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Time for an update. After having starter and a "no-start" issue with my Duster I determined my wire harness was totally hooped. I made an attempt to sort out some of the issues it had but 48 years of wear, tear, modifications and fall out from a horn relay that went nuclear was too much to sort. So I bought a brand new American Autowire harness, and finally found enough time to install it. After some practice with the crimpers I needed to use it actually went pretty well, and the instructions were AWESOME. Very clear, easy to read, easy to follow. And I'm not a electrical guy at all. While I was at it I installed @crackedback 's headlight relay. No real pictures of the harness install, nothing all that exciting to take pictures of. At least not IMO. The standard headlights are definitely brighter too! Although that's going to be short lived, they're getting replaced with LED's here pretty quick. Anyway, I took advantage of my new home base location to make a quick run up the highway today and take a few pictures. Sign says "Carson Spur Elev 7,990 FT" I'll try to have some more updates soon, I have a set of JW Speaker LED headlights to install. I also have a 13" Viper brake kit to install here in the near future, plus a few little things here and there. Still don't have a proper shop built and fire season is here so work will probably delay everything some.
Nice photos! How's the car run up at that elevation? Also, which American Autowire harness did you go with?
Thanks! Car runs great at that elevation actually. The first few times I ran it to Tahoe after installing the AF/R gauge years ago I was kinda surprised it didn't change more actually. Idle RPM slows a bit, but my base idle is set at close to 4k feet elevation now so it's not as big a change as it used to be. I run the primaries on my 750 DP a smidge on the lean side of max power for commuting anyway, so at cruise it was fine. The cam and porting all come in above 3k rpm so that's mostly on the secondaries. I mean, if I was going to race or dyno it at that elevation I'm sure I'd have to retune it, but just driving around was a piece of cake. I installed the 21 circuit "classic update" kit, 1974 DODGE DART American Autowire 510603 American Autowire Classic Update Series Wiring Harness Kits | Summit Racing It had everything I needed and then some, I had left over connectors, wire, etc. I actually made a new harness for my Dakota Digital fan controller all out of stuff I had leftover in the kit. And I still have a bunch of extra circuits in case I go fuel injection and add an electric fuel pump or other accessories. Definitely not cheap, especially if you buy their crimpers (which I did), but in the long run I think it's worth it. I'll probably order one for my Challenger too when I get to that point with it, it's SO much easier to deal with than the original harness.
That's great to hear. I've been considering one of their universal harnesses for my 66 but wanted to hear from someone who's actually used one. I figured if nothing else, it'll be a good starting point for what I'm doing with the car. Hell, finding quality butt splice connectors even seems difficult these days. I picked up some un-insulated ones yesterday from Napa and the one I used almost broke in half when I crimped it. I'm assuming the terminals/connectors in the AA kit were good quality?
I don't use butt splices any more if at all possible. I have switched over to solder splices. You just use a heat gun to shrink the sleeves which have sealant at either end to keep the elements out and the solder melts and wicks up the wires. Fist saw them when I worked in an airplane manufacturer and started using them. Never looked back. Stronger connection that wont corrode and go green in a few years from moisture
Yeah the terminals in the AA kit are nice. I'm certainly no expert in electrical stuff but they crimped well, fit all the connectors, seem durable, etc. I have definitely seen cheaper terminals. The wire itself is also a good quality, much better than you get just buying a length of primary wire at the local parts store. The only minor complaint is the use of the GM ignition and turn signal switch connectors and the GM color scheme. By the end of it the color scheme makes sense, it just takes a little getting used to when you first start. But it makes sense, and with more circuits there's a few more colors anyway.
What are you using to crimp them. non-insulated you shouldn't be using the cheap crimper that autozone has. Get a klien crimper like this. The toothed crimp is what you use on non-insulated. Use fully closed, full circle, butt connectors too. Any good electrrical supplier has them. Not sure what Napa sold you. Been using the same crimper for 10+ years. Back to the thread... Nice on the car @72bluNblu
For those curious I just bought the AA crimpers. Definitely not the cheapest option, but after doing some research I just decided to get the ones sold by AA to go with their harness. Plus I figured it probably won’t be my last AA harness and a good tool should last a long time. American Autowire 510587 American Autowire Wire Crimping Tools | Summit Racing
I'm a big fan of open barrel joints. It's what the factory connections are and it just makes sense to me.
That's the same crimp tool I've got. The Napa connectors are fully closed but you can see how wafer thin the material is. It took zero effort to make the crimp, and it still broke through. It not an automotive crimp, so I'm hoping it'll be fine. I definitely won't be buying these connectors again though.
