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Ready, set, go. '39 wiring harness replacement

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Next project, and electricity is my weakest subject among others.  I am confident, I have good parts, tools and a book.  Wish me luck, Gary

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Hi Gary:

 

I will be following your progress with great interest, since I am planning to do the same thing on my '41 Super (and, like you, I am not exactly a whiz when it comes to electricity).  I was a bit leery about replacing the harness without everything being disassembled, as is typically done with a full restoration, but I have been assured that it's doable.  I assume you are doing the front harness only?  That's what I'm going to do since I want to leave the original headliner in place.  Can I ask which supplier you got your harness from?  Please keep us posted.

 

Neil

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It's really not a bad job.  The harness is clearly wired so just follow along step by step and you'll get it installed just fine.  Lay it out first, get your bearings as to what wire goes where, make a few of your own labels if needed.  It's pretty straightforward.  If I can help at all, don't hesitate.

 

Good Luck!!

Gary

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Good luck! who's wiring harness are you using, Rhode Island, YnZ's, or?

I've rewired a few complete cars, both to stock and aftermarket custom ones, and I somewhat enjoy it as it can be very satisfying. I think where i'm going to run into some issues with my '37, is that my car was completely stripped of it's wiring before I bought it, so a lot of the specific connectors, clips, etc that are missing is going to make it a slower process.

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I pretty much destroyed my headliner replacing the mouse-eaten and shorted out wires to the trunk. The tail lights and brake lights and turn signals (you said '39 right?) all go through there.

 

Couldn't figure out any way other than cutting the headliner a little.

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Thanks for the encouragement, I will keep you posted as it goes.  Gary W used Rhode Island for his car, me too, they supplied both main and body as well as the headlamps.  Didn't get extra signals for the front even though the car has fender lamps, I am funny that way, keep the car the way it came.  Someone else suggested removing the front seat for more comfort and the steering wheel had voids so it was restored as part of this job, also the speedo jams at 45 MPH so I hope to address the issue during this retrofit.  My car had electrical problems, mostly involving the starter, I am nervously looking forward to getting this completed.  I have a car show in mind June 10th for this rocket.  Gary

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In removing the front seat, your back will thank you!

That seat assembly is heavy though, but, in my mind, worth the effort.

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3 hours ago, DonMicheletti said:

In removing the front seat, your back will thank you!

That seat assembly is heavy though, but, in my mind, worth the effort.

 

I could not do it without the front seat. I wrap my knees on the back of the front seat, adding blood pressure to my brain for clear thinking, the back of my shoulders planted firmly on the floor under the dash........

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Currently re-wiring my ‘38 Special at this time too, but prefer to make my own harness than buy one. Don’t trust that 80+ year old cloth covered wiring which is already deteriorating under the bonnet. Will add the extra wires for turn; signals and driving lamps.

 

Think my ammeter may be cooked but have got a spare from a ‘37 gauge set from a recent swapmeet. Interesting find when I went to remove it, seems like an assembly line worker had some fun.

 

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀

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Haven't found any interesting slogans, worked on the replacement Sunday afternoon, standing on my head.  Unpacked the new harness and tacked up the directions from Rhode Island on a handy message board in the shop.  Cut away or unscrewed the old, crusty wires and threw them into a corner in case I need some hardware, various switches I bagged up and marked.  With the dash panel loosened now I plan to address the binding speedometer, I hope a gentle tweak of the needle will help it to clear the base.  Then I will refinish the surround in the dark burgundy colour, doesn't look as if it was woodgrained, polish the bright work and it should be ready for new wires and reinstalling.  So far so good, I am not a mechanic I just play one in my garage.  Do not understand yet how to remove the light switch?  Regards, Gary

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Hi Gary,

not sure if the switch is similar/ same as ‘38 but if it is check the following.

 

 to remove the switch first push down on the metal part that engages the push/pull rod. This allows the knob to then pull all the way out. Use an Allen key to unscrew the bezel left in the dash from the switch and “Wallah” it should all come away.

 

In the photo the pointer shows the part that needs to be lightly pushed down to disengage the rod. The rest are self explanatory. Just have to ask Allen for the right size key 😀😀😀😀😀

 

Rodney

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Tuesday update.  I've managed to remove the light switch, it was similar to the instructions above, thanks Rodney.  The harness is laid loosely around the engine and under the dash.  The time consuming item now is when I touch some electrical part I have to clean the part to find a letter, number or symbol which relates to the instructions, hope that makes sense.  Then because I am driving an old restoration I have to decide whether to reinstall the item as is, to match the look of the rest of the car or to restore or replace the part.  For instance the horns are left alone although they are less than ideal, the generator relay is new, bright and shiny so I refinished the horn relay to match.  So far so good, the new harness is flawless.  Regards, Gary

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