Join Date: Oct 2009
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Engine Instruments Fail to Read - Help!
I've had this issue for the past two months, and have not been able to fix the issue, nor has a local marina. When I am in the slip with the engine running, all engine instruments - tachometer, volt meter, temp gauge, and fuel gauge all work fine. However, once I start motoring for about 15 minutes down river towards the coast, all of the engine instruments start acting screwy. First, they all start jumping around...and all of them. Not just one or a couple. This affects all four of these instruments at the same time. Then, after a few minutes of jumping around, all of the instruments just fail to read entirely...the gauge needles drop straight down (or read all of the way over to the right).
All of the electronics (wind, depth, GPS, and autopilot) are fine. Then, after sailing for a bit and drawing the batteries down, the engine starts and the engine gauges are fine for a few minutes...and then this repeats itself all over.
First thoughts were that this was a bad ground, but myself and the marina looked at this and didn't find an issue. Next, the marina tech thought there was an issue with our alternator...when the alternator was charging the batteries (i.e. after starting the engine), all was fine. Once the batteries were charged, there seemed to be an issue with the electrical current at that point which was causing an issue. They recommended replacing the regulator on the alternator which they thought would correct the issue. At this point we are way out of my area of expertise, so I had no issues with that. Regulator replaced and alternator reinstalled, and the issue is still there. Exactly the same. Tachometer, volt meter, fuel gauge, and temperature gauge all start jumping around after 10 minutes and then fail to read.
The batteries appear to be charging when the engine is running, even though the volt meter (or any other gauge) isn't reading...so, I have come here for any insight. I am having the marina look at it again later this week, but since they seem unable to correctly diagnose the issue, I was hoping anyone here could point us in the right direction. Any help/insight would be greatly appreciated...