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Old 04-15-2017, 06:46 PM
Tateau18 Tateau18 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Boat: 1994 Mastercraft Maristar 225VRS 1996 Mastercraft Prostar 205
Location: Southeast
Posts: 89
Various Electrical Questions

Let me start by saying I am in the process of cleaning this boat up. P/O did not take care of it at all. I am about to have the engine pulled so that I can replace the mounts and clean out the bilge area as well as put in a dropped shaft seal. Anyways in the process of converting my boat back from closed loop cooling to freshwater I started noticing some odd items around the engine compartment. Number one being a purple wire laying near the alternator not hooked to anything. It has been like this since I bought the boat and it runs fine. However I find it odd that it is disconnected. Any ideas as to what this may be? Secondly, there is a tan/black wire that is not connected to anything next to the thermostat housing. It runs in the same conduit as what I believe is the water temp sensor. Temp gauge also works fine. Any ideas here? Is it a ground? Third, someone has practically superglued the fittings to what I believe is the neutral sensor on the transmission. I guess something was going on there because the wires are loose. However it also works fine. I definitely don't want any surprises out on the water this year so I am trying to make sure everything is buttoned up before we head out. Lastly, does anyone know how much of a pain it is to swap out engine mounts? DIY project or worth paying someone? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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Old 04-15-2017, 07:16 PM
waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Boat: 93 190
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Originally Posted by Tateau18 View Post
  • I am about to have the engine pulled so that I can replace the mounts and clean out the bilge area as well as put in a dropped shaft seal.
  • Number one being a purple wire laying near the alternator not hooked to anything. It has been like this since I bought the boat and it runs fine. However I find it odd that it is disconnected. Any ideas as to what this may be?
  • Secondly, there is a tan/black wire that is not connected to anything next to the thermostat housing. It runs in the same conduit as what I believe is the water temp sensor. Temp gauge also works fine. Any ideas here? Is it a ground?
  • Third, someone has practically superglued the fittings to what I believe is the neutral sensor on the transmission. I guess something was going on there because the wires are loose. However it also works fine.
  • Lastly, does anyone know how much of a pain it is to swap out engine mounts? DIY project or worth paying someone?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • The dripless seal system is worth the effort and expense. There are two kinds, one a little less than the other; the XPC system that can be had for $100 if you look in the correct place. I bought two of them last year.
  • The purple wire is a hot feed that is chained from somewhere upstream of the connector. Whatever they connected to it is (obviously) not there or has been abandoned in some manner to leave the wire de-terminated. On the engine side of the harness, purple typically runs from the distributor to the coil (electronic ignition only) to a resistor (if applicable) then on to the dash switched feed.
  • The tan/black wire is likely the water temp sender to gauge wire. Not sure why it is not being used but the common color code for the water temp is tan or tan/black. I'd go to the gauge and see what color ties into it and work from that end if it is still an issue.
  • The neutral safety switch is indeed there on the transmission. That appears to be the switch but it could also be a temp sensor. I am not 100% sure but the NSS is much like that configuration. Not sure why it is glued but that can be fixed easily enough with new spade or ring terminal connectors. That safety feature can also be bypassed at the lanyard location or behind the dash. Regardless, it is what it is. Pull a wire off of the plug and see if the engine will bump. That will tell you if they are in service. If it does bump, that circuit is bypassed or jumped somewhere else. Typically two white wires. I see a black and white wire on yours and the black may seem to indicate a negative ground circuit but that is not the case with this safety switch, thus the two white wires I mentioned. No big deal because the wire and the circuit does not know what color of sheath is on it. All said and done with what I see is that someone jury rigged this thing at one time or another. Not that that is a bad thing but since you are there, make it right. Use tinned wire and shrink connectors....
  • The engine mounts are easy on a direct drive, and I am not sure if yours is as convenient on your VD. All about accessibility to the part. If you pull the engine to replace them it is still easy to do as a DIY. Finding the parts can be a challenge but I replaced four this past winter on a 351 direct drive and saw the comparable 350 engine mounts while I was shopping. Took me a combination of three places to round up all of the parts but they can be had. From the looks of those, I'd replace the entire assembly in lieu of piecing them back together. Most of that will be seized beyond soak and wait to break loose. After doing it myself, no need to pay someone unless pulling and setting the engine is beyond your preference. Nothing that a one-ton chain fall or hoist will not handle. Build a cheap cradle to set it on then do all of the work there on the bench. Harbor Freight has these tools on the cheap. You'll also need their load balance bar but beyond that it is very straight forward.

