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Author Topic: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors  (Read 379 times)

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Andy_G

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Hello community!

This is my first post/question; I just purchased a 1989 Catalina 34 and very excited to be part of this community. As a first step, I have checked out the critical upgrades posts and would like to determine if my existing setup requires the Engine Harness upgrade or not. I do not see the mentioned 8 pin nor 12 pins behind the engine controls...and as you can see from the photos, it does have some electrical upgrades/changes such as the starter battery. I have also included a photo of the alternator (I think) which might be of help. Thanks again and greatly appreciate any help!

Best,

Andy
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 06:41:38 PM by Stu Jackson »
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Andy Godoy, 1989 C34 Wing Keel, #966232, Charleston SC

Stu Jackson

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2021, 08:40:05 PM »

Andy, Congratulations & Welcome.

It's hard to tell from that photo, although I don't see any trailer plugs.  Have you checked at the engine end?

Remember, the harness issue is primarily the connections, the old trailer plugs which Kloeber has called Gummy Bears.  The wire itself is a separate issue and in many cases is fine.
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KWKloeber

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2021, 11:52:46 PM »

Andy

From the looks of the panel back she could benefit from a "professional" rewiring.  NONE of the terminals are "marine grade" waterproof. adhesive heat shrunk.  You have a HOT wire (the light feed for the newer fuel gauge. YIKES! that can short and start a fire behind the panel.  Although it's a Universal not Seaward panel, below is what a "marine-grade" wired panel should look like.

Also. I'll bet a case of Stu's best alcohol that she has no fuse on the always-HOT feed to the panel.  That wire chafes and shorts and you a potential fire.

The Gummy Bear plug distance from the panel can vary -- chase the harness back as far as you can to see if it was eliminated (wires butt-crimped together?) 
As Stu said you may still have an 8-pin plug in the engine compartment.  Post lots of pics of the engine if you want me to assess what you have there.

The plugs are bad news, but also BAD are the terminals on the original engine harness (between the engine components and first Gummy Bear plug -- they are the same type as Seaward used on the back of the panel (although Universal did a better job on the engine wires.)  One problem is that some eliminate the Gummy Bear plugs but leave the remainder (the wiring/terminals, non-waterproof connections) and the whole system is no better than its weakest point.  So the wires themselves can oftentimes be salvaged and all new terminals being added.  The other way is to use a new, drop-in harness that's ready-made to hook up.


 
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mark_53

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2021, 11:06:46 AM »

The panel wiring looks a lot like mine.  It looks as if the trailer connectors were removed and hard wired to the gauges. Not marine grade connections as Ken points out but the gauges on mine seem to fail before the wiring.  I've replaced both fuel and voltage gauges in the last 8 years.  Also, that battery looks a bit precarious not bolted down.
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KWKloeber

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2021, 02:15:55 PM »

Andy,

To follow up, I just checked and the last harness that I fabricated/panel I rewired had the original Gummy Bear plug about 20 inches from the end of the tach wire (which along with the fuel sender doesn't run thru the plug.)  I'd think that Seaward would have manufactured the pigtails pretty much standard.  So you might need to dig a bit deeper to verify whether the plug has been replaced with butt crimps.
     
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Ron Hill

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2021, 02:34:51 PM »

Andy : As Ken and Stu mentioned that trailer connecter at each end may be about a foot of so from the panel and engine. 
The engine end is easiest to find. Just look on the port side of the engine compartment (low) for a 1"x3" that is wrapped in black electrical tape!!  That would be the trailer connector.
Couldn't tell from the photo if the electrical engine gage is a Volt meter or an ammeter.   If it's an ammeter the wiring harness upgrade has NOT been done!!

A thought
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Andy_G

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2021, 06:04:25 PM »

Hi Ken, Stu, Mark, Ron,

First of all, again, I'm super excited to be part of this community and hopefully go on big adventures with my Catalina 34 :)

I did my absolute best effort to capture the reality of my Catalina and have divided it into two sections, a) engine photos and b) engine controls. Again, all the comments and help are greatly appreciated as my intent is not just to float and sleep in my boat but rather to understand every corner of her and sail her as much as possible (with safety being the number one starting point).

Engine: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/26yh28rfmw292iu/AAB3C_iosyAnXN4l3G384h8Ma?dl=0

Engine Controls: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/duahp3a2kvnkavo/AADLmrkZndd2QsLvrt-2qtmBa?dl=0

Looking forward to your comments and replies!

Best,

Andy

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Andy Godoy, 1989 C34 Wing Keel, #966232, Charleston SC

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Please help!
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2021, 06:57:07 PM »

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Couldn't tell from the photo if the electrical engine gage is a Volt meter or an ammeter.   If it's an ammeter the wiring harness upgrade has NOT been done


Definitely a voltmeter, plus it's a 1989 boat.

Andy, your engine photos #9 & #11 show what you have there.  I don't see any Euro-strip, which was the "harness package" replacement connectors included in the classic tech wiki article, nor do I see what Ken & Ron advise about a big hunk of black electrical tape.

Thing is, we are here and you are on your boat, we're not.  Only you can really tell us what's there, because the pictures in this case don't help completely.

