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2008 Malibu Response LXI Cruise Control Problem

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I have a 2008 Malibu Response LXI that just hit 50 hours. Since I purchased the boat new back in March the Cruise control has been a problem where when you start the boat, press the cruise button and then the red button it says "ON" and then a few seconds later goes to "OFF" Even if it says "ON" when you start to pull a skier it you push the throttle down too fast it goes to "OFF" The only way to correct the situation is to shut the boat off wait at least 5-7 seconds and start the boat again .. typically it could take 3-5 turning the boat on and off before you can get the cruise control to stay on. I've found if you set the Favorites to have Cruise "ON" when you start the boat the cruise will typically stay on but not always.

The boat has been into my local dealer now three times for this problem and it still not fixed. The first time they said the problem was I was shutting the boat off and turning it on too quickly and that I must wait 5-7 seconds before restarting the boat after shutting it off which I do when possible but sometimes with fast moving currents in the river you can't wait that long to re-start the boat. The second time I took the boat in the said the battery was not holding charge and that the low voltage at start-up was causing the problem so we put in a new battery. Took the boat out with the new battery and the problem started again the second day it was out and got worse in that the boat would not start once in the morning and then again in the afternoon until after the boat sat for 5 minutes. For this third visit to the dealer they called the factory and they authorized replacement of the ECMC

Picked up the boat today with the new ECMC , put it in the water was able to turn the cruise control on and take off several times, shut the boat off and turn it on again with no problems. Unfortunately after about a dozen times of shutting the boat on the next time the problem re-appeared when I started the boat, turned the cruise control on and a few seconds later it went to "off" on its own so back to the dealer it went tonight for a 4th time. The dealer said they were going to try and get someone from the factory to come out and look at the problem given this is now the 4th time it has been in for the same issue.

Question for this group is has anyone else ever had this problem with the Cruise Control having a mind of its own when to shut-off. Outside of this one problem I love my Response and the boat has been great I just would like to get this cruise control problem solved once and for all and hoping someone in the group has an idea what is causing this problem so I can advise my dealer what to look for.

Edited by gomce
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There is a data link / loose connection between your dash and the engine ECM controller. On the Malibu cruise systems the engine ECM is acting as the brain and control device for the cruise.

Check all your battery terminals - they should not be able to be moved on the terminal

Check main ground - engine

check main power at starter

check dash to boat harness connection under dash

check engine to boat harness at the engine

Can't find anything and it still does it, have your local dealer re-flash the ECM calibration to see if that solves the issue.

hope this helps


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Thanks for the suggestions and I agree now that the dealer has replaced the entire ECM based on the Factory suggestion the only thing left is some data connection problem or possibly the control pad on the dash is bad. My local Dealer said they are going to ask Malibu to send out one of their Top Technicians to look at the boat as we are just an hour away from Malibu's Modesto factory as my local dealer has already done everything you suggested above in the previous three visits to them.

I've got to believe if there was a programming bug others owners would have reported it by now so it has got to be a data harness/switch issue at this point.

I'm sure they will figure it out .. just glad this occurred why the boat is still under warranty.


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I doubt its the gauge itself, did they replace the gauge computer (MMDC) or did they replace the engine computer (ECM) You would know if your hours re-set back to 0.0 if they did the engine computer.

Hope they figure it out for you soon, it sounds like you are in good hands if they are making due process. Some issues are really hard, especially if they are intermittent so its a process of elimination that can take some time to sort out.

Just FYI, I've never heard of that problem before at Bake's.


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Hours still say 50.6 so it sounds like they just replaced the MMDC which must have been what the factory sent out to them and asked them to install to try and fix this problem. It is somewhat of an intermittent problem so I understand why it is a hard one to figure out. I'm glad to hear no one else has reported this problem which confirms my thought that it some sort of install or H/W problem with my boat rather than a software bug/design flaw.

I'm sure my local Deal (The Sporting Edge) along with the Malibu Factory Techs will get it figured out .. at least it is now getting into the winter season here is Calif. so it isn't as hard being without my boat as it is in the summer.



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  • 2 months later...

I picked up my boat today and it looks like my cruise control problem is finally fixed. My local Dealer reported that the factory flew out one of their top technicians to look at my boat. Long story short .. he determined that the firmware version of my MMDC and the Firmware version of the ECM were a combination they had not tested. He rolled my MMDC firmware back two versions and my test drive on the water today shows everything appears to be working correctly. Supposedly the Technician is back at the factory working with the team to find out what is the problem with the newer firmware versions of the MMDC and the ECM's so if they ever upgrade my MMDC firmware in the future this problem won't re-appear. I must say I'm impressed with Malibu standing behind the product and flying out a Technician from Tenn to Calif. and spending what I'm told was an entire day on my boat fixing the problem vs. asking my local Dealer to keep doing the "try this/try that method" Boat is now back home where I'll be getting it nice and clean and ready for spring skiing which can't arrive fast enough.

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