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Anyone else map their hot rods wiring for future reference?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Buzznut, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    I started creating a schematic for my pickup, while it's still fresh in my mind. I'm cheating a bit because my starting point is the 18 circuit GM Painless Wiring harness, but I have quite a few changes, including airhorns, OEM turn signal switch, master kill switch, ignition kill switch, Mallory Unilite, driving lights with relay, seperate backup lights, 800w amp, etc... I'm also creating a visual map that will show an outline of the truck and the location of the wires.

    I figure this would be the best way to address future potential problems, as well as preventing me from racking my brain after I've forgotten how I wired it in the first place.

    Just curious if this is a common practice. Anyone else?
  2. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,124


  3. gearheadbill
    Joined: Oct 11, 2002
    Posts: 1,308


  4. chop32
    Joined: Oct 13, 2002
    Posts: 1,077


    Ive wired a few cars from scratch (no kit) and always sketch out the basic schematic to get me started. Documenting the circuits that I add on down the road is another story.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

  5. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    I make the schematic before I wire the car. I did my first 34 P/U almost 30 years ago and I can picture it in my mind as we speak. No electric fans or computers to worry about. It did have a horn relay in the starting wire so that I could run a Ford starter button on my Chevrolet solenoid.
  6. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    Seems like it's the old school guys and builders that do it, but it kills me the guys that have no idea where to begin when a specific circuit takes a dump. As far as schematics go, I've always preferred a visual diagram as opposed to an electrical schematic with no visual reference for location on the vehicle.
  7. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,494

    Atwater Mike

    I performed a 9-day wiring job on a certain '29 Roadster Pickup in 1975.
    The owner was righteously elated, inthat the roadster now sported a hinged dash that folded down, exposing the individually colored (and relayed circuits, 5 in all) at the rear of the dash. I was promised exposure to potential new clients. (I knew the owner for years, found him his first roadster, etc.)

    When the car was shown (local annual car show) the owner took all credit for the work done...
    He asked for the schematic I had drawn, (all in color and scale, with components drawn in detail and stapled in protective plastic) to display in future showings!

    I reminded him of our former 'agreement', and he was satisfied (relieved) to agree that I keep the schematic, and my temper.


    That 24" X 36" schematic got framed and hung in my shop office for years.
    I later sold it at a Bay Area swap meet. (as an 'art object'; to a wealthy 'yup' type; More than a reasonable sum!)
    Thought about doing some more...just the Studio Offerings!
  8. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    How could you not?
  9. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    I know...
  10. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    For early Fords of all flavors, my preference is for '40-48 Ford types of generator, circuit breaker, HL switches, etc. I have some head start on this, as I have been flogging early Ford wiring for like 50 years, but it gives me a schematic and visuals are straight '48 Ford.
    The '46 maintenance book is an excellent traveling library to go into any flathead based car, and it covers all the wiring visually twice...pictorial coverage showing components and basic wire bundle routes, and a schematic for detail tracing. All drawings completed and done for me by professionals supervised by Henry!
    Colors could be exactly duplicated by buying the wire used in repro wiring harnesses, but I've never really done that...I do use basic color keys from Ford like green and black so I know which wire is tail and which brake, high beam/low beam, etc.
    If I used different style stuff I would take a similar approach and carry a donor car diagram, like mustang or Camaro, matching the general flavor of my components.
  11. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,480

    Rusty O'Toole

    Only the smart guys.

    The others wire the whole car off one spool (one color) of wire and keep NO records or diagrams. If anything goes wrong they can't even fix it themselves.
  12. KD1111
    Joined: May 29, 2013
    Posts: 15


    Next step is to scan them in and post them up!
  13. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 16,587


    I have a giant book of wiring diagrams for all 1960 cars. I used a 1960 Ford as a starting point for my project, and eliminated all unneeded circuits. A bit of whiteout and some copy machine magic and I was in business.
  14. First one I did, I drew the schematic, each circuit coded with numbers/letters, then wired the truck in all one color with each wire labeled on both ends with numbers and letters similar to industrial equipment. (put clear shrink tube over the numbers/letters so they couldn't fall off)
    I was used to working with this type of coding so it was easy for me to understand. The guy I sold it to jerked me around some so I neglected to give him the schematic, hope the tail lights quit working. LOL
  15. stevechaos13
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 419


    Sure is a time saver if an issue arises in the future.
  16. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,267


    The two vehicles I've wired, I kept the diagrams/chart with a separate chart for any revisions I made.This gets carried in the car and goes with it when I sell it for future problem tracing.

    I wish the ones I bought came with this type of guide!!;)
  17. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,267


    I also keep a notebook with any parts I use on vehicle (brakes,filters,etc}
  18. I make a notebook of every car I build. Saves time knowing wiring codes, part numbers from brand names , etc.
  19. one37tudor
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 146


    Is there a cheap and easy software out there that allows you to draw a wire diagram?

  20. Buzznut
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,349


    ^^^damn, responded at the same time.^^^

    Glad there's something out there...

    I use Adobe Illustrator, neither cheap nor easy (unless you know the software). Not sure, but that would be a cool piece of software if it were priced reasonably enough.

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