Well, the bad news for 2016 has officially arrived with the death of my father-in-law. 90 years is a good, long run, but my wife had just returned from a six-week family visit three weeks ago when we got the news. So I got her back on a plane and am in bachelor mode once again until mid-July when I’ll fly out to participate in the final burial ceremony. Of course, it’s a very sad thing to lose a relative, and bachelor mode has both up- and down-sides for this refit project as well as for other aspects of life. My wife is terrific and has, at times, been very helpful and hands-on in this refit, but the clothes don’t get washed and folded by themselves, nor does dinner magically appear on the table every night. So when she’s away visiting family, the load she carries in keeping our household going falls to me. I have to squeeze time for cooking, laundry, etc into an already-packed schedule. The long drives to the boatyard and back give plenty of time to reflect on her father’s life and other family matters, but I find it’s harder to focus on refit problem-solving. Fortunately, sitting in the cool bilge on hot days next to two tons of cool Cummins engines while doing the wiring tends to bring me back into focus.
I’ve used high end manual crimpers to make battery cables before, but I have to say these cheapo hydraulic ones on ebay do a fine job, especially for $31 shipping included.
The OE Chris Craft +12v supply line from the engine to the breaker panels uses 8AWG wire. All the rest–ignition, starter, water temp, oil pressure, and alarms are 10~14AWG.
If you look closely at the alternator, you can see a rather small, 12AWG wire that’s connected to the 12v+ output post, which is a tiny little wire for engines that have ~100a output alternators and air heaters that put a large load on the alternators at start-up.
I have learned to hate all the white paint sprayed on the wire looms and wiring. What good is it to number all the wires if you’re just going to coat them with white paint??? And when you touch the painted split loom or move the wires around, it falls off in chunks…sort of. It’s very messy stuff.
Because Chris Craft used ammeters with shunts instead of voltmeters, I need to reroute the alternator output cable past the battery cable terminal on the starter and have it first go through the shunt before returning to the starter. That will permit my OE ammeters to work properly at the helm, and when I eventually install Cummins panels in the engine room they’ll still get alternator output voltage from the starter battery post via the OE Cummins wiring.
But running that 6AWG wire to the shunt will be a challenge. The auxilliary starter solenoid wiring loom, which is what I’ll run the new 6AWG wire through, was installed behind the starter, and I suspect it was put in place before the starter was installed. It’s very neat and tidy doing it that way, but it’s also a lot tougher threading the loom back through that tight space between the starter and engine block than it was pulling it out. To get enough slack to make it fit, I ended up having to loosen up the loom all the way to the opposite side of the engine block.
I’ve heard that the wire length is extremely critical for ammeters to accurately read the output from the shunts. So instead of cutting the wires I just looped and wire-tied them.
That gets the basic connections done on one engine, and now I know exactly what each wire in the Cummins loom does. But while I had my nose stuffed up against the engine block trying to pull the wires behind the starter, I noticed that somebody hadn’t been very careful installing hoses and clamps in this engine’s history.
To fix that, I needed to loosen the heat exchanger and relocate it 1/4″ further back. When I went to loosen the heat exchanger clamp bolts, I found a very similar problem on the other end of the same hose. Fortunately, both problems were resolved by just moving the HEX aft a bit.
Better to find these kinds of problems and fix them now, I suppose.