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View Full Version : New Malibu Stealth 14 - Good, bad & ugly



teknickcull
03-28-2011, 10:55 AM
So PP8 was my third trip in the new Stealth 14, my first in really rough water. I decided to venture all the way out to the sulphur mine & all was well until the sun came up and the wind kicked up with it. (I managed to get into some small specks & reds+ some big drum around 5:30am, but once the sun came up they turned off).

The main reason I'm posting here is about the new boat. The sulphur mine had whitecaps and was rough enough so that waves were regularly splashing over the bow. when i was heading in it was a classic beam sea so I had some waves coming over the side too. I'm not talking about big rollers that you ride up and ride down, i'm talking about close sets of 1'-2' breaking chop - much worse if you ask me.

:thumbup:The good: The stealth handled like a CHAMP! I didn't have any problems getting up to speed and never felt unstable or unsafe. the boat wanted to head up into the wind like a sailboat (might have been my ice chest on the stern acting like a sail?), but this was very helpful because i needed to quarter into the wind to get back to the launch. I did not zig zag or have any real problems tracking.

:thumbdown:The bad: I'm getting wayy more water in that hull than i'm comfortable with. When I got home I put a 2 quart measuring cup under the drain plug and flipped the boat. It filled up twice and a little more came out. That is more than a gallon of water! Keep in mind that I only fished until about 10am. Had I stayed out there all day in that slop who knows how much I would have taken on.

Last week I filled the hull up with water in my yard all the way past the livewell pump. Not a single drop came out. I filled up the livewell to make sure that the plumbing for the spray nozzle wasn't leaking into the hull. not a drop.

So it seems that the hatches are leaky - REALLY leaky. Has anyone else had this problem? Any ideas on how to better seal the hatches? I'm thinking about contacting Malibu about this.

Speckled_Tiger
03-28-2011, 10:58 AM
I would contact Malibu. My brother and I had ours out in Catfish lake and in the big canals in golden meadow and didn't have any issues with water in the hull. You may have some bad hatches or something.

revredfish
03-28-2011, 11:04 AM
Do you have flush mounted rod holders? Make sure they are capped off properly inside. I've put serious water in a boat through them.

teknickcull
03-28-2011, 11:12 AM
Do you have flush mounted rod holders? Make sure they are capped off properly inside. I've put serious water in a boat through them.

Yes, the boat came pre-installed with 4 of them and they are capped inside. When I flipped the boat water poured out of them so that tells me they are holding water and not draining into the hull.

Cobia 1
03-28-2011, 01:03 PM
Yes, the boat came pre-installed with 4 of them and they are capped inside. When I flipped the boat water poured out of them so that tells me they are holding water and not draining into the hull.
You might want to check the flush mounts and see if the gfasket is there and add some silicone sealer to the hole. Also check that the straps on the hatch are good and thight and that the seal under the front hatch is not "kinked". Was the bow plowing at any time?

valvguy1
03-28-2011, 01:06 PM
Do the air pressure test. Turn a wet vac to exahust and let it pressurize the hull from the drain plug. Soap & Water will reveal where the leaks are coming from. It'll produce really big, pretty bubbles. Pressure from the vac wont be so strong as to damage the yak.

teknickcull
03-28-2011, 03:07 PM
Do the air pressure test. Turn a wet vac to exahust and let it pressurize the hull from the drain plug. Soap & Water will reveal where the leaks are coming from. It'll produce really big, pretty bubbles. Pressure from the vac wont be so strong as to damage the yak.

That's pretty much my plans for the evening ;)

Coon
03-28-2011, 03:13 PM
And you lost a bucket...

teknickcull
03-28-2011, 03:19 PM
And you lost a bucket...

haha yep that too - nah i was glad to donate it to ya in exchange for helping me load up that beast (that i now know was full of water). did y'all do any good after we parted ways? i know i went home and took a nap - according to the GPS i paddled 8.8 miles in that slop saturday morning.

