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Shoe1932

Rewiring Our '32 - 67

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Howdy

According to past posts, it seems that Rhode Island Wiring Harnesses is the place to order new wiring harnesses for our '32 - 67. I have rewired vehicles in the past, but they were 20+ years newer than our Buick and we were usually doing a bunch of work on them at the same time. I am considering getting some wiring harnesses for our Buick (Lights and possibly dash) but would like to know how much disassembly will be required. I am not against the additional work, but would like to know what I am getting into in advance. When I look at the wires on the car, it seems like it is straight forward and shouldn't be a big deal. That said, my wife is always quick to remind me that all of my 3 hour projects take 3 days. Unfortunately, there is some truth in her words. Everything I see says that the Rhode Island harnesses are top notch and the instructions are easy to follow. Any other thoughts specifically on a '32 Buick and potential problem areas.

Thanks in advance for any words of advice.

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I did a complete 33 90 using Harnesses Unlimited, Very nice work, especially on a 90. Usually everyone sends the size for a 67, 87 or something, forget I'm about 4-6 inches longer. I've used Rhode Island on a 34 Ford Fordor too, not problem there either....

One of the keys, is lay the whole harness out on the floor, like it's a skeleton to the car, then study what you are up against- It starts making sense, then take your time. Follow the wire code/colors/diagram and it's actually easy and fun. You have to learn the wire language a bit, no biggy.

I know Bob Engle will be chiming in, he makes his own wire harnesses. Me, I'm Mr. Sausage fingers , so have to pay the price and have the pros do it-

Clean grounds too- Important.

Good luck-

OCM

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There are 3 harnesses for the 32 cars. steering column light switch to the front lights and horn, light switch to rear lights and gas gage, dash gauges to engine. This last is the worst to deal with as you must remove to fire wall pad to get to the harness. I have wiring charts that describe the size, length and color pattern for 32 buicks. I have a detailed chart for the 50 series that includes the connectors on each wire. You could easily convert this 50 series chart from the detailed chart that has the different series data. These harnesses are very simple and you could easily reproduce yoThin ur own harnesses and save big $$. I bought all the components for my 50 series for $150. John Brillman makes all the wiring using teflon coated wires with the appropriate woven materials on the outside.

Think about some upgrades to the wiring, such as Increase wires size for headlights, tripp lights etc. You may want higher candlepoBob wer bulbs that draw more current. Do this upgrade all the way to the powersource. Will you want turn signals? add the wire in the harness for this if you so desire. If you want the charts, send me a PM as they are on spreadsheets and can't easily be attached to the forum.

The two harnesses to the lights are easy to replace as they are attached to clips on the inside of the frame.

Bob Engle

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I used Narraganset but also saw a Rhode Island equivalent. Both seem like very good suppliers although if you wait until the spring you can run into some huge delays for them to make it. Whoever you order from be prepared to wait longer then they say it will take.

I second OCMs suggestion of laying it all out and studying everything. The "schematics" that I got seem to be more of a build sheet than a schematic. Make sure to get a schematic for your car to match up with the wires and what comes from your supplier. You will use all of this when you sit down to study the wires. I also took my old wiring harness out so that I could lay it next to the new one for comparisons. If you do that, just make sure you label every connection so that you can back track against the rest of the documentation if something looks odd. After spending literally days studying I was able to install all the wire in the car very quickly.

Also listen to Bob with regard to how many harnesses you need. Always talk to the supplier directly and don't bother going through the resellers like Car's. I got into a boat load of trouble because when I went through the resellers I wasn't sure what harness I needed and when I talked to them they really didn't have a clue. When I talked directly to the manufacture (Narragansett but I'm sure Rhode Island as well) they actually knew what to recommend and could also speak intelligently to educate me about some of the upgrades I planned. Talking to the manufacture allows those upgrades to happen a lot easier.

I had two surprises with my harnesses. The first was that my car is a 1936 McLaughlin Buick instead of a US version. The two cars are mostly the same and I only had a schematic for the US version so I assumed they would be the same. Unfortunately they differed in where the voltage regulator was mounted and I ended up with some wiring that didn't fit. If you have any oddities about your car make sure you tell the manufacture so they can address them. Then, when the harness arrives, carefully compare them against your existing harness to be sure they are compatible BEFORE you do anything with the new harness. Most manufactures will take the harness back if you don't get it dirty or mess it up so checking BEFORE trying to install is really a necessity.

The second surprise I had was that my harness came with some rather generic sockets for the instruments along with a note on the "schematics" to use the ones in the car. I'm not afraid of cutting and soldering but ultimately I really think they should have supplied the correct sockets or at least warned me before my harness arrived.

Running wires to the front and under the dash was no big deal. Running wires to the rear was a bit more challenging just because I hate crawling around under the car (dang I need a lift). Getting the gas tank sender attached meant dropping the tank for me but that was ok for me because I was also installing a priming fuel pump and needed to drop it anyway. Also look at grommets in the firewall. I suspect you will want to replace these and I'll be you will be very surprised at how much they cost. I had to ultimately get most of mine from Steel because they actually had the correct ones instead of generic descriptions of something that might fit.

