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wiring kit for a hotrod

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bobo, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. Mudgy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2010
    Posts: 228


    this is the one thing I notice at car shows that will make or break the look of a vehicle - the wiring. Maybe 'coz I am an Auto Electrician, this is what I look at, maybe a painter and a trimmer look at finish and interiors?
    I have seen so many nice looking cars ruined by dodgy looking harnesses whacked back in the engine bay, and other places. Just a shame.

    For my 37 Dodge I will make my own harness for everything.

    Crimped and soldered terminals (then a bit of shrink tube over the terminal) is the way to go - holds up in heavy diesels and race cars (vibration prone applications)
  2. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,925


    Mudgy, from a safety standpoint is it safer to run wires inside the boxed chassis or attached to the outside were thay can be ripped out in the case of a fire?
  3. Mudgy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2010
    Posts: 228


    1. if you got a fire, ripping wires from a chassis rail will not be your 1st priority.
    Access to a battery master switch will be what you want - plus an extinguisher handy!!
    If you run chassis harness thru the rails, you need to mount it at the exit points securely with insulated saddles, and tha part that runs inside I recommend to be double insulated (tape wires first, then slip convoluted tubing over that).

    ALWAYS fuse circuits, some can be from a common fuse.
    When I wired some Formula 5000 cars, and Formula Holdens, the guys told me fuses weren't necessary! WTF????
    Because they were mechanics, I had to argue the point.
    So we ended up with the compromise of all power going to the dash, engine ECM to be supplied via a fusible link from the starter motor point, I won in the end. Also made a dyno harness that plugged in to the car on race day. It would lay over the engine, replacing the entire engine harness (connected to the bathtub via a military plug). This way, the heat was lost, but not the entire race day. Also one part did 3 jobs. The team had no idea something so simple could be such a great asset when needed.
  4. Doc.
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 3,533


    We have used the American Autowire cloth kit and we're very pleased with it.

  5. bobo
    Joined: Dec 13, 2006
    Posts: 172

    from Florida

    Thanks for all the replys, I'm going with the American Autowire kit.
  6. Steves32
    Joined: Aug 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,280

    from So Cal

    I have a Highway 22 in my roadster. Very nice & great tech department. Donny's the guy to talk to.

  7. A.P. Photography
    Joined: May 9, 2009
    Posts: 285

    A.P. Photography

    I will be ordering the AA Highway 15 kit for the 55 soon.
  8. thebronc4019
    Joined: Oct 25, 2005
    Posts: 216

    from New Jersey

    I used an American Autowire kit in one of my cars. Great kit, easy to install and 8 years of service without a hitch.
  9. nico32
    Joined: Oct 30, 2008
    Posts: 717

    from fdl, wi

    x2 for Street Rod Electrics as well
  10. herbet99
    Joined: Jan 16, 2009
    Posts: 194

    from Central NJ

    For you Rebel Kit guys.. any suggestion for an on-line source of connectors? and what type? Sealed or Unsealed? I'm thinking type 56 connectors would be sufficient.

  11. BulldawgMusclecars
    Joined: Jul 15, 2010
    Posts: 508


    Del City has everything you would want, and then some.
  12. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,835


    Del city is the place to get the good stuff. Aside from that, I see good connectors at home depot, believe it or not, I think made taiwan, which is about as good as I can find.

    The do wierd stuff with the country of origin, stuff made in the us can get shipped to taiwwan and back here so its made in taiwan and all sorts of wierd stuff

    that's my 2 cents, get connectors that *aren't* made in china. It takes longer to find them, but worth it.

    If I were ordereing from del city I'd get the connectors without any cheap plastic insulation.

    I crimp, solder, and heat shrink

    the autoparts stores are all real expensive for connectors if you ask me

    oh and get the good heatshrink from del city, the kind with the glue inside, it's the best and impossible to find locally , at least for me
  13. 1gearhead
    Joined: Aug 4, 2005
    Posts: 464


    I have installed many different wire harness kits in my shop over the years and I would rate American Wireworks and Ron Francis at the top of the list for quality. Every thing else falls short. Cannot stress enough, that you get what you pay for in this area.
  14. herbet99
    Joined: Jan 16, 2009
    Posts: 194

    from Central NJ

    Thanks Bulldawg and Johnny1290... I wouldn't have thought to try Home Depot.
  15. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,835


    Yeah go figure. At home depot they're gardner bender or thomas and betts, so at least they're name brand instead of the generic china crap you get at most autoparts stores. Plus they're cheaper I think.

