Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: 2ndwish on September 07, 2010, 09:11:08 AM

Title: Wiring Harness Upgrade Notes
Post by: 2ndwish on September 07, 2010, 09:11:08 AM
This came from here:,5861.0.html (,5861.0.html)

Len and I finished this job the other day. The instructions provided by Seaward were pretty good, but we found a few things on the way which might help others who want to perform this upgrade (which they should).

I'm in agreement with Ron & Capt Al (in the Tech Wiki on this subject), that the terminal strips are probably more trouble than they are worth and replacing the entire harness, with no intermediate connections, is the least failure prone approach. That said, we used the terminals and the existing harness.

1) On 2nd Wish (1987 hull #464), it was difficult to pull enough of the harness through to the engine side to gain access to the harness extension wire ends after cutting off the connectors. This left little room and contortionist maneuvers to pre-tin the wire ends. It would probably have been easier to open the panel end first and cut all securing cable ties to create the extra 18 inches of slack in the extension. Alternatively, spending $35 for a new pre-tinned harness extension from Seaward would have been worth the cost.

2) On 2nd Wish  the wires from the engine to the connector were wrapped in electrical tape and routed between the starter and the coolant manifold, behind the harness grounding lug on the port side. In order to remove the orange alternator output wire, it was necessary to remove the tape, which required unscrewing the ground lug. We also found removing the orange wire from the alternator made it easier to cut it to the proper size, crimp (and solder) the terminal on. Placing the stack of the #4 battery wire, the orange and the red wire terminals on the starter stud was also tricky given access issues. Think about how the terminal lug will lie on the stud before cutting and crimping the orange wire.

3) The instructions provide no indication of how the terminal strip is to be secured, other than some comment about using spare wires to strain relieve the assembly. If anyone has a preferred way of doing this, I'd love to hear it.

4)The cockpit side: When working in the lazarette, wear long-sleeves or you will be itchy for a few days. Catalina apparently took little pity on those who would have to work in there.

5) The harness on the cockpit side had plenty of slack after cutting the cable ties there (see 1 above). Getting the panel out was tricky. The clearance between the panel parts and wires, and the mounting box is minimal. We had to remove the engine kill handle to get it out. There is almost no extra wire between the panel and the connector. In retrospect, having several feet of spare wire of the appropriate gauges (and colors) as well as corresponding crimp terminals, would have been a very good idea. Replacing the 7 wires between the panel and the cockpit term strip would have taken little time and made for a much neater job.

Hope this helps the next person.


2nd Wish, 1987 Hull# 464

Title: Re: Wiring Harness Upgrade Notes
Post by: Ron Hill on September 10, 2010, 06:54:35 PM
2nd : If you had read my article on removing the engine, you'd have read that I removed the old engine twice and put in a new engine.
None of those times did I ever disconnect anything from the terminal strips.  I disconnected/reconnected all wires from the engine itself !!!

The terminal strips are a waste of time and $$.  They were designed for the production line to install engines easier/faster. 
If only you had read my Mainsheet Article.  Great info in those Mainsheet tech notes!! 
A thought   :cry4`
Title: Re: Wiring Harness Upgrade Notes
Post by: Hawk on September 11, 2010, 05:56:23 PM
I replaced my harness this summer. I had read previously that the harness sometimes was a little short. When talking to (either Seaward or Catalina Direct- can't recall) they said "OK how long?" I ordered 18 feet which gave us lots of slack and we ditched the terminal strip as per Ron and others' suggestion. This was also confirmed as the obvious way to go by our local marine electrician (no need to break up the wiring).

Made it 30 kms past Desolation Sound and if only I had double checked my old batteries before the trip....another story which lead to solar.

Title: Re: Wiring Harness Upgrade Notes
Post by: 2ndwish on September 14, 2010, 08:41:27 AM
Ron and Hawk- Thanks for the information. I did read the tech notes before starting. We needed the voltmeter anyway, so we bought the kit. It sounds like the preferred solution is to purchase the voltmeter from Seaward and work the harness separately. I am not a big fan of butt-crimp-solder connectors as the joint gets covered by heat shrink tubing and is uninspectable. A splice-free solution would require either fashioning a new harness from individual wires (per Ron's suggestion) or purchasing a new one from Seaward. The Seaward option requires a harness longer than the 1 ft extra they offer as a standard product. Had I known that Seaward will make the harness as long as you want, I would have gone that route (still can actually).

Ron's suggestion of pulling the wires through one at a time results in an optimally sized harness. The downside is that cable-tying the wires into a single harness appears to be difficult after the fact. He suggests using plastic conduit, which seems quite reasonable. Alternatively, the harness can be pre-made, pulled through, cutting the wire to length as needed. This then means the harness needs to be significantly oversized and cut back. A third option would be to follow Ron's suggestion, replacing each wire, leaving a little extra on each, then disconnect one side, pull the wires, cable-tie them and pull them back through, then reconnect.

The suggestion was made that the harness is split with connectors for the purpose of engine replacement. It seems to me that the engine comes from the factory pre-wired with the connector (its in the Universal manual that way). It was probably very easy for Catalina purchase the panels with a mating connector and harness extension so that they did not need to perform engine wiring at the factory (my 2 cents). 

Either way the job is not difficult and less time consuming if you spend the $$ on new wires.


Title: Re: Wiring Harness Upgrade Notes
Post by: dodgercc27 on September 27, 2010, 09:34:40 PM
I'm sure this has been posted somewhere so my apologies.

How do you know if the wiring Harness Upgrade has been done on your boat or not.  Is there any easy tell tale signs?

Title: Re: Wiring Harness Upgrade Notes
Post by: Stu Jackson on September 27, 2010, 10:46:13 PM
Start at Critical Upgrades,5078.0.html (,5078.0.html)

Read the first link on the first post on wiring harness.  It eve has pictures of what to look for.

That's why we did Critical Upgrades.