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Old 08-29-2006, 08:44 PM
gpd955 gpd955 is offline
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Wiring Harness


I have an A4 in my '79 Catalina 30. The engine runs very well, however, I have had some problems when I am out on the water that has me concerned. Once in a while, I turn the key and nothing happens at all! The ammeter moves but the engine doesn't turn over.

An "Engine Guy" that was working in the marina on one occassion when this occured did a check of the engine and determined that I probably need a new wiring harness. He suggested an emergency fix, which I needed to employ the other day and it worked fine. I use a wire with a clip on each end and I bypass the wiring harness by connecting it to the "S" terminal in the solenoid and the "Output" terminal on the alternator and then turning the key. It works every time but I am sure that it isn't the best thing to do!!

Do you have any other solutions or do you agree that it is the wiring harness. If it is, can they be purchased through Moyer Marine.

Jack Manning
S/V Victim of Fate
Atlantic City, NJ
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:18 AM
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Don Moyer Don Moyer is offline
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Unless someone replaced it, your Catalina 30 has a long wiring harness between the engine and the control panel in the cockpit which includes three 8-pin quick-disconnects. Two of these disconnects are easily inspected, one being located at the engine, and the other immediately behind the instrument panel.

The third quick-disconnect is hidden under the cabin sole and can only be found by removing the square wooden access panel through which the stuffing box of the prop shaft is serviced and reaching (a couple feet) over toward the galley stove area. In our Catalina 30, this third quick-disconnect was lying in a puddle of bilge water, and the contacts themselves were corroded to the point that two of them pulled apart as I tried to separate the two halves of the disconnect.

Everything electrical that your Atomic 4 needs to start and run goes through these disconnects, including the important primary ignition circuit. If this circuit opens up, it will shut down your engine just as if someone accidentally turned off the ignition switch. I would inspect all three of these disconnects and see if you can clean them. If any of these disconnects are in poor condition, especially the one in the center, it's probably best to replace the whole harness. We have a wiring kit dimensioned to accommodate the Catalina 30 in our online catalog. Here's a link to the instructions which accompany the kit, so you can determine if it's something you're comfortable with doing yourself.

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:59 PM
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Wiring Harness

If you wrap the splits in wiring harness plugs with plastic electrician tape it will keep moisture out. Metal + moisture + electricity = corrosion

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Old 07-27-2010, 06:18 PM
ArtJ ArtJ is offline
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In addition to the tape, why not encapsulate them with liquid electrical tape,
or silicon caulking
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:33 PM
Jesse Delanoy Jesse Delanoy is offline
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I have a '77 Catalina 30, and was having some intermittent problems with the engine dying and not starting a couple of years back. It turned out that the long wire from the alternator up to the key switch in the cockpit was bad. Not the connections - the wire itself was breaking down. This boat was wired in the days before there was such a thing as marine grade wire, I guess. I spent a few bucks on a length of good wire at the boat store, disconnected the old wire in the harness Don spoke of, and ran the new wire along the harness from the engine compartment up to the key switch.

Haven't had any problems since then.

Jesse Delanoy
1977 Catalina 30
Off The Grid
Baltimore/Pasadena, MD
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:23 PM
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rigspelt rigspelt is offline
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Practical Sailor has a great article this month on electrical connection technology. I highly recommend it. They are immersing connections in heated bilge seawater to hasten failure, using a combination of various wire, connector, heat shrink and dielectric grease products. This is the initial report. Very illuminating (does that count as a pun guys?)
1974 C&C 27
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