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Old     (steve_jones)      Join Date: Jun 2006       06-30-2006, 6:34 PM Reply   
I don’t normally post in the general discussion but this issue is potentially dangerous and I’m a little irritated, so heads up if you have a Malibu with a wedge. If your boat does have a wedge, for safety, I would recommend checking that it is intact after every each and every rider, especially if the boat suddenly starts driving funny or you notice a strange rattle near the back deck.

I have been through 4 wedge's on my 05 boat and I have never so much as tapped my boat, prop, or wedge against anything. The 4th one went yesterday. The wedge simply fails and the bolts snap off. The dealer service centers have been pretty helpful and are very aware of the problem, but it still takes forever to get replacements from Malibu. And if you use your boat as often as I do (3-4 days a week), that hurts.

So people know what to look for and how the wedge will fail; the wedge wing is attached to the struts by 2 bolts on each side. These bolts can and probably will snap at some point. I’ve had 4 go. The third time I managed to snap a picture (see photo) when we pulled out. I went to raise the wedge and noticed that it had bent as you see in the photo. Thankfully the remaining 2 bolts held and there was no other damage to the boat or any person.

Granted, I put 300+ hours on my boat each year, almost all with the wedge down, but that is no excuse for the poor craftsmanship and the inadequate quality of bolts they are using for the wedge. Malibu switched to titanium bolts last summer to correct the problem, and yet I’ve still had 2 additional wedges fail. Hmmm…

I pose some rhetorical questions. (Now depending on the perspective and who your attorney is, these questions are very open to argument and these are in no way my point, but in general sort of asking…...)

What happens if a wedge fails and does other damage to your boat? Who pays for that?
Answer: you or your insurance.

What happens if your wedge snaps off and sinks? Who pays for a replacement, even if it’s under warranty? Answer: most likely you or your insurance.

Most important question, what happens if the wedge spins or tweaks off a strut and slices through a surfer or a rider….Hmmm…..see where that is going. This is what could have happened yesterday had I not heard the rattle getting louder right away while I was surfing.

I've had a few boats (1 MC 205, 3 X Stars, and 3 Super Airs, and one, gulp, Pro Air -we called that one the no air) before this Malibu and things do break, but come on….for $60, 70, 80k and up. I expect the basic components of a leading manufacture to last more than 10 hours of use. I’m disappointed in Malibu.

I will say that Malibu makes a great overall product (except for the vinyl that is impossible to clean w/out a magic eraser) but they need to rethink the strength and integrity of the wedge. I wonder if that well known equation of the cost of a class action lawsuit vs. fixing the known defects in a product comes into play. I still like the boat but come on Malibu, keep it together…literally.
Old     (hudd007)      Join Date: May 2006       06-30-2006, 6:57 PM Reply   
Dude that looks nasty. You sure you aren't hitting something? Like the Titanic maybe?
Old     (jcv)      Join Date: Oct 2005       06-30-2006, 7:05 PM Reply   
I've gone through 2 sets of bolts myself (the first time a bolt broke off from electrolysis, the second time a bolt apparently unscrewed itself and just fell off). From my experience, the bolts tend to fail one by one, so as long as I can catch it before two break on the same strut, I only have to replace the four bolts. I've gotten new bolts from my dealer within days each time. It's a pain to have to check the wedge every single day before going out, but I don't think there's much Malibu can do to make the design fail-proof. Luckily, I like the wake better without the wedge anyway.
Old     (liquidmx)      Join Date: Jun 2005       06-30-2006, 8:34 PM Reply   
Sean, I was driving while Steve was surfing when this happened. All we heard was the bolts pop and then the rattle began. Steve was surfing and heard the after effect of the rattle, which was hard to hear from inside the boat over the engine. I have heard of this happening to A LOT of Malibu owners.

I think one of the most frustrating issues is that each time this happens you have to take the legs off to have the remaining shafts of the bolts pulled from the legs by the dealer. This happened yesterday and we caught it right after it happened. We had the tools to replace the bolts had the shafts not been stuck in the legs and could have continued riding.

