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  170 Montauk Navigation Lamp: Chronic Problems with Red-Green Lens

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Author Topic:   170 Montauk Navigation Lamp: Chronic Problems with Red-Green Lens
SC Joe posted 09-07-2009 09:27 PM ET (US)   Profile for SC Joe   Send Email to SC Joe  
Last week I replaced the second lens on the [combined sidelight lamp] of my [2008] 170 Montauk. The first lens was replaced because the bulb blew out, and while reinstalling the lens, all three prongs that hold the lens on, snapped off.

Last week while testing my lights, I noticed the [combined sidelight lamp] was not working, and while pulling the lens off I noticed the lens had snapped [two of three] prongs, causing the bulb to not make a good connection. I returned this lens to my dealer and they replaced it under warranty.

This lens and bulb holder is a horrible design. The plastic prongs are made of the same brittle plastic that the red and green areas of the lens are, and they hold the tension of the bulb that sits in a collar and between a stamped metal grounding spring. My dealer noted they see "a lot" of these break; they said it was because the lens is made in China from inferior plastic.

Has anyone else had this problem? Is there a better lens design available?

Phil T posted 09-08-2009 03:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
In doing a bit of searching, I have read comments by Barney and others concerning leakage, corrosion and the tabs breaking on their bow light as far back as 2003.

I would take a look at a Perko bow light (in person) and see if it will replace the OEM.

Eg. 0972DP0STS
Here it is on one site:

Marsh posted 09-08-2009 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
I have had 3 such failures in 5 years on my Montauk 170. Bought the last replacement from Sue at Twin Cities Marine. She allowed as how it is indeed a horrible design, and that she sells quite a lot of the replacement pieces due to the plastic tab break off. You can probably do a search and find my rant on this same topic somewhat recently.

Anyhow, you are correct, Joe. It is a sad design - one prone to failure at the least provocation. I am unaware of any retro fit from Perko or anyone else, but would be interested to learn. I do a good bit of after-dark boating, and need a reliable nav light. Whaler does not fit the bill.


jimh posted 09-08-2009 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This is not the sort of thing you expect from Boston Whaler. In the old days, Dick Fisher would evaluate all the components used on the boat. Poor quality components were not used.
Knot at Work posted 09-10-2009 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     
Long time I have posted. I came here looking for exactly the same problem. Any idea on a part number for a OEM replacement? I intend to buy 50 of them...
SC Joe posted 09-10-2009 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for SC Joe  Send Email to SC Joe     
I'll ask my dealer; they keep about 10 of them in stock. They are $13.99 each.
Knot at Work posted 09-11-2009 06:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     
Okay then at that price I will only buy about 15!
Lil Whaler Lover posted 09-11-2009 07:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Lil Whaler Lover  Send Email to Lil Whaler Lover     
Who is the OEM and what is the part number? Also what is the footprint of the light?
Obviously I do not have one of these lights, but given that information I can determine if there are any alternatives available.
Please note that $13.99 price says all that needs to be said about the quality. :-)
Marsh posted 09-17-2009 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
And the $13.99 price includes the chrome metal base, as well as a new bulb, and wiring pigtail too!!

Quite a deal, considering! Probably last a lifetime if the crappy plastic lens tabs were more robust.


GreatBayNH posted 09-18-2009 01:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
I'd be interested to see a link to the $13.99 item(s) or at least a picture of what you got.

I'm sure I'll be needing a replacement lens sooner rather than later since in all my troubleshooting of the bow lamp (from day one of delivery) has given the lens and housing quite a beating. Not to mention I think I finally glued the lens and housing permanently onto the boat so if/when I need to take them off...well you get the picture.

Back story:
I had bow lamp trouble from day one of delivery of my 2006 Montauk 170. Whenever I needed the navigation lamp to work they never did; or did only intermittently. The dealer "fixed" it but the issue came back after only a few days. I tried all the suggested fixes from this web site to no avail. Last ditch I called my electrician friend who spent about 3 hours troubleshooting. It wasn't until he changed the wiring on the back of the 3-way nav switch that it started working. It has not failed since this time. I call him everytime I turn them on to thank him. I can only assume the factory wiring job was not done correctly.

[JimH - Insert EE degree sermon here]


skred posted 09-22-2009 12:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Wouldn't it be possible to replace the bulb inside the light assembly with an LED bulb?
jimh posted 09-23-2009 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Electrical Engineering is not needed to wire a simple switch in a 12-Vdc lighting circuit. I am somewhat continually astounded at the dearth of any knowledge of electricity among "marine service technicians."
Marsh posted 09-24-2009 11:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
Changing the bulb is simple. The hard part is removing the red/green lens without breaking one or more of the 3 flimsy little plastic tabs that secure the lens to the metal base. Once the tabs break, the lens can no longer be tightened sufficiently to the base for the bulb to make contact. I have (at least temporarily) solved this problem by inserting a shim between the top of the lens and the inside of the metal housing, such that when the housing is secured with screws to its base, the shim forces sufficient pressure on the lens to hold it tight to the base, which ensures that the bulb ends make contact. My next worry is that the two small metal screws that hold the housing to the base will fail. One is already slightly stripped; the other can't be too far behind.

But then again, for only $13.99 plus shipping every year or so, it's really not a big deal to just replace the darned thing whenever it needs it, and be done with it.

I often reflect back on the 1978 Montauk I once owned, and how "over-engineered" I felt it was in so may ways - from the bow rails, to the rod holder mounts in the RPS seat back.

I like my post-classic, but cannot think of a single attribute that I would describe as "over-engineered" on the newer boat.


GreatBayNH posted 09-24-2009 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
[q]I like my post-classic, but cannot think of a single attribute that I would describe as "over-engineered" on the newer boat.[/q]

What about the unsinkable foam-cored fiberglass hull?

Marsh posted 09-25-2009 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
The foam filled hull is a strong attribute, but hardly one I'd call over-engineered.

Other opinions may vary, and I certainly respect that.


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