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2006 Mailbu 23LSV Stringer Failure - Help on Stringer Info Wanted


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fireworkperson
Posted (edited)

Dear All,

Last year (2020) we bought a 2006 Malibu 23LSV used with ~250 hrs. We had a great summer with the boat last year - minus more than a few hiccups - and wish to take care of it. The boat only has ~300 hrs on it now. Unfortunately, about halfway through the season last summer we were wakeboarding and a "check engine" light appeared. We bought a Rinda Technologies reader (can't express enough satisfaction with the reader and software!) to check the code. The code was ultimately indicative of nothing specific (SPN 65701 FMI 31General Warning 1 Not Available). We took it to our local boat dealer (where we purchased the boat as a used brokered private deal) and they they told us that one of the stringers is broken and/or severely damaged. The dealer informed us that the boat was basically totaled and said it was worth about $6k with the 383 Hammerhead. We had put 30 hours on the boat since we bought it. We were devastated. I'm eating crow right now. I totally get that this is a first-world problem. We refuse to be the people who say that the two best days with a boat are the day you buy it and the day that you sell it. We believe that the boat has a lot more life in it and a lot more summers to make people happy! Hopefully those people will be us because we have no intention of selling it, but just want to fix it and use it.

We were told that one of the rear main stringers has given out. This has caused the engine to shift (i.e., the engine mount has shifted to an angle). As a result, it is suspected that the engine code was triggered.

We are very fortunate that our family is familiar with fiberglass repair and engine rebuilds. However, the skills don't necessarily apply to boats and we are at a loss.

We would greatly value your collective opinion and input on the following:

1. Is there any info out there on the stringers for 2006 Malibu 23 LSV?

2. Do you all have recommendations for fiberglass repair products - especially stringers?

3. Is there any freely available resource for the 383 Hammerhead? We need to rebuild the engine as it has become apparent to us that it is in questionable condition due to the spark plugs being covered in carbon (after 10 hours). As such, we suspect that other components may be in question.

BTW, we are located in the US.

Edited by fireworkperson
Detail corrections
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2nd opinion? How do you know it's damaged stringers and not loose engine mount > stringer anchor bolts? What condition are the transmission mount and main engine mount rubbers in?

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fireworkperson

the transmission mounts appear to be in good condition. When looking at the engine while standing in the boat, the front right mount is the one at an angle. You can see separation at the floor where the engine is; there is the red gel coat, the black where the engine is, and then about 1/4” in between where is it yellow/orange with fiberglass. The engine looks slightly crooked when standing level in the boat and looking at it.

Thanks for your response!

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Was it a Malibu dealer you took it to?  I'm assuming that you didn't transfer the lifetime hull warranty, but I would consider sending pictures of the damage to Malibu corporate on the tiny chance that they might do something.  This is the first stringer failure that I think I have heard of in a modern Malibu.

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I’d take it to a dealer for a 2nd opinion, and if they say the same then I’d send pics to Malibu. I agree with @oldjeepive been in this forum a lot and have never heard of this.

do you have pics?

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First of all, I doubt (BICBW) that the thing is a total write-off.  And even if it was, there is likely more than 8K worth of parts in it!  AFAIK your boat was built with the FibEcs stringer system.  Basically  the do the hull, drop in the FibEcs stringers and add the bilge liner.  Glue the top deck on.  

As already suggested, you need to talk to a good dealer and Malibu.  Unless there was major damage, this should not have happened.  My guess is that you'd have to  separate the top deck frpm the hull,  cut through the floor to the affected area and then rebuild that portion of the Fibecs system.  I don't recall what if any  filler they used for the stringers, but there are really good modern replacements (Coosa comes ot mind).  As you might imagine, this is one heckuva a job.  Good luck!

  • Like 1
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Please post photos. 

I'm almost positive that the stringers are hollow.  My understanding is that they are essentially C channels built into the fiberglass floor insert.  The engine intake air and ventilation runs through them. 

Did you contact the seller and ask if he forgot to disclose some major damage?  Does the gel coat on the outside of the hull in that area show signs of repair? 

