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2003 VLX Wedge


jthwake

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Hey All,

This is my first post on The Malibu Crew .com. We recently bought our first Malibu. It is a 2003 VLX. I have had it since April 30th. My question is about the wedge. This type of wedge is notorious for busting the bolt heads and bending the other support. Has any one tried to just have the support machined rather than buying a whole new set up?

Thanks Guys

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martinarcher

Hey All,

This is my first post on The Malibu Crew .com. We recently bought our first Malibu. It is a 2003 VLX. I have had it since April 30th. My question is about the wedge. This type of wedge is notorious for busting the bolt heads and bending the other support. Has any one tried to just have the support machined rather than buying a whole new set up?

Thanks Guys

Not that I know of. Since the inner bracket will support the floating stainless wedge, most look for a floating wedge and upgrade to one of them. The come up on ebay quite often.

That said, I don't think it is the actual wedge "support" that is the root cause of the failure. I think the root cause lies in the fact that the bolts and material the "supports" are made of do not play nice. I think most have stated that the bolts fail because the two metals react and the bolts fail.

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Not that I know of. Since the inner bracket will support the floating stainless wedge, most look for a floating wedge and upgrade to one of them. The come up on ebay quite often.

That said, I don't think it is the actual wedge "support" that is the root cause of the failure. I think the root cause lies in the fact that the bolts and material the "supports" are made of do not play nice. I think most have stated that the bolts fail because the two metals react and the bolts fail.

Was this a problem with the bolted together wedges only, the first generation wedge? From what year to what years would you say had this problem?

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martinarcher

Was this a problem with the bolted together wedges only, the first generation wedge? From what year to what years would you say had this problem?

I think this was an issue with the 1st gen wedges with the bolted on plates. Not sure of years. I'm sure someone with more wedge knowledge than myself could answer that one.

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I think this was an issue with the 1st gen wedges with the bolted on plates. Not sure of years. I'm sure someone with more wedge knowledge than myself could answer that one.

You mean the 4 allen bolts at the bottom of the wedge plate. That look like they are made out of brass. What is the wedge plate made out of? Is there anything you can do to be pro active in replacing them before they break off, with something that would last longer? Is it just a matter of time until they fail and the wedge plate falls to the bottom of the lake? Then running to you local Malibu dealer and buying the 2nd generation wedge that is welded.

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martinarcher

You mean the 4 allen bolts at the bottom of the wedge plate. That look like they are made out of brass. What is the wedge plate made out of? Is there anything you can do to be pro active in replacing them before they break off, with something that would last longer? Is it just a matter of time until they fail and the wedge plate falls to the bottom of the lake? Then running to you local Malibu dealer and buying the 2nd generation wedge that is welded.

Yep. You got it. I think the wedge plate is aluminum, and the support arms are nibral or something similar. If I had the 1st gen wedge I would buy a bunch of bolts from Malibu and replace them once a year. Maybe I'm paranoid, but wedges aren't cheap from Malibu!

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Yep. You got it. I think the wedge plate is aluminum, and the support arms are nibral or something similar. If I had the 1st gen wedge I would buy a bunch of bolts from Malibu and replace them once a year. Maybe I'm paranoid, but wedges aren't cheap from Malibu!

Thanks Guys, Its is the first generation wedge and you are right it is the bolts. I guess I just didn't know how to explain it. Thanks for the Advice.

Edited by jthwake
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I'm not "Mr. Wedge" but, any wedge that only has 4 bolts holding the "wing" to the "arms" (regardless of what "generation" you call it) is prone to break off the bolt heads. Why this happens, I don't know. Maybe too much force on the heads of the flat head bolts (weak spot).

As far as what will happen when they fail, I've never seen anyone say that the wedge sank to the bottom. Usually, the other arm that is still attached will bend at about a 90 angle but, will keep holding all the hardware. So, you'd only be looking at straightening the bent arm and looking for a remedy for the bolt head failure.

Personally, I've said this here a few times, why not replace the bolts with titanium.

