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Hot Rods Wiring harness your experiences

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jjjmm56, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. jjjmm56
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 471

    from FL.

    Thanks everyone I think I know what I'm going with. Sometimes you get a thought in your head and before you know it it's posted before doing the research. Thanks again I hope to run into some of you over the weekend in Daytona.
  2. wiring -aggggh.JPG I wired my friends 32 Hiboy with a blown, Hilborn 4 port (top fuel style) electronically injected 425 nailhead buick, electric fuel pump, etc and used a Ron Francis kit, and got great support from them in setting up this fairly complicated car.
    One thing that makes some of this easier is using relays for the fuel pumps, fan, (halogen) headlights, etc. it was very complete.
  3. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 2,018


    I've used a few different kits, it's simple, you get less if you pay less, more if you pay more. I like American autowire, I like the fact that they are complete kits, no looking for stuff not included, because with American autowire kits everything you need comes in the box. I also like any kit that doesn't have a prewired fuse panel, not giving you a choice where to locate the panel or the ability to hide wires. If you use a kit with a separate panel, you can locate the panel where you like and wire back to it, giving you a nice clean affair. They're all good, some kits are just more complete than others.
  4. mcmopar
    Joined: Nov 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,624

    from Strum, wi

    I have been debating also for a while on a wiring kit. I keep seeing that people like to plug the connector in, then run back to the fuse panel for ease of hiding a wire. How is it easier to go this way, compared to running it from the fuse panel to the connector? Seems to me either way you are plugging into something, and would have to rerun it to get it where you want. I am leaning towards Rebal wire, but I know just enough to know I don't know anything.
  5. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,753

    V8 Bob

    Agree ^^^^
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  6. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,062


    Ok, now that two people agree on this, what is this box thing called, can one be bought by itself and is it the core/hart/ whatever you people call it start of all automobile wiring? Bob
  7. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,014

    The 39 guy

    I have wired a car using a Toyota fuse panel in the back in the 70's before kits, using a Rod and Custom how to series of articles back in the 70's, I have used three painless kits and now am helping a friend with an EZ Wire kit for his 37. Watching him deal with that mass of wire spaghetti last week was enough for me to quickly sell my EZ wire and order up an American Auto Wire Highway kit for my coupe project.

    I had seen the American Autowire kit before but had never been willing to spend the bucks. Sure I will have extra circuits on my coupe but I can install what I need and keep the rest in reserve in a box not coiled up under the dash. It is very complete as the others are saying and the instructions are the best I have seen.

    The painless instruction were very good and their tech people were very helpful. We have not had to call the tech line for the EZ wire kit yet .I no experience with Ron Francis kits but I could have easily gone that way too. I also have not experienced the Rebel kit.

    Good luck with your wiring project and I hope it is a positive and experience for you.
  8. chiro
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 926


    Nobody here is gonna like this one, but I just have to...

    I bought a really inexpensive harness for my '55.1 AD Chevy pickup about 8 years ago. Cost me about $150.00. I was surprised at how well labelled the instructions were and how easy it was to install. So surprised that I am planning on using the exact same harness in my hotrod. Oooooh...I know it's not period correct and the wire is not cloth covered but I can get the cloth covering at any good swap meet or online to hide the obvious.

    The harness has worked out exceptionally well for the past 8 years, never giving me a single problem. My AD truck has the same type of system that our hotrods use. I'm going with mechanical gauges (as stock on the AD pickup) and a generator (as stock on the AD pickup). I just bought an original headlamp switch and ignition switch (with bezel AND key) for an AD truck on eBay to use for this application because I was and am so pleased with how that harness has worked out. Also, the original ignition switch and headlamp switch look period correct. The harness comes ready for turn signals as well as signals were optional equipment for the AD truck.

    And oh the time it was a made in the good old USA harness. Maybe that's why it's still performing as it should. Bought mine from Bowtie Bits back in the day, but I think all the AD supply houses use the same maker for this particular harness.

