I have a 2006 Malibu VLX and basically my bolts on my couplers connecting the shaft to the transmission all broke off. They also oblonged the holes in the couplers thus I had to purchase new ones that cost around $800 dollars. At no point did I ever have a vibration or any weird noises nor problems. I first noticed a broken bolt in my engine compartment a few years ago and couldnít figure out where it came from. When I took it to the dealer and told them about it they didnít know where it came from either. So I disregarded it as something left behind during maintenance or something. I mean you should be able to trust your dealer.
Some time later while cleaning my boat I found yet another broken bolt in my engine compartment so again I had the dealer go through the boat and nothing. So once again I disregarded it. Fast forward to this past summer when the last two bolts broke off while I was fortunately right near the dock. As I put the boat in gear and nothing happened I immediately thought my transmission was gone for what ever reason. Once I got the boat on the trailer I started looking at it closely for fluid and found the couplers not together. Then I found broken bolts and the mystery of the broken bolts was solved!
Once I figured out what happened I did some research to see if this is something common or what the deal was. I could not find anything. I took my boat to the closest Malibu dealer and they said they never saw or heard of such a thing. It was so bad that the shaft and coupler were almost impossible to get apart. The dealer called Malibu to get some feed back as to get it apart and they were clueless (never happens). The dealer had to pull the gas tank, motor and back seat to get it apart. Needless to say it cost me mega bucks to get this fixed.
Now for the good part; I decided to call Malibu for some answers as to what happened with the bolts and couplers. Of course they claimed that it was all correct when it left the plant and someone maybe altered it. They also claimed that it states in the owners manual to check it. Well when I found broken bolts and asked the dealer to look into it and check into it I would think that constitutes going through everything. So basically Malibu said because I didnít specifically tell the dealer or document it Iím SOL. As I mention above I told the dealer to check everything when I found the bolts. I feel the dealers are an extension of Malibu and they should take responsibility. I have had nothing but trouble with most dealers. In fact the place I bought the boat is not allowed to sell Malibuís anymore but thatís another story. The dealer thatís working on it also conveyed to me that when they tried to order the 2 couplers that cost $800 dollars the manufacture had a hard time finding the parts because it was almost unheard of. So if you own a Malibu make sure you check your couplers and the bolts and document everything! My opinion is that the bolts were not tightened correctly, wrong grade/size or all of the above. Never the less Iím out $$$$.