We could have also ridden wedge(less) but I think having to go through the whole mess 3-4 times a season is pretty absurd, especially for a boats main feature to consistently break.

What up Steve, I think its your turn to get pushed in next time! Lol.
Old     (timmy)      Join Date: Jul 2001       06-30-2006, 8:37 PM Reply   
do you power turn?
Old     (pierce_bronkite)      Join Date: Jul 2003       06-30-2006, 9:54 PM Reply   
Man you see more posts on here about Malibus and there broken wedges more than anything else. I personally wouldnt ever put it down if I owned one.

By the way, I wonder how may replys this thread is going to be.

(Message edited by Pierce Bronkite on June 30, 2006)
Old     (ktmwakeboarder)      Join Date: Jun 2004       06-30-2006, 9:58 PM Reply   
that is way freaky
Old     (timmy)      Join Date: Jul 2001       06-30-2006, 10:08 PM Reply   
yeah but you don't hear about all of us who have no real complaints about the wedge.

the only boat i personally know of that had multiple problems with the wedge, had atrocious driving habits. I know of several people who have wedges and use them all the time and have never had a problem.

I will admit that I had one bolt pop and I noticed it before any damage was done. I replaced all 4 bolts with higher quality bolts and have not had a problem since.
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       06-30-2006, 10:41 PM Reply   
Buddies' 02 VLX snapped three of them. All looked just like the pic above.
Old     (thane_dogg)      Join Date: Jun 2002       06-30-2006, 10:52 PM Reply   
sounds like the bolts need to be torqued to a specific load. They're all philips head bolts right?
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       06-30-2006, 10:57 PM Reply   
These were countersunk phillips on the 02. We figured out that the bolts were a few thou too long and were bottoming out just before seating against the foil. We let Malibu know and supposedly it was taken care of, but maybe not.
Old    bocephus            06-30-2006, 11:01 PM Reply   
Grade 8 bolts will hold, I don't care what you do them. Forget the titanium and with a grade 8 bolt.
Old    bocephus            06-30-2006, 11:03 PM Reply   
Grade 8 bolts will hold, I don't care what you do them. Forget the titanium and with a grade 8 bolt.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       06-30-2006, 11:04 PM Reply   
my friend's gone through 7 or 8 of 'em...we lost count. one completely sheered off and sunk.
Old     (peacock)      Join Date: Jan 2005       06-30-2006, 11:48 PM Reply   
Never had a problem with mine at all! Use it most of the time, and I haven't even had a bolt get loose.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       06-30-2006, 11:57 PM Reply   
how much extra weight do you put in your boat?
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       06-30-2006, 11:59 PM Reply   
Hey Steve it has been a long time...

As you can see there is not much need to alert the public as this is common instance with the wedge. I have seen a few go myself.

It also seems they have created a new hopefully improved wedge at least with the power wedge. Notice it uses six bolts. Upload

Who uses titanium bolts? Those would be stainless and there are different grades of stainless. You do not want to use a steel bolt on the underside of a boat period.
Old     (steve_jones)      Join Date: Jun 2006       07-01-2006, 12:02 AM Reply   
Yeah Matt, I'm stoked to ride on Monday when we get back from climbing. I'll have a new wedge on by then and I just got my new Double Up boards today so hopefully I get pushed in too. Great job on landing that 5 in your second try. Wow...I had to earn that trick with a couple rib beatings...
Old     (wakeboardertj)      Join Date: May 2005       07-01-2006, 12:10 AM Reply   
so far we haven't had any problems with our 05 vride. granted we only have 50 hours on the boat. we haven't touched the wedge at all, but today i did notice that one of the bolts is a little loose when i put the wedge down. i'll have to tighten that up tomorrow. We use the stock ballast, plus a lot of bodies, and about 100 pounds of lead in the back lockers.

