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1999 Malibu Sunsetter Steering Issues


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I just bought a 1999 Malibu Sunsetter and took it out a few times. The last time out, the steering suddenly went out when I went to turn around to pick up tubers that fell off. After about 5 minutes it seemed to come back and steer fine, but I didn't push it worried that it would happen again. Is this a worn bushing or cable connection that needs to be replaced? 

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Were you making a turn at medium speed and it felt like the boat wanted to just go straight regardless of how much you turned the wheel?  Or did it continue to have no steering after you came down to idle speeds?

You may have experienced what's known as chine lock.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, your rudder is useless and it feels like the boat is going to go straight on its own.  The way out of this condition is to throttle down to let the hull settle back down to a more level attitude and let the rudder do its thing.

If you were spinning the wheel at rest and the rudder wasn't moving, check connection points from the helm to the rudder.  Has your steering been stiff lately or light?

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Thank you! What you described is exactly how it happened. Is chine lock something to worry about? Was I too aggressive with the steering while towing the tubes? 

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It shouldn’t be a problem.  Particularly if you avoid power turns to pick up fallen riders. You will get used to working the throttle, the boat has a lot of power. If the tube submarines like a sea anchor the boat won’t turn either.

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I found another post about chine lock and I now understand a little better. Thanks again!

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Another thing that helps is to keep the boat weighted evenly side to side.  The only time I've had chine lock on a Malibu was on a man-made ski lake going around a turn island with a couple guys on one side of the boat about to climb out on a boom for a barefoot run.  I have several hundred hours of wheel time in these boats and never felt it other than that one time.

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