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Author Topic:   Overhaulin' Wiring Project
Casco Bay Outrage posted 07-30-2006 10:11 PM ET (US)   Profile for Casco Bay Outrage   Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage  
After ooing and ahhing the factory wiring on the Montauk 170 and seeing Jim H's recent gauge rigging work, I have just started my little rigging project.

The "plan" is to replace the instrument panels, re-arrange the two main gauges (can't see the lower gauge), relocate the gas gauge and replace the original pull switches with rockers. In the near term I also plan to install courtesy lighting under the gunnels and RPS as well as a bilge pump.
Long term ideas include adding water pressure and temp gauges.

Here is the album with photos I took before and after I cut the 43 zip ties to get a sense of what is going on. Outrage%20Rewire%20project/

After the zip tie massacre I pulled wires apart and traced where some of it went. What a mess. It appears the following are too long:

Main harness ~10 ft
Ignition bundle ~ 6 ft
Garmin Sounder ~ 12 ft

Here is a good shot of the coils/extra wires. Outrage%20Rewire%20-%20before/unzippedfloor.jpg

While I will leave the main harness and any other wire with a pin connector alone, the rest have either butt/spade/bullet connectors.

My prelim routing plan is to use the space just above the shelf insert as a routing highway since it appears to have plywood backing. I do like Swist's advice in JimH's gauge thread of adding a loop of extra wire so instrument panels can be pulled away to work on.

While I have easy access to Hamilton Marine, Boaters World, West Marine and 3 marina stores, I welcome your input (with links to specific products)on:

Connectors - There are bullets, blade and spades. Some will/should be replaced. What works for you?

Terminal block fused/unfused? I see several inline and like having fused on the dash for easy changes.

Securing wires both along the "highway"

Would you use wire loom for small groups of wires or leave bare?

Chuck Tribolet posted 07-30-2006 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Connectors: If at all possible, ring connectors screwed down.
Distant second choice is quarter inch quick disconnects.
(Dunno of this is what you meant meant by blade or spade,
the ones I mean have a male part that's flat and 1/4" wide).
No bullets.

No wiring or connectors that's not made by Ancor. Nothing
from the auto parts store or the hardware store.

Connectors should be the Ancor with pre installed hot melt
glue lined heat shring.

Master fuse before the terminal block. Terminal block with
individual fuses. Blue Sea Systems makes some nice ones.

In a perfect world, the plates would be hinged. Be sure to
strain relieve everything on the plate, and again on the
console, prefereably twice in each place. Otherwise,
connections will pop off as you open and close things.


Casco Bay Outrage posted 07-31-2006 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Chuck - Thanks for the help. We are on the same page.

After labeling every wire/plug/connector I removed the tach and multi gauge and instrument plate on the left side. Will use the upper hole as a template for cutting the new plate.

The labeling effort tonight for just the two gauges helped me realize how wacked the wiring really is.

I see a splice using a blue connector that has one of original ends cut off.

I see several wires where someone added a 4 way blade/bullet connector and the wire then runs to another blade/bullet.
A different way of saying it is think of a 8' power strip w/ 4 plugs. Plugged in to the strip is 1 item that is located next to the wall outlet)

In pulling off the panel I see that the dash has a secondary panel. See Outrage%20Rewire%20-%20before/P7270003.jpg
Was this the original panel?

In untangling the knots and coiling up the excess to make some room I see a terminal block. There is hope!

Next step is to cut the new panels.

Chesapeake posted 08-04-2006 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     

Yes. That is the original panel... assuming yours in a 91 Outrage or maybe even an early 92. I have that same secondary panel.

Additionally, I have been testing and struggling with various ways to remove the faded gray color aroung the perimeter. Penetrol only covers it and makes it look black. It is still gray underneath the Penetrol. A little Acetone has some effect with considerable rubbing, but does not remove all the gray. Goo-be-gone removes all the gray but seemingly melts and removes some material as well --- not great. So I am still testing on how to restore that secondary panel back to original.

