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New for me 2002 Malibu Sunscape 23 LSV

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Well I always wanted a Cobalt growing up and finally had one for the past 7 years.  It was a 99 226 and was a great boat.  I just sold it spring 2019.  I picked up a 2002 Malibu Sunscape 23 LSV last fall at a great price.  I kept both for a bit until I could decide which I really liked. The Malibu has tower and a fantastic sound system.  Both boats are around 400 hours.  It has taken some getting used to over the last month of finally using the Malibu but here is what I have learned.

Cobalt Pros: Reverse (need I say more), snap carpet, trim of an I/O to plane out, top speed(who really cares),  gas use was less than Malibu for day on lake, walk through transom was the bombIMG_3499.thumb.jpeg.68106c3b41c96df485c8fb490d32f2ec.jpegIMG_3550.thumb.jpeg.3588926ddd5d0ed852a18d3d083d148e.jpeg

Malibu Pros: wake better for boarding, size seems bigger yet same length, less overall weight that Cobalt but feels sturdier, storage is awesome, tower, surfing, no more ladder, turns great, love hearing that engine purr,  and I just feel better!

Right now I am topping out at around 40 but I do not need more.  Not sure I love this prop Acme 817.  Any advice on what prop to put on?  Spoke to Gary at Perfect Pass and I will be getting my updated StarGazer gauge and wakeboard mechanical tomorrow. Will be installing next weekend.  Seems stitching in some of seats has seen better days.  I knew this buying boat but still it is holding together.  Excited for this next chapter and happy to be a Malibu owner.  I see the new ones and love the looks but for my budget and the surf wave I am currently getting with the Swell attachment I am very happy.  I am very picky and this Malibu was extremely clean so I could not pass it up.

FYI when I bought the boat it had Wakesetter stickers(owner told me he put those on).  I have removed those and put the correct Sunscape decals on from Domednumbers in black and chrome.  I will get some better pics of the after.  Out...





Edited by JLT3
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Nice find!  Congrats.

I, too, came from I/Os (Sea Ray, Chaparral).  In 2004, I spent a day with a buddy on his 23 Sunscape (2001, IIRC), mostly slalom skiing, believe it or not, and was immediately hooked.

Wasn't happy after that until I bought my own Malibu. 


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So any recommendations on which Acme prop to use?  They Acme online selector is showing 1589 or 2003.  Thoughts on this. 

Anyone know a good upholstery shop in DFW or in Hot Springs?   I got my Perfect Pass upgrade today and will be installing this weekend.  Moving from paddlewheel to GPS.

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Using this boat primarily for surfing or wakeboarding?

How much ballast are you running with?

How much top end are you willing to sacrifice?

What engine do you have?


This may help: 


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I have the 325 HP engine.  Use boat for surfing/wakeboarding/kneeboarding/tubing. Very rarely ski.

Less than 2K ballast

Not very worried about top end just as long as I can hit 36 to ski if I want.

Confused when I read the article and the guy loves the 537 but when I click here it shows 1996-2001 Sunsetter VLX and 2007-2015 Wakesetter VTX as only boats recommended for 537.  https://www.wakemakers.com/malibu-wakeboard-boat-propellers

Acme online selector shows to get 1589 or 2003.  Wakesetters shows to get 1941 and 2035.  Why is this so hard :)  If they were cheap I would try a couple.

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I have a different boat, an '06 Sunscape 21 LSV.  Its a foot shorter than your boat, a foot wider than your boat, and 100 lbs heavier than your boat.  I have the LCR engine, not the Monsoon, so 320 hp.

FWIW, the stock prop on my boat was the Acme 381, and that is still the best prop for skiing.  The 537, though, is my jack-of-all-trades prop. 

It works well for me while surfing (with 1650 lbs water [Fat Sac] ballast, plus peeps), while wakeboarding (with typically 900 lbs ballast), and it still gets me to over 40 mph at WOT with Fat Sacs emptied.  It needs about 500rpm more from the engine to reach slalom speeds, compared to the 381, but that's okay by me (but I have to remind my wife/driver to go a little easy on the throttle for deep water starts because, with the 537, she'll pull the rope right out of my hands). 

The 537 is a solid choice for me, but if you are going to regularly weigh your boat down with more ballast, perhaps you need something more aggressive.

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Found this for you: 

Apparently, the 1939 is the 14 inch equivalent of the 537 (a 13.5 inch prop).  The 1941 is the 14.5 inch equivalent.  Probably can't go wrong with either.

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Looks like your acme 817 is a 13.5 diameter by 17.5 pitch.  I recently bought an 01 23 LSV and it came with a 14 x 18 OJ prop.  My 14x18 prop really doesn't have enough pulling power for my needs and seemed like there was a lot of slipping in the 20-25 mph range.  I called acme and they suggested a 1273 (14.5 x14.25) which is basically a 1235 with different cup giving it a few extra mph on the top end.  They said the next best option was the 1941 (14.5 x 15.5) or the 1939 (14 x 15.5).  I like to slalom and my family likes to tube/ski in addition to surfing/wakeboard so I was leaning towards the 1941/1939.  If you are more focused on surf/wakeboarding with heavy ballast, then my understanding is the 1235/1273 is a good fit.

I was able to find a used 1939 so I'll report back once it stops raining here and I can test it out.

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nice boat!  I have your twin in blue.  I ski with a 527 (factory, i think) when i know i'm going to be lightly loaded, and we surf with a 1235 (factory MLS + 1600 of bags).  I'm very happy with both for my needs.  

Edited by OhTwoBu
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I'm on Lake Lewisville - with a 2003 WS23LSV - almost the same hull. We use Upholstery Shop in Lewisville but get the skins from Gabriel Garcia. And we use the 1235 prop for everything now. Original (and now spare) prop is 537. It struggles for surfing but the 1235 is great.

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@Brad B.  I assume you have the monsoon.  How many rpm’s are you running at 30 and 36mph?  I am curious how the 1235 performs at higher speeds.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Update is that I got the new Perfect Pass upgrade in and it works awesome.  Makes it so much easier and was a simple install.  No update on the prop.  Almost had a 1235 for $200 but someone beat me to it. If I have to buy new I will go with the 1941.  I am now in search of how to get the best wave for surf.  Not enough push so need to find sweet spot to install the swell and how much weight to put in rear lockers.  Updated pic of boat below.



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I see people refer to suckgate and I am not sure what that is.  What is it? What are my options on getting a system besides the Go Surf Assist?  Really do not want to spend 4K when the $250 Swell is doing a descent job.  Advice?


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Suckgate is a homemade surfgate that uses suction cups to attach to your hull.  This forum is filled with plans for them or try that new thingy, the Interwebs.

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On 6/20/2019 at 7:31 PM, cla10beck said:

@Brad B.  I assume you have the monsoon.  How many rpm’s are you running at 30 and 36mph?  I am curious how the 1235 performs at higher speeds.


Top end is around 45 I guess - we rarely open it up - no need and wastes gas. Slalom at 34 with no issues. Not sure what the rpms are when pulling slalom.

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Anyone advising you which prop to get without knowing your planned ballast, engine option your boat has and your use case (elevation, surfing vs skiing vs boarding vs cruising) is doing you a disservice.  As is anyone advising a 13.5" prop, wow, I'm still amazed anyone would think that is a good idea today. 

I created a guide years ago to at least be a starting point for picking out a prop.  Props are expensive and should be thought out before just selecting one - and used can be a very smart option as well - obviously budget makes a big difference.  I am selling my 1939, but without knowing your setup that might be a decent or poor choice for you.


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