Malibu Wakesetter Ballast: A Malibu Launch System History
Malibu has a reputation throughout the industry for crafting high quality, high performing boats with industry leading innovations. They offer as much value as they do fun. In the late 90's Malibu engineers developed the Wedge which was a simple foil on the transom of the boat that when engaged would create down force in the stern for a rampy wake with more pop. To even further the sport of wakeboarding Malibu created the most comprehensive ballast system in the industry with the MLS or Malibu Launch System that has become a staple of the Wakesetter Series boats.
Malibu MLS Ballast 2001-2004
Starting in 2001, Malibu boats could be optioned from the factory with 900 lbs. of ballast. The three tank system consists of a 500 lb. center ski locker sac and two above the floor 200lb. hard tanks in the rear compartments. Malibu's first ballast system used Rule Aerator pumps to fill and drain each tank independently. Each tank has three connections consisting of a fill on top, a vent on top and a drain on the bottom all plumbed with 3/4" black ballast hose. The drain pump was connected directly to the back end of the hard tank to ensure the system stayed primed.
In 2004, the Malibu Wakesetter VLX and Wakesetter LSV models both had the option of a 350lb. bow tank to increase the total factory ballast to 1250 lbs. The increased ballast capacity when coupled with the popular Wedge displaced more of the hull creating a massive wake. In turn the Wakesetter series become a favorite among professional wakeboarders. Malibu also changed pump suppliers and started using the Shurflo Piranha 800 GPH Aerator Ballast Pump because of it's high quality construction and low profile design.
Our recommended upgrade for both wakesurfing and wakeboarding would be to remove the rear hard tanks and replace them with a Straight Line Sumo 750's or Fly High Fat Sac 750's. We cannot PiggyBack this system because the hard tanks are above the floor and a piggy back requires gravity to drain the water from the bag back down into the hard tank. Using the WakeMakers Malibu Tank Buster Kit, all of the plumbing will be reconfigured to fill and drain the sacs from the helm just like the factory setup. Adding a 3/4" check valve to the fill line is not necessary but might alleviate the system from passive filling when the boat is stationary. If the boat was not equipped with the factory bow hard tank, the Fly High Integrated Bow Sac fits well under the front seats up front for a custom yet hidden solution. The integration of this bow sac will require the installation of a Complete Ballast System.
Malibu MLS Ballast 2005 - 2011
For 2005, the Wakesetter VLX was constructed on top of the V25 Wake hull delivering better wake size and performance. Malibu also refined the ballast system starting with relocating the rear ballast tanks under the floor creating massive amounts storage. This was also the first year that an in-dash Ballast Monitoring System was available to view real time ballast tank levels. Because the rear tanks were under the water line Malibu had to add Vented Loop Anti-Siphon Valves to the fill lines to prevented passive filling. The horse shoe shaped valves are located on the bulk head in front of the motor on either side and there is also a single valve for the center ballast tank located on the wall in the observers compartment. Malibu continued to use this MLS configuration through 2011.
For owners looking to get the best possible wakesurf or wakeboard wake, additional ballast is still necessary. Our exclusive factory integration upgrade, Malibu PiggyBack Kit, option makes it possible to develop the best wakesurf wave or wakeboard wake while still controlling everything with the factory controls on the dash.
Malibu HI FLO Ballast 2012+
With the introduction of the MXZ in 2012, Malibu upgraded the ballast system and re-branded it the Hi Flo. All lines were increased from the 3/4" to a larger 1-1/8" and the pump capacity was increased by using the Shurflo Piranha 1100 GPH Aerator Ballast Pumps. This small change produced amazing results in decreasing both fill and drain times.
Using the 2012 - 2013 Malibu PiggyBack Kit on this system works great as the larger openings in the factory hard tanks allow for increased flow when gravity allows the water to drain from the soft sac back into the hard tank before it is discharged by the factory pump. Please note that early production 2012 Wakesetter boats do still have the 3/4" plumbing.
Malibu HI FLO Plug n Play Ballast 2013+
In 2013, Malibu Wakesetters have the option of a PnP (Plug and Play) ballast system installed at the factory. This system uses the existing ballast pumps to fill and drain auxiliary ballast bags in the rear compartments. Malibu did make some changes to the ballast tanks by adding two new ports on the top which allows the ballast bag to drain more efficiently but the new system is still not perfect.
The most significant innovation from Malibu to date has to be the Surf Gate system. By using vertically mounted plates on either side of the hull, their engineers have figured out how to divert the water on the opposite side of the wake in order to produce a clean long surf wave. The best part of the system is in the ability to change the clean side of the wave from port to starboard and starboard to port in a matter of seconds from the dash.
Shop for Custom Malibu Ballast Bags and Fat Sacs»
The first step in adding weight to your Malibu Wakesetter is selecting the perfect ballast bag, and we have the most options available.
Shop for the Malibu Surf Ballast Upgrade Kit»
Our Malibu Wakesetter Ballast Upgrades provide you with everything needed to easily integrate fat sacs into the MLS ballast tanks.