This spring while running my Fortrex 101 on high for about 20 minutes continuously, I smelled a burning smell. Fire and boats are a bad mix, so I stopped and investigated. The back of the trolling motor plug had melted.
The melting most likely occurred because of a bad connection in to the 6ga to 8ga adapter that I rigged off the back of the plug when I installed the Fortrex 2 years earlier. Odds are it got loose while running in big waves. Lesson learned... More electrical tape and screw loctite on the screws next time.
The negative wire on the 6ga coming from the batteries to the bow was burnt at the end. I peeled it back 6 inches or so and it still looked burnt. The wire was a bit brittle as well. After buying a new plug I ran the boat a few times and it worked fine but I was feeling paranoid. I talked to Wes Hamasaki about it some. He said replace the wires, so I bought all new 6ga cable.
After running the transducer cable for my Humminbird 1198 last year, I felt prepared to tackle this bastard and get the new wire installed. Ha, yeah right. Who am I fooling, I suck at boat work.
A few hours later I had it narrowed down. The 6ga wires are zip tied to little brackets all up and down the hull. You can get at the ones in the rod locker and in the bow (it helps if you are 6'1" and a buck fifty five) but it's doable. The ones by the passenger seat though. Those present a challenge.
I tried the vent cover under the console and the cupholder. No luck. Cupholder is definitely not worth taking out. Eventually in frustration I tried removing the whole front half of the rear deck. This was astoundingly easy compared to most work on this boat and since I could find no good guides online, here are some photos. Red dots denoting the screws.
You don't have to take the seats off! I took the back off one just to check for screws. But for sure not needed. 2 of the screws broke off in the hole. High five on that one to whoever at Champion decided to use crappy screws. But overall it was good. And once you are in there you can get at the zip ties and fish your cables through without difficulty.
Having seen this now, I realized that the transducer install would have been 10x easier had I done this. Other secrets to these sorts of procedures:
- Use dawn dish soap to feed wires through with an electrician's fish
- when taping on the fish, it may help to bend the metal loop on the end out and make a u shape instead. If you make a 'crossbar' of sorts with tape and put the U over it, less chance it will unravel midway through and cause you to wish for death.
- In general, I love my ChampioN. But the wiring situation is pretty bozo. A simple piece of conduit would solve all this.