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How to wire your car from scratch.

Details basic electrical

theory & troubleshooting. Race cars, kit cars, street rods,
restorations & trailers. Tools & techniques. Gauges, lights,
circuit breakers & more.
Most HPBooks arc available at spccial quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotiixis.
premiums, fund raising, or educational use. Special books, or book excerpts, can also be created
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The Berkley Publishing Group
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375 Hudson Street. New York. New York 10014
© 1986 Pricc Stern Sloan. Inc.

Printed in U.S.A.
30 29 28

ISBN. 0-89586-238-7

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

NOTICE: The information in this book is true and complete to the best of our knowledge. All recom-
mendations on parts and procedures arc made without any guarantees on the part of the author or pub-
lisher. Bccausc the quality of parts, procedures and methods is beyond our control, author and publish-
er disclaim all liabilly incurred in connection with the use of this information.

T h a n k s to the m a n y automotive clectrical suppliers and c o m p a n i e s w h o
provided photographs, drawings and technical information on their prod-
ucts. Especially helpful were B o b S c h l a n g e r of Import Parts International.
Dale Pcnn of Dale's Historic Vchicic Repair. Charley V. Frank of Califor-
nia Terminal Products and J o h n Covun of L o n g a c r e A u t o m o t i v e Racing
Special thanks to o u r technical consultant Frank Parker for providing
invaluable information and advicc on wiring racc cars, and for reviewing
the manuscript for accuracy and completeness.
1 Introduction 4
2 Electrical Theory 6
3 Charging System 14
4 Electrical Paths 22
5 Electrical Controls 28
6 Displays 38
7 Electrical Loads 49
8 Supplies 60
9 Locating & Installing Components 70
10 Designing & Drawing Circuit Diagrams 81
11 Making a Harness 100
12 Installing a Harness 110
13 Rewiring an Electrical System 123
14 Converting From 6 to 12 Volts 128
15 Trailer Wiring 134
16 Wiring a Race Car 139
Metric Conversion Chart 151
Glossary 154
Index 157

e x p e r t 2 2 pj\n http://rutracker.orq
r»c»-car fabricator and author of HP's Motel Fabrication Handbook. Whether you're wiring a
race car, kit car or other vehicle from scratch, row!ring a collector car. or Just wiring In a few
accessories on the family car, this book shows you how.

What is this book all about? Well, let's Panic! You contact the kit manufactur- know to wire your car from scratch.
say you're planning to assemble a kit car. er for help. With a sinking feeling, you You'll Icam how to select and install
also called component car or replicar. hear them tell you that if they knew how electrical components, design circuits,
You sclcct the kit of your dreams. Then to install an electrical system, they would construct and install wiring harnesses,
you pick up a "donor" car to provide the have included the information in their and test the systems.
running gear. You lay out your tools and assembly manual. To enable you to accomplish these
round up the other paraphernalia neces- You find that your local kit-car club tasks, this book also explains electrical
sary to turn that pile of fiberglass and isn't much help either. Their advice— theory, wiring diagrams and test pro-
hardware into a real, driveable car. the universal solution—is to jury-rig the cedures. It also includes a com-
If you're only vaguely familiar with wtnng harness from a donor car and hope prehensive list of suppliers for just about
engine rebuilding, brake rebuilding, for the best. This is hardly worthy of the every thing you'll need for doing the job.
transmission rebuilding, and suspension craftsmanship you put into the show- What if you aren't wiring a car from
assembly and alignment, you'll probably quality paint and upholstery, the zoomy scratch? Maybe you're restoring an an-
visit a bookstore for the appropriate wheels and tires, and the super-trick en- tique or collector car. Or. perhaps you
manuals—maybe even one or two of gine work. All this good stuff, supported want to replace or repair a tired wiring
HPBooks' automotive guides. So far. so by an electrical system that looks like an harness or specific components in your
good. If you don't know how to do some- explosion in a wire factory? No way! old family car. If so. you'll find a special
thing. you look it up and there's the pro- Do I need to tell you that help is at chapter on rewiring that tells you how to
cedure in black and white. hand? In fact, in your hand right now? restore the clcctrical system to like-new
Work progresses nicely—until you "But," you may protest. "I don't know condition. This book also includes sever-
reali/c your dream car is nearly done, but the first thing about electricity. In fact, al chapters pertaining to selected
there's one critical thing missing. Until I'm almost afraid to change a light bulb vehicles—wiring a race car, trailer wir-
just this minute, you've completely over- for fear of getting shocked!" ing. and converting a VW 6-volt system
looked the elcctrical system! With no fire This book has been prepared specifi- to a 12-volt system.
in the wire, there's no heat in the street. cally for you. It explains all you need to One final note: Because this book

Alternator it source of current for all elec- Lamps and eiectrical motors are the two Wires are the paths that cany current to
trical components while engine is running. major types of electrical loads found on from source to loads. In a car. they're bun-
It also recharges battery, which is the other cars. High-power driving lamps like these dled Into harnesses to facilitate routing.
electrical source in a car. This 90-amp job use a lot of juice, so battery and alternator This factory harness uses special molded
could be used as power source for bumper (sources) and wires (paths) must be sized connectors to attach wires to components
full of driving lamps like those at right accordingly. Photo by Tom Monroe. or to other hsmesses. Photo by Jim Barrett.
Photo by Tom Monroe.

started out as a how-to guide for wiring plicated. Take electricity. vices on the car that require electricity for
kit cars, you'll find a number of refer- The essential elcctrical components in operation. Some examples are the igni-
ences to VW Beetle and Ford Pinto old cars and new ones arc practically the tion system, windshield-wiper motor,
components—simply because they're same—ignition, starter, generator, bat- heater-blower motor, hom, radio or tape
two of the most common donor cars used tery- and lights. But today's cars also deck, and lights. By the way, don't un-
as the basis for kit-car construction. But comc equipped with electric wipers, derestimate the electrical loads created
this in no way limits the application of the clcctric gauges, clcctric windows—even by lights. It's common for a car to have
procedures to just these two car lines. electric mirrors. Most of today's extras more lights than all the other loads
Nor should it be taken as an endorsement arc just that—extras. But all these com- combined—20 to 30 lights can be found
of the original cars or the kits based on ponents have one thing in common. They in a modem car. And, in some race-car
them. So. if you're planning to build a all need electricity to operate. applications, such as rally cars, off-road
latc-modcl stock car. Chcvcttc-bascd So, before getting into the specifics of racers, and IMSA GTO and GTP cars,
MG replica. Baja bug, Corvair-powered electrical theory and how to wire your the electrical load from driving lights can
Ferrari look-alike, rat-motor street rod. car. let's take a brief overview of the be quadruple that of conventional light-
or what-havc-you. don't worry. Elcctri- car's electrical system. AH the com- ing systems.
cal theory and wiring principles apply ponents mentioned here are discussed in Electrical paths include wires, of
equally well to your chosen project. detail in their respective chapters. course. But a car's steel body and frame
The electrical system can be divided arc also paths. They're used as the return
AN OVERVIEW O F into three major parts: electrical sources. path, or ground, between loads and the
T H E ELECTRICAL SYSTEM electrical limits—users of electricity— battery. And the various switches in the
Someone once said a car needs only and electrical paths. system can be included in the path cate-
two things to run—fuel and electricity. Electrical sources consist of the bat- gory. Switches are located in the electri-
Well, OK. three things, if you count air. tery. which stores electricity for starting cal path to act as a sort of gate. permitting
But the point is this: A car depends on the engine, and the generator or alterna- electricity to pass or to hold it back, as
only these three things for basic opera- tor. which provides electricity when the required.
tion. engine is running. Except in cases of Together, these three parts form elec-
"How can that be?" you ask. "Today's extreme overload, a correctly adjusted trical circuits, which enable electricity to
cars arc so complicated." Well, compare charging system will produce enough perform useful work. With this brief
an old car with a modem one. If you look power to operate all the electrical dcviccs overview in mind, turn the page and be-
beyond the obvious, what do you find? in the car. with enough extra to recharge gin your study of electrical theory.
The basics arc the same. Nowadays, it's the battery.
only the application that's more com- Electrical loads include all the de-


When the like poles ( • +• or — ) of two magnets are close to each other, they repel. The unlike
poles (+ and - ) attract each other. ThJs phenomenon Is the basic key to understanding how
electricity works.

It's remotely possible lor you to suc- indirectly. Another reason for the mis- • It can flow in a current from place to
cessfully wire a car without any idea understanding is that electricity is not place.
whatsoever about elcctrical theory. But often taught well in many schools, possi- • It can flow only in a completed circuit.
don't try it. bly because the instructors don't fully • It can be "stored" in a battery.
Why? It would be similar to taking a understand it. either. Positive & Negative—In grade-school
trip without a road map. You may have In the following section. 1 portray science, you probably learned that mag-
an idea of where you want to go. but no electricity as a phenomenon—which it nets arc electrical in nature, with a north
clear-cut idea of how to get there. Or, certainly is—that can be reckoned with pole and a south pole. On some magnets,
perhaps more important, you don't know and worked with. north is marked + (positive) and south is
what's involved in making the trip. So, I So. what is electricity? What is this marked - (negative). Put two magnets
strongly suggest you take the time to force that sparks the sparkplugs and close to each other and you'll sec that like
learn basic electrical theory before you lights the lights? Is it some kind of magic poles ( + 4- or - —) repel each other
try to wire your car. that only an engineer or scientist can un- and unlike poles ( + - ) attract each
derstand? No! other.
START WITH THE BASICS Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary This separation into positives and
Rased on many conversations I've had puts it like this: "Electricity is a fun- negatives is called polarity. It is the first
with people over the years. I've come to damental entity of nature consisting of important point about electricity, which
the conclusion that, of all the elements positive and negative kinds...usually- will bcconw clearer later. For now. just
that go into a car. electricity is. by a wide utilized in the form of electrical cur- remember positive, negative, and the
margin, the most misunderstood And rents." attraction between them
not just bv the layman, either. Electricity Mysterious, maybe, but not magic. The Invisible Force—You can't see
is a hang-up for technicians and engi- Let's try to improve on Webster: electricity bccausc it operates at an atom-
neers. as well. • Electricity has positive and negative ic level. All matter is composed of
I've also concluded that a great deal of charges. atoms. They're so tiny it would take mil-
this misunderstanding stems from the • It is an invisible force. lions of them to equal the width of the
fact that electricity is invisible and form- • It can be controlled. period at the end of this sentence. Atoms
levs. so its nature can be perceived only • It can do work. are composed of even smaller par-
Principle of electrical flow depends on fact that atoms of some materials have loosely held electrons in their outer orbits. When loosely
held electron is forced from its outer orbit, it Is free to "hop" to another atom. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.

tides—protons, neutrons and electrons with loosely held electrons. Materials

among them. The particles we're con- such as these arc called conductors be- SPECIAL NOTE ON
cerned with arc the electrons. cause they freely conduct or carry elec- CURRENT FLOW
Electrons travel in circular paths tron movement. There are two schools of thought on
which direction electrons flow in a cir-
around their atom's nucleus, like planets Other metals conduct electricity, but
cuit Traditional theory contends that
around the sun. In some materials— not as well. In these metals, when a free current flow is from positive (+) to
copper wire for instance—the outermost electron hits an atom, some of its energy negative (-). That is. excess free
electrons aren't held too strongly. gets absorbed. So when the next electron electrons flow from a battory's positive
They're free to hop randomly from one is freed, it doesn't have as much energy terminal, through the circuit, and back
atom to another. Each time an extra elec- as the first one did. This slowing of elec- to the battery's negative terminal.
tron hops into an atom, it pops another tron movement is called resistance, and However, through scientific experi-
one loose. Because the activity of these materials in which it occurs are called ment. this idea has largely been re-
free electrons is random, there's nothing resistors. They conduct electricity, but placed by the modem theory that elec-
directional about their movements. tend to resist its movement. Examples of trons actually flow from negat/vo to
resistance metals arc nickel, iron and positive.
There arc two dcviccs in a car's elcc-
nichromc. Practically speaking, when you wire
trical system that are sources of excess a car it really doesn't matter which
free electrons: battery and generator. At Materials whose outermost electrons theory you accept. But to avoid confu-
one terminal there's an cxccss of free are firmly held arc called insulators. Be- sion, this book a s s u m e s thai current
electrons, and at the other terminal cause there aren't any. or not many, free flow is from positive to negative. That's
there's not enough. electrons available, insulators can't con- the direction favored by tradition, so it
If you attach a copper wire betw een the duct electron flow—note the difference is the direction implied by all standard
two terminals of a battery or generator, between a resistor and an insulator. In- automot>le-wiring diagrams. In my
free electrons begin to push into the cop- sulators include air. rubber, glass, wood, opinion, it's also the direction easiest
bakclitc. cotton, and of course, the plas- to explain and understand And the in-
per wire. The random movement of the
tic insulation on electrical wire. tent here is to explain how to wire a car.
copper's free electrons begins to take on
not how to pass a graduate class in
a pattern. Wiih pressure (voltage) behind So. metals are capable of conducting physics!
and a void ahead, the electrons move in a clcctricity. although some act as resis-
more-or-less orderly fashion in one di- tors. Non-metals generally act as in-
rection. This directional flow of elec- sulators. man scientist.
trons in the wire is called electrical cur- Before I get to the formula, here's a
rent. Voltage is discusscd later. UNDERSTANDING O H M ' S L A W simple analogy to help you understand it.
Conductors, Resistors & Insulators— Like many things in nature, there's a Get a piece of flexible tubing and a
As mentioned earlier, the outermost law governing the basic properties of bunch of marbles that will comfortably-
electrons in copper atoms are held rela- electricity. It's called Ohm's law. named pass through the tubing. Begin by filling
tively loosely. Silver is another metal for its originator. George S. Ohm. a Gcr- the tube with marbles. The marbles


Q p -
• — -


Resistors come In all sizes and shapes. Small tubular-shaped In this example, the plastic tube represents a conductor, and the
ones are often used In electronic circuits, such as radios. Larger marbles as moving electrons, or current. Thumb applying force to
one shown is a variable resistor, called a rheostat. One use of a push marbles represents voltage. Squeezing the tube represents
rheostat Is In a headlamp switch to control gauge Illumination. resistance.
Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.



Filament of common light bulb provides

controlled resistance to current flow. Light
When a great many electrons begin moving from atom to atom at the same time, the result results when the current flow is great
Is electron flow, which we call electricity. enough to create heat.

represent the movable electrons men- Suppose, while you're pushing one customary way to show this equation is:
tioned in the first section. One marble marble per second into the tube, a friend
equals I coulomb. Now push one new- grabs the tube and pinches it in a little. E = I X R
marble into the tube. You can readily see Now. you Find it's not as easy to push the
that the new marble will push on the one marbles. The pinched-in section of the E = volLs (pressure)
next to it, and so on. until the last marble tube represents resistance. The amount I - amperes (current flow)
in the tube pops out. If this took one of squeeze isohms. If your friend pinches R = ohms (resistance)
second, you have a flow rate of / harder, you have to push on the marbles Don't worry too much about un-
ampere. or / coulomb per second. harder to maintain the same flow rate. derstanding Ohm's law just yet. It is
What made the marble move? Your Ohm's law is the electrical law lying given here only to introduce you to the
thumb. It was the force, or pressure, your thumb, the marbles and your three important measurements in elec-
making the flow happen. The pressure friend's squeeze together. It works like tricity: volts, amperes and ohms. Later,
exerted by your thumb represents volt- this: Thumb = marbles Xpinch, or. volts after I've discussed the work electricity-
age. = amperesX ohms. In mathematics, the does and something about circuit theory.

v J & O l j E T l C HELD


When a wife conducts current it is sur- When current-carrying wire is wrapped into
rounded by a magnetic field, represented a coil, magnetic field is concentrated
here by a series of concentric rings sur- enough to do worfc, such as in a motor, For a circuit to be complete. It has to have at
rounding the wire. This Illustrates the basic solenoid or relay. Like a simple bar magnet, least three elements: a source of voltage
principle of eiectromagnetism. Drawing coil creates lines of force, and has polarity (battery or generator) a load (lamp, motor or
courtesy of Chrysler Corp. (North and South poles). Drawing courtesy other current-using device) and a path
of Chrysler Corp. (wires, cables or printed circuits).

I'll come back to Ohm's law and its ap- gauges, the rear-window defogger, the
plications. cigarette lighter and the clicker mech-
anism in turn-signal flashers.

WORK & ELECTRICITY Other automotive components convert
In a car. electricity performs work in electricity into magnetism. When current
one of two ways: It creates heat or it flows through a wire, there's a small
creates magnetism. All electrical com- magnetic field around it. It's almost too
ponents work on one of these two princi- small to notice. But if you wind a lot of
ples. Electronic components like radios wire into a coil, the magnetic field is
and some voltage regulators work on concentrated enough to do work.
other principles. But you don't have to Electric motors work by magnetism.
deal with their inner workings directly Basically, a magnetic field is generated
when you wire a car, so these principles by coils in the motor, which act on an In a series circuit the current has to flow
arc not covered in this book. Just one through each component in turn as It fol-
armature that drives the motor shaft. The lows the electrical path. Note here that cur-
word of advice when dealing with principles of electric-motor operation are rent cannot flow through lamp because
electronic components: Make sure covered in detail on pages 56-58. Electric switch is open.
they're hooked up correctly! motors used in cars include the wiper
Heat is created by resistance. Think of motor, washer-pump motor, starter
it this way: When electrical current motor, electric fuel pump, heater-fan to know about when you're wiring a car.
moves through the wires and other con- motor, and motors for power windows Simple Circuit—Start with a battery.
ductors. they cither permit easy passage and scats. Hook a wire to the positive terminal.
or they try to restrict current flow. Electric magnets also play a role in the Hook another wire to the negative ter-
Restricting flow isn't exactly friction, operation of relays. Here, magnetic force minal. Now attach the free ends of the
but you can think of it that way. When the is used to open and close elcctrical cir- wires to the terminals of a lamp. The
electricity rubs its way through a resist- cuits. A good example is the relay that lamp lights. Let's sec what you've done.
ance. the "friction" makes heat. It's sim- operates some car horns. There's also a You've provided a path from the battery
ilar to sliding down a rope. Your hands powerful relay in the starting motor. positive terminal to the lamp, through the
get hot from the friction. These relays consist of a coil of wire lamp filament, and back to the battery
One of the main automotive uses of wound around a core. For more on relays negative terminal. This is a complete cir-
electrical resistance is light bulbs. The and how they work, sec page 33. cuit.
bulb filaments get so hot they emit light. The simplest kind of circuit includes a
It's like when you use a coat hanger to CIRCUITS battery (elcctrical source), a load and
roast hot dogs over a campfire. After a Up to this point, you've read about some wire (electrical path). In the ex-
while, the coat-hanger wire holding the how electricity flows when voltage pro- ample. the lamp is the load because it's
hot dog gets hot and begins to give off vides the pressure to move electrons what is using up the battery's current to
light. through a conductor. This section de- do work. In this case, the work is to
Other automotive applications of elcc- scribes the actual paths electrons take. provide light.
trical resistance are the coils inside send- These arc called circuits, and they have The single most important characteris-
ing units of some instrument-panel certain specific characteristics you need tic of a simple circuit, or any circuit, is

chl .later
When second lamp It added to circuit, cur- In a parallel circuit current has a choice; It In a MriMporaflaf circuit current can flow
rent has to pass through switch and both can flow through each lamp separately. If through each lamp separately, but has to
lamps. Switch and tamps are In serlts with one bulb blows, other lamp stays on. flow through switch In series to get to either
each other. It one bulb blows, both lamps lamp. One switch controls both lamps sim-
go out. ultaneously. This is probably the most com-
mon circuit used In automotive electrical

that it must start at the battery positive You could cut the wire again and This time, you won't disturb the original
terminal and end at the battery negative attach tlvc new cut ends to the sccond wiring at all. Instead, add two more wires
terminal. Without this set of connec- lamp. Now. current flows through the and the second lamp. Now. current flow-
tions, current won't flow. switch, through the original lamp, ing from the battery goes through the
If you want to turn off the lamp, you through the sccond lamp and back to the switch to the first lamp—and to the
must break the circuit. You could dis- battery. Notice again that current must second lamp—at the same time. Current
connect any of the four connections to do pass through one component to get to the can flow through both filaments at the
this. Disconnecting a wire to turn off a next one. same time and back to the battery. There
lamp isn't much trouble in a table-top The advantage of this kind of circuit is arc two parallel paths for current to
experiment, but it would be intolerable in obvious. You don't need any extra wire follow.
a car. So you can see that the simplest to add the second lamp. But. there's a big In a parallel circuit, one bulb keeps
circuit is also an impractical circuit. disadvantage. If one of the bulbs bums working even if the other bulb bums out.
Clearly, you need some sort of control to out. the filament inside actually burns in The parallel circuit requires extra wire,
turn the lamp on and off. This brings up a half, breaking the circuit. Current can't though.
second kind of circuit—the series cir- flow when the circuit is broken, so the Series or Parallel?—How do you de-
cuit. other lamp goes out, too. You may cide when to use a series circuit and when
Series Circuit—Instead of disconnect- remember the old-fashioned Christmas- to use a parallel one? You must ask your-
ing one of the wires to turn off the lamp, tree lights that worked this way. You self one question: "Do I want cach com-
simply cut the wire between the battery actually had to test each bulb separately ponent to get current independently, or
positive terminal and the lamp. This cer- to find the bad one. do I want the current to flow through one
tainly breaks the flow of current. Then There's another disadvantage to the before it gets to the other?' The analysis
install a switch between the two cut ends. scries circuit, too. It happens when you may surprise you.
With the switch in place, you can make put a high-resistance component in scries Think about this for a minute: What
and break the circuit any time you want with a low-resistance one. Current flow good would a switch do connected in
by operating the switch. through the combined components may parallel to the lamp in your circuit?
Now. electricity must flow first not be sufficient to permit the low- None. Battery current would be available
through the switch, then the lamp, on its resistance component to operate. And. at the switch and lamp all the time. Any
way from the battery positive terminal to the order in which they're wired doesn't time the battery is connccted to the cir-
the battery negative terminal. Electricity matter. High-resistance components cuit, the lamp will light, regardless of
must pass through a series of com- simply choke current flow. Later, when I switch position. The switch wouldn't
ponents, one at a time. That's why this is get back to the applications of Ohm's control the tamp at all. For this reason, be
called a series circuit. law. the reasons for this should become sure the switch is always wired in series
Suppose you want your circuit to have clear. with the load it is supposed to control.
two lamps operated by one switch. How Parallel Circuit—There's another way As mentioned earlier, one of the dis-
could you wire the second one in? to wire a second lamp into your circuit. advantages of putting loads in series is

is not one you'll find intentionally en-
gineered into a car. Instead, the short
circuit is an accidental flaw that works its
way into an electrical system.
The following section on the applica-
tions of Ohm's law. explains the electri-
cal theory behind a short. For now. let's
look at the mechanical aspects.
Consider this example: The wire be-
tween the battery positive terminal and a
load is accidentally grounded. In a car.
this could be caused by a pinched or
chafcd wire. When a wire's insulation is
cut. the exposed copper conductor may
touch a grounded metal part of the car.
Ground stud or ground bolt is used to pro- Short circuit occurs when current goes di-
vide common grounding point for two or rectly to ground, bypassing load. Shorts Current goes directly to ground, bypass-
more components. Here, taillamps are caused when bare copper conductor ing the load entirely.
mounted on fiberglass car body are all accidentally contacts adjacent conductor So. what happens? The wire may get
grounded to car's metal frame at this one or grounded metal pan of car. Resulting
point. high current flow bums up wire, possibly hot—maybe even start to smoke. With-
causing serious electrical fire. out a load in the circuit, the current meets
little or no resistance, so it races through
the wire fast enough to create heat. Soon,
that if one load bums out—opens the sheet-metal body and chassis are used as the insulation starts to bum and the wire
circuit—the others quit working, too. a common return path (ground) from the melts. This is one reason why all electri-
So. make sure the loads arc in parallel to load back to the battery. cal circuits in a car are protected with
each other. In many cases, you'll have a One battery terminal—normally the fuses or circuit breakers.
combination series-parallel circuit. That negative—is attached directly to some Circuit Protection—A fuse is designed
is, the loads arc parallel to each other, but metal part of the car—the engine, chas- so it is the weakest link in a circuit. Nor-
the loads together arc in scries with the sis or metal body. When engine, chassis mal current flow doesn't bother the fuse
switch controlling them. A car's head- and metal body are not connected di- element at all. But. if flow (amperage)
lamp circuit is a good example. Both the rectly, you'll find large ground straps becomes too great, the fuse clement gets
right and left lamp are operated by the joining these components to form one hot and melts. The circuit becomes open
same switch. But if one lamp bums out. large, continuous ground. Each load is and current flow stops. Fuses melt, or
the other one will stay on. connected to the engine, chassis or body. blow, at a current flow greater than the
Usually the load component's entire case normal expected flow, but lower than the
It's also possible to control one load
or body forms the ground terminal. flow necessary to melt the wires.
from several places. For example, you
use a door-actuatcd switch at cach car Because modem cars have the nega- This is why it's important to use cor-
door to control a single dome lamp. tive battery cable attached to the chassis, rectly rated fuses. If you install one that's
Here, the switches are wired in parallel to these systems arc called negative-ground rated too low. a normal load may blow it.
each other, but in scries with one load. systems. Some earlier American cars and But. if the fuse is rated too high, it may
Each switch permits current to flow many imports have a positive-ground not blow as it should during a short. This
through the lamp, regardless of the posi- system. This is especially important to could cause the wires to become the
tion of the other switch or switches. remember because you can't install com- weakest link, burning them up.
Single-Wire Circuits—Up to now. I've ponents with a negative-ground orienta- Keep in mind that a blow n fuse is a
described several simple circuits involv- tion into a vehicle with a positive-ground symptom of a circuit problem. Fuses rare-
ing a battery, switch, load and some system. ly cause problems themselves.
wire. In every case, a second wire earned Before going on, make sure you un- Fuses arc rated by the maximum
the current from the load back to the derstand how the single-wire circuit amperage they can carry before blowing.
battery. Now for the shock—pun in- works. Remember—one wire supplies Some fuses have the number stamped on
tended. Circuits in cars aren't wired this current to the load, while the car's metal the fuse body. Others are color-coded
way. Most use only one wire to carry structure acts as the second wire to com- according to amperes. Typical fuse
current from the battery to the load. plete the current path from the load back ratings for automotive use include S. 8
"But." you might say. "the circuit needs to the battery. It's easy to overlook the and 16 amp. Remembering what was
that sccond wire to get the current back to metal body and chassis as conductors said earlier about amperes being a flow
the battery." Wrong. Running a second because they don't look like wires. rate, you'll see that 16 amp is twice the
wire from each load back to the battery Short Circuits—Unlike the other cir- flow of 8 amp.
would take a lot of wire, so the car's cuits already mentioned, the short circuit Fuses aren't the only circuit-pro-

parallel circuit. In actual practice, you
TJSE BLOWS V - ' swnct can use one or more of the following test
instruments to take measurements and
Tr^f make the calculations. If you know how
to use a \x>ltmeter. ammeter and ohm-
meter. you can set up simple experiments
•N to verify the following examples.
Series Circuit—From the description of
LOAD circuits, you should already know you
need a battery, a load and some wire to
make a circuit. This example uses a con-
ventional 12-volt car battery and a typical
parking-lamp bulb that draws 2 amp,
wired in series.
In good circuit design, each circuit la pro- 12-volt battery powers lamp that draws 2
tected by a fuse. Fuse is sized to melt at a amp. Applying Ohm's law (E =» IX R). you By substituting the known values into
lower current flow than wire it protects. In find that resistance In circuit Is 6 ohm«. the formula. / ? = £ + / . you get: E (12
other words, during excessive current volts)-$-1 (2 amp) = R (6ohms). So. you
draw, fuse acts as weakest "link" In elec- find that the bulb has 6 ohms of resist-
trical "chain." ance. This could be verified by using an
ohmmcter. after disconnecting the bat-
tection devices used. There are also circuit also provides current to the igni- Now. suppose you know the voltage is
mechanical circuit breakers and fusible tion switch for further distribution. 12 volts and the resistance of a light bulb
links. These do about the same thing as a The second kind of hot circuit starts at is 0.5 ohm. What amperage will flow in
fuse—they open the circuit if current the ignition switch. Because this kind of this circuit? Using the formula, / = £ T
flow is dangerously close to damaging circuit is hot only when the ignition R. you get: E (12 volts) + R (0.5 ohms)
the wiring. These devices are discussed switch is on. it is callcd an IGN + circuit - I (24 amp).
in detail on pages 34-37. or just an IGN circuit. You may also see You can deduct an interesting fact
Hot Circuits—So far. several kinds of this referred to as an ignition feed circuit. from these two examples. The high cur-
circuits have been described—series cir- Most electrically operated loads get their rent user in the second example—the
cuits. parallel circuits, and the single- current by way of an IGN feed. Examples one that flows 24 amp—has a much low-
wire circuit in which the car's metal are the ignition coil and the instrument er resistance than the low current user in
structure acts as a ground. gauges. the first example. This is because resist-
But there's another way to categorize The third kind of hot circuit starts at a ance (ohms) is inversely proportional to
circuits. A circuit that is connectcd to the switch and goes to the load. These cir- amperage, as stated in Ohm's law.
battery positive (B + ) terminal is said to cuits arc hot only when the switch is Now, let's see what happens in a short
have a voltage potential. This means that turned on. We usually refer to them by circuit, using Ohm's law. Here, the re-
if you want to connect a load to the cir- the name of the load: headlamp circuit, sistance of the load—the accidental
cuit. electricity is available to make the turn-signal circuit, back-up-lamp circuit short—is just about negligible. Because
load function. The common, or non- and so on. no wire has absolutely zero resistance,
technical. name for a circuit such as this suppose the resistance in the shorted wire
is hot. Some people also call them live APPLICATION O F O H M ' S LAW is 0.001 ohm. Voltage remains at 12
circuits, which is why a circuit with no Ohm's law has many practical applica- volts. What amperage will flow in this
voltage potential is often called dead. tions in all phases of automotive short circuit? E(I2 volts) + (0.001 ohm)
There arc three variations of hot cir- wiring—circuit design, component = / (12.000 amp). With 12.000 amp
cuits normally used in a car. The first selection and troubleshooting—because racing through the wire in an instant, it's
starts directly at the battery positive ter- it allows you to determine the third vari- no wonder the wire will melt.
minal. Because this circuit is always hot. able in a circuit if the other two are Before leaving scries circuits, let's see
it's called a battery circuit or B + circuit. known. Ohm's law in formula form is: E what happens when there's more than
You must be extra careful around a B + (voltage) = / (amperes) X R (resist- one resistance in a circuit.
circuit bccausc it always has voltage ance). Depending on which two var- Keeping the 12-volt battery and 6-ohm
potential. iables are known, and which variable parking-lamp bulb from the first ex-
Typical B + circuits are the emergen- you're looking for, the formula can also ample. let's add a second lamp with 18
cy flasher, horn (on most cars), dome be written: /? = £ > / . o r / • £ + / ? . ohms resistance.
lamps and cigarette lighter. All these The following examples show how In a scries circuit, the total circuit re-
loads must be operable, even when the Ohm's law is used to determine these sistance is the total of all the separate
ignition switch is turned off. The B + variables in both a series circuit and a resistances added together. In this ex-

ample, total resistance is: 6 + 18 = 24 through, thus adding a voltage drop?
ohms. Applying Ohm's law. we find: E Any one of these can effectively re-
(12 whs) + R (24 ohms) = 1(0.5 amp). duce the size of the path the current must
From the earlier discussion of series flow through. It sounds like a resistance,
circuits, you know that when a high- doesn't it? That's exactly what it is. And
resistance component and a low- it's in series with the headlamp. You
resistance component arc wired in scries, don't need Ohm's law for this. You
the current flow may not be enough to already know what happens when there
operate the low-resistance component. are two resistances in series. Amperage
This example shows why. At 12 volts, a goes down. Each component—in this
current flow of only 0.5 amp is not case, the headlamp—gets less voltage to
enough to light a 6-ohm lamp that needs 2 work with. The headlamp dims, due to a
amp to operate. At best, current flows voltage drop somewhere else in the cir-
through the low-rcsistancc component as cuit.
though it weren't there. There may be The applications of Ohin's law for a To determine current flow In parallel circuit
sufficient flow to operate the high- involving &-ohm lamp and 3-ohm lamp,
series circuit can be summed up in three apply Ohm's law for each branch sepa-
resistance component. In this case, one statements. First, current (amperes) is rately. Now, add amperage of both lamps
lamp would light and the other would the same through each resistance. Volt- end apply Ohm's law again to determine
simply act as a wire. Front side-marker age drop across a resistance depends on total circuit resistance. Surprisingly, total
lamps (high resistance) that blink op- resistance (2 ohms) is tower than either one
the amount of resistance. Finally, the of Individual lamps.
posite to the front turn signals (lower sum of voltage drops in a circuit equal the
resistance) use this principle. source voltage.
Voltage Drop—Let's lake a brief look
at a phenomenon known as a voltage Parallel Circuit—For a parallel circuit,
drop. This is the term used for the portion you need a battery, some wire, and at
of available voltage that's used up by any least two loads, each receiving full volt-
age independent of the other. Where:
particular resistance in a circuit. I will
In this example, the two lamps are R = equivalent resistance
use a 2-ohm and 4-ohm lamp for the
rated at 6 ohms and 3 ohms. Battery r, ~ first resistance
example and will discuss each lamp sepa-
rately. voltage is still 12 volts. A quick glance at r3 ~ sccond resistance
the circuit reveals why there are 12 volts r 3 « third resistance, and so on.
First, calculate system amperage: E available at each lamp—current doesn't I'll solve just one example to show you
(12 wits) + R(2 + 4 = 6 ohms) - 1(2 have to pass through anything but wire to how it's done. And I'll keep it simple:
amp). This means that every where in the get to each lamp. r, *= 1 ohm
circuit, you'll find a flow of 2 amp. Now. Applying Ohm's law for the 6-ohm r 2 - 2 ohms
determine voltage drop across the 2-ohm lamp: E (12 wits) + R (6 ohms) - 1 (2 r3 " 3 ohms
lamp first: Applying Ohm's law. you get: amp).
1 (2 amp) XR (2 ohms) = E (4 volts). 1
Applying Ohm's law to the 3 o h m
You can sec that 4 volts arc "used up" lamp: E (12 wits) + R (3 ohms) «1(4 "JUX+.
6 6
at the 2-ohm lamp. This is called the amp).
voltage drop across the resistance. If you 1
Total current in the system is: 2 amp + 0.55 ohm
put the leads of a voltmeter on either side 4 amp = 6 amp. Now that you know
of the lamp, it will read 4 volts. system current is 6 amp and battery volt- As you can sec. the combined resis-
Do the san>c calculation for the 4-ohm age is 12 volts, you can apply Ohm's law tance (about 1/2 ohm) is lower than any
lamp and you get a voltage drop of 8 again to find total system resistance: E of the individual resistances. This is al-
volts. Add the voltage drops of both (12 wits) -i• 1 (6 amp) — 2 ohms. ways true of parallel resistances.
lamps: 4 + 8 = 12 volts. Under Ohm's The conclusion here is that a 6-ohm
law. if you add all voltage drops in a lamp and a 3-ohm lamp in parallel offer a SUMMARY
scries circuit, they will total the available combined resistance as though there This chapter covcred the basics of
voltage, which is battery voltage, or were a single 2-ohm lamp. automobile electrical theory. In later
source voltage. There's another formula for figuring chapters, some of these principles are
Voltage drop can happen in a circuit the equivalent resistance of any number applied to how components work, circuit
with just one apparent load, such as a of resistances in parallel. It's a little design and test procedures you can per-
headlamp. In a circuit with just one head- mind-boggling to look at. and I apologize form on your wiring installation. Terms
lamp, the headlamp is the only obvious for it. and principles explained in this chapter
placc for a voltage drop. But, what if a are not redefined later, so be sure you
terminal connection loosens or gets cor- understand what's here before moving
roded? What if a wire gets cut partially on.

This is a 2.8 litre. 60 Chevy V6 setup for a Class 7 off-road racing S-10 pickup truck. You can !
miss noticing large 90-amp alternator, used to power flamethrowers required for night racing.
Photo by Tom Monroe.

The power source for all clectrically BATTERY charges creates a pressure that causcs
operated devices on a car is referred to as It's helpful to think of the battery as a current to flow whenever a path is pro-
the charging system. This system con- place to store electricity. It actually vided. such as an elcctrical load wired to
sists of the battery , generator (alterna- stores chemicals, not electricity, but the the positive and negative terminals of the
torI and milage regulator. Unless speci- former idea is too well established to battery.
fied. I'll use the term generator for shake off. For this reason, batteries are
generator and alternator. often called storage batteries or storage CHARGE & DISCHARGE CYCLES
During normal operation of a car. cells. There's one important feature of a car
most, if not all. electrical needs are sup- However, batteries depend on a chem- battery that distinguishes it from a com-
plied by the generator or alternator.The ical reaction to produce electricity, as mon dry-cell battery, such as those used
one major exception is during engine described below. This principle was dis- in flashlights: A car battery can be dis-
start-up. when the battery supplies all the covered by Alcssandro Volta in the late charged and recharged many times.
current to turn the starter motor and oper- 1700s. The term volt is derived from his Standard dry-ccll batteries can't be
ate the ignition system. Also, there are name. recharged because the chemical materi-
times while driving when the battery sup- In Volta's baitery. two dissimilar met- als arc depleted in the process of making
plements generator output to handle ex- als arc suspended in a salt or acid solu- electricity.
cessive loads. An extreme example is tion. callcd electrolyte. The clcctrolytc The discharge process works like this:
when the engine of a standard car is solution reacts with one of the metals Let's begin with a fully chargcd auto-
idling in traffic, with ignition, heater more than the other one. The more-active motive battery. True to Volta's principle,
blower, lights, wiper motor, rear- metal loses electrons and becomes posi- it contains two unlike metals, in this case
window defoggcr and stereo all demand- tively charged. The less-active metal col- lead and lead peroxide. These are sus-
ing electricity at the same time. lects electrons and bccomcs negatively- pended in an electrolyte solution of water
It's obvious, then, that the battery charged. The amount of positive or ncga- and sulfuric acid. NVhcn a load is con-
plays an important role in the car's elec- tivccharge is callcd potential. The differ- nected to the battery terminals, a chemi-
trical system. ence in potential between the unlike cal reaction inside the battery causcs cur-

During normal operation, charging system provides all of car's Car battery uses electrodes of lead and load peroxide. During
electrical needs. Generator or alternator, controlled by voltage discharge process, when current flows from battery, both elec-
regulator, should generate enough voltage to operate car's loads trodes slowty convert to lead sulphate. Charging reverses this
as well ss to recharge battery. Drawing courtesy of American process. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.
Motors Corp.

rent to flow, discharging the battery. BATTERY CONSTRUCTION separated by a solid partition. At the top
Eventually, both metals will bccomc An automotive battery consists of of the battery, the plate siraps arc joined
lead sulphate, and the electrolyte plain several individual compartments, callcd in scries from one cell to the next. At the
water. At this point, no more electricity cells. There are three cells in a 6-volt car bottom, the ptalcs sit on ribs that provide
can be made, so current flow stops. The battery, six cells in a 12-volt car battery. space below the plates for sediment to
battery is now fully discharged. Each cell provides slightly more than 2 collect without shorting the plates. At
The charging process reverses these volts, regardless of size. cach end of the battery, the final plate
conditions. Running an electrical current Each cell contains the two dissimilar strap is formed into a post that protrudes
through the battery causes the metals to metals mentioned earlier—lead and lead
bccomc dissimilar again, and changes peroxide. These metals arc formed into
the clectrolytc back to sulfuric acid. flat, porous plates that stand vertically in VOLTA'S BATTERY
When the charging process is complete, the cell. The number of plates, and the
the battery is again capable of providing surface area of each, determine a bat-
electricity. In practicc. however, a car tery's capacity to generate electrical cur-
battery never becomcs fully discharged rent. which is rated in amp hours, page
under normal operating conditions. It 17. More plates, larger plates, or both,
loses part of its charge when called upon will provide more capacity. But. remem-
to start the car or operate clcctrical de- ber that each cell delivers only 2 volts,
vices. This loss is replaced by the gener- regardless of size.
ator when the engine is running.
Bach cell starts with a negative plate.
With proper care, a car battery can followed by a positive plate, follow ed by
undergo continuous dischargc-chargc another negative plate, and soon, finally
cycles over many years before wearing ending with a negative plate. This means
out. Sec page 18 for a discussion on how each cell has one more negative plate
a generator works to recharge a battery. than it does positive plates.
WARNING: During the charging At the top of the battery, all negative
proccss, all batteries generate some plates arc welded to a common plate Volta's simple battery consists of two dis-
hydrogen gas—even the "sealed" strap; all positive plates arc welded to similar motals, called electrodes, sus-
types. The gas is highly flammable. If another plate strap Perforated sepa- pended in fluid called electrolyte. A voltage
ignited by a stray spark or open flame, potential appears across wires attached to
rators prevent the plates from touching electrodes. Car batteries work on this prin-
it could explode, causing personal in- cach other, but allow clcctrolytc to pass ciple.
jury or damage to the car. easily between them. Individual cells arc

e x p e r t 2 2 fl/i*




Electrodes In cer battery are formed into plates suspended In Battery plates are formed Into a grid pattern to provide maximum
solution of water and sulfuric acid, called electrolyte. Negative and exposure to the electrolyte. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.
positive plates are alternated In each cell. Drawing courtesy of
Chrysler Corp.



