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Author Topic: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD  (Read 27045 times)

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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #60 on: July 16, 2014, 08:51:14 PM »

I first wrote about the wiring harness failures back in the early 1990's

Guess people just don't believe what has been written or are living in a cave!!!

Hey Ron,

Horse, water, drinking... something like that...

Seriously ...

There's likely as many reasons as there are owners why they do (or don't do) whatever it is..... many unfortunately, are not as knowledgeable and passionate about their vessels as are the most conscientious members.  Most fall somewhere in between on the bell curve.

My main issue isn't whether they fix their harness or not -- as long as I'm not the absent slip neighbor when it burns.  

My issue is -- when an owner does make the decision to upgrade, WHY they spend presumably hard earned money (or they wouldn't be sailors  :lol: ) for something that doesn't do the complete job, and in some ways can perpetuate, or maybe even exacerbate certain problems.

I just CAN'T fit my head around  :donno: why owners spend (if my math  is correct) $188 at CD for what they can buy every day of the week for $53 and then (some, many, most?) throw away $32 of the CD kit.  

Yet many of the same owners will, I bet, search the 'net to find a filter at $2 below what they can buy it for at a local place.  

Is it CD marketing?  

Is it that they don't really know what ALL the issues are and how to address them -- So "trust" CD that the kit is the ultimate for them?

Taking the easy way out instead of researching and understanding the issues/fix?

Sold a bill of goods by their mechanics?  

Help me here?

Cheers,
Ken
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 09:23:35 PM by KWKloeber »
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SPembleton

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #61 on: July 17, 2014, 04:25:24 AM »

As one of the owners that you speak of, let me explain my position.  I am a new boat owner.  I have been sailing for 50+ years, but never owned.  I just bought my Cat 34 this spring.  I could have put together a wiring harness by going to Radio Shack and buying the wire, but I would have had to research the appropriate gauge for each wire, the correct color coding, ensured that all of the wires were marine grade, stripped and tinned them..  Altogether it would have taken many hours to do that. And BTW there is A LOT of conflicting data(opinions) on the internet.  I would rather be sailing.

I am hoping that as I learn more about my boat I will be willing to take on more complex projects.  Maybe one day I will be at your level of understanding of my boat that I can do as you suggest.  For now I really want to ensure that I am safe. $150 is a small price for that.
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Ron Hill

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #62 on: July 17, 2014, 03:08:24 PM »

Ken : Had I known what I learned after reinstalling the old engine twice and then replacing that engine - I would have told people to hard wire everything. 

That wire harness is for the ease of the production line.  A thought
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 03:11:13 PM by Ron Hill »
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #63 on: July 17, 2014, 03:34:21 PM »


 I would have had to research the appropriate gauge for each wire, the correct color coding, ensured that all of the wires were marine grade, stripped and tinned them..  Altogether it would have taken many hours to do that. And BTW there is A LOT of conflicting data(opinions) on the internet.  I would rather be sailing.

I am hoping that as I learn more about my boat I will be willing to take on more complex projects.  Maybe one day I will be at your level of understanding of my boat that I can do as you suggest.  For now I really want to ensure that I am safe. $150 is a small price for that.

Steve,  Thanks for the come back.  I really appreciate the further input -- it helps me understand what/who to target in developing a product that works the best that it can owners.  I hope to be able to do that for about or below the CD cost, but will be the "complete" job -- ie, solve all the inherent problems with the OEM harness and CD's upgrade.

If I may -- a couple tips since you kept the OEM pigtails on the engine end....  Have your mechanic --

Check/replace the 1/4" quick connect at the solenoid "S" terminal -- it is notorious for starter-no-crank problems.  The type of terminal crimp had poor wire support, corrodes, and I have seen them fall off in my hand when wiggled.  For that matter, replace all the engine-wire ends with with marine-grade heat shrink terminals.  The cockpit panel ones are not as critical, but still...

Also, if you have the in-line fuse on that solenoid "S" wire (with the 1/4" quick connect I speak of above) clip it off and go right to the solenoid terminal (eliminates any future issues with that fuse holder, corrosion, etc.)  The fuse has no value whatsoever -- it's at the wrong end of the harness wire !! and indeed Westerbeke realized that and eliminated it after the XP model.

Pull the red wire off the solenoid (battery) post and crimp on an inline weatherproof fuse holder -- the lowest amp fuse that doesn't blow when you preheat is the best.  25 or 30 if you have nn preheat slave relay for the glow plugs -- 20a if you have the slave relay.  I use an inline maxi-fuse holder because I can insert a resettable maxi circuit breaker rather than a fuse.  That will be one really important addition because you're naturally concerned about safety -- and the CD upgrade leaves the harness unprotected against a short, and well, a fire can ruin one's day.

