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HelpI Weird wedge actuator noise that no-one can diagnose

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Hello everyone, 

I am new to posting on a forum, but I am desperate for some help.  I have a 2008 Malibu wake setter VTX (20').  I took the boat in to have some speakers swapped and an amp added and while doing the install, the wedge Lenco actuators started making a loud noise.  They thought it was pump or blower and turned the battery power off after about 5-10 min.  I quickly found that the noise was coming from the actuators and there was a vibration as if they were trying to activate.  I deployed the wedge, but I can't put the wedge back up.  I have spoken to a few mechanics, the local dealer and Bake's and everyone points the finger at the stereo installer, but they claim to only have connected directly to the batteries and the amp directly to the stock JBL unit and didn't touch anything on the driver's side.  So, I had everything put back to stock and we still have the same noise.  I disconnected one of the actuators and it has the noise and vibration, but it does not move back and forth.  No one can figure out why they are making the noise without pushing the buttons to go up or down.  Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks, Dave

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Sounds like water got in to one of the actuators and then a "gremlin" caused the actuator to activate (maybe low voltage from the stereo install). The actuators are known to fail if they get water in them, but there is also a well documented repair procedure if you want to do it yourself vs. outright replace them. Here is the thread on the actuator rebuild:

If you search, you should be able to find a video posted on TMC where someone recorded their broken actuators making noise, it sounded like glass in a blender to me. If you can find that video, you can compare the noise to what you're hearing to assist with the diagnosis.

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It is something in the switches or circuit panel if they are getting power all the time.  There are only two wires connected to the actuator, a positive and negative 12V.  The switch just reverses the polarity to get them to extend or retract.  I suspect if you pull the fuse under the panel the noise will go away.  Not sure what to do to reset the switches.  I don't believe the circuits to the switches are mechanical but could be wrong.  By not being mechanical switches the whole control board could be the issue but I don't have experience there.  I have a hard time believing the stereo installer would have created a problem unless they somehow created an arc or some sort of surge that caused an issue with the circuit board. 

You will need to spin the paddle wheel under the boat while someone pushes the switch to get the wedge to go up while not underway.  Think you can move the fuse to manually bypass the speed requirement but never tried that.

Hopefully it is not a complicated fix.

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Thank you for the responses so far!  I tried to spin the paddle wheel with a hose, by hand and then I just went to the lake and nothing worked.  The wedge would not go up.  So, maybe that means the actuators have failed, but it might also mean there is a problem with the switch.  But, we just can't figure out why the there is constant power to the actuators causing the noise.  I think you are right that the switches are not mechanical, but everything else on the same switch panel work such as the heater, stereo, lights etc.  so one would think that the circuit board is okay.  I checked all the fuses and they are ok, but of course if the failed, then I wouldn't get power to the wedge.  I have been told I can "jump" power to the actuator to see if they work, but I can't see how I do that.  When I unscrew the plastic caps around the end of the wires, the wires don't simply pull out.

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7 minutes ago, dcloward said:

Maybe a dumb question, but what is the "TMC" website with the video? 

TMC == The Malibu Crew (this website!)

The site search is OK, but google is your friend. Search the site by going to google.com, input your search terms followed by "site:themalibucrew.com" to have results from only this site. It works a bit better and isn't time limited like the built in search function.

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14 minutes ago, dcloward said:

Maybe a dumb question, but what is the "TMC" website with the video? 

the post with the video where you could hear a bad actuator is now missing the video:

I'll see if I can find one on youtube for you.

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Thanks Mike. I was able to turn the paddle wheel before. I think i have a bigger problem.  I am not sure how to post video on here. 

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1 hour ago, dcloward said:

Thanks Mike. I was able to turn the paddle wheel before. I think i have a bigger problem.  I am not sure how to post video on here. 

You need to be a member to post photos/videos. You can use a site like photobucket to host photos/videos instead. (there are tips here: https://www.themalibucrew.com/index.php?/forums/topic/63314-how-to-post-a-pictureimage/

I'm hoping your stereo installer didn't do this:


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Hi all,

I spoke with Dan Moorman at Malibu tech support and we think we isolated the problem to the power module.  Dan was extremely available and helpful.  Unfortunately, a much more expensive fix on my boat, but Andrew Scott over at Bake's online worked with me on price and shipping and support.  So, hopefully this will be the fix.  thanks for everyone's help.

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