Finally, I did do a number of mods to my wiring harness. I upgraded all the light circuits one gauge and added wires for turn signals, a fuel pump, and an electric fan. All of these wires run along with the main harness and look original even though they are extra. The biggest mod I did was to add a wiring board near the top ventilator that I could mount fuses and relays on. In that location the circuits coming off the headlight switch could be easily moved to terminate on the board without further modification. I then added new wires to/from the headlight switch and the board to activate the relays. All in all I really like having fuses in the car (none before) and I feel a lot better about switching the heavy loads via relays instead of the light switch.

I mentioned that I messed up with not realizing the difference between the Canadian and the US versions. That led to another unintended upgrade. I wanted to keep the generator but I couldn't find a reasonable way to get the regulator wired in. I looked at fitting a US generator but the costs were pretty significant and I'd still be left with a weaker power source. I ended up switching out the generator for a one wire alternator and that allowed me to use the harness without modification as well as not having to worry about draining the battery when the headlight and/or fan were on.

One last comment. Despite advise from the forum I resisted replacing my wiring for the longest time. I finally listened and when I went to take things apart realized exactly how bad 70 year old wiring was. If you have original wires in your car I highly encourage you to replace them.

Jeff

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I agree on Narragansett and Rhode Island - both good sources -- also on the idea of including turn signals within the parking lights - I did this too!

Consider LED bulbs front and rear 6-Volt Negative ground - great addition for safety!

and Uvira did our reflectors.

Line the inside of your park and tail light buckets with aluminum foil to increase the reflectivity and brighten the lights (do this on your old trailers too!).

You might also consider leads to go to a 12-Volt inverter to power a charger for cellphone, GPS, modern radio, etc.

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Yes, the inverter is a great idea especially if you want to run a modern radio in your car.

I was powering my radio with a 12v jump battery but when I added the alternator I figured I had enough power to run an inverter to power it instead. I now have an additional 12 volt fuse block that is fed by the inverter. I only have the radio on there for now but if I decide to add something like a power port for charging things it should be straight forward to add a wire to the fuse block.

Jeff

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Off-topic, but since Jeff mentioned it,

years ago I wanted to keep a 6-Volt car original, but also wanted to support a 12-Volt A/C.

My solution was to leave the car as designed, but to swap out the original generator for a then-modern GM 12V alternator, and to use a pair of 6-Volt batteries strapped in Series. The alternator recharged the batteries as if they were a single 12V, but the main power lead for the car was taken from the post between the two batteries, so the car was still operating on 6V. The "end" post delivered 12 volts and powered the A/C, as well as a hidden AM/FM/CB, and supported other modern accessories, none of which were permanently installed.

The concern at that time was the size of the two batteries, but now we can fit a pair of 6v Optimas in the space of a single Group 1 or Group 2 battery.

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hi, recommend rhode island wiring. they did my 1942 buick and was very pleased. i would suggest you call and ask all your questions, they are very helpful.

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Hi John, glad to see another Texan with a 1932 67. Look forward to seeing your car at a Texas gathering perhaps Salado or other regional event.

post-41402-14314229515_thumb.jpg

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I knew when I started this thread that I would get some great advice. I didn't think to ask Rhode Island to increase the size of the wires and add a few because I was stuck on keeping everything as original as possible. The more I think about all of the suggestions that have been given, the more I want to make minor changes to the wiring. Thanks for the advice on the LED bulbs and increasing the size of the wiring to the lights. Upgrading the light circuit is a great idea. I also like the idea of a 12 volt inverter. It would be nice to be able to charge a phone or use my GPS or even listen to some music when driving or on a tour. (Especially after hearing about how Marty got lost on a recent tour in another thread). Did you run the inverter into the cigarette lighter or was it done another way? I have ordered some wireless turn signals from Smartsignals and hope to have it delivered soon so wiring for turn signals is not necessary. I am not sure that I will go with fuses but it is a good idea. I also appreciate the advice on grommets. I had hoped that RI wiring harnesses would sell them so I didn't even think about looking somewhere else for them.

Any recommendations on the 12 volt inverters and where to put them. I assume that under the dash is probably the best place but would love any advice. I will be contacting RI in the next week or two to get the ball rolling. Our gas gauge does not work so I am hoping that the new wires will help it. Hopefully the gas tank removal will not give me too much difficulty.

Thanks OCM, Bob, Jeff, and Marty for your help. I will be asking more questions as this project progresses.

Chuck, I have seen your car on the internet when I have pulled up 1932 Buick online. It is beautiful and I hope to see it in person some time soon. Are they still doing the Salado show? For some reason I thought that they were no longer doing it. If so I will be there. I am sure you have more events in Dallas than we do here in Austin. If there is one coming up I will put it in the trailer and haul it up to that area. Again, great looking car. I am attaching a photo of our '32 67 with one of my boys before we took it to a local show last month. post-86274-143142299952_thumb.jpg

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