neil morse

Neil's '41 Super Model 51

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Neil, over 40 years ago I painted the firewall-mounted factory heater on my 1939 Cad--which now lives two blocks away--with a rattle can whose color was named "Brown Cow"--a perfect match to the oirginal  Since I never throw anything away (as you can attest, having seen my shop), I probably still have the end of the can and can give you the brand.

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Maybe you're right. Here's my Century's heater before I restored it with some original paint still on it (note that it's textured like a crinkle finish).

 

P1010107.JPG.9d1d42f461d36646cd30f502b11871fd.JPG

 

Here's how I finished the parts with powdercoating:

 

Heater_Parts2.jpg

 

I think you're not too far off and it will look good under the dash. Nice crisp, detailed look.

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Thanks, George.  "How now, brown cow!"

 

Your stuff looks great, Matt!

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Let the Games Begin

 

I've got my new forward harness and no more reasons to delay, so I'm starting in on my rewiring project.  First step: removing the front seat and associated hardware to provide a comfortable space to work.  I can now lie on my back with my feet on the back seat -- hmm, might be a good time for a nap! 😜

 

frontseat3.thumb.jpg.be9021c3e2750d8780a195ab82507d0f.jpg

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Just now, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Did you mean destructive?;)

 

  Ben

 

Haha -- I thought of that very thing.   But first we have to pull things apart, and then put them back together.  So I guess "destruction" is "productive" at this stage.  😉

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Another "productive/destructive" day.  I got the entire old harness out of the car.

 

oldharness.thumb.jpg.c3366986679d03ece1f7473aee162ae0.jpg

 

Now I have to figure out what to do about several modifications to the standard wiring in my car.  Previous owners have used "modern" wiring (some of it quite substandard) to install fog lights, an electric fuel pump, a starter button, and Pertronix ignition.  I want to upgrade the wiring for these features, but I have to decide the best way to do it.  I saw today that Bob's sells fabric loom in various sizes by the foot, so my thinking now is that I will fabricate my own "oldtimey" wiring looms for these features.

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Rewiring Old Sockets

 

The new front harness I got from Rhode Island Wiring Service requires that I re-use two sockets from the old harness -- a six pin socket that connects the front harness to the rear harness, and a three pin socket that connects the turn signal wires from the front harness to the wires coming out of the steering column.  Here's what the six pin connector looks like:

 

plug1.thumb.jpg.9774077fee89dbd4730de2cb62ba64ba.jpg

 

To open up the connector, I had to very carefully pry up the little ears -- first with an Xacto and then a small screw driver.

 

plug2.jpg.b1f27589d3dc5ec04a7c341fd9a3bba1.jpg

 

The connector then comes apart like this:

 

plug3.jpg.1bf7fa83c68941e224de7404a0933ff6.jpg

 

Since I was a little intimidated by the soldering job (because I'm assuming finding replacements for these things would be very difficult), I decided to start with the three-pin one first.

 

plug4.jpg.6594b03713b6f3ce9401f40e711fdacd.jpg

 

First I carefully desoldered the old wires and used some solder wick to soak up the old solder and clear the holes in the contacts.

 

plug5.jpg.5df8178a21348f255bdcc52be6bffc74.jpg

 

RI Wire provides very detailed and excellent instructions on how to hook everything up.

 

plug6.thumb.jpg.d0f762e17684211ff4eea356a2d8e654.jpg

 

Strip off a bit of insulation ...

 

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And resolder the wires according to the diagram.

 

plug8.jpg.ea5fce27594ae3fa4e5d5a85abed5151.jpg

 

Slip everything back together and crimp back down the ears, and job's all done.

 

plug9.jpg.36dfe8c8e306d850799cd232f59399fb.jpg

 

Not as bad as I thought, and I'm ready for the six-pin job next.

 

 

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Really nice work, Neil. That kind of stuff isn't my strong suit and I feel intimidated every time I have to grab a soldering iron. You're doing a great job!

