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In May of 2020, I purchased a very expensive Wakesetter Malibu 21VLX from a local dealer in Gainesville, GA. Almost immediately, the gel coat of the hull began to develop blisters after only 28 hours of engine life. Malibu has flatly refused to repair the hull. I am extremely disappointed in the quality of the boat I purchased and the customer service from Malibu. I made a considerable financial investment in this boat, and I felt strongly that I was sold a defective product. I have tried in good faith to negotiate with Malibu, but the company refuses to stand behind their product and address and correct the defective hull. If you are considering purchasing a boat from Malibu, I strongly recommend that you look elsewhere. P. L. **, Lavonia, Ga
I recently sold my 2007 Mastercraft X2 (absolutely bullet-proof with 1200 problem-free hours) to purchase a 2016 Malibu 22MXZ...This has been a long-awaited dream of mine for a couple of years now. The boat is absolutely immaculate with only 120hrs. I just paid $1,700 to transfer the warranty this past week. In short...I have never seen such poor quality in all my years of boating. After 2 weeks with the boat, here are SOME of the more frustrating issues I've found:
- Transom drain plug mounted too low...someone actually drilled/ground out the fiberglass at the transom-bottom hull junction to allow it to drain.
- Transom drain plug too small for oil drain hose to exit.
- Port windshield separating from frame. Glue/double-sided adhesive has failed. There appears to be too much stress on the glass.
- The "Drain to Nowhere". Port side storage has a drain....which goes right into the expanding foam used to fill the hull. No drain tube, nowhere for the water to go. I got caught in a rain and reached under the seat for a dry towel only to find 4" of water in the storage compartment.
- Mis-drillings everywhere due to "trial and error".
- Green nav light screw stripped out. Light pulling away.- Dash upholstery pulling away/separating
- Stereo bluetooth antenna screwed into "GPS" port of Medallion unit...no bluetooth past 3ft.
- Touchscreen non-responsive for 30 minutes at a time. Thankfully the boat will start and run.
- Touchscreen will randomly display time as -4:00 am
- Excess rocking/slop in G3.2 wake tower
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I bought a new 2019 AXIS A24 less than a year ago and have had constant ignition and electrical issues ever since. The dealership has been great to work with and their service level is excellent but the quality of product that Malibu/AXIS is putting out right now has me doubting my purchase. Being stranded in a brand new boat full of family and friends and having to be towed in is absolutely absurd. We've replaced numerous Ignition Relays but that seems to only be a band-aid on a bigger known issue. Additionally, I've experienced the boat going from cruising speed to gradually choking itself to a stop (throttle became useless).
Car companies producing vehicles a fraction of this price don’t have this many issues with starting or randomly cutting off. If car companies can produce a reliable engine than so can Malibu/AXIS if they actually cared to pay attention to their quality control. I should have done more research prior to my purchase. I love the look and surf-wave of my boat but cannot recommend the Malibu/AXIS product at the moment.
Since the first minute we put our brand new 2020 Axis A22 in the water we have had problems. Service Engine Light has been on constantly. Many trips to the dealer to try different remedies. Also have had the impeller go early on, come to find out they have a design flaw with the water pump location and everyone is experiencing this issue. Yesterday our boat decided it would only operate in reverse. No sense in driving a boat forward! I cannot in good conscience suggest anyone buy one of their boats, wish we hadn’t.
Let me begin by stating that the dealership that we purchased our brand new 2017 Malibu LSV 23 from has been great throughout the process of the disasters we’ve had on the water. Our boat was fraught with problems from the very first weekend on the water. The first mechanical issues were related to the engine starter. As a new boating family in the water with a $140,000 boat the last thing you want to feel is helpless, and that is exactly what happened to us. The engine start button was completely unresponsive and it was due to a mechanical failure with the starter that was supposedly a recall issue that was never issued by Malibu.
This left us stranded floating towards the shoreline on a busy day on the water resulting in a near accident and a tow back 3 miles to the dock. After the warranty work the next problem we had was surf gate. The surf gate would not open up allowing the wave to form. There were weeks of troubleshooting measures taken. First we were told that we needed a trickle charger due to the battery not having enough power to operate the surf gate. Then we were told we were not operating the boat at proper speed for the surf gate to work? However, everything is pre-programmed from the manufacture. Next time on the water we had the same issue after trickle charging. We were unable to surf the entire summer trying to troubleshoot this issue on a boat we bought to surf.
Finally after talking to a friend that had a similar issue, he diagnose the problem as most likely a connection in the electrical becoming disconnected in the internals of the boat. I referenced to the dealer and that was indeed the problem. The next season on the water we were excited to finally use the boat the way it was intended. Unfortunately, even after having the boat serviced, the Malibu command center constantly brings up service and maintenance notifications when supposedly everything had already been completed. This became very frustrating to determine what needed to be done and what had been done already. Our first trip on the water resulted in the same starter failure issue.