    Here's a link to the harness

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  9. Some kits are made more for people who have completely rewired cars before. Some kits are made for people who have never completely rewired a car before. Some kits come with all that you need. Some don't. Some are cheaper. Some cost more. Do your research, and buy what ya feel comfortable with. That's realy the only way to do it.
  10. I'm maybe a month out from wiring my '59 Ford and I'm down to the Rebel 9+3 or Kwik Wire 14 circuit harness. The KW has a real nice fuse panel and a few details I like. But anything would be an improvement over the rat's nest the car has in it now.
  11. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,356


    I've been using American Autowire for at least 15 years now, great product.
  12. 911 steve
    Joined: Nov 29, 2012
    Posts: 627

    911 steve
    from nebraska

    I just put in a KwikWire in my 40 Ford, sbc, 700r4 and it was easy with great tech support. they have great instructions for mopar, GM, Ford alternator, ign switches, etc. it truly is a universal kit.
  13. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,762


    Used Painless in my 35, and Rebel in my 46 via a HAMBER.
  14. 59 brook
    Joined: Jun 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,017

    59 brook

    i have wired 2 cars with kits and unless you are getting a factory stock replacement harness . there is no "instruction sheet" that is worth anything for a kit . invest under $10 in a simple book about wiring , i think it is the dummys guide to wiring or something. it looks like a comic book inside almost but it is very easy to understand and will explain the basic circuits . it is a small sixe about 5" x 8". another thing is the universal kits don't include a lot depending on your options. for instance in my chevy wagon i installed a power window setup in the front , so now i had to run extra wires for the drivers door control to power the pass window. since i didn't want the power window switch , i used the manual crank handles on hidden switches. more extra wires as now the drivers side had to have a toggle switch to make the driver's side crank work the pass. window. the custom harness did supply the power to each door . same thing for the power door locks, radio, a/c, etc
  15. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,062


    Do you pick out headlight and dimmer switches that you like the looks of or go with what comes with the kits?
  16. 59 brook
    Joined: Jun 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,017

    59 brook

    universal kits don't usually come with switches but you can use either stock or whatever you like
  17. the violator
    Joined: Sep 10, 2008
    Posts: 179

    the violator

    I think all the name brands mentioned provide quality kits. I have been using Rebel wire a lot lately and they are very friendly and helpful on the phone. American autowire has nice diagrams and i do like the fuse panel that is not already connected, it makes for easier routing of wires. Rebel is nice because the kits don't come with switches so you can use your oem switches or whatever you want . I've done a few 60s era cars and did not want to use the universal type switches that come in some of the kits. I'm currently working on a 50 gmc truck that has a painless wire kit in it, it seems nice quality but some of the wire gauges seem small as is the labeling on the wire. If you are doing ANY wiring on a car I suggest checking out the M.A.D. electrical website, this guy is a wealth of knowledge and sells some inexpensive booklets on alternator wiring and use of relays etc.etc. This guy has forgotten more about wiring systems then most will ever know.
  18. Once again, a great deal depends on your application. If you have a pretty much old school setup not having alot of electrical connectors, the it's not as big an issue. CONNECTORS being the key word here. First off, very few of us have or want holes thru our firewall big enough to pass connectors thru, and secondly it is much easier to crimp a standard ring or spade terminal on the end of a single wire than it is to wire up a connector. Connectors are tedious at best to assemble, and you have the issue of getting the proper wire into the proper position.The more one gets away from the simpler old school cars, the more of an issue this becomes.
    A prewired "generic or universal"panel with connectors will have wiring long enough to reach most applications..which means too long for many of us...there's nothing you can do with this extra wire except coil it up someplace.....doesn't make for a tidy install! A prewired panel may also mean you have wires that you're not even going to use. A prewired panel also means your going to have a massive amount of wires to contend with right in front of you..can be very intimidating for a novice.
    Wiring back to the panel, on the other hand means you normally open a specific bag of wires per instructions, and are only dealing with those until completed and on to the next bag. You plug the connector in, feed the wires back to the panel, trim to length, crimp the terminals and attach per instructions...makes for a much neater installation.
    I should add, I've never wired a car '57 is the first, and I've only got a portion of the main chassis harness done. What I've posted is what I found out doing research, because I had the same questions and confusion some of the posters have expressed....which is probably why I understood what they were asking.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  19. 1941 streetrod
    Joined: Jun 4, 2014
    Posts: 3

