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timjame0719

Things I learned as my VLX decided to keep me busy this year!

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timjame0719

Hello all! This post I just wanted to share a few things I learned as it has been a big year for my 06 VLX. I ordered my VLX new in 2005 as a 2006 model and have had very few problems. For the most part all I ever had to do was change my fluids and fuel filter then go. This is my second Malibu and I love it! My Bu runs better than several newer ones on the river that I ride but this year it decided to allow all the years of trouble free use to catch up!

I kicked off the list of expenses with a new custom made Sunbrella cover. It was over due so I dropped $900 into it. For anybody looking for covers in the Columbus, Oh area PM me and I can give you his information. Although a bit pricey, the cover is fantastic and fits extremely well. There is extra padding around corners and areas that rub, he backs his work and will repair any problems with the cover for free up to five years, then repairs the rest for small fees up to ten years, and best of all he sewed a flap with a buckle system that channels water around my illusion X tower and I have pretty much no water running into my boat from around the tower. No mold hiding anywhere this year!

Anyway, as I left the canvas shop, I noticed my Phoenix trailer brake was pretty hot and smelled like it was burning. I determined that the brake caliper was sticking and despite lubing up the parts, it still locked up. What I learned is my caliper is a UFP system and despite that you can get pads for the brakes at the local auto store (they were 1991 plymouth voyager pads), UFP distributors told me that most of our trailers have this system and they only anticipated them working for 3-5 years before needing to be replaced so most likely you will go through the caliper before the pads. I had to order a new caliper system for $79 through their distributor company in Indiana. For anybody that needs to do this, you have to look up UFP brakes and find the closest distributor company for your area. They need the number on the back of the caliper but if you can't stick your head under the trailer and see it, they can usually tell what model you have by your rim size. That's what I learned on this.

After this minor set back, I reached for my bimini top and ran my arm across the illusion X tower anchor light. The top cap/lense broke into a bunch of pieces. Learned here after seven seasons it is just plain brittle and should not be touched. A Malibu dealer in Coldwater Mi had one in stock for $25.

I went on my way through the following week and all of the sudden my spedo stopped working. Read zero. I was out of town and looked under my boat at the paddle wheel to discover that it came completely off. The actual paddle must have totally given up and split off, then sank to the bottom. All that was left was the metal bar that the paddle wheel spins on and it's housing. Two things I learned here. 1. The malibu cruise system doesn't work so well in RPM mode. You have to first pick what RPM you like best according to how your boat is loaded then set it for that. You have to make sure although the number is set, it is OFF. Once you start to pull the boarder/skier up you have to quickly hit the red engage button for it to set and work. If you push the red button before you give it gas, it won't work. If you push it after you are at the desired RPM it won't work. It has to be pushed in the middle of both. Was odd and a pain as you have to do this everytime you drop the boarder/skier. 2. When you get your new paddle wheel they offer one with a long cord and one with a short one. On the end of the cord is a plug. I learned if you don't know if yours requires the long cord or not, they are the same price....get the long one. Most likely it's is tough to find the plug to do a simple paddle wheel swap on the Vdrives and the dealer recommended just splicing the new one in the end of the old cord making the shorter cord fine but also learned that the wires are extremely tiny and tough to splice. I hope mine holds up for a while but if I had to do it over, I would get the long cord and find the plug end wherever it is and just plug the new one in. Paid $125 for this as I was at an out of town Malibu dealer and couldn't stand the RPM cruise mode. Not sure but prob could get it cheaper otherwise.

Moving into my season after these three issues, I kept having a flat on my trailer tire. Same one. I had it plugged at a tire shop out of town as there was a nail in it. It kept going flat. I took it to Tire Discounters locally once I got home and learned that if you take the tire off, most likely it won't show a leak unless under pressure (with the weight of the trailer and boat or if you inflate it past the recommended psi). So you will sit there scratching your head wondering why you can't find the "new" leak as the new patch job appeared on a loose tire to be leaking. I also learned these trailer tires should always be patched right by an internal patch, not your quick outside plug. Worked fine now.

Next my ballast pump pulling water out of my center tank went bad. It was easy to replace as it sits in the open under the floor accessed by pulling up the center panel where the ski locker would be. I learned that piranha makes a ballast pump that is cheaper than the original and threaded the same size to be a direct replacement. I just googled it making sure it was the same GPH rating and found the cheapest price at bakes online marine. I bought three just in case for just under $100.

