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Technical Neat under the hood electrical distribution...let's see them!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Texas57, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Im looking for ideas on nice neat under the hood electrical distribution, particularly on 50-60's vintage cars with the battery in the engine compartment Let's see what you've got!...particularly how to handle the multiple connections at the battery.
  2. You shouldn't have 'multiple' connections at the battery; the only ones that should be connected there is the two battery cables.
  3. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,201

    from Missouri

    Its not under the hood but under the dash. Its a piece of Lexan I carved into shape. 20141128_223446.jpg
  4. Thank you Steve, I knew I sure didn't want that after seeing cars at shows with a god awful conglomeration of attaching screws, brackets, etc. What I was wondering about was, for instance, Vintage Air calls for a direct run to the battery for their ground wires, and either the battery or the starter for the positive wires, which have an in line circuit breaker.
    Quite honestly, I'd like to avoid having stacked connectors on the starter, and use something like a covered terminal strip very close to the battery, to keep everything neat and tidy...and clean. Others have advised that the terminal strip idea would be a suitable alternative to "directly to the battery. What are your thoughts on the terminal strip.
    Also, I should mention "opted" for the Optima battery with both top and side posts, figuring this would help clean up cable to the starter, one to the "everything else" terminal strip...thoughts on that?
    A link to what I'm working with:
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
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  5. Terminal strips are good, although finding one suitable may be a bit hard. It's not that hard to make one; a piece of 1/4" aluminum drilled/tapped for screws will work fine, with some sort of insulating standoff and cover so it doesn't go to ground. Or how about these?
    A bulkhead fitting to go through the firewall, go from the battery to the solenoid, solenoid to starter and the fitting on the engine side, use the 'inside' side for all the 'other' connections. You could use a simple threaded stud through the firewall for a ground connection, no need to insulate that one, with the advantage that it will 'bond' the steel body.

    Depending on where/how you install the fitting, it may not even be seen and all you'll need is one cable of each polarity to the battery. Jaguar used just this sort of fitting on the XJS although theirs have a longer 'inside' stud, I've salvaged a couple of sets for future use.

    Hooking circuits directly at the battery is just asking for trouble, as the corrosion will eventually eat the connectors.
    Texas57 likes this.
  6. 24riverview
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 849


    IMG_0041.JPG I've used these in the past to avoid stacking all the wires on the starter like some of the kits want you to do.
    (and don't worry, that copper line was nowhere near that close once cluster was back in)
    Texas57 likes this.
  7. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,257


    Maybe this will be the thread that explaines were the "wire that poweres everything"connects to point A and B. Bob
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,485


    do you want it to look modern, like in the pics above? or maybe a bit older fashioned? Lots and lots of ways to do this...

    here's the most recent one I did. I haven't seen anything else like it, so you probably want to be more conventional.


    Stock horn relay relocated to be next to the terminals trips that are mounted right where the wires poke out the firewall, acts as a junction block for all the stuff that goes to the battery. The piece of aluminum that they are mounted to covers the big hole where the original wiring connector was. The terminal strips are from Radio Shack, although you can find vintage ones if you have time to shop around on ebay, etc. Wiring is wrapped in friction tape, readily available at Home Depot or Ace Hardware. This is a race car, so I had to deal with things on the car not being quite where they normally would be, as far as wire routing.
  9. It's a relief to know my thinking on what I was wanting is in line with some of the comments and suggestions. Thanks again, Steve, and yes, I've been following/trying to digest your wiring 101 thread! Your comment on corrosion getting to terminals stacked at the battery was also my concern for stacking stuff at the know, down there where it'll pick up all the road crap, moisture. Do you see any problems with using all 4 posts on the Optima battery? I've already bought Ron Francis 1/0 battery cables for the side posts to the starter, engine ground. I was going to make up smaller gage top cables to feed the fuse panel/everything else.
    24Riverview..nice instalation! Hopefully mine will be as neat. Nice use of the mounting stud terminal.
    Steve:..I was thinking about these for a covered terminal....also has 3 fused terminals
    Squirrel....I'm trying to hide as much wiring as posible. After my chassis wiring is complete, I've got an engine management harness to install that has somewhere around 100+ wires..gotta keep it neet or it'll get insanely cluttered. (Yeah, Steve, I'm one of "those guys", complicated, and don't have a clue. LOL, but I'll get it done right eventually)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,485


    If you want to hide as much wiring as possible, the easy way is to just eliminate it. One primary wire from the distributor to the coil, no wires to the carburetor, etc. ;)
  11. But I went thru so much trouble and money adding stuff with wires, LOL. Nice sanitary build you have in the pic, that the Chev in your avatar?
  12. I used the black fixable conduit to try keep the wires neat under the hood of the wagon. HRP

    The 39 guy likes this.
  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,485


    thanks, yes it is.

