Wiring, Wiring, and more Wiring
One of the things most people are confused about is wiring. Wiring your car isn't that difficult, but it is time consuming. All you really need to do is take your time, be anal about neatness and learn how to read a wiring diagram.
I'm not going to go into how to read a wiring diagram here, but I will show you basically how I wired this car and brought it up to modern day standards. That said, it is popular to use fusable links now days, but I'm old school and I believe that it is safer to use fuses rather than hide a fusable link somewhere where you'll never be able to find it. So, lets get WIRING!!!
I showed you a picture of this bulkhead mounted terminal block a while back. This is used to split all the electrical load and send it where it needs to go. All these wires go somewhere important. We have the lead to the fuse panel, AC Unit, Ignition switch, Headlight relays, Starter, and Alternator all terminated there. This takes a lot of load off the fuse panel and makes trouble shooting a whole lot easier. If you would like more info on this I suggest you go to MadElectrical.com. That website is a wealth of information about automotive wiring. The only thing I disagree with is his use of fusable lnks rather than conventional fuses. I know many will disagree with me, but like I said, I'm old school and if something happens I don't want to have to go hunting for a hidden fusable when I could just go directly to the fuse panel or inline fuse.
Besides the new updated dash, AC and stereo, I have updated other systems as well. Lets take a look at the headlights. Here you see where I mounted the relays for the headlights. Using relays allows a full 12 volts to go directly to the lights which results in brighter steadier lights. You've all seen an old car's lights dim when the car is brought to idle and become brighter when the engine is revved up. Well these relays solve that problem. 12 volts is supplied to the relays directly from the bulkhead terminal and the switching power for the relays is supplied through the fuse panel / headlight switch which means the headlight switch doesn't need to carry the entire load for the headlights, the relays do this. The "B" relay is for the bright lights and the "D" of course is for the dim lights. Result = brighter headlights.
One other thing I did to de-clutter the firewall was to move the horn relay to the same area. Here you can see it a little better just to the right of the headlight relays. Just like the headlights the power comes directly from the bulkhead terminal and the way this one works is the horn button provides the ground for the system which completes the circuit and the horns blow. Simple. Because the horn system has a fuse in the fuse block there is no need for an additional fuse. The headlights however need a fuse between the relays and the bulkhead terminal. If you look below the headlight relays you can see two separate waterproof inline fuses. Easy to access and they do the same job that fusable links do... without the mess.
In order to run these lines to the radiator support I simply used the stock hangers along the fender well.
Along with the wiring for the headlights and horn the wires for the pressure cut off switch for the AC system are also run through the radiator support and over to the pressure switch on the dryer. I do not recommend eliminating this pressure switch. It will save your system, especially the compressor runs dangerously low on refrigerant.
The next task was the rear lighting. In the case of the rear lights there are several separate circuits that are needed to run this system. The right and left rear turn signal circuits, the tail light circuit, the brake light circuit, and the parking light circuit.
In this car all those wires with the exception of the tail light circuit run through the steering column where some electrical magic takes place and just two lines come out... the right and left turn signal circuits. Because this car uses dual filament bulbs the brake lights work using the signal from the brake light switch and the turn signal and tail light wiring without the need for a separate line for the brake lights. This is part of the magic that takes place in the steering column. Other brands may do things differently. This is just the way Ma Mopar did things back in the 60's. The wiring for this was all run in the stock locations through the interior of the car with some minor changes in the trunk area.
Once the wiring was in the trunk I ran it with the left air line from the air shock system back to a connector which will allow the removal of all the tail light wiring if needed. The other line connects to the fuel level sending unit. As you can see everything is secured in place using metal tape. I've found this stuff to be very reliable and its pretty tough too. The surface must be clean and dry for it to stick though, otherwise it will come up over time. The air line for the right side air shock is run basically the same way.
The tail lights have been modified to remove the backup lights and replace them with a third tail light. This will allow the use of a sequential tail light system similar to what was used on the early T Birds and Mercury Cougars. I did this for no other reason than to be a little different. Here is the brains of the system. Each side has one of these and that's where the magic happens that blinks the lights in sequence. Not an expensive mod and its not very expensive.
Here are the modified tail lights. The backup lights were in the center but the lenses and sockets have been replaced with the correct units for tail lights.
On the passenger's side the rear stereo wires were run to the package tray. Once again they are held in place with the aluminum tape.
Under the dash the original steering column connector was re-used after checking its condition. The new wires were simply soldered to the existing old ones so it will connect to the existing steering column wiring without a problem.
Finally it was time to tackle the underhood wiring. Rather than use the old single point distributor a stock Chrysler electronic unit has been fitted. This required a new ballast resistor and of course an "orange box" control unit and associated wiring. These units are pretty simple to install and are about as reliable as you can get for a stock system.
The stock voltage regulator had to be replaced with an electronic unit because the old mechanical style is not compatible with the electronic ignition system. These are available in two different styles, the one that looks just like the old unit and a flatter more modern style which requires a special plug wiring connector. I chose the old style unit simply because it is easier to install and takes up less room. Just two wires go to this unit. A 12 volt ignition lead and the field wire from the alternator.
Speaking of alternators... I'm using a Powermaster unit which has two field connections where only one is required. According to the Powermaster instructions the solution is simply to ground one of the field connections and it doesn't matter which one.
In this case I was able to use the stock original starter relay. It's a pretty simple unit and just has a battery connection (which comes from the bulkhead terminal), a connection to the starter solenid, and a connection to the start terminal on the ignition switch.
The connections you see here are the mechanical temperature gauge line, the tachometer wire, the starter solenoid signal wire, and the mechanical oil pressure line. No rocket science here but I did add a clamp to help keep things organized.
All the wires to the distributor, alternator, and coil were run under the intake manifold and will be connected once the coil is in place and the engine is ready for its first start. That won't happen till the steering column is rebuilt and painted and I buy a new radiator.
For all intense and purposes the wiring is now done.... thank God. Its not that I hate wiring, its just a very tedious job. Anyway, that's about it for this update. As mentioned the steering column rebuild is next. Check back often for more updates...
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