I keep seeing all these wedge horror stories and think about them every time i put it down.

knock on wood.....
Old     (steve_jones)      Join Date: Jun 2006       07-01-2006, 12:13 AM Reply   
Wow, hey Peter. Long time. Yeah...I need to upgrade to the power wedge on a new one. I have almost 320 hours on this boat anyway. That new one looks beefy.

Joe, I leave 8, 70lb bars in the boat all of the time. This is 540 lbs, 4 upfront, 2 in the middle, and 2 in the back. I also run w/ the wedge down most of the time and I fill the internal, stock ballast. It's big enough for everyday use without killing my pocketbook at the pump. Usually have 3 people. You have to come hang and try the kite tube...whoa nelly!!
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       07-01-2006, 12:19 AM Reply   
steve, i figured you weighed your boat down, but i was curious if randy added extra weight to his boat since he's had no probs w/ the wedge.
Old     (steve_jones)      Join Date: Jun 2006       07-01-2006, 12:35 AM Reply   
Yeah, my math sucks. 560 lbs... ha ha
Old     (kel_dub)      Join Date: Feb 2006       07-01-2006, 2:34 AM Reply   
07 wedge is full stainlees/welded.
Old     (malibuboarder75)      Join Date: Jan 2004       07-01-2006, 4:09 AM Reply   
840hrs on my response and only had to tighten the wedge once. Maybe I should check it more often. Also, maybe I will stop doing turn arounds since my bayou is so narrow. Luckily I am the only person in my crew who rides with the wedge.
Old     (mimafour)      Join Date: Dec 2004       07-01-2006, 8:17 AM Reply   
no prob's with mine. lock tite the screws using the new and improved screws.
Old     (auto)      Join Date: Aug 2002       07-01-2006, 10:29 AM Reply   
i missed the guarantee on mine to break, 2 bu's 2 wedges, never a second worth of trouble.
Old     (toesideturtle)      Join Date: Oct 2002       07-02-2006, 4:24 PM Reply   
I have had no problems with my '05 VLX---we run over 3000lbs total ballast and the wedge always. We never powerturn! Maybe I'm just lucky
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       07-02-2006, 8:18 PM Reply   
Well after reading this thread I checked mine (05 VLX) and sure enough one of the foil bolts is missing and unfortunately broke off inside the brass strut. Tried to get it out with an easy out but no joy.

I wondered what had changed as all of a sudden we were having a heck of a time getting it to release from the down position. I think the strut was twisting due to only being held by one bolt and in turn binding against the mount. Time to call my dealer. I run no extra ballast and don't powerturn either so I wouldn't put too much stock in that. It hasn't gone yet but I'd expect that's just a matter of time with only one bolt. Currently I think we're at about 250 hrs.
Old     (faceplanter69)      Join Date: Mar 2006       07-02-2006, 10:18 PM Reply   
I didn't use my wedge when I rode but some of the guys that I rode with liked the wake with the wedge. I only had one fail so I guess I consider myself lucky. It's an amazing concept in theory, however when Malibu first made the wedge they made it almost industructible. What happened then? Boat owners were ripping holes in the bottom of their boats when they stuck something.

A good friend owns a BU dealership and it probably wouldn't shock you how many wedges fail each year. They will usually replace the wedge if it's lost but Malibu doesn't replace it if they can see any damage to the wedge. Even if that wasn't the cause of the failure.
Old     (buzz_grande)      Join Date: Mar 2004       07-02-2006, 11:28 PM Reply   
I will try and be civil, but I really can't stand the hype or stuff about the wedge. Granted, like with anything, there will be incidents, but with the number of Bu's out there, and the number of problems, no big deal (IMO). I have over 420 hours on my 05 VLX and NO problems with the wedge. Hey, maybe I am just lucky!

