Jump to content

Welcome to TheMalibuCrew!

As a guest, you are welcome to poke around and view the majority of the content that we have to offer, but in order to post, search, contact members, and get full use out of the website you will need to Register for an Account. It's free and it's easy, so don't hesitate to join the TheMalibuCrew Family today!

2008 VLX 21 Electronic transmission shift problem ?

Recommended Posts

Hi There,


We are having difficulty diagnosing the issue with our Wakesetter !

2008 VLX 21 monsoon 340 with ZF 45 Electric transmission

Ill try to explain best as possible

We were out on the lake, all was great. we turned the boat off for 10 mins or so. I put wetsuit on to go ride, boat started and acted just fine.

Except now, it would not shift into forward or reverse.

no clunking, no noises anything like that. we pulled it out of water

This has a ZF 45 Electric transmission.  There are 2 connectors to the electronic shift assembly that come from the main hand control at the driver seat.

This assembly IS receiving required voltage for both these ahead and astern connectors that would engage either forward or reverse.

I thought this was going to be the part to replace for us to plop it back in the water. 

Here is the kicker..

Malibu Manual says there is a way to emergency lock it into forward gear. This function is on the electric shift assembly and requires twisting a small diameter shaft 3/16? until the clockwise twisting bottoms out on the assembly.  I did this.  This still did not put it into gear. no forward. no reverse. arggggh

Engine still runs great and everything acts like the boat is fine. 

no noises at all

fluid in both the ZF 45 tranny and v drive 

drive shaft is intact with coupling out of v drive, and shaft and propeller will twist by hand in any control gear, including with the electric override function supposed to be in forward.

I hope I'm missing something stupid here !!! We are dying to ride and a long drive away from any help which takes weeks to assess

Any ideas for correcting this??

Thank you



Link to comment

If you have or had someone else service the VD lately, check where the blue shift cable connects to the VD arm on the VD. It may have been disconnected or incorrectly reconnected after it was serviced.

Link to comment

The small clip and spacer on the shaft underneath the red cover on the transmission shift valve must be removed to rotate the shaft clockwise and engage forward in an emergency.

The most common cause for loss of shift is low pressure caused by low fluid level.  The fluid needs to checked after running the engine up to normal engine operating temperature and shifting the transmission through all positions, then check the level within 30 seconds of turning off the engine.  Do not thread in the dipstick when checking the level.

Low pressure can also be caused by a clogged filter, worn fluid pump, broken regulator spring, damaged orings on the clutch, or faulty piston rings on the input shaft.

Damage to the the shift shaft or electrical problems with the helm control, wiring, or shift solenoids can also cause no shift issues.

Link to comment

Thanks so much for getting back to my post



Ill reply to your responses here below

1. The small clip and spacer on the shaft underneath the red cover on the transmission shift valve must be removed to rotate the shaft clockwise and engage forward in an emergency.

*Yes, I repeated this exact procedure several times and found it that we were not in an emergency and that it still would not engage, bark any noise, anything different at all.

2. fluid level.

* I checked the fluid levels again as you suggested and even tried at just a little above the high mark on the dipstick. ( its easy for me to remove) And unfortunately again no action at all.



 * Electric wise: I feel confident that the current delivered to the shift solenoids is correct after measuring it several times while using the drivers throttle and shift control. 

Those solenoids are the last pieces of any electric at all that goes to the transmission for control right?


Other causes you mention for the rest of the potential low pressure problems inside the tranny are frightening !

I have not disassembled yet to clean or replace the filter. I will do that as soon as I have time and hope theres something stuck in it???

I don't know what to do after that if its clean filter but still not shifting. 

I could play with the inside of the tranny but pulling it looks gruesome  being attached to the the main engine supports as well.


Tranny fluid is clean , I Changed it 54 hours ago. boat has 728 hours on it


Thanks again for helping me out!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...