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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2005, 08:40 PM
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Wiring on the cheap

I see wiring harnesses being bought for hundreds of dollars that seem to be problem children by the number of posts about them. I have only wired a couple of cars completely, but neither of them had a total cost, except for labor an according to my employer my time aint worth much, of over 50 bucks and everything worked first time.
What!, you say, how you do dat?
Simple, get a harness out of a later model wreck and string it in. Hide it in the frame if you like. The wires are color coded to SAE standards and pre loomed. Most any manual will tell you the color code. If you are careful about your selection, even the gauge wires will be there. The terminals and sockets are prewired. The biggest problem I had was most of the wires were to long and had to be shortened.
Am I the only one doing this?

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Old 07-30-2005, 09:04 PM
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I wired my roadster (see my journal for details) with a harness from the same F-150 donor truck I used for the engine, trans, rear etc. It's a bit of a headache sorting everything out and getting it strung, but you can't beat the price.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:14 AM
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OK.Trip to autowrecker 1 HR. Find said vehicle to pull harness out of and pull it 5 Hr. {If your not 3/4 through it and find a burnt wire} Back to shop and clean the wires so customer will accept harness, unravel 1/2 the tape etc. to get the harness into the right configuration for new vehicle. Hope that no wires are breached because you pulled on something funny. 2 Hr. Times I think are pretty conservative, and don't allow for the wrecker saying ya we have that, only to find on arrival that the 80 camaro your after is actually a 90 hundai, but the counter guy doesn't know the wiring might be different. Your into this thing for a day,{$500 around here} and you still have old wiring. Ez wire kit retails at $275 canadian, plus about another $100 in connectors. I don't know what that is in US$. For a D.I.Y. on the cheap, maybe, but I wouldn't recommend it, as a business, Never cross my mind. The customer pays more, gets less, not good. Wiring that is reliable is expensive, no way around it. We disconnect every battery in every car that comes in here, {shop policy} because about 50% of older cars have dangerous wiring. I would have to think the ratio in wrecker cars would have to be the same.
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Old 07-31-2005, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt
For a D.I.Y. on the cheap, maybe, but I wouldn't recommend it, as a business,
Can't argue with that. It IS time consuming. And I probably wouldn't recommend it, even for a DIY, if you have to tear the wiring out of a fully assembled vehicle. Mine worked out because I had totally stripped down the donor vehicle anyhow...so the wiring was accessible and easy to remove.
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Old 07-31-2005, 07:57 PM
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Bone, I have done wiring just about every way you could think of starting back in about 64 when I decided to buy the wire spools, strippers and soldering iron and solder to rewire my 36 Ford coup, which was 100% original, but the wiring was plump shot. Now you can't get any simpler than this for a first time attempt except for the head light/dimmer switch, which was located at the bottom of the steering box, catching all the grease that managed to leak(dribble) into the switch. Believe it or not this switch is basically the heart of the wiring (only one fuse in the system). I spent many long evenings removing and replacing one wire at a time and then wrapped the whole thing in the old cloth tar tape of the era before hooking up the battery. DUMB!!!!
before I could disconnect the battery, I had melted wires everywhere and had to start all over again. This time, I tossed the original light switch and went with a 39 Ford pull switch, spent another week of evenings and had a reliable system until I Rodded the car in 96, using the state of the art Ron Francis Kit. It took about 40 hours, but has been 100% reliable and trouble free and expect it to be that way the rest of my life time. I installed one of Ron Francis' kits in my 36 PU in the late 70s and it only took about 8 hours because of the simplicity and it was trouble free for 20+ years and 207,000 miles. I redid it with state of the art Ron Francis kit a couple of years ago. Much more complex because of EFI, A/C, cooling fan, solid state instrument clusters, sound system, preserving the original ignition switch/locking steering column, controlling a 700R4, electronic speedo, neutral safety switch and many other things I can not remember. There are 78 circuits, if my memory serves me correctly, This took at least 40 hours, but works perfectly and trouble free except for the big 140 amp Powermaster alternator quit. Turned out to be it lost its ground due to the anodizing on the mounting bracket. (poor or improper grounds are probably the single biggest problem with automotive electrical systems, particularly our newer, computerized night mares.) I have installed Painless and other systems as well, but to me, they meet the basic, minimal requirements and tend to require revisits, especially when you want to expand the circuits.

Now to removing, stripping, and installing used harnesses. I have done this more than I want to admit to. My Restro/Rod building Bud is big into this because he likes to pinch his nickles until the buffalo grunts. I have spent countless hours helping him trace, ohm, study schematics, splice, repot connectors ad in fa nausea, only to have to go back again and again to trouble shoot problems, repair and patch. Over the years, he has finally come around because I started to balk just a bit because I was not sharing any of the money he was saving and became weary of revisiting so many of his wiring jobs, while mine were trouble free.