Features of long-lite, low-maintenance battery Include heavy-duty

plates, polypropylene plastic container, rubber separators and
separator protectors molded Into plastic top. One shown here has
caps to check electrolyte level and add water as needed. Other Side terminals on low-maintenance battery ensure that fumes
types are "sealed for life." emitted by battery do not corrode terminals. Because all car
batteries create some hydrogen gas during normal operation,
provide good ventilation.

through the top or side of the ease, form- Many battery manufacturers arc offer- other than red—often black.
ing positive and negative terminals. ing batteries w ith the terminals at the side Some batteries have removable caps to
On post-type batteries, the terminal of the case, rather than on top. Side ter- permit periodic checking of clccirolytc
posts are tapered, with the positive post minals arc internally threaded to accept a level. Distilled water is usually recom-
being larger than the negative—11/16 mating cable with a built-in boll. mended for topping off low cells. Never
in. and 5/8 in., respectively. The size Regardless of terminal construction. add electrolyte.
difference makes it less likely for you to terminal polarity is always identified, Many new batteries are "sealed for
attach the cablcs to the wrong posts. Ta- cither on the terminal or the battery case. life." The chemical composition inside
pered posts require a clamp-on cable ter- Positive terminals arc identified with P. the battery is such that very little hydro-
minal. Good-quality cable clamps are POS, +. or red paint. Negative terminals gen gas is given off at normal charging
sized accordingly; cheap clamps are not. are N, NEG. - . or paint of some color voltages, so little of the electrolyte is

Urheberrechlllch geschutztes Ma
/ #
consumed over ihc life of the batter)'. adequate current if the generator fails.
Sealed batteries arc preferred bccausc To answer the question about that
they eliminate the need for periodic hypothetical dark night, you first add up
maintenance. The types with side ter- the amperage requirements of head-
minals are designed so the terminals and lamps. taillamps and ignition system. Di-

battery cables arc located below the bat- vide this number into 25 and multiply-
tery's vent hole, reducing terminal corro- that answer by the reserve-capacity
sion. rating of the battery. This gives the actual
Gel cell batteries arc specially con- number of minutes the battery will last
structed to withstand severe shock, and under such conditions.
are good for such applications as off-road Examplc:
racing. The plates on conventional Ignition 4 two headlamps •
batteries can short out when subjected to two taillamps - total amperes.
excessive vibration or shock. Or:
2 amp - (2 X 4.5 amp) + (2 X 0.6 amp)
- 12 2 amp.
Two different systems have been used
to rate battery strength, or output ability. 25 standard amp + 12. car's amp
The present system was developed dur- ~ 2 amp (approx.)
ing the 1970s. 2 X 75 minutes (reserve-capacity rating)
In the earlier system, developed by the = 150 min. - 2-1/2 hrs. Hydrometer contains weighted float, which
tits shallower or deeper In electrolyte sam-
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Cold-Crank Rating—Another way of ple. depending on specific gravity. Reading
a battery was rated in amp-hours. rating a battery is to determine its ability on float is taken at point where It protrudes
Amp-hours arc determined as follows: to operate the starter motor under ex- from liquid.
With the battery ambient temperature at tremely cold conditions This is called
80F (27C). determine the maximum con- the cold-crank rating. When temperature
tinuous amperes the battery can deliver drops, the chemical reaction taking place
for 20 hours with each individual cell inside the battery slows down. Using the
maintaining at least 1.75 volts. Example: SAE standard temperature of 80F, a bat-
5 continuous amperes X 20 hours = 100 tery will put out 100% of its rated power. 12-volt battery can deliver for 30 seconds
amp-luHirs. At 32F (OC) the available power drops to at OF without falling below 7.2 battery
The amp-hour rating is a laboratory- about 65%; at OF (-18Q it's down to only volts. Typical cold-crank ratings are 305
oriented standard that's useful only in 40%. amp. 385 amp and 410 amp. It's not
comparing one battery to another. The A battery's cold-crank rating specifies uncommon for a starter motor—depen-
rating doesn't translate directly to any the minimum amperes a fully charged ding on engine size—to draw at least 300
useful, real-world application.
In the real world, the scenario may go
something like this: You're driving at
night, many miles from home, and sud-
denly the charge indicator tells you the SPECIFIC GRAVITY OF ELECTROLYTE
generator just died. Will the unassisted
battery be able to power the ignition sys- r
tem and lights long enough to get you
home? The present rating system, called
reserw-capaeity battery rating, could SULFURIC
Rcscrve-Capadty Rating—By defini- o (H 2 S0 4 ) CZ) 100% OF VOLUME
tion. Ihc reserve-capacity rating is the (4% OF VOLUME
number of minutes a fully charged 12- SULFURIC ACID
volt battery at 80F can be discharged at a 38% OF VOLUME
constant 25 amp to maintain at least 1.75 V. J
volts per ccll—10.5 volts for the battery.
A 75-minutc battery would last 75 min- SPECIFIC SPECIFIC SPECIFIC
GRAVITY - 1010 100 GRAVITY - 1.635 GRAVITY - 1.270
utes under these conditions, a 110-
minutc battery 110 minutes, and so on. Pure water has a specific gravity of 1.000; sulfuric acid a specific gravity of 1.835. By
measuring the specific gravity of the electrolyte in a battery, you can determine the ratio
Obviously, the higher the rating num- between sufurlc acid and water, thus the amount of charge. 1.270 is ideal. Drawing
ber. ihc longer the battery will deliver courtesy of Chrysler Corp-

schutztes Maler
amp during cold weather. So. you can theory behind battery ratings, you need
sec how important cold-crank ratings can to know how to translate that throry into
be. particularly in Northern climates. a buying decision. The following guide-
Specific Gravity—Another battery lines will help:
characteristic related to temperature is Cranking capacity is the single most
the specific gravity of the electrolyte, important factor. The rule of thumb is to
made up of water and sulfuric acid. As a buy a battery with at least 1 amp of cold-
battery discharges, the electrolyte solu- crank rating for each cubic inch of engine
tion contains less acid and more water, displacement. This translates to a mini-
thus its specific gravity (weight) mum of 6 amp per 0.1 liter, considering
changes. there are approximately 61 cubic inches
Bccausc acid is heavier than water, per liter. For example, a 1.6-liter stock
you can determine the approximate state VW engine requires a battery rated at 96
of the battery 's charge by comparing the cold-crank amp. Bccausc most replace-
weight of its electrolyte to the weight of ment batteries are sold for engines with
pure water, or its specific gravity. A bat- larger displacements, you may have trou- Movlng wire through magnetic field In-
tery hydrometer is used to make this ble finding a battery rated this low. In duces voltage Into wire. If wire Is moved
comparison. other words, you probably won't have to one way, then the other, alternating current
worry about any battery, whatever the flows In wire. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler
Draw an electrolyte sample into the Corp.
price, being inadequate for a stock VW
hydrometer and read the specific gravity
engine. For larger engines, use the above
on the floating scale. Most hydrometers tion explains how the generator provides
are calibrated for the standard tempera- current for the car's electrical system and
ture of 80F. Add 0.004 to the hydrometer There's also a rule of thumb for de- how it acts to recharge the battery.
reading for every 10 degrees above 80F; termining reserve capacity. Unless you As mentioned in the battery scction,
subtract 0.004 for cach lOdcgices below frequently travel in remote areas, choose all electrical needs arc usually supplied
80F. a battery whose reserve capacity permits by the generator while the engine is run-
Most good hydrometers have both a you to drive the car with a failed a gener- ning. An exception would be when the
floating scale and thermometer in the ator for at least I hour. current demand of the car's clcctrical
same housing, and a conversion table Then there's the matter of warranty. system excccds generator output. When
printed on the barrel. A fully charged Because the price of a battery is roughly this happens, the battery supplements
battery will read 1.260; a fully dis- proportional to its warranty coverage, generator output. Also, the battery pro-
charged one will be in the 1.110— 1.120 it's evident that you get basically what vides all current needed to start the car—
range. you pay for, at least with major brands. that is, cranking the engine and supply-
Battery testing other than reading the Be aware that warranties arc prorated ing power to the ignition system.
specific gravity requires expensive test against time in service. That is. a 5-year To understand current generation, you
equipment, but a local battery-service battery that's been used for 2 years may need to know about an clcctrical phe-
facility can perform these tests if needed. be warranted for 2/5 of the list price, not nomenon briefly discusscd in the theory
Instead of being loo concerned with the full list price. As described below, scction—magnetism.
further testing of failed batteries, consid- this can vary. A magnet has a north and south pole.
er eliminating the things that causc Also concerning list prices, you may These create an invisible magnetic field
batteries to fail. You can contribute to the find new batteries sold at discounts con- around the magnet. If you place the north
battery's long, successful life by watch- siderably below "full lists." This some- pole of one magnet near the south pole of
ing out for these problems: times results in the unusual consequence another, the magnetic field extends from
• Defects in the generating system. of your wom-out battery having a pro- one magnet to the other through the inter-
• Overloads (using a too-small battery). rated value—based on full list—that's vening spacc. or air gap.
• Dirt and corrosion on battery or cable closc to the discounted price for a new- If you hold a piece of wire between the
terminals. battery. In such eases—and they're two poles at a right angle to the magnetic
• Damage to lead plates from operating common—the warranty isn't worth field, and move the wire up and down,
in a constantly undercharged condition. much. voltage will be induccd into the wire.
• Physical damage to the case. This phenomenon is called magnetic in-
• Undcr-hood heat (placement near ex- duction. The direction the current flows
haust system). GENERATOR depends on the direction of the magnetic
If the battery is the heart of your car's field and the direction the wire is mov-
BATTERY SELECTION clcctrical system, the generator is second ing. Current flows one way when you
Selecting a suitable battery for your in importance. Actually, both interact so move the wire up and the other way when
project car is much more than just getting closely that it's almost impossible to sep- you move it down. Incidentally, you
the right price. Once you understand the arate their functions entirely. This scc- could hold the wire still and move the

generator has a set of electromagnets
called field coils. These consist of
numerous wire windings on iron-pole
shoes, energized by the car's electrical
system. The battery provides the initial
current to energize the field, then the
generator takes over and "feeds" itself
when operating speed is high enough.
In the moving-wire example, a single
wire was moved through a magnetic field
to produce current. But in a generator, a
single wire wouldn't generate enough
current to be useful. So. a generator has a
large number of individual wire loops
wrapped around a laminated iron core
callcd an armature, which is turned by a
belt driven by the engine. The two ends
of each wire loop are attached to copper
commutator bars. The bars arc arranged
in a circle at one end of the armature shaft
Direct current (DC) generator is no longer Installed In new cars. Output was limited at low such that the bars for each loop are posi-
engine speeds and not satisfactory for high current demands of modern cars. Drawing
courtesy of Chrysler Corp. tioned directly opposite each other, or
180° apart. The commutator bars are in-
sulated from each other and from the
armature shaft with pieces of mica.
Two carbon-based brushes, mounted
180° apart in the generator frame, rub
against the commutator bars. This con-
figuration allows the pair of brushes to
ing current (AC). In a car. the current contact the commutator bars for one wire
always flows in one direction; from the loop at a time. And because the armature
battery to the load. This is known as is turning rapidly, the brushes contact
direct current (DC). But. depending on successive commutator pairs rapidly.
the year of manufacture, your car will Each wire loop passes its small voltage
have either a DC generator or AC gener- charge into a brush. Because there are so
ator (alternator). The next two sections many loops, voltage flows from the
tated through magnetic field to Induce di- describe each in detail. generator in a practically constant
rect current into wire. Armature of DC
generator has large number of loops stream.
wrapped around laminated iron core. Draw- DC GENERATOR Generator output is routed directly into
ing courtesy of Chevrolet Motor Divison.
You should know at the outset that the the car's electrical system. If there's a
DC generator is not used in modem cars. heavy load at the moment, current flows
Although it is less complex than the AC through the load. If the load is light,
generator, its output is inadequate for the current flows into ihc battery positive
high current demand of most modern terminal and through its plates, recharg-
electrical systems, particularly at low en- ing the battery.
magnets instead—the result would be gine speeds. But what if there's a low load and the
the same. However, the DC generator was used battery is fully charged? What happens to
To make a useful generator, this in- on all cars until Chrysler introduced the all that current the generator is produc-
duced voltage must be harnessed. That AC generator in I960. So, if you're re- ing?
is. mechanical energy—moving the storing an older car, you must deal with a If the excess current were not con-
wire—must be converted into to elec- DC generator. So will kit-car builders trolled. the generator would continue to
trical energy—the induced voltage. using a VW older than 1973. push it through the battery, causing the
In the moving-wire example, repeat- In an automobile generator, it would electrolyte to overheat. Excessive gas-
edly moving a wire up and down in a not be practical to rely on permanent sing would take place inside the battery,
magnetic field causes current to flow one magnets to provide the necessary mag- boiling the electrolyte out of it. thus ruin-
way. then the other. Because the direc- netic field. They aren't very strong and ing it. Obviously, there is a means of
tions alternate, this is known as alternat- they tend to weaken with age So, the DC controlling excess generator output—

schulztes Maler
veloped. It is much more efficient than
the DC generator, and is able to provide a
great deal of current, even at engine i-
dling speed.
Like a DC generator, an alternator re-
lies on the relative movement of a wire
loop and a magnet to create current. But
there arc some major differences.
In an alternator, the magnet rotates,
while the wire loops arc stationary. To
provide electricity to make the magnet
work, an alternator uses carbon brushes,
operating against continuous slip rings—
Mechanical voltage regulators are used Mechanical voltage regulator controls cur- they're not segmented like a com-
with DC generators, also with early alterna- rent output of generator though set of mov- mutator. This means the magnet gets a
tors. One shown at right is adjustable; this able points and calibrated coils. Current constant supply of battery voltage, no
one is sealed and must be replaced if it gets flows when points are touching. On one matter what position it's rotated to. The
out of calibration. shown here, points are adjustable. For best
performance, keep points clean. Photo by w ire loops arc arranged in the generator
Ron Sessions. housing so the rotating magnetic field
cuts through cach loop in turn.
But. because the rotating magnet has
north and south poles like any other mag-
net. cach wire loop gets a shot of "north"
this is the function of the mechanical point set just discusscd. These arc followed by a shot of "south" on cach
voltage regulator. mounted in a metal housing, which also revolution. Remember that the flow di-
Mechanical Voltage Regulator—As contains a current regulator. The entire rection of induced current depends on the
noted earlier, the field coils of the gener- unit is commonly referred to as the volt- direction of the magnetic field or move-
ator become magnets only when current age regulator. ment. So. cach loop gets current induced
flows through them. What if you could The current regulator comes into play in one direction, then the other, produc-
turn off the current to the coils when the when there arc many loads working and ing alternating current. But auto clcc-
battery is fully charged? And what if you high generator output is needed. In this trical systems operate on DC, not AC.
could turn field current back on when ease, the voltage regulator stays out of The breakthrough that made alterna-
system voltage starts to drop? That's ex- action, permitting maximum generator tors practical for use in DC clcctrical
actly what the mechanical voltage reg- output. But under these circumstances, systems is an electronic device called a
ulator docs. Here's how: it's possible for the generator to work so diode. It permits current to flow in one
Current for the generator's field coils hard that it bums itself out. Exccss cur- direction only. In an alternator, alternat-
must pass through a set of movablepoints rent flow is (he culprit. To guard against ing current passes through a set of diodes
in the voltage regulator. When the points this, the current regulator—a sccond that change it into a scries of one-way
arc closed, or touching, current flows. If calibrated electromagnet and point set in current pulses separated by intervals of
system voltage gets too high—battery is the voltage-regulator housing—tempo- no current flow. Bccausc these pulses
fully charged—a specially calibrated rarily cuts off field current if generator happen so rapidly, the output appears to
electromagnet in the voltage regulator output current flow is too high. be a constant stream of DC current.
becomes strong enough to pull the points Most mechanical voltage regulators Electronic Voltage Regulator—Al-
open, shutting off current to the coils. used in recent years arc not adjustable, so though the alternator originally was
So. the field loses its magnetism and the there's nothing you can do if the calibra- teamed with a mechanical voUage reg-
generator stops generating. As soon as tion of one of the internal components ulator. engineers soon found a way to
system voltage drops below the calibra- gets out of specification. Earlier models transistorize regulator functions. This
tion point of the electromagnet, the arc adjustable, so consult the appropriate led to the development of the all-
points snap shut again, energizing the shop manual to sec if yours is. AC gener- electronic voltage regulator. In time, its
field once more. This regulation process ators (alternators) use electronic voltage size was reduced to the point that it could
happens constantly, at a rate of up to 200 regulators, discusscd below. be installed inside the alternator housing.
times per sccond. It effectively limits the It has no moving parts and is not service-
generator's output to provide only what's able or adjustable in any way. If the volt-
AC GENERATOR(ALTERNATOR) age regulator becomes defective, you re-
needed to power the electrical loads and
maintain a full battery charge. In (he early 1960s, the demands on a place it. However, its electronic com-
car's clcctrical system had bccomc so ponents arc extremely reliable, so
Strictly speaking, a voltage regulator great that the DC generator could not replacement Isn't often needed.
consists only of the clcctronugnci and handle them. So, the alternator was de-


Modern AC generator (alternator) consists of a rotating magnet During each revolution of field coil, stator gets a "shot" of South
(field coil) and a stationary coil (stator). Brushes carry current into magnetic field and one of North magnetic field. This reversal of
field coil via slip rings. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp. fields from moving poles is why alternator creates alternating
current. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.

the minimum needed to power all loads
Arrowhead in diode symbol points in direc- in the system. Add up the current draw of
tion of current flow. It cannot flow In op-
posite direction, so diode acts as a one-way each electrical device you plan to use.
electrical valve, transforming AC current to Most modern alternators contain built-in including the ignition coil.
DC current. electronic voltage regulator. Entire device Everyday Vehicles—If you're just add-
is molded into heatproof, weatherproof ing a pair of driving lights, a stereo, or
ceramic and is not serviceable except by similar accessory to your street car, the
replacement. Because of their extreme
reliability, this is not often required. factory-original generator should be
adequate. But if you're into competing
with the light output of the sun when
driving at night, your driving lamps may
GENERATOR SELECTION enough? It all boils down to generator overtax the standard generator, so it's
Because a generator is operated by an output, rated in amperes. The amperage best to go one size larger. Many auto
engine-driven bell, it uses a significant output must be at least equal to the total manufacturers provide a higher-output
amount of horsepower. And the higher current draw of all the elcctrical loads in generator on their cars equipped with air
the output rating of the generator, the the system. Otherwise, the battery must conditioning, and one of these factory
more horsepow er it uses. In a race car or supply current to keep every thing run- generators may be suitable to handle the
dune buggy. horsepower loss is a serious ning. There should also be enough excess accessories you're installing.
consideration. However, most competi- output to keep the battery chargcd. Here If you're buying a used or rebuilt
tion vehicles have relatively low current arc some guidelines: generator, or salvaging a one from a parts
demands—ignition and fuel pump, Restorations—Go with the factory- car. how do you determine its output?
mostly—so they can get by with a low- original part, if authenticity is important. First, physical size isn't much of a clue.
output generator. On the other hand, an Just be sure generator output is up to You must look for an identification code
off-road vehicle with a bumper full of specification. As extra insurance, have on the generator. It may be a color, a part
driving lamps will require a high-output the old one rebuilt and tested by a gener- number or the actual ampere rating.
generator, thus horsepower must be sac- ator shop. Compare the code to the manufacturer's
rificed. Race Cars. Dune Buggies & Kit specifications in the appropriate shop
So. how do you know how big is big Cars—Go at least one size larger than manual or dealer parts book.

Wires arc ihc mosi obvious elcctrical
paths in an automotive electrical system
because they carry current to the various
electrical components. The internal cir-
cuitry of some modem electrical com-
ponents uses printed circuits instead of
wires, so they arc another type of elec-
trical path. To complete the circuit be-
tween an electrical source (battery) and
the load (electrical component) a return
path, callcd aground, must be provided.
As previously described, the engine
block, metal body and chassis act as the
ground between the load and battery
negative terminal.

Wires can be compared to water pipes,
blood vessels or highways. They provide
a path for elcctrical current to flow. The
metal wire itself is called a conductor
because it conducts, or carries, the cur-
rent. The conductor is covered with in- An electrical eyetem can be compared to a water system. Voltage (water pressure) from
sulation to keep the current in its correct battery (water tower) provides electricity (water) to flow through wires (pipes) to load
path—prevent short circuits. (faucet).

12-Volt WIRE GAGE FOR CIRCUIT IN FEET Typical Electrical Appro*.
System Circuit* Amp.
Air Conditioner 12-20
Amp Walts power 3' 6' r 10' IS' 20' 25' 30' Sack-up Lamps (2) 3-4
1 20 20 20 20 20 Brake Lamps (2) 3.5-4
12 6 20 20 20 Cigarette bghter 10-12
1.5 IS 10 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Oock 0.3
2 24 16 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Dome Lamp 1
Headlamp Dimmer 2
3 36 24 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Headlamps (2)(Low 8-9
4 48 30 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 16 Boam)
Headlamps 12) (H*jh 13-15
5 60 40 20 20 20 20 20 20 IS 18 Beaml
6 72 50 20 20 20 20 20 18 16 16 He3!er Delrosler e-io
84 Horns (2) 20
7 60 20 20 20 20 IS 18 16 16 Ignrtjon 1.M
8 96 70 20 20 20 18 18 16 16 16 Instrumont-Ponct 0.7-1
10 120 80 20 20 20 18 IS 16 16 14 Gaugos
Inslnimonl-Panei Lamps 15-3
11 132 90 20 20 20 18 IS 16 14 14 Ucense Lamp OS
12 144 100 20 20 20 18 16 16 14 14 Parking Lamps (2) 13
Powe. Door LOCKS 3-5
IS 180 120 20 20 20 18 16 14 12 12 Power Seal 25-50
ie 218 140 20 20 18 16 14 14 12 12 Powo' Windows 20-25
Stdo-markor Lamps 1.3
20 240 160 20 20 18 16 14 12 12 10 Starter Solenoid 10-12
22 264 180 20 18 16 14 12 12 10 10 Tmllamps (2) 5
Note: Lengths In teet represent total length ol wire in circuit, using ground return. In
two-wire circuits, be sure to *idude total length ol both wires in circuit. Where 20 gago is
listed In chart. 18 gago is rocommondod lor mechanical strength. Gage recommendations
are tor typical stroet vohicles. based on a maximum voltago drop ol 10%.

A general rule to follow is to use a Next, from the wire size chart at
wire sizo that gives a voltage drop of right, you find tho resistance of 18 feot SAE Ohms
0.5 volt or less across the length of the of 14-gage wire is 0.0028 ohms per Metric AWG P"
supply (B t to load). Here's an ex- foot. (mm2) Igagcl 1000 F
ample: Suppose you're wiring two driv- 0.5 20 10.0
ing lamps, each drawing 100 watts, 0.0028 X 18 = 0.05 ohm. 0.6 It 69
and the supply lead needs to be 18 leet 1.0 ie 4.7
loog. Should you use 14 gage wire? With this information, you now have 2.0 14 2.8
From Ohm's law (E I X R). you all the variables of Ohm s Law to solve 30 12 1.8
need to know tho current draw of both the problem: 5.0 10 1.1
lamps (I), and the resistance of 18 leet 8.0 t 0.7
of wire (R) in order to calculate the 13.0 t 0.4
E I (15 amp) XR (0.05 ohm) = 0.75 19.0 4 0.3
voltage drop across the wire (E). volt. 320 2 02
A derivation ot Ohm's law—P (pow- 40.0 1 0.14
er in watts) I X E—allows you to From this, you find that 14-gage wire 500 0 0.11
calculate the current draw (I) of the two exceeds tho rocommondod voltago- 62.0 00 009
100-watt lamps: drop limit of 0.5 volt. So. you go to
12-gage wire, which has a voltage
P (200 watts) E (13.5 system volts) drop of 0.0018 ohms.ft:
I (15 amp).
E - I(15amp)XR(0.0018X 18ft.) -
0.49 volts.

Urheberrechllich geschutztes Material
Wire used in auto electrical systems should Wire conductors are coated with plastic insulation to prevent short circuits should wire
be stranded to provide maximum flexibility accidentally touch a ground. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.
with good conductivity. Example at left
shows individual strands that make up con-
ductor. Identical piece at right has not been

Factory wiring harnesses often use striped wire called (racer wire. Adding a red tracer to a
white wire, for Instance, provides an additional "color" for the harness designer to use.
Tracers also help service technicians trace future wiring problems. Photo by Jim Barrett

Wire comes in many sizes and types. Sizes—The conductor diameter of a

Some wire manufacturers call all their wire or cablc is carefully matched to the
products wire; others prefer the term amperage the wire is cxpcctcd to carry. It
coble. By my definition, the main differ- is measured in one of two ways.
ence between a wire and a cable is size— Cage is the standard SAE designation
that is. the effective diameter of the con- for wire sizes, usually referred to as
ductor. Because a cable must carry a AWG (American Wire Gage). Gages arc
great deal of amperage to operate the not measurements of actual dimensions,
Diamondback shielded battery cable from starter motor, or a great deal of voltage to but are arbitrary numbers that indicate
Taylor Cable Products Inc., features operate the sparkplugs, it is relatively relative diameters. And. unlike di-
braided-metal alloy shielding over con- large in diameter. mensional measurements, the larger the
ventional plastic Insulation for additional
protection and classy appearance. And no. Wires, on the other hand, must carry gage number, the smaller the wire.
It doesn't bite! Photo courtesy of Taylor relatively less amperage, so they have Gages used in automotive wiring range
Cable Products Inc. noticeably smaller diameters than from 10 (largest wire diameter) to 20
cables. Throughout this book, the term (smallest wire diameter). Cables range
cable is used to identify the main con- from 00 (largest) to 6 (smallest). The size
ductors used in the starting and distinction between wires and cables gets
secondary-ignition circuits and at the blurred at about gage 8. Gage sizes arc in
battery. All other conductors in the sys- increments of 2. as shown in the chart on
tem are called wires. page 23.

Urheberrechllich geschutztes Material

supplier's list on pages 152-153.
Whether cloth or plastic, automotive-
wire insulation has several important
Insulation color is the first charac-
teristic. Each wire of a factory-made wir-
ing harness has its own unique color.
This was done so each circuit could be
identified as the car was being built, and
later for diagnosing a problem. Think of
wire colors as street names.
Sometimes, a factory-made harness
has more wires in it than there arc single
wire colors available. In this case, the
designer specifics a second color, callcd
a tracer, which is a contrasting stripe
running the length of the wire. For in-
stance, by adding a white tracer to a red
wire, you have distinguished the wire
from a plain red one. Tracers arc always
Tracor wire Itn'l readily available in aftermarket. but you can make tracer wire by drawing choscn to contrast with the base color of
stripe on wire with waterproof marking pen. the insulator, and may come in a number
of colors, though purple and orange trac-
ers arc rarely seen.
In designing circuit diagrams and
The second way wire size is specified Multiple-strand wire, with its large building harnesses for your project car.
is by the area of the wire's conductor number of relatively small individual you have complete control over the
cross-section, expressed in square strands, is less likely to fracture from choice of wire colors. And. because
millimeters (mm 2 ). repeated flexing. Generally, for any you're going to take extra care in con-
The chart on page 23 compares SAE given overall wire gage, the greater the structing your harness, wire by wire, you
wire gages with corresponding metric number of strands, the more flexible the probably won't have much need for trac-
sizes. The chart also shows the relation- wire. For example. I8-gagc wire can er wire. This is just as well, because
ship between electrical resistance and contain seven strands of 26-gagc wire. traccr wire is not readily available in the
wire size, expressed in ohms per 1000 19 strands of 30-gage wire or 41 strands aftermarket. anyway.
feet. The larger the wire size, the less the of 34-gagc wire. For best flexibility, If you must use tracer wire and you
resistance: the less resistance, the greater sclcct wire containing the maximum can't find any. you can make your own
the maximum possible current flow. number of strands for its gage. by using a waterproof marking pen to
The wire-selection chart on page 23 Rope-stranded battery cable is often draw a contrasting stripe along the length
shows the rccommcndcd wire gages to specified where extreme flexibility is of the wire.
use for circuits of various amperages. needed to facilitate routing. Another way to make a traccr. though
The amperage draw of typical auto- Braided ground straps, a form of less desirable, is to mark the terminal
motive circuits arc also shown. Use the cable, used to be commonly used as bat- ends of the wires with a dab of paint.
chart to help you select the correct-gage tery ground cables. Smaller versions arc There arc several disadvantages to this
wire for the various circuits in your car's sometimes used to ground the engine to method. First, the paint may chip off.
clectrical system. the chassis, or sheet-metal body to the Second, there's no way to distinguish the
Conductor Materials—The conductor chassis, if rubber mounts between these tracer wire except at the end. Third, if the
material used in car wiring is generally assemblies restrict electrical continuity. wire turns out to be too long, and you cut
copper, although some copper-clad alu- Insulation—Regardless of size, all it short, the traccr may end up on the
minum cable is available. Copper is used wires and cables have one thing in garage floor.
for its durability and low electrical resist- common—they need an insulative Finally, labels can be purchased at
ance. covering to keep the electrons in their many electrical-supply outlets, for the
Conductors come in several strand correct paths. Years ago. wire and cable sole purpose of marking wire ends for
configurations for various uses. Because insulation was made of braided cloth; identification purposes. See page 142.
of its relatively large cross-section, sin- today's cars use wires with a more- One more thing about color On
gle strand wire is least desirable where durable PVC plastic insulation. Several American-built cars, black wires are
flexing is likely to occur, so it is rarely, if specialty houses carry cloth-insulated almost always used on the ground ( - )
ever, used for automotive wiring. wire for antique or collector cars. Sec the side of a circuit. However, in the

thousands of factory' harnesses made, This rating is adequate for most common proof design provides higher quality in
there arc probably some exceptions to applications. However, if you're build- mass-produced cars.
this rule. German cars use brown—the ing a race car. use wire with an insulation A printed circuit consists of metal foil
color of earth (ground)—to indicate rating of at least I05C (22 IF). For more current paths adhered to a flexible plastic
ground. on high-temperature wire insulation for backing (PC board). Each lamp socket
Red always means hot ( + ) although racc cars, see page 140. and instrument connector plugs into the
other colors are also used for hot wires in Whatever brand you buy. don't skimp circuit at the appropriate placc. A cavity
a harness. Imagine the confusion if every on quality to save a few dollars. In the is provided for plugging in the wiring-
feed wire in the harness was the same long run. it's false economy if the insula- harness connector. As long as the harness
color! tion melts from undcr-hood heat or dis- is correctly made, circuit continuity is
The red-for-positive convention also solves in grease and causes a short cir- virtually assured.
applies to the battery positive cable and cuit. Burned wires or a car fire is a high Chances arc. you won't run into a
battery-feed wires to the generator, fuse price to pay for bargain-basement materi- printed circuit in restoring a collcctible or
panel and ignition switch. In most cars, als. antique car. or if you're installing in-
these arc the wires that arc always hot. dividual instruments, as mentioned ear-
even when the ignition switch is off. PRINTED CIRCUITS lier. But. if you're installing an entire
Again, you may find exceptions. Wires and cables aren't the only con- factory-made instrument cluster in your
Another important characteristic of a ductors found in a vehicle's wiring sys- project car, there are several important
wire's insulation is its durability. If you tem. On newer cars, some factory- things to consider when dealing with
were buying wire by the truckload like an installed components contain printed cir- printed circuits.
auto factory docs, you could order wire cuits (PCs) that conduct electricity just First, the harness you make for your
with insulation to fit your specifications. like wires do. You'll find printed circuits car must be identical to the one used in
But most of us buy wire by the spool at most often in original-equipment instru- the car the cluster was originally de-
local auto-supply stores. To be sure ment clusters bccausc they provide a sav- signed for. The best thing to do here is to
you're getting wire with insulation best ings in labor cost for the factory. cut the printcd-circuit conncctor from the
suited for most common vehicle applica- There was a lime when each instru- harness in a junked car. leaving about I
tions. stick with name brands. Packard ment and light bulb in the instrument foot of wire extending from cach cavity.
Electric, a division of General Motors, is cluster was wired separately. This, in- Then, when you build your own harness,
perhaps the most widely known wire cidentally. is the way you'll wire in- conncct the wiring directly to the cut-off
manufacturer. Another brand widely dividual or add-on instruments in your wires, following the factory's orientation
available in parts stores is distributed by project car. diagram for each circuit. If this isn't en-
J T & T. Nowadays, car manufacturers arc tirely clcar. it will be when you read the
Depending on application, the tem- looking for ways to reduce hand labor chapters on circuit design and harness
perature rating of wire insulation can be and its related costs, to keep car prices construction.
important. Wire for common applica- under control. The one-piece printed cir- Treat a printed circuit gently. It's rug-
tions has insulation rated at 85C (I85F). cuit does this nicely. And its nearly error- ged enough to withstand years of service
inside a car's instrument panel, but it
won't hold up to manhandling. Once a
foil circuit is scraped off or broken,
there's no practical way to repair it. So.
take care when removing or installing the
harness conncctor—be firm and de-
liberate. but don't use a twisting motion.
When insulting lamp sockets, be sure the
foil is not damaged by the socket tabs.
To illustrate this point. I recently had
to replace the printed circuit in one of the
family cars. The instrument-cluster
illumination and tac ho meter suddenly
and simultaneously quit working. The
problem turned out to be a circuit-ground
foil that was damaged when the car was
built. It held up for several years, but
eventually cither road vibration or nor-
mal expansion and contraction caused it
Factory Instrument clutters often use printed circuitry. Foil paths are adhered to flexible to fracture. Problems like this can be
plastic carrier. Each electrical component In cluster has a terminal that contacts the
appropriate foil to complete the circuit. particularly frustrating to tracc because

Instrument-panel harness Is connected to printed circuit with a Printed circuits don't handle excess current flow too well. In fact,
push-In connector. Sides of connector contact foils on printed they tend to act as a fuse. Damage like this (arrows) Is fairly easy to
circuit. If you plan to use an OEM printed circuit in your car, cut locate but impossible to repair. Failure due to fracture in foil circuit
attached wires at least 1 foot from terminal, if possible, to allow Is much moro difficult to locate, and equally impossible to ropair.
plenty of splicing room.

Although easy to overlook, ground circuits are necessary part of electrical path. Most components are self-grounded through their
mounting screws to metal body, frame or engine (left). Such components won't ground through fiberglass body because it acts as an
Insulator. You'll need to run separate ground wire as shown at right.

the break was hidden under the edge of ground directly through one of these, to these. The ground wires arc attached to
one of the lamp sockets. simply by being bolted in place. This the metal chassis at a convenient point.
type of electrical path is sometimes Often, ground wires for several com-
GROUNDS called a self-ground, meaning the com- ponents conncct to a single ground ter-
Almost every circuit has one current ponent doesn't need a separate (floating) minal or stud.
path that's easy to overlook, even though ground wire. If the component you're installing was
it's the biggest. It is the car's entire In modern, lightweight cars with designed to have a self-ground, you must
structure—chassis, engine and metal numerous plastic body components, as provide a means of attaching the ground
body. Together, they form a common well as in fiberglass-bodied cars, non- wire to the component. Often a ring ter-
return path or ground. They're all conductivc body parts won't carry cur- miiuil. page 63. can be used on the com-
grounded to the battery's negative ter- rent. so separate ground wires are needed ponent's mounting stud.
minal. Many electrical components for self-grounded components attached

Urh Malei
Toggles are probably most commonly used switches In race cars of sll types. Those being
Installed on Chevy S-10 off-road racing pickup truck are not fancy, but they're high-quality,
reliable switches that are easy to operate under racing conditions. Photo by Tom Monroe.

The driver's interaction with most erated indirectly by opening and closing take the form of a knob, lever, handle or
mechanical systems in a car is through a car door. push button.
some sort of control device. And usually, Still other switches arc operated by Often, the driver operates the control
the devicc being controlled performs the conditions in a car and may or may not of a mechanical or electrical system be-
same way each time the control is op- comc under human influence. For ex- cause he's seased the need to do so from
crated. The steering wheel is one ex- ample. the park switch inside a something he's observed. The action
ample. Although the end effect is to windshield-wiper motor is operated by a could be in response to something di-
causc the front wheels of the car to cam inside the motor housing. rectly observed in the environment—
change their angle to some degree or Solenoids and relays automatically such as operating the horn to warn a child
other, the driver's input is always the activate electrical deviccs or secondary darting into the road. Or, it could be a
same—he turns the steering wheel, a circuits, either as a result of some action result of observing a condition by means
little or a lot. and the front wheels re- taken by the driver or by changing con- of a display. For example, you dim the
spond accordingly. ditions in the car. For instance, the sole- headlamps for an approaching car be-
In an automotive electrical system, noid for the starter motor is activated cause you notice the headlamp high-
control deviccs can be placcd in three when the ignition switch is turned on to beam indicator is illuminated. Because
main groups—switches, solenoids and start the car. displays arc designed to convcy informa-
relays, and rheostats. Rheostats control the amount of re- tion. their design and location are also
Switches are used to turn circuits on or sistance in a circuit, thereby controlling influenced by human factors. Displays
off. Most switches are intended to be the amount of current fed to an electrical arc discussed on pages 38-48.
operated directly and consciously by the component. The dimmer control for In the following discussion on con-
vehicle's occupants—the headlamp or instrument-panel illumination is an ex- trols. a distinction is made between ori-
radio switch, for instance. Others are op- ample. ginal equipment manufacturer (OEM)
erated by the occupants only as the con- The type of electrical control operated controls that arc installed in a car at the
scqucncc of performing some other ac- directly by the driver is almost always a factory, and aftermarket controls that
tion. Door-jamb dome-lamp switches arc switch or rheostat, although the pan of you can buy at auto-parts stores or
good examples. The switches are op- the control actually being operated may through mail-order parts catalogs.

In recent years, car makers have begun using rocker switches like OEM switches are often difficult to adapt to a hobby car. For
ones shown at left. These switches provide a positive feel when example, this heater control is built into a plastic bezel that would
operated, are easy to identify by touch, and look good. Dial at right be hard to relocate without a lot of rework.
Is rheostat control for dash panel illumination.

Good examplo of how OEM switches can bo

Integrated. Each control is easily identified
by touch. Headlamp switch is conventional
push-pull type, while attached fog lamp
switch Is operated by a rotating thumb tab Windshield-wiper switch mounted on steer- Most OEM headlamp switches contain
(left). Small slider switch for electric mirrors ing column of (ste-model GM car would be built-in circuit breaker for headlamp circuit
(right) selects right sida or left depending all but impossible to adapt to location other Park and taillamps, although controlled by
on which way it is moved. Mounted directly than original. When you encounter such a same switch, usually rely on separate fuse.
above It, "Joy stick" is used to control situation, you'll have to use your Ingenuity
mirror-head movement. to adapt aftermarket controls.

