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2021 21VLX PNP issues


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Hi all! Grateful to be a part of the family. Just upgraded from 2015 nxt20 to 2021 21VLX.  Came w added PNP bags, the pumps turn off when hard tanks are full, and dealership said the only way to fill the bags is to repeatedly press “fill” or “fill all”. You can hear the pump fill briefly but quickly turns off as the hard tank is full, after pushing repeatedly many times (my guess would be 20-30), then the bags are half full. I’m surprised that this is the best Malibu can do. Thankfully the boat surfs wonderfully anyways. 
Other surprise is the engine.  It has the M5 engine. With 5 adults and 5 kids (1100lbs), and full hard tanks and half full bags I could only keep 11mph w wedge at 1, any more wedge and couldn’t get past 9.5. Is this expected? Perhaps that’s normal? We emptied the PNP bags and kept 10.8 w wedge at 3. 
I’ll post pics if I can figure out how. Otherwise it’s a beautiful boat, a wonderful upgrade. 

Edited by Huckleberry
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Or vtx turns off at 100% for the rear bags too but I do just keep turning them back on. Seems 3 or 4 times gets them full. If I have that many adults in our boat I do not run the PNP full as you just simply don’t need that much rear weight. We surf at 10.6 though as that seems to be our sweet spot. Have you tried a bit slower? 

One last thing, with the shorter boats you need some extra bow weight. I have 100 pounds of lead permanently in the observer storage compartment then I put another 200 all the way forward in the bow. Have never had an issue going to wedge 3/4 if needed with that setup on either side. Might try dumping some starboard rear ballast for regular surfers too. 

That felt like an unorganized post, maybe too much coffee this morning. :woot:Hopefully that helps, welcome and beautiful boat!

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Posted (edited)

I’m actually extremely happy with how it surfs. It’s so simple and sooo much better than the nxt ever was (in my opinion). My 6 and 9 year old found the pocket on first couple tries and surfed 5ish minutes rope free for the first time. It was great. 
I did wonder if I should have put a few people up front but 2 of the adults were my 91 year old grandma and my nearly 70 year old mom, so they weren’t as mobile. You have the VTX so I assume you are serious about slalom? Do you keep the lead in even when skiing? Ours has the wake plus hull, we aren’t serious slalom skiers but we all dabble with it. Seems to be about as good as the nxt 20 for skiing.
lead may make it better, but we are so happy now that I doubt we’ll be needing it any time soon.

thanks for the tips.

you do anything creative for more board storage like additional racks or Bimini pockets?

Edited by Huckleberry
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Yeah I grew up slaloming and yes I keep the lead in. Same spots. Helps plant the boat a bit more for the driver. And any liftoff the transom of the boat helps the ski wake. Nothing real creative for the Bimini although I have started putting our floating mat on the Bimini and tying it down to the tower under the Bimini. 


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We're loving our 21VLX as well.  Upgraded from a 2001 VLX and it's a completely different experience, for sure.  Agree that you probably don't want the PNP bags full unless you have lots of weight up front.  Our barometer is the surfgate.  If it's underwater, the wake becomes washed out on top and not as clean.  

We also find that the M5 lags when increasing the wedge more than 3 or 4.  We tend to keep it at 1 or 2 to get on plane, then pop it up to 3 or 4 if we want the wake steeper.  Just ordered a couple 50# weight bags to put in the port hold to help keep the bow down as well as to keep it from listing to the starboard side (driver is typically heavier than most passengers :biggrin:). Hoping this helps some.  

We've only had a full boat (8+ people) a couple times.  This makes the wake WAY easier for this big guy (6'2" - 215#) to surf.  Definitely the more the merrier!

Skiing (we got the diamond hull to try to do this) is definitely not as good as the 2001 (also was a diamond hull).  First off, the pull out of the hole is just not nearly as strong.  It is a loooong drag to get out of the water.  We ski hard and could even run the course using our 01VLX.  Not happening with the 2021.  We tried skiing at 34 MPH with 1/2 tank of gas and a driver + 2 passengers.  If you're cutting hard (like running a course) it slams you as you cross the wake.  You have to prep hard for the hit or it will jack you up.  We're heading to Lake Powell in late September and will be trying out a number of ways to dial the wake back a bit further.  Things like running with 1/4 tank of gas, only 1 observer, extra bow weight, perhaps even with the wedge in lift mode (heard some dealers say it's fine even with the alarm, but I'm a bit sketched on this one).  I'll try to come back and report on how it goes...

