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Old 05-12-2020, 05:18   #1
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Harness Replacement

Hi Friends
I recently chronicled the stop solenoid issue on a
Yanmar 4HJ3E in a Irwin 44
We swapped out the solenoid and got it to work.
However we realized that over the years the previous owners
had completely mashed the engine wire harness.
Splices and electrical tape all over. Different colored wires butt spliced,
Evidence of high corrosion all over
A total disaster waiting to happen, therefore we are considering a total
rewire of the engine.
We have gotten costs for the engine harness, new control panel
and connecting harness of less than 2K, which frankly is less than
I imagined it would be. Pleasantly surprised.
Now the question,
We consider the install to be above our pay grade
One thing to trace a simple single issue however for us
Itís a bit daunting to strip a working engine off all wires and start over fresh.
So what should we expect to pay to have a high quality technician
come out and replace the old with the new? Test and verify itís all working.
Parts would be all NIB from yanmar.
We would help with the grunt work.
Cheers
Neil
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Old 05-12-2020, 06:19   #2
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Re: Harness Replacement

No idea. It's an unusual task, so few will have experience with which to advise you. But, another thought. Is the problem with the wiring limited to an unholy mess on the back of the panel? Is the wiring from there to the engine and elsewhere OK? If this was the case, I would consider purchasing or building a new identical panel, and then cutting and splicing (marine quality crimp connectors and tinned wire) each wire in turn to the new panel. The job would be tedious, but not mentally challenging. Every wire would have a splice a foot or behind the panel, but if done with patience, that would not be a bad situation.

I would consider a similar task at the other end. If the runs of wire are OK but heat and wear has damaged the insulation near the engine, or weather has damaged it running to lights, then I'd splice on new last few feet.

I guess the point is that the wire runs, which would be a whopping job to replace, are likely to be good and might be salvaged.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:30   #3
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Re: Harness Replacement

Yikes!

As tkeithlu stated you could redo just the ends.

Before declaring the harness useless, see if you can get a diagram of the original harness. How many connections are there? My SWAG is 8 for power, start and sensors. Perhaps simply doing high quality, color correct, repairs would work.

Also will the new panel be an EXACT match? The Johnny Cash song “One Piece at a Time” comes to mind. Would stink trying to match a 2020 panel to a 2001 engine.... something may need some adapting.

As you already indicated, if you hire someone (s)he will need to be a very skilled Yanmar certified mechanic.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:14   #4
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Re: Harness Replacement

These people sell new panels and wiring: https://acdcmarineinc.com/product-ca...-panel-c-type/

I'd buy the color coded wire and do one wire at a time. My 4JHTE has 13 wires IIRC.I've done about 6.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:21   #5
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Re: Harness Replacement

For the different colored wire issue:
You could take off the butt connectors, re-strip, add a piece of the same-colored heat shrink tubing to both wires, shrink, add a new heat-seal butt connector, shrink.

Labeling both sides would be another option too.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:35   #6
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Re: Harness Replacement

I have a 3JH2E and I think the wiring harnesses would be similar.

I don't think the replacement should be all that intimidating. You have basically one bundle of wires from the Panel to the engine and each wire is color coded and the wiring diagram from my Yanmar manual is pretty clear. I would not be afraid to un bolt or otherwise remove all the connections, take out the old harness, and install the new one routing and connecting each wire as shown on the wiring diagram (which you must have, of course).

I would want the wiring harness already connected to the panel (I think it is available that way) because these connections are not as easily figured out, in my view, as the ones at the engine end.

You won't be changing the main DC cables, such as alternator output or starter cables, although you may wish to, and if so they can be separate steps.

Nor will you necessarily be replacing the regulator/alternator control wires.

A major benefit is that when completed, you will know all of the wires on your engine and you will also have learned the location and accessibility of all the electrically connected devices on the engine, which, in itself, is useful.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:35   #7
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Re: Harness Replacement

Thanks to all so far
We have indeed thought of going
full Flintstone and stripping out all but the start and stop
circuits.
Panel is toast with severe corrosion
Engine uses old B panel discontinued in 2018
old new stock might be found somewhere?
New B panel is not an exact fit but there is some wiggle room on the pedestal.
This engine runs extremely well
but itís wiring is a science project
There are two alternators , two external
regulators and one ACR
Boat has one Start battery
and one house bank
A picture is worth a thousand words
not at the boat now but do have one picture
on my phone
Itís downright scary
Cheers
Neil
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:46   #8
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Re: Harness Replacement

Clarification:
Picture is of the engine compartment
bulkhead and has more than the engine bits.
We have divided the boats electric into 3 buckets
1. Engine
2. AC power
3 DC from panel to all 12v DC circuits on the boat

