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1990 Mako 171 Dash Light

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  • 1990 Mako 171 Dash Light

    Just brought home a 1990 Mako 171. Battery switch is off. All switches on the console are off. But there is a small red indicator light above the switch pane that is lit up. Any idea what this is and how I get it off? I don't want to drain the battery while it sits for the next couple months.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Open a hatch and listen/see if your bilge pump is running. If it is, see if the switch is on in the manual position. Bilge pumps are normally wired direct around the battery switch. Their switch should have "off", "on", and "auto" positions.
    Last edited by flounder; 01-03-2020, 05:20 PM.
    Ole Joe
    Just floundering around
    White Hall & Ocean City, Maryland
    1978 Mako 25

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    • #3
      Definitely not a bilge pump. Nothing is running. Switches are all off. Whatever it was killed both my batteries. I charged a battery overnight and the light kicked back on and killed it again.

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      • #4
        Trace the hot wire to the light back to it's source. Look for a short in the circuit.

        Looks like the left side toggle switch is in a different position than the other two. Is that a three position switch and does it turn off the light in one of the other positions?
        Ole Joe
        Just floundering around
        White Hall & Ocean City, Maryland
        1978 Mako 25

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        • #5
          I'll trace it today. Good idea.
          yes the left switch is a 3 way switch and is currently sitting at the middle position. Interesting fact, none of the lights on the boat currently work, and there's basically no switches electronics other than that. So I have no idea why there are even three switches to begin with.

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          • #6
            Checked it out closely. Looks like it's got two wires coming off this infamous little red light. One runs into a bunch of wires and goes somewhere. The other runs to the back of the middle switch which then runs to the fuel gauge. I know the fuel gauge isn't to be trusted (previous owner said it got him stranded more than once). Do I need a new gauge? I knew it needed a new fuel sending unit. Is the FSU shorting out? Or maybe the FSU thinks the tank is empty and this light is a 'low-fuel warning' light?
            Thoughts?

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            • #7
              More then likely the 3 position switch is for you bilge pump.

              3 switches on the dash are likely bilge pump, running lights, and anchor light. I can't imagine why a fuel gage would be tied into a switch. Almost sounds like someone got confused and incorrectly hooked up some wires.

              If you are not comfortable diagnosing elec circuits, it might be worth having a professional look at it.
              Ole Joe
              Just floundering around
              White Hall & Ocean City, Maryland
              1978 Mako 25

              Comment


              • #8
                On my 1989 Mako 171, the three way switch is is for the nav/anchor lights (middle position is off). The lighted switch is for the bilge pump. The light will be on if you manually flip the switch on, or if the float switch in the bilge kicks on automatically (assuming you have a float switch). If the light is coming on without you flipping the switch, I would guess the automatic float switch in the bilge is getting hung up (which will drain your battery very quickly). Either that or there is a bad wire between the float switch/pump/dash switch.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sam.asci View Post
                  On my 1989 Mako 171, the three way switch is is for the nav/anchor lights (middle position is off). The lighted switch is for the bilge pump. The light will be on if you manually flip the switch on, or if the float switch in the bilge kicks on automatically (assuming you have a float switch). If the light is coming on without you flipping the switch, I would guess the automatic float switch in the bilge is getting hung up (which will drain your battery very quickly). Either that or there is a bad wire between the float switch/pump/dash switch.
                  Great info! Thank you! What's the third switch for?
                  Any idea why the little red light, for the bulge pump according to you, is connected to my fuel gauge?

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                  • sam.asci
                    sam.asci commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sorry for the delay. The third switch could be any other accessory that needs power (courtesy lights, bait well pump, horn, etc.)--mine is for a light that was rigged to be in a live well under the leaning post (which only works sporadically...will be removing this in the spring).

                    As far as why the light is wired to the fuel gauge--what color is the wire (and what outboard do you have?)? If it looks like this wire is daisy chained to the red light and several other gauges including the fuel gauge, it is likely a 12v + line coming from the ignition to power gauge lights when the key is turned to the "on" position. The light would still kick on for the bilge pump even with the key in the off position because it is wired to both the bilge switch and directly to the battery to support function of the float switch (though maybe a real expert could verify this...).
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