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  Wiring quality on 2004 Montauk?

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Author Topic:   Wiring quality on 2004 Montauk?
swist posted 10-05-2005 07:09 AM ET (US)   Profile for swist   Send Email to swist  
I just spend several hours inside the console (well at least my arms and head) of my 2004 Montauk installing a battery switch. A work light in there allowed me to get a good look at the console wiring and I have to say I was not impressed. Yes the quality of the wire, connectors, fittings, etc seemed to be good (tinned, double crimped, shrink wrapped), but I was put off by the fact that everything seemed to be hanging in the air and made as neat as possible only by putting a bunch of zip ties around any wires near each other, resulting in pretty much a rats nest suspended in air, which blocks access to the back of switches, gauges, etc. My idea of good wiring is cables/wires following right angles and clamped down to a hard surface near the device being wired to, not to the nearest adjacent wire (unless part of the same logical bundle).

I have had cheaper boats with better looking wiring - although I can see why they had to avoid clamps - there is no place to screw them in without the other side of the screw protruding through the console. If I were designing the console, I would have included a backing board of some kind, or increased the wall thinkness, in the vicinity of the instrument panel and other parts of the console inside where there is a lot of wiring.

One also wonders how much vibration will cause a failure over time since the wiring is essentially using its end connectors as support rather than independent clamps.

I do DC wiring as part of my living, I would be fired if I presented one of these console insides as a done job.

BW23 posted 10-05-2005 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
I agree. Problem is now you can't even clean things up because the wire isn't long enough to properly dress.

I'm sure the wiring is to code but the attention to detail has alot to be desired.

jmontani posted 10-05-2005 10:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmontani    
Would a strip of Starboard (mounted with 3m - 5200) above the guages provide a place to secure the wires? It should be thick enough to screw in some type of support to take the pressure off of the connectors.

I must admit that I haven't looked since the boat came with dual batteries, but I will need to address this over the winter when I install a Stereo.

swist posted 10-05-2005 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Well that would certainly help, as well as a piece below the instrument panel. But it's all moot unless you want to rewire the whole console. As someone said, the wires aren't long enough to reroute neatly and properly clamp.
bigjohn1 posted 10-05-2005 09:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Agreed that from a looks standpoint, they could have done a bit better job. I would not sweat the integrity of the wiring though as I have pounded my 170 in big water for 14 months now and no problems regarding wiring coming loose.
pete10 posted 10-05-2005 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for pete10  Send Email to pete10     
i agree, for such a high end boat the wiring and parts seem to be less than up to par. just hoping the whole myth of unsinkability is true to form. hope i never find out but as far as wiring and small items that would assist an owner, bw falls far short
jimh posted 10-06-2005 08:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Last time I looked under the console of a 170 MONTAUK, the electrical devices and their wiring appeared to be a decent installation:

jimh posted 10-06-2005 08:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Send me an image of what you're concerned about, and I will include it for comparison.
swist posted 10-06-2005 08:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I will try to get a picture, but my Montauk wiring doesn't look anything like what you posted. What year is this? I wish mine looked like this.
bobeson posted 10-06-2005 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for bobeson  Send Email to bobeson     

That picture doesn't look like my 2003 Montauk 170 wiring either. I have a lot of wires tied together and suspended in mid-air with primary attachment mostly at the terminations, as described earlier in this thread. My harness does have a few tie points that attach the harness to the console, but they are not laid out in a way designed to relieve stress from the terminations.
jimh posted 10-06-2005 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hmm. My notes show that is a 170 MONTAUK, but looking at the sequence of pictures it comes from, perhaps it is a 190 NANTUCKET. I took it at the Miami Boat Show in 2004. Send your 170 MONTUAK pictures for comparison.
swist posted 10-07-2005 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
It's not even close to resembling a 2004 Montauk. I won't be able to get to the Montauk to take a picture for a few days, but your picture can't be a Montauk for the very reasons I stated - all those devices are screwed down to something. In the Montauk, all you have is an 1/8" thick console wall and you would have a lot of fasteners showing on the outside.....

Seeing your picture makes be really annoyed that they couldn't be bothered to do decent wiring on the entire product line at their prices....I thought I paid for what you are showing, not the mess I have.

K Albus posted 10-07-2005 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
There was a post about Boston Whaler wiring on The Hull Truth earlier this year which includes a picture of a large bundle of wires suspended by cable ties, apparently on a 190 Nantucket: http://www.thehulltruth.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=52642&posts=19

There seems to be split of opinion as to whether extra wire should be left in place and cable-tied in case later repairs require the removal of some wire.