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1 hour ago, justgary said:

I'm almost positive that the stringers are hollow.  My understanding is that they are essentially C channels built into the fiberglass floor insert.  The engine intake air and ventilation runs through them. 

You are correct.  I just pulled up the images in some old manuals.  I was incorrect.  And Malibu touts that there has never been a single failure of Fibecs or Fibecs II.

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fireworkperson

Everyone, thanks for your responses; they’re very helpful.
 

We will take it to a Malibu dealer for a second opinion. The dealer here (who brokered the deal for the used boat) is Air Nautique - the closest Malibu dealer is about a 4 hour drive but it sounds like it’s definitely worth the trip.


I will post pictures as soon as we see the boat in person this coming week. 

To answer some of the above questions:

1. We are unable to contact the sellers. We’ve tried, but no response.

2. There is no sign of significant hull damage or repair. In fact, our insurance sent an adjuster who specifically stated that there is no sign of previous significant damage. As such, they denied any claim (still upset about that).

3. We have no hull warranty (I now wish we did!).

Thanks again everyone. This forum was super helpful for us last summer when we were diagnosing some small problems and it continues to be helpful!

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2 hours ago, Eagleboy99 said:

First of all, I doubt (BICBW) that the thing is a total write-off.  And even if it was, there is likely more than 8K worth of parts in it!  AFAIK your boat was built with the FibEcs stringer system.  Basically  the do the hull, drop in the FibEcs stringers and add the bilge liner.  Glue the top deck on.  

As already suggested, you need to talk to a good dealer and Malibu.  Unless there was major damage, this should not have happened.  My guess is that you'd have to  separate the top deck frpm the hull,  cut through the floor to the affected area and then rebuild that portion of the Fibecs system.  I don't recall what if any  filler they used for the stringers, but there are really good modern replacements (Coosa comes ot mind).  As you might imagine, this is one heckuva a job.  Good luck!

please take a minute to unpack the @Eagleboy99 post.

especially that "add the bilge liner" bit.  afaik, that bilge liner just lays in the bottom of the hull.  water can / will seep in and out from under that liner.

i'm not convinced it can move BUT if that liner can creep it could give a false base/perspective on that engine mount.  i suspect that there are openings in and aft of the engine bay where you may be able to inspect the fibEcs.  

you said "the front right mount is the one at an angle"; is it safe to assume that the angle is between the hull and mount and not the mount and engine?

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17 minutes ago, tvano said:

especially that "add the bilge liner" bit.  afaik, that bilge liner just lays in the bottom of the hull. 

The "bilge liner" - more specifically the Compositech (tm) floor is laid over the Fibecs system, and at least in my boat is the mounting point(s) for the motor.  See page 32 here:  http://www.themalibucrew.com/_files/malibu/malibu_1999_brochure.pdf

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7 hours ago, tvano said:

that bilge liner just lays in the bottom of the hull.

I'm almost positive that it is bonded in place so that it can't just slide around.  It becomes part of the hull.

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12 hours ago, justgary said:

I'm almost positive that it is bonded in place so that it can't just slide around.  It becomes part of the hull.

good to know.

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fireworkperson
Posted (edited)

Here are some pictures of the area in the engine bay where the dealer said the stringer was damaged:

The separation is all along the port side in the engine bay. The separation is most noticeable just below the front port-side engine mount.

When looking from the bow of the boat, you can see that the engine is slightly angled toward port side.

The flooring where the separation is feels sturdy and doesn’t budge when you push on it; however, I’m not sure if this is because there’s so much weight sitting on it.

if anyone has drawings of this area of the boat or more information, we would be grateful. Thanks!

DF0D14AB-3062-4A17-A47B-6BAE59F79A5D.jpeg

4D3B2390-3350-4607-A543-83109F04BF51.jpeg

2FBC9DD4-8D70-444D-A3A8-22CF87B4D684.jpeg

Edited by fireworkperson
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Those areas look like you can get to them well enough to glass it all back together. 

On the engine mount, it looks like it is missing the lower nut and lock washer.  Just that would allow the engine to droop on that side.  What do the other mounts look like? 