The bottom line is if you are good enough to strip and install a used harness, then you can properly install any of the kits out there and you will also enjoy trouble free electrical systems in your ride. I would wager that any one reporting problems with the kits out there screwed up the installation 99.9% of the time!

Trees
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Old 08-02-2005, 03:44 PM
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Cheap wiring

Doc here,

There is no such thing as cheap wiring...PERIOD!

Unless you do it on a regular basis, and buy in bulk.

4 , 500 foot rolls of #10 wire, and some terminals and tools will run you as much as a painless harness alone. Then How much is your time worth???

Another thing that gets my Ire up...Is why does everybody think they can "Cheap Out" on a harness??

Would You put substandard brakes on your street rod? Or run Leakey Nitrous fittings...??? YOUR dealing with NO less danger here..and more likely to destroy your rod right in front of your eyes without being able to do a thing about it...

An Electrical fire will burn as long as there is power to feed it...No mater how much water , foam or CO2 you put on it...Fuel and petroleum products only serve to enhance the fire...If you have never had one burn to the ground you'll never understand how helpless you really are!!

Electrical is NO LESS A safety issue than brakes , fuel systems, suspension systems or any other part of the vehicle..except once you let the "Gennie Out of the Jar" there is little you can do to stop it.

Doc
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Old 08-02-2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette

Electrical is NO LESS A safety issue than brakes , fuel systems, suspension systems or any other part of the vehicle..except once you let the "Gennie Out of the Jar" there is little you can do to stop it.

Doc

doc, i agree 100% i had a few close calls with some "questionable" wiring i had done but lessons learned and now when in doubt i consult those more knowledgeable
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Old 08-03-2005, 06:11 PM
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Forget it.
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Old 08-10-2005, 03:45 PM
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Just a related question. Is there a wiring kit out there that has a bulkhead you can mount, say on the firewall, so that you can unplug each section of the car's wiring? For eg. all front on one plug, all rear on another ??
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Old 08-10-2005, 04:45 PM
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Modular harness

Doc here,

Try a search for modular harness configs..

BUT remember, the more plugs in a system, the more to fail over time..

Doc
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:51 PM
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Blessed on having been tought how to make aircraft grade harnesses.
I motor up to Boeing Surplus and have a field day. Can wire an enitre rod for $25-40 bucks.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Von Zipper
Blessed on having been tought how to make aircraft grade harnesses.
I motor up to Boeing Surplus and have a field day. Can wire an enitre rod for $25-40 bucks.
Dude! I made it a point to make friends With everybody in the Avionics Department to try and get a break, when I was with Japan Airlines Flight Training Division in (Formally OAK) Presently (APC) having Almost nothing but time on my hands all month long...

The Avionics department did install/upgrade for all the company trainers, and the jet Side of the house as well as making a buck doing genav repair / upgrade for the public.

I couldn't Walk in there for under a grand! I did make some Harnesses For my rods there though..learned from some of the best in the business!

I loved having the wire marker machine stamping the wire function on the length of each wire for ID, and using nothing but Teflon wire was great , albeit a bit hard to work with (Strip/cut/crimp) I even did a few using wax rope ties on the bundle..a lost art...Made myself a few custom Instrument panels for my rods out of 090, T60 Aluminum too (I had lot's of time on my hands..) Shear and brake and rivet/buck system..all new things I got to learn..in exchange..some of the A&P's learned to fly...for the cost of fuel & Hobbs..

Nice too was whenever I needed a piece/part, just reach into a drawer and grab one .. no hours of searching electrical stores..

But I paid TSO'ed Prices for just about everything not wire related (relays, switches, klixon breakers, buss switches, bulkhead connectors, sealers, ect..)I think these were hard inventory... Oddly enough the wire/ terminals anti chafe, etc were almost free!

I was surprised they DIDN"T charge me for the plywood and nails to lay the harness out on...LOL..

Doc
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Old 08-12-2005, 01:29 PM
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I'm currently redoing all the harnesses in the '72 El Camino.

A few years ago I went to the boneyard and grabbed 2-3 fairly complete harnesses off their huge pile. $2. I stripped them all out and sorted them by color and gauge. A good Winter project. Now if I need a particular piece for splicing, I probably have it.

But, I have to agree that if the harness is too far gone, get a new one.
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Old 08-12-2005, 02:03 PM
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I used the Nova harness from my donor vehicle for my pickup. Just stripped away yhe stuff that I didnt need. Of course, I had a GM diagram to assist.......never had a problem in 12 years that I have been driving it. Maybe, just lucky..................I am not a "Big Bucks" kind of guy.................OK. I'm cheap...........
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