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Direct drive pulls hard right


Midwestski

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I have a (new to me) 96 Echelon direct drive. This boat pulls hard right during all phases of boating. From accelerating to pull a Skier, and when you are cruising at skiing speeds. The steering seems tight enough when my mechanic checks it out on the trailer. 

Does or has anyone encountered this their boats. What is the fix. - Thanks.

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I think I have the same problem on my Response. If I take my hands off the wheel, the wheel turns to the right pretty quick. I suspect it is from the steering rack at the wheel being loose or weak.

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Check the rudder to see if it is tunable or if someone took a grinder to it.  I tune my rudder so there is enough torque to make it track straight but light enough so you can still feel the skier input.  By the way, if its neutral and the steering wheel does not crank when you let go of it at speed it is not set up properly for skiing.  

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11 hours ago, Steve B. said:

I believe it has to do with prop torque against the rudder.

Whatever the reason, it is definitely by design.  If you trim the rudder to have no pull at speed, you will get a very undesirable dead band.  The boat will then try to drift left and right without any input, making it worthless for skiing a course.  For open skiing it will just feel like it is hunting for direction.  Leave the preload in it and hold the wheel.

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I drive three different DD's in the course, 2 Malibus & a Nautique. The Bu's have no significant rudder pull and are more difficult to track in the course. The CC has a definite rudder load and is so much easier to give the skier a fair pull. If the Bu's were in my garage I would grind the rudder to get it to do what yours is now doing.

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26 minutes ago, Rednucleus said:

I drive three different DD's in the course, 2 Malibus & a Nautique. The Bu's have no significant rudder pull and are more difficult to track in the course. The CC has a definite rudder load and is so much easier to give the skier a fair pull. If the Bu's were in my garage I would grind the rudder to get it to do what yours is now doing.

For the most part, that's been my experience as well.  However, if you set up a DD Malibu correctly, it will track extremely well.  @Midwestski, the boat is doing what it's designed to do.  It's a DD and they all do that and if they don't, they're not properly set up.  You mention steering seems tight?  Does that mean considerable effort to turn the wheel while underway?  If so, perhaps you need a steering cable.  In any case, your boat sounds like it's doing what it's supposed to.

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I'd say I have the opposite problem. I have more than enough load compared to the sunsetters on the lake, but not enough resistance if that makes sense. At idle, the steering is so light I could blow on the steering wheel it would turn. At speed all I have is load no resistance.  I do have play in the wheel  because need a new tilt mechanism. 

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The '96 DD Malibus did not have an adjustable rudder (rudder tab within the rudder itself).  Rudder torque or pull to the right for that era of boat / rudder was adjusted via grinding the trailing edge of the rudder.  You may be able to see where that was done.  If a significant amount of torque, good chance that boat was a promo boat which spent a lot of time pulling tournaments and was setup by the owner to have a fair amount of torque or pull to assist the driver for heavy, hard pulling short line skiers.  Or they simply overdid the grind and never re-tuned the rudder.

From an article many moons ago on how to rudder grind:

'You want to grind only on the right(drivers side) of the rudder on a malibu. From the angle pt. in the middle. Measure 3 inches up and mark it, then 5 inches down and mark it. draw a line between your marks. This triangle is the area to grind in. You can grind fairly aggressively but, remember if you have to undo it you have to grind the same on the other side. Then make sure you round off the trailing edge like it was before. It is better to start with a little and then see what it is like. This how Dennis Kelly(Malibu Promo Coordinator) showed me when I had a promo. It makes a world of difference in how well the boat drives. I even did it with the boats I had with the adjustable rudder, they never seemed to have enough load.'

Note:  the grind is a 45 degree vertical grind at the trailing edge of the rudder,  as noted right side for a Malibu or LHR prop.

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