When you pull the engine, just rewire the entire engine from the temp sender all the way back to the breaker or harness plug. It's easy and a great opportunity to know the wiring is correct. Just remember everything maps (via a harness plug) to the dash, so be cognizant of each pin connector's designated routing from the engine out to the dash. Nothing complicated at all.

One last tip: if you rewire the boat, get a nice ratchet-driven crimping tool. The $12 kit crimpers are nothing but rework waiting to happen. Not required but a nice wire stripping tool makes the work go a lot quicker. With the shrink connectors, a hear gun is essential. Just saying.....


Credit to someone else for this photo.
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Last edited by waterlogged882; 04-15-2017 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 09:48 PM
Tateau18 Tateau18 is offline
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Boat: 1994 Mastercraft Maristar 225VRS 1996 Mastercraft Prostar 205
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Awesome, thanks for the advice. I think that sounds like a great idea to re-wire at the same time. I have found and purchased all of the motor mounts, they are just waiting to be put in. Did you have any trouble re-aligning everything upon setting it back in place?


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Old 04-15-2017, 09:56 PM
waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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Originally Posted by Tateau18 View Post
Awesome, thanks for the advice. I think that sounds like a great idea to re-wire at the same time. I have found and purchased all of the motor mounts, they are just waiting to be put in. Did you have any trouble re-aligning everything upon setting it back in place?


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I had no trouble at all once I figured it out.. lol.... it is actually pretty simple.

At your first approach look at it as a two step process; 1) make sure the engine, transmission, drive shaft, and the strut all line up within reason and allow the shaft to come through the hull fairly well centered (does not have to be perfect) and nothing is in a bind. Once that is set in place and the mounts are secured, 2) check the couplings to see how much you need to move them to get the shaft/transmission couplings to mate without forcing them together, as one will seat into the other. Use a feeler gauge and shoot for +0 / -0.003" at 180 degree checks. Rotate the coupling after each adjustment. If you need large movement use the front mounts for that. Anything less than 0.005" (you're getting close now) use the rear mounts (nearest the transmission/shaft couplings) or a combination of both mounts. I clarify that because I have to remember your engine is set in backwards. The horizontal movement is simple enough once the vertical is close. Just use a pry-bar to move the engine horizontally. I also recommend Never-Seize on all sliding surfaces, threaded connections, and hose connections (inside of the hose).

While the engine is out, you may want to consider filling the existing mounting holes in the structure. I can recommend MarineTex (gray) to fill the holes (also sealing the open holes in the structure) then re-drill the holes for new mounts. I opted for thru-bolts but I also had access to both sides of the structure on this last project. Use stainless bolts with care. They are softer than one may think and over tightening will elongate the threads. If you have to back off a nut, it can cross thread coming back off and that becomes a pain to twist and break the bolt for a new one. I would recommend stainless but torque and tighten with care.

The engine sets in place with a particular angularity so go with what the strut/shaft placement dictates for the alignment on step 1. That is the essential and most important basis of all good things for realignment.

One last tool that came in handy for me is a 90 degree angle adapter for the drill. Another Harbor Freight cheap buy but man it saved me more than once when setting the engine.
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Last edited by waterlogged882; 04-15-2017 at 10:27 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2017, 11:28 PM
MikeyOrange88 MikeyOrange88 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Boat: 1988 Tristar 190 Sport (Closed Bow), 351W w/ GT-40's
Location: Southeast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tateau18 View Post
Number one being a purple wire laying near the alternator not hooked to anything. It has been like this since I bought the boat and it runs fine. However I find it odd that it is disconnected. Any ideas as to what this may be?
Finally, someone else with the weird purple wire connection, no ring, just friction fit, push-on style connection. On my '88 Tristar, it simply was stuck onto the 'exciter' stud on the alternator. Pretty sure it came from the factory that way as I'm second owner of almost 20 years. While working on the plug wire routing one day I inadvertently knocked it off. Then, later on while running the boat on the hose, I could tell alternator wasn't charging, so went to checking battery, etc. Finally removed the alternator to have it rebuilt by a local rebuilder (rather than buying a new one). He tests it on his bench and tells me its fine.
Took me a while to discover this purple wire dangling from the harness. Since I hadn't taken it off, I didn't realize it was the missing link. The alternator will not charge without it, at least on my setup. You state that it runs fine, but I'm not sure how that is possible, unless you have an aftermarket alternator that can work without it. Your results may vary, but seeing as it is laying next to your alternator, I'd bet that is what it goes to (or used to go to).
As Waterlogged states, several places where the wiring is purple, including the coil and electric choke.
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Last edited by MikeyOrange88; 04-17-2017 at 11:37 PM. Reason: add'l info
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