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Loading Malibu MLx 21...weak winch


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I have a 2020 21 MLX wake setter, my first inboard experience. I thought getting it on the trailer would be a lot easier.  I cannot get it winched up the final 6" and the last 12" are a struggle.  If I back it in the water further the back of the boat Floats up causing the front of the boat to be at the wrong angle to guide up correctly.  I would love to power up the boat but I am alone when loading and our boat launches do not allow power loading.  Has anybody upgraded the winch to 2 speed or electric winch?  If so what has worked well?  Or any advice when loading the boat ?  I appreciate the help!

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I have a 2019 25 LSV and the wimpy winch (Fulton XLT) that came with the trailer from the factory didn’t come close to cutting it. Live in Texas where the ramps are very steep and takes a lot of force for that final bit. Factory only used two bolts in center of winch which was causing the base to bend/curl outwards from the pressure. 

i ended up replacing the winch with the Fulton F2 3200 pound 2 speed winch for $169 on Amazon and about $25 worth of grade 8 bolts, washers, and lock nuts from Ace Hardware. Had to drill two holes in the trailer frame so new winch could be installed using three bolts in triangle pattern instead of 2 bolts from factory. Buy an extra drill bit!


The F2 is a dream. In high it cranks like every other winch but with an ergonomic handle with a grip that is like a bicycle handlebar grip. Pull out the handle to shift in low and it cranks a tiny bit at a time but with the same amount of user work. The first time I loaded with the F2 I was celebrating. Did the whole thing one handed, bow eye touching roller, trailer fenders just below water line, VERY steep ramp, and didn’t have to power load at all. Wife (who drives boat while trailering) was also celebrating because she didn’t have to power on the trailer which causes her a great deal of anxiety as we mangled a prop doing a power load once when the boat stuck on the bunks and the boat lurched forward with the rudder crooked (seriously Malibu, can we get a rudder indicator on the screen). All she has to do now is get the nose between the guide posts and the winch does the rest. 

Another tip that works for me is when backing up truck to load, I dip the trailer WAY down in the water to wet as much of the bunks as possible, pull back out, then back down to proper loading depth (water 2-3 inches) above fenders. This allows boat to catch on bunks and maintain position on the trailer without floating side to side when pulling up the ramp. 

So long story short, go get a Fulton F2 2 speed winch. I wish they would have this as an option from the factory. They make a couple other versions that are rated less but the 3200 lb one fits on the trailer mount and looks sleek too. I ordered my 2022 25 LSV two weeks ago for August delivery. Ordered another Fulton F2 for the new boat sitting in the parking lot at the dealer before I left when placing the order. Received the winch and just now just waiting on the boat. I will install it before the boat ever hits the water. I wish Malibu had Amazon Prime and could deliver my new boat tomorrow! :-)

FYI, we launched and loaded 162 times last year so lots of experience. The last 40 or so times were with the new winch and it has made a world of difference, not to mention a $200 winch is cheaper than a $769 prop every time!

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