View Full Version : "Somewhat Stock" Ballast Pump Priming Issues

05-06-2013, 07:20 PM
I'd say about 70% of the time we go out, I have issues with my empty pumps on my ballast bags, more often than not the rear sacks. It seems they get air locked often, and I have hassle with them to get them to finall pump (flipping the switch numerous times, jockying the bags around, etc).

I did replace the factory Rule pumps with Tsunami pumps, but that didn't seem to solve the problem - it went from 80% of the time to 70% with the air lock issue. The pumps are below the bags, in the same location as the stock pumps. The drain lines aren't kinked at all either. Once I do get them to pump, they pump very well - it's just getting them to pump that is the issue.

I do drain the bags completely once I get home (if there's any water left in them), and sometimes completely remove them to help with drying the carpet out in the rear compartments, and suck out any water that is stuck in the ski locker.

I don't have any issues wth fill or drain times, so I am not yet ready to go the route of replacing the entire system with reversible pumps, though I probably should.

Have any of your guys with stock or close to stock ballast systems had this issue? If so, is there anything that you that helped with it??

Appreciate any info.

05-06-2013, 07:40 PM
I would move the pumps as close to the bag as possible. Have it connected right to the fitting ( use a 90 degree fly high fitting and them make sure the outlet is pointed straight up. In my experience the rule 1100 works so much better than any tsunami pump I've used when it comes to air locking. My $.02.

The stock configuration actually has the pump upside down which is the most prone to air locking couple with the pump being 2 or more feet away from the bag.

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05-06-2013, 07:49 PM
should be as simple as when your filling, let the bags fill till you have a steady stream of water comeing out the vent on the side of the boat. this forces all the air out and doesnt hurt the pumps at all

I replaced all my 08's balast pumps to tsunamis and never had any issues with them or the factory rule pumps doing this

i did not relocate the pumps either

hope this helps

05-06-2013, 09:18 PM
Just wondering if you could add check valves to the vents like the guys with reversibles are doing. No way for air to enter the bags when draining, therefore no airlock. I am thinking about doing this to mine.

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05-06-2013, 10:56 PM
I used to get the air lock situation all the time. I found I could just get the boat moving about 15 MPH and get everything primed then let them fill. The extra pressure of the boat moving and pump running would push the air up and out.

05-06-2013, 11:05 PM
Orient the drain pump body so that the pumps outlet is pointing up.

05-06-2013, 11:20 PM
I vented my rear bags with y fittings close to the thru hull and it helped drain the rears bags flat.
I like the wye, cuz you can have the vent line above the drain eliminating any water fall back.


fyi I mounted my rear pumps in the factory locations as went from GI to GIII .

05-07-2013, 12:33 PM
JM - I did the same thing, vented the bags as well as put check valves on the vent lines and don't have much of an issue with water left in the bags once they do drain... it's just getting them TO drain that is the issue at times!

Jstenger, putting check vales does help prevent the issue for the most part, but I often remove the sacks once I get home to ensure everything is nice and dry in those back compartments (usually shop-vac'in the carpet).

Daze, you're right, I can sometimes get them to un air-lock if I do push the bags to overflow, but sometimes not. Since I have the bags vented, the overflow tends to push thru the vent line instead of the empty pump. I have the same issue with the ski locker and IBS, but I can usually get those with overfilling bags… though the more I think about it, I am sure I have the IBS outlet pointing horizontal instead of vertical.

Thanks for the ideas guys. I’ll check the outlets on the pumps once I get her out of storage and see if that might be the quick fix!

05-07-2013, 03:50 PM
Squeeg333 - If the pump itself is laying horizontal, then the outlet needs to be horizontal and on the top side of the pump. If the outlet is vertical, then the hole for the outlet inside the pump would be lower than the top of the pump cavity, which would cause air to be trapped there. You are probably getting the water to shake and burp the air inside the pump when you turn them on an off.

05-08-2013, 03:58 PM
Squeeg - had almost identical problems on mine. Once I rotated the drain pumps so the outlet was as close to the top as possible my priming issues all but disappeared. I do have at least 6-8" of space between the pump and bag and it still works just fine.

05-09-2013, 06:10 PM
Okay, so what I am hearing is the outlet needs to be close to or on top of the pump body, but point in more or less a horizontal position? Am I reading those comments right guys? If so, then yes, I certainly have then in the wrong spot!

05-09-2013, 06:40 PM

I had mounted mine like this which I learned was the exact opposite of what you want.


Rotated the pump body180 so the line is now coming off the top, still heading past the engine in the same direction, and have had minimal if any problems since then.

05-09-2013, 07:57 PM
Okay, so what I am hearing is the outlet needs to be close to or on top of the pump body, but point in more or less a horizontal position? Am I reading those comments right guys? If so, then yes, I certainly have then in the wrong spot!

Yes, you are reading correct.

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05-10-2013, 02:07 PM
Solid, thanks guys. The more I think about it, the more I am sure that I have the pumps sitting identical to the original rule pumps - inlet is pointing stright up, and outlet is horizontal, but at the lowest point (I reused the factory pump mounts).
So, yesm, certainly in the wrong orientation. I appreciate you guys' help. Now I just need to figure out where I want to move them to.