First project is the engine bucket
Second the AC
Third is the DC

Plan is to call in tech help for 1 & 2
and do 3 ourselves
Boat gotta start and stop
AC can kill you
Hard to hurt yourself with 12v DC
if you are annal with wire size, fusing, and
attention to detail during install

Thanx again , I really appreciate all input
We are located in Fort Lauderdale
if anybody has local recommendations

Cheers
Neil
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:33   #9
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Re: Harness Replacement

my friend has had a LOT of electrical work done on her boat the past year. I have watched very closely and will go out on a limb and throw out a ROUGH labor cost based on my current level of experience with the time it takes to do these types of projects, and what iv'e witnessed recently from professionals.

more experienced members may further help narrow down my guestimate. I would say your looking at 3-5 days labor. i'm guessing labor for a pro is probably $80-100 / hour depending where you are.

So $2000ish on the low side, $4000 on the high side would be my best guess.

if i could offer one piece of advice from the horror show i've unfortunately seen my friend go through with 'Pros'. Seriously vet your electrician. My friend went through several Bozo's before finding a reasonable professional. one electrician was an ABYC certified installer. a week after the install the bilge pump wouldn't work. i traced it to a crimp at the inline fuse. i pulled the crimp apart with only a couple fingers and almost no force. he used Walmart butt splices, no heatshrink etc...etc... That was one of many problems.

anyway...taking the time to find a true professional, not just an electrician who says he is, may save you much $$$ and headache later down the line.
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:55   #10
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Re: Harness Replacement

I found on our (Volvo) engine that the wiring harness itself was the weak spot. The connectors themselves are liable to corrosion and eventual failures. I replaced our harness with factory once, same problems eventually reemerged. Even replaced the factory (amphenol) connectors once, and issues still presented themselves.

Better, and not much more involved, was to replace the entire harness with individual wires leading to a good terminal strip near the engine. This provides for better vibration resistance and easier troubleshooting. If this seems too daunting, cutting out the engine connector and replacing it with a terminal strip is a good next step. If there are issues at the instrument panel, you can do the same there.

Since I did that, had no issues with engine wiring connections.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:05   #11
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Re: Harness Replacement

Our boat is in a similar situation. But with 2 engines. The previous owners all added new gauges and lights that no longer function and it's a mess!
So this coming hurricane season I will be stripping it all out and installing new panels and harnesses.
So I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress
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Old 13-12-2020, 06:39   #12
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Re: Harness Replaceme

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
Our boat is in a similar situation. But with 2 engines. The previous owners all added new gauges and lights that no longer function and it's a mess!
So this coming hurricane season I will be stripping it all out and installing new panels and harnesses.
So I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress
We have decided to have a new harness professionally installed
as well as all the battery wiring,
AC system and inverter charger.
The PO really did a number on the boat.
They spent lots of money on it but left no notes
just thought they would remember everything.
There are two Balmar alternators, two controllers, a Bluesea ACR
A 1/2 All / Off switch and at one time a second house bank.
Most likely everything will be ripped out and we will start fresh.
A clean DC feed will come up to a new DC Panel
and we will do all the wiring from there.
We have identified and tested all running lights, steaming light,
anchor light, windlass wiring, so those runs will be reused
Yard time has been reserved and we should start the project
in January.
Iíll try to document the project for those who
Might be interested.
Cheers
Neil
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Old 13-12-2020, 07:13   #13
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Re: Harness Replacement

I replace and install electrical harnesses/rewire existing harnesses @ 85 per hour
That type of work is usually labor intensive and can be of high cost. The entire harness would be at least a 50 hr job on a typical 30 ft sailboat .
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Old 13-12-2020, 07:18   #14
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Re: Harness Replacement

Expertequipmentllc@gmail.com if you want a quote , I’ll need all the info on your boat to include the hull number and engine serial number if possible. However I only work from Tampa to Naples Florida
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Old 13-12-2020, 08:02   #15
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Re: Harness Replacement

Two people, a multimeter, a standard yellow tablet, and some tape with a fine tip marker are all you really need.

That and some time.

Get down in there and trace your wiring both physically and with the meter. Mark the wires on both ends with little tape flags saying what is what. Draw the wiring diagram on the tablet. Separate the various systems into separate diagrams.

Now you know what systems you have, where the wires all go, what's redundant and can be eliminated, and what needs replaced. Swap out the old harness with the new one. Once it's in you can plan upgrades like adding terminal blocks so you can change sections of broken/corroded wires instead of the entire harness if you ever need to do this again.

It's not that difficult. If you can follow a hose from the spray nozzle end back to the valve at the hose bib, you can trace a wire from one end to the other. Just turn off the power and disconnect the batteries before you start. You can use your shore power cable to give you power for lights while working, just don't plug it into the boat.

When you're done, replace the hand written tape flags with printed labels for a better look. You can wrap the labels around the wires like flags or lengthwise if you want a cleaner look.
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