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socalsarge

2015 Response Txi leaking transmission

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socalsarge

Hello Crew, At 71 hours I noticed some red liquid in the bilge and thought oh no...tranny issues. The fluid level was about 4-6 ounces low, so I topped it off. It was difficult to see were the fluid was coming from, I checked the hoses and everything looked fine. After thoroughly wiping down the bilge area and engine cover I took her out for test run to see if I could find where it was leaking from. I suspect the leak was from where the shaft exists the transmission case, so I took the boat into my dealer. I described what I found and showed them where I thought it was leaking from. Three days later dealer calls and says boat is ready, I ask what the problem was and they told me they thought the transmission was over-filled and was spitting fluid out the vent. I asked, why was my transmission fluid low 4-6 ounces and does a transmission ever come from the factory over-filled, they could not answer that question other than to say perhaps the transmission got hot and the fluid expanded and was released from the vent. Anyhow, this was a Thursday and it was going to be a nice weekend and I wanted to ski so I took the boat and told them I would completely wipe down the bilge area run it over the weekend and see what happens. Skied all weekend, it was great....but there was the fluid again and it looked like it was coming from the area I first suggested. Took the boat back to the dealer this past Monday and showed them again where I thought it was leaking from and they could clearly see there was fluid in the bilge but it was not evident where it came from. I told the dealer it would be nice if they just replaced the tranny being a new boat, dealer said that's what Indmar would do but they have had only one warranty claim with PCM and were not sure how they would handled it. Got a call from the dealer this past Wednesday and they said PCM is sending a new transmission.

My question, has anyone else experienced transmission issue with the new Crusader 5.7, they describe it as a cost effective engine on the website, I hope cost effective doesn't mean cheap.

I'll keep you posted on the results, but I must say I'm glad PCM is stepping up to the plate and just replacing the whole transmission.

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oldjeep

I doubt that the trans is much different than what they have been using in nautiques forever. Out of curiosity, which way does your prop spin? Was wondering if Malibu is provided the same backwards trans that nautique uses.

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socalsarge

I doubt that the trans is much different than what they have been using in nautiques forever. Out of curiosity, which way does your prop spin? Was wondering if Malibu is provided the same backwards trans that nautique uses.

It's a LH rotation.

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EMResponse

Interesting. In my 2015 TXI with Crusader 350, I had the exact same problem. At around 50 hours started to see ATF under the output seal area of the transmission. Explained to dealer and they thought it had been overfilled. They corrected the level to their satisfaction, but the leak persisted - losing perhaps an once or two simply over the course of running the engine over a day's time. The transmission was replaced at 60 hours. I'm now at 80 hours and the problem seems to be resolved, although I still can wipe a small drop of ATF from the tranny output after running five hours or so.

Since PCM has been supplying engines and transmissions to Nautiques and others for many years (decades?) this is odd, but now having two identical cases with the problem certainly raises a flag.

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Woodski

I take a flyer and suggest since we have two comments on similar issues that perhaps the root cause is either a shaft diameter size issue or a surface finish issue which does not allow the shaft seal to effectively seal the ATF from getting past (could be a bad seal also). ATF is low viscosity so it is not the easiest fluid to seal from leaks. I would assume that PCM has enough data to correct the issue or it was a batch problem with only a select batch of parts. Not surprising the request to run trans at correct level after reporting fault as the correction is pretty pricey and the dealer / manufacturer wants to be sure of the problem.

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socalsarge

Interesting. In my 2015 TXI with Crusader 350, I had the exact same problem. At around 50 hours started to see ATF under the output seal area of the transmission. Explained to dealer and they thought it had been overfilled. They corrected the level to their satisfaction, but the leak persisted - losing perhaps an once or two simply over the course of running the engine over a day's time. The transmission was replaced at 60 hours. I'm now at 80 hours and the problem seems to be resolved, although I still can wipe a small drop of ATF from the tranny output after running five hours or so.

Since PCM has been supplying engines and transmissions to Nautiques and others for many years (decades?) this is odd, but now having two identical cases with the problem certainly raises a flag.

EMResponse - what month was your boat built?

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EMResponse

July 2014 -- right on the bubble for the 2015 model year. I took delivery mid-August 2014.

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socalsarge

July 2014 -- right on the bubble for the 2015 model year. I took delivery mid-August 2014.