    1941 streetrod
    from wisconsin

    I used Kwik Wire 22 circuit harness on my 41 coupe and went in very easy, a bit cheaper than a painless set up but pretty much the same thing. Also has a ignition cut off on the fuse box , for safety or security . Plenty of circuits for extras.
  20. The thing to remember is virtually all of these kits are more-or-less 'universal' and because of that all will have built-in compromises for pretty much any vehicle that has more than a 'basic' electrical system. Add in the manufacturer's compromises for material stock, connection methods for the DIYer who doesn't want to spend big buck on specialty tools, and the fact that any of these kits require some skill and attention to detail to install, the self description of EZ, Quik, or Painless is pretty optimistic IMO.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware that for most buyers with limited electrical knowledge these kits are a godsend; figuring circuit/wire sizes etc. and sourcing all of the bits to construct your own harness from scratch can be both daunting and expensive if you're unsure of what you need. If you're trying to interface with OEM components, getting a kit with all the factory plugs furnished can be a real time and money saver. But being a retired electrician and having seen just about every kind of electrical problem and/or failure, I personally will never use one of these kits. The biggest issue with them I see? Too-small wire. To save money, many of the kit makers use wire sizes that are barely adequate for many circuits (to limit costs primarily; copper is expensive) and sometimes not adequate IMO. This can be 'worked around', generally with relays, but this adds to the complexity of the harness.

    Anyone who is planning a wiring job should read this...
    This will give you enough knowledge so you can at least ask the right questions of your vendor.
  21. 55willys
    Joined: Dec 7, 2012
    Posts: 1,623


    I work in a hot rod shop and wire almost every car that go's through the shop and have worked with many different kits. My favorite kit is the Centech, the panel is slim well marked and has the horn relay, turn signal flasher, and hazard flasher built in. You can buy just the panel or a whole kit. Jim Ford
  22. moparnate
    Joined: Jan 28, 2011
    Posts: 48

    from minnesota

    I used a Ron Francis Retro kit in my 60 vette , I am very happy with the instructions and tech support was only a phone call away.
  23. Novaron
    Joined: Mar 12, 2010
    Posts: 188

    from New York

    American autowire.
  24. boutlaw
    Joined: Apr 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,231


    I think most of the previous comments cover about everything except switches. Ron Frances sells quality switches. Buying a kit without switches will lead some to buy switches at Autozone or local parts houses and the quality of the switches, in my opinion, is just low. Generally the headlight switches sold by parts houses are just cheap and wont handle the load. Either buy a kit with quality switches, which will cost a bit more, or order a quality switch from Ron Francis or other reputable supplier. Ive used American Autowire, Ron Frances, and Painless. Painless was, without doubt, the lower quality kit, with less than desirable instructions, no schematic, and poor tech support. I intend to try a Rebel harness on my current build, as there seems to be a lot of support here on the HAMB, and they are less expensive than American Autowire and Ron Frances.
  25. 55willys
    Joined: Dec 7, 2012
    Posts: 1,623


    The cheap switches have been a problem for me too. I have started to add 2 relays to the headlight system to take the load off of the headlight switch and dimmer switch especially when using high amp draw headlights such as halogen. I have also had a few ignition switch failures due to cheap switches. Relays are needed for most high amp situations. I also had a relay fail and not turn the air compressor off on an air ride car. It was a 70 amp relay so I replaced it with a heavy duty winch relay, a bit overkill but better than burning up a car. Jim Ford
  26. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,122

    Alliance Vendor
    from Texas

    I've used painless, haywire, and hotrodwire. No problems with any. One suggestion, put an inline fuse in the dash light circuit. No kit I've seen has a separate fuse for the dash lights and if one shorts it will burn out the reostat in the headlight switch.
  27. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?

    I do this professionally, and I have used every kit on the market at some point or another. But, time after time I keep going back to Haywire. Their kits are by far the simplest as far as routing, have by far the nicest actual wire, and the best tech support I have found in that Ken answers the phone himself. They are also the most complete out there too.

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