Make Sure You're Wired Or You Just Might Get Fired!
Yes this is a real cheesy title, but it does fit. What I am talking about is making sure you properly rewire your project, or you just might end up with a fire. We have all heard the horror stories of someone getting finished with a project and BAM! It burns to the ground taking their shop or garage with it. Why did this happen to them? Well there are several reasons why. Did they reuse old wiring? Did they use some no name cheap wiring kit they found online? Well, I’m sorry, but when it comes to wiring I only go one way. Brand new and top of the line. Why risk your project to old wiring, or even worse, cheap wiring?
I personally am a fan of anything from American AutoWire. From their Factory Fit line, to the Highway Series and, the best thing to come out since sliced bread, the Classic Update Series. We are going to take some time in this issue to talk about all three and what may work best for you.
The Factory Fit line is just what it says. It is made just like it was the day your car or truck was produced by GM. They have taken the time to research color of wire, color of the plug, even how the tape was wrapped. You name it, they have put in the research time to make sure that the product is made just like GM did it. Now the really cool thing about this line they also offer some options and alterations. Say you have added HEI to your 72 Chevy truck. They can make a harness that looks factory and still plugs into the distributor just like it should. Or you have added a late model internal regulated alternator to your 1955. They can make a harness that looks factory but has the correct plugs for that alternator. Plus, changes in alternator location or just about anything you can dream up, they can do with the Factory Fit harnesses.
The second line that they offer is the Highway Series. I will be honest, this harness is not for the faint of heart. You need to have a basic understanding of how wiring works and some automotive knowledge before you tackle this one. The Highway Series is a universal harness that can be adapted to just about any vehicle. If you want to put it into your 32 ford you can do that, or your 1955 pickup, or 1966 Chevelle, and the list goes on. The draw back to this type of kit is connections. Lets say you are building a 1966 Chevelle coupe and you are going to use this kit. You will have to salvage or find all of the parklight, taillight, underdash connections and so on. This kit will not have them, nor are they offered as an add on. It is a great kit to use when you have gone so far out in the relm of custom that you are going to have to start from jump street. This harness works really good for that. I personally put one in a 1972 Chevy truck. It worked really great for me in this project, but for some it will not.
The third line, and my personal favorite, is the Classic Update Series. This kit blends the best of both worlds. Plenty of late model options, room to expand, and factory still connections. Each kit is thoroughly researched and tested before it comes out, and is designed for its specific car or truck. This is not a one size fits all box of wiring. When they say its for 1955-59 truck, then its for that truck only. It's wiring set has a late model style ATO fuse panel and each wiring run has what that wire is for laser inscribed on the wire every 16 inches. You get factory replacement switches that go right back to stock location. Plus multiple options for different gauge systems, AC upgrades, power windows, power door locks, and so on. Again with this kit you need to have a working knowledge of wiring and automotive knowledge. For custom cars or trucks this is what I feel is the best bang for your buck.
Keep in mind when shopping for wiring. The higher the cost usually equals the less time it will take for you to install. The cheaper the cost the more work you are going to have to do yourself and the more time it will take to install. For example the cost of a complete Factory Fit kit for a 1966 Chevelle is about $1200 but your can put something like this in, in just a couple of days, if not a single day. All of the wiring just plugs together and you are ready to go. Now for the Classic Update Kit the cost is around $600 but you are going to have to follow their directions and you are going to have to add some of the ends to the harness. The Highway Series is about $400 and you will have to do everything yourself. Every wire will have to be attached and every end will have to added. So just remember the higher the price the less work, and the lower the price the more work you are going to have to do.
Just keep in mind wiring is not something to skimp on, you may just end up with a fire.