My baby girl in dry dock for redecking and electronics upgrades.
(If you were having issues viewing this post, it published by accident before it was completed, so I took it down until it was done. Sorry for the inconvenience.)
I’ve had my baby, my War Eagle 648 LDSV for 7 years now, bought new from Rudy Marine. They did the install on all the electronics I wanted on the boat at the time: trolling motor, fish finders, and the onboard battery charger. They did a great job, I haven’t had any real boat related electronics issues since I bought the boat, all the wiring was super protected and organized.
Last fishing season my Garmin Fishfinder 160’s finally decided to give up the ghost: from the beginning they had issues showing arcs, and they were very finicky when putting hooking them up each time for fishing. They were factory refurbished models I bought from Bass Pro Shop, all I could afford at the time.
My Garmin’s have seen a lot of use and abuse over 7 years. they are obsolete, and will be replaced by shiny new electronics.
In addition, I’ve noticed deficiencies and inefficiencies in the layout of the front deck and the lack of tackle storage areas. I’ve already removed the gun/rod box a couple of years ago as it was just in the way, and it and the rear deck were higher than the front deck, which created rod placement issues. After I took the gun box out, I had even more issues with rod storage, I ended up putting the rod butts on the floor by the front deck and the tips would be over the back deck. This was definitely not optimal as I have some decent tackle and that arrangement is not conducive at all to proper tackle care. So I will be redecking the boat in addition to the electronics upgrade to set it up for optimal fishing comfort and use.
I will be doing this myself, and will be documenting the process and hopefully providing some guidance through my successes and mistakes in this process. I plan for about 2-3 weeks from preparation to completion. We will see if this is a dream or can be achieved. After 7 years of hard use, there will be some issues that crop up with every boat, and mine is no different. I’m hoping that the quality of my boat and the previous electronics install makes my job a little easier.
Here are some general layout photos:
The front deck area. The casting seat base was installed by Rudy Marine at the time of the boat’s purchase.
An overview of the rear deck area. The seat base was also installed by Rudy Marine.
The battery and fuel compartment after 7 years of hard use.
Today was the day I decided to dig in and start prepping the boat for the arrival of my electronics mid week. Here’s a few of the things I found notable while I was removing the previous set of electronics.
The battery/fuel compartment is very limited on space. Originally I had 2 wheelchair batteries as that served as power for my trolling motor, electronics, and various boat related items such as the bilge pump, the nav lights and engine. After the first set of batteries died, I shoehorned a full size trolling motor battery in. I swear by my Minnkota 2 bank charger. It’s performed better than I ever could have imagined and had extended the life cycle of my batteries by a large amount. As you can see, the wiring harness is in good shape, just a hair messy, and to my great misfortune, unlabeled, so I will be spending some time sorting out the wiring.
The gas tank has served long and well, especially with the ravages of ethanol gasoline use. I’ve already replaced the bulb once, and will be cleaning the tank and replacing the whole fuel line assembly. I’ll be adding a inline fuel water separator to further protect my Yamaha F4 15hp $ stroke and keep it purring.
To keep all the wires straight when I took them off the batteries before I started work on removing my electronics, I labeled them all with what I knew and what battery they were attached to.
After removing the batteries, and battery boxes, I checked out the bilge area and was able to clean some junk from around the plug hole and pump. Fishing line is bad news for a bilge pump.
I decided to start on the console mounted fish finder first. The gimbal mount was easy to remove.
After some contortions to get the right angle to work under the console, I was able to find the correct wires (bottom set) and remove the power (red ((with inline fuse which was corroded)) and black wires) and the transom mount transducer and wire.
It was a balmy 68 today here, and I spent a good majority of it fishing. Fishing the wires out of two holes cut in the top accessory deck for the nav light and the old fish finder that is. Tracing the wires led me to remove the trolling motor and mount, then reinstall said trolling motor and mount when all the wiring for that led back to the battery compartment. My Minnkota Power Drive Version 1 trolling motor had an internal tranducer that worked with a few different manufacturers. There is a line that comes from the head of the trolling motor and that goes to your fish finder and attaches by way of a small adapter cord. After I figured that out, I started fishing wires out of the holes.
Here’s the result of the fishing expedition. the red and back power and transducer cords for the fish finder, the wires for the nav light, and 4 blue wires ready to go, and 3 black wires, as I’m having trouble fishing black wire #4 out. No clue what the extra blue and black wires are for, I’m assuming War Eagle thought ahead and ran extra wiring to the front as the accessory deck is welded on and has no access other than the nav light hole or whatever you want to cut into it. All wires on the War Eagle run from the front to back of the boat in rubber sealed channels that keep the wires in perfect condition.
There lies the end of Day 1, and Part 1 of this little series. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I attempt to install the new electronics and continue on my mission to improve the ergonomics of my baby girl War Eagle.