Re: [OMC-Boats] Replacement ignition switch and fusebox?

From: lib1@...
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2007 17:06:06 -0600

Hi Micah,

OMC used excellent quality parts, but any 40+ year-old electrical system is going to show it's age.

Wiring and switch connections tend to oxidize, especially if exposed to sea (salt) conditions.

I've done a nearly 100% re-wiring job in my 66 Sportsman over the past couple of years and it's been a) a lot of fun, b) a little more expensive to do it right, but c) it's given me a lot more confidence in the "turn-key" reliability of the boat, everytime I take it out.

OMC went to a more service friendly electrical system in 1968, which means you have the "works-in-a-drawer" switch & power distribution panel, which my 66 didn't have.
You'll probably be able to disassemble and clean it up like new, including the rocker-style switches. But here's some advice from what I learned in doing my project:

1) Avoid Radio Shack. There's very little you'll need from them. Instead use marine-rated connectors, shrink wrap, wire from Anchor. In the long run it's worth the extra expense.
You'll be able to get good stuff from West or Boaters World, etc.

2) Plan and document your project. Have you done a decent assessment of present conditions? Take measurements for resistance using a good meter? Electrical projects are a little like, once your start -- where do you stop? DO you include all the auxilariy sub-systems, like alternator and starter motor, tilt motor, guages, switches, updating the wiring to accomodate seperate bilge pump (with water level detection) and bilge blowers, dual batteries with an auto charging/switching system, and on-board battery charging....... I could go on and on but you get the idea?

3) Don't get stuck in the " I want to keep it all 100% original mode." Again, using saftey as an example, I doubt your 1968 has the 1969 and newer safety lockout (5-wire vs. original 3-wire) shifter. This is a fairly easy upgrade that prevents the operator from starting the engine with the lower-unit in gear (forward or reverse). Or maybe you want to add a Man Overboard Safety Layyard cutoff switch (designed to stop the boat if the operator is thrown overboard). Or maybe you want to add low energy LED bulbs to your anchor or navigation bulbs -- there's just lots of ways to make your electrical system more up to date.

4) A final recommend:: Check out the Blue Sea Systems website: They make great products and provide wonderful support advice. I'm sure they can help you with something that will find it's way into your boat's electrical system.

5) A "correct-looking" electrical switch? Presume you mean the OFF-RUN-START key-switch? Many easy choices here. Has your original actually failed?

6) Lastly check out my website for various electrical ideas: and

Good Luck!

Lee Shuster
Salt Lake

----- Original Message -----
From: "Micah Donahue" <mdonahue@...>
To: <omc-boats@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2007 2:51 PM
Subject: [OMC-Boats] Replacement ignition switch and fusebox?

>I have (or it has me) a 68 Sportsman 16' 120, w/ a swapped in 69 155
> engine.
> I had an elec problem last run, and let's just say I'll be rewiring
> her this fall or next spring.
> The only things I can think of that may not be easy to replace are the
> fusebox and a correct-looking ign switch. Does anyone have a good
> source new? And am I missing anything else you can think of?
> I suppose I could rebuild the fusebox piece by piece from radioshack,
> or replace it with a breaker panel from West Marine. Any suggestions
> from the team?
> Thanks in advance for the great advice, as always.
> -Micah Donahue
> _______________________________________________
> OMC-Boats mailing list
> OMC-Boats@...
Received on Sunday, 16 September 2007

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