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  • Direct drive plumbed in ballast

    • Year: pre 1985 Brand: Nautique / CC Model / Trim: Ski nautique Cost: (unspecified) Ballast Modifications: Fat sac(s), Pump(s), Hose, Switches, Fittings DIY or Professional Install: I installed it

    After spending a couple seasons filling and drain nearly 2k lbs of ballast every time we were out I wanted to automate it bit. The issue with this on a direct drive boat is the lack of compartments to hide bags in, as well as the amount of space the rolled up bags took up on my boat at least.

    For a standard DD configuration I would do trap doors on both sides as pictured below. This allows the bag to be connected and ready to fill, and keeps it from taking up precious storage space on my small boat when empty.IMG_20180816_123657259_HDR.thumb.jpg.3f72d72e4c00db742a0a065d2deccfc8.jpgIMG_20180816_123723893_HDR.thumb.jpg.21d6888e3e6e29a68bd71fd4001ef605.jpgIMG_20180816_123744237_HDR.thumb.jpg.de47c80fc1292ff47c07ceca2f5c6174.jpg

    In order to supply the bags you need an intake under the water line, a shut off, I needed a street elbow, and I needed to make a manifold for the fill pumps. I believe I went with 1-1/4" bronze mushroom thru hull, my elbow and ball valve are stainless, I know different metals...

    Screenshot_20180817-123531.thumb.png.be924ab6e38f1925f33ed05fae050397.pngi am also running an additional T and one more pump.


    In addition to the fill pumps, on an aerator system you need a drain pump and an outlet, as well as a vent. I did not combine the two and have 3 thru hulls per side . These can be located closer to the bag and cut down on needed hose length.Screenshot_20180817-123342.thumb.png.f89e6eb05112de1688419ad617ab34d6.png

    You also need to wire switches to operate the pumps I chose to go with what wakemakers offers Screenshot_20180817-123325.thumb.png.7497746bec35a754f133e99d532b15d1.png

    I would recommend using quick connects on your bags as well, flow-rite is the manufacturer and they are very cheap to order straight from them.


    I am running a spring check valve on each vent line, the pressure need to overcome the spring stops the bag from syphon draining once the pumps are off.

    Also on the fill lines, I have spring check valves, one fills from the bottom and the other from the top. The top fill bag can syphon draining, the bottom fill bag will gravity drain back out the intake without the check valve. 


    With the bottom fill bag, I had a priming issue, idk which of the two solved the problem, but I added a vent prior to the check valve, and I turned the outlet on the pump to the top.


    And a final side note, since my layout is not standard I have only one trap door, one bag in a compartment and the rear rolls up under a folding step in the center.IMG_20180802_204640527.thumb.jpg.9d5c11c51d7123b16151952ed6462f8d.jpg


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    @TFreeman     I'm liking the 1 1/4" ball valve.     I did the same on mine even though Wakemakers discouraged me from doing that....   My thoughts were I might add a second pump to mine which is what it looks like you did.    Didn't want another hole...Should be plenty of water coming through!    

    Works well that way?  

    Mine is impeller pump though... not sure why it would matter

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    An inlet per pump is not needed, as its all about the flow rate. A 1" can easily supply two pumps and a 1.25" can support 3 pumps. I go with individual thru-hulls only when it makes the install easier. Sometimes a single manifold is too large to fit, so we do need to break the pumps up and spreads them out. 

    You might see some air lock from those pumps above. I would suggest rotating them around so the outlets are up. 

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    According to the wakemakers listing for thru-hull intakes, the 1-1/4" can carry 5900 gallons per hour vs 2200 on the 1". 


    I went that route because at the time of the pic I was planning to eventually add a third pump.


    I ended up adding it sooner then expected and never took a pic, right now I have two 1200, and an 800 running off the intake. It's been fine.


    Also I did have some airlock and have since rotated the pumps and added a vent inline on the hose.


    Edited by TFreeman
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    I don’t know why wakemakers didn’t recommend multiple feeds off of one larger inlet.   Maybe it was to sell more thru-hulls or maybe I just talked to a new guy.   

    1.25” can pull a lot of water!  

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