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Old 18-12-2007, 20:13   #1
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Engine Bay Makeover - Rewiring - Including Engine Removal!

Hi all,

My father and I started our battle to have a sane electrical system aboard our new W32 yesterday. Before you see the pictures, know that this is how we bought the boat - none of it is my doing!

We're planning to install a new DC panel, all new wiring (everywhere), new T-105 batts, alternator/regulator, high amp battery charger, battery monitor and all of the tid bits that accompany them. Pretty much every wire you see in the pictures is coming out.

Seeing as the engines in W32s make it nearly impossible for normal humans to service the after bulkhead, we opted to pull the engine. It needs sandblasted, painted, and all new sensors anyway (and a new instrument cluster). Those're just excuses though, really I just want it out of the way. While we're in deconstruct mode, we're going to pull our fuel tanks and give them a good cleaning - (and I want to get behind them to mount some cleats...muahahah).

After it's all out, I'm going to spend some time with epoxy filling in random bolt holes and sealing the wood bulkhead (which seems in iffy shape...hope we don't have to pull THAT out!), then repaint the entire engine from top to bottom. Not to mention the electric stuff. Simple...

QUESTION!

Since I have a waterlift muffler, do I have to have the lifting loop? Can't I just drop straight to the waterlift box (with a vented loop, of course), and on up to the exhaust thru-hull? If I have to keep it, that galvanized junk is on the replacement list, too.

The old instrument cluster!


Engine, looking down from deck.


Looking forward from after end of engine bay.


Stbd, looking forward from after end of engine bay. The small red dacron line made off around the motor mount/sea cock is the battery tie down. It was made off through a hole in the main bulkhead, to a wrench acting as a mooring bar. I was too amazed to take a picture of that part...


Back of distribution panel.


Looking forward from after end of engine bay at stbd side of aft bulkhead.


Shows the cluster of insanity we're up against. The previous owner said "it's like a spastic spider got loose in there" - roight, that is.


Engine free! Clean time (actually, I've started weed whacking and done a prelim cleanup of the bay, but forgot to take pictures of that part. Damn Mosquitos.


Me guiding the engine over to the dock. No, that's not my gut. The engine was surprisingly simple to pull - it all came off without a hitch whatsoever.


The boat is a 1976 Westsail 32. This is the second engine - we think it has 1000 hours or thereabouts. It runs splendidly and we do not plan to rebuild at this time, though we're going to replace common seals, the thermostat, a few other things (sensors as mentioned above) and clean it out really well. Plus the painting.

Stay tuned - I'll post more as we progress.

Fair leads,
Aaron N.
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Old 18-12-2007, 21:18   #2
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Best wishes on your project.

A vented loop is a good idea between the lift muffler and through hull. You absolutely want to keep water from siphoning back into the muffler and then the engine.

Regards,
Bill
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Old 21-12-2007, 05:58   #3
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Cabin Light Wiring

Hi all,

I've just realized I'm a little "in the dark" as to the proper way to run wiring for my cabin lights. That's to say, I'm not sure of the best way to "T" into wire running in the headliner as I've never had to T into boat wiring that I was concerned with being correct.

I understand how to wire my panels and busses and intend to use 16GA duplex - one pair for each side terminaled to the same breaker. Just can't figure out how to attach each fixture to one "unbroken" line. Little two-position terminals at each fixture?

Thanks for your time!
Aaron N.
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Old 21-12-2007, 08:39   #4
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Before you do anything else, go out and buy Nigel Caulder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual. It will tell you what you need to know to wire to marine standards.

NO, you don't use 16GA Duplex. You use stranded, tinned, marine grade wire of the appropriate gauge for the length of the run and the amount of current you're drawing. Bigger wire (smaller gauge) is OK.

If you tap into the wire, instead of doing home run wiring, you need to use a marine grade barrier strip with marine grade crimp connectors on the wire ends. Ancor makes the most typical ones you'll find in the marine chandlery.

If you use other than marine grade components, the wire likely isn't stranded and tinned and will probably corrode in short order. Solid wire will fatigue and break.