OEM controls are almost always de- in a wide variety of configurations. Some momentary-on switches are operated by
signed for specific jobs and fit into spe- are seemingly complex in operation but a push button.
cially designed mounts and bezels. Be- their basic function is to turn equipment Some switches are made with built-in
cause of their single-purpose design, on and off. circuit protection in the form of a circuit
they don't lend themselves to kit cars and Most switches are normally open. breaker or fuse. Aftermarket switches are
custom applications as easily as the after- meaning when they're relaxed, the cir- more likely than OEM switches to have
market controls do. cuit is open, or disconnected. In fact, this kind of protection, bccausc the after-
some switches arc spring-loaded to re- market switch is often used to control an
SWITCHES turn automatically to the OFF position accessory circuit added to the car by the
In its simplest form, a switch is noth- when you remove your finger from the owner.
ing but an on/off dcvicc capable of clos- switch. These arc callcd momentary-on The built-in fuse or breaker docs away
ing and opening a circuit. Switches come or momentary-contact switches. Most with the need to find a vacant slot in the


.1 11 .1 .1 1 11 1

Switch symbols portray switch lunction graphically. From left to right: Single-pole, single-throw(SPST) switch is used to control a single
circuit. Single-pole, double-throw (SPOT) switch can select between two different circuits, and will operate only the one selected.
Double-pole, tingle-throw (DPST) switch can operate two entirely separate circuits with one control. Both circuits are either ON or OFF at
the same time. Double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch can select between four different circuits, two at a time. It Is essentially two DPST
awltches In a single housing.

car's fuse panel. However, if the switch buttons are another example. Also, a Ilierc are four terminals, two for each
you're using has no built-in circuit pro- switch that activates a windshield- pole. The DPST is really two SPST
tection and there's no place in the fuse washer pump is of this type. Another switches in a common housing, with a
panel to add another, use an in-line fuse. type of push-button sw itch turns the cir- common control actuator. It is used to
This is simply a fuse and fuse holder cuit on with the first push and off with a operate two separate loads sim-
wired into the circuit between the load sccond push. You'll occasionally find ultaneously.
and the power source. rotary SPST switches operated by a Double-pole, double-lhrow switches
OEM switches usually don't have knob, but they're not common in cars. are the most complex of the common
built-in circuit protection because most Regardless of the type of control, the aftennarket switches. OEM switches, on
original circuits route through the car's SPST switch has one characteristic that the other hand, can bccomc almost
fuse panel. One notable exception, par- distinguishes it from all other switches. grotesquely complex in function, but that
ticularly in American-built cars, is the Because it has only one pole and only two is another matter. The DPST switch has
headlamp switch—instead of using a positions—ON and OFF—it can control two independent poles, each with two
fuse in the fuse panel. the switch contains only one circuit. The SPST switch has ON positions. Actually, it's simply two
a self-resetting circuit breaker. Circuit two terminals, one connected to the bat- separate SPDT switches in one housing,
breakers are covered in depth on pages tery and one to the load. electrically independent of each other,
33-36. Single-pole, double-throw is the next operated by one control actuator. The
Switch Types—Switches can be catego- most-complicated switch. Its abbrevi- DPDT switch has six terminals, three for
rized by their electrical function, or how ated name is SPOT. This switch also has cach pole. DPDT switches conic in two
the switch actually works. Within each only one movable element inside, but it designs—ON. OFF,, ON and also
category, you may find several different has three terminals outside. One terminal MOMENTARY ON. OFF, MOMENTARY
kinds of switch actuators, described la- connects to the battery . The other two ON.
ter. connect to two separate circuits or loads. All the switch types mentioned
Single-pole, single-lhrow is the sim- This means one load or the other can be above—no matter how complex—serve
plest kind of switch, with only two connected to the battery, depending on only to turn circuits on or off. Another
positions—ON and OFF. It's often re- the position of the sw itch actuator. Some type of switch, called a single-pole,
ferred to in parts catalogs by the initials SPDT switches have three actuator multiple-throw switch, allows you to
SPST. Contrary to a popular misconcep- positions—ON. OFF. ON. This is called sclcct various settings on multiple-speed
tion. the pole does not refer to the a center-off switch. It controls one load in devices, such as a heater fan. The switch
actuator, but the movable element inside each of the ON positions, and breaks both is wired to a series of resistors that con-
the switch that makes and breaks the cir- circuits when the actuator is in between. trol the current being fed to the device.
cuit. In most switches, you can't even see Some SPDT switches arc the momcn- Typical settings are: OFF. LOW. MED.
the pole unless you remove the housing. tary-on type. HIGH.
Push-button operated SPST switches Double>pole. single-throw switches Switch Actuators—Although switches
turn die circuit on when pushed, and off arc next in complexity. The abbreviation can be categorized by electrical function,
when released. This is the most common is DPST. This switch has only two they are usually identified by actuator
form of momcntary-on switch, which is positions—ON and OFF. But unlike the type. The actuator is the part you touch to
the kind of switch you'd use on your SPST switch, it has mo independent operate the switch, such as a knob, toggle
house for the doorbell. Race-car starter poles, cach connected to its own circuit. or push button.


expert22 nr\n http://rutracker.orq

Toggle switches are readily available in Rocker switch is actually a toggle switch Push-button switches In cars are usually
aftermarket and come with a wide variety of with a unique actuator. They look more the momentary-on type. Examples include
actuators (control handles). When select- "finished" than a row of toggle switches, horn button, windshield-washer button,
ing a toggle switch, be sure It has correct though more difficult to Install. They also and starter button on older cars and some
combinations of poles and throws for cir- reduce the likelihood of actuating switch If race cars. Switch shown here Is ON OFF
cuits It will be operating. you accidentally bump Into It. type. Push It once for ON. once more for

Toggle switches have a tapered han-

dle. usually operated by flipping it with
your fingers. Some manufacturers call
this a bat switch because the actuator
resembles a baseball bat in shape. The
operation of a toggle switch should offer
elastic resistance: that is. resistance that
builds, then decreases as the contact po-
sition is approached.
Rocker switches are a more stylized
version of the toggle switch. The actuator
rocks like a playground tcctcr-tottcr. You
operate the rocker by pushing one end or
the other with your fingertip. Like the
toggle switch, the operation of these
switches should offer clastic resistance.
Push-button switches are self-ex-
planatory. A button, often round, pro-
trudes from the switch body. It's op-
erated by deprevsing the button with your
fingertip. Push buttons should have a Race car Ignition switch setup includes toggle ON/OFF switch with Indicator lamp and
concave surface for best finger contact. momentary-on push-button start switch. Actuators are protected by rubber "boots" to
ON/OFF types should offer an audible, reduce dirt and dust Infiltration. Side view shows mounting and wiring details. Prewired
and premounted to brushed chrome panel, this setup is available from Longacre Auto-
feclable click as the button is pushed. motive Racing Products. Photos by Jim Barrett.
Resistance should build with increasing
pressure, and suddenly release as the detents should be 1/4 inch. ancc wire isn't attached to anything. The
switch operates. The following chart compares the de- wire going from the rheostat to the load is
Rotary switches have a knob that is sirability of various switch actuators attached to a movable element callcd a
designed to be turned. On some switch- agaiast operating characteristics. wiper. The wiper is arranged so it rubs
es. the knob has a pointer to indicate against the length of the resistance wire.
switch position. Rotary switches arc not RHEOSTATS When the wiper is closc to the battcry-
often used in automobile systems, except One of the technical terms for a rheo- feed end of the resistance wire, the rheo-
possibly to control a heater fan. Rotary stat is a variable resistor. This term is stat adds little extra resistance to the cir-
switches are far more common in appropriate because it indicates how the cuit. As you slide the wiper to the far end
electronic devices such as radios. It is rheostat works. Rheostats are also re- of the resistance wire, current flows
desirable that a rotary switch offer a dis- ferred to as potentiometers. through increasingly more resistance to
cemable detent at each selector position, A piece of resistance wire, usually in get to the wiper, reducing current flow to
with resistance decreasing as the detent is coil form, is connected at one end to a the load.
approached. Minimum distance between battery feed. The other end of the resist- Within the design range of the rhco-

range of probable drivers, from the
smallest to the largest—or in some
eases, for a compromise between these
extremes. When you're selecting the
controls and their locations for your proj-
ect car, you're dealing with your own
physical characteristics, and possibly
those of a few of your family members.
So your choices can be more selective.
When selecting a control for a particu-
lar clcctrical component, it must be elec-
trically compatible with the device it's
going to operate. Beyond that, there are
several other factors to consider, listed in
Coil of resistance wire in headlamp switch Switches mounted on backside of OEM air the chart below.
is a rheostat, used to control Intensity of conditioner grille. Rheostat at top is used to
gauge illumination. Because resistance control A/C thermostat (note numbered In the chart, discrete means being able
wire heats up during operation, It Is In- dial); bottom switch is a single-pole, to select and hold a specific setting. For
stalled In heatproof ceramic housing. multiple-throw twitch to control fan example, a simple ON/OFF switch is
speeds. Photo by Jim Barrett. capablc of selecting and holding two
specific settings. Quantitative and con-
tinuous mean being able to select a vari-
stat. you can dial in no resistance up to First, the control should be capable of able setting. An example is the rheostat
high resistance, or any amount in be- performing its function effectively when that controls the brightness of in-
tween. This gives you precise control it is operated as it is designed to. Second, strument-panel illumination. Another
over the amount of current being fed to it should be suitable for use in terms of example is the multiple-throw switch that
the load. The most common use for a feel and the limitations of the human selects various hcatcr-fan speeds.
rheostat in a car is the dimmer for the hand. These two objectives arc usually Another consideration in selecting a
instrument-panel illumination lamps. In met by a single design. If it fits your control is the way you're able to identify
most OEM headlamp switches, the dim- hand, it probably will function the way it it. For instance, in the chart below, shape
mer rheostat is operated by twisting the was intended. and texture is listed as an identifier. This
headlamp knob. For mass-production cars, the de- means you can identify a specific control
Rheostats designed for automotive ap- signer must take into account the entire by feeling its shape and texture. But, as
plications arc usually not capable of
carrying high current without burning
out. Circuits with high currents in need of SWITCH IDENTIFIERS
variable resistance arc usually controlled
by a single-pole, multiple-throw slide The term identifier relers to how you Identify a switch.
switch. The selector for a three-speed Identifier Characteristic
heater-blower motor fits this category.
Shape and Texture Good lor low iliumlna&on. Umrted by number ol textures
The selector switch regulates motor and shapes available. Hard to detect with gloves on.
speed by selecting various resistors in
tocation Good lor low illumination. Limited by space
series with the motor. In the LOW posi- requirements.
tion, the full set of resistors is selected.
Each higher speed bypasses one more Color Good visual identification, but must be viewed directly:
requires illumination
resistor, until, in the HIGH position, all
resistors arc bypassed, providing full Label Good visual identification if large. Must be viewed
directly. Requires ilumination.
current to the motor. The resistors arc
capablc of carrying high current without Operating Method Good bocauso switch can usually be operated only one
way Must be tried before identification «s certain
burning out. They do get hot. though, so
they're usually located in the blower air-
Actuator Type Function
GUIDELINES FOR Push button Activation
SELECTING CONTROLS Toggle switch Activation, discrete setting
Regardless of the nature of the control Rotary selector Discrete setting
device, you must consider several objec- Knob Discrete, quantitative, continuous sotting
Lovor Quantitative, continuous setting
tives when selecting one.

I took this GM starter solenoid opart so you
could see the movable core dearly. Core Is
attached to forked lever to move drive gear
when starter Is operated.

Newer cars rely on relays, such as this one, Typical Ford starter solenoid. Although it
to operate computer-controlled emission acts aa a relay in the battery-to-starter
devices. Computer's low-current circuitry cable, It contains a movable core, so is cor-
operates low-current relay, which In turn rectly called a solenoid.
operates high-current device.

you can see in the Characteristics column vice consisting of a clcctromagnctic coil to various mechanisms that move each
of the chart, it's hard to disccrn shape or surrounding a movable metal core or time the magnetic coil is energized.
texture if you're wearing gloves. plunger. When the coil is energized, the A relay is an electromechanical dcvicc
When designing the instrument panel magnetic field pulls the core until it's consisting of an electromagnetic coil, a
on your car. make sure the type of switch centered in the coil. Usually, there's a fixed core and a movable armature. The
actuators you choose arc compatible with return spring to pull the core back to the armature, attracted by magnetism in the
their location on the panel. For example, unccntered position when the coil is shut core, moves whenever the coil is ener-
if a headlamp switch and windshield- off. The movable core can be connected gized.
wiper switch have the same shape and
operate the same way. they should not be
positioned next to each other. Otherwise, RELAY-OPERATED DRIVING LAMP
you might turn off the headlamps instead HEADLAMP DIMMER
of turning on the wipers. HIGH BEAM
r r-3-1
A final consideration is the way the
switch mounts to the instrument panel. ' TOW BEAM"
Make sure the mounting method is com-
patible w ith panel thickness and with the ORIVING-LAMP SWITCH
clcarancc available behind the panel for
So before you buy your switches, refer
to pages 76-77 to make sure the switches
arc suitable for their positions and can be
installed without difficulty.


inu unrar

e - V-
Two definitions arc in order bccausc
many people incorrectly use the term
solenoid interchangeably with the term
relay. About all they have in common is Driving lamp circuits often use a relay. Although there are several ways to hook up
circuitry, this hookup permits driving lamp to operate only when high beams ore on. In
that both rely on an clcctromagnctic coil some states, this is required by law. You could wire a fog lamp similarly, using the
for operation. low-beam circuit or parking lamp circuit to operate relay. An advantage of this system Is
A solenoid is an electromechanical de- that you cannot accidentally leave high-current accessory lamp turned on.

Fuses come in many sizes and ratings. Amp Autofuso is latest design used in new cars. German cars use ceramic-body fuses. Ex-
ratings of glass-capsule fuses are often re- Fuse element is readily visible through posed fuse element Is recessed Into shal-
lated to physical size—the larger the fuse transparent plastic body. Two metal blades low groove on body. Pointed metal cap on
the higher the rating—though this is not a plug into matching sockets in fuse panel. each end makes contact with fuse panel.
hard-and-fast rule. Always check rating
stamped on fuse.

The distinguishing feature, then, is the For instance, you're installing a high- dimmed. The relay insures that you'll
core. In a solenoid, the core moves to do power driving lamp, and you want it to never forget.
the work. In a relay, the corc remains come on with the headlamp high beams
stationary and the armature moves. only. But you feci the headlamp circuit in
Solenoid & Relay Applications—The your car won't carTy much more addi- CIRCUIT PROTECTION
mechanical aspects of solenoids and re- tional amperage. The answer is a relay. If you could be sure every circuit and
lays largely determine how they're used. Wire it so the coil is energized by the electrical component in your car would
Solenoids arc most often found in starter car's high-beam circuit. The coil won't work without problems for the life of the
systems. On GM starters, for instance, draw much current, so the amperage of car, you wouldn't need circuit-protection
there's a large solenoid on top of the the headlamp circuit isn't increased devices. But you can't be sure, socircuits
starter motor. It moves the starter-drive much. Run a feed wire from the battery to need some type of dcvicc to prevent them
mechanism into engagement when the one of the relay's armature terminals, from overloading, which can damage
starter is actuated. then wire the driving-lamp switch and both wiring and electrical components.
In Ford starter systems, the solenoid is lamp to the other armature terminal. To The three basic circuit-protection de-
mounted to the inner fender or firewall. It protect this circuit, wire in a fusible link vices used in cars arc the fuse, the circuit
serves as an electrical switch between the or in-line fuse. The relay manufacturer breaker and the fusible link.
battery and the starter motor. When the provides the hookup instructions. If you Fuses—These arc the most common
ignition is turned to the START position, lose them, refer to the section on testing, form of circuit protection in automotive
a small current energizes the solenoid page 127, to determine continuity electrical systems. You can partially de-
coil. This pulls the movable corc. which through a relay. duce their function from the definition of
in turn operates the heavy-duty switch Here's how your new circuit will the word fuse—to melt or become liquid
controlling starter-motor current. work: If you turn on the driving-lamp from the application of heat. Excessive
switch, nothing happens. Why? With the amperage in a circuit can cause a con-
In both starter-system examples, a
high beams off. the relay coil is relaxed, ductor to get hot. Even wire can even-
solenoid is used because the application
so the armature passes no current and the tually get hot enough to melt, particularly
calls for a large amount of motion and a
driving lamp stays off. But when the high when a short circuit occurs.
large amount of force. Solenoids arc ex-
cellent for this purpose. beams arc turned on. the relay coil is In designing a circuit, you must select
Relays, on the other hand, arc usually energized, allowing the armature to con- wire that will safely carry the cxpcctcd
used in more precise applications. The duct battery voltage directly to the driv- (normal) amperage plus a safety margin.
motion of the movable armature can be ing lamp. The lamp lights without draw- If this margin is exceeded, the wire will
made to operate delicate devices, such a ing excess current from the headlamp overheat and eventually melt or ignite
set of elcctrical contacts. Relays arc often circuit. An added benefit of this setup is surrounding items—that is. unless you
used lo control secondary elcctrical cir- that most states require the driving lamp install the correctly rated fuse in the cir-
cuits. to turn off when the headlamps arc cuit. in scries with the load. When

amperage is exceeded, the fuse melts be- way into new vehicles from other man-
fore the wire or clcctrical device is dam- ufacturers. as well. These fuses are readi-
aged. ly identified by their shape.
Fuses come in various configurations The rectangular fuse body is transpar-
(shapes) and in various ratings. The ent plastic with two metal blade terminals
shape of a fuse has little to do with its protruding from the back. The top of the
effectiveness. Rather, fuse shapes are de- fuse is molded to provide an easy finger
termined by the manufacturer. The rating grip. Two rcccsscs in the top provide a
of a fuse is the maximum number of convenient test point, even with the fuse
amperes it will flow without melting. In installed. Like the glass fuse, the Auto-
the United States, there arc two styles of fuse can be visually inspected by viewing
fuses in widespread use. the fuse clement through the fuse body.
Plug-In circuit breaker (left) fits u m * panel
The glass-capsule fuse has existed, Some advantages to consider. as Autofusa (right). Breaker csn bs sub-
largely unchanged, for decades. Gener- • Easy to install and remove without stituted tor like-rated fuse, provided you
ally. you'll find a metal cap on each end tools. understand consequences explained In
of a short glass capsule, or tube. A strip • Easy to visually inspect. Test points text. I successfully used one of these break-
of special metal joins the two caps and is ers In an electric motor circuit that drew Just
are also built in. enough excess current on start-up to blow
visible through the glass. The metal strip • Fuse-amperage ratings are boldly a conventional fuse. DO NOT use a breaker
is the actual fuse material—it's the part printed on the end. and can be easily rated higher than the fuse, however.
that melts when current flow exceeds the read.
fuse rating. The glass protects the
• Can be carried or stored without fear
sometimes-delicate metal strip from again. There is nothing to replace. So. if
of breakage.
mechanical damage and insulates it from cosi is no object, consider using circuit
These advantages are partially offset
accidental short circuits, while providing breakers to protect the wiring in your car.
by several disadvantages:
ready visual access when you need to I found a listing in the JC Whitney cata-
inspect for a bumcd-out (blown) fuse. • Must be pulled from the fuse panel for
visual inspection. log for circuit breakers ranging from 5 to
Drawbacks of the glass-capsule fuse • Cost. Because these fuses are relative- 50 amperes, but at a price comparable to
include: ly new to the market, their prices are not about 10 glass-capsule fuses.
• Fuse length is often related to its yet competitive with glass fuses. If excellence is your style, use them.
amperage rating. This means you may • Availability is improving, but glass In addition to their durability and
not be able to use a different amperage fuses are more widely available. reusability, the impressive "high-tech"
rating when you add or remove a load • Require a special fuse block, just be- appearance of a row of circuit breakers
from an existing circuit. coming available in the aftermarket. The may make them worth the extra cost. In
• A special tool is needed to remove best source is still a salvage yard. the chapter on race-car wiring. I explain
glass fuses from the fuse panel without German cars use a variation of the how and why race-car builders use circuit
breaking them. glass-capsule fuse. It has a body of solid breakers instead of fuses.
• It's possible for the metal strip to blow ccramic. with the fuse element fitted into Circuit breakers of the type just dis-
inside the metal cap. where its condition a groove on the outside. The element is cussed arc housed in small metal cans
is not readily visible. formed at both ends into cone-shaped about the size of your firsi thumb joint.
• Fuse ratings are embossed in the metal metal caps that fit into spring clips in the There are two threaded terminal studs,
end cap or etched on the glass capsule. In fuse block. Although the fuse clement is insulated from cach other. The studs are
either case, it's often difficult to read the readily visible, it's vulnerable to dam- used to attach the circuit breaker (o the
marking without removing the fuse. age. And. the end caps are prone to wiring, using ring lerminals. Don't use
These disadvantages are partially oxidation, which can seriously hamper these studs for mounting the circuit
offset by several advantages: current flow. Incidentally, the ceramic- breaker! A circuit breaker designed for
panel-mounting has a flange for that pur-
• Bccausc they've been in use for a long type fuse is color coded for easy reading
pose. If there's no flange, the wiring will
time, glass-capsule fuses are inexpensive of amperage rating. Volkswagens typi-
cally use 8-amp (white) and l6-amp(red) support it. Personally. I think the un-
and readily available.
mounted kind appear somewhat crude.
• The fuse's condition is usually—but fuses.
Also, you must install them so their ter-
not always—obvious when visually in- Circuit Breakers—A circuit breaker is
minals don't accidentally contact metal
spected. a more-sophisticated protection device
parts (hat could ground the circuit, caus-
• Aftermarket fuse blocks are readily than a fuse. It uses a thermally sensitive ing a short.
available for custom applications. So are clement that snaps open when overheated
in-line fuse holders. by excessive amperage. But after a short A sccond type of circuit breaker is the
The Autofuse was first used in some cooling-down period, the circuit breaker fuse-clip type, designed to snap into a
GM cars in the mid-'70s and is now used resets itself—some types must be reset standard glass-capsule fuse block. The
on all new GM products. It's finding its manually—and begins passing current clip type has the reset advantage of the

stud type and carries a similar price tag. tection. Opponents of circuit breakers more current than the pump! The reason
But don't get carried away with a consider this a major safety hazard. They is simple. It's better to finish a race and
wholesale change from glass-capsule may be right. possibly win thousands of dollars than to
fuses to clip-type circuit breakers until The use of circuit breakers in place of save a S50 clcctric fuel pump.
you've tried them. Make sure there's fuses calls for some common sense. If It all boils down to choice. If you think
enough room for them to fit sidc-by-sidc you notice an on-off cycle occurring, im- you're likely to ignore the intermittent
in your particular fuse block. mediately shut down the affected circuit, warnings of auto-reset circuit breakers,
There's a third type of circuit breaker then find and concct the problem before use fuses and carry sufficient spares. Or,
used on many cars. These are built into using the circuit again. in some circuits, you may be able to use
the components they protect. For in- The idea that circuit breakers pose a the type of circuit breaker that resets
stance. most headlamp switches used in major safety hazard can be countered by manually by means of a toggle switch.
domestic cars contain a circuit breaker noting that almost all OEM headlamp These arc the type used on race cars, and
for the headlamp circuit only. Other circuits arc protected by an auto-reset are readily available. On the other hand,
components controlled by the headlamp circuit breaker in the headlamp switch. if you've gained enough experience to
switch rely on fuses in their separate cir- The theory here is that it's better to have wire a car from scratch, you can probably
cuits. True to form, this built-in circuit flickering headlamps than to suddenly deal with auto-reset circuit breakers and
breaker resets itself after cooling down. have none. benefit from the unique protection they
Headlamps that slowly flash on and off Then, there are special considerations. offer.
indicate a short in the circuit, and that the For instance, the wiring and circuit Fusible Links—If you're building an
circuit breaker is doing its job. breaker protecting a race-car fuel pump electrical system from scratch, you may
Some electrical-accessory motors also should be "sized" so they will handle not even be aware of fusible links. But if
have built-in circuit breakers, but their
purpose is twofold. First, they protect the
circuit from normal electrical overloads. CURE FOR CORRODED FUSE FAILURES
But they also break the circuit if the
motor overheats dangerously. For in- Fuses used in German cars, as typi- For corred fundiomng, the LED re-
stance. this could occur if a windshield- fied by the VW. are prone to corrosion. quires a resistor wired in series. A
wiper blade froze to the glass. Normally, electrical contact »s made 1,000-ohm, 1/4-watt resistor is used
between the conical fuse end caps and with a 12-volt system. For 6-volt sys-
Built-in circuit breakers usually go the round holes in the fuse-holder tems, use a 630-ohm resistor
through life without need of attention. clips. Because the contact area is so Begin by noting the positions of all
But when you're trying to diagnose a small, it takes only a little corrosion the fuses, then remove them. Solder a
perplexing operating problem, be aware buildup here to completely open a cir- resistor to one dip at each fuse posi-
that the circuit may includc one of these cuit Buildup may occur ovor a period tion. Turn on tho ignition koy. as woll as
breakers. of time, gradually impoding current any other switches that food tho fuses.
An Argument Against Circuit flow until it finally stops. The symptom Temporanly hold the two loads of an
is tho samo a s with a blown fuse. LED against the first resistor and the
Breakers—There's some controversy
You can remedy the condition by corresponding free spring clip. If the
among elcctrical experts whether fuses or
removing Ihe fuse and cleaning it with LED doesn't light, reverse tho leads.
circuit breakers are better. Those favor- When tho LED lights, carefully solder it
a suitable abrasive cloth or electrical-
ing fuses mention several drawbacks of contact spray cleaner. in place. Bo sure all surfaces are clean
circuit breakers. One is the higher cost. A Hero's a tip that lets you know in a n d bright. Use only ro&n-core solder
more important one. though, is the advance that corrosion buildup has specified 1or electronic work. Avoid
automatic-resct function on many circuit slarted. so you can take preventive ac- prolonged or excessive heat. I prefer a
breakers, which appears at first to be a tion before a full failure happens small pin-tip electric soldering iron for
strong positive feature. Solder a general-purpose light- this, not a soldering gun.
Opponents of circuit breakers rightful- emitting diode (LED) across each fuse When all LEDs are installed, replace
ly point out that after an automatic-resct holder. That way. when corrosion the fuses in their respedive spots Be
buildup starts to resist current flow sure to observe the ampere ratings.
circuit breaker cools, it permits current to
through ihe fuse-holder dips, pari of Each LED should go off as you install
flow again. If the cause of the overload is the current shunts—bypasses the its corresponding fuse You can now
still there—and it probably will be—the luse—through the LED, causing it to drive in confidence, knowing that the
circuit breaker again heats up and breaks light. As corrosion gets worse, the LED LEDs are always on guard, ready to let
the circuit. This on-off-on-off cyclc re- glows brighter as more current passes you know before corrosion buildup
peats until the problem is corrected. Un- through it. In case of a blown fuse, the causes trouble.
fortunately, during the on time, current LED would glow at full brilliance. This The LED idea is not limited to in-
flows unimpeded. If the circuit breaker's means you could also use this method dicating fuse corrosion on VWs. It can
trip point is too high, the on periods may to indicate blown fuses in a con- be used on any car to tell you at a
be long enough to overheat the wiring, ventional fuse panel, as well. It also glance when a fuse or light bulb is
just as though there were no circuit pro- gives your car a "high tech'' look burned out.

Fusible link It used to protect circuit that carries battery current to Fusible links are sold In packages like this, complete with neces-
car's electrical system through ignition switch or fuse panel. It's sary fittings. Rating Is printed on package. Fuilble links are sold In
easily identified by plastic tag that reads fusible link." On factory bulk at some larger stores, but youll have to provide fittings for
cars, they're often wired between battery terminal ol starter sole- them.
noid and main bulkhead connector, as shown here. In Ford sole-
noid shown on page 33,1 used a 14-gage fusible link to protect a
10-gage wire feeding the electrical system, which is correct, as
explained In text below. Photo by Jim Barrett.
you're servicing or modifying an OEM wires. You can recognize a failed fusible Do not skimp on circuit protection.
harness, you may encounter one of these link by its appearance. Although it won't In other words, don't try to get by with
mysterious dcviccs. I call them mys- melt, the insulation looks different— only a few fuses or circuit breakers. Sure,
terious bccausc few people know tbey charred, blistered or discolored—in the you can use a high-rated fuse to operate
exist, and fewer understand them. area where the link melted. three or four circuits all at once. But it's
Like any other fuse, the fusible link is To replace a fusible link, find the far better to give each major circuit its
designed for circuit protection. But in crimp attaching it to its wire. Often, one own correctly rated fuse or breaker.
this case, the circuit being protected is end is a ring terminal and the other is Likewise, never under any circum-
the car's entire electrical system, or most crimped to the wire. Seldom do you find stances design a circuit without any pro-
of it. The fusible link is usually installed a link spliced into the middle of another tection. If a short or overload occurs, the
in the circuit between the battery and wire. Cut the crimp as needed and install weakest link is going to bum. even if it's
ignition switch, or between the battery a replacement link—each application in the harness you so lovingly assembled.
and fuse panel, or both. Consequently, has its own part number. Then make sure Design your circuit-protection system
all the electricity used by the car. except you find and fix the cause of the failure so it can be easily added to later. The way
to operate the starter motor, must flow before powering up the system. Other- to do this is to provide a fuse block with
through the fusible link(s). wise. you may be making a career of several extra sockets. This is far better
A fusible link is simply a length of replacing fusible links! than the makeshift method of using add-
wire sized two gages smaller than the Docs your project car's clcctrical sys- on fuse taps, which are good for little
wire it's attached to. so it bccomcs the tem need a fusible link? Hard to say. If other than overloading existing circuits.
weakest link in the circuit. Remember, you wire your car following the advice in If you have repeated problems with
wire gages are only even numbers, so the this book, you will probably use more fuses blowing in the circuit, don't arbi-
fusible link is four digits smaller. This fuses in your car's electrical system than trarily install a higher-rated fuse—and
means that a 12-gagc wire would be pro- you'd find in a factory-built car. so over- don't bypass the fuse entirely, either!
tected with a 16-gagc fusible link. After- loaded circuits shouldn't be a problem. If Remember, fuses don't blow without a
market fusible links are often packaged this is the case, the only advantage of reason. And if they blow repeatedly, the
with the notice: "This link protects a 12- having a fusible link would be to protcct reason is serious enough to warrant care-
gagc circuit." or whatever is appropriate. the main feed wire to the ignition switch ful diagnosis. The same holds true with
What distinguishes the fusible link and fuse panel against a massive over- circuit breakers.
from ordinary electrical wire is that its load, such as a short-to-ground in the On the other hand, a one-time blown
insulation is bum-resistant. feed wire. However, fusible links are so fuse can be the result of something
If a fusible link is overloaded, the con- readily available and so inexpensive that obscure, like a defective or marginally
ductor material melts, just as a fuse I think they arc worth the extra effort to rated fuse, or some sort of transient con-
would. But. bccausc the fusible link is install. You can buy lengths of fusible dition in the circuit. If replacing the fuse
usually hidden somewhere inside the link at any good auto-supply store, often cures the problem and it doesn't recur,
wiring harness, its insulation must pro- with a ring terminal and crimp conncctor don't get upset looking for a problem
vide heat protection for the surrounding already attached. you'll probably never find.

Practically speaking, the instrument
panel displays your car's vital signs ev-
ery time you glance at a gauge or in-
dicator lamp. How you use your vehicle
largely determines the amount of in-
formation you need and in what form you
need it.
For an embarrassingly long time,
domestic auto manufacturers were con-
vinced that none of their customers
wanted to know any more than "how
fast" and "how much gas." Everything
else was monitored by indicator lamps,
aptly dubbed idiot lights. Driving enthu-
siasts had only two choices—buy an im- Some specialty suppliers offer prewired gauges mounted on flat inserts for easy mounting
port or add gauges to their American car. to different panel situations. This race-car'street-rod gauge setup, available from Longacre
Automotive Racing Products, uses prewired Stewart Warner gauges mounted In labeled,
Somewhere along the way. Detroit got brushed-alumlnum panel. Photos by Jim Barrett
the message. Nowadays, you can find
full instrumentation as standard or op-
tional equipment on nearly every car CHARACTERISTICS meaning of the impression, the driver can
line. O F DISPLAYS take the necessary action.
If you're adding gauges or other dis- Anything that convcys information Regardless of the nature of the display
plays to an existing car. or building a car can be categorized as a display. Howev- device. you must consider several
from scratch, the aftermarket offers a er. in a car's electrical system, the three physical characteristics f>f the display
wide variety of choices, in style as well types most often used arc warning and when selecting one. As used in the
as in price and reliability. There's a list of indicator lamps, gauges and buzzers. following text, the term discrimination
major suppliers on pages 152-153. Displays depend on causing a stimulus, simply means noticing something and
This chapter describes the various sys- either to the driver's sense of sight (lamps deciding how important it is. In the case
tems and components you'll be dealing and gauges) or sense of hearing (buzz- of displays, there are several kinds of
with when outfitting your car. It also ers). The effectiveness of the dcvicc de- discrimination you need to consider
includes enough theory and related in- pends on its ability to intrude into the when designing the instrument panel of
formation to help you make well- driver's consciousness and make an im- your project car.
informed choices. pression. Then, if he understands the Visual discrimination of a display de-

pends on its shape, size, color or indi- In a car, there's not much need for this, speed, respectively.
cator-needle position. unless you happen to have temperature Although warning and indicator lamps
A good example of indicator position gauges for both engine coolant and en- don't actually move, you can think of
is the hands on a clock. You soon leam to gine oil. Here, a wise driver will make them as dynamic, because they do have
tell lime by the position of the hands, frequent comparisons, because 3 sudden two modes—ON and OFF.
even if there are no numbers on the clock rise in coolant temperature with little or Quantitative displays are dynamic
face. The same is true in a car's in- no immediate change in oil temperature displays that present the value of a vari-
strumentation. For instance, on an oil- is a good early warning of coolant loss. able. For example, the fuel-level gauge
pressure gauge you associate needle po- For more information on interpreting just mentioned tells the quantity of fuel in
sition with the part of the dial that's re- gauge readings, see pages 46-48. the tank, either in gallons or in degrees of
garded as safe. Absolute discrimination means tak- fullness.
Color discrimination is often associ- ing a reading without comparing il to Status displays present the condition
ated with warning and indicator lamps. It another reading. This kind of discrimina- of a system. The high-beam indicator and
is also associated with the needle position tion stands on its own merits. A sim- turn-signal indicator are displays of this
on some gauges. That is, some gauges plified example is the GEN light used to type. So is the rear-window defogger ON
have color bands printed on the scale, so indicate generator output on a car without lamp, and others of the simple ON'OFF
a quick glance shows you if the needle is a voltmeter or ammeter. If the light is off. type.
in the red, green, or whatever. This way, you can presume everything is OK—if Warning displays arc used to alert the
you can tell status without looking at the it's on, something's wrong. It's either driver of a dangerous or unsatisfactory'
numbers on the scale. one or the other, so there's no compari- condition. The GEN lamp, low-oil-
Red traditionally represents danger, so son needed. pressure lamp and high-lcmpcrature
warning lamps, such as those used to Types of Displays—The information lamp fall in this category. So do buzzers.
indicate high temperature or low oil pres- given by a display can be used to further Representational displays arc found
sure. are often red. Conversely, indicator describe it. on some newer factory-built cars, but arc
lamps that merely convey information Static displays are those that never still uncommon in project cars. Honda
are usually some color other than red. For change. In a car. the only static displays automobiles probably are to be credited
instance, blue is frequently used for in the electrical system are the identify- with introduction of the little pictogram
headlamp high beams, green for turn sig- ing labels you may choose to place next showing the top view of the car with tiny
nals. to various controls, lamps or gauges. color bars to indicate doors or hatch ajar.
Auditory discrimination, of course, Dynamic displays, on the other hand, In my estimation, these displays have
relates to hearing. In a car. a buzzer is are the ones that do change constantly. little more than novelty value. The same
either buzzing or it isn't. But you can They are used to depict conditions of a can be said of the lighted-bar graphs,
discriminate between differences in the variable. For instance, the fuel-level currently in vogue in some instrument
buzzer's frequency (high or low pitch) gauge constantly—sometimes dis- panels, to represent engine rpm. road
and its intensity (loud or soft), although gustingly quickly—moves from FULL to speed and other vital information usually
these sound qualities aren't often impor- EMPTY as you drive, lo display the rela- portrayed more clearly by conventional
tant in a car's information systems. tive condition of the fuel level. Similarly, gauges.
The benefits of auditory versus visual the voltmeter needle is constantly mov-
displays are portrayed in the chart below: ing. usually in small increments, as the
car's electrical system copes with chang- INDICATOR LAMPS VS. GAUGES
ing loads. Also, a tachometer or speed- First, take time to consider exactly
Relative discrimination means com- what information you need the instru-
paring two or more stimuli to each other. ometer changes with engine or vehicle
ment panel to provide, and how you want
it to be presented. Otherwise, you may
end up with an instrument panel full of
expensive overkill. "How come?" you
DISPLAY CHARACTERISTICS might ask. "Aren't gauges regarded as an
Audrtory vs. Visual Displays automotive good thing?" The answer is
yes and no.
Characteristic Auditory Visual
How much docs your driving style de-
Messago Simple Complex
mand that you know about your car's
Duration of Message Short Long vital signs? How much do you already
Use ol Information Not re'erred to later Referred to later know, or are willing 10 leam. about in-
Drivor Response Immediate action No immediate action terpreting gauge readings?
Preferred Location Location too bright Location too noisy if you're still not sure of the answers to
for visual display or for auditory display these questions after reading this section,
with many visual sSmua or with many auditory you may be better off sticking with in-
stimuli dicator lamps and spending the extra

When you look at an indicator-lamp
switch, you'll see that it has only one
terminal. This is bccausc the switch is
wired in series with the lamp and forms
the ground end of the circuit. The circuit
is completed to ground through the body
of the switch. Battery voltage is available
at the lamp; current flows only when the
switch closes to provide a complete path
to ground. You'll appreciate the logic of
this when you wire your car and realize it
would take twice as much wire if current
went first to the switch, then to the lamp,
and finally to ground.
Temperature switches rely on a
Race drivers usually dispense with speedo Race drivers also depend on large indicator temperature-sensitive bimetallic element
in favor of large, accurate tach with rev llml- lamps that quickly grab attention. These
ter. Shown here is the RPU Limiting Pro Pro-Ut— from Auto Meter indicate low oil operating a set of contact points. The
T»ch from Mallory Ignition. It also has shift- snd fuel pressure: here, they're mounted on switch is an SPST type, normally open.
point indicator lamp, set by dial at bottom tach for best visibility. Photo courtesy of With increased temperature, the bi-
right. Photo by Jim Barren. Auto Meter. metallic element changes shape, causing
the points to close at the calibration tem-
money on other accessories. gauge, oil-pressure gauge, voltmeter, perature.
On the other hand, if you know enough ammeter, fuel gauge, vacuum gauge and The clement is contained in the switch
about what makes a car tick to correctly a clock—nine gauges in all. I'd also body and extends into the ax)lant to take
interpret gauge readings, you probably want indicator lamps for low oil pres- a direct reading. By carefully choosing
do want to know what your oil pressure is sure, charging system, high beam and the shape. composition and tension of the
at idle. You'll notice right away if a read- turn signals. I've never seen a factory- bimetallic element, the designer can cali-
ing isn't quite normal. You'll watch to built car with exactly this combination, brate the switch, or determine its critical
see if it was just a temporary fluctuation. so when I designed the instrument panel switch-point temperature.
And you know trends arc important. for my Bernard i component car. you can The temperature switch resembles a
Gradually dropping oil pressure may be sure my wishes were all met! short bolt, in that it has a threaded portion
indicate a need to add oil. a failing pump, Indicator-lamp systems will be cov- and a hexagonal head. The sensing ele-
or some other condition that could get ered first, followed by a discussion of the ment is housed in an extension beyond
much worse before an indicator lamp various instrument systems, explaining the threaded part. At the head, you'll find
would finally come on. what cach gauge is for and how it op- the single terminal that attaches to the
The needs of a race driver arc differ- erates. ground side of the lamp.
ent. too. For instance, lap times arc im- American manufacturers use a stand-
portant in track racing, while speed in INDICATOR LAMPS & SWITCHES ard-taper pipe thread (NPTF) for tem-
milcs-pcr-hour isn't. So. race cars usual- Regardless of which operating system perature switches. The taper ensures a
ly don't have speedometers, but they do is monitored by an indicator lamp, the prcssurc-lighl seal without need for scal-
have a large, accurate tachometer posi- lamp can tell you only two things—yes ing compound. which would hampcrcur-
tioned so maximum rpm is straight up. or no. Yes. the coolant is too hot. No. the rent flow to ground
The tach may also have a rev limiter that oil pressure is not too low. No. the gener- Some European auto manufacturers
prevents the driver from ovcr-rcvving the ator is not supplying enough current. The also use the NPTF system, although the
engine. coolant-icmperaturc and oil-pressure metric system is most common on pop-
The race driver is also concerned about lamps arc operated by on/off switches. ular imports. This isn't a problem with
oil pressure and temperature, coolant Indicator-Lamp Switches—Indicator warning-lamp switches, though, because
temperature and fuel pressure. If he's lamps convey their information by light- you'll likely stick with the factory switch
racing a VW-bascd vehicle, he'll want an ing when something is wrong in the sys- anyway. Some special considerations for
oversized charge indicator because the tem being monitored. Because this re- gauge sending units arc discussed later.
cooling fan is driven by the generator quires nothing more than simple current Pressure switches arc used for oil-
belt. flow, an indicator lamp can be controlled prcssurc indicator lamps. In this applica-
So. what's best for you? Only you can by an SPST switch. Indicator switches tion. the switch is a normally closed
answer (hat. Forme, the optimum system are usually called by ihe name of the type—unless sufficient pressure is ap-
for a street car contains: tachometer, system they monitor oil-pressure plied. the switch remains closed (on),
spccdo-land odometer-assembly with switch, coolant-temperature switch, and providing a ground path for the warning
trip odometer, coolant-tcmpcralurc so on. lamp. In other words, oil pressure keeps

When I laid out Instrument panel of my Ber- Chevy V6 powered hot rod was scratch-built by Ron Fournier (author ol HP's Metal
nard I component car. I made room for all Fabrication Handbook). Instrumentation is laid out just like on a race car. Although gauges
Instrumentation I wanted: nine gauges, five are spread completely across dashboard, cockpit Is narrow enough that even farthest
warning lamps and assorted switches. On gauge is within easy view.
the road, everything performs just the way
I'd hoped.

the switch open (off) until the pressure on just in time to announce a completely
drops below a critical level, closing it. fried engine!
The prevsure switch threads into a hole Charge-Indicator tamps—Of the
intersecting an oil galley in the engine. A three primary indicator lamps, this is the
small hole tn the switch body permits only one that operates without a separate
pressurized oil to enter the switch, where switch. When you first start your car. the
it acts on a flexible diaphragm. Dia- generator needs an external supply of
phragm movement operates a set of con- current to get itself started—this iscallcd
tact points that open or close the warning- excitation. Current, provided by the bat-
lamp circuit, depending on diaphragm tery through the ignition switch, flows
position. through the charge-indicator lamp on its
The oil-pressure switch is calibrated to way to excite the field windings in the
open the contact points above a specific generator. Naturally, with current flow- Location of oil-pressure warning lamp
oil pressure. Bccausc oil pressure is ing, the lamp lights. As soon as the switch varies from engine to engine, but Is
generator begins generating current on its always In an oil galley. On this 2.3 liter Ford
largely proportional to engine speed, an engine, it's at tho rear, high on the head.
idling engine will have normally low own. the voltage regulator allows some
Switch takes reading as far from oil pump
pressure, except when used in race cars. of this current back to self-feed the gener- as possible, to Indicate that there's ade-
The switch is calibrated not to open at ator to keep it excited. When this hap- quate pressure throughout the system.
idle pressure, which would cause undue pens. the indicator lamp goes out because
concern for the driver. But this it now has B + on both sides, and current
characteristic is the major shortcoming of can no longer flow through it.
quickly attract attention are. in order:
the oil-prcssurc-lamp system. The differ- There's usually a resistor of about 15 red. green, yellow and white.
ence between normally low idle pressure ohms in parallel with the lamp. It carries In addition to lamp color, background
and dangerously low operating pressure a large percentage of the current neces- color and the amount of ambient light
is narrow. sary tocxcitc the generator, allowing the also affect visibility. Obviously, even a
As a result of this narrow margin, lamp to carry a much smaller load. So, if red lamp is not going to stand out well
many engines have been ruined bccausc a the lamp filament burns out. the 15-ohm against a red instrument panel on a
warning lamp didn't come on until loo resistor is still in the circuit to carry cur- bright, sunny day. So consider these
late. I speak from a painful first-hand rent to the generator. points: For best visibility, choose a lamp
cxpcricncc from my teenage years. An Guidelines for Selecting Indicator & color that contrasts with its background.
air-cooled VW engine sump holds less Warning Lamps—Size, brightness, If the lamp has good contrast with the
than 3 quarts of oil to begin w ith. My VW and the period of lime available for background, and ambient light is very
engine developed a gasket leak that observation are all important con- bright, the warning-lamp color is less
drained all the oil in less than 200 miles siderations when choosing indicator or important than its relative brightness.
of driving. The oil-pressure lamp came warning lamps. Lamp colors that most When contrast between lamp and back-

ground is not strong, follow the color ing and recording test values. An ex-
order just listed for best detectability. ample would be thermocouple-gauge
readouts when you're monitoring
GAUGES & SENDERS exhaust-gas temperatures.
Unlike an indicator lamp with its yes/ Types of Gauges—Both OEM and
no message, a gauge tells you how much. aftermarket gauges fall into one of two
Generally, the information is displayed major categories—mechanical or elec-
by a movable needle pointing to a cali- trical. Because this is a book about elec-
brated scale. This type is often called an trical systems, mechanical gauges arc
analog gauge because the needle posi- only briefly described here. Most gauge
tion and numbers on the gauge corre- manufacturers offer both types—you
spond to direcUy measurable quantities. can contact them for additional informa-
That is, so many degrees of needle move- tion on their mechanical gauges.
ment represent so many pounds per Mechanical gauges for temperature
Charge-indicator lamp (left) illuminates square inch, revolutions per minute, de- and pressure require plumbing in the
dimly at the charge rate drops toward zero; grees of temperature, and so on. form of tubing to transmit information
glows brightly when generator output is A second type of gauge has recently directly to the gauge. For instance,
zero. My car also has voltmeter and am- mechanical temperature gauges utilize a
meter, so It's not serious that Indicator become fashionable. It's called a digital-
lamp la partially obscured by steering readout gauge because it presents in- sealed bulb and tube (capillary tube)
wheel rim. formation direcUy in numbers. Digital somewhat like a medical thermometer.
gauges are used almost exclusively in The gauge needle is moved by the ex-
high-priced factory cars, although some panding fluid inside the tube. The tube
are becoming available in the after- must not be sharply bent and must be
market. guarded against breakage. In my opin-
You may find digital gauges more dif- ion, these requirements seriously limit
ficult to read than the analog type. With installation convenience.
an analog gauge, you soon become so Pressure-operated mechanical gauges
familiar with the normal needle position require that the pressurized liquid actual-
that you can read the gauge without ly be piped into the back of the gauge.
actually looking at the numbers. For Leakage is always a concern. In fact.
proof of this, think about the designer mechanical fuel-pressure gauges must
clocks you've seen that don't have numb- never be mounted inside the passenger
ers on the face, yet you can tell time on compartment because of the potential fire
them, even at a glance, by the position of hazard. Because these gauges are usually
Examples of analog gauges. Although oil the hands. With the analog gauge, you mounted in the engine compartment,
pressure gauge provides a psl scale that can frequently and instantaneously check their practical use is usually limited to
gives useful information. H Is "hidden" at your car's condition. out-of-car readings. They're sometimes
bottom of tach, rather than being In a more used on race cars, mounted outside the
prominent spot Ditto voltmeter. This is not so easy with digital read-
outs. Bccausc they can present only one passenger compartment within the driv-
number at a time, you must consciously er's view. Mechanical oil-pressure
read and interpret the numbers each time gauges arc acceptable, though un-
you consult them. These gauges don't common, in passenger-car instrument
show an overall scale that you can readily panels.
compare the isolated readings against. Mechanical gauges do have one dis-
This can divert your eyes and attention tinct advantage over comparable electric
from the road for an uncomfortably long gauges. The mechanism of the gauge is
time. Besides, what good docs it really not limited to the 90° needle movement
do to know that your coolant temperature of clcctrical gauges. In fact, a 270° swing
is exactly 181F? Or that your oil pressure is common on mechanical gauges. Great-
is exactly 58 psi? Also, studies in the er needle movement translates directly to
field of ergonomics have proven that an- more accurate interpretation of readings.
alog gauges are easier to read than digital Also, the needle must move farther to get
gauges. If you get the idea that I really from the safe zone to the unsafe zone,
don't like digital readouts for normal use. which means that your eye will more
Mechanical gauges—especially fuel you're right! readily catch an incorrectly positioned
gauges—should be mounted outsido driv- needle. This is the main reason race-car
er's compartment Photo courtesy Auto On the other hand, they're great for
diagnostic equipment, such as monitor- drivers prefer mechanical gauges.

