Wiring Nightmares

We found a hull…

We repaired it, we applied fresh gel coat….

We found a boat trailer, rebuilt it, got new tires, new wiring…

We rebuild a new floor and I installed new hull liner and carpet on the inside of the hull.  Wolf made the new wood for the rails and seat mounts.

We bought a motor and hung it on the back….



Then we left for the winter


Our Alpex Sierra has been sitting for a while.  Now with our newly found time we’ve been working on the boat again.  Wolf found needed parts on eBay – a piston for the tilt trim (rises and lowers the motor), a new wiring harness that was OEM for the motor.  When everything came in I set out to wire the boat.

I’ve always been one of those people who can put things together.  While wiring can look confusing, starting from a clean plate and creating your own wiring is really not that daunting of a task.

We went to the local marine store and bought an ignition switch,  the final piece of the puzzle to wire the boat.  After a few stops for bus bars and connectors I was ready to go.  It took a day to get everything connected and all the wires cleanly run from the back of the boat to the front.  I set it up so that when the key was on the other electrical components would work and when the key was off there would be no accident power drain from lights left on.

When I was ready to start testing we hooked the power from the motor to the battery, hit the aux switch and Boom! Everything worked 🙂  I was so happy.  I even gave the motor a bum – everything was working.  Then it all stopped.

Thought #1 – Electrical problems are a bitch.  There’s really no other way to say it.  When there’s an electrical problem it could be anything – a bad ground, a bad solenoid, a bad connection, a bad wire, a short in the new ignition switch…. the possibilities seem endless.  I took apart all ground wires and polished all the connections and re connected them.  I checked all the connections and connectors.  We decided the solenoid must be the culprit.

Finding a marine solenoid on a Sunday around here is nearly impossible. So we bought all the accessory parts – stern lights, cig lighter plug, lighted compass, new bilge pump.  We did get a solenoid from the auto store (not the right one of course) and we spend two days trouble shooting.  Come Monday we went to the Mercury dealer and got an OEM solenoid.

We just knew that by replacing the solenoid the motor would work and our problems would be solved.  It didn’t work.

Turns out the culprit after walking away and restarting trouble shooting a few times, was the positive wire from the battery to the motor.  Who would have thought that!?!?!

Thought #2 – Electrical problems are normally solved by checking everything that’s not obvious and really stupid.

Once we figured it all out I went ahead and wired all the aux fixtures and we even watched the boat turn over.  Now we’re off to get gas and hope we don’t have any mechanical problems (this motor has been sitting a while after all)

Hopefully we’ll have everything running, tagged and in the water soon!  I could really use some relaxation time on the water 🙂




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