I've seen a fellow who thought he did a great job. He worked in construction and used solid wire with wire nuts. He had to redo the whole job after stuff started failing in a few weeks. It was also a big fire risk.

Good luck with your project, but you need to do it to marine standards to maximize safety and longevity.
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Old 21-12-2007, 08:56   #5
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Highly recommend Bestboatwire.com for you marine wiring, they are located in FL and their prices can't be beat. Don't skimp on the wiring and calculate your wire size before you install. It's very important to calculate the current load on each wire for the total distance, if you have something that is 10 feet away end to end your total distance is 20 feet. You must calculate the "round trip" of each wire.

I also highly recommend checking your heat exchangers before re-installing your engine. They are easy to get at when it's out but when it's back in the boat you have little or no access.
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Old 21-12-2007, 13:14   #6
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Barrier strips are nice, but I'd suggest they are needless expense and add weak points--the screws can come undone, there is potential for corrosion, etc.

When I've rerun wire for cabin lighting, I'll first make the long run with duplex marine (tinned) cable, and usually make it oversize in case "more stuff" is added in the future. At each junction (tee) off to a light, you can either solder or crimp to make the tee (Soldering versus crimping being a whole other argument) in various ways. For instance, you can strip back the duplex jacket, strip the wires without cutting them, and then hook in the tee drop and solder it in place. Then insulate well (using self-vulcanizing butyl tape and use wire straps to firmly attach the mass to the hull. Firmly attaching it, prevents vibration from breaking it up.

You might find the junction strips faster and simpler (once you get them, in marine grade) but I'd still prefer a crimped or soldered joint. If crimped, using the adhesive lined crimps that make a waterproof seal--and still sealing over them afterwards. You can "crimp a tee" using a straight barrel crimp too, if you select one that accomodates the size of your main run plus one size larger, and simply insert the "t" into one end of it, along with the other wire.

Many ways will do it--the tricks are in the sizing, the waterproofing, and securing the joint to the hull, so it won't "work" from vibration.
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Old 21-12-2007, 15:48   #7
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OMG...that's a disaster waiting to happen. I'm glad you are pulling the engine and starting from scratch. I agree with RaptorDance. Go get not just one, but a few books on 12 volt and 120 volt systems for boats. Draw it all out on paper first and then have a professional look at your plans. There is a bit of a learning curve to all this. It actually looks like a fun project. Do as much work as you possibly can while the engine is out.
Just having a reliable, safe and efficient electrical system will make all the effort worthwhile.

Also, it is so true that you want to buy all marine grade electrical components. Although it is more expensive, there are many good reasons for it. Don't let Home Depot tempt you.

Be sure to give some "after" pictures as well. Those were quite some "before" pics.
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Old 21-12-2007, 16:08   #8
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Home Depot isn't all bad--in some locations they carry the same premium Ancor crimps that the marina supplies do, and good crimping tools if you know to ask for them.

But I'd agree--there's a LOT of time to be consumed in a good wiring job, and it is too easy to waste days in the wrong materials/methods. Check out some of the marine suppliers (BlueSeas, Ancor, etc.) online and make sure you are using the right connectors and tools, and the right wires, distribution panels, etc. And running the wires in sleeves to prevent chafe and keep oil from them. And then, while you are at it, buy a big box of professional aluminum or plastic wire label tags and make sure to label both ends of every wire in the boat. A stationery-store label machine won't work for this, they all rely on heat-setting the printing and after six months in the engine bay, the labels all turn solid black and fall off.

If you look online for threads about electrics and connections, you'll see notes about using silicon jelly to keep water out; butyl tape; options and religious debates about how to join wires too.<G>

This is definitely a job where "do it once do it right" will buy you 20+ years of zero maintenance, and anything else will come back to haunt you.
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Old 21-12-2007, 21:35   #9
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Hi all,

Thanks for the responses. I've read extensively through Calder's book and a couple lesser knowns and understand the vast majority of things. He did go over ways to T into a circuit, but I was left wondering "But how do I get my wire down through that little hole and the appropriate connector back through?" I'm still unsure but I think my headliner/conduit situation is a bit odd.

