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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello fellas,

Any recommendations on a place to take my 17ft Alumacraft Trophy and Trailer for some TLC?

Running lights on trailer aren't working UNLESS it's in the water (I guess that means a faulty ground somewhere. Brakes, signals work fine.) The fuel gauge, while lit up, will no longer register fuel levels. Nevermind the fact that every time I turn the boat on my Humminbird (which seems to run straight from the battery) faults.

I've come to the end of what I am capable of fixing on my own and now need to turn to the professionals. I'm hearing places like AVO, etc charge $150/hr so I just wondered if guys had found any other places that are reasonably priced and competent.

Help!
 

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One of the first things you may want to consider is getting your battery load tested, seems to me it can no longer handle the draw from more than one accessory. (i.e. finder crashing on startup). Your fuel gauge my work better as well. As for the lights always look for a bad ground when you have electrical problems, and always unplug your trailer before backing it into the water. :)
Sorry I don't know who to recommend to fix your problem, but an automotive shop could trouble shoot a 12 volt D.C, problem such as yours.
 

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One of the first things you may want to consider is getting your battery load tested, seems to me it can no longer handle the draw from more than one accessory. (i.e. finder crashing on startup). Your fuel gauge my work better as well. As for the lights always look for a bad ground when you have electrical problems, and always unplug your trailer before backing it into the water. :)
Sorry I don't know who to recommend to fix your problem, but an automotive shop could trouble shoot a 12 volt D.C, problem such as yours.
Agree on the battery, seems it's toast. New battery may solve your fuel issue but my guess is the fuel sender may need to be changed out, pretty easy DIY project if it's easily accessible. As for trailer lighting, Metro Trailers on Nairn will be able to diagnose and repair, not cheap diagnosing any type of electrical problem, my opinion would be just have them rewire the trailer, probably cheaper in the long run. Get them to switch over to LED right away, bit more but will last a lifetime and no need to unplug before dunking the trailer. Even newer filament/incandescent units are totally sealed and there is no need to unplug anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A battery that can't handle the load makes sense, it is on the older side. Very frustrating having to pull the head unit on the Fish Finder off every time I start the boat after being stationary but it's the only way to clear the fault. Just had a look, the wiring does run straight from the finder to the battery. Based on your thinking, I guess the cranking draw on the compromised battery causes that?

I will check with Metro Trailers. I was trying to avoid a re-wire but you make a solid argument for LED. Watched a few vids on replacing a sending unit, that seems like a good starting point should it not be a battery issue.

Thanks for your thoughts guys.
 

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Trailer wiring is pretty straightforward. You could probably get a shop that's not a marine repair place to do this for you for under $50/ hr. Metro trailer is a bit overkill and they're backed up for weeks, unless you have other major issues with your trailer you want checked out. Maybe even post an ad on here or kijiji asking for someone to come to your place and do it in the evening. I'm sure there's a lot of guys that can do it without having it towed to a shop.

As for your battery, take it to a place like Manitoba Battery and just be ready to pay for a new one. It sounds like it needs to be replaced. They have good competitive prices.
 

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Trailer wiring is pretty straightforward. You could probably get a shop that's not a marine repair place to do this for you for under $50/ hr. Metro trailer is a bit overkill and they're backed up for weeks, unless you have other major issues with your trailer you want checked out. Maybe even post an ad on here or kijiji asking for someone to come to your place and do it in the evening. I'm sure there's a lot of guys that can do it without having it towed to a shop.

As for your battery, take it to a place like Manitoba Battery and just be ready to pay for a new one. It sounds like it needs to be replaced. They have good competitive prices.
Please let us know what shop, any shop, where the labor rate is under $50/hr?
 

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It's like hotsspots, do some searching and you'll find them. Most won't tell you over the phone, but in person you can negotiate a good price when it's something simple like wiring as they can often pass it off to their junior staff.
 

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It's like hotsspots, do some searching and you'll find them. Most won't tell you over the phone, but in person you can negotiate a good price when it's something simple like wiring as they can often pass it off to their junior staff.