Further on my boat battery went bad. I have two batteries, one starting and one aux. They run together when the boat is on to charge together but separate when the key is off allowing use of the radio separate of the starting battery so I won't go dead. I replaced the starting battery (only 3 years old...don't buy a "Walleye" Battery). I was fine for a few outtings but my low volts indicator kept flashing across my screen. After further investigation, I learned that the aux battery, although holding over 12V, had bad cells and when the two paired up it would pull volts from the starting battery throwing the low volts alarm. I replaced that battery.

Continuing my problems I had the left side of my switches (nav lights, left and center ballast switches, horn, etc) go dim. The switches on the right were bright though. After a long look, I determined that the left side of my switches run together and the right run together all going to a common block ground. I found that one switch ground came loose somewhere in the harness and it messed with the grounds of all the left switches. I simply ran a separate ground to that single switch and it fixed the whole left side switch ground problem. It's easiest to find this switch with the ground problem by taking a wire with alligator clips on the ends. Clip one to the common block ground and the other to the ground pole on each switch one at a time while watching when the lights brighten up or if they are off altogether, when they come back on.

Next thing to go is my aux input end for the stereo. When I plug my ipod in or sat radio I use the aux input located under my radio. Aside from straight wiring it into the radio, this input is really nice. Here is where I can't help yet because I haven't fixed it. Everytime I plug something in now, I have to constantly move the cord around inside it or I will get music but no voices. All of the sudden full power the music will come on when I wiggle it but right back off. It's not the cord because I've purchased a new one. It's the input. Not sure if it can be cleaned or just replaced but that's my next problem.

Lastly, before tackling the aux input, I have to deal with the depth finder. It has been working great until last week. It constantly reads 0.0' and is bad. I'm lucky because instead of my shallow alarm going off, a message flashes that says depth bad read. So although it doesn't work, it doesn't beep at me. I'm finding that the transducer is likely bad and seems to be about $120. I will update everybody when I order it and see how hard the fix is. I've heard they are bad generally but do not know of a good replacement/different company to use so will prob just order the original again as it did last me seven seasons.

I love my Malibu! This year it just needed a little TLC although these are fairly minor issues. Knock on wood NO major driveline issues! Maybe some of this helped you, maybe it just bored you. Either way I thought I would share in case something left you scratching your head and maybe my experience is what you are experiencing!

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Warthog

Good info. I wonder if this site would consider a Wiki... Being able to document all the places and alternative models for replacement parts (i.e. the pumps and lens covers) would be fantastic. Great post all the same!

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Love2Ride

Good write-up! I had some of the same issues with my trailer this year as well. Ordered the new calipers from Waymire Distribution in Indiana, great guys to deal with and reasonably priced.

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MalibuNation

Thanks for sharing ... love your avatar

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Nitrousbird

Where do you ride in Columbus? I am assuming Griggs; we boated there until we moved to Powell and now ride on O'Shaughnessy.

What canvas place did you use? I rarely cover the boat as it is in the garage, but our cover has a tear in it that I'd like repaired.

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dalt1

timjame How many hours on your 06? I have 930 on mine now and have had great luck with it. Had none of your issues yet other than ballast pumps. I have changed 7 of 8 on mine up to this date, no problem just routine wear items to me. I keep 2 spare pump cartridges handy at all times and will change on the water if needed. I did have to replace my starter this season after 900 hours. Again I consider this normal wear and tear. I have had more trouble with my trailer actuator than the actual brakes on the axles. Brakes on axles are still original but have changed the actuator solenoid and shock recently. Tires :whistle: , now on 3rd set. Normal for trailers even though I think they should last longer than this.

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timjame0719

Thanks! My boxer was awesome and I keep this picture as it's the cutest. Unfortunately she got stomach cancer and she ended 9 1/2 years with us last Thanksgiving. She was the best! Nitrousbird....I do ride Griggs. It's a bit closer coming from I-670 and most my buds ride Griggs. I'm out as much as I can be with a 2 yr old and projects around the house that never go away. The place I got my cover was US Cloth. They are at 1010 E. Starr Ave. Their number is 614) 294-4453. He will repair anything and custom make anything with canvas or other materials. Great guy and he is a one man deal unless he gets really busy. He will bring in one other person but he had mine done in two days. Dalt1....we have just shy of 500 hrs. Unfortunately the boat sits outside during the summer but it does go indoors in a climate controlled garage all winter. This would be the reason for the brittle light and quick tire life (I'm on my third set as well). The other stuff....who knows. I always wipe down/wax the boat, maintain it over what the book calls for including every other year on the spark plugs....just dumb luck this year I guess.