The wiring on my 180 Dauntless looks a lot more like the picture on The Hull Truth than the picture posted by Jim H.

SteveFC posted 10-07-2005 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveFC  Send Email to SteveFC     
This is the wiring in the console of my 2004 Montauk:

swist posted 10-07-2005 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Yup, same as mine. Ugh.
swist posted 10-07-2005 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
With regard to extra wire, I think some people are missing the point. Extra wire can be goodness as it allows things to be removed (or moved) without unwiring everything. And sometimes it is unavoidable as some electronics have cables which are not supposed to be cut or spliced.

What you are supposed to do is make a neat loop of the extra wire and clamp it off to the side of the neatly dressed wiring going to the device in question. Zip-tying the loop and having it hang in the air off its connector is asking for trouble, particularly if the loop is heavy.

You don't need to get totally anal about it either - if a 3" wire is going from one dashboard switch to another, you don't really have to go off at a right angle, clamp, and return. BUT when you then use this wire as a suspender for other wires via zip ties, that's when the trouble starts - you are both loading the connectors AND making access to the device difficult. I have seen instrument panels where it was literally impossible to even see the back of any switch or gauge because of the rat's nest.

jimh posted 10-08-2005 06:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The image I included above must be a 190 NANTUCKET installation, not a MONTAUK. The confusion is regrettable.

The image above from SteveFC shows quite a bit of owner-added or dealer-added wiring. All that flying-through-the-air wiring to the GPS antenna, the VHF radio, and the GPS display was added after the boat left the factory. Is that duct tape stuck to the console? I don't think they leave the factory like that.

I tracked down the discussion on another website regarding the wiring, but the image shown does not at all resemble that shown by SteveFC above. There is no model mentioned, and it does not appear to be at all related to a 170 MONTAUK. The discussion there seemed more intended to bash Boston Whaler than anything else. I don't find it particularly relevant to this discussion.

If you have a good view of the factory wiring on the 170 MONTAUK, send it along so we can see what the installation really looks like.

Riverwhaler posted 10-08-2005 07:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Riverwhaler  Send Email to Riverwhaler     
Jim the photo you used is indeed a Nantucket, I know it well! It is a really nice installation.
swist posted 10-08-2005 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
"The image I included above must be a 190 NANTUCKET installation, not a MONTAUK. The confusion is regrettable."

The confusion is not regrettable - thanks as always for your contributions - but what it does do is raise the question on why two boats from the same company (and the Nantucket and Montauk were, up to 2005, even in the same product line), have supposedly two different standards of wiring....

mikeyairtime posted 10-08-2005 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for mikeyairtime    
There is enough wire there to make a much nicer harness. Take eveything loose and work from one end (I started where the wires come out of the floor) and make as best a harness as possible. Double the longer wires back on themselves to make it look neat. Buy a big bag of zip ties at home depot and don't be afraid to move the little screwed in zip tie bases that whaler provides. By cleaning everything up it provides more room in the console. I was actually very impressed that they used marine wire, tinned it, double crimped it and shrink wrapped it.
surfkast posted 10-09-2005 03:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for surfkast    
I just got a 2006 Montauk 170 and the wiring looks a bit messy as well. I even found that the drain tubes for the cupholders were not attached, so any water in the cupholders was draining down onto the wires and battery box! Other than that everything is working fine and I'm very happy with the boat. One stupid question, when the key is in the "Off" position, I can still use all accessories, light, horn, etc. It doesn't seem to differ from the "acc" position. Is this normal?

swist posted 10-09-2005 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
mikeyairtime has a potentially good idea, and I am doing the same thing myself to neaten up the harness, but one of the original issues remains - the same amount of weight is still essentially hanging off various device connectors. If you keep the bundles from swinging that will certainly help lessen fatigue, but I would really like to clamp some of that harness to the interior walls of the console somehow.

It might be a bit of work, but perhaps cable clamps could be epoxied to the interior console walls, since, as mentioned earlier, you really can't screw them in without making things visible outside.

bigjohn1 posted 10-09-2005 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Will the dealer do it for you under warranty?
BW23 posted 10-09-2005 02:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
I doubt that most Dealer tech's could do it any better.

If Whaler delivered the boat wired this way.....it won't be a warranty issue.

Sounds like a good off-season project.

mikeyairtime posted 10-09-2005 06:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for mikeyairtime    
Check my 170 rigging pics. The pics aren't real good but you can see the harness cleans up and out of the way for more storage.
Chuck Tribolet posted 10-09-2005 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
So what if a screw head is visible on the outside.
Do it right.