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Aren't those fresh, bright wires awesome? I almost feel like wearing gloves when I'm working with new wires like that just so they don't get dirty. My Limited has a new harness in it, but some hack with greasy fingers (not me, amazingly enough) not only made it filthy but chopped and cut it so it would fit the way HE decided it should. Ugh.

 

Good wiring is one of the single most important things on an old car, both in terms of function and safety. If there's ever a problem in the future, this is going to make your life (or someone down the line) a lot easier.

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Haha -- that is so funny because earlier today I was upset with myself because I had handled some of the beautiful yellow wires of my new harness with my grubby hands and put some smudges on them.  I wanted to clean them off, and then I thought -- wait a minute, what?  This wiring is going to be under the dash and no one will ever see it.  But it was the defilement of the sacred new wire that upset me!

 

I totally agree on the safety factor.  A few days after I bought this car, I took some photos by sticking my phone camera under the dash.  I was so appalled by what I saw that I immediately went out and bought a cut-out switch for the battery.  I wasn't about to leave that car in the garage (under my house) with the battery hooked up.  That's what has been the essential driving force behind my rewiring project.  Doing it with an authentic harness like the one produced by RI Wire is just the icing on the cake to me.

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 Your work is looking good, Neil. I put a new harness in mine at the end of the restoration. The original was patched, spliced, and disconnected in various places, and I would of been afraid to actually drive it!

 I got mine from Harnesses Unlimited, and it too, seemed to be a quality repro.

 Keith

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Thanks, Keith and Bloo.  I did the 6-pin connector today.  It was a bit trickier than the 3-pin because the contacts are close together, and there's a lot to stuff back in the housing when you're done, but it was basically the same job times two.

 

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It doesn't even look like the same part! That's how my Century's headlight buckets looked--more like a rock than a metal bucket. It'll be reassuring to have all that fresh wiring in there so you know things will just work like they should. When I burned out a front turn signal bulb, my actual first thought was, "Oh nuts, now the turn signals are broken." Just a bulb, but it shows you how much I trust the wiring work some hack did on my car. Nice job!

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New Parking Light/Turn Signal sockets

 

Rhode Island Wiring provides the wires and the guts for a rebuild of the sockets.  Here's what you get for each side (plus one of my sockets):

 

plights1.jpg.f3e7a0d7ef98902b6cde124ffb3b98e3.jpg

 

These little pieces have "ears" which fit in the slots in the sides of the socket and keep the two wires in the right place:

 

plights2.jpg.946a9f7656f2d48aa289ead95a48570c.jpg

 

The spring goes in the bottom of the socket under the two "ear" pieces:

 

plights3.jpg.3245e88a31bfde7b29ebb70952b3a4d0.jpg

 

Then you strip a little bit off the end of each wire, put them through the little grommets on the other round piece, and solder them in:

 

plights4.jpg.9114b99b8c907f55075503fe06876ce4.jpg

 

Snip off the ends, and use a small, flat file to file down the contacts:

 

plights5.jpg.e80fd1e92706bf4ddecd927b698419a8.jpg

 

Push everything back down into the socket, being careful to get the "ears" into the slots on both sides:

 

plights6.jpg.dc74c8f0c06585672c8ac308011d8eaa.jpg

 

Insert bulb, and bench test.  Yay, it works!  You have to test both the turn signal (brighter filament) and the parking light (dimmer filament).

 

plights7.jpg.1f8a35032fe4fe816fdb52b014bd2809.jpg

 

Then the socket goes back on the car.  (And by the way, if you're going to do headlights at the same time, you can really save yourself some trouble.  The nut securing the parking light housing from the bottom -- which has to be removed in order to remove the socket -- is a real pain in the butt to get to with the headlights in place.  With that huge opening, piece of cake!)

 

plights8.jpg.ee9c721ca32ebb81206af2afddefe77d.jpg

 

plights10.thumb.jpg.8537fb324659bd70548a53ad3fe8da6d.jpg

 

Everything back together, hook up the wires at the junction block, and time to test it in the car.  (This is probably overkill, but I like to check things at every stage I can.  I want to minimize bad surprises as much as I can!)