Thanks for the link! Were those able to handle all of the necessary crimps for the harness?
Definitely. I did a bunch of soldering on some of the accessory harnesses I made to link into the original wire harness. They worked, but honestly they didn't hold up all that well considering the fairly short amount of time I had most of them on the car. The crimped connections seem a lot more reliable. Definitely takes some practice to get the crimped connections right, but once I got the hang of it I think it makes a lot more sense. Yes, they worked for all the crimps that are part of the harness. There's a couple crimps that are a little problematic, like on the ignition switch connection where you have a larger gauge wire. Technically I think the terminals included are probably right on the edge of being able to handle the gauge on a couple of the wires in the ignition switch pigtail, so you kind of run into a scenario where the double crimper is too big but the single crimper is a little too small. I definitely wasted a couple terminals doing the ignition switch connector. But it's literally like 3 or 4 crimps out of the entire harness, and I think it would be an issue regardless. Pretty much everything else was a piece of cake. The practice thing helps too, you start to be able to compensate if you've got a little wire in a big terminal or a big wire in a little terminal. The terminals are just made to handle a range, but the crimp changes a little from one end of the range to the other if that makes sense. Gotta be a little more careful sizing and lining things up if the wire is the largest the terminal will handle.
Are the double crimpers for crimping multiple wires into one terminal? I assumed it was for crimping both the wire and the insulation at the same time. I've been looking for a crimper that will do multiple wires in one terminal and come up blank so far. Guess I need terminals that work for that, too. Haven't looked for those yet.
Yes, the blue handled crimpers are for the crimping the doubles (or larger gauge wires). It's a different terminal too, has larger wings to accommodate the double wires. AA refers to the one as a double and the other as a single, although really its just about the gauge of the wire(s) and size of the terminals matching up with the size of the crimper. Each crimper has two positions, one for the bare wire crimp and one for the insulation crimp.
Looks great and great to know about the AA harness - thanks for sharing!!
Nicely done! Car is looking great! I ran that same harness on mine and loved it. Easy install and great instructions.. except for the wiper motor. I still haven't got mine to work but could be the motor has gone bad? Everything else works great though.
I did a new engine harness as well was and headlight relay as well. Question what tires size and wheels are those offset? Can't recall did you swap rear and spring location rear?
Fronts are 18x9 +35 with 275/35/18’s. Rears are 18x10 +38 with 295/40/18’s. The rear axle is a ‘68-70 B-body 8 3/4, it also has a 1/2” spring offset. DoctorDiff 13” cobra style front disks and 11.7” rear disk. Front fender lips have been rolled, rear has had a “reverse tub” and the quarter lips have been rolled and pushed out. Details on the reverse tub are a few pages back.
The AA crimpers can be found at other houses like Moser and electrical suppliers as well. Likely for less $... Convenience of summit has a cost.
Oh I’m sure. I did some research, looked at a few different brands and suppliers, prices were fairly similar for most of the name brand stuff, some was even more expensive. And the descriptions at some of the other suppliers were kinda vague, not being super well versed in exactly what I needed I didn’t want to end up with the wrong tool or some cheap crap that wouldn’t make the right crimps. Plus Summit ships for free and I got them the next day. I’m sure that’s American Autowires plan too making the Packard style tools, they charge more than for the cheap knock offs and less than the professional level tools and make a decent profit off guys not wanting to get the wrong tool
Super minor update. One thing I noticed after I added the T56 that I wasn't super fond of is that 5th and reverse are really close together. The T56 has a reverse lockout mechanism, and I have that wired into a Silver Sport lockout control module so it won't shift into reverse unless you're going less than 5mph. So I'm not worried about accidentally shifting into reverse. But I have ended up in 5th when I wanted to be in reverse, so I made use of the reverse light pigtail on my new wire harness to add a reverse indicator light. I got the location measurements from @4spdragtop 's thread here location for 1968 4 speed reverse light on dash Initially I was a little concerned because the stock location wasn't centered vertically between my aftermarket oil and temp gauges, but actually from the driver's seat the angle you look at it puts it right between them visually. Works slick!
Nice! Those aftermarket gauges dont look out of place at all in our a bodies. We put a triple set in our 67. Looks like it was "meant to be".
@72bluNblu I may have missed it but did you use the US Cartool inner fender braces? I know you used the J-bars but just curious as to any interference there is with big wheels and tires with the inner fender brace.