Bad Float Switch Positive Wire Forward Bilge Pump 330 Express

usmm1234

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While looking for a spot to mount my Documentation numbers board. I noticed water in the bilge. I recently installed the Ultra Switch Jr and a Shurflo 2000gph bilge pump. I knew something was up. I thought I had the first Ultra Switch that I had ever heard of to fail. The green LED was lit, but the pump would not come on when I raised the donut float. The pump worked perfect when I switched on the manual switch at the dash. I called Bob that owns Ultra Switch. He told me to slide the float all the way to the top, and see if the Green LED went out. It did. He said you have a weak wire or old butt splice. Sure enough my meter showed a crappy connection somewhere. Tracing that wire is completely impossible. It disappears in a bulkhead and then God knows where. This is the fourth older boat that I have revamped so I knew the best solution was to run a new wire. I pulled the battery switch panel out in the cockpit and Checked all the breakers with my test light grounded to a battery. They were all good. Luckily there is a PVC rigging tube running up the Port side for optional fish box refrigeration. I ran the wire through there up to the area where the washdown and water pumps are. I found a spot to run the wire down into the bilge pump area from there. The pump is back running perfect again. I hope there are not more bad wires or connections where ever this one was. Those bilge pump wires are part of the main wiring harness, so there’s no telling where the fail point is.
I had a gremlin in my Bertram that kept shutting off my port engine. It turned out to be a tach wire that went to the flybridge. When I finally figured it out. Didn’t find the bad spot. I just ran a brand new wire. Never had an issue again.
I would have been disappointed if I had a bad switch. Those switches are fail proof.
 
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SirGrady226

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It could be something as simple as a nick in the wire when originally pulled through, corrosion finally made it a failed connection. I replaced both front and rear bilge pump wiring harnesses in my 87 just to be safe, along with my outboard power head harnesses.
 
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seasick

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Glad that worked out. The bilge auto feed comes directly off of one of the batteries and has an inline fuse (at least it should). Other than the bilge feed, it doesn't go anywhere and should be one continuous wire without any splices other than the float feed on one end and the inline fuse on the other. The circuit should have been fairly easy to test out. Yes the wire could have gone bad but it is also possible that when you connected the new wire, you may have fixed the original problem, a bad splice.
 

usmm1234

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Thanks, my 330 has the auto bilge pump power from 2 big red breakers below the battery switches. I tested both of those and they were good. then I tested the wire from there to the forward bilge pump with my ohm meter. There was a very weak intermitant signal. The wire must have been damaged at the factory or when the boat was repowered? A brand new wire fixed it. I had the same issue on my Bertram with a tach wire. It would shut the engine off! I never had any other issue with that wiring harness. I call it boat Voodoo.
 

seasick

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I would have assumed that the big red breakers are the accessory feeds and are switched. If they are bilge feeds then they would not be switched. I am not familiar with wiring on that model, so I am asking out of curiosity. Can you tell what amperage those red breakers are?
 

usmm1234

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Here is a picture. They are 8amps. They are not routed thru the battery switches. 8316947D-1295-4818-9CAF-D44021D989C9.jpeg
 

seasick

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OK, The left is accessories and would be switched. The memory is for things like the stereo pre sets, The right two speak for themselves.
 

usmm1234

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OK, The left is accessories and would be switched. The memory is for things like the stereo pre sets, The right two speak for themselves.
That is correct. The 36/37's have the same arrangement. These are thermal breakers, so they wont pop willy nilly if your boat has a bad leak and the pumps are running continously.
 

Fishtales

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May want the battery switches to bank1 and bank2 so you don't have a bad battery drain the other.
 

usmm1234

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May want the battery switches to bank1 and bank2 so you don't have a bad battery drain the other.
Good point. We always keep the battery banks seperate and one engine running on one tank and the other engine running off the other tank. That way 2 independent systems assure grtting home if you have a battery or fuel quality issue. That picture was taken by the yacht broker before I bought the boat.
 

seasick

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On my Grady I do not select BOTH for normal running. I try to alternate 1 and 2 but if I go on an outing and it will take some time for the return trip or even the out trip, I will often change to both to give a charge to both batteries. When I reach my target fishing area, I change the batteries to individual settings. That is for my 208.
Now MyOtherBoat has twin Optimax motors and those motors have a a strange oddity that when sitting for an extended period, unless I select BOTH, neither will start. They will crank over fine, but just won't fire. Set to Both they start fine after being run for a bit, they will run on separate batteries. My research has found several references to this oddity and suggest that my batteries may be a tad weak. I will know in the spring since I plan on replacing them.
Apparently the Optimax ECU is really picky about voltage and if the starting voltage is a tad low, the ECU won't allow the motor to fire. I don't know if it shuts down the spark or the fuel or maybe both.
These Optimaxes also spec a fairly high capacity battery, 1000 CCA. Not all that common since the boat will only fit size 24 batteries.
This boat is always on a charger nut that doesn't seem to make a difference
Not to hijack this thread but there are many strange oddities with those Optimax motors. (2006 model year)
 

usmm1234

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definitely sounds like weak batteries. Alot of electronics have a self protect mode that wont allow the object to work at less then 9volts.
Could also be dirty battery terminals or corroded loose grounds.
 

seasick

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Battery cables and switches were all replaced. Total cable runs are fairly long since batteries are in the helm area. The voltage doesn't get that low as far as I can tell but I haven't measured it at the motor terminals while cranking. I am sure it is related to a low voltage but 'low' is relative. The Optis are very picky.
 

usmm1234

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Battery cables and switches were all replaced. Total cable runs are fairly long since batteries are in the helm area. The voltage doesn't get that low as far as I can tell but I haven't measured it at the motor terminals while cranking. I am sure it is related to a low voltage but 'low' is relative. The Optis are very picky.
Good motors. My buddy has fished them for years on his 26 Stratos. He’s beeen thru a few oxygen sensors though.
 

seasick

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They definitely eat up water pump impellers a lot faster than my Yami. The Merc impeller is about half the diameter of the Yami. I think it is under more stress in its housing.
I am not that educated om Optimaxes and I have to say that I was not aware that is has an O2 sensor. I did a search and can't seem to find one in the service manual.
What size motor swere on your buddy's Stratus? Mine are Opti 150 DFIs.
 
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