Hmmm......thinking it's NOT a batch issue as mine was built May 2015. However that doesn't definitively tell us the transmissions weren't from the same batch. I have to agree with you the problem sure does seem to be the same thing. I hope this isn't something that just happens after 50 or so hours of use. I'd feel better if you said you had 180 hrs on the new tranny.

Now I'd like to know of crew members with the new Crusader 350 that have not had any ATF leakage and how many hours on the boat.

Edited by socalsarge

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ahopkinsVTX

I think the 350 in the axis was paired with a different tranny so you will only be looking from feedback from other response owners. I can talk to a few guys that I know in the clubs around here to see. They put a lot of hours on their boats.

Edited by ahopkinsTXi

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onamission

I've heard of a couple where the trans was slipping, not sure about them leaking.

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EMResponse

To add some additional observations...The PCM transmission exhibited no slippage, no odd noises, nor overheating up to the point of replacement. It was just excessively leaky, which seemed to be at/near the output shaft seal. Of course, if the leak went undetected for an extended period of time, the common issues associated with low fluid level likely would have appeared.

I've advised my dealer of this second occurrence, as well as Chris Loomis at Malibu. Chris noted that he'll bring this up with his engineering teams, as well as with PCM. And, yes, this PCM 1:1 transmission is only used by Malibu on their DD Response.

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Woodski

Just a comment - regardless of actual boat build date, subsystem components and outsourced components such as powertrain units, gas tanks etc., are ordered in batches from suppliers.

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socalsarge

UPDATE: Picked up the boat from dealer this past Friday. Disappointed that the dealer does not pay more attention to detail, floor was dirty, grease marks on much of the vinyl and three random screws in the cupholder. They also failed to re-secure some harnessing and a tube with zip ties. Okay, i get past that stuff and am anxious to get the boat in the water and check out the new transmission. Went skiing Saturday, immediately after I check the bilge.....I see evidence of transmission fluid. I'm bummed but am wondering if now maybe it is coming from a hose they didi not tighten. Took it out again today to ski, sure enough fresh transmission fluid, but cannot tell if it is coming from a hose or the same place as the old transmission was leaking. I pulled the rear floor access panel while my wife was driving the boat, I can literally see transmission fluid intermittently spitting from the same place it was leaking last time. This new PCM transmission is cheap crap. I'm going to be calling PCM myself tomorrow and tell them of my experience. I've heard of some other 2015 Responses that had slipping transmissions, I'm wondering now if it is due to low transmission fluid from it leaking. Never an issue with my 1990 Skier, I'm just so bummed to have these issues with a new boat. Considering selling and buying a Nautique.

I do hope that PCM admits they have a problem and has a solution. I'll give an update when I get more info.

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edwin

Considering selling and buying a Nautique.

Sorry to hear of the issue. That said, you know that the Nautique will have a PCM in it as well..right?

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Slayer

UPDATE: Picked up the boat from dealer this past Friday. Disappointed that the dealer does not pay more attention to detail, floor was dirty, grease marks on much of the vinyl and three random screws in the cupholder.

^^^^^Totally unacceptable! I would have been pissed about this, let alone the fact that the problem is not resolved. Wish you luck.

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ahopkinsVTX

Man that really sucks. I've heard about a few other issues now that I've asked as well. Please keep us updated.

In the time being, if you are on the east side and still want to ski, pm me. Our TXi isn't put up yet!

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socalsarge

Sorry to hear of the issue. That said, you know that the Nautique will have a PCM in it as well..right?

Well, at least it will be a true PCM motor, right now the Malibu uses a Crusader Challenger which is now owned by PCM and I doubt the transmission is the same.

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socalsarge

Man that really sucks. I've heard about a few other issues now that I've asked as well. Please keep us updated.

In the time being, if you are on the east side and still want to ski, pm me. Our TXi isn't put up yet!

I'm on Sylvan Lake, just down the road.....may take you up on that offer. Thanks!!!

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Dare2goBare

Man, so sorry to hear on the new boat, I'd be furious to, especially with the dealer after the second go around.

Think a letter / email to Malibu would be appropriate at this point to emphasize the issue.

Good luck with it all, I'm sure it'll all be sorted out, but a PITA!

