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Rudder hits prop

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I have a 2006 VLX which I bought used last year. I've put 50 hours on it with no problems until I was putting it back on the trailer yesterday. As my son approached the trailer he put it into reverse and there was a loud groaning noise. He cut the engine and we put it on the trailer. Once out of the water we saw the trailing edge of the prop, about half way up the blades, there was damage from a prop strike. We also noticed that the rudder was 180 degrees out and jammed into the prop. We turned the steering wheel and the rudder came out of the prop and back to its normal position. I called the local Malibu repair shop and he said that sometimes if you have the wheel hard over and hit reverse hard it will suck the rudder into the prop. He told me not to use reverse with the wheel hard over. I changed the prop and turned the wheel all the way to the left and it went right into the prop arc again. I manually moved the rudder back to the nuetral position and when I tried the wheel again it worked normally (it stopped in both directions before going more than 90 degrees). Has anyone heard of this happening before and what is the remedy?

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I'm not a Malibu boat mechanic but, I would think it highly unlikely that the rudder would be able to turn 180* just because you have the wheel at full lock and put the boat in reverse.

I'm pretty sure there is a shear pin for the rudder. It would seem to me that that would have to have sheared for the rudder to go into the prop. If I'm not mistaken it's where I have the red arrow here...


Welcome to the site.

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This will happen if you have the wheel turned all the way to the right or left and then put the boat hard into reverse. I found this out the very first time I took out my first Malibu, a 2001 Sunsetter VLX. Never happened again as I was aware of the situation that caused the problem.

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I believe you OB, but, I can't see how it can happen.

I was told that in the conditions as listed there is so much suction created by the prop that it pulls the rudder into it. It definitely happened to me.

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Mechanically I’m trying to visualize how this can happen but I can’t unless there is a shear pin/bolt that has broken off. If this is what happened could there be just enough of the pin left (sticking out) to stop the rudder until there enough of a hard force the pull it past a broken shear pin?

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Another point of interest is that when I bought the boat it came with a damaged prop. The prop was damaged on the trailing edge and in the middle just like the damage I incurred. I now presume that the same thing happened to the original owner, but I can't get ahold of him to verify. Also I can't figure out how I was able to turn the wheel, after I had the boat out of the water and put a new prop on, and it went to the 180 position which would have caused a prop strike and there was no suction present. Is it because it was the first time I turned the wheel to the left and the stops hadn't been "reset" yet? As I said before the rudder works normally now. I would have thought there were mechanical stops. What does it have?

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