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martinarcher

I'm not "Mr. Wedge" but, any wedge that only has 4 bolts holding the "wing" to the "arms" (regardless of what "generation" you call it) is prone to break off the bolt heads. Why this happens, I don't know. Maybe too much force on the heads of the flat head bolts (weak spot).

As far as what will happen when they fail, I've never seen anyone say that the wedge sank to the bottom. Usually, the other arm that is still attached will bend at about a 90 angle but, will keep holding all the hardware. So, you'd only be looking at straightening the bent arm and looking for a remedy for the bolt head failure.

Personally, I've said this here a few times, why not replace the bolts with titanium.

That's a good call right there. Do it once and be done with it. Those bolts will probably be $10 a pop. Crazy.gif

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That's a good call right there. Do it once and be done with it. Those bolts will probably be $10 a pop. Crazy.gif

I had this happen this weekend to us. I think it actually happened with the wedge up thou. We were surfing and stopped to head in to camp and grab another couple that had been eating, We just pulled up the wedge and left the ballast full with 3-4 people jumping to the opposite side of the ballast to level out a little, took off with two people still on the back deck and no longer then just got planed off and heard one of them hell to stop. You could See the wedge hanging out behind the platform. It only bent in one direction on the arm that was still attached, not bent and twisted like alot of the pictures I have seen. Luckily one of the guys that was on the platform owns a marine machine shop and said the same thing, lets put some Titanium bolts in there! It just sheared the bolt heads off, the pieces came right out with pliers.

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I'd like to buy some of those screws if you think of it.

He said he wasn't even sure if he could get them in that type of bolt, and didn't think they would be much stronger but was going to check into it. Also said they would be about $30-$35 each. He was going to call today about it but I never heard from him.

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Back when our 2002 Sunsetter LX was brand new, there was a rumor flying around about random wedge failures. We called Malibu engineering directly, back then it was much easier to get in touch with some one. The root cause we were given was that the holes in the "arms" of the wedge were not threaded to their full depth. This caused the bolts to bottom out in the holes before they clamped the foil to the bottom of the arms. If I remember correctly 3 of the 4 bolt holes were not threaded fully on our boat. You couldn't feel any play in the foil but apparently while being subjected to the forces of normal use it would flex and cause the bolts to fatigue until one would break. Once that happend, I think we have all seen the pictures of failed wedges.

We threaded the holes to their full depth and re-installed the origial bolts with no issues. We traded the boat in for our 2009 RLXI and last time I saw it the new owners were having fun with the "fixed" wedge.

I'm not sure if this is the root cause for every failure but it sure seemed plausible. If I was buying a used boat with a first generation wedge I would remove the foil, thread the bolts in by hand with no foil in place and make sure the holes are threaded to the full depth.

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I have another theory on why they break....

The older wedges are just press fitted together. (arms and tubular struts)No bolts, no set screws. I feel that if the wedge had twisted even slightly, both of the spring loaded pins may not engage or fully engage. I had 1 pin that would not engage. I took the wedge off the boat and found it had twisted just a little. Or somehow the thumbscrew fell off and 1 pin worked itself out of the hole...

So with only 1 pin engaged the thing would just pivot on the 1 engaged pin and shear the bolts off at the heads, leaving a mangled mess.

I don't doubt there were holes that were not drilled or tapped deep enough, but this is just my theory...

To all: make sure both pins engage when lowering a manual wedge.

YMMV

Patrick

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I'm not "Mr. Wedge" but, any wedge that only has 4 bolts holding the "wing" to the "arms" (regardless of what "generation" you call it) is prone to break off the bolt heads. Why this happens, I don't know. Maybe too much force on the heads of the flat head bolts (weak spot).

As far as what will happen when they fail, I've never seen anyone say that the wedge sank to the bottom. Usually, the other arm that is still attached will bend at about a 90 angle but, will keep holding all the hardware. So, you'd only be looking at straightening the bent arm and looking for a remedy for the bolt head failure.

Personally, I've said this here a few times, why not replace the bolts with titanium.