But given 95% of folks want to surf or wakeboard these days, we still love the new setup and are thoroughly enjoying our new boat!

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Thanks for the feedback! Really appreciate it. I'm disappointed that contacting malibu seems to be less helpful than using forums. when you say the surfgate under water, is this at rest or while surfing? the M5 has 20 more hp than my 15' nxt20, but doesn't seem to have the acceleration as that engine? Perhaps different prop? I did put it in sport mode to get my 280+lb bro in law up surfing and did seem to accelerate faster. 

we aren't terribly aggresive skiers and i would have opted for the diamond hull, but the dealer had this with wake plus hull and skied fine enough for us.

probably my biggest problem is filling the PNP bags. i was told once the hard takes are full, i just hit fill again on the back two tanks and the pumps will fill the PNP bags. this is not so. the hard tank sensor seems to tell the computer they are full and shuts the pump off. so to fill the PNP bags I have to repeatedly (like 30+ times) press the "fill" on the screen. do you have this problem? my dealership guy said he contacted Malibu about this but hasn't heard back. I have emailed Malibu but haven't heard back. 

other things are nit pickey. it frequently accelerates past the set speed and then has to slow itself down (we will be set at 10.8 and will accelerate to 12.5 and then usually will slow back down). 

the board racks have a narrow slot and a wider slot (narrow is to narrow for surf board, so can only put skim boards in, seems having wide enough slots for surf boards would have been smarter, would love the clamping racks, but 4k is a bit steep of an add on)

Not sure if you tube or not, but we have 4 kids and regularly have more on the boat (were at youth activity yesterday with 2 triple tubes and 1 double and 12 people and a dog on the boat :blush:. would you have wedge in lift or stow mode when tubing at say 16-18 mph?

so far am really impressed with surfing, partially because of the nxt 20 we came from. so you are going to put lead where and how much?

our family consists of 6 (650ish pounds), perhaps when it's just us, some led would be good? sounds like in addition to the bow ballast, you need a quite a bit more bow weight to justify full pnp bags?

Overall, love the boat, will be great for our family for years. I hope there is enough water in Powell to launch a boat for you in Sept. We put about 125hrs a year on our boats, so will be able to figure out some of the others issues quickly.

thanks for the help, if i can be of any help, I will offer what I can. 

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@Huckleberry We monitor the surfgate while underway.  When the water is flowing over top of it too much it makes the top of the wave "washed out" and not as crisp.

We, too, have to hit the fill button a few times (but usually not more than 4 or 5) to get the PNP bags full.  But to be honest, we really can't fill them all the way without burying the surfgate (probably not enough bow weight).

We've not experienced the speed varying as much as you're describing.  Usually just a .5 or so MPH when we adjust wedge or run into choppy water.

Just ordered a couple of these https://hyperryddesigns.com/shop/ols/products/xr1-overhead-surf-rack (B.O.A.T.) This way our expensive surf boards don't bounce around in the racks and are stored up under the bimini out of the sun.

Also ordered two of these https://www.leadwake.com/collections/all/products/red-50lb-lead-wake-ballast-bag?variant=40471438992 weight bags and plan to put them in the hold under the glove box to try to counter the driver weight and add bow weight.

Very excited for Powell (even with the low water levels).  Looks like they're quickly building new ramp options so I think we'll be okay by end of September.  Fingers crossed!!

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Ahh! Problem solved. We had reset settings when we first got the boat for some reason, in doing so it changed the boat model that was selected to a different boat (default is a 23 lsv I believe), so went and changed to 21vlx and tada! PNP bags fill with just 2-3 pushes instead of 20-30. Super happy.

it does seem that the bow would need to have a LOT of weight to ever be able to fill the PNP bags completely 🤷. Thankfully I find the surf wave to be fantastic. I am thinking of doing like you say and adding 2-300lbs as far forward underneath the glove box. 

Oneramirez, will that board holder interfere with the rope storage on bottom of Bimini?

Another question I have, how do you turn off a preset. Let’s say I have loaded my preset, but am done and want to turn “off” the preset or “unload” it?


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Using the Go Home icon or preset will drain the ballast, turn off the speed control, center surf gates, and raise the wedge, basically cancelling your previous preset.  Otherwise, any of the individual changes the preset made can be changed manually if you prefer.

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