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Near Disaster Thanks to Dealer


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I had a local Malibu dealer winterize my LSV last fall. Just like they have for since I purchased the boat. I got a little miffed at them last October arriving to find that they left my bumpers and ropes out on the dock locker that I normally keep in the starboard locker, but got over it as they agreed to replace anything that was missing.

Then yesterday-I had to work. Wife arrives and starts boat for first time this season. I advised her before hand to watch gauges for first 10 minutes and to raise engine cover and check for inbound water. I should've told her to check around engine "WITH IT RUNNING". She checked for water with engine off and saw no problem. Took off down the lake. Dealer had left heater hose off (never has before). She got to a point where boat wouldn't accelerate, shut it down. Dock workers towed her back. It took roughly two hours.

I got to dock and tried bilge pump, only to find that circuit breaker would trip anytime it was turned on. Used a 10 gallon Shop Vac to get roughly 200 gallons of water out of boat. Bilge pump runs fine as long as wiring not under water seemingly BTW. I hooked up the heater hose and everything seems fine now. Just have fans out blowing everything dry.

So disappointed in Malibu dealer. I won't be using them again. This fall, I'll need your guys help to learn how to winterize it myself. Lesson: tell your if you can't be there at first start up of season, make sure you give REAL clear instructions on how to check for water on the wrong side of the boat.

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At $95 per hour, you'd like to think that, since working on boats in what they do for a living, and all,

they'd do a good job.

Sadly, that's often not the case. Their goal is to do the job as fast as they can get it done so they

can move on to the next job. Never mind that they're gonna charge you for a hour of labor, they

want to be done with it in 10 minutes.

Best thing is to do it yourself. You'll get an appreciation for what is involved and and how much tme

it should take, and you'll do it the right way everytime. It's really not that complicated.

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We hear this story here a few times every year. Just a guess but most dealers hire guys to help out in their busy season. So it may or may not be an experienced guy working on your boat. You'd hope someone with some experience would be checking their work.

Even when you do the job yourself, you still have to double check things. And missing a hose or something isn't all that unusual. But knowing what your doing because your more familiar with the boat from doing the work yourself is well worth it.

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I do all my winterization myself just for this reason.... Glad you were able to get it worked out. I would definitely call your dealer and let them know they almost sunk your boat.. I don't trust any mechanic working on my boat, I only take it to the dealer as a last resort.

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I know it's a PITA, but they are human and can make mistakes. Could have been worse. Give it a week or two, make sure everything is OK. See if the dealer will let you watch them winterize in the fall. Then with that info. and the info on here you can do it yourself or double check their work.

I recently summerized a Nautique. Next morning dock employee noticed water over the floor! Called the owner, who called me. Used ballast pumps to get the water out and found a cracked ballast hose to be the culprit. Not my fault, but still. Fixed the hose and she is as good as new. Might need a starter and alternator soon, tho!

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I do all my own winterizing, it isn't really that hard. Hate to have to admit it, but this year I experienced my first screw up in my nearly 20 years of boat ownership. When I winterize, I've always tightened down every clamp on every hose that I remove, that way I don't have to worry about it in the spring. My spring ritual includes going around to each of those same points and checking (again) to make sure those clamps are indeed tight.

So last weekend, I got the boat out and ready to dump into the lake for the summer. I did my usual checks, including looking at the hoses (this is in my driveway before even leaving for the lake). Headed to the marina, had my buddy back me down into the water, still connected to the trailer winch until I started the engine & could check for any water leaks in the motor box. Everything looked great, so I disconnected from the winch, and backed off the trailer.

I let the engine idle for a few minutes, then headed the 3/4 mile or so back to my boat lift. I didn't go back particularly fast or aggressively. Kept it at about 3000 rpm, all the while watching my temp gage. I found it strange the the temp didn't seem to be climbing, but didn't think too much of it. As I approached the channel that we live on, I pulled out of the throttle. Suddenly I notice the tickle of cold water on my right foot. WTH!!!!!!

I turn and look to the back of the boat, and the carpet is all wet on the starboard side. Now I pull all the way back to neutral and lift the motor box. Water is spraying everywhere off the front of the engine, and the water is nearly up to the floorboard!!! Turns out the main water pump hose clamp had not been tightened. At idle, there wasn't enough pressure to leak (much less pop that hose lose), so I didn't notice the issue sitting at the launch. Memo to self: ALWAYS check the engine again after putting the engine under load for a short time.

Took me half a second to think about what to do - but I collected myself, and shut it off. I always have a basic set of tools handy in the boat - including a screwdriver. I popped the hose back onto the water pump, tightened the clamp, and started it back up. But man was that boat wet!

Bottom line here - it can happen to anybody. Yes, had I paid someone to do my winterization, I'd probably be a little PO'd too... for a bit. But in the end, I'm still gonna blame myself for not checking everything, knowing how easy it is to miss a hose, and how easy it is to check for leaks before it becomes a problem.

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I've done my winterization and summarization in the drive for over 20 years. After I hook everything back up and hook up the flush pro, I fire it up and check for leaks. I check the first time on the water as well. I have discovered through this process that not even I am perfect. The moral of the story is, check twice.

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I haven’t seen the question ask, but have you contacted the dealer to see what he is willing to do to make it right?

Sorry to hear of your misfortune...

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The boat resides on Center Hill lake.

But the dealer is out of Hendersonville.

I've had a similar experience with them before... in 2004 I bought a boat that was a year old. They said they would throw in a new head unit before I took it home. We test drove it and everything was fine. Then we went back to purchase it and they installed the new head unit. I got it back home and started to take it out the next day (Memorial Day Weekend). I backed it in the water and turned the key... Nothing... checked all the battery cables and everything.. still nothing.. We checked and had power to the key and everything. I called the dealer back and they basically just said sorry we don't have anyone that can come look at it because everyone is out on the lake. I reminded them very sternly that I just bought the boat from them and that was some $(%&*$%( service if they didn't do anything. I live 2 hours west of them and they told me they would send someone but they were going to make me pay for the labor. So 95/hr for their guy to drive to me and and fix the boat. I was looking at 4hours plus whatever it took him to fix it. I cussed and cussed and cussed them. Finally I gave in and took the boat back. I got back there and the guy was all pissed because I took him off the lake with his buddies. He was making smart@ss comments until he took a look at the boat. He started messing around with the wiring and then he said "oh oops..." I still to this day don't know how he did it but he had disconnected some wire when installing the new head unit. He admitted it was his fault and he was really sorry and blah blah blah.. I was still mad that I had to waste my Sat to come up there because of his screw up. Since then I've had other reasons not to go back and do business with those guys..

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Sorry to hear about the issues with them.I took in some dash warranty work on my '10 and was getting the "it looks like misuse treatment to us" on some bubbles on the drivers dash. I didn't get the boat from them so they started giving me the 3rd degree until they saw I was getting visibly P.O. by their interigation. I'm glad Malibu ponied up, because I have a long memory.

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I have a ball valve shut off installed in my water pick up hose with a Flush Pro in line after it. If I turn off the ball valve, then hook up a short length of garden hose to the Flush Pro, I could use the Flush Pro to pump the bilge with the engine running. I keep the short garden hose stored in the gunnel. Hopefully I will never need it.

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