Some gauges are available in mechani- By calibrating the variables, the gauge tery voltage happens to be, without need
cal form only. These include vacuum designer can make the pointer position of a CVR.
gauges and turbo-boost gauges. Most correspond directly to whatever physical Inside a balancing-coil gauge, there
speedometers are mechanical, although condition is causing a resistance change are two electromagnetic coils wound
some of them have been electrified suc- in the sender. One side effect of the direct around a plastic cote at right angles to
cessfully. You need to consider this if link between the bimetallic strip and the cach other. The pointer shaft runs be-
you're building an instrument panel from pointer is that when the engine is shut off, tween the two coils and has a metal arma-
scratch. Some manufacturers have a rela- the pointer swings to the low position as ture on which both coils can act. When
tively limited selection of speedometers soon as the bimetallic strip cools, and the system is shut off, there's nothing to
and other mechanical gauges, so match- stays there. act on the pointer, so it assumes a random
ing all your gauges for style may take Because heating-coil output in a position until the system is turned back
some extra effort. thermostatic gauge is related directly to on. This, of course, distinguishes the
Electrical gauges and their sending voltage, a potential problem could devel- balancing-coil gauge from a thermostatic
units arc designed to convert a physical op. If the gauge operated on 12 volts, and one.
condition into an electrical signal that can system voltage were low, it would give The two coils arc wired in scries, so
be transmitted over an ordinary electrical an incorrect reading. To counteract this, current flows first through one coil, then
wire, then convert the elcctrical signal thermostatic gauges are designed to oper- the other coil, and finally to ground. The
into a meaningful visual display. ate at a voltage lower than 12 volts— two coils are connccted to terminals on
A big advantage often cited in favor of about 7 or 8 volts. the gauge ease, which are marked B, I or
electric gauges is that corresponding A small constant voltage regulator + for the feed side and G or - for the
mechanical gauges require hydraulic (CVR) reduces whatever the system volt- ground. Cheek the gauge instruction
plumbing, capillary tubes, mcchanical age is at the moment to a constant gauge sheet for exact markings. A third wire
drive cables, or other difficult-to-route voltage. This ensures relative accuracy from the sending unit taps into the circuit
and space-consuming transmission de- unless system voltage is dangerously low between the two coils and connects to a
vices. to begin with. In that case, you have third terminal, usually marked S for
Electrical gauges operate by several problems to deal with other than worry- sender.
principles, but the two most popular by- ing about gauge accuracy! The sending unit used with balancing-
far are the thermostatic principle and the Cost and complications of the CVR coil gauges must be capable of offering a
electromagnetic principle, also called and its requisite radio-noise-suppression variable resistance in direct proportion to
the balancing coil or air-core principle. filter are two reasons aftermarket gauge changes in the system being monitored.
Thermostatic gauges arc found only in manufacturers and many auto man- Let's use the fuel-level gauge as an ex-
factory installations. 1 have not dis- ufacturers have gone entirely to the ample of how a typical balancing-coil
covered examples of this type in the balancing-coil-gaugc system. gauge works.
aftermarket cxccpt as OEM replace- Balancing-Coil Gauges—The main For this discussion, the gauge coil
ments. The balancing-coil gauge is the advantage of balancing-coil gauges is closest to the battery feed will be called
only kind sold for aftermarket in- they operate accurately on whatever bat- the E coil (for empty), and the one closest
stallations and is used extensively in fac-
tory installations, as well.
Thermostatic Gauges—Thermostatic
gauges work on a bimetal principle. A CONSTANT VOLTAGE REGULATOR (CVR)
strip of two dissimilar metals bonded
together is anchored at one end and Is
attached by linkage to a movable pointer
at the other. Bccausc the two metals ex-
pand and contract at different rates, the
bimetallic strip will bend when heat is
applied, causing a corresponding move-
ment of the pointer.
The heat needed to operate the pointer
is provided by a small heating coil
wrapped around the bimetallic strip. Cur-
rent flow through the heating coil is reg-
ulated by a variable resistance in the
sending unit, as discussed later. So. as CVR cutaway shows heater coll wrapped around bimetallic arm. Current (at system volt-
current flow varies, the heating coil age) flows through heater until arm bends to close contacts. System voltage is applied
through points. After a moment, arm cools enough to open points, and cycle repeats. The
changes temperature, bending the short bursts of electricity through points are so close together that they average out at less
bimetallic strip, which moves the poin- than system voltage. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp.





This CVR Is supported by gauge cluster Sender for oil-pressure gauge is physically Thermostatic gauge has heater coll
assembly and Is attached to printed drcult larger than temperature sender because It wrapped around bimetallic arm. Arm Is
by snaps. When I built my car, I discarded contains a presssure-senslng diaphragm. linked to needle. Current now through heat-
this whole assembly and installed VDO er is controlled by variable resistance In
gauges Instead. sender. Varying current also varies tem-
BALANCING-COIL GAUGE perature of heater coil. Bimetallic arm
bends and moves needle accordingly.
to ground the F coil (for full). When
current is applied to the coils, the E coil TYPICAL TACH HOOKUP
creates a magnetic field that tries to
attract the pointer armature to it. But the
F coil also creates a field that counteracts
the E field. Current flow through the E
field remains constant, while the strength
of the F field is governed by the variable
resistance of the sender.
When the fuel tank is full and sender
resistance is high, current tends to flow
through the F coil, strengthening its Balancing-coll system Is used by OEM and Diagram shows typical tach Installation,
field, so the pointer indicates FULL. aftermarket gauge manufacturers. Two wired to battery negaUve side of coll. There
magnetic colls receive equal voltage are exceptiona, ao check car*a service man-
When fuel level goes down, so does sen- ual and tach manufacturer's instructions.
through fuse. One coll Is constantly
der resistance. Now, current flows where grounded; other is grounded through vari- Drawing courtesy of Auto Meter.
resistance is lower—through the able resistance of sender. Differences in
sender—and current flow through the F magnetic field cause needle to move.
coil drops. This weakens the F field, and
the pointer armature is attracted toward
EMPTY. Pressure and temperature You just hook up the feed wire to the with the aftermarket ignition. Also, dis-
gauges work similarly. appropriate terminal or move the dial to cuss compatibility with the auto-parts
Tachometers—One characteristic com- the desired position. dealer or the tach manufacturer. Installa-
mon to all clcctrical (achomctcrs is, Sccond. be sure the tach you buy is tion directions vary too much to list all
although they may not be attached di- compatible with the voltage of your car's variables here.
rectly to it. they're operated by a signal electrical system. Finally, some highly specialized after-
from the ignition coil. This signal is then market tachometers come with a built-in
Third, clcctrical tachometers don't re-
processed electronically into needle rev limiier that shuts off the ignition coil
quire a sending unit. As mentioned ear-
movement representative of engine rpm. for a brief period if a pre-sclccted rpm is
lier. they arc wired directly into the igni-
There arc several things to consider tion circuit, usually on the battery nega- exceeded. This protection device is
when selecting a tachometer. First, you tive ( - ) side of the coil. With the older worthwhile for race drivers whose driv-
must match the tachomctcr to the number point-type ignition systems, this is a ing conditions may make them more
of cylinders in the engine. Some tachs are straightforward connection. However, prone to accidental over-revving. If your
designed for a specific number of cylin- follow the wiring instructions that come street driving includes this kind of anti-
ders. Multi-use tachs are designed with a with the tachomctcr. social behavior, the rev limitcr may be
selection of terminals that correspond to On clcctronic-ignition systems, con- just right for you, too! Special wiring
the number of cylinders, or a tiny dial on sult the OEM shop manual for factory considerations for rev-limiter tachome-
the back that serves the same purpose. ignitions or the instructions that come ters arc supplied by the manufacturer.

Sending Units—You've already seen
how electrical gauges interpret the vari- COOLANT-TEMP. SENDER FUEL-GAUGE SENDER
able resistance in a sending unit to dis-
play the car's physical conditions. Op-
crating principles of sending units arc
discussed here.
Electric gauges operate on varying re-
sistance in the sender circuit. Sending
units convert a physical condition—
pressure, temperature or fluid level—
into a specific electrical resistance that is
interpreted by the gauge head. As with
indicator lamps, battery voltage is ap-
plied first to the instrument, then flows
through a single wire to ground through Tho thormi»tor-typo coolant-temporature Note similarity between this fuel-gauge
the sending unit. sender contains sonsing olemcnt hold in sender and oil-pressure sender below. Ma-
Temperature sending units rely on placo by electrically conducting spring. jor difference Is that wiper Is moved
Changes in temperature change conductiv- through linkage attached to a float
an electrical element that varies its resist- ity of sensing element.
ance in proportion to temperature. Most
electrical conductors display an increase
in resistance as temperature rises. OIL-PRESSURE SENDER
However, there's one unique family of
conductors that behaves just the op-
posite. They're callcd thermistors, and
their resistance decreases as temperature
rises. Thermistors arc made from the ox-
ides of cobalt, copper. iron or nickel. The
advantage of using a thcrmi stor as a send-
ing unit is that it is a solid-state dcvicc—
no moving parts to go out of order—and
calibration is built in when the thermistor
is compounded.
Here's how the thermistor functions as
a sending unit: When temperature rises, Here's how I Installed oil-pressure gauge Oil-pressure sender works like a rheostat.
and warning lamp In my car. Brass T-fitting Wiper, moved by pressure diaphragm,
thermistor resistance drops. This allows is threaded Into oil galley to provide two slides across coil of resistance wire, com-
more current to flow through the thermis- openings—one for each sender. Because pleting circuit. Position of the wiper on coll
tor and the gauge, moving the gauge nee- gauge sender is the hoavier of the two. I determines how much or bow little resist-
dle upward on the temperature scale. suspended it vertically to minimize vibra- ance sender offers.
Other temperature sending units rely
on a specialized rheostat inside the send-
er housing. A bimetallic strip or coil sizes. Metric adaptors are available for of the oil-reservoir tank. In any case, be
changes shape with variations in tem- most. sure the location doesn't interfere with
perature. Mechanical linkage converts Special threaded adaptors may also be internal moving parts, obstruct normal
bimetal movement into rheostat-wiper needed to install temperature senders to oil flow or changc road clearance.
movement, which provides variable re- monitor the temperature of transmission Prevsure sending units are physically
sistance. Because they're more prone fluid or axle lubricant. For transmission larger in size than thermistor temperature
than thermistors to lose calibration or fluid, install the sensor in the fluid-cooler units bccausc they must enclose a dia-
otherwise malfunction, the rheostat return line, if possible. Refer to the car's phragm. linkage and a rheostat. Like the
sending unit has fallen into disfavor. shop manual to positively identify the pressure-indicator lamp switch discussed
You're likely to see one only on an older return line. earlier, the sending unit for the oil-
car. They're easily distinguished from In the case of oil-tcmpcraturc sending pressure gauge threads into an appropri-
the thermistor type bccausc of their large units, you can install the sensor in a new- ate hole in the oil galley.
size. ly drilled hole in the block or oil pan In the sending unit, oil pressure acts on
A coolant-temperature sending unit below crankcase-oil level. Or. you can a flexible diaphragm, moving it in pro-
usually threads into a hot-water passage use a special sender as a replacement for portion to changes in pressure. A system
in the engine. Most of these sending units the original oil-pan drain plug. In dry- of levers attaches the diaphragm to the
come in a variety of standard thread sump systems. it should go in the bottom movable wiper of a calibrated rheostat.

expert22 /yia http://rutracker.orq
Most gaugo manufacturers offer several full lines of gauges in
several styles. VDO Vintage series might be good choice for an-
Pencil ia pointing to variable resistance coil inside fuel-level sen- tique or classic replicars. Photo courtesy of VDO Instruments Inc.
der. When unit Is installed in fuel tank, black float will float on top of
fuel. Movement of float varies resistance of sender.

When oil pressure is low and the dia- 14.7 volts is about the maximum you on the road it's in a constant process of
phragm is relatively relaxed, resistance is should cxpcct to sec in a normally operat- deteriorating out of specification. So,
low. As pressure increases, so does re- ing generating system. Choose an oil- you need a way to n>onitor the ever-
sistance. pressure gauge that reads slightly higher changing conditions, a way to discover
If space permits, it's possible to use a than the maximum calibrated pressure of and interpret trends, and a way to catch
T-fitting in the engine, with both a pres- your car's oil-pump relief valve. Select- problems while they're still manageable.
sure sending unit and oil-pressure lamp ing a gauge with a higher-reading scale is The gauges on your instrument panel
switch threaded into it. I used just such an simply wasting part of the gauge. More offer this kind of infonnation. if you
installation on my car so I could have importantly, it condenses the area you're know how to use them.
both an oil-pressure gauge and oil- concerned with into a too-small space, so Stewart-Warner's first suggestion
pressure warning lamp. Various other readings are less precise. The tachometer makes excellent sense: "If your car came
thread adaptors are available, including is one example w here many people tend with inadequate instrumentation, install
metric sizes. to go overboard. Let's face it. will your the gauges while your car is running
Fuel-level sending units go inside the engine really reach 9,000 rpm without right." When the car is new or freshly
fuel tank, often attached to the fuel pick- turning it into junkyard material? You're rebuilt would be the best time to do this.
up tube. The sending unit is a type of far better off getting a tach that reads just This way. you'll be able to learn what
rheostat. A float is attached to a movable ^lightly above your engine's red line. readings to expect when conditions are
arm. The movable arm moves a wiper Anything higher simply wastes gauge normal for your particular car.
along a coil of resistance wire. The float space and doesn't impress too many
Their second suggestion is to write
position, governed by fuel level, de- people.
dow n the normal readings under a variety
termines how much resistance wire the of conditions for reference later, as the
fuel-gauge current must pass through. ANALYZE YOUR ENGINE car ages and loses its initial edge. They
Vary ing resistance in the circuit is in- AS YOU DRIVE suggest taking separate readings with
terpreted by the fuel gauge. Stewart-Warner Instrument Division outside temperatures of 20F ( - 5 C ) and
Guidelines for Selecting Gauges—For published an excellent brochure under 70F (21C). Obviously, where you live
best dctcctability. use a gauge with a this title several years ago. It tells how to will have some bearing on the tempera-
moving needle and a fixed scale, called use the various gauges in your car to tures you choose. The idea is to be able to
an analog gauge. This type capitalizes on analyze engine performance. They kind- recognize what readings arc normal for
the idea mentioned earlier about becom- ly granted mc permission to share with the temperatures you will encounter
ing familiar with needle position. Studies you some of the ideas presented in it. while driving.
have shown that you can read this type of Efficiency is the key word when you Record gauge readings with the engine
gauge faster than any other types, even talk about engine performance. Whether idling, at city speed, at highway speed
though it may not look quite as "high- your interest is fuel economy, clean air or and while pulling a load or climbing a
tech" as the digital or lightcd-bar gauges. quarter-mile times, your best chance of grade, or under racc-car conditions. For
When selecting a gauge, be sure the achieving your goal is with an cfficicnt ammeter and voltmeter, note readings
scale (numbers) covers only the range of engine. And maintaining that efficiency with ignition switch OFF. ON (not run-
values you expect to encounter. As an demands adherence to a set of operating ning). and START (cranking). Also take
example, the car's voltmeter should read standards. readings with engine idling and at the
from 0 to about 16 volts. Don't bother An engine can be finely and correctly road speeds mentioned above. Addi-
with one that reads much higher, bccausc assembled and adjusted in a garage, but tionally, note the ammeter reading for

cach accessory used separately.
The following information will help RADIATOR BOILING POINTS
you interpret your gauge readings. It also (Maximum Temperatures)
explains what to do with the in- Open Cap 1S-psi Cap Coolant Type
terpretations. 212F 2S0F Plan water
Tachometer—The tach reads the en- 226F 268F 50% water. 50% glycol
gine revolutions per minute (rpm): Use it 24QF 24QF • 100% glycol
to set idle correctly. Depending on your
vehicle, this helps avoid stalling, ex-
cessive wear on automatic-transmiision
clutches and excessive fuel consump-
tion. Use the tach to judge when to shift into direct contact w ith the engine's mov- sion concerns. This would be dangerous-
for optimum economy or performance ing parts. It also absorbs heat through the ly close to the boiling point of water—
and to avoid lugging the engine. block and heads from engine coolant. 2I2F (I00C)—except for two things:
The tachometer can also be used to Expect higher temperatures when your Pressure radiator caps and antifrec/r al-
chcck for clutch or transmission slip- engine is at or near wide-open throttle for low higher boiling points.
page. In a specific gear, road speed ver- a sustained period. You can sec in the accompanying chart
sus rpm should always he directly pro- Other causes of higher-than-normal (hat in the newer cars that use a 15-psi cap
portional with a manual transmission. A oil temperature include low oil level, in- and recommended 50/50 coolant mix-
heavily loaded automatic transmission correct timing, incorrect spark-plug heat ture. the coolant temperature has a com-
may exhibit normal torque-converter range, and cooling-system problems. fortable safety margin.
slippage. This is a sign to carefully moni- Coolant-Temperature Gauge—Indi- Engines often exhibit a phenomenon
tor all temperature indicators for early cates coolant temperature in degrees callcd afterboil. This occurs when the
signs of overheating. Fahrenheit (F) or Celsius (C). Coolant engine is turned off and coolant circula-
Oil-Pressure Gauge—Indicates oil temperature and oil temperature don't tion stops. In localized areas, non-
pressure in pounds per square inch (psi): indicate the same things because they're circulating coolant may absorb so much
There is no one oil pressure that's right sensed differently. As mentioned, oil heat from the surrounding passages that it
for all engines and conditions, Engine-oil temperature is derived more from mov- temporarily rises above the normal max-
pumps are mechanically driven, usually ing engine parts. Coolant temperature is imum temperature. You may notice this
by the camshaft or distributor, or. in a related more to the effects of combus- indicated on the temperature gauge if you
dry-sump system, a toothed belt off the tion. Also, coolant is separated from the turn the ignition key back on after the
crank. This means pump speed and direct source of combustion heat by the engine stops. Afterboil is not considered
resulting oil pressure arc somewhat di- thickncss of the coolant-passage walls. abnormal as long as the radiator cap
rectly related to engine rpm. within the maintains system pressure and does not
maximum limits of the pressure-relief Older engines were designed to oper-
ate in the 140— I60F(60—72C) range, permit steam or coolant to escape.
valve. When an engine is new and every-
thing is operating correctly, oil pressure controlled by an appropriate thermostat. If an engine regularly overheats or
will be very low at idle—say 20 psi— Modern production engines routinely run loses coolant, you may be able to use the
and will increase as engine speed goes closer to 200F (94C). because of emis- coolant-temperature gauge to diagnose
up. to a regulated maximum—say 60 psi the cause. If. for instance, boiling occurs
for a typical street engine. 80 psi is not at a temperature lower than shown in the
uncommon on a race-car engine. accompanying chart, the ethylene glycol
concentration may be loo low. Or. your
When the engine is cold, expect to sec engine may have a pressure leak in the
higher oil-pressure readings bccausc the coolant system or head gasket.
oil is thickcr. As temperature rises, oil When pulling a trailer or other heavy-
pressure should stahili/.c at the normal load with an automatic-transmission-
readings. equipped vehicle, you can expect highcr-
Low pressure while driving indicates a than-normal coolant temperatures. This
problem related to inadequate lubrica- happens bccausc the transmission-oil
tion. Suspect low oil level, incorrect oil cooler, located in the radiator tank, trans-
viscosity, overheated engine, clogged oil mits excessive heat into the coolant.
filter, oil foaming, or failure of engine When you cold-start an engine, pay
bearings. attention to the tcmpcraturc-gauge read-
Oil-Temperature Gauge—Indicates Tach reads revolutions per minute (rpm)- ing. It should begin rising after a few-
Sun Super Tach II, model CP7901, has
oil temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (F) adjustable "red line" to indicate optimum minutes and should continue to rise until
or Celsius (C): Oil temperature is an in- shift points. Photo courtesy of Pentron it rcachcs the normally indicated reading.
dication of engine load because oil comes Products Inc. If rises too quickly, you may have a low

coolant level, failed water pump or tcry may no longer be capablc of taking a reading—as low as 10 volts—is normal
blown head gasket. full charge, even though the generator is during engine cranking, especially dur-
Cvlinder-Head Temperature Gauge trying to provide it. Or. the voltage reg- ing cold weather.
—Indicates cylinder-head temperature ulator may be out of calibration. Testing Bccausc the ammeter and the volt-
in degrees Fahrenheit (F) or Celsius (C): will be needed to pinpoint the problem. A meter give instantaneous information,
Because air-cooled engines rely on air moderate, continuous charge ( + ) read- you'll need to interpret a number of in-
instead of water for cooling, it's not prac- ing indicates a trickle charge from the dividual readings over a span of time to
tical to measure operating temperature generator to maintain battery condition. determine meaningful trends.
directly from the coolant (air). Instead, a This is normal and is not cause for alarm. Neither meter is "superior" to the
special gauge is used to indicate the tem- A low ( - ) reading indicates that, at other, although there are some who will
perature of the cylinder head. Tempera- the moment. electrical demands arc more argue in favor of one or the other. If
ture ranges encountered by the gauge than can be met by the generator, and the pressed for a choice, I'll admit favoring
sensor arc much different than those in a battery is discharging to make up the the voltmeter, for the simple reason that a
water-cooled engine. Ranges between difference. DC generators used in older generator warning lamp tells me all I
I OOF and 600F (40C and 320C) are not cars will display this condition at idle, need to know about charge/discharge.
uncommon, with 250—400F (120— which is not desirable, but normal. In- The voltmeter gives more meaningful in-
200C) regarded as normal. cidentally, during engine-starter opera- formation about battery condition. I in-
A temperature above the acceptable tion. current used to run the starter motor stalled both meters in my car.
maximum may indicate low oil level, does not flow through the ammeter and, Fuel-I>evel Gauge—Indicates relative
cooling-system problems, incorrect lim- consequently, isn't registered by it. Cur- fuel level in the fuel tank: Most fuel-level
ing or an excessive load on the engine. rent used to operate the starter relay and gauges arc calibrated, not in gallons, but
Ammeter—Indicates the flow rate of ignition system is indicated. in relative amounts of lank fullness.
current into or out of the battery: The When you become familiar with your
If a low ( - ) reading persists at normal
ammeter is calibrated in amperes for both car. you'll be able to assign approximate
engine speeds, suspect inadequate gener-
charge ( + ) and discharge ( - ) rates, in gallon amounts to needle position.
ator output. Possible causes include a
ranges of 20, 30 or more amperes. The loose drive belt, incorrect calibration of Some fuel-level gauges arc equipped
larger the range, the less precisely you'll the voltage regulator, an undersize gen- with special features that deserve men-
be able to read the ammeter scalc. erator. or failed components in the gener- tion. On vehicles with multiple fuel
In an absolutely ideal electrical sys- ator or regulator. tanks, you may find a separate gauge for
tem. the ammeter would read 0. indicat- Other causes of a constant discharge each tank, or a selector switch that op-
ing that generator output is exactly equal could be a short circuit or an abnormally erates a fuel-flow solenoid valve and fuel
to clcctrical demands at the moment. A high current draw in one or more gauge for the tank selected.
high ( + ) reading indicates that, at the accessories. Selectively switching Some OEM gauges includc a low-fuel-
moment, the generator is providing extra accessories on and off may help locate level warning lamp that operates elec-
current to recharge the battery. This is the fault. tronically from the conventional fuel-
normal immediately after engine start- Voltmeter—Indicates system voltage: level float in the tank.
up. When the engine is not running, the volt- Electric Speedometer—Indicates
If an overcharge condition persists, meter indicates battery voltage, which road speed in miles per hour and distance
there arc two possible causes. The bat- should be 12—13 volts in a 12-volt sys- traveled in miles: Most speedometers are
tem or 6—6.5 volts for a 6-volt system. mechanically operated by a drive cable,
When the engine is running, the volt- so the clcctric type is somewhat of an
meter indicates total system voltage, oddity. A sensor driven by the transmis-
which is the combined voltage of the sion sends impulses corresponding to
generator and battery. Generally, total road speed. On early VWs. this sensor is
system voltage should be 13.3—15.2 driven by one of the front wheels. The
volts. electric-speedometer head translates the
A high voltage reading may indicate impulses into road speed, which is in-
incorrect calibration of the voltage reg- dicated by the needle. Simultaneously,
ulator. If you don't correct this condi- the odometer translates the impulses into
tion. you can expect shortened battery distance traveled. One electric speedom-
life, caused by overheating and possibly eter. offered by Classic Instruments, fea-
boiling. Excessive voltage also shortens tures an odometer that can be custom-
the life of lamp filaments. calibrated to the gear ratios and tire size
Thls cylinder-head temperature gauge in- of any specific car. This is an attractive
A low voltage reading may indicate
dicates head temperature In degrees feature to those who constantly experi-
incorrect regulator calibration, loose
Fahrenheit. Others Indicate temperature in ment with gear ratios and tires in search
Ceialus. Photo courtesy of VDO In- belts, a defective generator or excessive
of better performance.
struments Inc. clcctrical demands. A temporary low

Lights are resistance loads. Headlamps and driving lamps on this Class 7 4X4 off-road racing
truck are heavy loads that draw high current, so they desorvo special consideration when
selecting wire, circuit protection, battery and alternator. Photo by Tom Monroe.

Elcctrical loads arc the devices that Resistance loads are designed to do without melting. Alloys of tungsten or
perform beneficial work in a car's clcc- one of two things: generate heat or crcatc nichrome are commonly used for heating
trical system. They're called loads be- light. In automotive applicatioas. two elements.
cause they act as burdens to the battery common heat-generating loads arc the Bccausc hcai-gcncrating loads draw
and generator, drawing current as they do rear-window defroster and cigarette high currents, the fuses and wiring used
their work. As mentioned in chapter 2, lighter. Some old cars, like the 1953 with them must be carefully selected.
loads rely on one of two principles to do MG-TD I once owned, had a heating Also, keep in mind that resistance loads
their work: resistance or magnetism. The strip that attached to the windshield with can quickly drain a battery if generator
application of these principles is ex- suction cups, to defrost the glass. It output is inadequate.
plained in the following text. This is fol- didn't work well! Light-generating loads (lamps) arc the
lowed by a detailed explanation of the In a heat-generating load, the ohm most common electrical loads in a vehi-
three basic kinds of loads found in an value of the resistance is carefully cle. There may be a dozen or more on the
automotive electrical system—lamps, selected so currcnl flowing through it outside and two to three dozen more in-
ignition systems and motors. creates the desired amount of heal. In side. Like heat-generating resistance
other words, current flow actually cre- loads, lamps have an clement, called a
RESISTANCE LOADS ates the heat, but resistance controls the filament, that is much thinner than the
In an electrical circuit with no resist- amount. wire serving it. When current flows
ance, amperage would be incredibly The resistance material, often callcd through the filament, it gels so hoi that it
high. The excessive current flow would the element, must be thinner than the produces visible light. Because lamps are
create heat, which would quickly melt electrical wire serving it so the element so numerous and so important in the elec-
the conductor. On the other hand, if re- gets hot but the wire doesn't. In this rc- trical system, they are discusscd in detail
sistance is loo high, little or no current spcct. the element is similar lo the ele- here.
can flow. Resistance loads strike a ment in a fuse, with one notable excep-
medium between these extremes, tion. The heating element is made of a LAMPS
harnessing heat to do useful work. material that allows it to bccomc hot Lamps consist of three basic com-

poncnts: the filament, which glows to Tungsten has several characteristics
make light; the bulb or envelope, where that make it desirable as a filament—it
the filament is located; and the base. gives off intense light when heated, and
which contains the electrical contacts. it's fairly rugged. But, it also has draw-
Lamp configurations arc as varied as backs. In a conventional automotive
the specialized uses they are designed lamp, the light it produces is not really
for. Some, like headlamps, have a built- white. Although an untrained eye may
in reflector to concentrate the light beam; not see it. tungsten light is yellow. Also,
others don't. Some have a metal base; tungsten tends to slowly evaporate when
others rely on the shape of the glass bulb heated. The resulting tungsten vapor
for mounting. Some lamps, such as head- forms a film on the inside surface of the
lamps and taillamps. have two filaments, bulb, gradually reducing light output.
In single- and double-filament light bulbs,
filaments are suspended near center of while others have only one. On some Eventually, the filament becomes thin
glass envelope for maximum light disper- lamps, the filament protrudes through the enough to bum out or break from road
sion. Also note how contacts protrude from bulb to form connector terminals. Other shock. Then the bulb must be replaced.
base in these automotive bulbs. lamps cither use the metal base as a ter- The bulb is made of heat-resistant
minal or have spade terminals embedded glass. During the manufacturing proc-
into the glass bulb. ess. air is pumped out of the bulb and is
As mentioned, the filament is the part replaced by an inert gas. commonly
that actually produces the light. It works argon. Without oxygen, the filament
on the same currcnt-flow/rcsistance prin- lasts for an extremely long time without
ciple as the heat-generating loads dis- burning out. In the presence of oxygen,
cussed earlier. The filament is sealed in- the filament lasts only a fraction of a
side an oxygen-free atmosphere. This sccond bccausc it burns up. If you've
permits a great deal of current to flow ever accidentally broken a lamp bulb
through the filament relative to its size— while it is on. you've seen this happen.
wire diameter—so it becomes hot The base, or mount, of a lamp is an
enough to produce visible light. important consideration when designing
The filament usually consists of an your clcctrical system. It isn't that one
extremely fine strand of tungsten wire kind of base is necessarily better than
wrapped into a tight coil to provide a another, but bccausc cach type of base
Left and center lamps have bayonet bases. greater amount of light-emitting surface. can accept a specific kind of lamp socket.
Right lamp is Installed simply by plugging The coil is supported by heavier wires Depending on the number of beams, a
Into Its socket Contacts are lengths of wire inside the bulb, where it's relatively safe headlamp has two or three spade ter-
that protrude directly through glass. from damage by impact. minals extending directly through the

Double-filament headlamp—both high and

Single-filament headlamp has two spade low beam In one lamp—uses three ter-
terminals—one to conduct current, one for minals, one for each filament and one for
ground. Terminals for both single- and ground. Factory cars use one-piece tool-
taillamp double-filament headlamps are standard- proof' connector, like one shown here. In a
into its socket with ized for universal fit Lamp can use In- hobby car, you can also use Individual
In correct chsnneis, then dividual female connectors as shown here, female connectors like those shown for
to lock In place. Photo by or single molded connector with two sock- single-filament lamp at left Photo by Jim
ets. Photo by Jim Barrett. Barrett.
glass bulb. Low- and high-beam lamps lamp. In any case, the quart/ part of the stages of cherry red. orange, yellow and
cach require a specific connector. One name refers to the composition of the finally white. The sun is a prime example
terminal is for ground. The others con- bulb. Quart/, is used because it permits of an object that's glowing with such
duct current to the filament or filaments higher operating temperatures than com- intensity (hat its light output is nearly
used for high or low beam. mon glass. Quart/, also provides high op- white.
Turn-signal lamps and taillamps tical clarity and low expansion. The In a halogen lamp, the tungsten fila-
usually have a metal bayonet base with halogen or iodine part of the name refers ment glows much brighter and hotter
small pins used to attach the base to the to the kind of gas inside the bulb. than it could in a conventional bulb, so
socket. On single-filament bulbs, the Halogen is a family of gaseous elements, the light output is noticeably whiter. If
pins arc equidistant from the end of the including fluorine, chlorine and. of you park two cars sidc-by-sidc at night,
base. On multi-filament bulbs, the pins course, iodine. you'll sec the difference in the color of
arc loeated at two different distances so Halogen gasses are used in electrical the light between the one with con-
they can be inserted into the socket only lamps bccausc of the phenomenon ventional lamps and the one with halogen
one way. If a bayonet lamp won't easily known as the halogen cycle. In this cy- lamps. Although halogen lamps draw
twist into place, remove it and rotate it cle. tungsten vapor given off by the slightly more current than conventional
180° to align the pins the opposite way. glow ing tungsten filament is redeposited lamps, you don't have to change wiring
Don't force it. back onto the filament, extending its life or fuses to substitute halogen lamps for
In OEM applications, bulbs used for significantly. This also practically elimi- conventional ones.
instrument-panel illumination have no nates bulb blackening. Headlamps containing twt> filaments
separate base. Instead, the glass is In the halogen atmosphere, the tung- carry the number 2 formed into the glass
shaped to snap into the grippcrs of the sten filament can carry a higher current of the front lens at the top edge. There arc
socket. Filament wires extend through for a given filament size, w hich produces three terminals on the back—one for the
the glass and are trapped between the more light. The light is also hotter and common ground, one for the low-beam
glass and the socket grippcrs (contacts). whiter. Photographers refer to this filament, and one for the high-beam fila-
Don't twist this kind of bulb bccausc the charactcnstic of light as color tempera- ment.
metal grippcrs arc dclicatc. ture. Before 1940. when "modem" head-
Halogen tamps—The ideal headlamp To understand how hotter light is also lamp regulations began, most cars had
produces brilliant white light. It doesn't whiter, you must understand a scientific bu lb-and- reflector headlamps. In this de-
lose intensity bccausc of tungsten depos- analogy callcd the black-body radiator. sign. the body of the lamp contained a
its. And. it rarely bums out bccausc of a Imagine a block of material that's abso- polished rcflcctor and provision for in-
weakened tungsten filament. The con- lutely black when it's cold. Then imagine stalling a separate bulb. This was re-
ventional sealed-beam headlamp falls that the block can be heated by a method placed by the sealed beam lamp. It has a
short in all these areas. Enter the halogen that won't consume the material, no mat- scaled-glass body containing non-
lamp. ter how hot it gets. With just a little heat scrviccablc filaments and rcflcctor. The
"Hie halogen lamp is also referred to as applied, the block will take on a dull red non-sealed type was not optically inferior
a quartz-iodine lamp, or quartz-halogen color. With more heat, it goes through to the "better" scaled-beam lamp, cxccpt

In typical bucket Installation of headlamp, chromed headlamp Code number molded Into glass at upper odgo of headlamp
bucket is designed to accomodate a standard two-beam headlamp (arrows) indicates number of filaments. High-beam-only lamps
bulb. will have a one; high-low beam lamps will have a two.

Headlamps are standardized into four ver- Exception to the rule: This side-marker This OEM fog lamp Is more decorative than
sions. Large rectangular and the large lamp usea a parabolic reflector—most functional. Although mounted close to road
circular lamps have both low and high aide-markera don't. Photo by Jim Barrett. according to good practice, output is weak.
beams in one bulb. Small rectangular and And I discovered that lamps on both sides
small circular lamps have either low and were poorly aimed when car was delivered.
high or just high beams. These are used in
4-lamp systems.

that it required the owner to periodically One thing to note about all four sys- cal. the reflector generally takes a more
check for and remove tarnish that inevita- tems mentioned is that the maximum flattened shape to distribute light over a
bly built up on the reflector. candlepttwer (light output) permitted is greater area. A car's dome lamp and
In 1955, a modest candlepower in- the same. This is based on laws es- courtesy lamps arc examples.
crease was permitted. Finally, in 1957, tablished in 1940. when sealed-beam Lamp Applications—The preceding
the First significant headlamp change oc- lamps installed on new cars bccamc re- sections dcscribcd several kinds of lamps
curred. That was the year the four-lamp, quired by law. Scalcd-bcam and candle- in order to explain various characteristics
or quad-lump, system was introduced, power regulations vary from state to of lamps in general. This section dis-
initially only on selected luxury cars. It state. It's up to you to determine and cusses the various kinds of lamps accord-
soon spread throughout the industry. In comply with the laws of your state. ing to application. This will help you
this system, one lamp on cach side of the I^amp Reflectors—Many of the small sclcct the specific kinds of lamps re-
car contains both low and high beams, lamps used in a car require no reflector. quired for your project car.
while the other pair contains only the These include instrument-panel lamps Of all the lamps on the outside of a car.
high beam. Although this system per- and side-marker lamps. But lamps with headlamps contribute the most to safe
mitted optimum use of high beams, it did higher output usually have a reflector to driving at night. Their task is to illumi-
so at the further penally of ihc low concentrate the light output for better nate the roadway adequately for gixxl
beams. In the quad system, the lamps efficiency. vision, but without blinding oncoming
have a smaller diameter than those in the Headlamps are the only ones that have drivers. For this reason, headlamps have
two-lamp system. the reflector built into the bulb. Other two illumination levels, or beams. The
Lamps containing both filaments UNC lamps use a reflector in the lamp- low beam is satisfactory for low-speed,
the same number 2 designation and three- assembly body. These include taillamps around-town driving, when following
terminal connectors as the older ones. and driving lamps, both of which have a another car. and for temporary use on the
The high-bcam-only lamp contains one replaceable bulb inserted into a weather- highway when meeting an oncoming car.
filament, so it carries the number 1 on the sealed housing with an integral reflector. The high beam is suitable for all night-
front lens, and it has a two-terminal con- The purpose of any reflector is to cap- driving conditions where there are no
nector. One terminal is for ground and ture all the light rays that radiate in ran- oncoming cars and no cars immediately
the other for current feed. The high- dom directions from the glowing fila- in front of you.
bcam-only lamp is illuminated when the ment and direct them into a single, con- Bccausc it's not optically possible to
low/high lamp is sw itched to high beam. centrated beam. In precision optical sys- place both the low- and high-beam fila-
By the mid-70s. still another variation tems such as headlamps and driving ments at the exact focal point in a bulb,
of lamps appeared. Rectangular quad lamps, the rcflcctor is parabolic in cross- lamp designers compromise. The high
lamps became available, the reason be- section with the filament positioned at beam is the critical one. so the low-beam
ing to accommodate a lower hoodline. the focal point of the parabola. The filament is the one that's displaced. A
Then, in 1978. another system was in- parabolic reflector is the most efficient dimmer switch is wired to permit the
troduced. This time it was a rectangular shape for maximum light output. In illumination of only one filament at a
single-lamp system. lamps where precise optics aren't criti- time.