Lastly if your mechanic didn't, have him run the heavy charge cable to the solenoid B post, and a heavy ground cable to the bell housing.  They will greatly improve charging efficiency.


Cheers,
Ken
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #64 on: July 17, 2014, 03:47:37 PM »

Ken : Had I known what I learned after reinstalling the old engine twice and then replacing that engine - I would have told people to hard wire everything. 

That wire harness is for the ease of the production line.  A thought

And of course the 8-pin connector mates up to the Westerbeke-supplied over-priced harness to its panel   I see a proprietary pattern there.....

Realistically though, what else could Wb/Unv do?  Selling engines as quickly as they could, to who know who, for who knows what use, they couldn't possibly supply complete attached harnesses they met every install situation.  I suppose they could have mounted a terminal block somewhere....  But I fault CTY for not clipping off Unv's connector and hard wiring it...  And also for putting the Gummy Bear plug/socket at the cockpit -- that was totally a whoops - none was needed there.  That was just introducing a future failure point.   At least the Wb/Unv provided connector half was somewhat stout compared to the fabricated Gummy Bear half.  It's too bad that Wb still installs those plugs on it's engines.

Ken
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KWKloeber

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starting/electrical problem - WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #65 on: June 22, 2018, 09:35:43 AM »

Quote

I have been also experiencing an issue this season where I have been hitting the start button, after 20-25 sec glow plug warming, and just get a click down below.  No chug chug of the engine turning over like usual.  If I go through the sequence 2 or 3 times more she then turns over.  Didn't do this last season.  Based on my research here I will start by assessing\cleaning the ground wire on the engine after I drop the alternator to change the bolt.  It should be more easily accessible without the alternator in the way.  I also read where the starter might need cleaning but I will start with the wiring assessment and move from there.

Thanks again everyone!  You all, and this site, as usual are invaluable.

Bryan

Bryan

I appended the question to an old thread to get it off the alternator topic.  And an old thread because I find it useful to page back and see what others might have posted about the same or similar/related problem/topic.  I acknowledge some will say "you should start a new topic, don't post to an old one."  Well, frankly, its MPMC (my post, my choice.)

Here's some info... I have no idea your knowledge/expertise with the wiring/starting circuits, panel, and starting issues.  Fill us in. 
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5078.msg59213.html#msg59213
Also search the forum and 101.

There's probably 20 different reasons why you may have a no-start.  From a key switch or start switch with burned contacts, to a sticking solenoid, to a bad cable connection, to a loose quick-connect terminal on the "S" wire.   Fill us in with the details of your engine and wiring and PHOTOS!!! Many photos.  What engine (put the specs in your signature or the sidebar.) Do you have the gummy bear plugs, or was it rewired?

As soon as I can get my Outlook top stop crashing I will post a list of recommended work I sent to an owner last week.  It may be food for thought for you to check some things out on your engine.

-ken

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KWKloeber

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starting/electrical problem - WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #66 on: June 22, 2018, 09:41:07 AM »

Quote

I have been also experiencing an issue this season where I have been hitting the start button, after 20-25 sec glow plug warming, and just get a click down below.  No chug chug of the engine turning over like usual.  If I go through the sequence 2 or 3 times more she then turns over.  Didn't do this last season.  Based on my research here I will start by assessing\cleaning the ground wire on the engine after I drop the alternator to change the bolt.  It should be more easily accessible without the alternator in the way.  I also read where the starter might need cleaning but I will start with the wiring assessment and move from there.

Thanks again everyone!  You all, and this site, as usual are invaluable.

Bryan

Bryan

I appended the question to an old thread to get it off the alternator topic.  And an old thread because I find it useful to page back and see what others have posted about the same or similar/related problem/topic.  I acknowledge some will say "you should start a new topic, don't post to an old one."  Well, frankly, its MPMC (my post, my choice.)

Here's some info... I have no idea your knowledge/expertise with the wiring/starting circuits, panel, and starting issues.  Fill us in. 
http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5078.msg59213.html#msg59213
Also search the forum and 101.  Use the search box on the C34.org main page

There's probably 20 different reasons why you may have a no-start like this.  From a key switch or start switch with burned contacts, to a sticking solenoid, to a bad cable connection, to a loose quick-connect terminal on the "S" wire, to a battery that's ready to chunk.   It's probably the most prevalent problem, and the most difficult to troubleshoot.

