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Limp Mode???


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I just recently purchased a used 2000 Wakesetter 23 LSV with a Monsoon 325 on April 23rd from a Malibu Dealer in Michigan and brought the boat home to Indy(5.5 hour drive). I test drove the boat for about 10 minutes (at the dealer) before loading it back up on the trailer and signing papers and getting it ready for the long haul. Once the rainy month of April and early May ended, I was able to get the boat out onto a lake to enjoy. The first trip out, my wife got to enjoy the boat while I stayed mainland to re-bunk the trailer. I got to take it for a ride for about 25 min. before having to leave due to time. The boat ran just fine. In all, the boat was ran about an hour the whole day. The next trip out, we helped a fellow boater who was stranded against the bank of the lake with rough chop...so we pulled them to a sailboat tie-off buoy. Like I had stated, it was choppy, and the boat took some rough water but still ran good. We get to the "party cove" to hang out for a while and the boat trips the 50 amp circuit breaker as soon as we shut the engine off. Didn't know that was it for a while of searching why everything was dead. On the way back to the launch after hanging in the cove, I smelled smoke and opened the engine compartment lid and saw some smoke coming from the alternator. I quickly shut off the engine and investigated. The ground wire to the alternator had melted a bit, so I let the engine cool a bit and limped it back to the launch to load up and go when I noticed that the engine would not go over 2400 rpm under load. I replaced the ground wire that had melted and took the boat back out the following day. The boat still would cut out around 2400 rpm like there was a miss and burp. I tried to investigate again what an issue would be and ended up removing the alternator once back at the launch parking lot. I purchased a new one with about 10 more amp output than stock. I thought that this would fix the issue as I noticed after the burned ground wire from the alternator that the volt gauge was showing well under 13. I got the new alternator, a new v-belt, both fuel filters, thermostat/seals, impeller & seal and an oil pressure switch all on and STILL cutting out. I have a boat tech for high performace boats looking at the boat right now as a local Malibu dealer is booked up for a few weeks to get my boat in and the guy has ran a diagnostic both on and off water and cannot find a reason for the issue. He said it's not shooting a code for anything, but there was a past code for an overheating issue. He reset the code and replaced the spark plugs and took it back out and it ran once during the multiple tries at 3500 rpm for a short stint. He's confused and cannot come up with any answers. I'm ticked being that I feel I have been duped by a Malibu Dealer. I guess I should have done more research before purchasing my first boat, but I thought that since the dealer told me that the previous owner was a client of theirs and the boat was serviced there, I should trust them.

So, now I have probably bored you with part of the story (yes, part of), does anyone out there have any ideas? I have used the archives of this forum to try and pinpoint a possible problem, but have not been successful. I love the boat, just frustrated! I know Malibu is a trusted name.

Edited by MalibuCruse
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Hello??? I've looked through the archives and I've found people with similar issues, but most of them do not have an answer or any follow up posts. Any fixes would be appreciated. Thanks

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Hello??? I've looked through the archives and I've found people with similar issues, but most of them do not have an answer or any follow up posts. Any fixes would be appreciated. Thanks

I cant offer any mechanical advice, but my dealer has been great about pushing people who purchased their boats from them ahead in the repair/diagnostic line compared to those who didn't and are just having service done. Maybe lean on them a little bit in a nice way?

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MalibuNation

You didn't mention the dealer's name and maybe it's best that you don't. I do know both the dealers in the southern part of the state and they would not sell you a bad bu on purpose ... they are straight up folks.

I truly hope you get to the bottom of your problem - Jim

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:thumbup: I've got a 2000 wakesetter, I'll try to help. Ive had mine apart, maybe I can point you the way.

First, you said "The ground wire to the alternator had melted a bit". Mine doesnt have a ground wire on the alternator. Which wire are you referring to? The engine ground? My alternator had a 10 guage positive power wire, and two smaller wires. One of these is switched 12 volts, one is constant 12 volts. My alternator grounds thru the mounting bracket.

Melted wires and blow 50 amp breaker is bad news. Does it charge at idle now? Any other wires damaged?

Edited by WakesetterE
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:thumbup: I've got a 2000 wakesetter, I'll try to help. Ive had mine apart, maybe I can point you the way.

First, you said "The ground wire to the alternator had melted a bit". Mine doesnt have a ground wire on the alternator. Which wire are you referring to? The engine ground? My alternator had a 10 guage positive power wire, and two smaller wires. One of these is switched 12 volts, one is constant 12 volts. My alternator grounds thru the mounting bracket.

Melted wires and blow 50 amp breaker is bad news. Does it charge at idle now? Any other wires damaged?

Not sure about the wire. There are three wires to the alternator: orange, purple and black. The black wire (I assumed to be a ground) was attached to a small tab off of the housing of the old alternator. That's what melted. I bought a new marine grade alternator from a local shop that specializes in alternators, starters, anything auto/boat electrical. I explained to them about the black wire and they told me where to hook the wire up to..."E" post on the back meaning earth (ground). The gauge show a bit more than 13 when charging now.