Driving tamps and fog lamps arc
used by the discerning driver to supple-
ment the OEM headlamps. Few new car
or truck models comc equipped with
driving lamps—even as an option—
although some manufacturers offer fog
lamps on selected car models. I suspect
that they're used more as a styling or
image gimmick than for any practical
use. The fog lamps that came with my
personal car arc woefully inadequate.
However, the aftermarket offers a wide
range of driving lamps and fog lamps for
the serious driver.
In street driving, driving lamps arc
intended to supplement the headlamps Off-road racers rely on high-output driving and fog lamps to illuminato as much as tho
under two specific conditions. The most terrain as possible. Setup shown here is basic—two headlamps and two driving lamps.
obvious one is high-speed driving at Many off-road setups use more lamps than this—mounted In locations to minimize dam-
night on ihe open road with minimal age during racing—which likely would be illegal for street use. Lens covers protect lamps
oncoming traffic, where the lights won't when not In use—they're also good advertising for lamp manufacturer! Photo by Ron
blind oncoming drivers. Sessions.
The second use is to supplement the
headlamps when the low trcams don't
provide enough light, but the high beams MAGNETIC LOADS sparkplugs. The high voltage is routed—
provide too much. Driving lamps for this Magnetic loads rely on the electrical distributed— to the appropriate spark-
application must be carefully aimed to principle that a magnetic field is gener- plug at the exact moment it's needed in
avoid blinding oncoming drivers. ated around any electrical conductor. If the combustion cycle.
Driving lamps for off-road vehicles you w ind the conducting wire into a coil, The rate at which sparks are delivered
arc another matter, as described on page the magnetic field becomes concen- by the ignition system depends on how
148 and in above photo. trated. And if you put a metal corc inside fast the engine is running and how many
Fog lamps serve two purposes. The ihc coil, the magnetic field iseven further cylinders the engine has. Spark rate can
obvious one is to illuminate the mad un- concentrated and can accomplish work. be computed by using the following for-
der foggy conditions, when the use of You may remember that this is also the mula: Revolutions per minute (rpm) + 2
conventional headlamps would create a basic principle behind relays and sole- X number of cylinders = sparks per min-
dazzling effect, in this application, the noids, discussed earlier. ute. Example: For a 4-cylinder engine
fog lamps arc wired to operate in both the In all cars, two important kinds of running at5.000 rpm. we get:5.000 + 2
parking-lamp and low-beam modes. loads depend on a concentrated magnetic X 4 = 10,000 sparks per minute.
The second use is to illuminate the field. These are Ihe ignition system and It's evident that an ignition system
edges of the road, even when there's no the electric motor. produces sparks at an enormously fast
fog. In this application, fog lamps can be Ignition System—The type of ignition rate. To understand how 12 volts be-
used with both low and high beams. system you'll use in your project car de- comes 25.000 volts, and does so 10.000
Check local ordinances. pends on two basic factors. One is the times a minute, let's examine how one
When you wire fog lamps and driving type of equipment the factory provided. spark is generated.
lamps into the headlamp circuit, use re- The other is the selection of replacement Coil Theory—An ignition coil works on
lays to control them. Relays arc more equipment available in the aftermarket. two basic principles. The first is the
expensive, and more complicated to Bccausc of the ignition system's unique magnetic-field principle jast discussed.
wire, but they reduce the incidence of role as an engine component, this section I h e second is the induction principle. As
blown fuses and eliminate the possibility covers only the basic operating principles described on page 18. moving a con-
of having the w rong lamp on at the wrong as they relate to the car's elcctrical sys- ductor through a magnetic field induces
time. This advice is based on personal tem. If you want a specialty system, current into the conductor. However,
experience—I was once stopped by a you'll need to consult a local speed shop both phenomena—magnetism and
polite but firm officer who took a dim for details. Also, pick up a copy of induction—occur inside the ignition coil
view of being accidentally blinded by my HPBooks' High-Performance Ignition without need for any moving parts.
driving lamps! The appropriate diagram Handlxx)k.
The ignition coil consists of a primary
for wiring these lamps is on page 33. An ignition system transforms low- coil and a secondary coil. Shutting off
voltage from the battery to the high volt- current flow in the primary (low voltage)
age needed to jump a sparkplug gap in the coil causes its magnetic field to collapse.


Ignition colls llks this one have been used When current flows through primary wind- Magnetic field collapses and Induces high
on cars for decades. Newer electronic sys- ing of ignition coll, a magnetic field la cre- voltage into secondary winding when pri-
tems incorporate coils of different shapes, ated. Drawing courtesy of Chrysler Corp. mary circuit la opened. Also note thst some
but basic function Is the same—to create a voltage is Induced Into primary, but It Is of
high-Intensity spark. no value In creating spark. Drawing cour-
tesy of Chrysler Corp.

The motion of the collapsing field past plug. where a spark occurs that ignites
the secondary (high-voltage) coil causes the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder.
current to be induccd into it. Points & Condenser Ignition—The
Another electrical phenomenon, points are a set of electrical contacts that
called electrical transformation, also open and close the primary circuit. The
takes placc in a coil. The primary coil has points arc positioned between the coil
only a few hundred turns of wire, while and ground. A small cam with one lobe
the secondary coil has several thousand. per cylinder operates the points in
Electrical transformation determines that coordination with other engine functions
the ratio of original current to induced at one-half engine speed. The amount of
current is the same as the ratio of time the points remain closed is called
primary-coil turns to secondary-coil dwell and is read in degrees of crankshaft
turns. So. the ignition coil actually multi- rotation. The longer the dwell, the more
plies battery voltage of about 12 volts to time there is for the primary field to build
25.000 volts or more cach time the pri- up. This drawing shows what's inside a typical
mary coil is energized and then turned ignition coil. Primary winding contains rela-
tively few windings, while secondsry has
off. The resulting voltage is routed considerably more.
through the distributor to the appropriate
sparkplug, w here it ignites the air fuel
mixture in the combustion chamber. Cur-
rent is reduced in the same proportion.
The coil's primary w inding has a posi-
tive ( + ) terminal and a negative ( - )
terminal. The positive terminal is sup-
plied from the ignition switch: the nega-
tive terminal is connected to the dis-
tributor points, where the primary circuit
is opened and closed. The secondary coil
winding is attached to the center tower of
the coil, which leads to the ccntcr tower
of the distributor cap. A rotor driven by
the distributor shaft transfers current to Condenser consists of two sets of foil Ignition coil has two small terminals and
the appropriate sparkplug w ire by bridg- leaves, one connected to source of voltage one large one. Small terminal at left (BAT or
ing the gap between the cap's ccntcr low- spikes and the other to ground. Not shown +) connects to Ignition voltsge source; ter-
er and ihc tower corresponding to the are Insulators between the leaves. Con- minal at right (DIST or - ) connects to dis-
cylinder to be fired. The cunent races densers are wrapped tightly Into a cylinder tributor points. If car has a tach. It geta sig-
for compactness. Metal case acts aa nal from this termlnsl. as well. Large center
down the sparkplug wire to the spark- ground connection. post connects to distributor cap.

turbs an electrical field in the sensor,
indicating the need for a spark to occur.
Some aftermarket units use a light source
and a photoelectric cell with a shutter
wheel to chop up the light beam, cach
light segment corresponding to one
cylinder's ignition. The most accurate
ignition-triggering mechanisms use
either system, but are mounted at the
crankshaft damper. Almost without ex-
ception. such systems arc restricted to
race-car use.
With the advent of on board comput-
ers. electronic-ignition control has
moved into the space age. However,
Diagram shows how voltage applied to coll Input Is grounded when distributor points such computer systems are available only
close. When the points open. Meld in coll collapses. Voltage spikes are dissipated by as factory equipment on new cars, and
condenser. are not yet available in the aftermarket.
Also, because of their complex nature,
they are not recommended for do-it-
At the instant before the points open, primary circuit just like points. The mod- yourself electrical systems. I suggest us-
current is racing through the primary coil ule depends on a signal from the dis- ing a points-and-condcnscr ignition or an
in search of ground. When the circuit tributor to indicate when a spark should aftermarket electronic ignition.
opens, induction starts, as just outlined. occur. Early units actually used points Resistor & Bypass Circuit—Despite
Most of the current is induced into the for this. However, the points had an ex- the buffering action of the condcnscr.
secondary coil, but about 250 volts is tended life bccausc (hey weren't carrying ignition points may wear out prematurely
induced into the primary coil and has heavy primary voltage. if they carry 12 volts routinely. The life
nowhere to go. Its most likely path would of a coil is also determined by the amount
Modem electronic ignitions rely on a
be to jump the gap between the now sepa- of current flowing through it.
pickup sensor that reacts to teeth on a
rating points. At the rate of 10.000jumps trigger wheel, one tooth per cylinder. Many OEM ignition systems on
per minute, it wouldn't take long for the The presence of the passing tooth dis- American cars include a series resistor
points to bum up. So. the condenser pro-
vides an alternate path for the primary
induced voltage.
Inside the condenser are two sets of ELECTRONIC IGNITION CAP*
foil leaves separated from each other by
an insulator. One set of leaves is con-
nected to the condcnscr lead, and the
other to ground through the condenser's
metal case. At the instant the points
open, the condcnscr "looks" like a
ground to the rushing electrons. By the
time they pack into the condenser, they
"realize" the condenser isn't really a
ground, so they rush back into the pri-
mary coil where they contribute to the
induccd voltage in the secondary coil.
Electronic Ignition—At the expense of
oversimplification. I think of the elec-
tronic-ignition module as nothing more
than a substitute for ignition points and a
condenser. An electronic-ignition sys-
tem still requires a coil, though the coil's
shape may vary somewhat from those
used in conventional ignition systems. In this electronic-ignition distributor, points have been replaced by electronic com-
ponents. Relative movement between teeth on pol« place and magn«t create signals
Essentially, the module contains a detected by pickup coil to determine when to "fire" ignition coil. Drawing courtesy of
transistor that opens and closes the coil's Chevrolet Motor Division.

Urheberrechtlich geschulzles Material
This is where other end of resistor bypass
wire Is attached. During engine cranking,
full battery voltage is available at T ter-
minal. If your car has an ignition resistor,
use starter solenoid with bypass terminal—
identical solenoids are made without T

chat reduces current How to the coil by maximum torque when stalled. The rea- directions so they somewhat cancel cach
approximately half. The resistor may be sons for these seemingly impossible facts other. With a strong, reinforced field on
built into the coil, mounted to the fire- should bccomc clcar as you read the one side and a weakened one on the
wall. or built into the harness in the form following discussion on the operating other, the conductor is forced to the right.
of a calibrated-rcsisiancc wire. principles of the clcctric motor. This is the basic magnetic principle used
During engine start-up. a full-strength Motor Principles—An understanding to turn an clcctric motor.
spark is desirable. So. a bypass circuit is of the clcctric motor begins with the fact Now. imagine the w ire conductor bent
included in the starter circuit to provide that a current-carrying electrical con- into a loop and positioned between the
full battery current to the coil only while ductor has a magnetic field around it. two poles of an electromagnet. Further
the starter motor is operating. Place this conductor bctw ccn the poles of imagine that cach end of the loop ter-
In the era before electronic ignition, a horseshoe magnet and there'll be two minates in a semicircular commutator. A
starter solenoids had an extra terminal magnetic fields—one from the con- pair of brushes riding against the com-
labeled I for ignition or R for resistance ductor and one from the magnet. mutator are connected to a battery. Cur-
bypass. The terminal was wired directly In any magnet, including a conductor, rent flows through the electromagnetic
to the coil's + terminal to bypass the the lines of magnetic forcc move from the coils, through one brush and com-
built-in resistance while the solenoid was north (positive or + ) pole to the south mutator. through the loop of wire,
energized. As soon as start-up was com- (negative or - ) pole. The lines of force through the second brush and com-
pleted. the solenoid de-energized and the in the wire conductor obey the right-hand mutator and back to the battery.
bypass was turned off. rule of magnetism. The rule works like Several magnets arc instantly crcatcd
A final word on ignition systems: this: If you grasp the conductor in your by the flowing current. The electromag-
Electronic tachometers rely on the coil's right hand with your thumb pointing in net forms the two poles corresponding to
on-off current for an operating signal. the direction of current flow, the direc- those of the horseshoe magnet. And a
The sender wire is usually conncctcd to tion of your fingers will indicate the di- field is crcatcd around cach leg of the
the coil's negative terminal. For more on rection of the magnetic field. wire loop.
electronic tachometers, see page 44. Ixt's suppose a horseshoe magnet is The interaction of the magnetic fields
Electric Motors—Because electric positioned so the north pole is at the bot- produces a rotational force in the loop.
motors are so commonplace, many peo- tom. meaning the magnetic lines move When the loop has made 1/2 revolution,
ple give little thought to the fact that their upward toward the south pole. The field cach commutator is in contact with the
operation seems to defy simple logic. In in the conductor is moving clockwise. opposite brush from the starting position.
fact, according to the Dclco Rcmy Divi- On the left side of the conductor, both A new field is created in the loop and the
sion of GN1. an electric motor is an edu- magnetic fields move the same way. so cycle repeals. The rotating loop is callcd
cated short circuit. And. unlike a gaso- they reinforce cach oilier. On the right the armature of the motor. Imagine mul-
line engine, an electric motor develops side, they're trying to move in opposite tiple wire loops, cach conncctcd to a pair

These drawings show operation of electric When armature has turned 90, North pole When armature has rotated 180 . brushes A
motor during one revolution. Noto per- of armature is attracted toward South pole and B are now contacting commutator seg-
manent magnets at left and right. Current at right. South pole of armature is attracted ments B and A. so current through arma-
flows from brush A. through commutator A. toward North pole at left. Rotation con- ture reverses, reversing armature polarity.
through armature coll. through com- tinues. Unlike poles repel and rotation continues.
mutator B to brush B. Armature becomes
an electromagnet. Initially, armature poles
are repelled by like poles of permanent
magnet, starting clockwise rotation.

of commutator segments, and you'll

have an idea what a real clcctric motor is
Here's a point you may have missed.
r • E A

A motor has a loop of w ire rotating in a

magnetic field—the exact conditions
necessary to make a generator! So. could
it be possible for the motor to try to
generate current at the same time it's
running? You bet it is. When armature has rotated 270. unlike Armature has now made a complete 360
poles begin to attract, and rotation con- revolution and is back where it started.
The current generated w ithin a running tinues. Again, polarity reverses, unlike poles repel
motor is called counierelectromotive and cycle repeats. Drawings courtesy of
force (CEMF). The strength of the Chrysler Corp-
CEMF is directly proportional to motor
speed. As the motor runs faster, more
CEMF is generated, causing less battery
current to flow. Although CEMF may-
approach battery voltage, it never equals
it. Otherw ise the motor would eventually
stop. In fact. Ihc top speed of a motor is
limited by the CEMF. So. an electric
motor is self-limiting at top speed.
CEMF is also the reason an electric
motor acts like an educated short circuit.
Before current flows in a motor, the in-
ternal resistance may be as low as 1/1U0
ohm—definitely a short circuit to
ground! But as soon as current flows, and
the motor starts to turn. CEMF auto-
matically regulates current flow, so the Simplified drawing of armature shows how each wire loop is attached to a pair of com-
cxpcctcd short circuit never occurs. mutator bars. Commutator bars are contacted by a pair of brushes. As armature turns,
commutator bars are continually moving past brushes, making each loop Into a momen-
The turning forcc of the wire loop. tary electromagnet.






* V


N X E P L E S H O E S |3
° ° >

Starter motor trims Is a heavy matal pari supporting the a«t of Held colls. Inslda, armature la traa to spin on baarlnga contained In and
houelnga. Bruahaa ara contained in brueh holders In end housing. Drawing courteey of American Motors Corp.

callcd torque, is directly proportional to Motor Components—Most of the com- or bushings assembled into the motor
current flow. That's why a motor puts out ponents have already been described in housing. Finally, a pair of insulated
its maximum torque when its speed is the discussion on how a motor works, brushes, held in insulated pockets within
lowest, when CEMF is lowest. An clcc- although in basic form. These and the the housing, are positioned to rub against
tric motor operating against a load that remaining ones are described in detail the commutator bars. Terminals are
drags down its operating speed causes the here. wired to cany current to the field coils
motor to overheat. The heat is caused by The motor housing is a heavy iron and brushes.
high current flow at work. The current is frame to which the field-coil cores. Electric-Motor Types—Large, power-
relatively unresisted because at low called pole shoes, are attached. The field ful electric motors, such as starting
motor speeds there's little CEMF gener- coils arc wrapped around the pole shoes motors, use electromagnetic field coils.
ated. and are insulated by a coating on the Smaller motors, such as those used for
Perhaps now you can see why an wire. The wire loops described earlier are windshield wipers, power windows and
electric motor can be called an "educated contained in the armature, a kind of axle the like, may use a permanent magnet in
short circuit." To summarize, when cur- shaft that rotates within the motor hous- place of the field coils. The permanent-
rent is first applied to the motor, it can ing. Each loop terminates in a pair of magnet motor is less expensive to build,
flow almost entirely unimpeded. commutator segments. These metal seg- and is more than adequate in low-demand
Torque, which is proportional to current ments are insulated from each other and applications.
flow, is also high. As motor speed from the armature shaft. Thin sheets of Power output is a limitation of the
increases—it docs so rapidly—CEMF mica are often used as the insulating permanent-magnet motor. Size-for-size.
increases, automatically limiting current material. its output is not as great as that of a
to a safe rate. The armature is supported by bearings field-coil motor. In OEM applications.

Urheberrechtlich geschutzles Ma
Electric motors com* in ail sizes, shapes end applications. In these exsmples, the motor is Third brush can be added to permanent-
the cylindrical shape. From left to right are: In-tank electric fuel pump and filter, windshield- magnet motor to make it operate at two
washer pump and electric door-lock actuator. Corrugated part on door-lock actuator is the speeds. When low-speed and common
lock drive rod. Motors are permanent-magnet type. Door lock actuator is reversible. brushes at 180 apart are used, motor runs
at slow speed. When high-speed brush and
common brush are used, motor runa faster.
It high-speed brush could be moved farther
clockwise, motor would eventually begin to
slow down and stop.

permanent-magnet motors generally the armature magnetic Held, crcatcd by an engine. The motor would run faster—
operate through a torque-multiplying current flow. Reducing current flow up to a point. If you rotate the brush too
gear train. You'll often find the higher- weakens the field, slowing the motor. far. the motor will slow down and finally
powered field-coil motors attached to a Motors with a shunt coil have two stop.
gear train as well. This may be more for windings in the field coil—the usual one It's not practical to make a motor with
slowing down the action than for torque and a much smaller one threaded a movable brush—although it's been
multiplication, though. throughout. With the main coil ener- tried—but it is practical to add a third
If you dccidc to install a custom motor- gized. the motor runs fast. With the shunt brush in an advanced position. By select-
ized feature in your car. be aware of the also energized, (he main field is ing this brush with the control switch,
output limitations of the permanent- weakened, slowing the motor. This type you can make the motor run faster. This
magnet motor. Better safe than sorry. of circuit allow s two speeds, and is used is a common method of achieving two
The available speeds of multi-speed in many GM wiper motors. speeds with a permanent-magnet motor.
motors may be provided by one of three The speed of a permanent-magnet
common methods: resistors, shunt wind- motor can be controlled by a set of multi-
ings or multiple brushes. ple brushes. As mentioned earlier, the
A typical resistance-controlled motor common location for brushes is 180" op-
is the heater blower. The control switch posite each other. If you could hold one
selects from a variety of resistors that brush stationary and somehow rotate the
permit different amounts of current to other one in the direction opposite to
flow. RcnKinbcr the speed and power of armature rotation, the cffcct would be
a motor are governed by the strength of something like advancing the ignition on

Urhefc Ma
I bought this set ot terminals and electrical supplies from DRI Industries. It contained all the
kinds of terminals needed to wire my car, although I had to buy extra quantities of some. As an
edded bonus, they offered a wire crimper at a discounted price, along wtth the terminal

This chaptcr covcrs the minor com- fuses or ceramic fuses. Small panels for of component called a terminal block.
ponents that don't fit well into the all three arc available in the aftermarket. This component is used to connect major
categories discussed in previous chap- Or. you can remove a serviceable panel wiring harnesses. Terminal blocks are
ters. Many arc items you'll be using by from a donor car and adapt it to your car. usually made of an insulating fibcrboard
the dozen, anyway. On page 36, an argument is presented with the electrical conductors riveted in
both for and against the use of circuit place.
FUSE PANELS breakers versus fuses. If you decide to Frankly. 1 haven't seen too many
To be absolutely truthful, you don't use fuses, you'll need an appropriate fuse general-purpose aftermarket fuse panels
need a fuse panel in a car's electrical panel. that have impressed me much. I suggest
system. Instead, you can use an in-line Selecting an Aftermarket Fuse that if you've chosen fuses over circuit
fuse holder in cach circuit. However, Panel—There arc only a few things to breakers, go the rest of the way and adapt
using these holders instead of a fuse pan- consider when choosing an aftermarket a used, factory-type fuse panel, as de-
el is impractical—assembly is difficult panel. First, of course, is the type of scribed below.
and they arc not always convenient when fuses you'll be using. Then, you must Adapting a Used Fuse Panel—If you
a fuse needs to be replaced. Fuse panels nuke sure the panel w ill fit into the spacc remove and adapt a fuse panel from an
make wiring and fuse replacement much available. Many aftermarket man- existing car or truck, there arc a few
easier. ufacturers make fuse panels of varying things to consider
There's a wide variety of fuse panels to lengths, so you may need to buy a variety First, if you're building a kit car, the
choosc from, depending on the "donor" of sizes to accommodate the spacc and manufacturer may make specific recom-
car you're taking your electrical com- fuse requirements of your car. mendations. Check to determine why a
ponents from, and whether you want to Many aftermarket fuse panels also particular panel is required. It may be
use glass-capsule fuses. Autofusc-typc include—or arc a part of—another kind that you'll be taking large enough por-

e x p e r t 2 2 fl/ia http://rutracker.orq
tions of the harness from the donor car
and the fuse panel is an integral pari of it.
If the decision is up to you. be sure the
panel will accommodate the style and
number of fuses you want, making al-
lowance for adding circuits at a later
date. You may need to refer to chapters
10 and 11 to determine this.
Next, be sure the panel you've chosen
will fit the allocated place in the car.
Measure if you're not sure.
Finally, check to be sure the vehicle You could UM A fu*A hol<3«r Ilka this for Small fuae blocks for glass-capsule fuses
wasn't involved in a fire and that it didn't every circuit In your car: Jeep Corporation come in various sizes and shapes, can be
suffer massive electrical damage. used to do just matt But modern thinking Is assembled Into larger panels. Photo by Jim
Charred wiring is a definite sign that to put all your fuses Into one panel. Barrett.
you're looking in the wrong car! Then
disconnect the battery, if the donor car
has one. Remove the screws or bolts
holding the fuse panel in place, then pull
as much of the existing harness loose
from the undcr-dash area as you can.
Finally, cut wires free from the harness,
leaving at least I foot of wire attached to
each cavity in the fuse panel. The wire
ends will be spliced to the new harness
when you install it. so leave as much wire
length as possible.

Before discussing terminal blocks, I
explain what bulkhead and harness con- GM uses tip-down fuse panel In most of Its Aftermarket fuse panels come In several
cara. These are convenient to service and configurations. This one accomodates
nectors arc used for in factory in- simply push up and lock when you're done. blade-type Autofuse. Several units can be
stallations. This may help you sec why stacked as shown. I bought mine by mall
they're not needed in your project car. order from Ron Francis Wire Works.
When a car goes down the assembly-
line, wiring is installed in sections called
harnesses. There's a harness for the in-
strument panel, one for the front lighting,
one or more for the engine, one for rear
wiring, and perhaps several more for op-
tional equipment.
Each harness is designed to go into the
car at specific points of assembly, usual-
ly before upholstery, dash-panel cover
and other interfering parts are installed.
This means that individual harnesses
eventually must be connected to each
other to form the completed elcctrical
system. Various harness connectors
make this a relatively simple, hard-to-
mcss-up job. At the point where the har-
nesses pass through the firewall, or bulk-
head, the outside harness plugs into the If you plan to salvage fuse panel from a Production cars rely on s bulkhead con-
inside harness by means of a huge bulk- donor car, leave as much wire attached aa nector to attach harnesses outside of body
head connector may have up to 40 or 50 possible—1 foot is probably a desirable to those inside. Because many wires are
cavities. minimum. Wires on this one are cut shorter crowded into a fairly small space, these are
than that but could be made to work. sometimes cslled "high density" con-
Terminal blocks aren't used often in nectors.

Fuse panel and main wiring harness from Terminal block connects one harness to an- Starting at bottom, first wire is connected to
my Pinto donor car. Panel mounts under other. Each screw In left column is electri- the one directly opposite. So Is second
dash. Engine harness (left) passes through cally (olned to adjacent screw in right col- wire. Third left wire connects to third and
bulkhead and pluga Into back of panel. umn. A barrier Insulates each pair of match- fourth right wires, which permits operation
ing screws from pairs on either aide. of two devices from one voltage source.

factory wiring jobs. Auto manufacturers dash harness. This is a simplified ex- described on the facing page.
rely more on specialized bulkhead con- ample, because there are usually far more Turn Flashers—These units arc what
nectors and harness connectors as those than eight wires in an undcr-hood har- make the front and rear turn signals and
described. Such connectors are custom- ness. When you install the under-dash dashboard indicators flash on and off. All
designed for a specific car and arc effec- harness, you'll run the eight wires factory cars built after 1967 also have
tive in reducing incorrect wire con- through a hole in the firewall and attach side-marker lamps. In most of these, the
nections on an assembly line. But they're cach to a screw in one row on the terminal front markers also flash.
not easily adapted to a project car. nor arc block. To complete the job, attach the The turn flasher has a set of movable
they needed. eight under-hood wires to the screws in contact points and a heating coil operated
The way you wire your project car will the other row. making sure that each pair by current flowing through the unit. Dur-
be entirely different. You can install the of wires is attached to matchcd screws. ing turn-signal operation, current flows
wires at your convenience, rather than at Ring terminals are commonly used to through the points, then the heater, the
the demand of an incessantly moving connect wire ends to terminal-block turn-signal switch and finally the lamps.
assembly line. You can take the time to screws. Front and rear turn lamps selected by the
install the wires one at a time, or you can What you've just done is connect two turn-signal lever turn on. When the heat-
construct partial harnesses similar to the harnesses together without using solder er warms up, it temporarily opens the
ones used in the factory, to be installed or solderless butt connectors. Both solder points, and the turn-signal lamps go off.
and eventually hooked together. Chapter and solderless connectors would work, As soon as the heater cools, the points
11 describes two harness-construction but they're inconvenient to disconnect close and the cycle repeats.
methods. For now. let's assume that you readily for later service or diagnosis If one exterior turn-signal lamp is
have decided to make two or three work. In addition, terminal blocks make burned out. there's not enough current
harnesses—one for the car's passenger it easy to change wires around if you flow in the circuit to make the heater
compartment, another one for under the make a mistake or if you want to add work, so the remaining lamp simply
hood, and perhaps a third one for the another branch to a particular circuit. As comes on and stays on. So do the turn-
instrument panel. How do you connect with fuse panels, it's a good idea to signal indicators on the dashboard. This
the various harnesses? You use terminal choose a terminal block with a few extra is a safety factor intended to alert you that
blocks. terminals for possible future circuits. the tum-signal lamp is burned out. Com-
A terminal block is usually a plastic or pare this to the operation of the hazard
resin casting with two rows of screw FLASHERS flasher, below.
heads showing. Each screw is separated Generally, there are two kinds of Hazard Flasher—The hazard flasher is
from its neighbors in the row by small flasher units—those for turn signals and intended to operate all four tum-signal
partitions. But. cach screw in one row is those for hazard flashers. Although they lamps simultaneously. Because the
electrically connected by a hidden bus arc similar in appearance—often differ- flasher is an cmcrgcncy device, it's de-
bar to the screw directly opposite it in the ing only in color—and they have identi- signed to operate even if a tum-signal
other row. cal terminals, turn-signal flashers and lamp is burned out. In fact, it will operate
Suppose your undcr-hood harness hazard flashers arc usually not in- with only one of the four lamps function-
contains eight wires that must connect to terchangeable. An exception is when ing.
a matching set of eight wires in the under- trailer lamps arc added to the circuit, as The hazard flasher also depends on a


All td

\ /

Turn-signal llashers and hazard llashers Turn-signal flasher is designed to operate a Hazard flasher is not dependent on number
look alike and have identical terminals. But predetermined number of lamps. Current of lamps in circuit. Current Hows to lamps,
they are not intended to be Interchanged Hows through lamps and heater coil at then to heater, in turn.
unless you understand the consequences, same time. The flash rate depends on load
explained In text below. creeted by lamps.

set of movable points and beating ele- categories, you'll find both insulated and screw or stud, even if the fastener loosens
ment. but the configuration is entirely non-insulated connectors. Connectors slightly—the screw or nut must be re-
different from the turn-signal flasher. In discussed here arc general purpose, as moved. In some instances, this could be a
the hazard flasher, the points arc normal- compared with the specialized con- slight disadvantage if you need to dis-
ly open, so when you first tum on the nectors used in factory harnesses. connect a terminal.
flasher, current flows through the heater All solderlcss connectors have one im- Due to the nature of their installation
and lamps. Because of the high voltage portant feature in common. They can be procedure, ring terminals do not come
drop across the heater, the lamps do not permanently attached to a wire without with full insulating collars. Once in-
light. As the heater warms it closes the use of solder. And, they arc neither stalled. the ring portion of the terminal
points, which shunt all current directly to removable nor reusable. The easiest way cannot comc into contact with anything
the lamps, lighting them. With nocurrent to remove a solderlcss connector from a but the the stud or screw it's aitachcd to.
flowing through the heater, it cools and wire is to cut the wire as close as possible They are. however, available with in-
reopens the points. Then the cycle re- to the connector. sulated crimps.
peats. There's one additional, and unique, Spade terminals are also used on
Interchanging Turn Flashers & kind of solderlcss connector described at threaded studs or screws. The advantage
Hazard Flashers—Ordinarily, you the end of this section. It's a removable a spade terminal has over a ring terminal
don't. Although the terminals are iden- snap splice connector intended to join a is that it is forked so it can be removed by
tical, and both units will make the tum wire to one that's already in use. These loosening the fastener enough to free the
signals flash, you shouldn't use a hazard arc often used to add trailer wiring to a legs of the terminal. However, this could
flasher in a turn-signal circuit. Il defeats car's electrical system. also be a disadvantage because the wire
the safety-design intent of warning you Solderless Terminals—These are used may disconnect if the fastener becomes
of a burncd-out lamp. at the ends of wires that arc attached to loose.
There is one exception, though. When components or other wires. Insulated and Spade terminals arc also installed in
you're pulling a trailer, the added load of non-insulated types are available. Insula- such a way that they cannot be provided
trailer lamps on the turn-signal circuit is tion is either full-collar (entire terminal) with insulating collars, but arc available
best handled by a hazard-flasher unit. or crimp-area (barrel only). with or without crimp insulators.
They arc also sold on the market as Solderlcss terminals fall into three Disconncct terminals comc in both
heavy-duty flashers, which is another general categories, depending on the male and female versions. Depending on
name for the same device. Just be sure to shape of the terminal's "business end." application, the female type may or may
reinstall the regular tum-signa! flasher Ring terminaLs are used to attach a not need a full insulating collar. Both
after you're done pulling the trailer. wire to a threaded stud on a component. kinds arc also available with no insula-
Common applications include terminal- tion and with crimp insulation only.
SOLDERLESS CONNECTORS block screws and studs on Ford-type The female disconnect terminal is
Solderlcss connectors arc used to starter solenoids. They arc also used with actually a type of socket, and it's usually
make permanent junctions. They fall into screws or bolts to attach ground wires to a on the feed side of a connection. Often,
three general categories: solderlcss ter- car's metal body or chassis. ihc female terminal is insulated by a
minals. solder less hutt joints and solder- An advantage of the ring terminal is built-in collar. This protects the terminal
less closed-end connectors. Within these that it cannot disconnect itself from the from shorting if it comes in contact with a

Neatness counts. Keep terminals organ- Small terminal kit is Inexpensive, handy for Use ring terminals to attach wires to com-
ized and labeled to minimize errors when quick repairs. Photo by Ron Sessions. ponents with threaded stud or screw ter-
you're working under pressure. This minals. Ring terminal at top is non-
assortment came with a full set of labels. insulated for use with shrink wrap. One at
bottom is insulated, and is suitable when
using several terminals in close quarters.

Spade terminals: One at top has con- Male and female disconnect terminals plug When connecting male and female ter-
ventional straight-legged fork, so it can be together. Ones shown here have insulated minals, be sure they're pushed all the way
slipped under a slightly loosened screw—it barrels only: other types are fully insulated. together.
can also slip out! Bent-tip terminal at bot- Whon using disconnect terminals, mako
tom Is less likely to do this—you can buy sure they have same blade width.
these prebent, or as I did, bend tips of con-
ventional terminal with needle-nose pliers.

grounded component or metal part. usually do not have built-in insulating shaped something like an old-fashioned
Female disconnect terminals arc most collars, but they arc available with or derby hat. The crown of the hat is large
often used to attach a wire to the built-in without crimp insulation. enough to accommodate several wires at
male blade on a load component. A good Solderless Butt Connectors—These once, while the brim of the hat is large
example is the headlamp. The back side arc used to join two wires end-to-end. or enough to fit over the wire's insulation,
of the lamp has protruding male blades, butted. Hence, the name. The butt con- ensuring an insulated connection. Other
while the wires that connect to the head- nector is tubular in shape, with a full than their ability to accommodatc a larger
lamp arc fitted with female disconncct insulator covering it. The wires to be number of wires, closcd-cnd connectors
terminals. joined are inserted into opposite ends of may be regarded as interchangeable with
The male disconnect terminal is in- the butt and arc crimped in place. It's also butt connectors. Like other solderless
tended to plug into a matching female possible to use a butt conncctor to join connectors, closcd-cnd connectors are
disconnect terminal. It's usually used on two wires to one. again depending on the installed by crimping.
the wire being fed: that is, it's not often size of the connector opening. However, Snap-Splice Connectors—This is a
found on the feed side bccausc it could a closcd-cnd conncctcr is preferred for reusable connector used to join two wires
accidentally short if it touched anything joining three or more wires. without need of cutting and splicing. It is
grounded. Male solderless terminals Closed-End Connectors—These arc commonly used to tap into existing wir-

Butt c o n n e c t o r is u s e d t o join w i r e s end-to- Multi-wire d i s c o n n e c t terminals are usually Closed-end c o n n e c t o r s for a u t o m o t i v e use
end. Here, it has been c r i m p e d o n t o one polarity p r o t e c t e d — t h a t is, they can be are installed by c r i m p i n g . D o n ' t c o n f u s e
w i r e ; other wire Is ready t o bo Inserted. Note p l u g g e d together only o n e way. These t h e m w i t h type u s e d f o r h o u s e wiring. This
short a m o u n t of e x p o s e d c o n d u c t o r . molded-plastic c o n n e c t o r s are usually s o l d o n e Is u s e d t o j o i n t w o w i r e s — l a r g e r o n e s
with short lengths of wire attached. This c o u l d be u s e d t o Join three or m o r e wires.
o n e Is fully Insulated. See page 83 tor more Make sure c o n n e c t o r Insulation c o v e r s ex-
Information. Photo b y J i m Barrett. p o s e d c o n d u c t o r s of all wires.

Female disconnect terminals are often Snap-splice c o n n e c t o r s are sized accord- Use pliers to snap lid shut. It will pierce
u s e d t o attach w i r e s to c o m p o n e n t s . If com- i n g to wire gage. Of all c o n n e c t o r s men- insulation and make contact without cut-
p o n e n t terminals are widely separated, n o tioned, these are only ones thst c a n be ting c o n d u c t o r .
Insulation is needed. But if area is at all reused. One s h o w n here has a built-in fuse.
c r o w d e d , use insulated terminals for added To install, insert w i r e s i n t o slots provided
p r o t e c t i o n against short circuits. and follow d i r e c t i o n s In p h o t o at right It Is
not necessary t o strip Insulation.

ing, such as when you add a trailer con- Although a snap-splice connector types: clamp- and lug-type terminals.
nector to a car. Sec page 138. should be regarded as permanent, it can Clamp-type cable terminals arc used
The snap-splice conncctor opens on a be removed and reused. Be sure there's on batteries with top posts. The terminal
hinge. When it's open, you'll sec a no current in the wires before removing is designed to slip over the post, and is
groove to accommodate the insulated it. Open the flap to gain access to the then lightened with a clamp bolt. Be-
original wire and another dead-end hinged lid. I»ry open the lid and remove cause the positive post on a battery has a
groove to accommodate the wire you're the conncctor from the wires. Push the slightly larger diameter than the negative
adding. To complete the connection, movable metal contact back to its origi- post, high-quality clamp terminals arc
hold the two wires in place and close the nal position. The connector is now ready sized accordingly. Cheaper kinds arc
lid. Then use a pair of pliers to squeeze for reuse. Be sure to tape carefully over not.
the sliding metal contact into place. the wire insulation that was pierced by Lug-type cable terminals arc used on
When the contact moves, it pierces the the conncctor. batteries with side terminals. They're
insulation of both wires simultaneously, Battery-Cable Terminals—These arc also used at the other end of the battery
providing continuity between them. A available in a number of configurations, cablcs where one cable attaches to the
second flap snaps shut over the metal determined by the type of battery' being starter solenoid or starter motor, and the
contact to protect it from shorts. used. All can be divided into two basic other to ground on the engine block or






Cable terminals for top-post batteries In- Cable terminal for side-mount batteries Compression terminals attach to cable by
clude standard flag terminal (top left), right- uses large ring terminal and b o l t This one tightening brass compression n u t
angle terminal (top right), and T - t ^ e ter- Is Installed by crimping.
minal (bottom) for connecting two or more
batteries In series. Ones shown are In-
stalled by crimping.


Least desirable a m temporary terminals To install compression terminal, simply Left: Compression terminals for top and
that clamp to cable by tightening two bona. strip battery cable, slide compression nut side post batteries. Right: Quick dis-
onto cable and screw nut into terminal. connect terminals use stud-type connec-
Photo courtesy of Chrysler Corp. tion with wing nut for quick removal and
installation of cables. Photo courtesy of
Chrysler Corp.

chassis. The lug terminal is flattened and Some universal terminals arc installed MISCELLANEOUS
has a hole for an attaching boll. In fact, it to the cable by a clamping screw or set of HARNESS SUPPLIES
looks much like a large ring terminal. screws. These arc best reserved for This section covers all the mis-
Generally, battery-cable terminals arc emergencies—they're far too crude for a cellaneous components you'll need to
attached to the cable by crimping. This professional installation. make a wiring harness—except the wire,
requires a special crimping tool. Small Another type of terminal attaches to a which was discussed in an earlier chap-
battery-terminal crimping tools are cable by means of a crimping nut. A ter. These include grommcts, insulators,
damped in a vise or struck with a ham- cablc is slid into the terminal and the harness wraps, tics and clamps.
mer to operate the crimping jaws. Larger crimping nut is tightened. It works on a GrommeLs—When making a hole
types work much like the crimping tools principle similar to that of a ferrule fitting through a body panel for routing wires,
used on small terminals, except they're on a coppcr water pipe. It provides a use a grommet to cover the ragged edges.
much bigger. quality, finished appearance. Although this is mandatory for holes

made in sheet metal, it is often over-
looked for those in fiberglass. This is a
mistake for two reasons. First, fiberglass
strands can eventually cut through the
wire insulation. If this happens to adja-
cent wires, there's potential for a short
circuit. Second, a correctly fitted grom-
mct provides protection against the intru-
sion of water, fumes, air and dirt. If the
fit is not close enough, seal the openings
with silicone seal to ensure a weather-
tight fit.
Grommets are usually made of rubber
or a rubberlike material. There's a
groove in the outside diameter that snaps When drilling hole In panel for grommet.
make sure panel reaches bottom of grom-
over the edge of the hole in the panel. The met groove. Choose grommet with a groove
wires pass through a hole in the center of Grommets come In numerous sizes to width that matches panel thickness. To
the grommct. accommodate a single wire up to a large minimize wind or water leaks, wire bundle
In selecting a grommet. consider bundle. should fit grommet opening snugly.
several dimensions: First, the diameter of
the hole in the grommet must be just large
enough to contain the wires. The hole in
the panel must be just large enough to
accommodatc the diameter of the bottom
of the groove. Finally, the groove must
be just wide enough to fit the thickness of
the material the hole is cut in. With fiber-
glass. this last dimension is difficult to
match bccausc most grommets arc made
for sheet metal, which is thinner than
most fiberglass.
If you can't find a grommct to fit your
needs, wrap enough layers of elcctrical
tape around the wires to wedge them into
the hole. Allow enough slack on both
sides of the panel so the wires arc not
strained against the edge of the hole. Use grommet to protect wires that pass through firewall or panels in bodywork. Photo by
Jim Barrett.
Insulators—An insulator is any materi-
al that prevents shorts between adjacent
wires or between wires and grounds.
Obviously, automotive wire is man-
ufactured with an insulativc covering—
usually PVC plastic—so it doesn't need
additional insulation. But wire con-
nections may.
Shrink wrap, also called heat-shrink
tubing, is commonly used to insulate
wire connections. It is manufactured in a
variety of lengths and diameters, and
comes in several thicknesses. The least
expensive type is a thin-wall plastic tube
that shrinks to about half its original dia-
meter when heated.
High-quality, thick-wall shrink wTap
Shrink wrap tubing comes in many sizes Wire fastening kit from Cal Term includes
is preferable bccausc it is less likely to and colors. Use to insulate and reinforce assortment of nylon ties, grommets. nylon
split when heated enough to yield max- junctions of wires. See instructions on clamps and rubber-insulated metal clamps.
imum shrinkage. A thick-wall shrink pages 116-118. Photo by Ron Sessions. Photo by Ron Sessions.
wrap also provides extra support at ter- correctly installed harness wrap can give into harnesses. Because the wires arc not
minal ends to prevent wire fatigue at the the harness a neater appearance than tics. under much strain after the harness is
connection point. The most expensive Wraps also provide additional protection installed, don't go overboard with size.
type contains a hot-melt adhesive that from heat, grease, dirt and abrasion. Because width and length increase
runs into the connection to provide addi- Split loom is a flexible, comigatcd together. 1 found that 6-inch tics arc long
tional protection against moisture conduit made of black polyethylene. The enough, (hough a little wider than need
penetration. Alpha FT-105 is one brand conduit is split lengthwise for easy inser- be. But. narrower ones are often in-
of high-quality, thick-wall shrink tion of wires. After the wires arc in- conveniently short.
wrap—there arc others. Check the serted. the scam springs back to a closcd Tie mounts allow you to use tics to
supplier's list on pages 152-153. For in- position and remains tightly closed. attach the harness to Hat surfaces. The
formation on installing shrink wrap, see Loom tape is a non-adhesive vinyl mount is a small plastic block with a slot
pages 116 and 118. tape used specifically for wrapping har- through it for the nylon tic to pass
Elcctrical tape is another form of in- nesses. Bccausc it is non-adhesive—it through. The back of the mount is self-
sulation. I mentioned it not because it is a adheres to itself and nothing else—a adhesive. A stronger mount includes a
good method, but simply to give me the piece of shrink wrap is used at cach end hole for a # 8 screw to attach the mount.
opportunity to beg you to resist using it. of die wrap to keep the tape from unravel- Harness Clamps—There arc several
Moreover, it looks terrible, it is suscep- ing. For more information on installing types of clamps and clips to attach the
tible to heat, and the adhesive may de- loom tape, sec page 141. As mentioned, harness to the car's frame or body.
teriorate in time, causing the insulation to clcctrical tape or other 3dhesivc-typc Wiring straps arc plastic straps with
drop off unexpectedly. Electrical tape is tapes make poor harness wraps. prongs or legs on one end that push into a
not rccommcndcd for harness wraps, Ties—Nylon tics arc narrow strips of prcdrillcd hole. The other end has a barb.
either. plastic with a row of teeth molded into After wrapping the strap around the
Harness Wraps—To bundle wires into their entire length. They are available in wires, install the barb into the hole pro-
harnesses, you can either use nylon tics, many widths and length*. At one end. a vided. The barb expands the prongs be-
described below, or one of the harness clamping block grips the teeth of the tic hind the panel, locking the strap into
wraps described here. Each method has when the tie is pulled through. They are place. It's possible to pry one of these
advantages and disadvantages. Using easily installed without tools. However, straps loose without destroying it. but
tics is perhaps the easiest way to bundle a they arc one-way; that is. they can't be they're not designed for frequent dis-
harness, so this is the bundling method loosened easily, so you must cut them to assembly. Wiring straps are available in
described in the chapters on making and remove them. a variety of configurations that all work
installing a harness. On the other hand, a Nylon ties are used to bundle wires essentially as described here.