Did I just curse myself!
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       07-03-2006, 1:00 AM Reply   
buzz, in order to have problems with them, you have to use them!
Old     (buzz_grande)      Join Date: Mar 2004       07-03-2006, 1:40 AM Reply   
Ha! Joe, I have been using it a bit more lately, mainly for surfing, which I would guess puts a pretty good work out on it. Once in a while for boarding. Come on back down and ride with us so I can drop the wedge again. Seems like most of my other riders either don't need it, or don't have the huevos! j/k Some like it to go big, others go big without it. All personal preference. I am easy that way. Miss ya bro! Glad things are going well up north.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       07-03-2006, 1:43 AM Reply   
well, i'd be the only one that needs it to go big behind your boat.

i was down in your neck of the woods last week, shooting at mission bay. sorry i couldn't stop by to say hi. heck, i couldn't even stop by greenhouse ride shop to pick up my bindings!
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       07-03-2006, 8:50 AM Reply   
I had close to 800 hours on the 01 SS VLX - never even looked at it and believe me Chris had it down all of the time on that boat. That model used the flat foil. It would appear the newer design shape with the slight V may put more stress on the bolts but who knows.

The struts are brass, which is good since brass will give upon any major impact and not rip the back off your boat, but there are no circumstances where one would want the foil bolts to shear off. This is plain and simple a bad design (or underdesigned) and to quote the relative numbers of wedge failures isn't relevant. This is a simple device that should never fail short of a major impact. If you look at Steve's picture above it's pretty hard to explain how that could happen due to operator error and it's obviously not due to major object collision.

I know Sean Braneki has lost 2 or 3 on his boat and I believe doesn't run with the wedge anymore and Blake Cannon told me he lost 2 on his 03 before replacing the bolts with better quality units himself.

Looking at the new power wedge it apprears Malibu has addressed the problem but I think it's prudent for owners of the older models to keep a close eye on theirs. Props to Steve for starting this thread!
Old     (jcv)      Join Date: Oct 2005       07-03-2006, 9:16 AM Reply   
The wedge design really isn't the problem, the bolts are. Does anyone have any suggestions for some better bolts than the ones Malibu uses?
Old     (ldebbold)      Join Date: Jun 2006       07-03-2006, 11:52 AM Reply   
Wow, hard for me to believe that the two Malibu dealers I deal with say they have never heard of the problem I'm having (slightly bent strut making it hard to lock down and really hard (three people in the water hard) to get back up. They also told me I must have hit something (not a mark on it and I haven't hit anything) and that Malibu probably won't cover it: Their logic being that since it worked at one point and doesn't work now it can't be a manufacturing defect and must be from owner abuse or misuse. I'll have to check the screws and see if they are loose. Everybody in my family except me likes to ride with it, so I hope we can get the problem resolved. Have any of you had success with Malibu taking responsibility for bending if the screws aren't broken? I would hate to have to wait until that happens.
Old     (jpk)      Join Date: Sep 2005       07-03-2006, 12:45 PM Reply   
This is extremely common, happened to a friend of mine last week. Mine is still holding up. I don't do power turns and try not to leave it down when cruising back to the dock. Not sure if that helps.
Old     (steve_jones)      Join Date: Jun 2006       07-03-2006, 1:08 PM Reply   
Hey guys. I have to say the dealers in my area have been super helpful with this so far. I went in early this morning to the Santa Clara location and spoke with Chris, the manager. I guess the bolts I had (they had to drill out the 2 broken bolts) were stainless, not Titanium. Thankfully we caught it before the strut on this one bent. I'm looking forward to trying the Titanium on Weds. FYI, they were out of the bolts in Santa Clara but I located some at the Sacramento service center. I ordered 1 extra if someone needs a quick fix. I really like my boat and I've put a lot of time into getting it dialed in, so hopefully this works out.
Old     (hco)      Join Date: Jun 2006       07-03-2006, 3:48 PM Reply   
I have had the wedge for two seasons, and this is the third. I have never had any problems with it, and there have been some power turns done (not me driving), and everything is still holding well. I would say upgrade your screws or something.
Old     (speedy)      Join Date: Apr 2002       07-03-2006, 4:08 PM Reply   
Steve I'm available all week except Thurs. Let me know if you have room or I'm willing take my boat.
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       07-03-2006, 11:10 PM Reply   
I'm thinking about getting a VLX. Is the later model hydrolic wedge better than the manual one?

