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KMD88

Wiring - A Good Project?

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Hi everyone,

As mentioned in my previous thread, I've just started working on my car now that I have a garage. 

Everything's working fine, but I was considering having my next project be wiring. I came hear to ask - given my current level of expertise - if I'm insane to be taking on a task like this so soon. 

The reasons I considered doing wiring next are a few. First, besides small wiring upgrades for dash components that failed or when I upgraded the AC to Vintage Air (all done by my mechanic), the wiring hasn't been touched and (to my knowledge) is stock. At some point, those wires are gonna fail, and I'd rather have the peace of mind knowing the car's got brand new wiring across the board; wiring I installed and know how to troubleshoot. 

More importantly, I felt like this would be a good project to really learn my car. I'm gonna have to go through every area and take apart / reinstall the dash, doors, trunk, etc. If I can pull this off, I feel like sky's the limit. There were some upgrades I considered in the future primarily for safety reasons (LED headlights, maybe Dakota Digital Dash) and figured this would be a springboard for when I'm ready to undertake those projects. 

All opinions/advice appreciated. Thank you. 

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There are two schools of thought on wiring

1) Use stock OEM type harnesses from a company like Alloy Metal Products that are available from a vendor like National Parts Depot. This will have a standard fuse panel and exactly match the Ford authorized wire diagrams. The advantage here is that anyone who has a standard wire diagram can help you, or fix the car.

2) Use an aftermarket harness like available from Painless, which will use the new style fuses and incorporate some relays (neither of which is available in option 1). The disadvantage is that you can only get help from that company or someone else that has their product and has their wire diagram.

Personally I will stick with the OEM harnesses and add to them as needed- but I will make a wire diagram showing the additions for the next guy that ends up with the car (and so I remember what I did).

You will never learn if you don't try. It isn't rocket science, but it isn't for everyone.

 

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" if it ain't broke...don't fix it.  This is a project (wiring) that could keep your car in the garage for some time.  Drive the car for a bit .  You will find more rewarding projects to take your time and money.  Brian

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2 hours ago, Mach1 Driver said:

There are two schools of thought on wiring

1) Use stock OEM type harnesses from a company like Alloy Metal Products that are available from a vendor like National Parts Depot. This will have a standard fuse panel and exactly match the Ford authorized wire diagrams. The advantage here is that anyone who has a standard wire diagram can help you, or fix the car.

2) Use an aftermarket harness like available from Painless, which will use the new style fuses and incorporate some relays (neither of which is available in option 1). The disadvantage is that you can only get help from that company or someone else that has their product and has their wire diagram.

Personally I will stick with the OEM harnesses and add to them as needed- but I will make a wire diagram showing the additions for the next guy that ends up with the car (and so I remember what I did).

You will never learn if you don't try. It isn't rocket science, but it isn't for everyone.

 

I'll add a third; get your harness refurbished by Randy at Midlife. Present company included, you won't find a nicer, more honest guy on the web.

http://midlifeharness.com/

 Phone Number: 850-624-7528

 

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Listen to Brian and drive it for awhile and enjoy it. Along the way, you can sort other smaller issues you may have. Usually (if not molested) the wires under the hood take a beating due to heat, check your wires to see of the insulation is hard and brittle. Midlife restored harness is a good option if you need replacement. If you add stuff that draws more current than factory, you should use relays triggered by factory wiring. 

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Midlife (Randy) will tell you that the under hood harness has taken a beating from heat and weather and he won't refurbish that, but any of the others he will freshen-up. No one knows these harnesses better than Randy. There is a full car schematic for a 69, and wire diagram, how to fix the instrument panel, and how the alternator works in the "How to's" section, if you are so inclined.

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Did my 1965 El Camino a few years ago with an updated harness from American auto wire.  Previous owners really butchered the wiring. Had some smoke from under the dash while coming back from the Syracuse nationals and made up my mind. 

Took it in small batches. American auto wire was there on the phone whenever the paperwork didn’t make sense. Last summer the wipers stopped and they helped me through emails and calls. 

It is a big step all together. But easily manageable in small tasks. I’d do it again. But I had the car for about 10 years before that happened. 

Drive it first. Enjoy the experience 

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The wiring itself doesn't degrade, except in the engine compartment under intense heat and owner butchering.  If the insulation is brittle there, time to simply replace it with reproductions. 

Most of the problems with wiring is due to corrosion at connections, particularly the fuse box.  About 20% of all pins need re-crimping and molded connectors need the wires pulled/tugged away from the connector to "tighten" the molded crimps.  For tail-lights, corrosion is the biggest problem as well as the need to recrimp any ground lugs.

The large fraction of my work deals with PO butchery and bringing that back to stock configuration. 

If a wire gets overloaded and burned, chances are poor that the harness can be refurbished; it all depends upon the particular wire and how extensive throughout the harness the issue extends.  Any power lines that are burned means you need to replace the harness.

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Wow, thanks everyone for the feedback. I appreciate it. Also appreciate everyone's recommendations for Randy/Midlife. Speaking of Midlife, your reputation is legendary. Appreciate the information and the help. 

Just to make sure there's no confusion, I've been driving the car for the last 3 years. I've only had a garage for the last 4 months, which is why I'm looking into working on it much more since I have the benefit of the space now. 

I just figured it'd be good to get in there and replace everything as an opportunity to learn about the car more. But the adage of "if it's not broke, don't fix it" is true. 

Would it be better to just pick a smaller project, like upgrading the headlights, and work with the current wiring as an opportunity to learn about the car and wiring in general? 

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As most everyone has mentioned, the under hood stuff is most likely to be degraded. If you intend using Alloy Metal Products, then call NPD and see what harnesses you would need under the hood for your model and engine, then decide which you want to do, and the order to do them. Since they plug into one another, you could do them one at a time.

For my Mach with a 351w there is; Wire assembly engine gauge feed, alternator feed, wiper motor repair harness, engine ground, wire & plug headlight extension, wire loom firewall to headlight (this is the main under hood harness), wiring harness turn indicator (for the hood scoop signals). I believe there are four others, but they are inside the cabin or trunk.

 

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6 hours ago, KMD88 said:

Wow, thanks everyone for the feedback. I appreciate it. Also appreciate everyone's recommendations for Randy/Midlife. Speaking of Midlife, your reputation is legendary. Appreciate the information and the help.

Awww shucks.  Thank you!

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