Spiral wrap la a good alternative to corrugated split loom. It per- Factory harnesses are usually covered with corrugated split loom,
mlts branches to be placed anywhere along length of harness. One tt Is also available In the aftermarket In a wide variety of sizes,
drawback is that It has to be "screwed" onto wire bundle. This Is
time consuming and makes it Inconvenient to add or remove a wire
after the harness is finished. Photo courtesy of Chrysler Corp.

Rubber-insulated metal clamps and
nylon cable clamps are excellent for
attaching wires and harnesses to most
surfaces. Each type requires a single hole
in the panel or frame rail for attachment.
The clamp can be installed with a nut and
bolt or with a rivet. Either method is fine,
but a Pop rivet is less time-consuming to
install and costs less.
One drawback of these clamps is that
they cannot be adjusted for tightness ex-
cept by replacing them with a different
size. Another drawback is that the holes This example demonstrates correct use of nylon ties at a branch point. To keep bundle
in the larger-size clamps arc too large for neaL Install tie on main harness Immediately on either side of branch. Space ties about 6
inches apart along harness.
rivet attachment—the rivet head will
pull through. In this case, you'll need a
backup washer under the rivet head. ^•j^i'iyi"""! 1 ii'i" i
Push-on frame clips are good for UNIVERSAL TIE STRAP
attaching harnesses to the edges of thick
panels or chassis rails. These spring-steel
clamps can be dipped on without using
tools, and they're fairly easy to remove
or adjust. The number of wires they'll
carry is limited, so they are best used for
fairly small bundles, or for single or dou-
ble wires running to a remote location on Nyton ties are available In numerous sizes Plastic wiring strap has prongs that push
the car. They arc best for adding an and several colors. Length and width in- Into predrilled hole. Barb at other end
accessory circuit to a car that's already crease together as you progress up pushes Into s l o t spreading prongs.
wired. through the sizes. Ties are easy to install
and remove with wire cutters, but cannot be
reused. Everyone has a preferred harness
wrap. Mine Is nylon Ues. They can also be
used with nylon lie mounts to attach har-
ness to car.

Push-on frame clip attache* wire or har- Nylon clamps (top) provide good isolation two
ness to edge of chassis flange. No tools are for harness as well as protecting wire In- limitations. F i r s t clamp Is slightly too large
needed. sulation. Rubber-insulated metal clamps for a good fit—the next smaller size was too
(bottom) are superb for tight retention of small. Second, notice that I had to use a
harnesses. Both kinds are Installed to flat washer behind the rivet. Hole in clamp was
surface with rivet or screw. too large and rivet would have pulled

Urhe 5 Mate
When a Detroit car designer works on CHOOSING dictates headlamp location—in the
a new idea, he first tries it on large, COMPONENT LOCATION grille, fenders, separate buckcts or what-
full-size drawings. He checks for in- Due to manufacturer's design or legal ever. So. you often don't have many
terferences. operating space and other requirements, some clcctrical com- choices—or any—in determining head-
important factors. This is time-con- ponents must be installed in a specific lamp location. Other components, such
suming. but the drawing board is the location. On kit cars, for instance, body as taillamps. also fit this category.
cheapest place to make mistakes and find design and engine requirements dictate Optional-location Components—
solutions. Next comes the hand-built the basic location of many components. These are components whose location is
prototype car. costing hundreds of These arc called fixed-location com- not dictated by law or car design. The
thousands of dollars. Here, the design- ponents. fuse panel is one example. Within rea-
er's concepts arc transformed into a full- Depending on the project car you're son. you can install it in any convenient
size mock-up. where any oversights are building or modifying, other com- location—inside the glove box. behind
caught and corrected. After revisions and ponents can be installed practically any- the dash or under the scat, for example.
more tryouts. the new car design is put where you want. These are called Fixed or Optional?—There are some
into production. If a mistake makes it this optional-location components. A few gray areas—components that may have
far. it will be repeated thousands of components fall between these two a designed location but can be installed
times! categories, as discusscd later. elsewhere. The battery is one. For in-
Fixed-Location Components—As stance. a kit car may include a rectangu-
Your project car is similar to that first
mentioned, where you install fixed- lar battery well in the engine compart-
prototype. You probably won't have
location components is usually de- ment . But you' re free to put the battery in
blueprints to work from, so your con-
termined by legal requirements, vehicle another location if you want, provided
cepts bccomc permanent during the try-
design, or both. Headlamps are one ex- there's good ventilation and enough
out stage. So. you should work carefully
ample. There are minimum height re- room.
and deliberately to avoid oversights that
you'll have to live with for thousands of quirements in every state. If you're With all components—fixed, optional
miles. building a kit car, the kit design further or in-between—you still must follow the

Size, number and location of taillamps Is often dictated by local or This battery location was dictated by two factors. First, the fiber-
state laws. Be sure location you've chosen will conform. glass body was molded with battery shelf In place. Second, this
location places battery within about 18 Inches of starter motor,
minimizing cable length.

Another example of weight distribution: battery for front-engine

seat In tail of car, for Improved weight distribution. This also Trans-Am Mustang is mounted at rear, along with fuel cell and
placed battery within a few feet of rear-mounted alternator. dry-sump oil reservoir. The sacrifice: long cable run from battery
to engine. Photo by Tom Monroe.

basic principles of observation and test- components influenced by mechanical installed close to the motor. You may
fitting before permanently installing factors arc located by considerations be- pick the exact spot on the inner fender or
them. This is true even if a kit-car manu- yond our control. Function and environ- firewall for the relay, but physical re-
facturer has designated specific locations ment dictate the basic location of these quirements determine its general loca-
for components. That being said, all components. tion.
components discussed from now on will Obviously, the starter motor, dis- The same principle applies to the igni-
be lumped into the general category com- tributor. and other such engine-mounted tion coil. It may be mounted to the cylin-
ponents, with none of the above dis- components cannot be moved from their der head, engine block or inner fender at
tinctions being made between types designed location. But consider the other your discretion, but it still must be in
again. related mechanical components. For in- closc proximity to the distributor.
Mechanical Factors—Like the fixed- stance. if the starter motor requires a It doesn't take much thought to realize
location components just discussed. separate starter relay, the relay must be that wiring-harness location is in-

Jusi a s headlamp location is dic-
tated by state regulations, so are the This chart inrtcates tr*> mounting specifications preferred by the AAMVA (American
number and location of auxiliary Association of Motor Vehicle Admrnstrators) and should be consulted pnor to mounting
lamps—-that is. unless you're building auxiliary »ghts. Chart courtesy of KC Hibtes Inc.
a car tor stnctly off-road use. But if you SPOT FOG AUX. PASSING AUX. DRIVING
plan to drive the car on a public street, LAMPS LAMPS LAMPS UGHTS
road or highway, the lamps must con- Max. Max. Mtg. Hgt. Max. Mtg. Hgt. Max. Mtg. Hgt.
form to the laws of your state And if State No. No. (In.) No. (In.) No. (In.)
you dnve out of state, thoy'ro subjoct to AJafcama t 2 12-30 t 24-42 1 16-42
the laws ot states in which you travel Alaska 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
As tho accompanying chart shows, Arizona 1 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
Arkansas 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
mounting heights and maximum allow-
Cakfoma 2(t) 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
able number of lamps vary from state Colorado 2 2 12-30 2 20-42 16-42
to state. Most states also have addi- Connecticut 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
tional regulations that aren't covered in Delaware 2 2 12-30 1 24-42 1 16-42
the chart. For instance, roof- or rollbar- DC. 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
mounted lamps are illegal in almost all Florida 1 2 12-30 2 2442 3 12-42
stales, but are tolerated in some if tho Goorpa 1 2 12-30 1 2442 1 16-42
lamps aro covered and disconnect- Hawaa — — — — — 3 12-42
ed—usually by pulling the f u s e - Idaho 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
lllnoo 1 — — — — 3 12-42
when on public roads. So. the best Indiana 2 12-30 24-42
2 1 1 16-42
advice is to check with your local motor Iowa 1 — — — — 3 12-42
vehicle department or highway patrol Kansas 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
office before installing auxiliary lamps. Kentucky —
Here are some mounting tips: Louisiana Prohibited 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
Mai no 1 2(2) — 2(2) — 2(2) —
• Mount fog lamps and short-range
Maryland 1 2 12-30 — — 2 16-42
dnving lamps a s low as practical, pro- Massachusetts 1
ferrabiy below headlamp level. This Michigan 2(5) 2 1230 — — 2 24 Min.
minimizes glare and reflection in fog Minnesota 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
and dust, and better illuminates tho Mississippi 1 — — — — 2 24 Mm
road directly in front of you. Missouri 1 — — — — 3 12-42
• Mount long-rango dnving lamps as Montana 2 2 1230 2 24-42 2 16-42

Netxaska t — 12-42 — — 2 24 Mm.
high as practical, preferrably above — —
Nevada 2 2 16-42
hoadlamp lovol But romombor that New Hampshire 2 — — — — 12-42
roof-mounted lamps aro illegal in most New Jersey t — — — — 2 12-42
states. They also havo a tondoncy to New Mexico 2 2 12-30 1 24-42 1 16-42
rofloct off tho car's hood. Now York — — (6) — — — —
• Mount lamps where they will bo pro- North Carolina 2 — — 2
tected. This is more critical on race North Dakota 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
cars, especially off-roaders. than for Ohio t 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
Oklahoma 2(3) 2 (4a) — — — —
street vehicles. But lamps mounted — — — —
Oregon t 3 12-42
below the front bumper or protruding Pennsylvania 1 — — — — (4a) 12-42
past it are asking to get smashed. Rhode Island 2 — — — — 2 (4)
South Carokna t 2 12-30 1 24-42 1 16-42
South Dakota t — — — — 3 12-42
Texas 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
Utah 2 2 12-30 — — — —
Vermont —
Virgr*a 2 2 — 1 — 1 —
WasTmgton 2 2 12-30 2 24-42 2 16-42
West Virginia 1 2 12-30 1 24-42 1 16-42
Wisconsin 2(3) 2 12 Mm ~ —
— 12 Min
(4ab) (4ab)
Wyoming 2 2 12-30 1 24-42 1 16-42
(1) Cannot exceed 32Kcp or 30 watts (4b) Not to exceed 75Kcp
(2) Total of two log or aux lights permitted (5) Emt while Of amber Ught orty
(3) Must be mounted at height between (6) Affix amber lights below headlights and
30- and 72-m. avtxJ glare or dazzio
Most states have laws governing mounting (4a) Below headkght centers
heights of auxiliary lamps. Check these be-
fore installing yours. This fellow may get
cited I Photo by Jim Barrett.

flucnccd by mcchanical factors. Har-
nesses should take the shortest practical
route to the components they serve. Har-
ness location is further dictated by
structural members to which the harness
must be attached. Harnesses cannot be
routed across open spaces, and they must
be protected from engine heat and mov-
ing parts.
So. the important considerations of
mcchanical factors arc component func-
tion and component environment. These
considerations are further discussed un-
der the heading Clearances, below. This fuse panel is located under instrument Allow enough room to route and connect
Although some preceding remarks panel next to driver's right knee, where wires to components. These wires attach to
about mcchanical factors may seem there was plenty ot room for panel and six terminals of DPDT wiper switch on my
rather obvious, they were made for a associated wiring. It is easily accessible, car. This photo makes it look worse than It
d o s e to electrical distribution panel (ter- actually is. but the wires still constitute a
good reason. They'll help enable you to minal strips with 92 connections), and pro- fairly large bundle to deal with In close
distinguish mcchanical factors, which tected from accidental contact by moving quarters.
you cannot control, from human factors, parts.
which you can and must control.
Human Factors—The science of hu-
man engineering deals with how various
human factors—anatomy, physiology,
psychology and so on—relate to the de-
sign and positioning of machines, in-
struments and controls. Its aim is to de-
sign products that will serve the user in
the intended way. Here, the term applies
to how you relate to the controls and
displays in your car.
Human engineering is both com-
plicated and given to a lot of specialized
buzzwords. However, some basic princi-
ples can be used to help you determine
Ideal horn location is near the front, pro- Wlndshleld-wiper motor is a fairly large,
the locations of electrical components in tected from direct road splash and away heavy device to position. It has quite a few
the passenger compartment of your proj- from suspension, steering and engine-fan wiros to service it—don't forget to provide
ect car. components. Mine is mounted at bottom of ground wire If motor is mounted to fiber-
engine compartment, bracketed to chassis glass. Be sure to allow enough room for
There arc two basic ideas to consider rail near front crossmember. operation of attached mechanical arm and
when you're designing for human fac- linkage—it is powerful and can actually
tors. The first is to be sure the design break things that get in the way.
permits maximum effectiveness and effi-
ciency when you use a control or look at a
display. The second is relatc3 to your -So. consider human factors early in the 102. This chapter deals with the func-
safety while operating the device or look- design process, and do it in a systematic tional location of the components the
ing at the display. Can you do so without way. These factors also apply to select- wires will eventually attach to. Wiring
causing something undesirable to ing gauges, indicators and controls. Con- requirements arc covered in the follow-
happen? trols are discussed on pages 28-34. ing three chapters.
For instance, if the headlamp switch gauges and indicators on pages 38-48. A poorly fitted component may look
and windshield-wiper switch are next to bad. function poorly or be inconvenient
each other, have the same shape and CLEARANCES to operate. It may also be difficult or
operate the same way. it may be possible Note: This section is concerned with impossible to service, or get in the way of
to tum the headlamps off instead of turn- clearances for component installation servicing a neighboring component. The
ing the wipers on. This could be dis- only. It docs not cover wiring, except as obvious cause of such problems is poor
astrous on a dark, rainy night! Such a it relates to clearances for conncction to planning.
design violates the rules of good human components. Clearance for wiring- Determining clearance for a com-
engineering, or ergonomics. harness installation is discussed on page ponent consists of asking yourself a

used top alternator bracket for mounting Ignition coil to keep it
close to distributor.

altnmator. One drawback is that alternator puts out only when car
Is moving.

This starter solenoid is ideally located—within inchea of battery, Note how harness mock-up follows hoop shape of radiator sup-
and within about 14 inches of stsrter motor, minimizing cable p o r t It would have been shorter to run harness strslght across, but
lengths. It would have been vulnerable to damage and have looked terrible.

Master cutoff switch is used to kill car's

entire electrical system, targe handle on
Ford brake switch is designed to be located switch is removable for security. Because Location of electric fuel pump is well
directly on brake pedal arm. I had to add a this car has computerized fuel injection planned—below fuel-tank level for good
wiring clamp to keep wires from getting system, we provided an always-live circuit, gravity feed to pump, close to fuel tank to
pinched by up-stop of clutch arm next lo bypassing this switch, to keep computer's help prevent vapor lock on hot days, and
brake. long-term memory alive. well protected within car's framework.

series of questions. How well you answer another one to avoid interference during convenient time—will you be able to
them, or whether you answer them, will installation? replace it? Is there room around the com-
largely determine how well the com- Clearance for Wiring—Once the com- ponent to make adjustments? Is there
ponents fit into their designated spaces ponent is installed, can you get the room to unplug the wire connectors for
and how well they function. There arc associated wiring to it? Is there enough test purposes?
four clcarancc considerations in planning room for the wire connectors? h there
component locations: clearance for in- enough room for your hands and tools to GUIDELINES FOR SPECIFIC
stallation. clearance for associated wir- install Ihc conncctors? Wires and con- COMPONENTS
ing. clearance for operation and clear- nectors are bulkier than they look when Many of the components listed in this
ance for ser\ ice. space is crampcd. Is there enough room section will be optional-location com-
In a practical sense, all four clearances for ihe wiring harness? The harness bun- ponents in your car—perhaps all of
arc interrelated and overlapping. So, it's dle can become bulky and difficult to them. If you're installing optional-
nccessary to define them only to make bend when space is limited. location components that aren't men-
you aware of the great number of factors Clearance for Operation—If the com- tioned here, follow the general guide-
that can cause a component not to fit. ponent is a switch or knob, can you reach lines just discussed—and use common
it from the normal driving position? Is sense.
Also associated with these clcarancc
there enough room for your hands and
factors are the ideas of careful examina- Battery—As mentioned earlier, the
fingers to operate it without interference
tion. careful planning and careful test- battery may have a design-limited loca-
from adjacent components? Can it be op-
fitting. These will be covered after I ex- tion. If not, locate after considering the
erated when you're wearing gloves or
plain the four clearance factors. following:
mittens? Docs the switch handle contact
Clearance for Installation—This is • Can it be securely fastened down?
an adjacent component in any of its posi-
simply a matter of space. Is there enough • Will it be easy to get to for checking
room for the component where you want and adding water—unless it's Ihc newer,
it to go? Are there any structural memb- If the component has moving parts, is sealed-for-life type?
ers in the way? Can doors, hood and there room for these parts to operate in all • Is it closc to the starter motor? This
other movable body parts operate positions? A good example is the linkage keeps long, heavy battery leads to a mini-
through their full range without interfer- on the back of the windshield-wiper mum and reduces unnecessary voltage
ing with the component you're install- motor. If there arc several moving parts drop.
ing? Can the component operate without close to each other, all of them should Gauges—On kit cars, gauge location
interference from adjacent components? have room to operate freely, rcgardlcss may be dictated by kit design—
See Clearance for Operation, at right. Is of position. particularly in a replicar. where au-
there a way to get the component into the thenticity may be important. On produc-
Clearance for Service—If the com-
position you've selected? Does the com- tion cars, the location of add-on gauges
ponent eventually fails—it eventually
ponent have to be installed before or after may or may not be dictated by the
will, you know, and at probably the least

Instrument psnel tips out for easy service. We provided loop in Raco car's angled instrument panol provides optimum gauge
gauge feed wires to accommodate this feature. As you can tee. visibility and switch access from driver's seat. Dzus 1 4-turn
wiring was done before car's outer skin was Installed, making it a fasteners allow quick panel removal for pit repairs. Tach is posi-
snap. tioned so red line Is straight up. Photo by Tom Monroe.

expert22 /via
instrument-panel design, depending on
the car and the gauge being installed, SWITCH SPACING
liven though gauge location may be dic-
tated. refer to the following list to be on Preferred distance in inches; minimum distance in parentheses
the safe side. If you have a choice, be Knob Push B u t t o n Toggle S w i t c h
absolutely sure to consider these: Random Operation 2 m. (1in.) 2 m (12m ) 2 in ( 3 4 in.)
• Can the speedometer cable be routed Sequential — 1 m. (1/4 In.) 1 In (1/2 in.)
without kinking? Operation
• Can you sec the gauge faccs clearly
from the driver's scat? This is why it's
important to have the seats and steering
wheel installed, at least temporarily, be-
fore determining the location of any of
the gauges. • Is there room for the gauge wiring siderations that you give to gauges: Make
• Are the most important gauges in the behind the instrument panel? Is there suf- sure you can sec them from the driver's
most important places? Only you can de- ficient access behind the panel for hands scat and that they aren't hidden behind
cide if the tachometer is more important and tools to install the gauges and attach the steering wheel. Is the layout of the
than the speedometer, or the oil-pressure the wires? If not. it might be easier to lamps logical? For instance, the left-tum
gauge more important than the coolant- install all gauges in a removable panel indicator should be located to the left of
temperature gauge. with the gauge leads already attached. the cluster and the right turn indicator to
• Are there provisions for lighting the You can always run these prc-attachcd the right. If you're using lamps in con-
gauges? If gauges don't come with built- wires to a junction block for continuation junction with gauges—the oil pressure
in lamp sockets, you must determine the of the circuits. gauge and warning lamp, for instance—
appropriate locations for illumination Indicator & Warning Lamps—These the related components should be closc
lamps. deserve many of the same basic con- to each other for quick discrimination.

Spacing of rocker s w i t c h e s In m y car is not e c o n o m i c a l l y

These s w i t c h e s are widely s p a c e d for m i n i m u m of c o n f u s i o n , even s o u n d — t h e y ' r e m u c h too close together, are all alike In appear-
t h o u g h b o t h pairs are alike. Toggles operate c i r c u i t s that are ance a n d t o u c h , and are n o t labeled. I c h o s e theso switches pri-
normally ON w h e n the car is r u n n i n g . Flip-up ssfety shields pre- marily f o r a p p e a r a n c e — n o t a g o o d e r g o n o m i c reason! The reason
vent accidental o p e r a t i o n of toggles. Push b u t t o n s are they're not labeled Is t o maximize c o n t u s i o n to potential
momentary-on type. t a m p e r e r s — I t ' s an o p e n roadster w i t h little i n t r u s i o n protection.

Switch safety shield flips up to permit turning switch on. This Off-road racers prefer widely spaced switches—less chance of
two-step procedure minimizes accidental operation, though in an driver hitting wrong switch while bouncing over rough terrain.
emergency, switches can be turned off instantly just by pushing Photo by Tom Monroe.
on shields.

Switches—The locations of various there's a minimum distance to observe so INSTALLING FIXED-LOCATION

switches on the instrument panel may be you don't accidentally operate a control COMPONENTS
dictated by car design, components the by mistaking it for another one. This is The time to answer the questions
switches serve, or their logical placement especially the case in off-road racing and raised so far is during the lest fitting, not
in relation to other switches and com- rally cars where the going is extremely after you've cut openings or drilled
ponents on the panel. Logical placement rough. It's not unreasonable to double holes.
as an important consideration in locating the recommended distances to avoid Test Fitting—If you're building a kit
switches. Don't forget this and end up accidcntal activation of a switch. car. you might assume that fixed-
with switches placed in random locations The chart on the facing page gives locat ion component s don' t need to be test
all over the panel. It will not only be typical distances between controls. fitted. After all. there's only one fixed
unattractive, but will be inconvenient Measurements arc taken edge to edge. place for certain components, so you
when you operate them. Here arc some Preferred distance is given in inches, may as w ell go ahead and cut or drill The
considerations: minimum distance in parentheses. kit manufacturer put dimples in the body
After general locations arc determined Here arc some other considerations for just where taillamps arc supposed to go.
for switches, you must arrange them in locating switches and controls: didn't he? But slop and think about it for
specific locations. Often, it's helpful to • Can the switch be reached comfort- a minute.
position controls for related systems in ably from the normal driving position? What material arc most componcnt-
the same general area. Two things to give • Is there sufficient clcarancc on all car bodies made of? Fiberglass. And how
careful thought to are the layout of con- sides of the switch? is the thickness of fiberglass controlled?
trols relative to cach other, and spacing • Is there sufficient room behind the Often, it's not. This is an inherent
between them. panel for attaching the wire conncctors? characteristic of the material and the
If there is a sequence of operations that • Will the conncctors come into proccss. not necessarily an indictmcnt of
is commonly used for a set of controls, accidcntal contact with metal com- the body builder. So. don't take anything
lay them out to make that sequence con- ponents. which could lead to short cir- for granted.
venient to follow. A good example is the cuits. fires and other not-fun occur- Many fixed-location clcctrical com-
mode, temperature and fan controls for a rences? ponents depend on major parts of the car
heater or air-conditioning system. An- • Is there a need or provision for being assembled before you install elec-
other is the windshield-wiper and washer illuminating the switch? If so. is there trical components. So. I've assumed
controls if these are controlled by sepa- enough spacc for the lamp and associated your car is essentially assembled, with
rate switches. wiring? body parts, engine, suspension and ma-
The spacing of controls is just as im- • If the instrument panel is fiberglass, jor interior components installed, at least
portant as location. It's desirable to spacc will the switches you've chosen mount to temporarily.
controls as closc together as practicable, the panel? Remember, fiberglass is Dccidc which fixed-local ion com-
simply to minimize unnecessary usually much thicker than sheet metal ponent to install first. If the component is
reaching—especially in the case of the usually found in the panels of factory to be mounted on the body or in the
related controls mentioned above. But installations. passenger compartment, cover the area

with masking tape to protcct the finish.
The tape also provides a convenient place
to draw the ccntcrlincs of holes and out-
lines of openings. Then, have an assis-
tant hold Ihc component in place while
you step hack to view it from every angle
If you don't have an assistant—you'll
probably have several, because project
cars often draw kibitzers like flics—
temporarily bracc or tape the component
in place. I was thinking specifically of
free-standing headlamps when I wrote
1. This test fitting and installation sequenco
this, but the same applies to most other
2. Trace position of turn-signal lamp onto
for fenctor-mounted turn-signal lamp shows tape. Be sure to check position visually as components.
the basic routine. Modify it to fit your par- well as double-checking your measure- If you arc building a kit car. chcck to
ticular situation. Begin by measuring. If ments. sec that the component is positioned
component is duplicated on opposite side
of car, meaaure both. Tape on fender pro-
according to the kit manufacturer's in-
tects finish and provides marking area. structions. Docs the component look
right where it is? Will you need to make
any adjustments or allowances for pro-
duction tolerances? If the component
looks good in its position, chcck clear-
ances of moving parts and other clear-
ance considerations.
Installation—When you're sure the
component fits the location you've cho-
sen for it. Ihc next step is to measure and
mark on the masking tape the location for
the hole or holes. But. before you drill or
cut any holes, double check your
measurements. The first and last rule of
installing components is: Measure twice,
cut once.
3. Mere. I've postttoned gasket over outline 4. After outline of gasket and holes are
marked, mark center!ines for holes to be
Matched components on a car. such as
of lamp base. Again, accuracy counts. Gas-
ket must be perfectly centered. Trace lamp- drilled. headlamps and taillamps. arc mounted
mounting and wire access holes, using symmetrically. That is. they're mounted
gasket as a template. in seemingly identical spots on the op-
posite sides of the car. Again, bccausc of
the nature of the fiberglass body material
and the various levels of workmanship,
you may or may not find that symmetry
actually exists. So. to ensure best appear -
ance. measure for each component sepa-
rately. but test-fit symmetrical com-
ponents together.
Installing components correctly in-
volves pre-planning, checking, re-
checking and finally doing il. At this
point, follow the installation instructions
provided with the component or the car
6. When I mounted my lamps. I found that kit. If no instructions came with cither,
the screws furnished with them were so refer to the appropriate shop manual. If
5. Drill holes. In fiberglass you may want to long that they actually touched the lamp you're reasonably careful, the end result
predrill with a small bit run a slow speed. bulb. Fearing eventual lamp failure. I filed will be a joy to behold.
Then follow with final-size bit at moderate screws shorter. Don't be surprised if things
speed. Be careful not to permit r o u t i n g drill don't always fit exactly the way they're sup-
chuck to contact tape or tear through It. posed to.

When all fixed-location components
are installed, determine the exact loca-
tions for the optional-location com-
ponents and install them. Don't install
these until you've thought everything
through and checked each location.
Test-Fitting—For optional-location
components such as the battery or
bracket-mounted gauges, follow the test-
fitting procedures given for fixed-
location components. For hole-mounted
gauges, indicator lamps and switches,
make a full-size mock-up of each com-
ponent. This is especially helpful in de-
termining exact spacing of components
that require large holes. For indicator
lamps, remove the lenses or the bezels
from the lamp assemblies, if possible,
and temporarily tape them to the instru- Mock-up for race-car instrument panol is done with steering wheel and seat temporarily in
ment panel. For switches, you may be place. Whether you're designing tho panol or Installing gauges to an existing panel, you
can either draw gauge mock-ups. or mount bezels or actual gauges on cardboard, as
able to remove ihc bezel or mounting nut. shown here.
Otherwise, make a cardboard mock-up.
When you make your gauge mock-ups
you don't have to create works of art. but
they should be fairly representative of the
actual gauge appearance. You can use an behind the instrument panel for each
inexpensive pcncil compass for drawing component, just for insurance.
the circles on a piccc of thin cardboard. A Eventually, you'll be satisfied with
strip of red tape can be used to represent your chosen locations, and the moment
the gauge needle. And be sure to include of truth has arrived. Carefully punch a
the outside diameter of the gauge bezel in hole through the exact center of each
your mock-up. If you don't, you may mock-up. Through this hole, use a center
position the gauges too close together. punch or small drill to indent the surface
Tape the mock-ups into the locations of the instrument panel.
you've selected for them on the instru- Drilling Holes—Remove the mock-
State laws require turn signals; authenticity
ment panel. Moving a taped-on mock-up ups. one at a time, and write the size of required not having handle show on steer-
at this point is much easier than moving a the necessary hole next to each center- ing column. So. we mounted this turn-
2-inch hole later! Sit in the car scat and punch mark. The hole for the component signal switch under dash so only tip of han-
carefully stare at each gauge and in- will be smaller than the outside diameter dle is visible from above. This is the kind of
of the bezel, so measure and mark the aftermarket switch designed to install in
dicator in the spot you've chosen for it. older cars and trucks that did not originally
Reach out and pretend to operate each holes accordingly. Finally, use the have turn signals.
switch. Repeat this drill until you're correct-size drill bit or hole saw to cut
actually tired of doing it. Move the com- cach hole, referring to the pcncillcd di-
ponents around until you think you're mensions.
cutting blade works well for fiberglass.
satisfied with their locations. For rectangular holes, drill a small Regardless, be sure the blade is sharp—
When you've finally dccidcd on the hole at cach comer of the cutout, then cut fiberglass tends to dull cutting edges
exact location of each gauge, indicator between the holes with a sabre saw. quickly.
and switch, walk away from the car for Cover the underside of the saw's base- If you're working with a fiberglass
awhile. When you come back and sec it plate with several layers of masking tape panel on a kit car. make some test holes
with fresh eyes, you may notice some- to keep the saw from marring the panel to chcck hole shape and size. Make test
thing that you overlooked. And. if there surfacc. Finally, use a small file to square holes in a scrap of fiberglass removed
arc going to be several drivers, have cach cach comer of the cutout. from the car body. For instance, many kit
sit in the driver's scat for a thorough For steel panels, use a hole saw or cars arc fabricated with reinforcing webs
critique. This is your last chance, so take sabre saw with a fine-tooth metal-cutting in door openings, which you'll be remov-
your time. Take one last measurement blade. I've found that a fine-tooth wood- ing and discarding anyway.

occur in a fiberglass panel, such as the
instrument panel. In this case. I suggest
cutting a hole in the instrument panel
large enough to accommodate all the
switches. Then fabricate a metal insert of
a suitable thickness and install the front-
loaded switches to it. Dune buggies, race
cars and vintage-replica kit cars look
good with cnginc-tumcd or brushed-
metal inserts, so you can add to the in-
strument panel's appearance at the same

I wanted to wire my car with five separate Several dozen wires will pass through this
When mounting toggle switches and
harnesses, joined by terminal blocks. There opening for fuse panels. I split a piece of rocker switches, orient them so they
was enough room behind center console to rubber hose and installed It on the raw edge operate vertically. That is. up for ON.
mount the blocks, so I fabricated a mount- to protect wires. down for OFF. Use a horizontal orienta-
ing plate for both blocks and fuse panels. tion only if it is consistent with operation
of the device. For example, you may
want to use a toggle sw itch to operate the
turn signals—though not likely—with
the movement of the switch correspond-
ing to the sides of the car. Another pur-
pose for horizontal orientation of these
switches is to prevent accidental move-
ment. especially if the horizontal switch
is mixed among vertical ones.
This chapter covers the installation of
only the most common components.
Other components and accessories, such
as radios and speakers, are installed
The three fuse panels neatly span the open- Behind the panel, wires pass through fabri- much the same way as the components
ing. cated grommeL just described. By now. you should know
the routine—measure twice, cut once.
Also refer to the installation instructions
Mounting Components—Aftermarket orientation. that accompany the component.
gauges, indicator lamps, switches and When mounting these switches, be
controls arc most often designed to careful when you tighten the nut. It's After you have all components in-
mount to a flat surface; this is because quite thin, so the w rench may slip off and stalled to your satisfaction—and to the
there's no way for the manufacturer to damage the mounting surface if you're satisfaction of the requirements of
anticipate all the specialized places you careless. mechanical factors, human factors and
may want to mount them. Specific clcarancc considerations—you're ready
Most toggle switches are hole-
mounting procedures vary for different to design the circuits that will tic these
mounted like a rotary switch. They also
types of gauges, so the best advice here is components together.
usually have a switchplate. But some
to follow the gauge-manufacturer's in- toggle switches and most rocker switches
structions. General instructions for arc front loaded into a specially shaped
mounting common switches are given rectangular hole. The required di-
here. mensions of the hole arc specified by the
Rotary and push-button switches switch manufacturer. To cut a rectangu-
mount from behind the panel, with the lar hole, follow the instructions in the
actuator protruding through a round hole. previous section on drilling holes.
A threaded stem surrounding the actuator Because most front-loaded switches
accepts a thin hexagonal or knurled nut. are retained by built-in spring clips, pan-
and a lock washer. Often, the switch el thickness is important. If the panel is
includes a printed switchplate that can be too thin, it won't be tightly damped be-
mounted under the nut. if desired. This Both push button (left) and toggle (right)
tween the clip and the switch body. You are installed from behind panel and locked
plate indicates switch-actuator position. may need to fabricate a shim for correct In place with two nuts, one on either side of
A tiny tab on the plate installs into a fit. panel. This permits adapting these switch-
machined slot in the stem for correct A too-thick condition is most likely to es to panels of various thicknesses.

Designing & Drawing
Circuit Diagrams

Symbols are the language of electrical circuits. Just as with a spoken language, the better you
understand the individual elements, the better you will be able to communicate.

The preceding chaptcr describes how need to think of the car's entire electrical book. They are shown in the following
to loeate and install the various clcctrical system at once. pages. The reason for using these sym-
components in your project car. This In addition to the greater ease of un- bols is that they portray what's inside the
chaptcr shows you how to make the cir- derstanding. there arc other advantages component, so you can visually trace a
cuit diagrams that you'll use as a guide to to the individual-circuit approach. Bc- circuit's various paths through that com-
wire components together. causc you're going to install each wire, ponent. This is particularly helpful when
A glance at the wiring diagrams in a one at a time, drawing each circuit sepa- depicting relays and multiple-pole
typical shop manual should convince you rately will help simplify constructing the switches, for example.
that a car's clcctrical system is complex. harness. Later, if you need to diagnose a In rcccnt years, many car manufactur-
Viewed as a whole, it is. However, you problem, you'll have the separate circuit ers are using symbols of this type in their
won't need to make an overall schematic diagrams for reference. shop manuals. If possible, get the appro-
drawing of your car's entire clcctrical priate shop manual for the car model
system. you're using as the donor of your clcc-
When I was employed to develop SYMBOLS trical components. Chances are. if the car
electrical-diagnosis material for some of If you've ever read a road map. you is relatively new, the manual will use
Detroit's auto-company shop manuals. I know how important it is to understand symbols much like the ones used here. If
made a point of isolating components the meaning of the special symbols used. the symbols arc not exactly the same, you
into independent, functional circuits. The same thing is true of circuit draw- still should be able to decipher them by
That made it easy to understand them, ings. So. let's get started right by es- studying the sample wiring diagrams
work on them and trace current paths in tablishing some basic symbols to use for shown in this chaptcr.
them. This is the approach used in this your diagrams. To simplify the drawings, most com-
chaptcr to draw circuit diagrams for your Many different symbol systems arc ponents are represented by rectangles or
project car. Because you'll be drawing used for electrical-circuit diagrams. But circles. The shape of the symbol is not
cach circuit separately, there's never a for the sake of clarity, one set of simple necessarily representative of what the
time during the design proccss when you symbols will be used throughout this component actually looks like.

