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Sailvi767

2016 Malibu VLX review

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Sailvi767

Some quick thoughts on the 2016 VLX. We have the wake hull and 450 motor.

Interior-overall excellent. The new interior cloth or vinyl so far has been excellent. Not seeing any of the issues with cleaning or durability posted about. We got red clay on it and it cleaned right up. Our 8 month old Golden Retriever puppy volunteered for the durability testing and pronounced it claw proof even with rapid course reversals and spins. There were one or two very minor fit and finish issues. Biggest complaint is the drivers seat height. Pondering if I made a mistake not getting the power seat.

Engine-No issues so far flawless after 10 hours. Fuel consumption seems high but appears to be more prop related. Engine access is tight but seems doable for normal maintenance. Very strong out of the hole even with full factory ballast and 800lb PNP's in the back. Wedge so far only used in auto mode so lift mode may be helping. After breaking the 10 hour mark did a couple of full throttle acceleration runs. Ballast empty boat pulls strongly right up to 5500 RPM. That yields 42 mph. I am going to try and prop boat up to 45 to 46 Mph top speed. I think it will still be strong out of the hole. Boat was ordered with all around prop but numbers match high altitude prop for 2015 and prop is the same 2277 used last year as the all around prop despite the transmission change. Beat to death in another thread. Reports on the raptor being loud are true. Does not reach the level of objectionable.

Handling and ride-Boat handles well empty and turns almost as well left as right at low speed. My 2002 VLX did not like left turns. Much less prop walk then the 02. No rigging issue at all with excellent steering effort and rudder well trimmed. My 2002 need some grinding on the rudder. That's the good part. The bad is fully weighted the boat is a handful at slow speed. We are however getting better as we adjust to the boat. Turn radius and response I can only call poor. Keep in mind my prior experience was the 02 with never more then 1200lbs of ballast. The boat may in fact be excellent in comparison to other boats with lots of ballast. I can't make that comparison. Ride is excellent compared with my 02. I choose the wake hull because prior to the 02 with the diamond hull I had the same boat with a wake hull. The wake hull was a better ride. For a flat bottomed tow boat the ride has so far exceeded all expectations. Empty the boat has more bow rise then I like. Not excessive but I would have preferred less.

Continued in part two.

Sent from my iPad

Edited by Sailvi767

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Sailvi767

Part two:

Instruments and controls: I like the dash and so far it has worked well and is reasonably intuitive. I hope in 10 years there will still be support for it! The Bluetooth integration is poor. Often have to forget the boat on my iPhone to get it to pair. The throttle is the one other area I think could use some improvement. I think in a effort to make the boat feel quick the control by wire throttle is to aggressive in both forward and reverse. I am using the normal throttle mode. The throttle uses about ⅔ of its travel from idle to full throttle. I would rather hit the 5500 redline at the end of the throttles movement. It's very aggressive and takes getting used to in reverse even in dock mode. A better calibration would make fine adjustments easier and eliminate the need for dock mode. Speed control has been excellent but need to challenge it a bit more to really evaluate it.

Ballast and wedge: Both are working well and fill and drain times are excellent. The boat could use more stock bow weight. The wedge is working fine but I need more time in the boat to understand how it shapes the wake. Lift mode seems to work very well. PNP's are working fine. The 800's leave space in the lockers even when filled.

Accessories:

Shower is nice but power switch should be on the stern or dash not in the locker.

Heater: Pretty much useless for heat but at least it's loud. The heater in my 02 was much better. Should have skipped ordering it.

Surf gate system: So far working as advertised. No issues and like Malibu's software integration with the boat.

Surfband: So far pretty much a gimmick. It's intermittent even 10 feet behind the boat and the wedge control seems to not work at all. Would not have ordered it but for 16 you have no choice.