This site is great for resources and experiences. I find most of my quick fixes here for sure!

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timjame0719

At 930 hours and still running great I have no concern mine won't make it that far plus many more also. This thing is bullet proof and we enjoy every minute of it!!

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Fman

Good info, maybe I missed it, but how many hours are on your boat? I also cant quite understand how a 2006 would run better than a newer year boat??? My 2011 VLX with 253 hours runs perfect, I would be surprised if a 2006 would run any better??? maybe I am not following what you are saying...

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jkendallmsce

Hello all! This post I just wanted to share a few things I learned as it has been a big year for my 06 VLX. I ordered my VLX new in 2005 as a 2006 model and have had very few problems. For the most part all I ever had to do was change my fluids and fuel filter then go. This is my second Malibu and I love it! My Bu runs better than several newer ones on the river that I ride but this year it decided to allow all the years of trouble free use to catch up!

I kicked off the list of expenses with a new custom made Sunbrella cover. It was over due so I dropped $900 into it. For anybody looking for covers in the Columbus, Oh area PM me and I can give you his information. Although a bit pricey, the cover is fantastic and fits extremely well. There is extra padding around corners and areas that rub, he backs his work and will repair any problems with the cover for free up to five years, then repairs the rest for small fees up to ten years, and best of all he sewed a flap with a buckle system that channels water around my illusion X tower and I have pretty much no water running into my boat from around the tower. No mold hiding anywhere this year!

Anyway, as I left the canvas shop, I noticed my Phoenix trailer brake was pretty hot and smelled like it was burning. I determined that the brake caliper was sticking and despite lubing up the parts, it still locked up. What I learned is my caliper is a UFP system and despite that you can get pads for the brakes at the local auto store (they were 1991 plymouth voyager pads), UFP distributors told me that most of our trailers have this system and they only anticipated them working for 3-5 years before needing to be replaced so most likely you will go through the caliper before the pads. I had to order a new caliper system for $79 through their distributor company in Indiana. For anybody that needs to do this, you have to look up UFP brakes and find the closest distributor company for your area. They need the number on the back of the caliper but if you can't stick your head under the trailer and see it, they can usually tell what model you have by your rim size. That's what I learned on this.

After this minor set back, I reached for my bimini top and ran my arm across the illusion X tower anchor light. The top cap/lense broke into a bunch of pieces. Learned here after seven seasons it is just plain brittle and should not be touched. A Malibu dealer in Coldwater Mi had one in stock for $25.

I went on my way through the following week and all of the sudden my spedo stopped working. Read zero. I was out of town and looked under my boat at the paddle wheel to discover that it came completely off. The actual paddle must have totally given up and split off, then sank to the bottom. All that was left was the metal bar that the paddle wheel spins on and it's housing. Two things I learned here. 1. The malibu cruise system doesn't work so well in RPM mode. You have to first pick what RPM you like best according to how your boat is loaded then set it for that. You have to make sure although the number is set, it is OFF. Once you start to pull the boarder/skier up you have to quickly hit the red engage button for it to set and work. If you push the red button before you give it gas, it won't work. If you push it after you are at the desired RPM it won't work. It has to be pushed in the middle of both. Was odd and a pain as you have to do this everytime you drop the boarder/skier. 2. When you get your new paddle wheel they offer one with a long cord and one with a short one. On the end of the cord is a plug. I learned if you don't know if yours requires the long cord or not, they are the same price....get the long one. Most likely it's is tough to find the plug to do a simple paddle wheel swap on the Vdrives and the dealer recommended just splicing the new one in the end of the old cord making the shorter cord fine but also learned that the wires are extremely tiny and tough to splice. I hope mine holds up for a while but if I had to do it over, I would get the long cord and find the plug end wherever it is and just plug the new one in. Paid $125 for this as I was at an out of town Malibu dealer and couldn't stand the RPM cruise mode. Not sure but prob could get it cheaper otherwise.

