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Looking to replace the wiring in my 65 Riviera.  Shop that will do it asked me to look for a kit that matches OEM. Other words, he's "allergic" to the universal type kits and will charge me a premium if i bring him one, due to the time required to put connectors on the universal type.  Searched everywhere online and no luck looking for one.  Seems that, according to most people i contact, our cars are not popular enough to make a complete kit.  Any ideas?  Is a replacement of ALL harnesses really necessary?  

I've tried "Lectric Limited", "American Autowire", BuickNOS.  Found one on OPGE, but it is manufactured by American Autowire and appears to be universal.  If i'm forced to, I may buy this kit, but really didnt want to.  Any help is appreciated.

 

Oh, and what do you think of the Silver?

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1 hour ago, Alpha*Male said:

Looking to replace the wiring in my 65 Riviera.  Shop that will do it asked me to look for a kit that matches OEM. Other words, he's "allergic" to the universal type kits and will charge me a premium if i bring him one, due to the time required to put connectors on the universal type.

 

 

And he would be right.  "Universal" kits are one-size-fits-none.  Unless you are building a street rod or a 1969 Camaro, expect this universal kit to take far more work than rebuilding the stock harness from scratch. 

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It's not hard to make a harness.   The difficulty is in finding the proper connectors.

 

If you're going to replace the headlight harness, you might consider upgrading your lighting while you're at it.  Specifically, change the wiring so that the power to the headlights is drawn from the battery through relays rather than through the headlight switch.  That is, the switch activates only the relays rather than drawing all the current for the lights.  It will give you better, brighter lights and save your switch.

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Thanks Steve.  I'll check them out.  

 

your opinion on replacing all harnesses, or just the ones exposed to heat, ie.. engine, firewall that would be extra susceptible to degradation?

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I had the wiring harness out of my '64 Riviera when I slid the chassis out from under it. There were really very few sections that were damaged. I unwrapped it and made what repairs were required. I bought non-sticky tape from Year One and rewrapped it. To keep tension during the rewrap I made a jig with finishing nails in a 2X6. That went into a vice and I used it to keep tension on the lengths being wrapped.

Harness tools and repaie parts are available at NAPA.

I had the special order the purple #14 wire to the starter from Rhode Island Wire Works and repair the temperature sensor wire with a soldered butt splice with yellow #14 and paint the exposed section Krylon Apple Green to match. Those were my two hardest parts.

 

It is not a hard job.  Here are a couple of the tools on the table and the lacquer thinner for cleaning the wires up. It looks like the headlight section.

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Bernie

 

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Bernie,

 

you're not too concerned about the age of the harness in place?  I just assumed that it was so old, it may be a good idea to replace it all.  However, if the thinking is, that if its not broken, then don't fix it, i can definitely place those $2,300 bucks into something else on her.

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I rebuild the harnesses used in '65 and '66 Skylark Gran Sports. Some of the things that seem to be a consistent issue have been melted plastic connectors for the blower switch , ignition switch and headlight switch connectors.  Along with the melted plastic , I've noticed that the metal terminals are very tarnished.  The terminals being tarnished causes a higher draw through these connections.  The higher draw then causes the excessive heat. End result, melting and damaged wires, switches and plastic connectors.

 I replace all the wiring and terminals, forward of the firewall, with new. When I repair the main dash harness, I replace all the metal terminals and any necessary wires.

 

The tail lights on the Skylarks are notorious for loosing ground. I install a ground wire into new socket assemblies, along with the new wiring, to eliminate that issue. Weak or missing grounds can cause a lot of problems, not to mention frustration when lights and other items don't work correctly.

 The teacher I had for my automotive electrical class, more then a couple of years ago,  boasted on his good deals on his winter beaters.  He would find a vehicle that wouldn't start come cold weather , back in Minnesota, buy it cheap, drag it home , clean up all the electrical issues and drive it all winter.