Hey ya doin? My mom passed away last week so haven't been on line much. How's the riding since camp?
Old     (brianl)      Join Date: Jun 2003       07-07-2006, 11:49 AM Reply   
I have an 03 Malibu VLX and I did have a problem with my wedge the first year I had it. Malibu has taken care of it and I have not had a single problem since. I love my Malibu, its my 2nd one!

My suggestion would be the same as above, dont keep the wedge down when crusin around and dont do power turns (duh).

Hey Wakehound see ya in trinity next week. Adawg are you still going
Old     (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       07-07-2006, 12:54 PM Reply   
Get some better bolts and loctite them in place. Voila.... problem solved. It's definitely a deficient design, but it's not hard to fix. Pretty sure grade 8 bolts would work, but if you've got any question you could go with grade 10 or 12. They should have them in stainless at a automotive speedshop or at Orchard.
Old     (fox)      Join Date: Jul 2002       07-07-2006, 1:26 PM Reply   
Perhaps it is surfing? I wonder if the lower speed and pitch of the boat for a long period of time has anything to do with it? At boaring speed, the boat is mostly on plane and the force might actually be a bit less.

Sucks to hear this has happend to you though. I am sure Bu will take care of it.

Old     (mbrown)      Join Date: May 2005       07-08-2006, 1:46 AM Reply   
Steve, I don't understand your post. You have lost 4 wedges in 2 years yet you are still asking warranty questions. Those should have been answered by now. Malibu covers everything for 3 years, the wedge for 5, and the hull for life. As for bodily injury, well, just read the industry wide dis-claimers related to tow sports.

In my experience I have only seen a wedge shear like that one time. It was because the owner decided to punch out of the hole and scream back to the dock as fast as they could. After about 1/2 mile of abuse the wedge came loose and bent. We all forget to pull the wedge up sometimes, actually about every 50 hours. So over the course of 600 hours it's gonna give.

I've had my wedge for 100 hrs, no problems, no loose bolts, no loose anything. I even buried it in a delta sand bar. It just keeps producing a thick firm wake that throws you high into the air. Viva Wedge!
Old     (hymaeringo)      Join Date: Jul 2004       07-08-2006, 7:03 AM Reply   
it bends and breaks like that primarily when it is in the up position, under weight, and when in an extreme turn (aka power turn). the prop wash, being directed by the rudder, in the instance of a turn, is the primary force that bends and peels that wings back. so if your wedge breaks, you are not driving your boat in a nice enough manner for which it was intentionally built. Not a major problem in my eyes. especially since it is being constantly being redesigned and beefed up in order to handle more "abuse".
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       07-08-2006, 8:29 AM Reply   
There are places we ride here in the Delta like squirrel slough where you've got to "powerturn" just to get around and go back up the slough (and what about double ups?)

I think the theory about turning leading to added stress and breaking off the bolts makes sense. Malibu is fixing mine for me since I can't get the broken bolt out. The 2 on the other side are corroded to the point that the top of the bolts have huge pits in them and are so tight no allen wrench I have will loosen them up. I'm hoping they will deal with those as well as they look like a potential problem. I think replacement of the stock bolts with stainless/hardened (if those actually exist) is probably the answer. I know in the future I'm going to keep a close eye on those pups and replace before they get to the condition they are in now. (which took 1 year / 250 hrs BTW)
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       07-08-2006, 9:01 AM Reply   
So you buy a $50+ boat and can not drive it any way you like? First off all the wedges I have seen break were not caused by power turns but just regular riding and the Delta does lead to some tight turns at boarding speed. Every wedge was also in the down position at the time. It is a design flaw if the boat can not be driven flat out and turned without breaking and I do not care what brand it is. "Please Sir do not take your brand new Honda and hit the brakes hard or the tires might fall off". SAY WHAT?

