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Old 04-26-2012, 09:00 AM
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After market or Donor Car wiring harness best?

I'm planning the build on my 1937 Buick Roadmaster resto-mod.
I'm trying to decide if I should strip the wiring harness out of the '95 Roadmaster donor car which I already bought for this project.
Since this is my first hot rod build, I'm looking for some opinions on electrical:
1) Should I go with an aftermarket wiring kit or is it better for me to use the harness out of the '95 since I will be using instruments, drive-train, heated power seats, and hopefully the power locks?
2) CAn somebody tell me and estimate of how much time I'll save by using an aftermarket kit.
3) If I go with aftermarket kit, what companies are the best to go with?
Thanks
Mutt

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Old 04-26-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutt's37Buick
I'm planning the build on my 1937 Buick Roadmaster resto-mod.
I'm trying to decide if I should strip the wiring harness out of the '95 Roadmaster donor car which I already bought for this project.
Since this is my first hot rod build, I'm looking for some opinions on electrical:
1) Should I go with an aftermarket wiring kit or is it better for me to use the harness out of the '95 since I will be using instruments, drive-train, heated power seats, and hopefully the power locks?
2) CAn somebody tell me and estimate of how much time I'll save by using an aftermarket kit.
3) If I go with aftermarket kit, what companies are the best to go with?
Thanks
Mutt
I would look at that '95 you have and say - that's 17-18 years old, the insulation has 'suffered' heat and cold as well as neglect from just sitting around either in the back yard on the donor car or under my work bench. This is the time to go for new wires and connectors.

Time saving - with a good kit such as American Autowire, Painless, E-Z, Rebel, etc you can tailor your wire runs without cuts and splices. There are a couple of long threads and I believe a WIKI write up on the merits of some of these kits. My personal choice is a kit that isn't pre-terminated at the module as it give you more freedom for running that wire without it being 'hung up' on one end. There is one that many like that I don't care for and that's Ron Francis. They seem to be hung up on smaller is better. Then the fact that they have gone through many generations in the past 20 years is not a positive. Additionally, the add ons get really expensive. For about the same thing as my American kit, the Ron Francis was over $100 more - but it still is a good kit.

And as usual, these are only my opinions and based on what I've used in the past
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for your insight.
I'll review the other threads, but did not find a wiki.
This is a very well taken care of donor car that was always garaged and has 50K miles.
Has someone out there done it both ways, if so, can you estimate how many hours I will save by going aftermarket.
Thanks
Mutt
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:08 AM
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i'd think that an old wiring harness would be a pain to deal with.
lots of splices and wires that you don't need
proprietary plugs and connectors all over.

i'm thinking i paid under $200 for the ezwire harness
you'd have that much in frustration
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutt's37Buick
Has someone out there done it both ways, if so, can you estimate how many hours I will save by going aftermarket.
Thanks
Mutt
Wiring a specialty/home built car is something that is very difficult to estimate. A simple no frills roadster or coupe - maybe a weekend. Add strereo, A/C, power windows, door locks, antenna, your heated seats, MSD ignition and so on, gets you into many unknowns. I thought mine would take a week - a month and many, many hours later ...... and it took me as long as it did (yeah, a non answer) but the nice part is that everything worked the first time.





This was relatively easy with the cowl cover off plus the module behind the seat bulkhead. Just add how many hours you can lay on your back.

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Old 04-26-2012, 03:30 PM
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If you have the funds...... go with an aftermarket, I use Painless........ if time is not an issue you could strip the old harness and see if it'll work out..... if it doesn't you are just out the time. I put my painless in over two weekends not too big a deal. I have stripped the harness out of a few cars and again no big deal...... one issue you will have is determining what wires you don't need..... two options remove the wire from the connector or cut and tape..... I recommend removing them from the connector. Another issue don't get in a hurry and cut wires to save time, thinking you'll splice them in later....... it'll get VERY confusing really fast and is a pain to figure out. Use blue painters tape and as you remove each and every wire, label it as to what it went to.....again you won't remember later. I use numbers on the wire and on what it was removed from ie....1 and 1 that way later match up the numbers and you can't go wrong. If you come to a connector that won't fit thru a hole.... take the time and label and remove the wires from the connector and as soon as you get the wires thru the hole put them back into the connector......again you won't remember later. if you come to a wire that will not come apart, look online and see if you can get a new connector.....only then cut the connector off...... if you can't get a new connector, cut the metal away (body of the car) from the connector and get it out that way.

In either case you will need a good quality crimper, the cheaper ones will work but quality suffers..... I got my heavy duty ones from Lowes, I think they were Klines. NAPA sells the male and female type 56 terminals that are used in the fuse box, a little practice and your crimps will look good.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:57 PM
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EOD Guy,
Thanks for offering this guidance on using the '95 OEM harness. From what I've seen an aftermarket harnesses that will support all the bells and whistles will run between $400 and $600. That is serious enough change to make me consider using the '95 harness. I may take a weekend and see how far I can get using the process you describe. From there I'll be able to tell the condition of the wires and be able to estimate the removal process.
Thanks
Mutt
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:17 PM
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Stripping should go pretty quickly...... cause you aren't going to reuse the car so you don't have to be carefull when removing the interior parts to get at the wires...... I can't over stress don't cut wires! I did twice and it was a hugh mess and took alot longer when going back, I did three with no cutting and they went back almost as fast as an after market.
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