Fill us in with the details of your engine and wiring and PHOTOS!!! Many photos.  What engine (put the specs in your signature or the sidebar.) Do you have the gummy bear plugs, or has it been rewired?

As soon as I can get my Outlook top stop crashing I will post a list of recommended work I sent to an owner last week.  It may be food for thought for you to check some things out on your engine.

-ken

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britinusa

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #67 on: June 22, 2018, 12:49:33 PM »

Just in case it's of some use: Here's the pdf of my new (2016) engine harness.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzhALZsJd3D4UUppeEpkVXhHQTA/view?usp=sharing

Paul
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KWKloeber

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Re: starting/electrical problem - WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #68 on: June 22, 2018, 01:34:27 PM »


As soon as I can get my Outlook top stop crashing I will post a list of recommended work I sent to an owner last week.  It may be food for thought for you to check some things out on your engine.

-ken

Bryan,

I sent the below to a CTY owner who was having a similar problem.  His wiring/panel looked like a mess and, although he had planned for me to do a new harness and reburb the panel in fall, he had to have the yard take care of it immediately cuz he ended up not being able to start at all.

Your cause may be the harness, gummy bears, a terminal, the battery, a battery cable, the solenoid itself, or anywhere in between.  If you find you need to replace the solenoid let me know beforehand and I have a better one for our engines.


IIWMB to do:

Replace the key switch with Cole-Hersee ignition switch w/ rubber weather boot.
Ck resistance on preheat and start switches - if questionable, replace w/ Cole-Hersee switches w/ rubber boot.
 
The panel is a mess, needs complete refurb w/ weatherproof terminals and proper wire coloring per ABYC.
 
Use only FTZ brand lugs and heat-shrink terminals (way better than Ancor brand.)
Use only tinned starter lugs on ALL alternator and solenoid wires (no ring terminals that flex and break from vibration)
 
charge and start improvements:
Install a negative power post (blue sea #2002) or negative 100 amp common bus bar in the engine compartment.
Terminate the harness negative (wire #1) and other negatives (fuel pump, bilge pump etc.) to that new post or bus (avoids wire runs back to panel and the voltage loss.)
 
Move the neg battery cable from the bell housing to a starter bolt
a #6 neg cable from the new neg post/bus to the starter bolt
A #6 alt ground cable (alt neg to the new neg post/bus)
a #6 pos cable from the alt output to solenoid "B" terminal
 
**Solder < female quick-connect terminal w/ 6" #10 yellow pigtail >  to starter solenoid "S" terminal, heat shrink over,
put <male weatherproof quick-connect  and #10awg AGC fuseholder> on end of 6" pigtail (to receive the #3 "S" wire from starter switch.)
 
original harness # (thru the 8-pin plug), new wire schedule:
#1 - negative - #10 black
#2 - preheat - #10 white
#3 - solenoid "S" wire - #10 yellow, mark red stripe with permanent marker (per ABYC color coding.)
#4 - unused (was orange charge)
#5 - 12v to panel - #10 red, fused <7" at solenoid to comply with ABYC.  *** (AGC fuseholder w/ weatherproof cap - M8 lug)
#6 - Alt field excite - #14 purple
#7 - low oil pressure alarm - #16 light blue
#8 - coolant temp gauge - #16 tan
 
OEM harness not thru original plug:
#9 - fuel pump power - power this off wire #6, alt field excite (tap into @ engine compartment.) (Was redundant unnecessary wire in OEM harness.)
#10 - Tach AC signal - #14 gray
 
unnumbered OEM harness:
fuel level gauge - #16 pink
fuel level negative, bond to tank
fuel tank bond - #14 green to new neg power post or bus
 
Add these additional conductors to harness:
future #16 brown - (in case you want to add a hi-temp alarm switch)
future  #16 dark blue - (in case you want to add an oil pressure gauge)
 
optional for harness
future #10 red (in case you ever need a high power receptacle in the cockpit (for a spotlight, etc.)
**** #14 green - thermostat cap bond to ground  (overcome the ####ty ground thru the Tstat cap and engine.)
 


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NewToTheRoad

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #69 on: July 13, 2018, 09:39:38 AM »

Ken,
  I apologize but I missed this post, as I didn't realize that it had content directed to me in it.  I just found it after I searched on "solenoid 10awg" and stumbled on it via dumb luck.  I had read the solenoid upgrade post, and was having trouble locating some #8 wire so I wanted to see if anyone used #10.  TBT, I was looking for a cheaper way out as I would have to purchase some lug crimpers as well.  Searching around Amazon I may be able to get some prebuilt short cables (18") with lugs but I want to measure to see if they would be adequate length.  My plan is to use the heat exchanger bolt for attaching\grounding the new solenoid.