 

My suggestion is to replace or service as much of the wiring as you can. It isn't always necessary to completely replace everything, but keep in mind, there are a lot of years on that plastic insulation.  Just an opinion, but if the wire insulation is cracked, brittle or really hard,  replace it.

 

  Just my $.02,

  Loren@65GS.com

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On May 31, 2017 at 1:45 PM, telriv said:
4 hours ago, Rivdrivn said:

Y and Z makes them.

Your other option is a good salvaged harness

 

 

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I agree with y&z.  We have used them many times before and their work is impeccable. 

 

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Loren,

 

thank you for your detailed explanation and suggestion.  It is appreciated.  I also was thinking along those lines that any wire exposed to the repeated heating and cooling in the engine bay would definitely need replacing, but the guy at YNZ said that the dash harnesses would most likely be just as bad kinda shot that theory down.  Thinking that i may just thoroughly check the wires in the entire car and of course if they look brittle or cracked, then replace them; while buying the four complete harnesses under the dash and enging/lamp harnesses.

 

Thanks again.

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Just my $0.02 worth. Lots of the problems in wiring is caused by tarnished terminals and poor earthing ( grounding) 

A bit of TLC on these issues will work wonders by delivering a full  12v when cleaned up.

 

Also made up a special ground wire harness for the tail lamps and a few others around different circuits and chose LEDs for dash lighting for brightness and to reduce current draw. In my opinion, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 

That money could be spent elsewhere.

Rodney

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17 hours ago, Alpha*Male said:

Bernie,

 

you're not too concerned about the age of the harness in place?  I just assumed that it was so old, it may be a good idea to replace it all.  However, if the thinking is, that if its not broken, then don't fix it, i can definitely place those $2,300 bucks into something else on her.

 

As mentioned above, the typical damage you find is on wire ends exposed to the elements or the heat of the engine compartment. Barring an attack by Jimmie Joe Calhoun, the legendary amateur auto electrician, the protected wiring will be flexible and "as new". I live on the north where heat doesn't burn up the inside of a car. That may also help. My '64 Riviera has all factory striped A/C control vacuum hoses. They came in nice long lengths from under the dash of a '69 Fleetwood I parted out a long time ago, just an example of what stays good.

I have a good selection of factory terminals that came from NAPA and swap meets over the years. Once you work on them you recognize what to get. I guess it is an alpha thing.

Over the years I have both repaired and built harnesses from scratch. I did a full harness fabrication of a burned '57 RR Silver Cloud that was a big job. I think there were 22 sub-harnesses. My Riviera was repaired and re-wrapped. I R&R'ed a '60 Ford pickup, repaired it, and modified it for a 350 Buick engine with an alternator, showing no visible difference from stock. And done a lot of sectional repairs.

 

One common repair has been eliminating a bypass around the cowl plugs. The terminals corrode and someone jumps over the plug. I have fixed a lot of those.

 

It is not so much the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". It is take it out and find what is broke and fix it right.

 

In the 1980's we were bringing up a lot of rust free older cars and I was repairing enough to see a similarity in the previous work. Jimmie Joe Calhoun became the mythological electrician. He was a little over 6' tall, wore a big belt buckle with steer horns (he left his mark), and was armed with side cutters and lots of sticky black tape, the kind of adhesive that melts and oozes out with heat. He or his spawn are still out there.

 

BTW, right now I am looking for a 1986 GM linear, opposed to rectangular, 6-way seat plug for my Park ave convertible. Jimmie broke and burned my old one. It seems to be a real odd one. That, I might have to made out of a block of plastic.

Bernie

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My 64 had a very rusted fuse box, caused by a leaking windshield. I couldn't find the correct connectors, and I don't care much about functioning originality, so I removed the box and put a aircraft breaker panel and circuit breakers. The actual wiring was in fantastic condition. Just seeing a lot of corrosion issues like mentioned above.

 

Unless the wiring is burned up, I'd try to keep it. It seems to be a really high quality wire. My charging harness and starting circuit was literally burned up, so I'm creating new ones that can handle higher amps and uses a ford remote relay.

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