Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Build Your Own Wiring Loom For Your Beloved Classic Car

Pictures like this are all too common on your beloved classic car and above all dangerous.If you are rebuilding a classic or just trying to keep the old gal on the road the electrical system needs to be safe and reliable.
Over the coming months Direct Vehicle Electrics will give you a few idea's on how to re-wire  your classic and improve the safety of your vehicles electrical system. At this point I would like to invite you and would love to see pictures of  your pride and joy so please feel free to post some pictures and share your experiences.
We will be using pictures that were taken from us re-building a Mk1 Escort Rs2000 to demonstrate how to do this.

Getting Ready

With your trusty tool box at hand and a lot determination you will be keen to get going. Well take a breath, make a cuppa and sit down. Do some research first. Find, acquire, buy a wiring diagram of your car.
To the un-trained eye it may look like a mad man has got a ruler and drawn loads of straight lines with strange symbols and ... what are these numbers about?
You don't actually have to worry about any of this yet and we will go through it at some point in the coming blogs. The idea is to gather the information you will require in the future. You might find it harder than you think to find this information (depending on the car) .Another thing to start thinking about is if you want to do any upgrades. Such as thin wall cable,or your wiring terminals, upgraded dynamo or starter motor. Again nothing to get too involved with at this stage but start doing some investigations.

Charge your mobile phone or digital camera. Now is the time to start snapping as many pictures as you can of your project. Jack your car up and make it safe, if you get squished, it will really dampen your day. With the bonnet open take as many pictures as possible of any part of the underneath of your car that has a wire attached or loom running along it. Once you have done the under bonnet area, move backwards and complete the underside of the car. Isn't the digital world great!

Now move to the top of the car and make another cuppa. While its cooling down, again take as many pictures of every part of the wiring loom you can see and any auto electrical it is connected too as best as possible. Don't be worried about snapping to many, there is no such thing as too many. I often take 2 or 3 pictures of the same area (just in case).Pay special attention to where the looms or wires go through the bulk head, battery connections and if the fuse box and voltage regulators are under the bonnet these as well.

Now move to the inside and take pictures of all the switches. I know this sounds silly but if your project is going into a body shop or will be off the road for a long time or your short term memory is a bit iffy they may well help you.I could be 2 years later that you are working on the car again and these pictures will certainly help.
Now depending on how far you have stripped your car down take pictures of the under dash, fuse box and in fact every part of the wiring and looms. Pop out the switches and take pictures of the wires connected.Move through the inside of the car to the tank and rear lights. The more the merrier!

There are many published ways and orders to strip a car down. I personally believe that the wiring loom is probably the last thing to be removed. Once all the other parts are gone it is a far easier job to remove the loom. especially if it is a 1 piece loom.
While taking the loom out or stripping a project remember the first thing to do is disconnect the battery. Always disconnect the earth side first.
Try and be organised while stripping out your car. have plenty of boxes plastic bags to hand. Mark these boxes with the parts inside. It is so frustrating trying to find that one part that you need , you know you have but has been filed away. It can waste hours and turn your hair grey.

Once every electrical part is removed or disconnected start at the front and move backwards... in fact back to the kitchen and make yourself a cuppa and the wife too. It is wise to keep checking in periodically with the better half. You will be amazed how long you would have been working on your project.Time flies when your having fun.

Now start disconnecting your loom and moving it away from the car towards the bulb head. Most cars have a 2 or 3 piece loom. If yours does methodically remove them. Have your camera to hand to take any pictures that show where the loom runs or clips it is attached.Once the loom or looms are disconnected from all electrical parts and body clips, judge which is the easiest end to pull them through the bulb heads. WD 40 all the grommets to make then easier to pull out of the bulb heads.Take your time, there is no rush. Place all the removed parts in the boxes and bags and make sure they are labelled.
After a few hours, a few cuppas and some skin lost from your knuckles you will end up with a car minus its electrical systems.
In the next blog we will have a look at the electrical parts you have removed and give a brief description on how they work.We will also give a introduction on how wiring looms are made up and idea's on upgrading .




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