed it yet, but my setup shouldn't change much however will likely need more weight toward the rear and less in bow due to some lift from the tabs.   This mod and added lead was done to gain back bow seating (bag was on top of seat) without losing bow weight.  The 750 bag wont fill all the way under front seat, so im supplementing with lead to keep the same ratios.

    Bow bag: approx. 400 + 500 lead

    Mid:  approx 500 bag

    Rear: 1500 bags + 400 tanks + 900 simulated wedge weight.

    Note: slight adjustments made to this setup for larger or smaller crew including 300 under coffin seat for slight list.

    So my baseline ratio is 1400 front and mid to 2800 rear which is closer to a 34/66 ratio.  This works well to start and we adjust from there.  I also can set bow bag on top of seat with lighter crew and move lead around to maintain ratio.  Hope that helps!


    Edited by Bovhica

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    7 minutes ago, freeheel4life said:

    That is fantastic. Thanks for the info on your setup. Happy and safe boating this summer!!

    Thank you! You too!

    I attempted to upload a few pics of wave, but im getting an error.  I will try again later.

    Edited by Bovhica

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