Silly Pete, you never saw my story about that did you? Mine ripped the good arm clean off & has been sitting in 200+ feet of water for the past couple of years. Also, mine was the style that had 3 bolts on each support & none had shown any sign of wear. I think that I've got a picture somewhere....here we go.

Ripped it clean off:

post-1-127838904339_thumb.jpg

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Here is my input, but I am not a wedge expert either.

I have heard two stories on why they fail: From Malibu, electrolisis attacking the bolt. From Bakes thread depth.

As an avid cyclist I have to say that titanium may not be the answer...titanium is good in some applications but in others not so good. For example some pedals are available with titanium spindles (for lighter riders) and for the heavier riders chromoly spindles. The titanium spindles break. I am no engineer but titanium bolts may not be the answer?????

If I was worried about it, I would remove the bolts with an impact driver as pictured. Next I would check the thread depth and repair as necessary. I would then put new bolts in it WITH A GOOD COATING OF MARINE GREASE on the threads.

Or you could follow my plan: Wait until it breaks and then replace it with a floater ;)

post-7843-127839154643_thumb.jpg

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Just keep in mind that to upgrade to the floater, it will require a new mounting bracket. The plate that sits on the inside of the transom to reinforce the setup can be used again, but the bracket needs to be changed out since it's different. But it's a worthwhile upgrade for sure, it performs better than the fixed wedge in just about every way.

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Just keep in mind that to upgrade to the floater, it will require a new mounting bracket. The plate that sits on the inside of the transom to reinforce the setup can be used again, but the bracket needs to be changed out since it's different. But it's a worthwhile upgrade for sure, it performs better than the fixed wedge in just about every way.

I was under the impression that the older style wedge made the wake steeper then the floater, is this true? The floating wedge is really that much better performing then the old fixed wedge? And is it as good for a 23 diamond hull, I think the wake and diamond hulls had different wedges right?

Edited by mainekneeboarder
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mine was the style that had 3 bolts on each support

I only see a 2 bolt wedge in that pic.

That is the first time I've seen an arm break clean off.

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I only see a 2 bolt wedge in that pic.

That is the first time I've seen an arm break clean off.

I was going to say ditto to both of Petes statements...

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Bah, I was thinking of the yellow boat. My bad.

It didn't give any warning when it happened, & it didn't drive funny at all (we were able to narrow it down to one spot in time & location where it happened). So my guess is that when it let go, the whole thing ripped off instantly. It seems like I would have known if it had been trailing at all before ripping free.

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mine ripped off excatly the same way but on the other side. I was turning right and heard a pop! it went to the bottom of the lake. i bet you were turning left when yours broke. My malibu dealer had 2 used pro wedges, the wedge 23, my boat had the stantard wedge on it, will it work the same, better, or worse? 2004 wakesetter vlx

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mine ripped off excatly the same way but on the other side. I was turning right and heard a pop! it went to the bottom of the lake. i bet you were turning left when yours broke. My malibu dealer had 2 used pro wedges, the wedge 23, my boat had the stantard wedge on it, will it work the same, better, or worse? 2004 wakesetter vlx

Supposedly,

The "Pro wedge" "wedge 23" "bent wedge" is meant for a V-drive.

Supposedly, it creates less down force but, makes it easier for a V-drive to turn.

If the cost of the used wedges is decent, I'd be inclined to go for it. You should have roughly the same performance from it.

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mine ripped off excatly the same way but on the other side. I was turning right and heard a pop! it went to the bottom of the lake. i bet you were turning left when yours broke. My malibu dealer had 2 used pro wedges, the wedge 23, my boat had the stantard wedge on it, will it work the same, better, or worse? 2004 wakesetter vlx

When we are in the canyon that we were riding in when it happened, I never turn to the left. It's always to the right, it's more appropriate within the confines of that passage. Slider went back to check the wedge after our guest took the first set after arriving at that spot because the wake didn't look right & it just wasn't there. We know that it was there upon arriving at that spot because slider went back to drop it & lock it in.

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