I don't have to find them, I do all that type of work myself, not interested for myself......but if you indeed have first hand experience with shops offering a $50/hr shop rate I'm sure everyone on here would want to know......anyway, good luck to anyone trying to find that rate, negotiated, junior staff or what ever....ain't going to happen.
 

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And how would you know if you're not looking? Next thing you're going to tell me is that some people don't do work under the table. Cash, no receipt, no taxes.
I might just know folks in the business? Under the table is different than you have mentioned previously.

Maybe Eyehigh will pipe in here and let us all know if your initial post is a reasonable expectation or not!
 

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I might just know folks in the business? Under the table is different than you have mentioned previously.

Maybe Eyehigh will pipe in here and let us all know if your initial post is reasonable or not!
He's a specialized marine mechanic. It's natural for him to charge the same hourly rate for electric work or waxing a boat that he would for tuning a motor. Also, he charges less than some of the other shops/ dealerships. Using your logic all 'mechanics' whether they work on cars, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment or anything else should charge the same regardless of market forces. Trailer wiring doesn't need a marine mechanic. So why should I (or anyone else) expect to pay for marine mechanic hourly rates when a small mom and pop shop can do it for cheaper. If you don't need or want to search for a better deal that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
 

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He's a specialized marine mechanic. It's natural for him to charge the same hourly rate for electric work or waxing a boat that he would for tuning a motor. Also, he charges less than some of the other shops/ dealerships. Using your logic all 'mechanics' whether they work on cars, boats, snowmobiles, farm equipment or anything else should charge the same regardless of market forces. Trailer wiring doesn't need a marine mechanic. So why should I (or anyone else) expect to pay for marine mechanic hourly rates when a small mom and pop shop can do it for cheaper. If you don't need or want to search for a better deal that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
But according to you they would pass it off to one of their "junior staff" so it really doesn't matter how specialized one might be! Any "junior staff" shop rates under $50/hr out there????? Anyone?????

I'll reserve judgement until some first hand experiences are posted, who know I might be totally wrong?
 

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Fair enough. Since this isn't a court of law, judgments are really opinions and we all have them. One person may value an item or service more than another person which is all fine. No one is forcing anyone to make a decision based on an anonymous internet post. No problem if we disagree on how much it would cost someone to have their trailer rewired. Good thing we didn't go into a discussion on whether we should use different gauge wires or if LED lights are worth the extra coin because then this thread could go on forever. Like any other decision, there are a lot of things to consider and each person has to make up their own minds.
 

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Fuel gauge issue is almost certainly unrelated to the electrical issues you're experiencing. Could be the sender or the gauge. To rule out the gauge, disconnect the sending wire from the back of the gauge and apply ground to the post. Watch the gauge for a response. If it responds, it is a failed sender. Alternatively you can disconnect the sending wire(pink) from the sender and touch it to ground. This second method will also verify the wiring from sender to gauge is ok.

Starting the motor is causing a voltage drop which makes voltage sensitive electronics fault or shut off. This can be caused by loose, dirty, or otherwise improper connections from the battery through to the starter(don't forget grounds). It could also be the result of a weak or undersized battery. A failing starter or solenoid can also cause excessive draw and produce the same voltage drop. Once you have the issue resolved, check the charging output at the battery to insure your engine's rectifier/regulator and stator are operating normally.

Trailer light issues are typically caused by one or more of 3 problems. Bad plugs and adapters are the primary source of troubles, followed by bulbs and grounds. Unlikely you have a ground issue if the flashers are working unless the sockets are corroded in the light assembly. Check the plug. Check the wiring after the plug with a test light. Try applying ground to the mounting posts of the light assembly direct from the lead with a jumper wire... after you've pulled your hair out, just replace them. (Submersible LED light kits are available on sale from time to time for about $50 at P Auto)

Or PM me and I can take care of these issues for you.
 

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A battery that can't handle the load makes sense, it is on the older side. Very frustrating having to pull the head unit on the Fish Finder off every time I start the boat after being stationary but it's the only way to clear the fault. Just had a look, the wiring does run straight from the finder to the battery. Based on your thinking, I guess the cranking draw on the compromised battery causes that?