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I had assumed that the dealer checked all of the fluids before sending me aft with the boat. Checked the levels while on the water yesterday and both tranny and V-drive were barely on their dipsticks. I found some 10w30 for the v-drive and the only thing I could find at a relatives garage is Dextron II D. In a pinch to try to see if the fluid level is an issue, I filled the tranny up. Took the boat out and it went well over 3k rpm for which I haven't seen since the first outing. Then that was short lived. Started again with the "limp mode.". I'm going to guess that maybe the tranny cooler lines to the tranny could be blocked as well. The boat is on the water right now and I'm afraid to start pulling hoses...don't want to sink it. I'm only on this lake until the fireworks are done this eve., then we take it back home.

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Sorry to hear of you trouble. I agree with previous poster-- lean on the dealer for help at this point. Maybe put a call in to indoor as well.

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You need to find the root cause of that 50 amp breaker tripping on you. Alternaters do not usually cause wires to melt, faulty wiring with a ground fault does. Hopefully a backfeed through the ground wire did not damage your ECM, causing the driveability problems

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  • 2 weeks later...

You didn't mention the dealer's name and maybe it's best that you don't. I do know both the dealers in the southern part of the state and they would not sell you a bad bu on purpose ... they are straight up folks.

I truly hope you get to the bottom of your problem - Jim

The dealership wasn't in southern MI....East Detroit area. I had my wife call the dealer last Tuesday and they said they would call back. She called to see what service records they had on the boat to see if there were any known issues. They never called back so she called on Thursday and she talked to the salesman who sold us the boat. His response to the boat having an issue after bringing it home was....oh, that's unfortunate! He didn't offer any type of additional help about the problems we were having except for the previous owners always had a reconditioned prop put on every year. When we looked at the boat, the prop fins were pretty rolled so we had them put a recon prop on. I'm going to guess that there might be an issue with the transmission now that I'm typing this. He asked who was doing the "work" on the parts replacement and my wife told him it was me. He didn't respond to that. I guess that since I'm not a certified Malibu Service Tech, I can't change a few filters and an alternator. Or better yet, fill both the tranny and v-drive fluid levels since there was a "Certified Service Tech" who de-winterized the boat and checked the boat before we took it out to test drive and must have missed that crucial element of topping the fluids off after driving from changing fluids on land. I'm guessing the tranny couldn't overheat within the 10 minutes of driving due to the boat not getting to temp and the lake was extremeley cold in April. It was snowing the weekend before when we first looked at the boat and the second weekend, it was windy but the outside temp was 60. All I want is the boat to run correctly so I can enjoy it. Frustrating!!!!!

When I replaced the alternator, I ran the additional ground wire from the engine block to the ground block under the dash. I removed and cleaned all connections from grounds, sensors, batteries, starter, engine grounds, cannon plug, behind the gauges plugs, etc.

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Well, took the boat to the local Malibu dealership this morning (1hr away) for only having it since the end of April. Cross fingers and toes that it won't cost an arm and a leg! Funny, but not really, this dealership has had two boats recently that were purchased from the same dealer that I bought mine. Small world I guess. I have to give props out to George, Eric and the crew out at Morse Lake Inboards (Malibu Dealer) for their above and beyond customer service. Outstanding and cannot wait to get the boat back in working condition.

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Got word yesterday that the fuel pump was the culprit. The only thing I didn't check before giving up and sending to the dealer. That's alright...at least they did a thorough check on the boat and figured it out and also found that my multi-cluster gauge was going bad and they had one in stock. Can't wait to finally wakeboard and wakesurf after these long 3 months of not being able to go faster than 11 mph (glympse GPS app). Again, thanks to the guys at Morse Lake Inboards, especially Eric, for working on the 'bu. :rockon::thumbup::yahoo:

Edited by MalibuCruse
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Got word yesterday that the fuel pump was the culprit. The only thing I didn't check before giving up and sending to the dealer. That's alright...at least they did a thorough check on the boat and figured it out and also found that my multi-cluster gauge was going bad and they had one in stock. Can't wait to finally wakeboard and wakesurf after these long 3 months of not being able to go faster than 11 mph (glympse GPS app). Again, thanks to the guys at Morse Lake Inboards, especially Eric, for working on the 'bu. :rockon::thumbup::yahoo:

That caused melted wires?

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That caused melted wires?

No, that didn't. Still don't know what caused that. New news from dealer coming in next update...