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fireworkperson

Just an update - to hopefully help others if they ever run across this unfortunate situation - I have reached out to Malibu and they are unable to cover the issue as a warranty claim since we are the second owners (it was worth a try!). They were super responsive.

Malibu has said that the stringer has separated from the hull and it would require separating the floor and doing some major fiberglass repair. We're at a loss of where to go next expect find a good fiberglass repair shop. We'd do it ourselves but it's way out of our wheelhouse. We've never done fiberglass repair.

No one at Malibu (at least who was there today) has ever heard of this happening to a 2006. We hit the lottery of bad luck, apparently.

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Wow, that is terrible news.  :(  Malibu for years and years has claimed there has never been a FibEcs failure.  Guess that record is gone now. (Old timers may recall the Plexus deck-to-hull and HDS  Plexus fiascos of years gone by...) Speaking of Plexus it is likely they used that to glue the floor to the stringers (and possibly the stringers to the hull) so I guess you will have to pull the engine, cut out the floor all the way around where it meets the hull and repair the Fibecs  then refill the foam on the sides and glass in a new floor.  Yuck.

As for a glass place, see if you can't find someone who builds boats from scratch.  There are a few places up here that do such a thing. Good luck!

p.s.  I guess this is word of warning:  transfer the hull warranty.

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I agree on finding a shop with plenty of experience.  Maybe it is just me, but I would try cleaning everything really well, scuffing it, troweling resin/cabosil paste in the gaps to fill them, then glassing over with heavy woven roving.  You seem to have plenty of room in the nearby areas to add glass to correct the problem.

I still wonder if the hull had some sort of big impact with something, like maybe a log.  Barring a a true manufacturing error (which I think Malibu could still step up to fix if they chose to), I don't see how this could happen without something big hitting the hull.  Perhaps they dropped it off of their lift and it hit a bunk edge?  That could make sense.

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fireworkperson

Yeah, the contact at Malibu was really surprised to hear of a failure. Malibu was great in terms of response time and offered future advice if we / a glass place gets stuck trying to fix it. I was hoping that they'd offer to step up and fix it even though I know they're not obligated to do so - by no means trying to put them down - just a hope.

And, @Eagleboy99, I hear you about transferring the hull warranty; that will be ingrained in my mind forever.

@justgary, I'm going to try what you mentioned about cleaning it really well and filling the gaps first. I'm not 100% convinced that the thing needs to be completely redone; just based on comments from others like you who have a lot more experience than I do. We weren't the original owners so I definitely can't say with absolute certainty that the boat never hit something like you're saying, but there's zero other sign of damage. I talked to a guy with a 2006 23 LSV who ran his aground and ripped out the bottom of the boat and the stringers were still fine.

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I see you are in KS.  I'm not sure what part, but Shoreline Fiberglass in KC (Smithville) does some really good work.   I'm not sure if this is in their wheelhouse, but I'd certainly call them.  

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Rednucleus

I think I would consider pulling the motor and fixing really well the 1st time vs filling gaps since it's associated with the motor mount integrity. Maybe save you some bigger headaches in the long run.

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1 minute ago, Rednucleus said:

I think I would consider pulling the motor and fixing really well the 1st time vs filling gaps since it's associated with the motor mount integrity. Maybe save you some bigger headaches in the long run.

Agree wit this. If it was more cosmetic or something other than the drivetrain I’d say try an easy cheap patch. This is too consequential.

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fireworkperson

@hethj7 Thanks for the recommendation. I've heard of Shoreline; I'll definitely be contacting them.

@Rednucleus and @braindamage I see where you're coming from. I think I'm in the frustrated mode and wanting a quick fix. I'll have some time this weekend to really dig into it and see the extent of damage. Malibu had only been able to comment based on the pictures that I sent them.

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1 hour ago, fireworkperson said:

Malibu had only been able to comment based on the pictures that I sent them.

Have you asked if Malibu will fix it?  I know a guy who towed his boat down from NY to TN to have them fix the failed HDS.  Can't hurt to ask.  Like Dad used to say "All they can do is say no"

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Rednucleus

if I was Malibu, I think I would want to get this boat back home to see what happened - just in case it's not a true unicorn event. But that's just me,and I have never been accused of being a smart business person.

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