Edited by Dare2goBare

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socalsarge

UPDATE.....This morning I called Malibu and PCM directly, skipped the dealer this time. Fortunately I'm a supplier to Malibu so it wasn't hard to find the right person. The folks at PCM as well as Malibu have been nice to work with and seem genuinely interested in helping. I spoke to the engineer in charge of the Crusader Challenger Series and explained the problem in detail. He said he was concerned and wants to talk directly to the dealer when they have my boat. He believes it may be an alignment issue, but wants to discuss with the dealer. Also, my Malibu contact will be talking with PCM as a follow-up to make sure the problem gets addressed. Lastly, I called the dealer to inform them my tranny still leaks and that I already spoke to Malibu and PCM in which PCM wants to discuss the issue directly with them. I feel I'm getting the attention, now I just want the problem solved. I'm taking my boat back in tomorrow and will keep you posted. Wish me luck!

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socalsarge

Another UPDATE: Received an email from PCM today indicating they are sending our another transmission today to my dealer. They noticed through the serial number that the replacement transmission they sent was previously repaired by their supplier, I'm kind of bummed they would send a re-manufactured transmission as warranty replacement on a boat with 70 hours. Anyway, they assured me this transmission would be brand spankin' new. Their supplier wants the old tranny back to see what went wrong, if they let me know I'll pass it on.

I'll keep you posted on the new repair, considering the forecast I'm not sure how much I'll get to test it before I have to winterize!

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ahopkinsVTX

Good to hear they are acting quickly to correct the problem. Hopefully you get the boat back soon, next week looks decent and into next weekend with the extended forecast.

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socalsarge

UPDATE.... Got a call from my dealer Wednesday saying they had some bad news, after replacing my transmission they noticed a severe vibration in the steering when they took it to lake test it. They said it was a bent prop shaft and I must have hit something and the repair would cost $400-$500. I was furious and said I never hit anything and there was never any vibration the last time I drove the boat. They said they didn't hit anything cause the boat was never in the water. I told them I would be contacting Malibu and they would be in touch. I immediately called my Malibu contact and left a message. I called again yesterday and got a hold of him and told him my story and that I was on my way to the dealer, he asked that I inspect the boat and report back to him on my findings as he said he would think there would be obvious signs of damage if the prop shaft was bent. When I got to the dealer the owner took me back to my boat and I inspected it, there were no signs of damage on the prop, the bracket or fins. The owner said he's seen all kinds of stuff and that I probably just hit something with the shaft. I was very upset as I know I didn't hit anything. While I was there Malibu called to talk to the tech and asked him to verify a few things. When I left the dealer still said they believe it is a bent shaft. Today I get a call from Malibu indicating they think they found the problem, after consulting with PCM, Malibu and the dealer they confirmed the coupler was out of spec. This is something Malibu suspected from the beginning after talking with me and the dealer, because we were both adamant we did nothing to the boat. They will be swapping out the coupler and hopefully I will get a boat back that does not vibrate or have a leaky transmission. Hopefully I get my baby back in good shape, I need to winterize!!!!! I want to add that Malibu has treated me well through this ordeal, I just wish the dealer wasn't so quick to accuse me of damaging my boat.

Edited by socalsarge

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EMResponse

Thanks for the update. Assuming there were no impact stresses, how does the drive shaft coupler just get out of spec, unless, perhaps, there was a fundamental misalignment of the engine/transmission connection? Alternatively, I suppose the original coupler could have had a defective fab with possibly some minor warpage or mechanical weakness, but in that case, I would think you'd have noticed vibration long ago. Recall that my 2015 TXI had the identical leaking problem, but there was never any vibration detected by me or the dealer before or after the transmission swap. I'll try to put an additional 20 hours or so on the replacement transmission over the next couple of weeks and will report back on the status of any leakage.

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socalsarge

Thanks for the update. Assuming there were no impact stresses, how does the drive shaft coupler just get out of spec, unless, perhaps, there was a fundamental misalignment of the engine/transmission connection? Alternatively, I suppose the original coupler could have had a defective fab with possibly some minor warpage or mechanical weakness, but in that case, I would think you'd have noticed vibration long ago. Recall that my 2015 TXI had the identical leaking problem, but there was never any vibration detected by me or the dealer before or after the transmission swap. I'll try to put an additional 20 hours or so on the replacement transmission over the next couple of weeks and will report back on the status of any leakage.

As I understand it, a new coupler is part of the transmission. They said that the face of the coupler was not entirely flat, they used a machine to measure it. I believe the vibration and leaky transmission are not related. Vibration from an out of spec (not flat face) coupler and leaking from a bad rear flange seal. I'm not entirely sure, just hope this resolves it. I would be very interested to hear how your tranny is performing as you put more hours on it.

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