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Project Repeat Offender Electrical System – Prisoner Of Wire

Written by Staff. Posted in Guest Articles, Technical Articles

Published on May 10, 2016 with No Comments

Though we vowed to have dyno numbers for you this month on our True Street project, we’ve been a little tied up. Actually, we’ve been working hard on Repeat Offender and time slipped right through our hands.

What we were able to finish this month will be helpful. The massive stock wiring harness was chock-full of useless systems and a sticky varnish that apparently could only be removed from our hands with kerosene; the battery cables were in the engine bay and we needed them in the trunk; and with our soon-to-come MSD ignition system, the stock ignition wiring was useless and in the way.

If we were building a typical track-only car, the electrical system could remain somewhat simple and basic. We could just run a few wires for the necessities like fuel pump, fan, gauges, ignition, starting, and charging. However, when building a car destined for the street, the complexity of the electrical system grows significantlyespecially if you want to maintain creature comforts.

Something else to consider is the condition of the original harness. Our car, for instance, is over 26 years old. There’s a good chance there is either corrosion in the harness or Father Time has made the old insulation brittle. Either way, we don’t want to take any chances.

If you choose to keep your original harness, make sure it’s safe and functional before proceeding with a project such as oursespecially when powering demanding components such as a high-volume fuel pump or electric water pump. We had to make the decision to just deal with the factory harness for its all-inclusive ability (with risk), or exchange it for a more simple harness that may or may not have everything we need. Enter Painless Performance Products.

Painless has been leading the automotive wiring industry for 21 years, and you’ve undoubtedly heard of its products for street rods, custom cars, and racing applications. Though many of its products are generic, Painless also makes manufacturer-specific harnesses for various GM, Mopar, and Ford models.

The chassis harness that we chose (PN 10123; $596.89) is a four-circuit universal Ford musclecar harness built to fit most Ford cars from ’66-’76. However, since Ford has kept most of its wiring colors the same throughout the years, most will match our ’85 LX harness perfectly. The harness has provisions for everything from lights to wipers, and the horn to the radio.

Painless also sent us its PowerBraid tool kit (PN 70941; $68.95), which allows quick and easy installation of its PowerBraid wire wrap, of which it also sent us an assortment. We also requested a three-pack relay bank (PN 30107; $148.20) to power our fan, electric water pump, and a spare for future use.

The Painless wiring harnesses feature a lightweight design and protection against overload well beyond what the factory harness can offer. All of the wires are colored, labeled, numbered, and grouped into different sections to make routing easier. There’s no doubt that installing a new wiring harness is a complex and time-consuming task (at least 40 man hours), but Painless makes it as simple as possible.

To power our harness, we chose a top-post Dyna-Batt (PN 5575B; $119) from Performance Distributors. At 13.5 pounds, it’s over 20 pounds lighter than a standard battery, and will mount almost anywhere with the Dyna-Batt bracket (PN 5475; $79). We decided to mount ours in the trunk, next to our Flaming River remote battery-disconnect switch (PN FR1003-2; $93.45).

Elsewhere, we tied the Painless harness to our new MSD 6AL-2 ignition control (PN 6421; $279.99) and AutoMeter gauges. The 6AL-2, the newest version 6AL, has a built-in two-step rev limiter with rotary dials, accepts almost any crank trigger, and features digital controls.

The gauges, Auto Meter’s Competition Series, feature programmable high and low warnings, which can also be wired to warning lights, fans, or alarms. Prices range from $139.99 to $299.99 through Summit Racing Equipment.

We also installed a 150-amp alternator (PN 7771B6G) by Tuff Stuff Performance. This black-powdercoat alternator features an internal voltage regulator and retails for $179.95 through Summit Racing Equipment. We also received a 400 Series starter from Meziere (PN TS408; $544.50).

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