It seems logical to begin a description
of specific symbols with the basic com-
ponent of all circuits—the wires.
Regardless of wire gage or insulation
color, all wires are drawn as solid black
lines. The exception is the phantom wire
described later.
It's customary to write the wire gage in
numerals next to the wire and to indicate
insulation color, including the traccr
Most c o m m o n g r o u n d s y m b o l l o o k s like u p s i d e d o w n C h r i s t m a s tree (A). A l w a y s d r e w it
color, if applicable. For example, a 12- p o i n t i n g d o w n . In electronic w o r k , s y m b o l s h a p e d like hair c o m b Is u s e d t o Indicate
gagc green wire with a white tracer c h a s s i s (B). M a n y w i r i n g d i a g r a m s f o r G e r m a n cars use a straight line t o indicate g r o u n d
would be designated 12 gm w/wht, or (C). Other d i a g r a m s represent c a r ' s chassis w i t h straight line a c r o s s b o t t o m of d i a g r a m ,
something similar. If you haven't yet w i t h all t h e c i r c u i t s g r o u n d e d t o It (D). Of all these, I f i n d A t o be m o s t c o n v e n i e n t a n d e a s y t o
chosen the appropriate wire sizes and understand.
colors for the components you're install-
ing, see pages 23-24. A
Wire Colors—There's probably no uni-
versal agreement regarding abbrevia-
Usually, the abbreviations used in fac- 0
tions used in diagrams for the various
tory diagrams are fairly obvious. Some
wire colors. The diagrams in this chapter
do not includc wire colors bccausc the car
diagrams also includc a legend that c
identifies the abbreviations. In your di-
you're working on probably won't be
agrams, you can use any of the abbrevia-
wired exactly like the ones used as ex-
tion methods above, as long as you keep
amples here. However, you should indi-
them consistent in all your drawings.
cate wire colors on your diagram, so use
Grounds—As mentioned in earlier Wire Is represented by a s i n g l e line f o r e a c h
the following abbreviations:
chapters, cars are usually wired in a c i r c u i t (A). W h e r e t w o or m o r e c i r c u i t s r u n
single-wire arrangement, where the parallel t o e a c h other, e a c h o n e h a s Its o w n
Color Abbreviation chassis, engine block or metal body of line (B). W h e r e w i r e c h a n g e s d i r e c t i o n o n a
Green gm the car serves as the return path to com- d i a g r a m , d r a w a right a n g l e (C); It's n o t
While Wilt necessary t o g e t f a n c y a n d d r a w c u r v e s .
plete each circuit. That is, these parts act
Red red as grounds. In a diagram, the point where
Blue blue a wire or component is attached to the
Brown bm ground is represented by a symbol. Cor-
Black bit rect use of the ground symbol means you
Yellow yel have far fewer wires to draw when de-
Orange omg signing circuits. This is because you
Puiple prp won't be drawing wires to show return
paths to the battery.
As described on page 25, a tracer is a
stripe of a contrasting color that runs the In most diagrams, the symbol used for
C o m p o n e n t g r o u n d e d t h r o u g h Its case Is
length of a wire. Tracers are intended to ground looks somewhat like an upside-
s a i d t o be sett grounded. T h e s y m b o l f o r
provide a greater variety of "colors" to down Christmas tree, so that's what I this includes a dot where ground symbol
choose from. Factory wiring diagrams use. It's made by drawing several hori- crosses outline of the c o m p o n e n t
identify tracers in different ways. Di- zontal lines, with the longest one on top
agrams that are printed in color simply and the shortest one at the bottom. The
duplicate the wire's appearance. Di- wire attached to the ground symbol represent the chassis, and each grounded
agrams printed in black-and-white use comes in from the top, acting as the trunk component is wired to it. To me, this is
labels. For example, here are some com- of the upside-down tree. Ground sym- unnecessarily complicated and more dif-
mon designations for a red wire with a bols are shown in the drawing above. ficult to draw, so don't use it.
white traccr You may find other representations for Some components arc self-grounded.
grounds in wiring diagrams for some im- meaning the body of the component itself
• Rod w/wht (red with white)
ported cars. The diagrams used by Ger- acts as a conductor, completing the cir-
• Rod w/t (red with traccr)
man auto manufacturers often use a cuit to ground through its mounting
• R/W (red with white)
short, thick horizontal line. Other di- bracket. On a self-grounded component,
• R/wht (red with white) the ground is shown as a dot on the com-
agrams have a solid line running across
the entire bottom of the diagram to ponent outline, with a short ground sym-

bol running from it. However, if a self- the latest Detroit harnesses are also sport-
grounded component must be attached to ing highly weatherproofed conncctors
a fiberglass or other non-metal body part, * for electronic engine controls. These
you must provide a jumper wire from the connectors have very dclicatc pins.
mounting bracket to a grounded metal General-purpose solderless connectors
part of the vehicle—usually the chassis used for project cars arc discussed on
or a designated large-gage ground wire pages 63-65. Whether you're using
running the length of the car. general-purpose terminals or factory
ones salvaged from a donor car, the sym-
B — • •
FUSES & CIRCUIT BREAKERS bols for male and female terminals arc
As explained on page 34. fuses are the same—arrowhead and reverse-
manufactured in several types—glass arrowhead.
capsule. Autofusc and ceramic. Other In the case of wire-to-wire con-
circuit-protection devices include fusible nections, the hot side is female while the
links and circuit breakers. side being fed is male. This is because the
Fuses, regardless of type, are shown C — female terminal is usually built into an
as two dots joined by an S-shaped line. insulator block to prevent short circuits if
This symbol is difficult todraw freehand, the connection is disconnected, either in-
so if neatness is important, buy a tem- tentionally or accidentally.
plate of standard electrical symbols at an Generally, when several wires attach
an- or drafting-supply store. Write the to the same component, the terminals on
fuse's amperage rating next to the sym- 1 1 factory wiring harnesses have molded in-
bol. sulators containing a separate cavity for
Fusible links are drawn as an ordinary 1 I each wire. In most cases, there's a female
1 1
wire joined to the protected circuit by a terminal inside each cavity, regardless of
black dot at each end. It is customary to whether it's a hot wire or a ground wire.
write fusible link, along with gage size,
- W ^ H —

The mating terminals on components
next to the symbol. are male blades Again, the female (hot)
Circuit breakers are drawn as a pair 1 1 terminal within the iasulated connector is
ofdotsjoinedbyaC-shapcd line. Usual- protected against shorting when the con-
ly. there is also a rectangular box around A Fuses ara represented by S-shaped line nector is disconnected. The exposed
the symbol to portray the circuit-breaker between two dots. Use this to indicate all male-blade terminals on the component
types of fuses, anywhere in circuit or In fuse
case. Write the amperage rating next to panel.
are in no danger of shorting because
the symbol. B. Represent fusible link as conventional
there's no voltage in a component when
Fuse panels arc represented two ways: wire between two dots. Include the label the terminal conncctor is unplugged.
In a basic-power diagram, the panel is FUSIBLE UNK. When designing and drawing your cir-
drawn in its entirety. See example, page C. Circuit breaker la represented by a cuit diagrams, pay particular attention to
semicircle between two dots. In some
90. For an individual circuit, only the books, you may find the letter C or C 8 next the orientation of male and female ter-
fuse(s) applicable to that circuit n « d to to the symbol, but this Is unneccessary. minals used to connect the components
be shown. In this case, indicate the fuse D. Represent fuse panel aa a rectangle con- you've chosen. Just remember that the
panel as a phantom component, using a taining one fuse symbol for each fuse con- hot side of any connection should always
dotted line. tained In I t Use dotted tines t o depict fuse have a female terminal.
panel In individual circuit drawing. H there
are circuit breakers In panel, use appropri- Polarity-Protected Connectors—
CONNECTORS & TERMINALS ate symbol for them. These can be plugged together only one
Connectors and terminals are used to way. for the purpose of preventing the
connect wires together or plug them into wrong wire from being connected to the
a component. In mass production, this is wrong terminal. Several methods may be
preferable to soldering each wire connec- this distinction. The male-terminal sym- employed to provide the one-way fea-
tion separately. It also makes service bol is shaped like an arrowhead and ture. One method is to provide a key way
easier at a later date. Project cars also use represents the blade of the connector. in one conncctor block with a matching
terminals because many components to The female-terminal symbol is shaped key on the other. When the two con-
which the wires attach are usually de- like a reverse arrowhead, or V, and nector halves are correctly aligned, the
signed for production cars and have built- represents the socket the male blade key fits into the keyway. Another method
in terminals. plugs into. is to group terminals in non-symmetrical
arrangements or at angles to cach other.
Bccausc most terminals in use today In factory harnesses, there are two Still another method is to mix both male
arc of the male/female type, the symbols types of conncctors in common use: the and female terminals arranged in a non-
for terminals arc designed to represent flat-blade and bullet (pin) type. Some of

Occasionally, a single feed wire is

used to supply two separate components.
A junction is used where the separate
circuits branch out from the feed wire. In
factory cars, this may be a soldered or
crimped joint inside the harness. For

project cars, I prefer using a junction
block. The elcctrical path is the same in
either case, but a junction block is easier
to install. Regardless of the attachment
method, use a single black dot to indicate
a junction. If you're planning to use a
Male terminal symbol Is an arrowhead at Female terminal symbol Is a reverse arrow- junction block, write the words next to
end of wire. If there are multiple male ter- head at end of wire. As with male terminals, the dot.
minals in a single connector, represent this dotted line is used to represent multiple
by adding dotted line to join all terminate. female terminals In single connector.
As explained on page 30, various
types of switches by the number of poles
symmetrical pattern in one conncctor. When joining several wires to several and throws. These distinctions should
with mating terminals in the other con- others in a circuit, you can cut the wire become clear when you draw the switch-
ncctor. ends in varying lengths, so a long wire on es into your circuit diagrams.
Conncctors using blade terminals one half of the harness matches with a Poles are represented by a straight line
usually confine both male and female short wire in the other half, and vice- appearing to "pivot" from a large black
terminals within the conncctor block. If versa. Or, use color-coded wire con- dot. Depending on how many throws the
bullet terminals arc used, the exposed nectors of the same size with different switch has, the pole's free end will be
male terminal should not be hot. for insulator colors. Use a male and female pointing at one dot—or one of several
short-circuit protection. If all the wires in of the same color for a matching set of dots—which represent the contacts, or
a connector must be hot, use one of the wires. Another way is to use a different throws. Carefully study the accompany-
other polarity-protection methods. wire color for cach matching pair in the ing drawings to sec how the pole is
If you're adapting existing factory- harness. drawn. Although it is essentially a
harness connectors to your project car. As with other terminals, wiring- straight line, it isn't easily confused with
the previous few paragraphs arc relevant diagram symbols for polarity-protected wires, terminals or the like.
to you. But if you're building a harness terminals must be drawn with the male Multiple-pole snitches arc represented
entirely from scratch, using individual and female symbols correctly oriented to by a set of parallel lines, cach represent-
connector terminals, you must use other ensure that you won't accidentally design ing one path for current to flow through
methods to make the connections fool- a circuit with a potential for a short circuit the switch. In most cases, the poles arc
proof. if the wires arc disconnected. mechanically linked together, so moving

Non-symmetrical terminsl is another "fool-

Keywsy terminals are designed t o go p r o o f ' connection. In this example, con-
together only one way. The one shown h a t nector at left contains one female terminal When representing non-symmetrical con-
a raised portion (key) In one connector and among two males; mating one has one male nection. be sure to draw males and females
a matching depression (keyway) in the among two females. Four-wire version of in correct sequence. Where possible, keep
other. Designs vary. Drawing courtesy of this is often used for trailer connections. females on feed side of connection to pre-
Au-ve-co Products. Photo by Jim Barrett vent shorts when connection Is unplugged.

Urheberrechllich geschutztes Malei

In the following pages, you'll find two you install it, bccausc it will appear as a • Loads are usually wired in parallel
sets of drawings for each circuit listed solid line on only one drawing. When with cach other.
above. One is for a typical rear-engine everything is installed, scan the draw- • Be sure each potentially hot wire ter-
car—an air-cooled VW is shown—and ings. Every solid-line component should minates in a female conncctor to prevent
one is for a typical front-engine car—a be marked. And. of course, the phantom shorts if accidentally disconnected. A
Ford Pinto is shown. These cars were components should not be marked. This good way to remember this is to make
chosen because they are the ones most eliminates the possibility of omitting or sure the arrow-shaped symbols for both
often used for kit cars. However, the duplicating anything. male and female terminals point toward
circuit diagrams can be used as general the power source.
guidelines for designing circuits for any GUIDELINES FOR Electrical & Geographic Considera-
project car. Use them in conjunction with DRAWING A DIAGRAM tions—This chapter deals with a concept
factory wiring diagrams and wiring in- I followed these guidelines in prepar- you must understand in order to progress
structions that come with the components ing sample diagrams for this book. If you to the next step of your wiring task. It was
you buy. draw your own diagrams—and you cer- hinted at in the discussion on the dif-
The components shown in these di- tainly should—also follow these guide- ferences between how a factory harness
agrams arc the ones used in the VW and lines. is wired and how you'll wire your project
Pinto factory installations. The diagrams • Before current can flow, each circuit car. It has to do with the fact that the
also generally follow the factory wiring must be complete, from battery positive electrical system in your car has two dis-
scheme, but the circuits are simplified to terminal to the battery negative terminal. tinctly different sets of characteristics
make them easier to understand for Short circuits prevent current from get- that must be temporarily separated in
assembling the wiring harnesses for your ting to the load, and they blow fuses. Be your thinking. They arc electrical con-
car. sure you don't accidentally draw a short siderations and geographic con-
circuit. siderations. Here, the term geographic
In simplifying the circuits, the elec-
refers to the physical positioning of the
trical relationship of the various wires • The car's engine, frame and metal
electrical components contained in the
and components has not been changed. body act as grounds, or the return path of
spacc within the car's body.
But, the drawings show routings you'd the circuit. Use a ground symbol to indi-
most likely use in a one-of-a-kind car. cate where the circuit grounds to engine, Circuit design deals primarily with the
Often, factory diagrams appear in- frame or metal body. electrical considerations. Geographic
credibly complicated and sometimes • Components mounted to fiberglass considerations are covered in the follow-
seem to defy logic. This is because the need a separate ground wire leading to ing chapter. For now, here are some sim-
factory harness is designed to be easily the frame. Indicate this in the diagrams. ple examples that will help you differ-
and unerringly installed on a fast-moving • A switch must be wired in series with entiate between the two.
assembly line by workers who may or the load it controls. The illustration below shows four ex-
may not understand what each wire is
for. When you wire your project car from
scratch, you should assemble your har-
ness with a great deal of understanding
and take nothing for granted.
The sample diagrams shown are for
cars that were built before the onrush of
electronic engine and emission controls.
As mentioned earlier, installing such
controls in a projcct car is beyond the
scopc of this book.

IX Q Q S5$
One last reminder before you start
drawing diagrams. Each component
should be shown as a solid outline only in
the drawing where it's featured. If the
same component or wire appears as a
reference in other drawings, it should

always be shown as a phantom com-
ponent. This allows you to use your cir-
cuit diagrams as a double-check when
you assemble the wiring harnesses and
connect them to the components. What
you'll be doing is marking off cach solid-
Eiactrical considerations: These drawings demonstrate four different waya to represent
line component or wire on the diagram as the same t h i n g — t w o lamps in parallel—as described In accompanying text.

wires form the basic power circuit.
There arc two kinds of B + circuits—
those that arc conncctcd directly to the
battery (always hot) and those that arc
controlled by the ignition switch, called
ignition or controlled circuits.
Components that operate without the
key turned on arc in the always-hot cir-
cuits. These includc park/taillamps.
horn, interior lamps and emergency
« • flashers. In a VW. the radio is usually
included because the ignition switch does
not have an accessory position. All other
components arc operated through the
ignition switch, which means ihe key
must either be turned to the ON position
or the ACC (acccssory) position. These
shouldn't be left on when the engine is
not running.
In the power-circuit drawings, notice
that in some cases several fuses in the
c D fuse panel arc grouped together. Each
group is connected by a bus bar at ihc
Geographic considerations: These (our drawings demonstrate different ways of wiring the input. This means a single input wire can
tall and license lamps In a car. Although all four methods are electrically sound, method A supply voltage to more than one fuse,
Is the most practical from a geographic standpoint See text below.
simplifying wiring. For example, in the
VW circuit drawing, fuses I and 2 are
bussed together. In the Pinto circuit,
amples of how two identical lamps can be able installation. fuses 3 and 4 arc similarly bussed.
wired. Electrical considerations of these So. these exercises demonstrate that Notice also that most of the wires
diagrams arc identical—that is. the two it's possible to design ihc same circuit in carrying current into the fuse panel are
lamps are wired in parallel. Where the several different ways, all electrically solid, while those carrying current out of
diagrams differ is in their geographic po- correct. However, only one may be the fuse panel arc shown in phantom.
sitioning. Routing the wires can take on a geographically practical for your car. This is because the phantom wires arc
wide variety of forms, depending on the You've probably seen that the way a cir- actually parts of other circuits, and are
geography of the car where they will be cuit is drawn on a schematic may or may shown on the power-circuit drawing only
installed. Let's look at them. not resemble the appcarancc of the har- as references.
The illustration above shows the cir- ness that's eventually made. Please get The fuses in the basic power circuit arc
cuit for three lamps wired in parallel. this notion firmly planted in your mind. numbered to correspond to ihe cavities in
These could be the left and right tail- If you don't. I can practically guarantee the fuse block. Each fuse is identified
lamps. and license-plate lamp. The only your wiring project will be confusing and with the same number in each diagram
electrical consideration in this kind of frustrating rather than rewarding and fun. where it is shown.
circuit design is that cach lamp be sup- The Pinto starter relay and VW voltage
plied with 12 volts and have a path to BASIC POWER CIRCUIT regulator are shown in phantom in the
ground. Notice that there are several Battery voltage or generator output is power-circuit drawings because, al-
ways to portray this, all of them clcctri- referred to as B + . This is the electricity though their terminals act as power-
cally sound. in the wiring system that does the work. distribution points, the components are
But the geographic consideration— You must provide a circuit that can dis- actually parts of other circuits.
how the components relate to each other tribute B + to the various loads in the
within a space—for each example is evi- system. CHARGING-SYSTEM CIRCUIT
dent when you start to construct the har- Certain components in a car's electri- Although the drawings for VW and
ness. The second illustration shows it is cal system can be regarded as power cen- Pinto charging systems show a number of
possible to wire a car following cach of ters. That is t numerous sub-circuits components, most of them arc drawn in
the circuit drawings exactly. But notice branch out from them. Power centers in- phantom. The only ones that arc part of
that methods B and C are impractical. cludc the battery, voltage regulator, fuse the charging system arc the generator,
They waste a lot of wire. Method A is panel, starter solenoid and ignition voltage regulator, charge-indicator
probably the most common and prefer- switch. These power centers and their lamp, and optional ammeter and volt-

Ignition Circuit—VW


| v LAMP
W W *
r f e n
l J
T - T 4 -
J r J T Y ;co**NSFFR \

r f e
i l

and a condcnscr. When the ignition switch and the coil + terminal. This ventional points and condcnscr.
switch is in the START or RUN position, reduces voltage to preserve the ignition When the engine is running, the coil
it provides voltage to the +• terminal of points. During engine start up, the starter receives reduced voltage through the re-
the ignition coil. Ground for the coil is relay provides full voltage to the coil sistor. During engine start-up. the coil
provided through cam-operated ignition through the I terminal on the relay body. receives full voltage from the S terminal
points in the distributor. As described This provides maximum spark for good of the ignition switch. Simultaneously, a
earlier, with the points closed, a magnet- starting characteristics. If you forget to start signal is sent from the starter-relay S
ic Held builds up in the coil primary- include the resistor in your harness, point terminal to the ignition module.
winding. As the points open, the field wear will be excessive. If you forget the When drawing und assembling an
collapses and high voltage is induced into wire from the I terminal, ignition voltage electronic-ignition circuit, be sure every
the secondary winding. It flows to the during engine start-up will be reduced. wire is connected to each component ex-
distributor and on to the sparkplugs. Pinto Electronic-Ignition System— actly as it was in the factory installation.
Note that the movable point is in- Although this book docs not cover Electronic components arc not forgiving
sulated and is conncctcd to a condenser. electronic components in general, of mistakes. If you're using some other
which acts as an electrical cushion when electronic ignition is so common today brand of electronic ignition, obtain a
the points open. This reduces point arc- that it is included here. Although this is a shop manual for the car to sec how the
ing. specific discussion of the Pinto system, system is wired, then copy it cxacdy.
various other electronic-ignition systems
As far as the wiring harness is con-
operate, and are wired, in essentially the
cerned. the ignition circuit consists of INSTRUMENTS
same way. Refer to the appropriate shop
only one wire between the ignition Both the VW and Pinto—in fact, just
manual for wiring details.
switch and the coil + terminal. For our about any car you may use as the donor
purposes, die high-voltage wires are re- Current for the system starts at the for your project car—rely on minimum
garded as part of the engine. On VWs. ignition switch, which powers up the instrumentation from the factory—
the coil + terminal acts as a distribution electronic-ignition module and voltage usually a fuel gauge and speedometer.
point for B-^ current to the back-up regulator any time the ignition switch is Some. like the Pinto, offer factory add-
lamps and some other engine com- on. Another branch of this same circuit on instruments—often called a rally
ponents. The installation of these wires is carries current through a resistor to the package. These instruments are usually
covered in their individual circuits. coil + terminal w hen the ignition switch not csthctically adaptable to most projcct
Pinto Point-Ignition System—This is on. Ground for the coil is provided cars. In fact, die Pinto uses a constant
system was used only for the first few through the module. The module opens voltage regulator fCVRf to limit the
years of manufacture. It is essentially and ck>ses the ignition-coil ground, amount of voltage sent to the gauges.
like the VW system already explained. obeying instructions from a pickup coil This, in turn, requires a radio-noise sup-
The only significant difference is that a in the distributor. The pickup coil and pressor. Take my word for it—you prob-
resistor is wired between the ignition module essentially replace the con- ably won't want to bother with this type

Brake-Lamp Circuit—Pinto

drawn as a square in ihe circuit diagram. tum-signal lever through two wires, one quickly heats the thermal element. The
When the hu/jrd switch is turned on, full going to cach of the rear turn/brake movable contact then breaks the current
voltage is provided to the illumination lamps. flow to the lamps, which go out. As soon
lamp and it glows with full brilliance to If Ihc tum-signal lever is turned to the as the element cools enough, current
indicate hazard-lamp operation. right, the brake-lamp signal is routed flow is restored to the lamps and the cycle
The VW brake-lamp system, shown in only to the left rear turrVbrake lamp, bc- repeats. Operation of the left-tum circuit
the diagram on the facing page, is simple causc the right rear turn/brake lamp is is identical.
in operation. It gets its voltage from a flashing on and off. The opposite condi- Flashing side-marker lamps arc a
fuse. When the brake pedal is depressed, tion occurs if the tum-signal lever is special case, not included in either the
the brake switch closes, providing volt- turned to Ihc left. VW or Pinto wiring diagrams shown.
age to the brake lamps. If (he brake pedal Now let's sec what happens in the turn Have you ever noticed that on some cars
is depressed and one or the other brake signal part of the circuit during this op- the front side-marker lamp flashes on and
circuits is low on fluid, the brakc- eration. As mentioned, when the tum- off simultaneously with the tum signal?
waming lamp is provided with voltage signal lever is in the straight-ahead posi- And. when the parking lamps arc on. the
and it illuminates. tion, ihc tum-signal lamps are off. per- side marker flashes alternately with the
In the Plnto system, three sources of mitting both brake lamps to operate nor- tum signals? Dkl you ever wonder why?
voltage arc provided to the turn-signal mally. Here's the answer:
and hazard circuits. Two of these are When the tum-signal lever is turned to In the diagram on page 98. note how
always hot, and one is hot with ignition the right, current flows first through the the front side-marker lamps arc wired.
cm. Each of these sources includes a sep- turn flasher, then through the right-turn One side of the filament is attached to the
arate fuse. circuit of the tum-signal lever, and final- hot side of the parking lamp and the other
Let's look at brake operation first, ly from the tum-signal lever through two is attached to the hot side of the tum-
assuming that the tum-signal lever is wires. One wire goes to the right-front signal lamp. Guaranteed not to work,
straight ahead (off). Voltage is provided tum-signal lamp and the right-lurn in- right? Wrong! It works just fine.
by stepping on the brake pedal, closing dicator on the instrument panel, while the Let's use the left marker us an ex-
the brake switch. From the brake switch, other one goes to the right-rear turn/brake ample. In the parking-lamp mode, the
it flows through the tum-signal lever lamp. marker gets voltage from the parking-
without stopping. It is routed from the Current flowing through the flasher lamp circuit and it grounds through the
Backup-Lamps Circuit—VW Backup-Lampa Circuit—Pinto


Typical Flashing Side-Marker Circuit

operate the back-up lamps is provided by
the same wire that feeds the ignition coil.
Other than sharing the same feed wire,
the ignition and back-up lamps are entire-
ly independent of cach other. Note the
use of the in-line fuse. This is unusual:
Fuses are almost always in the fuse pan-
el. The back-up-lamp system shown here
is designed to work only on VWs with
manual transmissions—the air-cooled
Beetle used for this example is not avail-
able with an automatic transmission.
In the Pinto system, there are two
lamp filament of the left-turn signal! You marker is off when the tum signal is on, transmission options, manual and auto-
may recall from the earlier discussions of and vice-versa. matic. Other than the configuration of the
current flow, voltage drops and amper- If the turn signal is operated with the switches, the back-up lamps for both
age. that when two resistances arc wired parking lamps off. the side marker gets transmissions operate exactly the same.
in scries, the current flow in the circuit is voltage from the tum-signal circuit and Voltage is supplied through the fuse.
determined by the total resistance in the grounds through the parking-lamp fila- Current flow is controlled by Ihe position
circuit. If the resulting current flow is too ment. In this case, the side marker and of the back-up-lamp switch. After flow-
low. it's possible for the feeble current to tum signal flash simultaneously. ing through the lamps, current is
flow through a load without doing any Incidentally, in all cars, the rear side grounded. Note that the back-up-lamp
work. This is exactly what happens with markers are not factory wired to blink switch used on automatic transmissions
a front tum signal. The side-marker lamp with the tum signals like the front ones. If is contained in the same switch body as
has considerably more resistance than the you want them to blink on your project the neutral-start switch, which is covcrcd
tum signal, so the side-marker lamp car, wire the rear markers the same as the in the section on the Pinto starter circuit,
lights, and uses most of the available front ones, attaching one lead lo the tail- page 91.
voltage. The little voltage that's left sim- lamp circuit and one to the tum-signal
ply flows through the tum-signal lamp, circuit. But be forewarned: the rear side HORN
without lighting il. on its way to ground. markers will light up when the brakes arc The hom system, although simple, is
The situation is entirely different, applied in the daytime and will go out important from a safety standpoint. But
though. when the tum signal is turned on. when the brakes are applied at night! the hom circuits are shown separately for
Bach time the (urn-signal lamp flashes, Back-up Lamps—In both the VW and another reason—they don't seem to fit
the side marker temporarily gets B + cur- Pinto systems, ihe lamps will work only into any of the other circuits covcrcd so
rent on both sides of ihe filament, so it if ihe ignition is turned on and Ihc far!
goes out. It then continues to flash alter- transmission shift lever is in reverse. In the VW system, current flows from
nately with the turn signal. That is. the In the VW system, the voltage to the fuse block, through the hom, through

Making a Harness

This well-done wiring job didn't just happen. It waa planned. And it followed the procedure I
recommend here: On-car planning and on-paper planning, followed by installation according to

If you've completed your circuit de- protection device, control. feed and main harness to run to the components.
signs. you're probably eager to start cut- ground, to name Ihc most common re- • Decide where to break the wiring sys-
ting wires and wrapping them into bun- quirements. tem into smaller, manageable harnesses.
dles. But first, devise a plan for cutting In harness design, you must decide • Sketch a top view of the car. showing
and routing all those wires. Otherwise, how to bundle and route wires to provide where cach component is located relative
you may end up with a vinyl-covered the ncccssary circuits, while at the same to the others.
copper spidcrwcb that won't make any time, satisfying ccrtain geographical • Sketch the routing of the harnesses
sense to you. Doing the job right means and physical requirements. These in- relative to the components they serve.
correctly translating your circuit designs cludc: • Show where each wire leaves the har-
into wiring-harness designs. So. this • Specific harness routing ness wrap to connect to a terminal.
procedure will be explained first, fol- • Minimum wire length • Systematically number cach wire.
lowed by two different harness-making • Minimum number of ihrough-the-
procedures. body grommets ON-CAR STEPS
• Minimum number of connectors and Examine several factory-built cars that
terminals have the same general w iring configura-
HARNESS DESIGN • Wire color and gage tion as the car you're going to wire—
Here's where everything you've • Neatness front-engine, rear-engine, mid-engine or
learned s o far comes together— The actual process of harness design whatever. Note how the main harnesses
electrical theory, selecting and installing involves seven steps. The first three are arc routed, as well as the smaller ones
components, and circuit design. When done on the car; the remaining four on a branching from them. Some of the small-
designing circuits, your primary job was piece of paper. They are: er harnesses may branch again before
to satisfy the electrical requirements of • Plan where to run the main harness finally connecting to a component.
the components. That is. you had to bundles. There's at least one harness, maybe
make sure cach load was provided with a • Plan where branches will leave the several, servicing the instrument panel

expert22 Arm http://rutracker.orq
This is the plan view of my car. Notice how At this point. I've blocked In the major com- I've Indicated harnesses on my plan view.
I've labeled front, rear, left and right. You ponents for reference. Engine Is simply a It's a good idea to use a different color for
don't have to be a Rembrandt to make a rectangle, lamps and gauges are merely cir- this, such as red. This doesn't show in the
simple drawing like this—just make it neat. cles. Instrument panel area Is drawn dis- black and white photo, however.
proportionately large because most of car'e
wires end up here.

component is located in relation to the front lighting, rear lighting and engine. ponent. For now. that's all that's neces-
general shape of the car and to each Bccausc of the way things worked best. I sary.
other. Be sure to include terminal-block further separated the instrument harness Incidentally, if you've made a super
locations. It will also show locations of into a gauge harness and a switch har- mess of your drawing, don't get upset.
the harnesses and individual wires that ness. You may or may not need to do so. Set the project aside for awhile, then try
connect the components. Remember, be Just be flexible and do what works best again, using a clean sheet of paper.
neat and accurate. This drawing will for your car. Also notice in the drawing If you've been working along as you
serve as the final guide for wiring your that all terminal blocks arc in one loca- read, you should now have some idea
car. tion under the instrument panel. what I meant about patience. Hang in
Use simple symbols to depict com- From your examination of several there. You're getting close to the end of
ponents—a circle for a light bulb, a rec- factory-made cars, you know that cach the complicated part. There's just one
tangle for the engine, and so forth. Label main harness has small branches leading more important step.
everything. When you get done, your to separate components. Individual wires Get out the circuit drawings you com-
drawing will probably resemble the cen- usually remain inside the branch harness pleted in the last chaptcr. and make
ter drawing above. Note that the instru- until they get close to the component,
ment panel is the largest area bccausc it where you can then sec the individual
contains so many clcctrical components. wire colors and the terminals. If a com-
The drawing doesn't have to be to scale. ponent has three terminals, you'll find
Just be sure everything is in its correct three separate wires coming from the har-
position and is large enough so you can ness at that point. It's the same at each
read it. component.
Now, referring to your car again, note Indicate these individual wires on your
where you positioned the pieces of drawing, using a third color, such as
clothesline that represent the harnesses. blue. Draw in each wire separately,
Indicate these on your drawing in a dif- showing where each leaves the red har-
ferent color, such as red. Draw these ness wrap and runs to the terminal on the
main harnesses extra bold so you can sec component shown on page 104.
them clearly. Also, be sure the harnesses Note: While you're making this first
pass through the terminal blocks. Refer harness drawing, don't worry about
to the drawing above right. where cach wire goes after it enters the Individual wires remain In main harness un-
harness wrapping. Just make sure that til they get close to component they will
My car is a front-engine, rear-drive,
anach to. On your harness drawing, you'll
and it has the four main harnesses pre- you show the exact number of wires go- indicate only the ends of the wires where
viously mentioned—instrument panel. ing from the harness wrap to cach com- they come out of the harness.

I've begun transferring information from basic power circuit dia- When a wire from the harness gets to a terminal block, write down
gram onto harness design drawing. I've used same number at both wire's number on the block. Where circuit continues Into second
ends of the wire, where it comes out of the harness. Be careful not harness, use tho same number to Indicate that this is a continua-
to use the same number twice, representing two different circuits; tion of same circuit This means that one number represents the
errors like that can be disastrous! circuit, regardless of how many terminal blocks it passos through.

several photocopies of each. You're go- gram. Each wire in the clcctrical system the same number again where the circuit
ing to be writing on the copies, so keep should have its own number. It is not continues at the other side of the terminal
the originals separate. uncommon to use 50 or more numbers block and goes into a different harness.
Start with a copy of your basic power- for a given car. so don't worry about how Continue using the same number for that
circuit drawing. Sclcct any wire— many numbers you're using. Just keep circuit until you reach the other end.
individual circuit—on the drawing and accurate records. whether it goes through a terminal block
find both ends of it. Number both ends Here's the final tricky point to un- or from one harness to another.
with a 1. These numbers arc for your use. derstand: So far, you've drawn each wire Now, transfer the wire numbers from
so it doesn't matter which w ire you start from one component to another in a sin- the basic-powcr-circuit drawing, one at a
with. I like to put a circle around cach gle unbroken strand in the individual cir- time, onto the harness-layout drawing.
number. Sclcct another wire and number cuit diagram. But, bccausc you'll prob- Remember to indicate wire numbers at
both ends 2. Continue until you've num- ably be using the basic four or five har- cach terminal block as well. Sec photo
bered both ends of cach wire on the draw- nesses joined together with terminal above right. Clearly mark cach wire on
ing. blocks, you must indicate terminal-block your circuit drawing as you transfer the
Do not number any phantom (dashed) connections on the circuit drawings. numbers to the harness layout. I use a
wires on the drawing. Each of these arc What this means is a circuit that begins yellow felt-tip marker for this.
numbered in the circuit drawing where in one harness could run through a ter- This transferring step will take quite a
they are drawn as solid lines. minal block and end up in another har- while, so be prepared to take your time.
If two different wires are connected to ness. even though the whole circuit is If at all possible, have someone chcck
the same terminal of a component, use a shown on one circuit drawing. For in- your work, circuit by circuit, to eliminate
separate number for cach. stance. your circuit for the oil-pressure errors. When you've finished numbering
I find it convenient to keep a log sheet sender will enter the engine harness, go the harness-layout drawing, it will be
to indicate the name of the circuit associ- through a terminal block on the firewall, your final authority for wiring your car.
ated with cach number. This docs two then through the instrument-cluster har- so it must be 100% accurate.
things. It helps me keep from using the ness to the oil-pressure gauge or indicator When you think you're done, chcck
same number twicc. and the log can be lamp. over each circuit draw ing to be sure cach
used for reference later. When a wire in one harness gets to the wire is colored in, indicating that you
Repeat the wire-numbering proccss terminal block, it stops. Number this end transferred it to the harness layout. Also,
for cach of your circuit diagrams, but do of the wire with the same number you chcck cach dotted wire to make sure it is
not start back at number I for cach dia- used for the beginning of the wire. Use shown solid, and colored, on one of the

other drawings. cut all the wires for the harness. Then you OUT-OF-CAR HARNESS
After you've triple-checked every- will install all the terminals and shrink The first step is to make a clothesline
thing. celebrate! The hardest part is wrap, and so on. By keeping the tasks mock-up of cach individual harness. Use
done. All you must do now is "connect simple and discrete, chances for error arc plastic-covered clothesline. Start at one
the dots." reduced. of the terminal-block locations and route
The bad points arc: the clothesline through the same path the
finished harness will follow. Where
CONSTRUCTING • You must label cach wire with mask-
ing tape or other label as you go along. If branches lead off from the main harness,
THE HARNESS labels get removed accidentally, you tape additional lengths of clothesline as
needed. Install the clothesline mock-up
could end up with a mess.
Your harness-layout drawing should • You can't cut the wires to exact length in the car with nylon lies, clips or what-
now be complete and doublc-chcckcd for until the harness is in the car. so there will ever you'll use to hold the finished har-
accuracy. Prom here on out. it will be be some waste. ness in place. This ensures accuracy of
your guide in completing the electrical • If you take inaccurate preliminary length and location of the various branch-
system. This is the part I refer to as con- measurements, you could end up with a es.
necting the Jots. lot of waste or short wires. Locate each place where a wire, or set
There are two ways to install a harness: Installing Wires Individually—The of wires, will lead from the harness to a
You can assemble the harnesses outside good points arc: specific component. Mark that spot on
the car and install cach as a unit, or you • Depending on your working style, you the clothesline with an indelible marking
can install cach wire directly into the car. may find that you can work more accur- pen. Attach a masking-tapc flag next to
then bundle the wires into harnesses. ately if you install and connect cach wire the mark. On Ihc flag, write the name of
Both methods arc described in this chap- to the appropriate component at both the component and the distance in inches
ter. and there arc arguments for and ends as you go. then move on to another from the branch point to the component.
against cach. I'll present both sides so wire. Take precise measurements. Later, when
you can decide which method is best for you make the harness, you'll allow extra
• Bccausc wires don't need to be
you. wire for adjustments.
labeled, you needn't worry about labels
Making a Harness Outside the C a r — getting knocked off and the resulting The clothesline-and-markcr mock-up
This method involves making a harness confusion this can cause. will closcly resemble the harness layout
fixture from pegs or nails attached to a • Bccausc wires arc installed directly you made earlier. As you mark cach
plywood sheet or similar material. The from one terminal to the next, you won't component's branch point on the clothes-
fixture is used as a guide to construct the have to plan for excess wire, resulting in line. use a highlighter pen to check off
harness. If you're going to wire several minimal waste. that point on the harness-layout drawing.
similar cars, or you and a friend are The bad points are: When you're done making the clothes-
building similar cars, the out-of-car • You'll be repeating the same motions line mock-upof the first harness, careful-
method may be preferable bccausc the over and over again as you route cach ly remove it from the car and put it in a
same fixture can be used for constructing wire separately. You'll also have to con- safe placc. Start at the other side of the
more than one harness. However, if the stantly switch tasks—from cutting and terminal block and repeat this process
wiring job is relatively simple, this stripping wire to terminal crimping and
method may be more work than it's shrink-wrapping, to connecting ter-
worth. Installing wires onc-at-a-timc minals. This may or may not be a dis-
makes better sense. The latter method is advantage to you.
also the way to install accessories to an
• You must check and double-check
existing system. Other than these con-
cach wire as you install it. After its ter-
siderations. here are the advantages and
minal is attached and connected, it's too
disadvantages to the out-of-car method.
late to make changes easily.
The good points arc: • Harness wraps are harder to install. If
• Creating subassemblies allows you to you use loom tape as your final wrap, it
carry- an individual task to conclusion can be almost impossible to install in
before going on to another. tight areas. Also, it's difficult to install
• It's much easier to string wires on a flexible conduit to wires after they're in Thoso a r e tho tools you'll need to "wire"
your car with clothoslino. I prefer plastic-
fiat board—the harness fixture—than the car. especially if you're trying to in- covered clothesline. Uso a utility knlto to
through a car. stall conduit to a whole bundle of wires at cut It. Masking or duct tape can be used to
• Generally, it's easier to get an over- once, in a light area. attach branch points to main harness, as
view of what you're doing, so errors are well as to attach "harness" to car. You can
• To prevent unnecessary confusion, also write notes on the tape and attach them
easier to spot. you may need to use temporary ties to to the clothesline. Use a waterproof marker
• You don't have to continually change keep the wires neatly bundled as you go. to write your notes. I also keep my circuit
tasks. That is. first you'll measure and schematics handy for reference.

Notice how branch point has been taped to main line of harness. The clothesline is installed to represent final harness routing. Nolo
This represents location of taillamp branch in finished harness. how line is run Inside chassis rail for added protection. Branch
point leads to fuel-gauge sender. It must not interfere with move-
ment of rear axle.

until you've mockcd up each harness. Temporarily fasten the mock-up in place. marked earlier. Follow the path es-
Making a Harness Fixture—In the Use a generous number of tecs or nails to tablished by the mock-up until you reach
next step you're going to fabricate a fix- make channels for the finished harness to (he point where the w ire should stop. Cut
ture used to construct the harness. The be formed within. Use your marker to the wire, again leaving 3 inches of ex-
materials you use for the fixture are up to indicate all branch points and end points cess. Use tags to label both ends of the
you. Gypsum wallboard (drywall), ply- of the harness on the board, then remove wire with the appropriate circuit number,
wood. heavy cardboard and pegboard all the mock-up and keep it for future refer- and component name, if you want. Then,
work well. I think golf tecs and garbage- ence. indicate on the layout drawing that
bag tics on pegboard work about the best. Kctum to the harness-layout draw ing. you've installed that wire. Repeat this
The size of the fixture can be determined Identify the first wire to be installed. process until you've installed and labeled
by stretching out your largest clothesline Sclcct the appropriate gage—and color, cach wire in the harness. NOTE: Do noi
mock-up and measuring it. if you're going to color-code your wires. install the terminals on the wires, yet.
Position the first of the clothesline Determine where on the board the wire This is done after the harness is in the car.
mock-ups on the board. Stretch it out should start and temporarily fasten the Decide where grommeis will be
straight, so you can position the branches end of the wire. Allow 3 inches of excess needed on cach of the harnesses. Use a
at the correct angle to the main trunk. to extend past the starting point you grommct wherever a harness passes

Install grommets on wires where they will pass through body. Be Grommets are used here to protect wiring harness and large bat-
sure grommet is just large enough for wires, but small enough to tery cable where they pass through sheet metal. Because harness
minimize intrusion of water and wind. and cable together would have been a large bundle, we routed
them through separate grommets.

the wires you've installed and rcdrill for a

larger grommct.
Refer to your harness-layout drawing
and select one circuit. Locate the com-
ponent on the car at one end of the circuit
and attach a wire, using the appropriate
terminal and shrink wrap, if you're using
it. Route the wire to wherever it ends and
install another terminal. Connect the
wire to the component. The wire is now
installed. Check off the wire on the har-
ness drawing. Repeat this procedure until
cach wire has been installed and checked
You'll probably be tempted now to
install the appropnate harness tics, tape After all wires were Installed In this rear wiring harness, I installed enough nylon ties to
or flexible conduit. Resist doing that. maintain its shape while being installed Into car.
Leave the covering off until you've had a
chance to test the circuits, in case you
must change something. Test procedures
arc covcrcd in the next chaptcr.
When testing is complete, install the
harness wrapping of your choice. Install-
ing nylon tics every 6 to 12 inches is
probably the easiest method of bundling
wires once they're in the car. Loom tape
or flexible conduit is more difficult to
install, but use one of these wrappings if
you can install it.

The first step is to be sure all wires are labled. It's tar easier to
check this out before you Install the harness.

minal block or fuse panel somewhere Install some clips or tics to secure the 3 inches of excevs—which you should
under the instrument panel. It is evident harness to the frame and body, but don't have provided for when assembling the
that you should put the main pan of the tighten these yet. Leave the assembly harness on your assembly board earlier.
harness outside the passenger compart- loose enough for final adjustments. Repeat this procedure with cach har-
ment and pull the short end into it. It Don't worry about the wire ends, other ness that passes through the body. These
wouldn't make much sense to put the than being sure that all the identifying will probably be the engine-com-
harness inside the passenger compart- tags arc still attached. Do not install any partment harness and rear-lighting har-
ment. then pull most of it through the terminals now. Each wire should com- ness. Position the instrument-panel har-
grommct hole. fortably reach its component, with about nevs last. In the case of my car. this was a

I prof ®r rivets to screws when Installing har- To operate gun. insert rivet snd squeeze. Tie mounts are available in both self-
ness clamps to body or chassis. Rivets and Rivet fits Into pre-drilled hole in chassis. adhering and screw-on types. Both work
rivet guns are available at most hardware When correctly installed, rivet is superior to the same way—attach tie mount to car.
stores. For economy, purchase rivets In screw because it can't vibrate loose. I lind then thread nylon tie through It and around
boxes of 50 or 100. that it's easier to squeeze a rivet gun than it harnoss. I used self-adhering type here, be-
ia to repeatedly turn a screwdriver or cause harnoss is boing attached to outer
wrench, too. aluminum skin of this tail section.

two-part assembly, with one harness for other attachment deviccs give a more ommend these. Tic mounts arc available
the gauges and one for the switches. finished appearance. Or. you can use to accommodate one or several ties on
Harness-Attachment Devices—Sev- nylon tics in conjunction with lie mounts. one mount. An installation using both tie
eral types of deviccs arc available for Tic mounts provide a way to attach a mounts and nylon tics looks fairly
attaching harnesses to the car's body or nylon tie to a surface where you don't "finished." while permitting easy adjust-
chassis. The type(s) you use for each want to drill two holes, or one where you ment and replacement, if necessary.
location is determined by the require- cannot get behind the panel to feed the One positive thing about nylon tics is
ments for that application. nylon tic back through. For this reason, they can be left loose until you're ready
But. regardless of the attaching tie mounts are a good compromise— for final tightening. And. if you get one
method, the device should not be so better than a nylon tie alone, but not as too tight, too soon, they arc easy to cut
sharp that it cuts through the wire insula- good as a clamp. off and replace. Some nylon tics have an
tion. It should also be wide enough to The plastic tic mount attaches to the enlarged end with a mounting hole.
spread the clamping load over a large car with a rivet or screw. The nylon tic is These can be installed with a rivet or
enough area of the wires to prevent dis- looped through slots in the mount. Some screw.
torting the insulation. For these reasons, types arc sclf-adhcring. but I don't rec- Custom fittings are available for some
don't use bailing wire or thin wire clips to
retain wires and harnesses in place.
Attachment devices include nylon
tics, wiring straps, rubber-insulated met-
al clamps, nylon cable clamps and push-
on frame clips. These arc described on
page 69.
If you're using nylon ties to bundle the
harness, you can also use them to attach
the harness to the car body. One example
is to secure a harness at an edge or hole in
a panel it runs through.
If the harness doesn't run close to an
edge, you'll need to drill two holes in the
panel to install this type of tie. Feed the
tie into one hole, run it behind the panel,
and out the other hole. Then, wrap the
ends around the harness.
Although this is a serviceable attach- Here you can see extensivo use ol nylon ties, both to bundle harness and support it. Note
ing method, it tends to look tacky— how largo ties permitted attaching harness bundle to gauge clamps.

