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Gauges Not Working

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I have a 2002 Malibu Sunscape.  After a spring start, I put the boat in the lake, and it runs fine, except the gauges don't work. I have tried battery cleanup, and performed an ignition check.  I have electrical power, but the only way I can get the gauges to work temporarily, is to turn on the interior lights toggle switch on the dash.  Then, the gauges work for a while.  I don't feel comfortable running the boat without gauges.  A friend thinks its a bad ground, but I don't have a wiring schematic.  Is there an easy fix for this?

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Hey, UWSkier: Im no electrician, so how do Identify the ground bus bar connections?  How many are there, and what color are the lines?  Any help is appreciated.  Thanks.

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Ground bus is a metal block with a bunch of black wires screwed into it, with a thick black wire running from it to the battery. You can find it under the dash usually mounted along the gunnel. 

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1 hour ago, RichardZ said:

Hey, UWSkier: Im no electrician, so how do Identify the ground bus bar connections?  How many are there, and what color are the lines?  Any help is appreciated.  Thanks.

It's probably best at this point to assume that *every* connection under the dash is corroded, and spending a half hour on your back loosening and tightening every connection you can find is time well spent.  Every screw lug, every plug connector.  It doesn't matter whether you think it is ground or power.  You need both for every circuit.

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Gauges don''t work, as in dead or flakey?  If dead, then that's connections/grounds.  Flakey,  could be a bad battery.  I just went through this, pulled dash, checked connections, etc... Finally replaced my old Optima Blue Top with an Interstate "Blem Power" marine starting battery from the Interstate dealer ($75 bux!). callin' it good; guages are steady as a rock now, where they're supposed to be.

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I had a tachometer that wasn't working.  Didn't do anything under the dash.  I did, however, change the alternator and beef up the wiring from the alternator to the starter and grounds.  Tach started working again.  Strangest thing...

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i had this problem on my 01 sunsetter LXI...

1. Take sandpaper and clean your ground bar. Remove every eye screw and sand top and bottom of it. Sand the entire bar.

2. Sand battery terminal end and sand connection to ground bar. 

3. Find the two small inline fuses under the dash...they are up close to the gauge cluster. Get under there with a flashlight and you will eventually see two inline fuses. Cut them out and replace with new fuse holder and inline fuses. I couldnt get my old ones apart but if you can, go for it. But those fuses are likely your problem.


After doing these three things my dash is fixed.


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  • 7 months later...
16 minutes ago, gary_tenison said:

Don't know if you ever fixed this...but if you didn't, the answer is to resolder the pins in the medallion computer.

Sometimes.  If the stepper motor in the gauge, or the MDC itself has lost its mind, not amount of soldering will fix it.

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Had a 2002 vlx that all gauges stopped working.  Mine would spin and work every 30 - 60 seconds, then go back down.  Went thru this forum for fixes.  Lots of the same suggestions, nothing helped.  Some said it was the mdcc, but at $600 with no guarantee, I was hesitant.  If I wouldn’t have sold the boat, I would have changed the entire cluster with new digital gauges for a couple hundred dollars more.

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