Coon
03-28-2011, 03:37 PM
We went to one more spot but the wind was just stupid so we only were out there for another 45 min before we headed to the weigh in.

pistol
03-28-2011, 04:41 PM
Tec email greg wentzel [email protected] or call him at 562-630-6282 ex 123. He is the leak fix guy. Also check to see how tight your gator hatch is sealed. I have seen a fix for that where the guy just moved the latch conector down and it gave him better leverage on the hatch. Check the live well seals, then the side hatches, there is a plexi-glass retrofix for that.
Glad you got a good shakedown, I remember the first time I got into some chop and was amazed at how well that boat handled it. When you get the hatches sealed you should take it down to GI and get a feel for some heavy seas so you know what your boat can handle. I feel confident in 5 ft seas those are the biggest waves I have been in. But you might avoid Belle Pass I hear those rocks got snipers, puttin holes in boats.

yak-aholic
03-28-2011, 06:33 PM
But you might avoid Belle Pass I hear those rocks got snipers, puttin holes in boats.

I think you'll be fine as long as Gairi isn't around. Why you think he hung back while they were paddling out?

teknickcull
03-28-2011, 07:35 PM
alright well i just sealed everything up and pressurized the hull with the shop vac, armed with some soapy water. the side hatches are pretty bad, one rod holder has a little leak, and the front "gator" hatch is a joke. it didn't make bubbles, air was just rushing out. all of the livewell plumbing is good as well as all the other misc. thru-hulls & hatches. i called malibu today and got voicemail, haven't heard back yet. i guess i'll email them. i gotta admit i'm a little disappointed in the fit & finish of this $1300 kayak.

swamppro
03-28-2011, 08:16 PM
Sorry to hear that man. Interested to see what they say. Keep us posted

ijuswannafish
03-28-2011, 10:08 PM
Sorry to hear that man. Interested to see what they say. Keep us posted

+1

pistol
03-29-2011, 12:31 AM
If that doest work i can tell you how to get in touch with farel

teknickcull
03-29-2011, 03:09 PM
If that doest work i can tell you how to get in touch with farel

I emailed greg like you said and heard back from a guy named luis. I sent him photos and videos and he said they'd get back to me, so we'll see how good the "best warranty in the industry" is real soon.

teknickcull
04-05-2011, 02:50 PM
Malibu warranty update:

I called Malibu today since it has been a week since they said they'd get back to me. They said they reviewed the pictures and videos I sent them of my leaky hatches but haven't received a decision from the management. After talking to the guy for a few minutes he told me that my test was flawed because hatches don't seal from the inside, they seal from the outside so pressurizing the inside of the hull and spraying the seals with soapy water doesn't tell them anything even if it clearly reveals lots of air escaping. I can see their point I GUESS but I know what I saw and I saw leaky hatches. Plus whether or not my test was flawed I still got a couple of gallons of water in my boat in four hours and its not like I had my shop vac out at the sulphur mine blowing air through my hull. So I started getting a little frustrated and they put a manager on the phone who helped me narrow down the problem in a couple of minutes. It seems that the straps that secure the front hatch were installed improperly at the factory and they are sending me out a new hatch that they will modify to seal tighter. Great. I hope it works.

What I don't get is why they didn't call me back for a week when all it took was a 5 minute phone call to rectify the situation. Had I not called THEM back who knows how long it would have taken for me to get a response.

Anyway I'll let y'all know how it goes from here. I'm still technically satisfied with how this is playing out since they are trying to take care of it and haven't asked me to ship the boat back or anything (that would really p--- me off). If they get the part to me quickly and it works I'll be a happy camper.

DBO29
04-05-2011, 03:16 PM
alright well i just sealed everything up and pressurized the hull with the shop vac, armed with some soapy water. the side hatches are pretty bad, one rod holder has a little leak, and the front "gator" hatch is a joke. it didn't make bubbles, air was just rushing out. all of the livewell plumbing is good as well as all the other misc. thru-hulls & hatches. i called malibu today and got voicemail, haven't heard back yet. i guess i'll email them. i gotta admit i'm a little disappointed in the fit & finish of this $1300 kayak.

Man I agree with that I have the same issues with mine. I seem to get atleast 2 gallons of water in the hull every trip regardless of the wind. It just seems to me that they produced this Kayak without taking the time to test anything. Like you said you pay over a thousand bucks on something it should leak that bad. Could've gotten 2 pelicans for that price. I bet they dont leak like that.