    Wiring is a pain, especially if you have modern stuff with lots of wires, and are trying to make it look good. And you need to make it so you can work on it, too.
  14. BelRay
    Joined: Nov 13, 2014
    Posts: 1


    I've used the Safety Hub 150 from blue sea systems.
    Nice and neat with coast guard approval (perfect for an Amphicar).
    6 atc type fuses and 4 screw in.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  15. That's thinking outside the box! I like that. Also looks like you made a panel to mount everthing to. I'll check out Blue Sea. (not to change the subject, but marine supply houses are also a good source for radios if you want something other than black, which goes with almost nobody here's ride....Ebay, search marine bluetooth radios))
  16. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,485


    looks like the panel he "made" is the side of the radiator support from a tri 5 chevy. mostly hidden from view, yet accessible.
  17. This is what I want to get into in the next installment of 'Wiring 101'; sizing your 'feeder' circuits, and getting the wiring to it's proper places. I really need to do some diagrams, but my computer/scanner isn't working right now...

    The fewer connections at the battery, the better. Even so-called 'sealed' batteries will outgas some and cause corrosion over time. I'd be a lot less worried about connections at the starter solenoid or a terminal.

    You want to 'hide' the electrical, particularly since you're using EFI and no doubt have multiple components (relays, etc.) that can clutter the engine compartment. It can be done, but you'll need more than what the 'kit' makers are offering. This is one of the major drawbacks I see with the 'commercial' kits; inadequate feeder wiring with it's attending voltage drop if you have a high load electrical system. This can be addressed with relays, but that's why you can see a forest of wires connected at the solenoid or battery, and is why Vintage Air recommends connecting directly to the battery. This also the reason on new cars why there's so many electrical components located under the hood; it's all about keeping circuit paths as short as possible and keeping voltage drop to a minimum when using the smallest wire size possible to save money.

    There is a solution, but you'll need to go outside the box. I personally haven't seen any 'kit' that is adequate for the task. I also don't care for most terminal strips (unless they use threaded studs and nuts with lockwashers) as these can be prone to loosening under vibration (sorry Squirrel!). They also have a fairly large 'footprint', another minus. Plus multiple other shortcomings. So what to do?

    I like these: , the 'ganged' models. Note that each has a threaded stud for input power, with from 6 to 12 fused circuits. For most, two panels will be enough; one for the 'always on' circuits, and one for the 'accessory' circuits. With your EFI, you may need a third one just for that. Add up the continuous loads on each, plus the largest intermittent load on each for your total at each panel. Add all totals, and this will give you the info you need to size a single wire to feed all three. To 'control' the one (or two) panels that aren't always 'on', use one large relay for each panel (size the relay at 150% of the total panel load for reliability). Come to the 'always on' panel, then use a short jumper to one side of the relay contacts and another short jumper from the other side to the panel input. By the way, this doesn't need to be wire; 2-3 stacked strips of .o5o" aluminum a 1/2" wide formed to fit with bolt holes in each end will work great, and can be insulated by putting some shrink tube over them. Control the relay with the ignition switch. If you get a plastic 'hobby box' to mount the fuse panels/relays in, you can have a nice looking 'finished' job. Now, you may still need some additional relays if the switches that operate their devices aren't capable of switching their load (usually if it's electronic switching), this will have to be determined. In automotive, relays are usually used either due to switch limitations or to 'fix' inadequate wiring.

    And for your firewall penetrations, you might want to look at these: . Not cheap, but noted for their reliability and sizes with three or more contacts are available with flanged receptacles for mounting to a flat surface. These are also fully sealed, so hiding them low isn't an issue.

    Many will say that my recommendations are overkill, but given that a major failure in the electrical system can burn your car to the ground, spending some extra bucks here is pretty cheap insurance in my mind...
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  18. fleet_47
    Joined: Oct 19, 2008
    Posts: 70

    from N/A

    $20, free shipping.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    saltflats likes this.

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