Backstory:  I cleaned the connectors at the starter and ground.  They didn't look corroded but i did so anyhow.  I don't think that took care of my problem as it still happened again, however the engine then turned right over when I slightly jiggled the key back to the temp position.  Being 30 years old I figured it wouldn't hurt to replace the ignition switch.  I got the one through Catalina direct with the rubber boot, Sea Dog brand I believe.  I went that route because I wanted to make sure it fit and was the right fit, the first time.  I plan to install this weekend.

I also decided to do the Solenoid upgrade and purchased the Wells F496 that Stu had recommended in the post.  I have yet to install and still need to get the #8 wiring.

My engine is the M25XP.  I'm fairly certain that no wiring upgrades have ever been made.  My plan is to replace the ignition switch and see if that takes care of the issue.  If not I will take lots of pics as requested.  I have been behind the panel and while original it looks fairly clean (not a rats nest) with no visible corrosion at the switches.

To answer your question my electrical skills don't go much beyond a high school electronics class.  That being said I have already replaced the bilge pump and wired in float switch and manual\auto fused control switch.  I also wired in a solar panel and battery controller and installed a few bus strips in the battery compartment.  Also, changed my glow plugs 2 seasons ago.  I now know where the starter and engine ground is after cleaning the ends.  So, little by little I'm learning my way and overcoming my fears to step into it a little deeper.  Everything I have done has come from research and tips on this forum.

Bryan
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KWKloeber

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #70 on: July 13, 2018, 11:57:11 AM »

Hey Bryan,

Thanks for the update.

Questions:

1) Did you clean/tighten the "S" wire terminal on the starter solenoid? That, the fuse there, and the panel switches are the most prone to starting issues.  There is a fix for the terminal at the solenoid, but it requires some soldering (eazy peazy.)

2) Do you preheat and start thru the key switch, or do you have preheat and start push buttons?  Catalina installed panels with basically 3 different glow/start methods - not sure one(s?) were on the 34.

2) What is your purpose of, or want to accomplish by, or issue trying to overcome via, installing the solenoid?

Please understand that it does nothing to help you start "better".  Its sole purpose is to cut the preheat time down from, say, 30-45 seconds, to 10-15 seconds.  Then you sit at the dock (for what 10? minutes) warming up the engine, readying lines, stocking the beer, etc. 
So yes, the preheat mod is great -- it cuts the time to shove off from a highly unmanageable 10.75 minutes down to a much more palatable 10.12 minutes.

Meanwhile, you've added additional unnecessary failure points in the starting system, more terminal corrosion points, the need to carry a spare solenoid (just in case.)  Better yet, you will be delivering full voltage (13+ volts) to glow plugs that are rated for 10 volts.  And if you are out and say the battery remaining is very marginal, it wastes starting capacity activating a switch (solenoid) that is rated to handle say, 250 amps.  The glow plugs pull a whopping 18 amps thru that solenoid.  No, it isn't a ton of energy waste and probably won't make a difference, but does that make sense when it's a totally unnecessary "appendage" in the first place?   If that 0.63 seconds "savings" is that important to offset the added cost, complexity, and failure points, we should all simply buy turn-the-key-and-go powerboats (but then we'd be sitting there waiting for the engine blower :shock: .)

IF YOU do the mod (YBYC), there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to use #8 wire.  At 18 amps, #10 awg increases the V loss from about 0.02 v (w/ #8 awg) to about 0.04 volts.  Really?  Remember that's going to glow plugs that the mod is already over voltage-ing.

IF YOU DO the mod (YBYC), see my note on the TechWiki (right after the description of the solenoid mod) about using a 40-amp headlight relay instead of a 250-amp starter solenoid.  They are <$10 at any auto parts (think of the cost of a spare) and it plugs into a standard wired socket, so all you do is pull one out, push the other in to replace it.

Bottom line, I've soapboxed about this mod so many times -- (ITSHO) it is one of the worst ones devised, and it's unfortunate that it's caught on "so well."  It is not a magic bullet to improve poor starting, and masks actually correcting poor wiring.  There are many more upgrades that will actually go toward eliminating poor-starts or no-starts ("starting" (ugh :rolling ) with replacing panel switches as you are doing.)  Another is running a 10 awg "S wire" (if yours is lighter) from the start switch to the starter solenoid.  THERE'S where you need full voltage.  Some harnesses had 16 awg "S wire."  If you did the ammeter to voltmeter switch, there's a 10 awg conductor (orange) sitting there waiting to be used.