Choupique
04-05-2011, 03:52 PM
I have heard they have some past problems with not having there scuppers lined up in the mold. I would check there. maybe coat around the scupper join on the inside if you can reach it.

pistol
04-05-2011, 04:56 PM
Hey tec I emailed the guy I know out there on the left coast giving him a heads up to look out for you and tis was his response:

We are taking care of this guy as fast as we can. I personally spoke with him today and had a hand in finding a solution. The issue was that the strap mounting points had been moved in production and we have had to move them back. In addition we moved the mounting point on the hatch as well. This gives more leverage when pulling down the hatch.

Can you please post this answer and ask that anyone with a similar issue please contact Luis at 1-562-630-6282 Ext 104

If they cannot get a satasfactory answer they can call me at the same number ext 112, I am the National Sales Manager for the USA and Canada. Luis gets things done faster though.

Thanks,

Farel

swamppro
04-05-2011, 05:10 PM
My opinion is thats still alot of water to get in from a hatch. Check by scupper tubes. Remember when you are sitting in the kayak the water is forced in and water is higher up the scupper tubes. Also if you have a rudder installed check the mounting area where the bolts go in the transom. Not trying to sound bad but that is alot of water if its coming through a hatch.

pistol
04-05-2011, 05:12 PM
hey why don't you bring it somewhere put it in the water sit in it and open the hatches and see if you can see where its coming in from

swamppro
04-05-2011, 05:25 PM
hey why don't you bring it somewhere put it in the water sit in it and open the hatches and see if you can see where its coming in from

Me?

yak-aholic
04-05-2011, 05:29 PM
Yeah Swamp, you seem like a nice enough guy. Run over there and get his yak and test it for him.

swamppro
04-05-2011, 05:31 PM
haha I would be happy to throw it in the pool and see. I have heard of people finding leaks this way before.

Speckled_Tiger
04-05-2011, 06:08 PM
Unless you are in some considerable chop/waves, there's no way gallons of water are coming in through the hatches on any SOT kayak. Check those scuppers!!

pistol
04-05-2011, 06:14 PM
Sorry swamp I was directing that to tec, a pool or pond, pond would be good for this. If nothing gets in then get someone to do a few cannon balls out in front of it. check to see where the live well drains stuff like that.Did seal sports install the live well pump kit?

yak-aholic
04-05-2011, 06:20 PM
If nothing gets in then get someone to do a few cannon balls out in front of it.

I nominate Sherman

Speckled_Tiger
04-05-2011, 06:29 PM
He has to do it with his ducky though. Hahaha

swamppro
04-05-2011, 06:37 PM
I nominate Sherman

He is used to filling kayaks with water and sinking them anyway right? lmao

revredfish
04-05-2011, 07:01 PM
You are being much more patient than I would be. I'd return the darn thing. End of conversation. It's a lemon and they should be on fixing it like white on rice. I've had kayaks out in all kind of water and the only time I've had water inside like that was in 3 ft swells with a flushmount that was missing the cap inside. Basiically a 2 inch hole in the side of the boat.

Chinquapin
04-05-2011, 08:24 PM
I second that rev. I know its awful having to return something that you save up money for, but it will save you (tec) headaches in the future. My first first car was a lemon, and we kind of figured that out in the first week. Me and my dad decided to keep it and ended up spending more on repairs than the actual vehicle. Kayaks aren't all that complicated, if they are leaking, there is a serious problem. I hope everything gets worked out for you. Good luck!

teknickcull
04-05-2011, 08:41 PM
pistol - thanks for the help man. like i said once i got your guy on the phone he had me taken care of right away. it was the week of no contact that had me getting a little aggravated.

everybody else:

pump kit was installed by me - passed all tests (filled hull with water past the thru-hull pump fitting, not a drop on the outside. sprayed it with soap during the pressure test, no bubbles). also tested where the spray nozzle enters the bait well in case the bait well was leaking into the hull. filled bait well with water past the spray nozzle - not a drop.

scuppers - i sprayed all the scuppers with soap when i did the pressure test & did not see any bubbles.

rudder - i do not have a rudder, but i sprayed the inserts where the bolts would go while the hull was pressurized - no bubbles.

the pool test sounds like a good idea, but i don't have a pool.

