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Old 04-27-2014, 08:18 PM
Jeff d Jeff d is offline
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Boat: 2000 230 VRS
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MDC Delete and Gauge Replacement

I'm getting the boat ready for summer and recalling all of the bizarre behavior that my gauges have given me for the last 3-4 seasons on my 2000 230 VRS. I've had issues with every single gauge on the dash at one time or another. I "fixed" the speedo by removing it and putting in Perfect Pass. I have already pulled everything apart, cleaned all connections with contact cleaner and reassembled with no improvement. Grounds and connections at the MDC are all good. I've tried disconnecting some of the gauges to see if one particular one was creating noise on the MDC bus without success.

My OE gauges aren't very common so it's not easy to find a replacement if I even had the desire to try to figure out which one or ones are actually bad. I have black chrome trim rings and antique white faces. Currently my Perfect Pass gauge doesn't match anyway and the depth sounder didn't match from the factory.

So, I think my best and cheapest option might be to just ditch all of the OEM gauges and wire up a decent aftermarket set of gauges directly to the harness that currently plugs into the MDC, bypassing/eliminating the MDC. I'd then just have individual gauges talking to individual senders instead of this difficult to troubleshoot bus system where all of the gauges are controlled via one set of wires.

I could pickup this set for $170 and then sell off the speedo (Since I don't need it or have the space for it) to recover a few bucks:
http://www.boatersland.com/farktf001.html

It's cheaper to buy the set with the speedo then to buy the rest of the gauges that I actually need individually.


Thus far the senders I've dealt with have been pretty standard relative to boats and even cars with GM V8s. When I had a bad oil pressure sender I just picked up a pretty standard one at Napa and it worked so I'm probably good on oil pressure. I'll have to research the ranges on the senders for fuel level and engine temp. Tach shouldn't be an issue because I was able to just tap a wire under the dash (Pre MDC if I'm not mistaken) for my perfect pass to pickup RPM without issue. There's obviously no voltage sending unit so the voltmeter should be plug and play. The depth sounder currently doesn't pass through the MDC at all so that shouldn't be an issue.

What controls the "Check Engine" light on the dash and if it is the MDC how useful is that light to begin with?

That Faria tach in the gauge set doesn't include an hour meter but my Perfect Pass has that so it's not really needed.

What, if anything would I be giving up if I eliminate the MDC and the medallion gauges?
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2014, 01:45 PM
Bruce-ActionWater's Avatar
Bruce-ActionWater Bruce-ActionWater is offline
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If you don't have the speedo hose hooked up the the MDC it wont fail again. That is what we do here at our shop.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:50 PM
Jeff d Jeff d is offline
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It's still about 1/2 the price to replace all of the gauges with aftermarket, standalone gauges vs. replacing the MDC. Also, unless I had a known good MDC to test with I can't be sure that's even the problem. If I buy an MDC and then it turns out I had gauge issues too I'll be at $400-500+ pretty quickly.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:44 PM
Jeff d Jeff d is offline
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Tonight I spent about an hour pulling the dash apart, cleaning connections and troubleshooting the gauges again per the Medalion troubleshooting guide. I got erratic behavior from both the fuel gauge and the temp gauge even if those were the only gauges connected to the MDC at the time. I'd turn the key on and the fuel gauge would "reset" and say the tank was empty. I'd then turn the key off and back on and it would say 3/4 tank. Once I turned the key off and back on and the needle went all the way around to where it indicated that I had about 1.75 tanks of gas (i.e. way past full). I didn't test the sender again tonight but I've tested it before and as I moved the sender in and out of the tank the resistance moved appropriately on my multimeter.

I think I'm going to proceed with the Faria gauges. The limited number of reviews I've found on them were overwhelmingly positive with only one negative. I've confirmed that the fuel level and oil pressure senders are correct for the Faria gauges. From what I've been gathering the senders are pretty well standardized on american boats so the water temp sender is more than likely correct too. Worst case, Faria makes a compatible temp sender if I need to swap that in.