This time we were approaching the marina on a busy day which resulted in absolute chaos, endangering not only us but everyone around us. The exact same Engine starter that was a recall the prior season broke again and our boat was completely unresponsive and dead in the water. After this experience and numerous other quality defects in the boat e.g. Vinyl tearing, handles detaching, Bimini cover breaking Etc, we have decided to sell the boat. The dealer is giving us a very gracious trade-in allowance however, we are very skeptical of the quality and reliability that Malibu is producing currently.
It also seems as if the posture is to excuse the company for the inconsistency based off of the volume of boats they produce. As I’m researching other brands the common theme Malibu dealers point to is the success of Malibu as it relates to the volume of boats they sell and dismissing the quality issues. Quantity over quality will eventually create massive Issues with brand recognition and loyalty. Resulting in a loss of new customers. I would strongly consider another brand if I were Shopping for a new wake boat.
My experience with Malibu has been horrible. We bought a 2017 Malibu 24 MXZ brand new and have had it in the shop for repair on over 10 different things. We haven't even had it a year. Our last boat was a 2008 MasterCraft X-Star and traded it in with over 2000 hrs on it. We owned it for 5 years and didn't have to take it into the shop one time. The quality control is horrible, with dimples in my gel coat and fiberglass. The interior is not even close to being perfect. Did I forget to mention that this didn't cost $20k. It was over $150k. Malibu you need to step up here and do the right thing. I don't want my boat anymore!!! I have a lemon!!! Don't buy a Malibu.
Purchased 2017 Malibu 25LSV for $138k. I followed all break in procedures. The first summer it has been in the shop several times for a total of about 6-7 weeks. Sensors went out first, depth reader not working correctly, "needs Service" buzzer Has gone off almost incessantly, something in the transmission cracked, destroying it. After they put it back together, there was a loud rattle. They took it apart again to find another cracked engine piece (Fly wheel) that goes between engine and transmission. Also had 1 cushion seat tear about 2" on seam and zipper on Bimini broke. This has all happened before 50 hours and now I'm considering talking with an attorney about the "Lemon Law". Would suggest looking at another brand. However, it does have an awesome wave when it's working correctly.
My 2007 23LSV was a great boat. My 2016 25 LSV was fraught with problems. Quality control is gone at Malibu. 10 visits to the dealer in the first year of ownership. Malibu, to their credit, kept repairing my boat until I just couldn't take it anymore, and dumped it for another brand. So disappointed! Wedge problems, Surfgate problems, pump problems, tower problems, windshield problems. I even tried to trade it on another Malibu thinking maybe I got a lemon. Dealer told me better off going to another brand since Malibu is just not putting out high quality boats right now. I kept the dealer, but changed the brand. I prefer Malibu styling, but no thanks on the headaches I got from it.
2000 Wakesetter VLX: The rudder had 13 V on it because a wire in steering harness shorted against a bolt. This caused galvanic reaction on metal parts which destroyed them. Is anybody else aware of this problem or constantly replacing rudders and props? Check it out by connecting a voltmeter to the rudder and prop.
I have a 1999 Malibu Sunsetter LX. On the bottom of the boat, there are Tracking Fins. I have had them ripped off a number of times by driftwood. When I contacted Malibu, they said that they have never heard of that happening. I know of many people on the Internet that say it has happened. The boat fills with water every time and a new fin cost $130, plus you have to find the hardware. The hardware is a 7/8 inch long stainless steel bolt that screws directly in to the fiberglass on the bottom of the hull. Does not seem to be a very good system.
Malibu Boats author review by ConsumerAffairs
Malibu Boats has been designing and manufacturing sports boats since 1982. Often called towed boats, these boats are designed for watersports such as tubing, wakeboarding, wake surfing and waterskiing.
Multi-disciplined boats: All of Malibu boats are designed to pull you as you wakeboard, ski, tube or wake surf, so you don’t need to choose between your favorite water sports.
Mass and luxury sellers: Malibu Boats caters to both the mass and luxury crowd, so consumers who are on a tighter budget can still enjoy the same great quality as consumers who are able to afford luxury boats.
Innovative: Malibu Boats is recognized in the industry as an innovator. Some of their innovations include adding the first onboard computer system in 1993 and the more recent Surf Band, which is an armband that allows surfers to customize their wave while keeping in constant communication with the boat’s driver, in 2016.
Schedule a factory tour: Consumers who are interested in the process of making a Malibu boat can schedule a factory tour in Loudon, Tennessee. Tours are offered Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm. Interested consumers who don’t live near the facility can watch a video that tours the factory on Malibu’s website.
Malibu pro team: Find out what your favorite pros are doing by checking in on Malibu’s pro team page. Read interviews, watch videos and connect with Malibu’s pro team on their social media accounts.
Build a boat: Use Malibu’s online build a boat feature to customize your boat. Customize as many boats as you want, and save them so you can compare features and designs when you’re ready to buy.
Malibu Boats Company Information
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- Malibu Boats
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