There are different grades of stainless hardware. Where to get a better quality I do not know. McMasters and Carr maybe? Titanimum is not nearly as strong as stainless and carries a lower torque spec to go along with it. Just ask any techy mountain biker.

Now why don't they make the whole thing out of stainless and weld the wing to the stantions? Put a replaceable break away point somewhere in the stantions and call it good.
Old     (big_ed_x2)      Join Date: Jul 2004       07-08-2006, 10:22 AM Reply   


There are places we ride here in the Delta like squirrel slough where you've got to "powerturn" just to get around and go back up the slough

There is only one reason to powerturn and that's for the safety of your rider.If you want to go back up the slough you came from and is too narrow to turn,drop your rider and turn slowly like they do in the Elsinore Channel.DO NOT POWERTURN b/c your wedge can't take it.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       07-08-2006, 5:58 PM Reply   

Chris has been known to go up and down squirrel slough a good 15-20 up/back passes on 1 set, sometimes without falling. To stop and drop him at each turn around would be crazy and ain't happening. SS is only about a 1/2 mile long and only has room to throw anything at about 4-5 spots. I can understand elsinore because of the boat traffic but usually it's only us and the squirrels, plus I can see any traffic coming at both ends. We don't usually powerturn anywhere else.

I tend to agree with Peter's take, whether you do it or not the wedge should be able to withstand it.
Old     (pittsy)      Join Date: Apr 2004       07-08-2006, 8:23 PM Reply   
my friends 05' lsv just broke last weekend! same thing as the first picture! the bolts came out but it didn't quite as bad..its a bad problem though!
Old     (mbrown)      Join Date: May 2005       07-09-2006, 4:53 PM Reply   
I have never heard of a wedge breaking while up. If you are ever behind a VLX that power turns you'll see the exhaust tips and the wedge tucked neatly under the swim deck where no prop wash will destroy it. If the prop wash was that severe it would be ripping swim deck brackets off of all boats.

I do know that it will fail at around 42 mph going straight. "Hmmm, it feels kind of sluggish." "Did you put the wedge up?" Uhhhhhh. Crack!. I guess not.

Don't POWER TURN please! Take the boat out of gear when the rider goes down and crank the wheel all the way over, your wake will push the rear end around tighter than any line you could drive under throttle. Still protect the riders, don't panic.
Old     (btr1)      Join Date: Feb 2002       07-09-2006, 5:47 PM Reply   
I've had the wedge for 7 years now and use it every time out along with about 1000 lbs of ballast and the only problem I've ever had was one of the screws worked its way out about 3 years ago. Haven't had a problem since then. If we are heading back in and no one is riding then we will put the wedge up so that we can go faster without damaging anything and to also save on gas.
Old     (buzz_grande)      Join Date: Mar 2004       07-11-2006, 10:35 AM Reply   
Shortly after I had mine, the screws began to rust. They replaced them right away, and I have had no problems at all. I use it for boarding occasionally, and most the time for surfing. 430 hours on my 05 VLX, and no issues.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       07-11-2006, 12:38 PM Reply   
Talked today with Rob at Malibu and they are repacing all my bolts as well with something that won't break/corrode. He said that should solve any potential problems.
Old     (mikerod29)      Join Date: Dec 2002       07-11-2006, 1:21 PM Reply   
Ditto peter on the whole Titanium bolt thing, I'm the techy mountain biker who used to work in a shop. We loved it when people came in wanting ti bolt kits cuz they were buying something that if they really rode, they were going to replace in a couple of months, meaning more $$$$ for the shop. I'm also a farm kid. So here's my solution: Grade 8 stainless hardware & blue loctite (perhaps red if you aren't worried about needing to ever take off the foil). The stainless takes care of any corrosion & the loctite is just plain cool!


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