Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  Servicing console switches in 170 Montauk

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Servicing console switches in 170 Montauk
bigjohn1 posted 05-16-2007 08:52 AM ET (US)   Profile for bigjohn1   Send Email to bigjohn1  
I am having intermitent problems with the bow lights on my 170 Montauk, they sometimes light up and sometimes don't. Since the boat was new, I have made a habit of periodically taking apart the fixture, cleaning the contacts, and applying dielectric grease to contacts and the bulb. To rule out any possible corrosion, I have tested the fixture with a multimeter and get no voltage at all irregardless of the light switch position. I suspect the problem may be in the three-position console light switch itself, perhaps it has corroded.

My question is, are these console switches serviceable at all? Meaning, can the (internal) electrical contact portions of the switches be accessed to clean them and spray contact cleaning and lubricant? Are the switches a press fit in their respective holes in the console? What is the proper way to remove them without damaging?

Thank you.

GreatBayNH posted 05-16-2007 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Ah, the old Newtauk bow light problem. It's common. I had it. I had the dealer "fix" it under warranty. Guess what, it came back as soon as I had the boat in the yard. I read many a post here on the wave and tried all the said solutions with no luck. It sounds like you have done all the thinks I tried with little or no effect as well.

My bow light DOES work all the time now and this was the one thing I did that seemed to make all the difference. I applied a healthy dose of marine type clear gel/sealant around the lame paper like gasket they install between the bottom of the lamp housing and the top of the base. My gasket is actually so weak it looks torn in places. I can't recall the brand of sealant I used but it has the consistency of Vaseline but dries like rubber cement. Even after a winter of storage outside it is still working fine. I'm pretty sure the issue is all the darn moisture that gets in the lamp housing. I can still see it on the inside of the lens every morning. I still have moisture in the lens but since putting the sealant in place it's been working like a champ! It may have been a combination of all the things you and I tried with the addition of the sealant but all I can say is after the sealant was in place...problem solved!

GreatBayNH posted 05-16-2007 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Here is the link to my post about the same issue.

What's funny is I see you were the hero at the time for the perceived fix. I even wondered after I got mine to work with the sealant if I had an entirely different problem then the rest of the people that claimed putting a piece of rubber under the lamp housing was the solution. That is the reason I never posted my solution on that thread since everyone was happy with your solution (I figured I was a one off and didn't want to confuse the issue further). Are you now saying that your solution was not a 100% fix and the issue is back?


GreatBayNH posted 05-16-2007 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Have you tested the voltage at the switch? Sorry to rant about the sealant. You are obviously asking about a voltage issue. When my dealer "fixed" the issue they told be it was a short at the lamp housing. Again, they did not solve my issue and I was able to resove it by using sealant at the lamp housing. My assumption is an intermittent short is caused by moisture at the bow. Since you say the lamp sometimes works and sometimes doesn't I'm leaning toward an intermittent short at the lamp housing.


bigjohn1 posted 05-16-2007 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     

Thanks for your input. Voltage + continuity + a good bulb equals a light which lights up when the switch is thrown so I'm fairly confident the problem is at the switch. There is no voltage getting up there to the light fixture. I just hate the prospect of paying big bucks for a puny little switch when hopefully, it can be cleaned and lubricated. My fingers are crossed.

GreatBayNH posted 05-16-2007 06:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Keep us posted. I know your boat is a little older than mine so perhpas this is something I should be expecting as well in a few years.
It's hard to believe a 22-26 thousand dollar boat can't get the bow lamp to work on a consistant basis.


GreatBayNH posted 05-16-2007 06:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
In my case it was the excessive moisture that took the "continuity" out of the equation.


Chuck Tribolet posted 05-16-2007 11:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
It's easy enough to hot wire around the switch. If you can't
puzzle out the circuit, you shouldn't be messing around back
there. If your switch is like the one 170 Montauk I've
dealt with, the wires attach to the switch with 1/4" QD
connections. Make yourself up a 2" piece of wire with mail
QDs on each end, and hot wire the bow light to it. See if
you still have problems.

These switches aren't terribly expensive (West has an
equivalent) though maybe not all that available in the middle
of the Pacific. AFAIK, the switch isn't serviceable.


Chuck Tribolet posted 05-16-2007 11:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
One more thing, I'd suspect the QD connections
before the switch. There's a good reason they
are called quick DISconnnect rather than quick
CONNECT. They like to come undone. All in all,
they suck.


bigjohn1 posted 05-17-2007 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Chuck, thanks for the insight. That's a good idea to bypass the switch to eliminate it as a trouble source. The light switch is 3-position (off/nav/bow) and no longer wants to stay in the upper position (nav) without me keeping it there with finger pressure, that's one reason I suspect its bad.
GreatBayNH posted 05-22-2007 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Anyone have a crow I can eat? My bow light stopped working...again! I recall Chuck's post about the QD connections. Sure enough, one was loose, and not very at that. I pushed it in fully and the bow light is back in action.

Thanks Chuck!


Chuck Tribolet posted 05-22-2007 09:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
bigjohn: do the lights come on if you hold the switch in

Anyway, that fact that you have to hold it in position makes
it likely you need to replace it. But I'd take it apart one
more time to see if there's anything obvious.


Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.