iliketoski

Boat Starts, seems to run ok, gauge cluster not working

44 posts in this topic

I have a 2001 Sunsetter VLX, monsoon, initial splash of the season.  It started up fine but my Oil Pres, Water Temp, Fuel, and Volt gauge show no life, everything else appears to be working fine, lights, horm, bilge, blower, even perfect pass.  As usual with most of the issues we see on the foirum this time of year, everything worked when I winterized last fall.  I tried to research on the site, lots of mention of grounding, but I actually retightened all grounds recently when installing a new sub early last season.

Also some mention of plugs with corrosion.  Where at, behind dash?  Please give me some things to try, just arrived at the lake for the weekend and would like to get operational before I leave.  I don't want to tow it home to the dealer (200 miles). 

As I said it runs, but afraid to take it out without guages.

Thx, 'ski

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All of those readings are from a single gauge on the dash.  Since they are all giving you trouble, then I would recommend pulling the dash fascia out and getting your hands on that gauge.  Trace the cable out through the panels and anywhere there is a connector pull and re-seat it many times to use friction to scrape clean corrosion off the leads and get a better connection.  That includes on the gauge itself!  If you do it manually with a file or something and you're not really careful, then it's easy to get a pin bent and cause more problems.  Since it's an all-gauge-failure I'd go looking for a common connection like the main power for the gauge.

It happened a time or two on my '01 Sunsetter VLX and that did the ticket for another couple years.

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I hope that is all it will take, were the only connections that you messed with behind the dash?  The module that they plug into is under the dash, correct?  Or is there something in the engine compartment I need to mess with as well?

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Posted (edited)

Your gauges are all connected to a black MDC 1600 box under the dash which receives all the analog signals from the various readings on the engine. Do the gauges reset when you key the ignition? (go back to minimum value and buzz a bit). If so then the MDC module has power and your issue is probably an issue with the signal wires going to the box from the engine - these goes through the cannon plug on the back of the engine - or there's an issue with the gauges themselves.

Since none of the gauges are working (I assume so unless the tach is working, which is the only gauge you didn't mention) then I would think it could be a power or grounding problem. Try climbing under the dash and making sure the two plugs on the MDC are seated well and make sure the cannon plug at the back of the engine is seated as well. If you jiggle the cannon plug and you hear the gauges come to life and reset then you know that's your issue. Here's a troubleshooting guide for the MDC box if you're feeling handy and have a multimeter: http://www.epicmarine.com/docs/MDCtrouble.PDF

Worst case scenario the box went bad for some reason. If water from the speedo tubes stayed inside the ports where they connect to the box during winter it can freeze and crack the box then make its way inside when it thaws, damaging the electronics.

I believe the cannon plug looks like this for a V drive (found this pic from another thread here so correct me if I'm wrong):

 cannonplug.jpg

Edited by drh
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There is no life at all when turning the key, they don't budge.  Usually they make noises and go full randge when the key is first powered.  I no longer have the tach as I installed Perfect Pass many years ago.  Getting ready to dive into it now.

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I had the same problem.  There are 2 inline fuses going into the MDC.  Try replacing those first.  Worked for me.

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Are they located under the dash?

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Holy crap!  It's Dave!  Welcome back!

Pointers from above are the best place to start.  The cannon plug is where most people start and see the most results.

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Rain stopped, climbing into the boat to try all these ideas.

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Posted (edited)

If your setup is like mine (which I think it is) there is an (18 pin?) rectangular connector under the dash going to the main box.  I would remove, clean with contact cleaner and re-seat.  IIRC there is also a connector to the cluster also; if that doesn't fix it then do the same to the smaller connector.  To get to it just remove the screw at the top middle of the dash and the 2 screws at the bottom that secure the Malibu logo.  The entire oval section will fold outward and downward to expose the connectors.

66vw41.jpg

Edited by formulaben

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OK, its not the two in line fuses, pulled every connector I could find and checked, all looked very clean, no corrosion, also tried swapping connector with the other guage.  Pulled the cannon plug, also clean but wiggeld around as I reinserted.

Decide to make a quick run outside the marina, boat runs great,. just no gauges.  Also no speedo, and no tach.  Alkthough the PP reads RPM and voltage.

Thinking the MMC, is there any way to check it or just take the gamble and replace.  Are they easy to get?  Cost?

 

'ski

 

Hey UW, how you been?

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3 hours ago, iliketoski said:

Are they located under the dash?

Yes, they are under the dash right as the wires go into the MDC.  The fuses are low amp fuses.  One of them is 1.5 amps but I cant remember the other one. 

