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Need help setting up a ballast tank...

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Old 02-25-2002, 09:04 PM
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Question Need help setting up a ballast tank...

I want to set-up a ballast tank in the front of my cat and am wondering the best way to do it.

What type of tank should I use? Do I pull water off the sea strainers or after the raw water pump, or where? Do I need an extra pump and if so what type? What about the type of valves? Once I've got water in the tank how do I empty it? Do I use a pump, gravity, etc?

I got a lot of help from OSO members in finding the right prop set-up for my boat so I figure it's worth a try on this question. I figure with all the racers and other experienced people on this board someone will have the answers I need.

Thanks for any help you can pass on!
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Old 02-25-2002, 09:35 PM
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Here is a quick setup I have seen that is almost foolproof and will do the job. It only works while running however. Get a Y-valve, 2 scoop grates with directional fins and a waste or water tank that will fit. Position one grate facing forward and one facing rearward. Run hoses to both sides of the Y and then one out to the tank(s). Position the valve near the helm. When the forward facing grate is opened under way the tank will fill(tank must be vented). When the rearward facing grate is opened the tank will empty. A cutoff valve might be nice to hold the tank half full running or full when the boat is pulled from the water. Electric solenoids can also be used, but that is more complicated.
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Old 02-25-2002, 09:39 PM
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Almost always a balast tank is considered for fixing a handling problem. If that's the case are you sure that you have tried all the other options to cure the attitude or handling problem. Remember when the tank is full the boat will be slower and will tend to bow steer, and when it's empty your back where you started. Tell me more and maybe I can share some of my fixes that we have used on my cat. Otto
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Old 02-25-2002, 11:57 PM
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Arrow how ironic

I too was going to post the very same thing this week
Jb, what cat do you have?

Last trip to Havascrew I had put both my covers, full and cockpit, in the forward storage area in front of the cabin area. I also had 4 folding lawn chairs along with a half dozen cheapo life vests.
I did this knowing that I would be having 3-5 people in the boat and wanted a little more space. I did want to take this all out into the hotel.
I swear by all means that that weekend was the best my boat has ever ran. It ran more level and 4-6mph faster then here at home. Now the other thing to take in mind is that I do not have the long distances to be able to run flat out like at LOTO or Havasu. Best I get is a 3-4 mile stretch.
After talking with several people they all also run balast tanks.
The setup previously mentioned is what they run except with electic valves for simplicity at the helm. One thing that was not stated was to add an overflow line. This way if you forget to turn off the valve it just blows overboard. I was thinking of taping into a sea strainer when I install them. But am afraid to take away to much cooling water from the motor.
This is to correct a possible setup or something. Mine would be to correct a weight issue with 2 bigblocks in the back of a 28'cat. Mine sits ass heavy.

Lets hear more possibilities
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Old 02-26-2002, 07:38 AM
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There are a lot of questions, but i will give you another answer so you can maybe "blend" them together to get a setup that works for you. If speed is a consideration, i would not drag anymore pickups. Tee the water off of both strainers into an Asco (or other manufacturer's) 12 VDC selenoid valve, 3/4 inch should do. Run that line to your ballast tank. If overturning moment is not an issue (you don't go nuts in turns) than mount the tank on top of the tunnel if you have room. The tank may only be a few inches high at the front to 6 to 8" high at the rear. All kinds of odd shaped plastic tanks are available. To dump it you need a bilge pump in the tank and dump it in the tunnel. If you don't like it on top of the tunnel, you need two tanks and two bilge pumps and still dump them in the tunnel. Overflow/vent should be on the deck so you can see it. Use one double throw switch that for "Fill" energizes the selenoid, and for "Dump" starts the bilge(s). Remember, you may some day have to service the bilge pumps so access is an issue. BTW 20 to 30 gallons should be plenty. That is roughly 165 to 250 lbs. of water.

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Old 02-26-2002, 08:24 AM
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Great ideas. I'm happy with the handling, but would like to help it rolling onto plane without paying the penalty of weight in the front. I'm running a 30' Cobra with twin HP500/Braovo's so butt-heavy is also my problem with a full passenger/fuel load.

I've recently changed to Bravo props and that made a world of difference in holeshot, but always looking for improvement.

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Old 02-26-2002, 09:16 AM
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ALumn. heads would take alot of weight out of the rear end and add 30-50hp per side. Or make your tank useful and fill it with fuel and tie it into your fuel system- sort of a reserve tank. Take care. Marty.
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Old 02-26-2002, 09:30 AM
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A few more thoughts now that you have responded to the posts.

IMHO improving hole shots is not a great use of ballast. Many people use it to adjust "flying" attitude in big water. Racing it is very desirable to keep hooked up as much as possible and land right no matter how much fuel. To improve hole shots implies the tank would be full all of the time. I think fixing the handling is a much better idea.

At the strainers you should see about 20 to 30 psi. Screw in a pressure gage and have someone check it. If that is the case there is no fear of starving the engines for water. If greater, "shave" the pickups; if less than 10 psi (it won't be) watch your temperatures or adjust the pickups.

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