 

plights11.jpg.330470e3e72c8dd0cc6031314ea33c46.jpg

 

Again, I'm a happy camper.  Both the parking light and the turn signal light up just as they should when I run a wire from the battery to the terminals on the junction block for each one.  This, of course, also means my ground is fine.  An excellent day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Interesting how you made the bulb terminals and sockets--I didn't realize you could assemble terminals like that. I tracked down some brass terminal buttons and installed them when I was rewiring my fog lights, but it was a serious pain in the butt because they weren't made for the 12-gauge wire I was using. Yours seems like a very elegant solution. Nice!

 

What bulbs are you using in the parking lights? My car has 1154s, which are the same as the dual-filament taillight bulbs. That makes it easier to carry spares. I'm not sure what the original bulbs were supposed to be.

 

21U492_AS01?$mdmain$

 

359177785_NewBulb.jpg.e48c99b1b64616b894fa6ca4e1fb8de3.jpg

 

I do like that you have the inner lenses, which are missing from my car. I keep thinking I should add them--do your parking lights look yellow from head-on? I kind of like mine being bright white so they're easy to see, but maybe the lens helps focus the light head-on? 

 

I also note that you aligned the screw heads on the parking light housing front-rear. A man after my own heart!

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

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I had never seen this type of socket before I got these from RI Wire, so I agree that is a "very elegant solution" as far as creating a socket using old school wire, but I certainly can't claim credit for it.

 

Those are halogen bulbs that I got from Hirsch.  My car also had 1154 bulbs front and rear when I bought it, but I went to the halogen bulbs to get something brighter.  I later stopped using the halogens in the back because I was concerned about heat (and switched to the LED's that you recommended).  But I kept the halogens in front because I figure they are never illuminated long enough to create any concerns about heat.  I never drive with the parking lights on, and the turn signals are obviously just illuminated intermittently.  Ultimately, an LED solution may be better for the fronts as well.

 

I got the inner lenses (diffusers?) from Bob's.  You may recall that I started a thread about them when I discovered them, and there was some discussion about the incorrect amber color.  I honestly can't say that they make much difference -- the lights do not appear yellow or amber from head on, and they are plenty bright with the halogen bulbs.

 

On the screw heads, I have to admit you really got a laugh out of me on that one.  I may be a man after your own heart, but I assure you it was purely coincidental!  But now that you've pointed it out, I agree that it looks cool! 

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Headlights

 

I got my headlights reinstalled today.  Hooked everything up and tested them by running a wire from the positive battery pole and then touching it to the different terminals on the junction block.  High beams and low beams working fine!

 

headlight4.jpg.409d0eb2bd065af5a941c1f908b282b6.jpg

 

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headlight6.jpg.2974d1ad5209aa16be407ddf23931181.jpg

 

I also got my revulcanized gas pedal back from Steele today.  Looking good, as you can see from this before and after comparison.

 

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gas_pedal3.thumb.jpg.3c1a3e947a4545e6496242d79d0805a6.jpg

 

 

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 Neil, I am following your every move. I truly appreciate you taking the time to post all the details of the project here. I just started the install of my wiring harness a couple of days ago. I am still taking things apart. I’m on the light switches now (cramped in there). 

Keep it coming.  Thanks!

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Hi Ken:

 

That's great.  I thought you had already done yours.  Yes, it's cramped, but you will be surprised at how much space opens up once you start pulling stuff apart.  If you haven't already done it, I strongly advise that you remove the front seat like I did, put down a nice soft blanket and get a good pillow!  Then disassemble everything you possibly can from the dash.  Once the radio supports and the big chrome piece in the center are out of the way, you have much better access to the back of the instrument panel.

 

Also, I'm not really posting "all the details," so please feel free to send me a PM if you run into any problems that I might be able to help you with.

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