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i thought i was on tom something as i check the continuity on the fuses, one was fine, but the other barely showed continuity, the I looked it was .5 a (or maybe it was .25).  but either way showed continuity

 

54 minutes ago, formulaben said:

If your setup is like mine (which I think it is) there is an (18 pin?) rectangular connector under the dash going to the main box.  I would remove, clean with contact cleaner and re-seat.  IIRC there is also a connector to the cluster also; if that doesn't fix it then do the same to the smaller connector.  To get to it just remove the screw at the top middle of the dash and the 2 screws at the bottom that secure the Malibu logo.  The entire oval section will fold outward and downward to expose the connectors.

66vw41.jpg

My setup is like yours, and  I pulled the panel, removed the connector on the back of the gauge, real clean.  All other connectors are under dash, , pulled the one from the module as well, no luck.

I'm going to try them again, but there is not even a suggestion of corrosion on anything I have taken apart.

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Before going for a replacement I would check the MDC using this guide: http://www.epicmarine.com/docs/MDCtrouble.PDF

Turn the ignition on and unplug a gauge. Check for 7 volts between the black wire and red wire of the 5 pin connector you disconnected from the gauge. If you don't have voltage there unplug the the other end of the 5 pin connector from the MDC and check voltage at the corresponding pins on the box - 2nd and 3rd pins from the right. If you have 7 volts there you know it's the wiring from the box to the gauges. If no voltage there check for input voltage to the MDC by disconnecting the large 18 pin connector and checking for 12 volts between both the black and red wire and the black and purple wire. If you have good voltage there it's probably the MDC. If no voltage there you know it's a wiring or grounding problem somewhere in the boat.

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Posted (edited)

Been good!  Busy!

Bakes has MDCs.  They're friendly.

https://www.bakesonline.com/detail.aspx?ID=1381

 

We've had to replace ours once before too when we had someone else winterize for us once.  Used compressed air on the pitots and ran water right up the lines into the MDC

Edited by UWSkier

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1 hour ago, drh said:

Before going for a replacement I would check the MDC using this guide: http://www.epicmarine.com/docs/MDCtrouble.PDF

Turn the ignition on and unplug a gauge. Check for 7 volts between the black wire and red wire of the 5 pin connector you disconnected from the gauge. If you don't have voltage there unplug the the other end of the 5 pin connector from the MDC and check voltage at the corresponding pins on the box - 2nd and 3rd pins from the right. If you have 7 volts there you know it's the wiring from the box to the gauges. If no voltage there check for input voltage to the MDC by disconnecting the large 18 pin connector and checking for 12 volts between both the black and red wire and the black and purple wire. If you have good voltage there it's probably the MDC. If no voltage there you know it's a wiring or grounding problem somewhere in the boat.

Excellent, thanks for this info, will try this.

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Its a beautiful day and tomorrow, should I risk running without gauges?  The two I'm missing of importance are temp and pressure.  Would I still get alarms?

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Our temp and oil pressure gauges are so out of whack, they're rarely of any value anyways.  I'd run it.  Check oil a few times during the day.  Feel the manifold risers and exhaust hoses.  If you get behind it, look for water coming out the exhaust.

Does it beep when you turn the key to the on position?

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it does the initial beep on key on.  I'm think I'll be good.

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Posted (edited)

I just diaged one today for a storage client. One of the medalion fuses where blown. Didn't look that way but didn't have power on the other side of it. 

Edited by jbower

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I checked, both of the inline fuses were good.

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Posted (edited)

i may be completely over simplifying this but the most common culprit for this is the Universal Kill Switch, the red coiled lanyard that you're "supposed" to place around your wrist when driving. The plastic clip on the lanyard that holds the kill switch in gets weak and doesn't depress the kill switch enough to make contact. Try holding this in with you finger and see if the gauges come alive. If they do then you need to replace the clip that holds the kill switch in. This happened to our Ride recently. The boat starts, runs but the gauges just don't show any life.

The gauges do take a while to engage once they have power so make sure you hold the switch in for awhile once ignition is turned on to properly test if this is the culprit or not.

Edited by Tags

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Not the kill switch.

 

Checked the MDC, power in ....but no power out.  (Wire colors didn't match the suggestion above, but figured, there has to be poser in and power out, so I checked all pins.

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I ran all morning, not issues, but no gauges.  Looks like I'm ord the module Monday.

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I have a similar problem with my 2006 23 LSV.  The analog RPM gauge, along with the digital Oil PSI, Volt, & Hour gauges are not functioning.  The gauge illuminates, just nothing works on it.  It worked fine at the end of last season.  All of these are displayed when I scroll through the center screen. I've checked the kill switch and pulled the dash panel but it's still not working.  

I've read through this thread but I can't seem to find the cannon plug.  And would that even be the problem with the gauges working on the center screen?

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