i really think that it is the hatches. if it were the scuppers don't you think that i would take on roughly the same amount of water whether it was calm or rough? on calm days i take on 1-2 cups max. i attribute that to the paddle dripping directly onto the side hatches which I KNOW leak. on a rough day i took on just shy of 2 gallons in 4 hours. the difference between the rough day and the calm days was the amount of water splashing on to the deck. this points to hatches or other holes in the deck in my opinion unless i'm missing something.

the other reason i think it might be the hatches is that apparently this is a widespread problem. if you google "malibu stealth leaky hatches" or "malibu stealth leak" you will find pages and pages of firsthand experiences including two separate reports of people sinking offshore in these boats. it is the same thing mine is doing. it sucks.

i don't want to turn into some guy that beats up malibu on the internet (i've run across a couple of those in my research). as far as i am concerned they are working with me to fix it and i'm confident that they will. if they don't, i'll be asking for my money back.

thanks for all the suggestions and feedback guys!

teknickcull
04-15-2011, 09:35 AM
I thought I'd post an update on this issue since I've gotten a couple of PMs about it.

Like I said in my earlier post, they decided that my front hatch is to blame in that it does not seal properly. Although I don't think this is the WHOLE problem, I think it is most of it. One interesting thing is that they told me that I was fastening the clips on the front hatch wrong. I was just clipping them together like this:

4660 4662

As you can see this is not a very tight connection as I can almost fit my whole hand through there. The guys at Malibu said that I'm supposed to twist the straps around and fold them over themselves everytime like this:

4658 4659 4663

Although this does make it tighter, it is still not that tight - the hatch still has some play in it (I can now fit two fingers under it instead of my whole hand). This seems to me like a major design flaw - why not just make the straps fasten tightly without making the user flip them around every time?

Anyway last week they said they would ship me a new hatch with the rivets moved further in so that it would fasten tighter, but it still has not showed up. I called them today to maybe get a tracking number and he said it still had not shipped but would ship today.

I'll let y'all know how it goes - I know there are a couple of guys that were about to pull the trigger on one of these boats that are waiting to see how this plays out.

elementfiftyfour
04-15-2011, 11:19 AM
Isn't there a lip under the hatch that should keep water from going in even if it is loose? As with my Coosa the water would have to go under the hatch, UP an inch, THROUGH the water seal, and then it could get into the hull.

If the new straps still don't get tight enough then maybe you could try using some bungee cord like on mine.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y191/elementfiftyfour/Kayak%20Fishing/Jackson%20Kayak%20Coosa/DSCF8002.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y191/elementfiftyfour/Kayak%20Fishing/Jackson%20Kayak%20Coosa/DSCF8001.jpg

teknickcull
04-15-2011, 11:34 AM
there is a lip, but it is very very small, less than 1/2". but yes, water should have to go up and over it. the problem is if a wave splashes a lot of water on the bow, a good bit of it can be forced up and over the little lip.

also, there ARE bungees that are supposed to hold it down as well as the straps, but the whole thing still doesn't sit right on there. like i said when i did my leak test air was rushing out along the whole hatch with everything tightened down (two bungee clips on the front, one on the back and the two side straps).

I'm taking it out on sunday & plan on really trying to figure this out once and for all. i really can't see any other place that could be taking on that much water besides the front hatch. there are other leaky hatches, but they are not big enough to leak gallons. this one is.

so... frustrating... i'm starting to question my choice even though I love everything else about the boat.

Speckled_Tiger
04-15-2011, 12:30 PM
this is a known problem with the roto mold process. Sometimes you will get a hull that didn't form correctly for whatever reason. If the new hatch doesn't fit right, request a new hull. They may fight you on it (sadly Malibu as a company is not known for great service) but keep pushing if you like the boat design that much.

Domo
04-16-2011, 05:28 PM
Tek, thanks for your report on the stealth 14. I am starting my search for a new yak and the stealth 14 was something I was considering. Now I atleast know what to look for if and when I go to look at one of these.

jpoucher
04-16-2011, 06:07 PM
I'm still not buying that you are getting all that water from the hatch.

Speckled_Tiger
04-16-2011, 07:20 PM
I'm still not buying that you are getting all that water from the hatch.