Here's an idea.  Using that classic article (https://c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Engine_Harness_Upgrade) print it out, especially the wiring diagrams, and see if you can identify each and every one of the wires on your boat.  Draw your own diagram if need be, like I did here in Diagram #3 for my new regulator installation (Alternator Regulator Wiring Diagrams - all three http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4548.0.html).

Look at and identify each wire down there, include the color.  Follow the wires aft as far as you can.  Hop unbder the aft cabin cushions and take a look, too.

I've found the only way to begin to really understand this stuff is to do it step-by-step.  The more you know...and all that.

I applaud your approach to Safety First.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 08:50:07 PM by Stu Jackson »
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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2021, 09:30:58 PM »

Andy, here's what I see from afar.

General:

Looks like not all but most of your hoses are likely original.  Time for complete replacements except for those few obvious newer ones-- upgrade the hose clamps to ABA or AWAB types.
 
You have an older M25-XP - before the bell housing was changed where the heat exchanger (Hx) fits into a concave and is bolted to the housing w/ vertical clamps.  Consequently, you have an older (M-25 style) Hx bracket (held w/ hose clamps.)

The Heat exchanger needs attention/cleaning/repainting.  Use ABA or AWAB or T-bolt clamps so when the Hx case expands it doesn't snap the slotted hose clamp bands.

You will want to move the crankcase breather hose that drops into the bilge, (photo 3) over to the air intake silencer or to the intake manifold.  It will reduce engine/diesel odors in the saloon.

Your alternator has a voltage-sense terminal -- handy to have; most XP OEMs do not.

I don't see a negative cable on the alternator.  Your charging will appreciate having one.

I can't tell exactly what's going on with charging- it appears that your alternator goes directly to the battery bank?  Likewise, with the alternator voltage sense -- it appears that it might be picking it up from the engine panel, not the battery bank but that's just a guess.  The taped-up spot on orange (sense?) wire (photo 8) worries me.

The engine/panel doesn't have a high temp alarm -- something you might want to add if you do any harness/panel/engine upgrades.

The battery negative (cables are OEM undersized #4 AWG) is bolted to the bell housing; should be moved to the outside starter motor bolt.

The panel harness 12V- wire is bolted to the exhaust manifold and it looks like the wire may be about to break off the (original) terminal.  That's a terrible location to pick up the negative (heat, expansion, poor contact, rust & corrosion.)

The harness 12V+ feed wire to the panel is unfused.  YIKES; fire hazard.  Add a weathertight ATC fuse holder within 7" of the solenoid "B" post.

I can't see the starter solenoid but bet it has an OEM barrel fuse holder on the harness "S" wire (change to a weathertight ATC fuse holder.) 
The "S" terminal on the solenoid is problematic and may need attention (can lead to non-starts and severe head-scratching.)

You have an Oberdorfer seawater pump, that's a plus.

She has a Dayco Top Cog engine belt; a good thing.

The closed coolant pump has the wrong hose on it and appears to be (an optical contusion?) to be dangerously close to the crank pulley and engine belt.

Source of oil drips underneath?

Harness:
Unwrap the harness taped-up mess, you may be surprised what's underneath.
YIKES a bare wire; looks like a purple (alternator Field Excite circuit?)

The pinched blower hose isn't doing airflow any favor.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 09:31:34 PM by KWKloeber »
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

Andy_G

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2021, 12:56:55 PM »

Ken, Stu,

Thank you very very much for the assessment and detailed evaluation!! This is priceless as I move ahead and try to get up to speed with safety.

Would any of you know a great electrician in Charleston or South Carolina with experience (this is clearly beyond my scope of knowledge and want to execute it as best as possible)? Again, thank you very much.

Andy
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mark_53

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2021, 03:38:12 PM »

Just noticed your engine panel is missing a plexiglass cover. You will need one to cover the gauges. Some of us also cover that with a sunbrella cover.
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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2021, 01:36:53 PM »

Andy : After looking at your engine photos - I'm going to guess that the "wiring harness upgrade" been done?? 
What a PO did? was hard wire connect each of the wires of the "trailer connector" together and skip the terminal block.  Also look at the output of the alternator - there should be a short wire (#4?) from the alt. output direct to the starter solenoid terminal.

You have a bunch of cleaning and separating wires to do - so you know what is what!!  Your work is cut out for you.  Good luck!!

A few thoughts
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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2021, 05:21:16 PM »

Ron

1) Don't you think that under the electrical tape wrap, is one of the GB plugs?

2) He has a #10 AO wire, and it goes "someplace else" -- possibly direct to the bank or to the 1-2-B switch?  (only the batt V+ cable and #10 power wire to the panel are on the solenoid.)

3) The orange wire is still in place -- it appears that the PO was using it for a feed from the panel back to the alternator voltage sense terminal.

-k
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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

KWKloeber

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2021, 05:22:38 PM »

Andy

What would you say is your comfort level? 
Disconnect and reconnect the harness wires to the engine components, or not really comfy with that?

-ken

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Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the tradewinds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.   -Mark Twain

Ron Hill

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Re: Critical Upgrade - Do I need it? Trailer plug/Gummy Bear connectors
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2021, 01:01:58 PM »

Andy : Ken may be right?  See what is under all of that black tape.  My connectors were also held together with a lateral black wire tie (end to end).  I just can't remember if the wire tie was on the outside or under the black tape!!

A thought
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