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70sWagoneers

To keep or not keep original wiring?

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I am restoring/preserving a 1917/1935 Detroit Electric. The goal is to make it functional driveable again but preserve as much as possible. So Im mulling over the heavy gauge wiring harness and cant decide whether to just replace it all or save as much original wiring as I can. Tomorrow I will perhaps clean and ohm a few sections. But by initial visual inspection, most of the wiring is unmolested, with a handful of breaks in the braided wire loom. Many of the copper ends are fluffy but not badly pitted/corroded. Obviously some sections might have be replaced no matter what.

 

So what do you think about trying to save most of the original wiring? Is it worth it for the intrinsic value of a vintage car?  I feel that "their only original once", but the car needs to be reliable and safe.

 

Thanks

James C.

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I'm all for preservation, but taking any chance with old wiring, particularly in an electric car, is just too hazardous.

If I were you, I'd replace it with new wiring, with original appearance (available from numerous suppliers, Brillman in Mt. Jackson Va is a good place to start), then put the old, labeled, wiring in a box and keep it with car.

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I concur. You are talking about significant amperage. Better safe than sorry. Few things more fun than driving an old electric car. We did a lot of work on a '15 Milburn and a bit on an '18 Detroit and enjoyed playing with them. Something very satisfying about pulling out in almost total silence.

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Yes, Im pulling out and replacing all of the wiring. The heavy drivetrain cable are in good condition except for a few good nicks, but the lighting and ancilliary is toast!.... not to mention all of the patches. Much of the lighting wiring is non-existant so Im trying to recreate it as best I can according to the wiring blueprints.

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The copper doesn't wear out but the insulation does. Considering how much voltage and amperage you are dealing with, new wiring is a must for safety.

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Yes, all new cloth-covered wiring was used. I cleaned and rebuild all the connectors and electrical apparatus. Good thing it was relatively simple. No circuitboards! 

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Hi....i am a new user here. As per my knowledge few things more fun than driving an old electric car. We did a lot of work on a '15 Milburn and a bit on an '18 Detroit and enjoyed playing with them. Something very satisfying about pulling out in almost total silence.

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