I'm using Pacer duplex "Boat Wire" for all long runs and Anchor for all shorter, primary leads. Panels will be Blue Sea as are all busses, terminals and others block connectors. Wire connectors will be ring type w/heat shrink by Pacer. Actually, I'm getting everything but my panels through Pacer (who sells wire to Best Boat Wire and distributes Blue Sea wire stuff). They're just up the road from me, so I popped in and set up a business account and got what I need.

Here are the panels I plan to use:


I pulled the fuel tanks this afternoon and finished weed whacking the wiring nightmare. The only wires left in the boat are the ones we plan to replace - everything else has been hauled. I'll post some more pictures tomorrow (it got dark before I remembered today!.

Fair leads,
Aaron N.
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Old 21-12-2007, 21:42   #10
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Ring type? What's that?
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Old 22-12-2007, 08:33   #11
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Ring type terminals:



Though I plan to use terminals with heat shrink - they're bloody cheap from Pacer Marine.

Fair leads,
Aaron N.
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Old 22-12-2007, 20:09   #12
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Oh, THOSE ring terminals, as terminations not at t's. (Although you can stick three or four of them on a nut & bolt to make a multiple t.)

Personally I hate ring terminals. I understand, in theory they can't fall off yadayada and they're the right way to attach a wire to a screw. In practice, I find that if I have to remove that wire for any reason while underway, that screw has to come all the way out and WOOPS! it is down in the bilge for the duration. So personally? I hate ring terminals. I prefer the kind that are "U" shaped with the tips of the "U" bent up slightly to help the screw retain it. If the screw is going to work loose--that will just fall off a little faster than a ring terminal would. If the screw holds, it holds just as well as a ring terminal.

At the risk of being compulsive, I like to put a little silicon jelly on the screw threads, but after everything is attached, paint the entire junction/barrier strip with liquid plastic or liquid rubber--which secures it all nicely, provides some corrosion and short circuit protection, and is easily peeled off for future access.

I haven't seen Pacer's crimp terminals but have seen their duplex wire--nice and flexible. A top quality crimp will have an inner sleeve of soft copper (or better) tubing, not just the outer metal. If the Pacer crimps have that inner sleeve AND they are cheaper, I'd be all for them.

Since most of those crimp terminals are "open" at the ring (etc) end, I also shoot a little silicon jelly in the open end before putting the wire through. And if they aren't adhesive lined, I shoot it in from the wire end instead, which will protect the wiring just as well as adhesive lining will.

(I like to do electrical work ONCE, and then know I can turn my back on it and sleep with both eyes closed.[g])
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Old 22-12-2007, 20:22   #13
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I had a rewiring/panel job once....when I oppened up the access panel ALL THE WIRES WERE RED!!!!!!

If you can make friends with an ABYC ceritfied electrical guy, it would be worth it to have him check your work.
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Old 22-12-2007, 20:25   #14
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Thanks for the tips.

Here are pictures as of today:

Clean engine bay - looking down from deck. Lots of holes to patch!


Engine bay looking aft. Wires to be rerun, wood to seal, holes to fill, blah blah.


Where port fuel tank sits. From after end of engine bay, looking forward to port.


Where starboard fuel tank sits. From where the engine normally sits - looking outboard to starboard.


Where the old panels were. Look at all those damn holes! UGH.


Opposite side of nav panels - looking from engine bay forward.


Fuel tanks


Perkins before sandblasting



And being sandblasted


Whalla - twenty minutes of sipping on a Blue Moon later and the engine is ready to paint!


With the fuel tanks, engine, and a few miles of wire out of the stern, she looks ready to take a nose dive!


Oh work, how I love ye!

Fair lead and merry christmas!

Aaron N.
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Old 22-12-2007, 21:05   #15
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And, by the way, spend your money on one ofthose cam type crimping tools. You will get a perfect crimp every time, and the mechanical advantage is much less tiring.
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