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Building A Bomb?

Your old Chris-Craft electrical system can be a challenge. If it runs on "juice" pose your questions and offer your advice here.

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Moosemeat
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Building A Bomb?

Post by Moosemeat » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:46 pm

On a recent ACBS bulletin concerning the Keuka Lake incident, the author made a blanket statement that anyone using wire nuts in a boat was "building a bomb." Really? These connectors were in my boat when I bought it and I have used them myself. I wish to add here that I do not twist the wires together and leave it at that. I was concerned about water invading the circuit and shorting out the circuitry so I rotate the nut upside down and fill it with this dielectric "Liquid Tape." Now, when this stuff hardens there is no passage for water or gas fumes to work there way up to where the wires are joined. No sparks and no fumes equals no explosion.
Not to forget the fume detector I just installed. Am I still in trouble? :shock:

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mbigpops
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Re: Building A Bomb?

Post by mbigpops » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:45 pm

Look inside a modern car engine and you will not see an exposed electrical connection anywhere - including the battery and spark plugs. This is not by accident but a safety improvement in modern vehicles to prevent what we are talking about.

Obviously the right way to prevent an accident is to never allow gas fumes in the bilge but above and beyond that it would be in everyones best interest to eliminate any exposed electrical connection. On top of the list is any connection with enough voltage or current to spark under the right circumstances. This would include open battery terminal, spark plug connections, starter connections and any electrical device like a blower or cutoff switch that does not have internal spark protection. Wire nuts would also be in this category. This is also why solder connections are a no no as vibration can crack the solder and cause a gap that a spark could jump.

I will be reviewing my setup in the off season as although I have all spark protected devices and shrink crimp marine connectors I do have exposed battery terminal, spark plug wires and starter connection.

For Moosemeat I would eliminate the wire nuts and instead use an approved marine fuse block or terminal block or at least in line shrink crimp terminals. They come in all configurations including two wires on one side and one on another.

The fuel delivery is another issue and the rules for line type and approved fittings need to be followed to.

If you are not sure the try to seek out someone who knows the facts and stay safe.

Mark
1953 CC Rocket Runabout "Rocket Man"

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Bilge Rat
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Re: Building A Bomb?

Post by Bilge Rat » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:32 am

As stated, vibration is the problem for boat wiring. Tinned wire with crimped connectors and the heat shrink are about the best ways to prevent vibration and corrosion issues. Loose connections, particularly on high current circuits also lead to overheating of the connections and another potential for a fire.

I go a step further and apply electrical anti-corrosion grease to the wire before crimping, even though I use tinned conductors rated for marine use. This extra step is cheap insurance against corrosion. This is available at electrical supply houses or Home Depot and Lowes. Known as NOALOX anti-oxidant and works great on battery terminals too.
Last edited by Bilge Rat on Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

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maritimeclassics
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Re: Building A Bomb?

Post by maritimeclassics » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:13 am

You would never find a wire nut in a boat made at the Chris Craft factory. They even went to lengths of soldering connections in some places to make sure they would last due to the vibrations. It is a very bad idea in my opinion to use wire nuts in a boat, they just don't have there place in a marine application. Anything you can do to lessen the chances of a fire or explosion is a good thing.
Family member of Chris Craft founder
Owner of Maritime Classics
http://www.maritimeclassics.com
Ph# 231-486-6148

Restoration Projects:
1936 25' Gar Wood Custom
1947 Ventnor Hydroplane
1957 17' Deluxe Runabout
1948 25' Chris Craft Sportsman Twin
1959 19' Sliver Arrow Hull #75
1929 26' Chris Craft Custom Runabout
1937 25' Chris Craft Custom Runabout

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tkhersom
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Re: Building A Bomb?

Post by tkhersom » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:20 am

Costaplenty could turn into Burnaplenty!

Your method sounds reasonable, but wire nuts do not belong on vehicles of any sort.

Keep safe!
Troy in ANE - Former President CCABC

1957 CC 21' Continental "Yorktown" (Mom's boat)
https://www.chris-craft.org/boats/22625/
1958 CC 38' Connie "American Beauty"
https://www.chris-craft.org/boats/22607/
1985 Formula 242LS "Gottago"
1991 Formula 36PC "Band Aids"

Life Is Too Short To Own An Ugly Boat

Moosemeat
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Re: Building A Bomb?

Post by Moosemeat » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:08 am

OK OK OK! (a la Joe Pesci) I'm off to the marine store for a bucketload of proper connectors and some fresh wire. Ready for a weekend of contortions and cramps. The waterways and boat ramps around here are packed this weekend anyway.
After springing for the fume detector, why not finish the job withOUT a bang. :shock:

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Bilge Rat
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Re: Building A Bomb?

Post by Bilge Rat » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:50 am

You get today's at-a boy!
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

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