I will check with Metro Trailers. I was trying to avoid a re-wire but you make a solid argument for LED. Watched a few vids on replacing a sending unit, that seems like a good starting point should it not be a battery issue.

Thanks for your thoughts guys.
Known issue on Helix 7. The last firmware update says "• Improved the low voltage shutoff threshold to help control heads remain booted while the boat engine is started." apparently hasn't improved it enough. I keep hoping for a new firmware update that will "Improve" it more, but there hasn't been one since 01/05/2016. Very annoying I agree. I have my Helix 7 wired to a switch so that I don't have to pull the power if/when I forget to power it off before starting. Not sure if it's fixed on the newer generation Helix's.
 

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A battery that can't handle the load makes sense, it is on the older side. Very frustrating having to pull the head unit on the Fish Finder off every time I start the boat after being stationary but it's the only way to clear the fault. Just had a look, the wiring does run straight from the finder to the battery. Based on your thinking, I guess the cranking draw on the compromised battery causes that?

I will check with Metro Trailers. I was trying to avoid a re-wire but you make a solid argument for LED. Watched a few vids on replacing a sending unit, that seems like a good starting point should it not be a battery issue.

Thanks for your thoughts guys.
Known issue on Helix 7. The last firmware update says "• Improved the low voltage shutoff threshold to help control heads remain booted while the boat engine is started." apparently hasn't improved it enough. I keep hoping for a new firmware update that will "Improve" it more, but there hasn't been one since 01/05/2016. Very annoying I agree. I have my Helix 7 wired to a switch so that I don't have to pull the power if/when I forget to power it off before starting. Not sure if it's fixed on the newer generation Helix's. I made my Helix 7 portable for the winter and had it plugged into the auxilary power outlet in my truck. Same thing happens when I start my truck with it plugged in. As well anyone that I have talked to with the same vintage Helix's is experiencing the same.
 

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Don't have those issues with my Hekix 9 and 10, firmware I believe is 1.40. I have had issues such as that in the past with the 1100 and 900 series I was running for many years, all rectified when I switched to a bigger battery, went to a group 31 AGM several years ago, no issues since.
 

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If I couldn't look after it myself I'd try calling an electrician and have him come over. See if you can find one in the $75/hr range. Boat electronics are very simple. Do the prep yourself ahead of time to open things up for him. Be there as you know your boat, so you might be able to tell him where certain things go. Any journayman electrician should be able to figure anything on a boat out easily. You've got less of an hourly rate and can fix the problem, and most certainly learn something being there to help him.

Biggest thing I would say to do is make sure you've done the prep. You don't want to pay $75/hour for someone to unscrew some plywood and monkey around. Have it accessible, so he can check the loads, run tests, and easily run new wire if needed.
 

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If I couldn't look after it myself I'd try calling an electrician and have him come over. See if you can find one in the $75/hr range. Boat electronics are very simple. Do the prep yourself ahead of time to open things up for him. Be there as you know your boat, so you might be able to tell him where certain things go. Any journayman electrician should be able to figure anything on a boat out easily. You've got less of an hourly rate and can fix the problem, and most certainly learn something being there to help him.

Biggest thing I would say to do is make sure you've done the prep. You don't want to pay $75/hour for someone to unscrew some plywood and monkey around. Have it accessible, so he can check the loads, run tests, and easily run new wire if needed.
Electricians aren't schooled in 12v vehicle wiring, while it might share some similarities, I wouldn't hire an electrician for 12v vehicle wiring issues.
 

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Some of the most disgusting 12v wiring I've seen has been in electricians' boats. There are similarities for sure but unless the guy has low voltage dc experience I would find somebody else. Not to mention boat specific things to be wary of like galvanic corrosion, electrolysis, proper overload protection etc.

Your suggestion is the same as "bring your boat to a diesel tech because he is a mechanic after all and all those motors are pretty much the same so he should figure it out right?"

Marettes have their place... it isn't in your boat!(or trailer)
 
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