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The Day We Learned Wiring Is NOT For the Faint of Heart

10/26/2017
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I think secretly we were all really dreading wiring. It almost felt like the elephant in the room, we KNEW we’d have to tackle it but just ignored it until the last possible second. Something about knowing that this is the thing that could cause a fire and burn the whole project down just made us a bit scared. So we phoned a friend (again) and recruited someone with much more experience than us – a past tech and current merchant – our friend Josh. What a guy, during the last few hectic days of the build – he joined us for hours of fun figuring everything out.

First things first, we ordered a handy little wiring kit, just in case. This sucker has just about everything you could need to do some wiring.

But seriously – those track mats were an awesome investment.

As you might recall, our Painless Wiring Harness is still tucked in the dash but not attached to anything. We started off by attaching all of the “easy” stuff first. Wires to the headlights, starter, and alternator, stuff like that. The real hard work came under the dash. I nominated myself to dive under the dash and hook some spit up while the others worked outside of the body. Let me tell you, sitting in a pre-carpet and pre-upholstery tiny little bucket is hard and uncomfortable, especially when a majority of the time you’re upside down (it’s the easiest way to get up under the dash – we swear!).

It’s all a little more nerve wrecking when you’re working with a finished paint job!

With the guidance of our BFF Josh, I started attaching the properly labeled wires to their homes. The wiring harness and our Omega gauges came with great instruction sheets that were super helpful! They both do a great job of making it easy to understand.

A novice’s dream come true.

The only problem came with the pre-fab situation. Because we had someone else mock up the wiring, we had a hard time retracing his footsteps. Most of it was ‘plug this in here’ but we’ve learned nothing is THAT easy and we knew after searching around for bits and pieces that didn’t make sense we’d have to revisit some wires and do some sleuthing later. Our Omega gauge set also had black gauge mount brackets that all the gauge wires had to be strung through first. After attaching all the wires in the correct location, those brackets had to be screwed into place. This was another one of those easy yet tedious tasks that was made harder because of space limitations.

It may be hard to tell, but there are actually 4 people in this photo.

After an afternoon hunting wires and getting stiff legs, we thought we had it all ready to go and could start final assembly of the interior kit. We hooked the battery up so we could check the responsiveness of the gauges. And to our surprise, they almost all worked the first time! There were just a few tweeks to make and a few wires to move before they all fully worked… or so we thought.

Look ma! They work!

The next day, we came back and realized somehow in the process of wiring, one of our blinker bulb wires had been yanked out of the bulb. D’oh. Part number 2 added to my broken parts trophies. This should have been an easy fix, but during pre-fab, our builder used connectors we didn’t have readily available – so BFF Josh stepped in, re-wired the connectors and saved the day!

Tricky little blinker.

Everyone warned us we would have “wiring gremlins” and after a relatively easy time wiring everything back together, we laughed. That karma will get you every time. Yes, this is where it gets dicey (and wildly technical). When we went to break in the cam (aka start and run the engine for a long period of time) #HotWheelHoney turned the key over and… nothing. So began the laborious hunt to find out what was wrong. BFF Josh immediately realized our fuel pump was not turning on when the key was engaged. Problem. If your fuel pump isn’t running, how is the engine supposed to get the fuel? Tweak by tweak we spent the next hour tracing lines. We started with the fuse box, then the under dash wiring, we retraced every wire, tried switching some wires, and still nothing. It still wouldn’t turn on. It may not be a great note to end on for a build day – but it was quitting time and we all decided we needed a little break to clear our minds and renew our energy for the next day.

See? Just two BFF’s checking out a fuel pump.

Which worked! BFF Josh had a genius epiphany that night and came back the next morning and hunted down the problem almost immediately. The person who did the original wiring had used the fan relay circuit in the fuse box to run the fuel pump, and an extra add on relay for the fan. When he went about finishing the wiring up he ran into a wire labeled fan signal wire. Knowing he had already connected the fan signal wire with his extra relay, he neglected to do anything with it and tucked it into a loop labeled “not used.” Once we put a ground to our fan signal wire (which was actually the relay ground for the fuel pump) we had a humming fuel pump.

After fixing the fuel pump issue, we tested our fan before starting the motor and realized our fan wasn’t turning on either. Figures. They were right, wiring is FUN! This took a little more sleuthing around, re-checking all the wires and one by one marking them off our instruction sheets. Which led us to find that our add on relay was separate from our wiring harness, but did have the ground signal wire attached. Totally fine! However, we found that it had no 12V+ coming into the relay on the ignition prong. Which is important, since this is the wire that turns the fan on and off with the key. Once this was added the fan was spinning away.

BFF Josh is a champion.

Once we FINALLY got everything working properly… it was time… THE moment we had all been waiting for… the time to crank her over and listen to her run… Which you’ll get to read about, Next week. Ha! You weren’t ready to see the completed project yet were you? #CuteAsABucket

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