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Well, just got off the phone with the dealer about the lake test and the boat. They said that with the new fuel pump it started running like a top. They ran it for about a half an hour and had no issues with it except for the new gauge cluster started acting up on the lake but didn't when they had it at the shop and fake lake'd it. They started to head back to the marina and then the boat started acting up again. They could not understand the issue. The tech told me they were glad it did do something because if they had taken it off of the water and I got it and launched it later and it was still doing the same thing, then I would think they lied to me. They told me to try and relax and they will try and figure the issue and will work with me on the price. They said they understood that I just bought the boat from the dealership in MI a few months ago and have had trouble since bringing it home. They couldn't understand why there was so much rust at the engine mounts. The tech suggested that maybe the boat had possibly sank, but was uncertain and that maybe that was why the boat was traded in and that the dealer was trying to get rid of the boat. That is all speculation at this point. I told him that the previous owners information was on the boat registration that was in the floating keychain. We'll see what comes of all of this. I'm kind of beside myself at this point.

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They couldn't understand why there was so much rust at the engine mounts. The tech suggested that maybe the boat had possibly sank, but was uncertain and that maybe that was why the boat was traded in and that the dealer was trying to get rid of the boat. That is all speculation at this point. I told him that the previous owners information was on the boat registration that was in the floating keychain. We'll see what comes of all of this. I'm kind of beside myself at this point.

That seems like quite a jump. It sounds like this tech is taking care of you, but if I were him I wouldn't plant that idea in your head. There's no reason for the speculation and worry unless it's true. Focus on getting the boat fixed and I'm sure everything will work out fine.

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Morse Lake is the Malibu dealer I always use. Have bought 4 VLX's through them. Good group of guys. Was kinda wondering when I read your original post why you went clear to Mich. to buy a Bu when you had a pretty good dealer just North of Indy?? Hope you get your issue resolved. Keep us posted

Also,, I know some of my V-drive units over the years used to take 40w oil,,but wasnt aware that any said you could just use 10w30??

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Morse Lake is the Malibu dealer I always use. Have bought 4 VLX's through them. Good group of guys. Was kinda wondering when I read your original post why you went clear to Mich. to buy a Bu when you had a pretty good dealer just North of Indy?? Hope you get your issue resolved. Keep us posted

Also,, I know some of my V-drive units over the years used to take 40w oil,,but wasnt aware that any said you could just use 10w30??

I cannot afford a newer 'bu, so I had to look for a better deal and I had looked at a few boats online and through dealers only because I needed to finance the boat. When I came across this dealer, I was originally looking at a Supra but was a bit pricey and my wife found the current boat on their website and she loved some of the aspects of the boat so we called about it and they seemed knowledgeable and nice. We went to look at the boat and there were a few things that visually I could see that needed fixed....so on and so forth...I'm at this point with the boat! :crazy:

They guys at Morse Lake are the best group of guys I have ever dealt with in any type of customer service. I work for a local sign shop in Indy that we try to pride ourselves with customer service and quick turnaround and as far as the customer service....they take the top prize! :thumbup:

Oh and as far as the 10w 30...sorry, habit from stating the oil type from working on cars....SAE 30w is what I used.

When it comes to trading (if they will take it) and I can afford a newer 'bu, I will definetely go through them!

Edited by MalibuCruse
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That seems like quite a jump. It sounds like this tech is taking care of you, but if I were him I wouldn't plant that idea in your head. There's no reason for the speculation and worry unless it's true. Focus on getting the boat fixed and I'm sure everything will work out fine.

Like they said for me to do is to relax and they will try to find the issue. I really have no choice at this point as I mailed out my 3th payment today on the boat. :(

Edited by MalibuCruse
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  • 4 weeks later...

Got the call today about the boat. After sending diagnostic data to the techs at Indmar, they have come back with the ECM is bad and needs replaced. Here's the kicker for that...being that it is an older boat, finding a replacement ECM for a 2000 Wakesetter with a 325 Monsoon is not easy. The dealer tried all of their contacts but could not find one. The alternative is for me to try and find one (but I don't have any contacts at all) or have a new ECM put in which means that a new wiring harness needs to be installed as well. $$$$. I'm coming up on making the fourth payment on the boat and have not had the boat for a total of six weeks. The wife is ready to take the boat back to the original dealer and tell them to take a flying leap! I've sent an e-mail to the original dealer's owner and President and have not heard a word back. I'm left feeling broke and let down and I didn't even get to get the boat to plane out or even try to wakeboard behind it! :(

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it sounds like we are having similar problems. I boat my boat in June. my 01 response is doing the same thing as yours and it is at the former malibu dealership now. (new dealer ship mechanic is not very good). I was told although it is similating limp mode, it would send a code if it truly was in limp mode. It isnt sending a code. They said that the boat had some old codes from an electrical problem from before. Sounded like the battery had been hooked up wrong. let me know if the computer fixes your problem.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well got the boat back on Saturday, after a staggering total of nine weeks in the shop ($$$$)! The service dept. at the local Malibu dealer replaced the ECM and wiring harness along with a new alternator even though I had just put a new one on. The new ECM would not support the alternator I had and the new one is a 70 amp. Boat runs great! Finally able to get the boat to plane and also got to wakeboard behind it!!!!! Now, if I could just get the original dealer to respond back to my email and BBB complaint.

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