I may just bag it and have an entirely new panel made.

Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-04-2006 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
I have made a fair amount of progress in my destruction. I have removed about 3 rolls worth of electrical tape and another 30 zip ties in the stern sump and rear seat area where the battery and switch are located. God I hate old electrical tape. A sticky gooey mess.

Tonight I cut the hole for the multi-function gauge in the new left side instrument panel. I am leaving the middle area for future temp/water pressure gauges. On the bottom will be a Rule bilge switch.

On the right will be the tach, 12v and horn in the middle and 4 rocker switches at the bottom.

Have updated photos showing more of the zip tie and electrical tape massacre.

Still not clear what the best connectors are for wires that need to be spliced.

jimh posted 08-05-2006 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Some WD-40 and a rag can help remove adhesive tape residue.

To make a permanent splice, I recommend using an uninsulated barrel connector, soldering the wires, and then covering with heat shrink tubing. This will make a splice with the least increase in diameter of the conductor. I have the good fortune to have access to a lot of colors of heat shrink tubing, and I can often match the heat shrink tubing color to the wire insulation color.

Binkie posted 08-06-2006 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
Can liquid electric tape be used instead of heat shrink tubing?
Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-06-2006 01:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Binky -

You can use the non-heat shrink connectors and then coat the ends with liquid tape. I recommend two coats, with time to dry in between. It comes in various colors so you can keep your color codes accurate.

davej14 posted 08-06-2006 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
I would not use liquid electrical tape alone to coat a splice. It is too soft and can easily be abraded to the conductor. I have filled the ends of a standard insulated butt splice with it but I really like the anchor insulated butt splice connectors which use an adhesive lined heat shrink for insulation.
Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-10-2006 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Update -

I have both panels cut and fitted for the gauges, switches
etc. Even with the old panel holes as a guide, the cuts were a bit challenging. The 12 v recepticle was the hardest due to its' small diameter. I used a dremel w/cutting wheel.

A set of hole saws is a good investment if you are going to do this kind of a project.

While I planned to replace the terminal block with a larger one, today I changed my mind and will go with a Blue Seas fuse block with ground as discussed in another thread.

Picked up a new kind of connector and will include it in the photos. Looks like a big improvement over the blue splice connectors.

Install and rewire to commence in ernest this weekend.
Will update the album as well.

Backlash posted 08-12-2006 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
Just an FYI here. I have always used the Ancor heat shrink connectors with the hot melt glue and just noticed (at Wally World) that 3M has what appears to be idential connectors. Same colors etc., and sell for less than half what the Ancor's sell for.
Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-12-2006 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
New panels are assembled and installed.

Here is the before:

Here is the after:

Continue to work on reconnecting and clean up all the wires. Once the dash/console is done, will move to the stern/battery area.

jimh posted 08-13-2006 10:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A very nice improvement!
17 bodega posted 08-14-2006 02:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
Thanks for posting the photos and this article. It serves as a guide for improvements on my boat. I am currently struggling with the ideal manner in which to wire the dual switch in combonation with the switch panel and additional terminal blocks for future electronics and electronic toys.

Excellent work!


Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-14-2006 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Thanks to Jim for posting the photos.

Got 4 more hours in this weekend attaching, routing, unattaching, rerouting. Must have done each gauge 3 times.

What remains is the electronics that come from above, bilge pump (full install) and the switch panel.

Good news is the wiring is looking very clean so far.

I now realize why JimH only tackled his gauge panel. This is time consuming work.

jimh posted 08-14-2006 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am saving a complete re-wiring of the primary battery distribution and the secondary distribution for another season. You have to actually go out and use the boat once in a while, too. In fact, I just took the last two weekends off--no boating or working on the boat.
17 bodega posted 08-15-2006 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
From looking at the front panel, you really don't get an idea of how many wires are behind there. Even my minimal setup in my 16.5 footer is a full spaghetti entanglement, and I'm down to a 6 switch panel and the two batteries.

crabby posted 08-18-2006 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
Looks great, I need to rework the rat's nest inside my old Montauk and I will use your dash as inspiration!
Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-18-2006 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Here is a question.