Owners manual: The manual is terrible. Malibu should be ashamed to publish it for a 100k boat. There is also still no online version for 2016. A good chunk of the manual is lawyer talk. Parts of the rest of the manual were not updated from 2015 and are simply wrong. I would have loved a section on use of ballast and the wedge for wake shaping. The manual devotes 1 line to this saying vert is the most aggressive wedge setting. Put someone to work on a complete rewrite Malibu!

Dealer: Overall Malibu boats of Charlotte has been excellent. Boat was delivered right on time and I was satisfied with pricing and the purchase process. They did not get annoyed with lots of questions and changes. This was in contrast to another major inboard dealership in the area who reminded me of a used car dealership with all the standard pressure sales tactics. I hope we now see some stability with the new dealer for Malibu in the Charlotte area. In the past the franchised changed hands at a pace to fast to follow.

Overall I am really happy with the boat and purchase. I was pretty picky on the negative items. Hoped to get a bit more time in behind the boat but the weather has turned nasty. Looking forward to spring! Any good surfers in the Charlotte area want to trade ride time for lessons?

Edited by Sailvi767

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DarkSide

Sail,

Nice write up. I really like the aggressive throttle setting. This is a tough nut to Crack, because of the variables. The same code is in all models. So a 25LSV with base motor runs same code as VLX with 575. Then you start using different props and it has even more variations. I agree it takes some getting used to. The normal position is better empty and aggressive when slammed.

I agree manual could be better.

The PW2 is awesome. Each click of wedge will make your wave a little taller and steeper AND will shorten your pocket and raise the bow. Eventually it will wash out the wave. To counter the negative effects, you have a couple options. First, bow weight. This will bring the nose down, and lengthen the pocket, but will cost wave height. Second, speed. Speed will help lengthen the pocket, and help clean up the wash adding definition, but again costing wave height. So you will have to play with it to get your wave the way you like it.

Congrats on the VLX, I am sure the more you use it the better you will like it.

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plick1221

What lake do you go out on? We live in Huntersville.

Edited by plick1221

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Sailvi767

What lake do you go out on? We live in Huntersville.

k

Lake Norman

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Sailvi767

Sail,

Nice write up. I really like the aggressive throttle setting. This is a tough nut to Crack, because of the variables. The same code is in all models. So a 25LSV with base motor runs same code as VLX with 575. Then you start using different props and it has even more variations. I agree it takes some getting used to. The normal position is better empty and aggressive when slammed.

I agree manual could be better.

The PW2 is awesome. Each click of wedge will make your wave a little taller and steeper AND will shorten your pocket and raise the bow. Eventually it will wash out the wave. To counter the negative effects, you have a couple options. First, bow weight. This will bring the nose down, and lengthen the pocket, but will cost wave height. Second, speed. Speed will help lengthen the pocket, and help clean up the wash adding definition, but again costing wave height. So you will have to play with it to get your wave the way you like it.

Congrats on the VLX, I am sure the more you use it the better you will like it.

Thanks for the tips. The air temps will be cold but the lake is still 70 so I might get out on Friday and try different configurations. The prop may play a part in the throttle issue. I had a interesting chat with one of the prop makers who has tested the 16's with different props. The engine is stronger out of the hole then the 5.7. Combined with the transmission ratio change the boat needs to be propped up. Neither ACME or OJ make the prop the boat needs. 15x16.5 . OJ will custom make one but both should have some props out for the raptor in the spring. Edited by Sailvi767

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DarkSide

Props can be fickle, meaning too much pitch you lose the ability to carry weight, too little and you run higher RPM. I got my '15 late July, I am on my third and final prop. This will vary greatly with what you are trying to do with the boat. I surf 90% and run heavy, so I need the ability to plow, I am not concerned with top end. I went from 15x14.25 to 15 x 17 to final 15x15.5. The 14.25 is good but RPM higher than I like, so I went to 17, the engine had to work so hard to turn the extra pitch the RPM actually went up. That prop was great for cruising though! The 15.5 is the sweet spot for me, a couple hundred less RPM, and still pulls like a freight train.

I think there will be some good props coming this year. Good luck

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