    I just got one of those little cases from harbor freight, it has a flip lid on either side and little compartments in it. I keep all my connectors separated in there, along with anything else small and easily lost. Works for me anyway.
  16. micky69
    Joined: Dec 24, 2010
    Posts: 287

    from Ohio

    The American Autowire Hwy 22 kit is a excellent poduct. I have used American Autowire the last 20 years I have been building musclcars and rods with their regular resto wire harness also. Francis would be my second choice.
  17. FritzTownFord
    Joined: Apr 7, 2007
    Posts: 1,020


    No one mentioned Painless. Other than the price, what are your issues with Painless? I've used a couple of their harnesses with no problems and their kits had everything I needed to do the job.

    Please be adult, CONSTRUCTIVE criticism?
  18. Tacson
    Joined: Jul 14, 2006
    Posts: 823


    Hot Rod Primer and Steve do you all still rate the AAW kit tops? I would be a first time wiring on a 56 F100. I saw a good price on a Kwik Wire. I met the owners and talked with them a while as we were both vendors at a show in Knoxville. Rebel is about 100 miles from me. I would like to go with one of the 3 as they are American made. AAW Highway series 15 or 22 would be my first choice because it is so complete. Just looking for miles on the road feedback for the AAW.
  19. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,197

    from pgh. pa.

    I like AAW because the wires terminate at the fuse box. You can decide wich wires to use.

  20. 34toddster
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 1,469

    from Missouri

    I like Affordable Street Rods wiring kit simple and very well built along with the US made parts and great phone support, I'd say there are many good kits out there, I would never buy a kit that has both ends terminated, A friend bought a Painless for a LS motor what a hugh mess, enough wire for 2 cars.
  21. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,317


    American AutoWire ..... is #1

    That's all I'll use and I've done numerous wiring jobs.
  22. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,859


  23. Cooder2
    Joined: Jun 3, 2012
    Posts: 49

    from up yours

    I've installed several Painless harnesses. Also used their switches, relays and parts. Had no problems and the labeling on the wires is very helpful. Although I am a Ford guy, I recommend the generic GM harness, it seems to be the most user friendly.
  24. nunattax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,859


    good ive just bought one, not ready to use it yet
  25. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    I used a Rebel 9 + 3 kit in my 27 and it is a good, functional kit. I am pleased with it. However, my Son has an American Autowire kit in his rpu and IMO it really is the best kit out there in a lot of ways.........certainly more money, but better. Just one benefit is the fuse panel being separate from the wires, and you just plug in one at a time and only what you need.

    As for the cloth wrapped AA kit being expensive, yep, it is, but the process they use is very labor intensive to wrap each wire with the cloth. I guess if a guy were doing a truly traditional car and wanted the wiring to look old timey, it would be worth the extra money.

  26. Sumfuncomet
    Joined: Dec 31, 2011
    Posts: 579


    I've used painless and Ron Francis kits before. I prefer Ron's kits. As a former Navy Electronics Tech I was most impressed with the Francis product. Very clear and well written instructions.....pick up the phone and call them, you get a real person right then!
  27. Sumfuncomet
    Joined: Dec 31, 2011
    Posts: 579


    Oh I should add that if you are doing fuel injected or extrinsic trans, Ron Francis has the expertise in that area also.
  28. 2002p51
    Joined: Oct 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,354


    First car I ever wired was the one in my avatar. I used an American Autowire kit and it was very easy. Six years on the road now with 0 electrical glitches.

    Last year I rewired our '47 Mercury with another American Autowire kit and everything worked the first time.


    Like others have said you get everything you need and the instructions and wiring diagrams are great. If you've never wired a car before this is a good way to go.

    When it was time to rewire a '62 Falcon I used a Rebel wire kit and really liked it. You do need to buy switches, etc., separately which is a big reason why it costs less, but I like the way everything was pre-bundled, i.e. rear harness, under hood harness, engine harness, dash, etc.


    The wires in both kits are way long enough to reach everywhere and I have tons left over.

    I've never used a Painless kit but have heard some guys say that Painless should include a fire extinguisher with every kit they sell! :D
  29. jcapps
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 473

    from SoCal

    AAW is the best most inclusive kit on the market. When you compare the others AAW is hands down the better choice. It comes complete with headlight switch, dimmer and ignition switch. Includes all the connectors and is easily mountable. I liked installing them so much I just became a dealer for them
  30. zeke1270
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 165

    from Alberta

    American Autowire for me, like them better everytime I use the kit.

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