On my starboard side instrument panel I have a 4 gang Blue Seas panel, 12v and a horn button. see Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P8080006.jpg

Power and ground comes from the fuse block to the 4 gang switches on the panel.

To power the 12v and horn I was thinking:

A) tap into the 4 gang panel wires.
b) run seperate wires for each back to the fuse block.

Option A - easy but kind of messy, hate splices.
Option B - more wire (uhggg)

Other options?


davej14 posted 08-21-2006 12:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Hate to say it but you should run the separate wires back to the fuse block. I'm sure you already know this :-)

If you do a splice you should also add some in-line fuses to the smaller gage wire that goes to the horn and 12V socket. These will be hard to access if you need to replace them.

The work you have done looks 1st class.

CatBoatSailor posted 08-22-2006 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for CatBoatSailor  Send Email to CatBoatSailor     
Phil, very nice improvements. Hope to see it in person soon. Kind of explains why we haven't heard much from you this summer. With such a short boating season, I figured you would have saved a job like this for November.
Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-25-2006 01:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Here is an update.

All the wiring is done and routed for the console.

I left a few feet extra for the starboard instrument panel so I can remove it and rest in on the top of the console. When I installed the panel, I see now I have a big coil of extra wire. Am taking a few days to ponder the decision to leave as is or make it shorter.

I plan to shoot some photos tonight and hopefully Jim will post them in the thread.

The stern wiring for the battery (with switch) is causing me fits. I think I will leave it for a winter project and get back on the water.

Will post the leasons learned once I have some water time under my belt.

Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-26-2006 07:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Saturday update -

Not quite done.

Bilge pump/float switch is in!

Nav lights and the sounder do not have power. Rats. Will need to troubleshoot/trace this.

Horn TBI

I posted 5 new photos at the end of the album: Outrage%20Rewire%20project/

In comparing the before and after photos, it is scary.

My favorite comparisons are:

Coming out of the tunnel
before - Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P7260157.jpg
after - Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P8210006.jpg

behind console
before - Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P7260168.jpg
after - Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P8210008.jpg

ignition side
before - Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P7260166.jpg
after - Outrage%20Rewire%20project/P8210015-1.jpg

Casco Bay Outrage posted 08-31-2006 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Nav lights fixed. The new type of connector I tried was a failure.

For the 2 power wires going to the Blue Sea switch, I used a a new type of connector from 3m that allows you to splice 3 wires in a single connector (2 from power and a pig). It is round with a plunger that makes the connection. Where the wires goes has dielectric grease.

Replaced with an Ancor 3 way connector (looks like a 3 pointed star.)

Tomorrow I will tackle the sounder issue. Will try to launch this weekend to blow the cobwebs out of my head.

an86carrera posted 08-31-2006 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for an86carrera  Send Email to an86carrera     
I hate wiring but here is a pic of my new console for the 15'. Here you'll find some wiring I did for the guauges and switches, yet to be finished.

The pic is in my album on my home page in my profile or here:


Casco Bay Outrage posted 09-03-2006 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Finally made it out on the water on Saturday and the new layout of the instrument panels is great. Thanks for all the input!

Despite the SCA and 60 degree tempurature, the project had made the boat even better.

Now I just hope for better weather! Feels and looks like fall is already here.

CatBoatSailor posted 09-05-2006 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for CatBoatSailor  Send Email to CatBoatSailor     
Very nice work. The before and after contrasts are quite impressive. Glad you had a chance to get out this weekend. No such luck here on the cape, weather kept us on the dock. Sat-Sun-Mon saw a lot of wind and waves and the sound was just sloppy. Pop's arthritis bothers him if we pound too much in the surf. Hoping for a bit of Indian summer to carry us through Oct.

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