Moving into my season after these three issues, I kept having a flat on my trailer tire. Same one. I had it plugged at a tire shop out of town as there was a nail in it. It kept going flat. I took it to Tire Discounters locally once I got home and learned that if you take the tire off, most likely it won't show a leak unless under pressure (with the weight of the trailer and boat or if you inflate it past the recommended psi). So you will sit there scratching your head wondering why you can't find the "new" leak as the new patch job appeared on a loose tire to be leaking. I also learned these trailer tires should always be patched right by an internal patch, not your quick outside plug. Worked fine now.

Next my ballast pump pulling water out of my center tank went bad. It was easy to replace as it sits in the open under the floor accessed by pulling up the center panel where the ski locker would be. I learned that piranha makes a ballast pump that is cheaper than the original and threaded the same size to be a direct replacement. I just googled it making sure it was the same GPH rating and found the cheapest price at bakes online marine. I bought three just in case for just under $100.

Further on my boat battery went bad. I have two batteries, one starting and one aux. They run together when the boat is on to charge together but separate when the key is off allowing use of the radio separate of the starting battery so I won't go dead. I replaced the starting battery (only 3 years old...don't buy a "Walleye" Battery). I was fine for a few outtings but my low volts indicator kept flashing across my screen. After further investigation, I learned that the aux battery, although holding over 12V, had bad cells and when the two paired up it would pull volts from the starting battery throwing the low volts alarm. I replaced that battery.

Continuing my problems I had the left side of my switches (nav lights, left and center ballast switches, horn, etc) go dim. The switches on the right were bright though. After a long look, I determined that the left side of my switches run together and the right run together all going to a common block ground. I found that one switch ground came loose somewhere in the harness and it messed with the grounds of all the left switches. I simply ran a separate ground to that single switch and it fixed the whole left side switch ground problem. It's easiest to find this switch with the ground problem by taking a wire with alligator clips on the ends. Clip one to the common block ground and the other to the ground pole on each switch one at a time while watching when the lights brighten up or if they are off altogether, when they come back on.

Next thing to go is my aux input end for the stereo. When I plug my ipod in or sat radio I use the aux input located under my radio. Aside from straight wiring it into the radio, this input is really nice. Here is where I can't help yet because I haven't fixed it. Everytime I plug something in now, I have to constantly move the cord around inside it or I will get music but no voices. All of the sudden full power the music will come on when I wiggle it but right back off. It's not the cord because I've purchased a new one. It's the input. Not sure if it can be cleaned or just replaced but that's my next problem.

Lastly, before tackling the aux input, I have to deal with the depth finder. It has been working great until last week. It constantly reads 0.0' and is bad. I'm lucky because instead of my shallow alarm going off, a message flashes that says depth bad read. So although it doesn't work, it doesn't beep at me. I'm finding that the transducer is likely bad and seems to be about $120. I will update everybody when I order it and see how hard the fix is. I've heard they are bad generally but do not know of a good replacement/different company to use so will prob just order the original again as it did last me seven seasons.

I love my Malibu! This year it just needed a little TLC although these are fairly minor issues. Knock on wood NO major driveline issues! Maybe some of this helped you, maybe it just bored you. Either way I thought I would share in case something left you scratching your head and maybe my experience is what you are experiencing!

BOAT= BUST OUT ANOTHER THOUSAND

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Mrsamman

Why couldn't you just have changed the paddle wheel out. They are like $15.

Scott

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timjame0719

Scott, unfortunatly upon taking the paddle wheel unit out I found a crack that ran up the side too. Although it wasn't leaking, it looked like it had room to grow and didn't want it to be worse so I bit the bullet and just got a whole new one. Wish I was $15 lucky! :(

Fman, I'm only referring to some of the newer ones I have been on. Some of my buddies have more of a tolerance for vibrations and issues and I notice a quite a difference between how smooth mine compared to theirs. I'm not saying a new one doesn't drive better. It doesn't help that one of my buddies needs a new prop and another's 08 VTX has some sort of electrical issue where at idle it sounds like it is running on 7 cylinders and intermittantly feels like that on out of the hole start up despite having new plugs/wires that are all tight. That same boat throws a low oil pressure alarm also when he runs it wide open but don't think it actually has low pressure. No idea there.

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