Thud (stepping down from the soapbox)
-Ken
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NewToTheRoad

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #71 on: July 13, 2018, 12:50:16 PM »

Ken,
   I'm not sure about the "S" wire terminal.  What I found was 2 ring terminals on one post (pretty sure one was battery power, thicker red cable) and then a flat terminal connector on another one (maybe "S" ?) both facing forward and somewhat under the alternator.  I am assuming that was the solenoid of the starter.  Admittedly, multiple assumptions being made here.  In any event I cleaned the rings and unseated\re-seated the flat.

   I have a separate key and start button.  I hold the key in the spring loaded temp position for 30 secs then back off to the start position, then hit the start button.

  Understood that the solenoid does nothing to help starting problems and I agree that you are just buying yourself 20 seconds.  I also get the fact that you are introducing more failure points.  The potential of a low battery is not a huge concern as I do have a portable start battery with jumpers aboard and we rarely use any juice (no overnights yet, no refrig, no inverter).  My logic, FWIW, is that if the engine is cold and we are sailing there are times when I need the engine to get me out of a bit of trouble - stalled on a tack or needing to give way fast in close quarters, etc.  Then, if it doesn't start, repeating the same sequence (thinking i didn't wait on the glow plugs long enough).  So, I guess I was looking at it as a fairly easy and cheap upgrade for a pressure relief.  More psychological than anything.  Also, makes it easier for the admiral to start her if needed.

  I do already have the instrument panel with the voltmeter.

  Of course I saw your relay idea, in the tech wiki, after I purchased the solenoid.   :cry4`  Actually, I saw it before, but it makes more sense now that you walked me through it.  Maybe I will rethink my approach now.

 One question while I have your attention.  After holding the key in the temp position, and consistently at about the 25 sec mark, there is an audible click at the instrument panel itself, almost like a notification that the plugs are warmed up.  I haven't read anything about this.  Is this anything that you are aware of?  I'm definitely not imagining it.

Thanks,
  Bryan
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Portsmouth, RI

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #72 on: July 13, 2018, 01:40:56 PM »

Bryan,

Do you still have the gummy bear RV/trailer connectors, or have they been removed (on both engine and panel ends of the harness)?

If PO did the voltmeter mod, and your S wire is lighter than #10 awg, use the orange harness wire to up-size it.

The "S" terminal is the 1/4" quick connect (flat as you say). That can loosen, corrode, and that type terminal should not be there on a marine engine.  Can be fixed fairly easily.  Also, you may still have a barrel fuse on that wire 6" from the solenoid? -- also bad news for starting.

Yes the #10 red conductor is the power to the panel (NOTE it is unfused and a fire hazard.)  Should be fused.

I've never heard of the panel clicking after 45 secs. Strange doings.  Maybe pull it and determine the source?  Kubota had a timer for the preheat circuit, but it's not on our boats.

You **never** need to preheat to restart the XP unless you're sailing in the Arctic or it had been a long, long, long time since shutting down.  Try it next time under the longest time you can.

Note, I never use a "ring terminal" on the starter "B" post, nor anywhere else (e.g., alternator) where there's vibration/harness movement and you have heavier wire.  The rings are too weak (not enough meat on them) and typically the ring isn't any larger, the hole is just enlarged (i.e., an M6 ring terminal has more meat than an M8 terminal.)

-k

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Ron Hill

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #73 on: July 17, 2018, 02:29:32 PM »

Guys : When I installed a Hi-Output alternator I also installed a #4 wire direct from the Batteries to the case of the alternator.  When I installed a battery monitor I installed a #8 wire from the negative shunt direct to the negative 12V bus bar (above the battery selector switch on inside ot the main panel).
NEVER had a problem starting in over 25 years.

As Ken mentioned - if you turn on the key switch and you see the temp gage come up and read at least 100F - you don't need the glow(preheat) plugs!!

A few thoughts   :thumb:
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Ron, Apache #788

NewToTheRoad

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Re: Strange starting/electrical problem WIRING HARNESS FIRE HAZARD
« Reply #74 on: August 07, 2018, 06:16:08 AM »

Quick update on this.  I installed the new ignition switch and that seemed to fix the issue with the starting.  I have had no issues in 3 weekends. 

Bryan
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Lori & Bryan
1988 C34, M25XP, Std Rig, Fin Keel - Hull # 697
Portsmouth, RI
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