On my 97ish Montauk, not much will stick to the inside of
the console. It's got a powdery surface.


Chuck

SteveFC posted 10-10-2005 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveFC  Send Email to SteveFC     
The VHF, GPS/sounder, and duct tape on my boat were all dealer installed. The latter item may be left over from repairs they made to eliminate holes left in the console when the original owner removed his sloppily installed cheapo sounder. The console looks pristine on the outside.

Good points about in-the-air wiring. I'll do something about that over the winter.

jimh posted 10-10-2005 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Again, if anyone has a good digital image of the factory wiring on a 170 MONTAUK, please send it to me and I will include it here.
Diver Dan posted 10-10-2005 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Diver Dan  Send Email to Diver Dan     
Re attachment to sides of console, on my 1993 Montauk I used self-adhesive plastic squares (obtainble from any electrical supply house) which have four slots cut into the face to allow wire ties from horiziontal to vertical. Although provided with adhesive and small holes for screws, I abhor drilling if I have a choice. I used clear silicone to attach the squares "after" scraping the adhesive from the back. I used this method on both my Montauk and Hatteras SF 32 and have excellent results. Agree the amount of space in the console is very limited so anything that you can do to place the wiring as close to the various bulkheads opens up the interior for additional storage/usage. I also reinforced the inside of the console where the rail attaches to the console with 1/2" marine plywood, as the thickness of the console walls are too thin in my estimation to survive continuous stress from using the rail as a handhold when coming aboard over the side between the console rails. Hope this helps.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 10-10-2005 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Picture #2 of the rats nest [wiring] would appear to be unaceptable, notwithstanding the garmin install and inconsistant with Whalers level of build.

Personally I would not accept delivery of such a product.

jimh posted 10-10-2005 10:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Administrative post]
jimh posted 10-10-2005 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you visit the excellent website http://www.whalerparts.com/ , you can retrieve many diagrams of the assembly of the 170 MONTAUK. Studying the wiring diagram shows that the wiring has been modularized with connectors. I presume this was done to allow some of the console to be pre-wired separately from the hull. When the console is installed in the boat hull, it probably has already had its wiring assembled in it. The hull is pre-wired with a harness. The two system are mated together with a connector.

See the diagram:

http://www.whalerparts.com/Diagrams/2004/170%20Montauk/PB170MT04-Model.pdf

Here is the harness layout:

http://www.whalerparts.com/Diagrams/2004/170%20Montauk/PB170MT05-Model.pdf

So far no one has shown any of the details of this wiring. It would be interesting to see. Any of you 170 MONTAUK owners have a digital camera?

surfkast posted 10-12-2005 12:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for surfkast    
Here's pictures of the wiring on a new 2006 Montauk 170. I just took delivery in Newport Beach, CA. No electronics installed yet.

bigjohn1 posted 10-12-2005 12:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
That's exactly what my '05 model looks like.
Perry posted 10-12-2005 02:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
The wiring quality in surfkast's Montauk 170 is much better than in SteveFC's Montauk 170.
jimh posted 10-12-2005 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Added in-line images and reduced size to fit.]
SteveFC posted 10-13-2005 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveFC  Send Email to SteveFC     
My face is red. My previous boat, a 1965 Sakonnet, came with a rope start engine and rudimentary electronics powered by a VW Beetle battery in the console. So when I saw all that spaghetti wiring in the Montauk 170 console, I thought it was pretty cool. What do I know?

As I noted above, I will plan a winter project to organize and support all those wires. But I’m not touching that piece of duct tape. Maybe, just maybe, that strip of tape is the only thing that’s holding the boat together.

bobeson posted 10-13-2005 05:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for bobeson  Send Email to bobeson     

Wow, the wiring in surfkast's new 170 looks WAY better than my 2003 170's wiring! I'm glad to see BW improved their manufacturing practices. Now if I could only get them to clean mine up...
jmontani posted 10-13-2005 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmontani    
I haven't looked in my 2005 yet but I will this weekend. Not sure if I am on the 2004 wire "plan" or the 2005 redo.
I don't know when the change was. Big John, when was your 2005 made? I think that mine was one of the early ones (In June/July of 2004).

bigjohn1 posted 10-13-2005 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
I think mine was one of the very first 2005 models. My dealer said it was made in the May/June timeframe of calendar year 2004.
jimh posted 10-14-2005 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Was there really a dramatic change in the wiring standards on the 170 MONTAUK from year to year?

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