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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.
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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.
I own a 2002 Malibu Wakesetter VLX. This boat comes with a factory installed device called "The Wedge". This device was designed and engineered by Malibu. No other boat manufacturer uses such a device. The device is attached to the transom of the boat. The purpose of the device, when deployed, is to make the wake behind the boat larger.
The device basically looks like a foil that, when in the down position, sits about 10 inches or more below the hull of the boat and just behind the rudder. While boating with the device down, we struck a submerged object. The direct impact to the nose of the wedge foil resulted in the transom ripping open and the sinking of the boat.
Basically, in terms of safety, the device is poorly engineered. There is no shear pin or other failsafe incorporated into the design that will allow the device to release upon impact. All the stress of an impact is transferred to the mounting area of the transom (hull). Additionally, the hull is not reinforced in the mounting area to withstand the additional stress. I spent several weeks trading email, voice mail, and telephone calls with Malibu. The bottom line is that Malibu's official position is that they accept no responsibility for the damage to my boat, even though they attached their poorly engineered device to the lifetime warranteed hull of my boat.
I have already discussed the issue with a lawfirm but because no one was injured or killed, yet, they were unwilling to take the case even though they stated that it is a very good one. I have also discovered that there are many Malibu owners out there who have also experienced damage from this device.
Damage Resulting: $15,000 to $20,000 in damages to the boat.
Malibu Boats expert 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.
Best for: Malibu Boats is best for consumers looking for mass and luxury water sports boats.
Malibu Boats Company Information
- Company Name:
- Malibu Boats