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New (to me) Malibu owner. What to do first?


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I went to check out a '98 sunsetter vlx last week, loved it and put a deposit on the boat. Just called the mechanic that checked it out and he said the boat is in amazing condition. So it looks like i'll be part of the 'crew' next week.

When I purchased an RX-7 back in college there was a list of things you should/need to do in order to have a safe and reliable car as well as some basic features/mods that will make your ownership more enjoyable. Do we have any of these sorts of lists floating around the forums? I've checked around and the only thing i could find was the fuel level sender mod and a lot of discussion/debate around the wedge v. ballast systems. Anything besides that?

as for what is on the boat as of now:


perfect pass

depth finder

upgraded sound system

3 blade prop (few dings)

no ballast/fatsac system

no wedge

Thanks in advance,


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Welcome and ditto on your location?

Give the boat a good cleaning and waxing. Use 303 on the interior. I'd check the tires and brakes on the trailer if the trailer has brakes. Safety strap/chain up front. Transom straps in back. Check the lights on the trailer. How is the strap on the wench? How is the teak swim platform, I've got some links from TMC (here) at work on discussions on refinishing teak if need be.

Transom protectors for your boat and a transom protector that you install on your teak swim platform - it's teak, will sent you a pic once I get to work. I can't wait to get to work Crazy.gif

Info on the wedge

Things that I have on my boat that I like, dual batteries, soon to be 3 batteries.



Flush Pro.

Pop Up Cleats, do you have cleats, I know they were options on some boats?

Bow Lights, kind of bling as they look real cool, I know people have considered adding them.

I have heated seats but I don't think that would be worth switching out. Hotwater shower would be nice, I do NOT have that.

Maybe tower lights - I rarely go out at night, our state bird, skeeters, would carry me away.

Seeing that you tested the boat are you south of the Mason / Dixie line?

Edited by MalibuNation
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This is what I use on teak


Couple of long discussions on Teak vs Fiberglass, some other teak care products are mentioned

Teak vs Fiberglass

Round II

Things for the boat

Gear for the Boat

Where you get a transom protector for your teak swim platfom, they are in TN

Teak World Enterprises

I'm sure the Crew can help you find a transom protector that you actually put on your transom ... I know Tracie/Wakegirl had some awhile back.

You'll want to add a door to your swim platform to help with your wedge - suppose you could live without one, but would have to jump in the water each time you lowered/raised it, which isn't all that bad.

Check the bearing on the trailer, maybe get "bearing buddies".

Whew, did I miss anything?


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Beyond the most important trailer stuff already mentioned, If there is any vibration at all from the prop, have it rebuilt or replaced. I had a CVP stainless prop that was OEM on my 99 Response that vibrated & didn't have a singe ding on it. Found a forum referencing material loss due to cavitation. Replaced it with a Acme three blade Nibral (from Delta Propellers) & got the advertised stronger pull with no loss in fuel performance. The prop to have IMO. If you are in market for a heater, a four outlet Heater craft gives the most discharge location options. (Heater Craft under "Group Buys"

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to focus on the trailer -

check all the lights and connectors. if they are all original consider replacing the whole set, connector, lights, wires.

check the tires and wheels. a new set of 2 or 4 tires isnt huge, and gives you peace of mind, especially if you dont know the age.

with low miles, it is hard to tell how long a trailer tire has been installed.

wheel bearings, lubrication, bearing buddies.

transom tied downs. front tie diwn strap / cable.

spare tire / mount

any signs of rust or damage.

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As to the absence of ballast/fat sac system and wedge, whether or not you need to consider adding either/or

depends on what you want to use the boat for. For skiing, obviously, you don't need them. For wakeboarding,

you probably will eventually want to add some wake-enhancing features. For surfing, fat sacs are a must.

For tubing . . . well, let's not talk about tubing. No.gif

What got my attention from the opening post was the "few dings" comment on the prop. I'd seriously consider

looking into a new prop and a "Weekend Saver Kit" (prop change tool and accessories). Your old prop may be

good enough to use as a spare if it's just minimally/slightly damaged, or you could have it repaired/refurbished

if the "dings" are more significant. Either way, it's nice to have a spare available on a long weekend just in case.

Congratulations on the boat!

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Thanks guys. I'm in Los Angeles but i haven't personally taken it on the water, we are going to do that when I pick it up. (If there was any confusion i had the boat checked out by a mechanic).

I'm going to look into all of your suggestions and; from my research, i think i'm going to buy an 'anchor buddy' as well.

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Have you had your mechanic drive the boat? Because there are many things a mechanic can't tell you about how the boat drives. Don't want to put a spoon in your cogs but you should always test drive it...

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