+1

teknickcull
04-16-2011, 08:49 PM
I'm still not buying that you are getting all that water from the hatch.

i hear ya i hear ya. i'm taking it out tomorrow & i'll try to see if i can tell any different.

the main reason that i still think it might just be the hatches is that the difference between a calm day with only paddle drips on the deck and a rough day with waves splashing on the deck was about 1.5 gallons. so to me that means the leak must be above the waterline.

swamppro
04-16-2011, 09:03 PM
i hear ya i hear ya. i'm taking it out tomorrow & i'll try to see if i can tell any different.

the main reason that i still think it might just be the hatches is that the difference between a calm day with only paddle drips on the deck and a rough day with waves splashing on the deck was about 1.5 gallons. so to me that means the leak must be above the waterline.

Or the hull flexing in scupper tubes

teknickcull
04-16-2011, 09:07 PM
Or the hull flexing in scupper tubes

How would i check for this?

teknickcull
04-18-2011, 09:41 AM
took the kayak out yesterday & didn't get too much water. maybe 1-2 cups. I was out for less than an hour though. when i got home i was hosing/wiping everything down & decided to do a little experiment. i put the stern of the boat up on the cart so that the whole thing was tilted bow-down. i took off the front hatch so that i could see inside and wrung out my sponge onto the deck a couple of times as i was cleaning the boat. the water would wash down the deck and then out through the scuppers in the footwells. i watched the water drip right through the seals of the side hatches and collect in the bow of the boat. when paddling, the paddle drips directly onto those hatches; plus, if the livewell is full to the top and i open it up, some of the water always splashes right there too (which happened yesterday) - so i know thats where some of my water is coming from on every trip. i'm going to see if i can make some better seals for those somehow. that still doesn't account for the large amount of water i got the day of PP8, but it is a start while I wait for malibu to send me the new hatch.

Crow
04-18-2011, 10:50 AM
To me any water inside the hull of a SoT is a Bad Thing and shouldn't be happening. I am with Rev and would be taking that thing back and demanding a refund or a new boat. I have had my Outback in some pretty choppy water and it has never gotten one drop in the hull. It sounds like you got a lemon there Tek and you shouldn't have to be fixing Malibu's mistakes.

Tigerfish
04-18-2011, 12:08 PM
As you might have noticed, I have not yet participated in this thread. But as a fellow owner of a Malibu Stealth 14 I feel as though I must add my 2 cents. (Please note that I am an owner of a Malibu kayak but have no alegences to Malibu in any way shape or form).

On the day of PP8, we launch at Golden Meadow and made a visit to Catfish Lake. We, like everyone else, paddled through some rough waters to get there. The water in the lake was what I would consider REALLY ROUGH. I never felt unsafe, but it just wasn't my idea of pleasant fishing conditions. During the paddle out there, Speckled_Tiger noticed that there was a considerable gap between my front hatch cover and the opening of the hatch. It was probably a 1 inch opening or so. It was because I didn't use the bungees to pull it tight. The lid had basically slid off to one side. In fact, I rarely strap it down tight. Usually, I just use the clips to hold it somewhat in place on the front of the boat.

While in route to and while fishing in Catfish Lake, water was coming over the front of my boat, over the sides and onto the deck....basically, water was coming from all possible directions. After a total of about 5 to 6 hours on the water in these conditions, I only had about 1 to 2 cups of water in my hull. Keep in mind that that was even with a large gap between the front hatch and its cover. So I really don't see how you could be getting gallons of water in the hull of your boat unless there is a hole somewhere.

Tigerfish
04-18-2011, 12:18 PM
For those of you that say there should be absolutely no water under any circumstances inside the hull of a SOT, remember even stinkpots get water inside, otherwise there would be no need for a bilge pump. It would be nearly impossible to have a 100% waterproof hull and still have hatches. To get a good enough seal to make them 100% waterproof, you couldn't get them open easily at all.

Even if the hatches are leaking, there is no way that "gallons" get into the hull. Because of the tiny amount of space under the hatch lid that is available for water to flow through, you would have to have a static pressure in the range of 15 to 20 psi to be able to overcome the friction losses and achieve any type of flow through there. And yes, to get "gallons" of water, we are talking flows and not trickles. 15 psi is equivalent to having a 35 feet tall column of water sitting on top of your hatch.

Tigerfish
04-18-2011, 12:25 PM
Finally, the air pressure test that you did by filling the hull up with air really doesn't prove anything as it relates to the front hatch (though it is appropriate for the other hatches).