I also tested that the check engine light and the alarm both work (Or at least illuminate and make noise when the key is on) even when the MDC is completely disconnected from the electrical system. So it seems that those don't pass through the MDC. Also the engine starts and runs without any issues with the MDC removed.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:14 AM
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ProStar Slalom ProStar Slalom is offline
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Good for you, Jeff. Plenty of us have had to replace the black box and/or a gauge or two. Please keep us posted on how this turns out.
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:16 PM
73blue 73blue is offline
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I will definitely be monitoring this thread. I've been having gauge issues in my 04 and would possibly be interested in bypassing the black box as well
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:58 AM
Jeff d Jeff d is offline
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I'm still trying to figure out what I'm missing here before I jump into this. If all the MDC does is gather data from the standard senders and then translates/dumps it onto a bus for display on the specialized gauges what's the point? That seems needlessly complicated and expensive relative to more standard gauges connecting directly to their respective senders. What's the appeal of the MDC/Medallion gauge system to OEMs? It's not just MasterCraft that uses this arrangement. I know at least Malibu used the same setup.

Does anyone have any idea if the MDC provides some sort of alerts based on engine conditions? I had an oil pressure sender failure a couple of years ago and the MDC didn't alert me in any way. As far as the MDC knew at the time I had zero oil pressure so I'm safely assuming it does not monitor those sorts of critical conditions. It has to add some value right? It doesn't seem like it would be easier to install for the OEMs during manufacture as, if anything, there's more wiring associated with this arrangement. It can't be cheaper can it?
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:22 AM
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geordie-wake geordie-wake is offline
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My 99 205v has gauge chatter and I have just replaced the temp gauge since that doesn't zero anymore and it still doesn't function correctly (last option new MDC or replace with Faria or equivalent). There was a 2000 X-star advertised for sale over here in the UK that had been converted over to Faria gauges and now I know why. How can you be sure they are reading correct. My first boat was a 1978 inboard with the original smiths gauges and no problems at all the second boat on a mercruiser engine also had no problems with gauges but these Medallion sets I just don't see why MC persisted with them.
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:07 PM
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Bruce-ActionWater Bruce-ActionWater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff d View Post
Tonight I spent about an hour pulling the dash apart, cleaning connections and troubleshooting the gauges again per the Medalion troubleshooting guide. I got erratic behavior from both the fuel gauge and the temp gauge even if those were the only gauges connected to the MDC at the time. I'd turn the key on and the fuel gauge would "reset" and say the tank was empty. I'd then turn the key off and back on and it would say 3/4 tank. Once I turned the key off and back on and the needle went all the way around to where it indicated that I had about 1.75 tanks of gas (i.e. way past full). I didn't test the sender again tonight but I've tested it before and as I moved the sender in and out of the tank the resistance moved appropriately on my multimeter.

I think I'm going to proceed with the Faria gauges. The limited number of reviews I've found on them were overwhelmingly positive with only one negative. I've confirmed that the fuel level and oil pressure senders are correct for the Faria gauges. From what I've been gathering the senders are pretty well standardized on american boats so the water temp sender is more than likely correct too. Worst case, Faria makes a compatible temp sender if I need to swap that in.

I also tested that the check engine light and the alarm both work (Or at least illuminate and make noise when the key is on) even when the MDC is completely disconnected from the electrical system. So it seems that those don't pass through the MDC. Also the engine starts and runs without any issues with the MDC removed.
The MDC is only for the gauges. The check engine light it ran off the ECM.
__________________
Bruce Jesionowski - Parts & Warranty
Store: 810.629.1342
Action Water Sports-Fenton
8051 Old US 23
Fenton, MI 48430
www.actionwater.com

BRINGING FAMILIES TOGETHER


1984 MasterCraft Stars&Stripes. Fully restored-SOLD
1994 MasterCraft PS190 LT-1 Slot
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2014, 09:37 AM
M.T. M.T. is offline
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Boat: 2003 Prostar 197
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Outlaw marine was installing these gauges on a x7 last year. Don the owner said it is the way to go. You might want to give him a call 352 475-1229.
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