The reason that it doesn't tell you anything about the front hatch is that the front hatch is designed to so that a downward force on it (e.g., the weight of water on top of it) reinforces the seal. When you apply a positive pressure from the inside of the boat, the hatch is moved upwards which is different than it would if water was on top of it. Besides if you had air rushing out of your front hatch when the boat was in use then you wouldn't need a "mechanical" seal such as a gasket -- the air pressure would keep the water out. This is not all that different that the designs of a SCUBA facemask as compared to a SCBA mask.



//rant

teknickcull
04-18-2011, 12:54 PM
Thanks Tigerfish - I'm glad you weighed in especially since you have my exact boat and were in the exact conditions on the day of PP8. Based on what you're saying I'm finally starting to come around to the idea that the new tighter-sealing front hatch probably isn't going to fix this.

what would you do? I know the side hatches leak a little, i know the front hatch leaks at least a little. i've filled the boat up with water and found no leaks in the bottom. i've filled the livewell and checked for leaks inside the hull. i've pressurized the hull and sprayed soap bubbles on every hatch, scupper, rod holder, pad eye, and insert. this turned up leaks in the side hatches, the front hatch and a small pinhole leak on the outside of a flush-mount rod holder (not the cap on the inside).

how do you guys suggest that I track down the source of the water? it only did it once. just PP8. every other time i've taken it out it has been a cup or two (the amount that Tigerfish got with his hatch open at PP8). so on days when tigerfish has cups i have gallons. when he has drops i have cups.

I talked to Rob at Seal Sports today to update him on my dealings with Malibu. If the front hatch doesn't fix it then i will probably ask malibu to swap out the hull. Depending on how they handle the rest of the process though I might just try to get my money back and buy a different kayak.

As nice as they are on the phone, they are better at seeming responsive then they actually are at being responsive. if I manufactured boats and got a call from a customer who claimed to have just shy of 2 gallons of water in his boat after a short trip in bad conditions, you better believe that customer would have a lot more than just the promise of a new hatch 3 weeks after making the claim.

swamppro
04-18-2011, 01:09 PM
I would want to be its either in the scupper tubes not lining up correctly and cracks opening while in the water letting in water or rudder mounts. I forgot to ask but do you have a rudder mounted?

teknickcull
04-18-2011, 01:19 PM
no rudder mounted. i sprayed the inserts for the rudder mounts during the pressure test & they seem ok.

swamppro
04-18-2011, 01:24 PM
Reason why I was asking I had 2 xfactors that failed there in less than a year each

teknickcull
05-05-2011, 07:52 AM
UPDATE:

I should have posted this two weeks ago when I got the hatch, but I've been busy with some major house projects.

FRONT HATCH: Malibu sent me a new front hatch with the strap attachment points moved further in towards the center and it now cinches down very tightly. I'm much more confident in the seal of that hatch now.

SIDE HATCHES: I went to home depot and bought some rubber weather stripping and made my own gasket to seal the side hatches better. They seem to seal really tight and I think this should take care of that issue. What I think is funny is that the rear hatch (right behind the seat) already has similar gaskets from the factory, but the side hatches don't. Why wouldn't they just seal all the hatches the same way?

Anyway, Luis at Malibu told me that they are going to start making all the front hatches this way from now on. Also he wants me to take a picture of my home remedy for the side hatches because they are going to implement that in the future as well. I really don't understand why they don't do that already, since they have similar seals on the rear hatch (and the livewell hatch too, actually).

So for now I am happy. My only complaint with Malibu at this point is how long it took them to get back to me after my initial call and then how long it took them to ship the hatch. Once they found out that I was posting on the internet and I had called Seal Sports and got Rob involved everything started happening much more quickly. I guess they feel bad, because they keep sending me envelopes full of Malibu stickers (three separate, hand-addressed envelopes full of stickers at this point!?) - so if anyone needs a "Malibu Kayaks" sticker or 5, holla!

I'm interested to see if I still take on water next time. If so then it is time to look at some sort of undetectable crack in the hull/scuppers or something, but my gut tells me that this should take care of it.

Racechaser
05-05-2011, 09:04 AM
Thanks for the update. I hope this fixes it for you.

ijuswannafish
05-05-2011, 11:01 PM
Thanks for the update. I hope this fixes it for you.

+1