Cut oft nylon tails with a wire cutter after snugging ties. This photo
shows correct method of Installing ties at a branch point. tank mounting bolts. Another clamp will be installed in other bolt
hole to retain ground wire.

Loop of instrument panel harness will have to be supported to Nylon ties are used to retain electric choke feed wire to oil dipstick
prevent excess vibration when car Is being driven. Note how nylon tube. It s better to use ony available support rather than fabricating
ties have been used to keep harness in neat bundle. additional parts. Note slight amount of slack in gonorator wiros to
permit adjustment of drive belt.

Finally, use a diagonal wire cutter to Once all harnesses are permanently in- whether or not to combine them.
cut the excess tails from all the tics. Cut stalled. the electrical system should look
off the tails (lush with the clamping about finished. And it is! There's only TERMINAL INSTALLATION
blocks of the tics. This looks neater and one more major task to do before you can Before you start installing terminals,
reduces the possibility of catching some- test the system—install the terminals. have all the required tools and materials
thing. like your skin, on one of the ends Please note that terminal installation re- within easy reach. Some components
later. I'm particularly thinking of how fers to attaching the terminals to the wire will require specially shaped connectors.
badly I cut my hands on one of my first ends only. You won't be connecting the These components includc the generator,
harnesses. I wasn't careful, and the sharp terminals to the components until after voltage regulator, ignition switch and
little ends seemed to be everywhere. you've tested the harness. tum-signal switch. If the required con-
Securing the Harness—Chcck cach Although the processes of terminal in- nectors arc not readily available at an
harness to sec where additional support is stallation and harness testing and con- auto-parts store, you can cut them from
needed. It's best to support the harnesses necting are described as three separate the wiring harness of a junked car. Be
every 12 inches or so, using one of the procedures, you may find it more con- sure to leave at least 6 inches of wire
harncss-attachmcnt devices discussed venient to combine all three procedures attached to the conncctor. The terminals
earlier. As you install extra supports, on cach wire or cach circuit as you go. If on other components in the system usual-
make sure you don't accidentally pull the you work carefully, this method is per- ly use the standard connectors described
harness out of place or put unnecessary fectly OK. But. carefully read cach of the on pages 63-64.
strain on any wires. following procedures before deciding Generally, terminals come in two

When possible, use custom terminals. This headlamp terminal is a Horo'8 another example of a custom tormlnal. In this case, in-
good examplo. I could have used throe female terminals just as dividual terminals would not have been satisfactory. Should volt-
well, but this one eliminates possibility of making wrong con- age regulator noed replacement, custom terminal is easy to con-
nections . nect. It can g o In only one way.

types—solderless and soldered. To help jaws open, put the piece of insulated wire adjusts for each wire size. These are ex-
you decide which to use. the good and in the correct opening. Close the jaws cellent tools. Many cxpcricnccd electri-
bad points of cach type are listed on the and pull. If you sclcctcd the right open- cians prefer them, having one preset tool
next page. If you think the information is ing. the jaws should cut and remove the for cach wire size.
biased in favor of solderless terminals, insulation without harming the wire in- A more expensive wire stripper is es-
you're right. 1 prefer them, and so do side. If not. try another size. When done sentially automatic. You insert the wire
most people who've done much wiring. correctly, the stripping operation is quick end—any size within reason—into the
But the final choice is yours. and feels right. tool and squeeze. It grasps the wire, sizes
Installing Solderless Terminals— Another type of stripper has a jaw that it, and cuts and discards the insulation.
Correct installation of a solderless ter-
minal requires two tools: one to strip the
wire insulation and another to squeeze
the terminal barrel. If you're going to do
just a few terminals, you can strip the
insulation with a knife and do the crimp-
ing with a pair of diagonal wire cutters.
But I don't rccommcnd either. The cor-
rect tools for the job arc relatively in-
expensive and readily available at most
auto-parts stores, hardware stores and
electrical-supply houses.
Wire strippers arc available in sever-
al forms. The least expensive type looks
like a pair of pliers with unusual-looking
jaws. When the jaws are closed, it looks
like a scries of holes have been drilled
through the line where the jaws meet.
The holes are sized according to wire
gage. These are often built into the
crimping tool.
If you've never used wire strippers, Tools required for Installing terminals include a wire cutter, stripper and crimper. Two tools
practice on some scrap wire. With the on left do all three. Photo by Ron Sessions.

Here's a hot tip tor keeping your supply of terminate neat while H you're using sn adjustable stripper like this one, loosen screw
Installing them on harness. Steal (OK, borrow) your kid's frlsbee snd adjust jaws to obtain good strip without damaging wire
and use It as a dish. It's shallow enough not to tip over easily, It's strands. Then tighten it. Only drawback is that stripper is good for
unbreakable, and you can put a handful of several types of ter- only one wire size at a time.
minals In It at once without them getting mixed up.

all in less time than it takes to describe it. pressed in even numbers only. COMPARISON OF SOLDERLESS
This kind of tool is nicc if you have a lot Sccond. consider whether you'll use AND SOLDERED TERMINALS
of work to do. but it's more expensive— terminals with insulated or non-insulated
at least SIO. barrels. A non-insulated barrel simply Solderless (Crimp) Terminals
Terminal crimpers arc nearly all slips onto the wire and is crimped. To Good Points
alike, but as with any handtool. price insulate this lypc of terminal, add a piccc • Can bo installed immediately, with-
varies with quality. Choose a crimper of shrink wrap. Insulated terminals have out warm-up time.
with a selection of die sizes that will a built-in piece of insulation for the wire • Can be mstaBed with inexpensive
accommodate all the terminals you'll be to slip into. The inside diameter (ID) of enmping tool.
using. Make sure it can be squeezed and the barrel insulation allows the wire in- • Aro widely available in all standard
opened smoothly. It should have rubber sulation to fit inside. And. the insulation and many custom typos.
handle grips for extra comfort. Most continues for the entire length of the e Aro usod in noarty all factory in-
crimpers also have a cutter blade, so you barrel. In the ease of quick-disconncct stallations.
don't have to buy and keep track of a insulated terminals, the female terminal • Require little manual skill to install
separate wire cutter. Some terminal is insulated over its entire length. correctly.
crimpers also include a wire stripper as • High-quality types offer excellent,
Shrink wrap is a tubular plastic mate- permanent connection
part of the tool design. You may get rial that shrinks when heat or (lame is
lucky and find one that works well— Bad Points
applied to it. It is not harmed by direct e Difficult to remove without shorten-
many don't. flame from a match or cigarette lighter. ing wire.
Solderless terminals come in an in- In terminal installation, shrink wrap is • Can be installed wrong if inattentivo.
credible variety of sizes, shapes and used to provide both insulation and extra
types. Fortunately, you'll only need a strength to the conncction. Soldered Terminals
limited assortment for wiring your car. Shrink wrap can be installed over in- Good Points
Those used for automotive wiring are sulated terminals, but it's a waste of • Fairty easy to remove if installed
discusscd on pages 63-64. money to buy such terminals if you're wrong
When selecting terminals, first con- using shrink wrap. However, if you are • Provide good electrical connection
sider the barrel size. The barrel is the using insulated terminals, shrink wrap Bad Points:
tubular part of the terminal that the wire will strengthen the connection. • Require special equipment (solder-
fits into. Obviously, the wire should fit Cut a piccc shrink wrap to length and ing iron).
snugly in the barrel. Generally, terminals slide it on the wire before installing the • Require special materials (solder
are made to accommodate at least two terminal. After crimping the terminal, and tlux).
wire sizes: 16—14 gage, for example. slide the shrink wrap onto the terminal • Require skill and practice to do cor-
The number before the hyphen is the and briefly apply heat or flame—the rectly.
smallest wire size the terminal will fit; wrap shrinks in a moment. A cigarette • You can bum yourself or insulation,
the number after the hyphen is the larg- lighter is perfect for this job. if caroless.
est. Remember that wire gages are ex- • Can cause stress points In wires
You might wonder why anyone would

Continued from page 117

7. Slide shrink wrap Into place and heat It with cigarette lighter, Is
match or heat gun.

Here. I've just crimped an insulated ring terminal. Butt terminal has to be crimped twice, once for each wire. Be sure
t o crimp only on narrow part in middle—enlarged ends are de-
signed t o fit over wire insulation.

If you Intend to shrink wrap a butt joint, use a non-Insulated


Simple v o l t o h m m e t e r (VOM) can be u s e d l o r all tests described A l w a y s c h e c k c s l i b r a t l o n before u s i n g o h m m o t e r . T o u c h p r o b e s
here. I've u s e d t h i s Inexpensive R s d i o Shack model o n n u m e r o u s , together, t h e n t u r n calibration wheel u n t i l needle p o i n t s t o 0 o h m s .
(airly s o p h i s t i c a t e d w i r i n g Jobs. It cost me less t h a n $10. back T h i s also checks t h e built-in battery.
a r o u n d 1975.

A beginning word of caution: Do not
hook up the battery yet!
Before attaching any of the wires to the
components, perform a test on cach cir-
cuit in the harness to be sure there are no
hidden problems. This task may seem
tedious, but it's much easier to find and
correct problems before you attach the
wires to anything. No matter how careful
you think you've been, there's always
the possibility of error. At best, the com-
Y o u can u s e a lumper wire like t h i s to
ponent simply won't work. At worst, bypass controls when testing a circuit—
your new harness will go up in smoke. never b y p a s s a load. Note auto-reset c i r c u i t T w o t y p e s of c i r c u i t test lamps. T o p o n e
Enough said? bresker I Installed as a precaution. I some- indicates voltage In live c i r c u i t s . B o t t o m
l i m e s u s e t h i s w i r e to e x t e n d o n e of m y o n e Is battery-operated sett-powered test
There are several methods used to test o h m m e t e r leads w h e n d o i n g c o n t i n u i t y lamp, u s e d t o check c i r c u i t c o n t i n u i t y w i t h
circuits, but cach boils down to checking checking. p o w e r oft. It's t h e o n e t o use t o c h e c k your
wire continuity. This simply means h a r n e s s as d e s c r i b e d In a c c o m p a n y i n g
chccking that the wire marked RIGHT text. A s package precaution says, do not
u s e It o n live c i r c u i t s . P h o t o b y Ron Ses-
FRONT TURN at one end is the same sions.
wire that's marked RIGHT FRONT TURN
at the other. Be sure that none of the
circuits got crossed during assembly or tested and replaced was OK. but the test- test wires for cach of the meter's func-
installation. er's battery was dead! tions.
You can use a self-powered test lamp To chcck a sclf-powered test lamp, Now. touch the two test probes
or an ohmmeter to test continuity. Both touch the alligator clip on the wire to the together. The meter needle should go to
instruments tell you if the two wire ends pointed probe on the end of the lamp zero. If it docs, the meter works. If the
are connected to cach other. Before test- body. If the bulb and battery arc OK. the needle doesn't move, chcck that the
ing a wire for continuity, be sure the test lamp will light. If it doesn't, determine wires are plugged in correctly and mak-
instrument is working. Both the ohm- why and fix it before proceeding. To ing good contact. If the connections are
meter and the test lamp rely on a built-in check an ohmmeter, set the dial on OK. the meter probably has a low or dead
battery for power. It's embarrassing to OHMS. Some of the less-expensive battery. If the needle moves, but doesn't
discover that the "faulty wire" you just ohmmcters use separate sockets for the go exactly to zero, calibrate the meter.

Pick any component as your starting
point. Let's say you've chosen the right
headlamp. If you've installed a special
headlamp conncctor in the harness, it has
three cavities that align with the three
terminals on the back of (he headlamp.
Simply plug it onto the lamp and it's
done. If you chose to use a separate con-
nector for each wire, refer to the tags on
the wires. Find the one for high beam and
plug it onto the high-beam terminal of the
bulb. Repeat this for the low beam and
ground wires.
LED circuit tester Is useful to detect voltage Connect components, one at a time, after Note: Leave the tags in place until
in live circuits. With lead grounded. LEO verifying Integrity of circuit,
lights if probe contacts voltage. after you've tested cach circuit with live
Essentially, the job of connecting the
rest of the harness is a repeat of this
procedure, over and over, until all com-
ponents arc conncctcd. Refer to your cir-
There's either a screw or knurled knob you're testing a ground wire, there cuit drawings as you work, just for the
for this purpose. Turn the adjustor until should be no continuity between the wire added comfort of an additional check.
the needle lines up with the zero mark, and ground. If there is. inspect all the Mark off cach wire as you connect it.
then separate (he test probes. metal clips the wire passes through to sec One place you must use extra caution
Sclcct a wire in the harness. Locate if and where the insulation was damaged. is at terminal blocks where several har-
both ends of the w ire by referring to the You may be tempted to tape over the nesses join. Here, you'll have what seem
tracers or tags you attached earlier. damage. Don't! Replace the entire wire. like a hundred wires jammed into an im-
Touch one test probe to the terminal at Finally, test for shorts in the wire. To possibly small space.
cach end of the wire. If the ohmmetcr do this, leave the probe connected to one To avoid confusion, clamp or clip each
leads are loo short, fabricate a jumper end of the wire. Move the probe at the harness bundle into place at a right angle
from a length of wire—14—18 gage is other end to the ends of adjacent wires. to the terminal block(s). allowing the
OK—and a pair of alligator clips sol- There should be no continuity between separate wires to extend out randomly.
dered to the wire. The instrument should wires. If there is. determine if the two Pull the entire handful of wires away
indicate continuity—lamp should light, wires are intentionally spliced some- from the terminal block and bend the
or ohmmetcr should indicate zero ohms. where in the harness. If not. look for and wires a little, if ncccssary, to keep them
If the wire checks out. good. If not. in- correct the short. away from the work area until you're
spect it to determine what's wrong. Also, look carefully at all places where ready to connect them. Then, find the
If you get no reading, chances are you the wires are dipped and tied. It's possi- first wire you want to connect, and shape
have tested one end of one wire and the ble that one of the clips or ties tore holes it carefully and neatly to run to the
other end of another. Move one of the in the insulation of two adjacent wires, terminal-block stud to which it attaches.
probes to cach of other nearby wires and allowing the conductors to short Attach the wire to ihe stud. Repeat this
you may find the one you're looking for. together. The only correction for this is to proccss until all wires arc attached. The
If this is the case, the wires may have replace the defective wires. wires should run in orderly rows between
been mislabeled. Or. there could be a the terminal blocks. When you're done,
Repeat the continuity, ground and
serious error in routing. Find the problem carefully install additional nylon tics to
short tests for cach wire in cach harness.
before continuing. these wires to keep them neat.
Correct cach problem as you find it.
Also, pay special attention to the ter- Otherwise, you'll be tracing problems
minals. Be sure the barrel of the terminal after the circuits get complicated by the FINAL TESTING
is crimpcd onto the bare wire, not the addition of all the switches, fuses, The moment of truth has come!
wire insulation. If it isn't, you'll get a motors, gauges, lamps and such. And. You've made visual checks of the har-
faulty continuity reading. although I've emphasized testing, it's nesses, and performed continuity,
After you're satisfied that you have possible that you won't find a single ground and short tests of each wire.
verified both ends of one wire, perform a problem. If not. great! You've also conncctcd cach wire to its
ground test on that wire. Leave one probe respective attaching point. What's left to
in contact with the wire. Move the other do? Not much.
probe to the body or frame. Unless Install the fuses according to your cir-

circuit—although you should have
found it during ihc harness test—or it
could be a defective component. Also,
make sure the fuse has the correct ampere
Finally, make sure the transmission is
in PARK or NEUTRAL, then tum the igni-
tion switch to START. The engine should
crank and start. With the engine running,
chcck the instruments for correct opera-
tion. If you see a low oil-pressure read-
ing. shut off the engine and don't restart
it until you can correct the problem—
there's no point in damaging a new en-
gine. Check the operation of the charge-
indicator lamp, ammeter and voltmeter.
If you don't know how these should oper-
ate under normal conditions, see page 41
(charge indicator lamp) and 48 (ammeter
and voltmeter).
There arc two simple tasks left. Unless
they are intended to be permanent, re-
• n o u g h t o reach. If oach wire wore a random length, whole panel would be a mess. Note move all the tags—you won't be needing
how wires run parallel to terminal blocks, then branch a right angle directly beneath them anymore. Put your circuit draw ings
terminal screw. It's fairly easy to trace circuits and locate troubles If Installation is neat and wiring-harness drawing in a safe
place. They will comc in handy if your
car's electrical system ever needs serv-
If you've gotten this far. the electrical
system should be operating correctly. Be
cuit diagrams. Then make sure all • Input stud of the starter solenoid sure your vehicle is properly licensed and
switches are turned off. Finally, attach • Input to the ignition switch insured before doing a road test. After a
the positive and negative cables to the • Input to the fuse-panel bus bar few miles of driving, check your harness-
battery. • Input to the headlamp switch es for chafing and correct the cause.
At this point, nothing should happen. Your car may have others. Probe cach Also, be on the lookout for places in the
Look carefully and smell carefully. You of these points with the test instrument. harness that need additional ties or clips,
should see no sparks or smoke, and In cach case, the lamp should light or the then install them. Check terminal con-
should smell nothing burning. So far. so voltmeter should show 12 volts. If not. nections for tightness and to be sure they
good. determine why and correct it. Disconnect aren't under any unnecessary strain.
Connect the negative probe of a volt- the battery before making any adjust- Congratulations! You're now an offi-
meter to the battery negative terminal. Or ments. cial do-it-yourself electrical engineer! It
connect the pigtail of a 12-volt non-self- Now. turn the ignition switch to the may seem like it has been a long, hard
powered test lamp to the battery negative ON or RUN position. Probe each com- struggle, but the end result is worth it.
terminal. You will use this test setup to ponent that should get voltage in the RUN You have truly accomplished something
find out if battery voltage is available at mode. These includc the ignition coil, that most people wouldn't think of try-
the correct distribution points before you various accessory fuses, voltage regula- ing. And the added advantage is that if
tum anything on. Again, use a jumper tor and voltmeter, to name the most com- anything goes wrong with your electrical
wire if the test leads arc too short. Be- mon. Trace any discrepancies—again, system later, you'll know how to fix it—
cause this is a ground wire, you needn't disconnect the battery before adjusting because you constructed the system in
wooy if the alligator clip accidentally anything. the first placc.
touches the ground. But keep it away With the ignition switch still in the
from B + circuits! RUN position, switch on each accessory
Refer to your drawing of the basic to determine if it works correctly. If il
power-distribution circuit. It will show docs, tum off the accessory and go to the
you the points where B + should be next one. If a fuse blows when you tum
available when the ignition switch is off. on any accessory, quickly tum it off and
Generally, they arc: find the cause. It could be a short


collector's cars, like this 1966 Mustang GT powered by a High Performance 289. Other harness
makers offer large selections of authentic repro harnesses for the more esoteric antiques and
classics, or will make them to order. See supplier's list on pages 152-1 S3. Photo by Tom Monroe.

Deciding to rewire a car is somewhat money do you want to spend? In other Finally, what kind of rcfercncc materi-
like deciding to take a trip. You must words, how extensive a job do you intend al is available? Can you obtain the man-
stan with some basic determinations. For to undertake? ufacturer's shop manual? Or must you
instance, where do you want to end up? A w ord of caution here: Rewiring jobs rely on an aftermarket manual from a
How long do you want to spend getting arc never as simple as you first estimate. library or bookstore? Can you get the
there? How much time and money do you There's always something unforeseen to information you need from a car-club
want to spend? Where can you get in- take up your time. And often, this turns member or obtain restorer's literature? Is
formation on how to get there? Let's look out to be pride of workmanship. Once there a similar car available for use as a
at these one at a time. you get started, you may not want to stop model? Or. if all else fails, will you have
First, where do you want to end up? until you've restored the entire electrical to refer to the original harness and at-
Do you want to construct a like-original system! Of course, replacing a single tempt to duplicate it?
wiring installation? Or do you just need wire that's chafcd or cut is relatively In addition to the wiring, there's also
one that is serviceable? If you're restor- easy. But if the whole harness was the matter of restoring or rebuilding the
ing an expensive collector car. the an- gnawed by mice or pack rats, who knows components. All these considerations are
swer is cut and dried—go original. But if what may be involved? discusscd in the following sections.
the car is simply a tired but roadworthy Also, be sure you know why the job is
"beater." you may decidc to replace one needed. Are you restoring a car to 100- TYPES OF WIRING REPAIRS
or more wires without regard for wire point condition? Are the wires dried out. Generally, wiring repairs fall into one
color or insulation type, just so long as chafcd or oil soaked, but otherwise OK? of three categories: burn-out repair,
they work. Arc you hoping to prevent an imminent selective wire replacement, or whole-
Sccond. how long do you want to bum-out? Or worse, are you too late, and harness replacement. Each repair re-
spend getting there, and how much the system has already gone up in smoke? quires a different approach.

e x p e r t 2 2 fl/ia http://rutracker.orq
Burn-Out Repair—This type of repair
can involve a single wire, a whole har-
ness or anything in between. Often,
when a single wire burns out. it also
burns out all the wires wrapped in Ihe
harness with it. Regardless, the first step
in replacing a burned-out wire is to de-
termine why it burned out in the first
Wires usually bum out because they
overheated. This often happens bccausc
the wire carried more current than it was
rated for. If the load is a motor, ihc motor
may have seized or slowed because of
worn bearings or bushings, which can
cause the motor to draw excess current.
Ideally, the fuse in the circuit should
have blown before the wire burned out.
but occasionally the unexplained occurs.
In other cases, the amperage rating of the
fuse is too high for the circuit it's sup-
posed to protcct.
If the load is not a motor, chances arc
Here, you're looking al a complete rewire job—bralded-cloth insulation Is literally rotting
there is a short to ground between the
off wire* of front lighting harness. Terminals are likewise beyond help. Restorer of this battery and load, probably between the
"classic'' will probably opt to replace original with an authentic repro harness. Photo by switch and load. Such a short can be
Jim Barrett. caused by chafcd or worn-out insulation
that exposes the bare conductor to a sharp
metal edge or other ground. After the
wire burns up and the insulation is gone,
the cause may be difficult or impossible
to pinpoint with certainty. In this case,
protect the replacement wire over its en-
tire length from anything even remotely
Carefully chcck for hidden damage. A
wire that bums out got hot over its entire
length. This can melt or bum the insula-
tion on adjaccnt wires, even if hidden
inside a harness covering.
Finally, look for evidence of other
components or wires that arc "about to
go." If one component has aged enough
to cause a bum-out, chances are. others
have the same potential. Look for dis-
colored or distorted insulation that could
indicate an overheated wire that hasn't
actually burned yet. Also check for cor-
roded connectors.
Copper has a tendency to turn green or
white when it oxidi/es. Light green
crumbs indicate a potential problem.
Most wiring problems happen at connections snd wire ends. Corroded terminals are
culprits of voltage drop; baro conductors can cause shorts. Clesnlng or replacing cor-
This could be at a terminal, or the crumbs
roded terminals and replacing components that are "about to go" should make this could be w orking their way out of a break
electrical system serviceable. Unless owner is restoring car to 100-point condition, wires in the wire's insulation. For information
Inside harness are probably otherwise OK. Photo by Jim Barrett. on how to chcck the system for bad ter-
minals. sec Diagnosing Voltage Drops,
pages 129-130.
When making new harnesses, If you can't find original OEM con- Authentic repro harnesses for antique and collector cars come
nectors. you can cut them from old harness or one salvaged from with original bralded-cloth wire Insulation and loom, or with plas-
auto wrecker. Leave several Inches of wire to facilitate splicing to tic Insulated wires covered with cloth to simulate originals. This
new harness. Photo by Jim Barrett. example from Harnesses Unlimited (see suppliers list) has exact
matches on terminals and tracer colors, labeled wires and
accompanying schematic. They also offer authentic harness
materials for the do-it-yourselfer. Photo by Jim Barrett

are no longer readily available. Neither is

the lacqucred, cloth-covered wire. An-
tique car clubs now accept modem in-
terpretations of original wiring. These
wires arc covered with plastic insulation,
and are then wrapped in a wovcn-cloth
covering that simulates the originals.
Suppliers are listed on pages 152-153.
Also refer to specialty publications such
as Hemmings and Collector Car maga-
zines for names and addresses of others.
You can often get additional references
from members of various car clubs in
your area.
Installing a ready-made reproduction
When you get your repro, lay it on top of original to make sure all branch points and wire harness is essentially a matter of fasten-
lengths are correct, and all terminals match. A purist might send this new harness back ing it into the car and plugging in the
because ring terminals were substituted for spades, but rings actually provide a better connectors. A word of advice, though.
connection. Photo by Jim Barrett. Before you install the reproduction,
make sure it actually matches the wiring
in your car. An easy way to do this is to
the original harness, or from one sal- harness you're installing. Connect the lay the repro on top of the original on
vaged at an auto wrecker. Leave several battery aixl test the circuits. your work tabic to make sure all branches
inches of wire attached to cach terminal. Installing a Reproduction Harness— arc correct and all terminals match.
Then splice the cut ends to the corre- Numerous suppliers can provide replace- Most reproduction manufacturers do
sponding wires in the new harness, using ment harnesses for practically every car accurate work, so if there's a mismatch,
butt conncctors or solder and shrink made—domestic or imported, collector it's likely that your car's original harness
wrap. or antique. This is the best way to go if was modified by an earlier owner. The
Finally, conncct the terminals to the you're restoring a show-quality car. repro manufacturers depend on word-of-
components. Repeat this process for each Many of the terminals used on older cars mouth recommendations, so they want to

be sure you're satisfied. So. don'i hesi- correct operation after they're removed gauge business exists in the collector-car
tate to call them if you find an apparent from Ihc car. Refer to the appropriate aftermarket. For newer cars, an auto
discrepancy. shop manual for test hookups. Make sure wrecker may be your best bet for factory-
Ihe components are correctly grounded original gauges.
while testing—an incorrectly grounded Electric Motors—It's usually less ex-
REPAIRING & REBUILDING component may test as defective. Also, pensive to buy a replacement motor. But
COMPONENTS chcck your test instruments. Nothing is if you can't find one. the original can
The information in this section per- more embarrassing than condemning a generally be rebuilt. Bearings are fairly
tains primarily to collector cars, the parts component on the basis of a burned-nut standardized, and rewinding can be done
for which arc difficult to find. Cars newer test lamp or ohmmeter with a dead bat- by a competent motor-service shop.
lhan the '40s can usually be serviced by tery! Often, all a motor needs to restore it to
installing new or rebuilt components life is to have tlic brushes replaced, the
available at a car dealer or parts store. FIX OR REPLACE? commutator polished or turned, and the
No one book could possibly describe This depends 011 the type of com- insulation undercut. The latter two op-
how to repair and rebuild every electrical ponent. extent of damage and relative erations also arc best left to a motor-
component on cars that will eventually be costs of repair versus replacement. It's service shop.
restored. But specific repair manuals are usually easier and chcapcr 10 replace Specialized Repairs—Such com-
available for most components. You may minor components lhan to repair them, ponents as generators, voltage regulators
find the manual you need in Hemmings. unless replacements arc unavailable. and starter motors arc best repaired by
the local library or at a local car club. Each component must be taken on an specialists. With the exception of brush
However, there are some general princi- individual basis. Some specific com- replacement, specialized equipment is
ples that apply to all cars. These arc dis- ponents arc discussed here. required for testing and repairing these
cussed below. Switches—If a switch is bad. replace it. components.
The cost of repairing a switch is far great- Depending on the age of your project
Expendable Parts—When restoring or
er than replacing it. Cleaning a glazed or car, rebuilt components may be avail-
rebuilding a component, rcplacc all ex-
corroded switch is also impractical. For able. If they arc. rcbuilts will probably-
pendable parts, such as light bulbs,
newer cars, you may find a serviceable cost less than having the original rebuilt.
fuses, brushes in motors and generators,
replacement at an auto wrecker. If you're Just be sure to get an exact replacement.
and drive belts. Also, remove contami-
restoring a rare or antique car, refer to the Of course, replacements may not be
nants such as corrosion, oxidation, oil
component suppl icrs. pages 152-153. for available for collector cars or newer
film, dirt, moisture, metal particles and
replacement sources. limited-production cars, so rebuilding
expended lubricants. Painted com-
Lamps & Sockets—Lamp sockets in the original component may be your only
ponents should be clcancd. primed and
modem cars—1970 to present—arc recourse.
fairly non-intcrchangcablc bccausc the
Cleaning—In cleaning electrical com- socket is often integral with the lamp
ponents. use solvents that won't damage housing-and-lens assembly. But. the
materials in the component. For in- contacts—the parts most subject to wear
stance. avoid acids, caustic solutions and and corrosion—arc often soldered to the
water-based cleaners. Use solvents spe- connecting wire, so they can usually be
cifically made for electrical work, such replaced.
as contact cleaner—generally available
in aerosol cans—and lubricant/water Most lamp sockets for older cars were
dispersants such as CRC or WD-40. The more universal in application—they fit a
strictly mechanical parts of electrical number of different car models of various
components can be carefully clcancd in manufacturers. Chcck some of the larger
degreasing compounds such as Gunk, as supply houses listed in the suppliers list.
long as the part is rinsed and air dried AuVcCo. Cole Hcrscc. or Terminal
before reassembly. Supply, for instance.
Protective Coatings—The windings in Lamp bulbs are fairly interchangeable
a motor, relay or coil arc sometimes coat- bccausc their bases arc standardized. The
ed with clear lacquer to prevent moisture most common base for automotive use is
penetration. If you discover chips in the the bayonet. For the more esoteric lamps,
coating, they can be repaired by brushing consult the specialty houses listed in
or spraying. Just make sure the windings Hemmings or chcck the suppliers list.
arc clcan so you don't seal in any corro- Instruments—It's best to replace de-
sion. fective electrical gauges. Check the
OfT-Car Testing—Components can be sending unit first, to make sure it isn't the
tested for continuity, shorts, opens and cause of the problem. A fairly brisk

Converting From
B to IS Volts

Original 6-vott ayatem waa barely adequate tor stock pre-1967 VWs—no way would It handle
this much candle power on an off-road buggy! You'll probably want to replace &-vott system
anyway, because original system will probably be showing Its age—and most aftermarket
electrical accessories are 12 volt. Photo by Tom Monroe.

For model year 1967, Volkswagen though. A knowledgeable parts-counicr convert for one of two reasons, maybe
changed from a 6-volt to a 12-volt sys- person can help you with the specifics. both—improved electrical-system ca-
tem. It was a milestone year bccausc the pacity and reliability, or compatibility
change eliminated cold- and hot-start WHY CONVERT? with 12-volt accessories. A common ex-
problems caused by low voltage. Gone Generally, there arc two reasons for ample is the addition of driving lamps to
were the gremlins that caused headlamps wanting to convert to 12 volts, and two a VW-bascd off-road car. For additional
to glow weakly and windshield wipers to reasons for not wanting to. The reasons information on electrical systems for
slow to a snail's pace. It was an overdue for not converting arc simple, so these these cars, get HPBooks' Baja Bugs &
case of catch-up. bccausc American auto will be discusscd first. Buggies.
manufacturers made the switch in the If you're restoring a collector car back Improved Capacity & Reliability—
mid-50's. to original condition, you have no The 6-volt systems on older cars were
Since 1967. some owners of older choice. You must remain with what is usually we 11-engineered, and adequate
VW's and American cars with 6-volt sys- original on the car. Most American cars for their intended task—barely. Most of
tems have sought the best way to convert with 6-volt systems fall into the restora- these had little, if any, reserve capacity,
their cars to 12 volts. Is it hard? Ex- tion category, unless you're building a so any added burden severely reduced the
pensive? Worth it? Opinions vary. The street rod or similar car with an engine efficiency of the entire system.
purpose of this chaptcr is to present all based on a 12-volt system. On VW 6-volt systems, two things
the facts so you can decide for yourself. The sccond reason for slaying with a limit clcctrical performance. The wire
Although this chaptcr describes how to 6-voli system is the system is working gages used, though not actually stingy,
convert a 6-volt system for a VW. the satisfactorily and you don't think the arc smaller than on any other 6-volt car.
theory and general practices can be ap- benefits warrant a conversion. In other In addition, clcctrical paths in the circuits
plied to any 6-voll system. The actual words, if it ain't broke, don'tfixit. arc quite long. With the battery under the
hardware and procedures may vary. On (he other hand, you may want to back scat, current must flow forward to

the instniment panel, then all the way many junctions to flow through, it's no to know something about the causes.
back to the taillamps. ignition coil, start- wonder that ground paths arc the hidden, From Ohm's law. you know that
er solenoid, and so on. overlooked cause of many electrical amperage is proportional to voltage; if
As explained in chapter 2. resistance problems in the VW system. you lower the available voltage, you low-
in a circuit is related to both diameter and This illustrates how the VW 6-volt er current flow, or amperage. And,
length of a wire. In this respect, the system, which is barely adequate to be- amperage is inversely proportional to
VW's wiring is barely adequate for a gin with, can eventually bccomc entirely resistance—add resistance and amper-
6-voIt electrical source. inadequate. Referring lo the starter cir- age drops. Further, you know thai
In addition to the above shortcomings, cuit again, it's not uncommon to find a amperage is what makes clcctrical com-
as a car ages, corrosion and oxidation I.S-volt drop in an older car, compared ponents work. From this, you can deduce
attack terminals; switch contacts glaze to 0.2—0.3 volts in a new one. This that if you decrease resistance in the sys-
over, losing some of their current- 1.5-volt drop represents a full 25% drain tem by finding and eliminating voltage
canying efficiency; brushes and com- from available voltage. Compare this to drops, more amperage will be available
mutators in clcctric motors glaze and the same 1.5-volt drop in a 12-volt sys- to operate the electrical components in
wear, and the bearings or bushings begin tem. which is 12.5%. or exactly half that the system.
to gall. and fuses corrode in their holders. of a 6-volt system. Diagnosing Voltage Drops—Each
Taken alone, none of these may be So. the advantage of the 12-volt sys- clcctrical circuit in your car has several
enough to seriously affect a circuit. tem becomes clear. A smaller percentage basic components—wire, fuse, switch,
Added together, they conspire to drop of the available voltage goes toward load—joined by terminals and con-
available voltage below the usable mini- overcoming corrosion and other un- nectors. Most auto circuits have all these
mum. As a result, lights dim and motors wanted resistances, leaving a greater per- components wired to cach other in scries,
slow. centage to operate the loads. so think of cach component as being one
Remember that the last year VW used As an aside, think of the advantages of in a chain of components. You know
a 6-volt system was in 1966. Because converting to 12 volts and cleaning up all there's supposed to be a voltage drop
you're dealing with a car at least this old. the age-induced resistances that have across the load because that's where the
the elcctrical system will probably show built up over the years. work is done.
its age. Compatibility with 12-Volt Accesso- But. if there's any corrosion or other
It's a common oversight to ignore the ries—Other than replacement parts for undesircd resistance in any terminal, the
unseen, forgotten second half of any original equipment, there's little market resistance will cause a voltage drop in
circuit—the ground path back to the for 6-volt electrical components. Cer- that part of the circuit, leaving less volt-
battery. Corrosion buildup here is just as tainly not enough to encourage man- age for the intended load. A voltmeter
devastating to electron flow as il is on the ufacturers to offer their latest accessories can be used to detect and isolate voltage
feed side. Maybe more so. bccausc it's in a 6-volt version: stereos, halogen drops in a circuit. To restore the efficien-
the last place most people think to look. lamps, power goodies, and so forth. cy of your 6-volt system, you'll need to
Remember that the elcctrical com- There arc several compromise find and correct these unwanted voltage
ponents use the metal parts of ihe car— methods of using 12-volt accessories in a drops.
engine block, body and frame—as the 6-volt car. And parts are available, There arc two methods you can use:
return path, or ground. although they're uncommon. They in- the cumulative voltage-drop method and
To illustrate this point, I'll trace the clude a series-parallel installation of two individual voltage-ilrop method. Neither
ground path of the starter motor in a VW 6-volt batteries, or the use of a power is necessarily better than the other. Be-
6-volt system. Current leaving the starter inverter. However, both methods are fore explaining them, though. I should
motor flows into the transaxlc through much less desirable lhan a straight 12- emphasize that you can chcck for voltage
the siarter-to-transaxle mating surface volt conversion, and are not recom- dn»ps only in circuits that are canying
and the attaching bolts. Then there's sup- mended. cuncnt. This means the circuit must be
posed to be a transaxle-to-floorpan strap turned on and the load functioning. If
to carry cuncnt into the floorpan. In an IMPROVING A 6-VOLT SYSTEM your battery is not fully charged before
older VW. ihe strap may be dis- The most telling argument against starting these tests, it may discharge be-
connected. corroded or missing. If it is. converting from 6 to 12 volts is that a fore you're done, so first make sure the
current will seek an alternate path, which well-maintained 6-volt system will battery is fully chargcd and in good con-
is usually through clutch, accelerator and work, provided you don't add more com- dition.
chokc cables. ponents than the system was designed to In the cumulative voltage-drop
Under the high current flow of the handle. All it takes is detennination, method, you're going to lest the circuit
starter motor, these cables have been some time and some work. And fixing from end to end. noting the increase in
known to fuse from the resulting heat. what's already there will cost you less voltage drop as you go. To begin, firmly
From the transaxlc strap, current flows than changing over. attach a long jumper wire to the battery
along 2 feet of the floorpan to the battery- You know ihc basic symptoms of 6- negative post and attach the other to ihe
ground-cable attaching point. With so volt illness, but to remedy them you need voltmeter's negative probe. The jumper

wire should be long enough so the meter turned on. But in this test, you're not A large voltage drop indicates either
and positive probe will reach any loca- looking for cumulative voltage drops. corrosion or the lock washer is not get-
tion on the car. You'll test each terminal or component ting a good bite on the ring terminal.
To test a circuit, first turn it on. Set the separately, looking for individual volt- Sometimes the problem can be cured by
voltmeter to a scale that has 6 volts near age drops. The total of all individual the simple disassembly/assembly rou-
the top, such as the 10-volt scale. Then drops will add up to the cumulative drop. tine. but go the extra distance and clean
begin by touching the battery positive The individual-drop method is not any all parts carefully before reassembly and
post with the meter's positive probe. This more accurate than the cumulative replace the lock washer.
gives you a baseline voltage. Write down method, nor is it any easier. If it has an You should cxpcct a large voltage
the baseline voltage so you don't forget advantage, it's that you don't need to drop—close to that of the battery volt-
it. As you test each circuit, each reading compare readings with a baseline, and age—when you probe the input and out-
you get as you move farther from the there's no subtraction required. Each put terminals of the load while it's op-
battery will be progressively smaller than reading is a direct voltage-drop indica- erating. If the load is self-grounding—
baseline voltage. Be as accurate as possi- tion. that is, it grounds through its mounting
ble. preferably to the tenth of a volt (0.1 Begin by turning on the circuit. Then screws—probe the input terminal and
volt). Any individual reading more than find the connection you wish to test first. the head of a mounting screw.
0.2—0.3 volts less than baseline voltage It doesn't have to be at the battery, Finally, probe the head of the screw
indicates an excessive drop. although starting there is a good way to and the battery negative cable-to-
After establishing baseline voltage at keep the test organized and systematic. floorpan attachment. This checks the
the battery positive post, the first probe Touch the positive voltmeter lead to the voltage drop across the component's
involves touching the battery positive battery positive post and the negative mounting screw and floorpan.
cable terminal. If there's excessive meter lead to the cable terminal. If Check all junctions in the return path,
corrosion between the post and terminal, there's excessive resistance between post including ground straps and the battery-
the voltage reading will be significantly and terminal, you'll sec a voltmeter read- negative cable attachment. On a bolted-
lower than the baseline. Gcan the ter- ing. Becausc these readings will be together car such as a VW, the return
minal and rechcck it. small, use the smallest scale available— path for some self-grounded components
Now move on to the next junction in usually the zero-to-one scale. In- relies on the bolts and their metal-to-
the circuit you're testing. On most cars, cidentally. if you ever get the meter leads metal contact between separate body
this would be the positive battcry-cablc reversed, you won't damage anything— parts. A component mounted on a boltcd-
terminal at the starter solenoid. Follow the meter will simply attempt to register on fender is a good example. If a com-
your chosen circuit all the way to the below zero. ponent attached to a bolted-on part, such
input terminal of the load, testing cach When you're testing a male/female as a taillamp on a fender, docs not work
junction in between. Check each ter- spade-terminal connection, probe the correctly, chcck for corrosion where the
minal along the way. terminal closest the battery with the posi- parts bolt together.
As you go. you'll notice that your tive meter probe. This will usually be the Conical-end fuses used in most VWs
meter readings decrease as you move female one. Probe the other terminal with arc built-in corrosion collectors bccausc
farther from the battery . This is to be the meter negative lead. If there's a volt- the contact area is marginal. Twisting the
expected because of resistance in the age drop between the male and female fuse in its terminals usually re-
wire, as well as a small, unavoidable terminals. th«*re will be a reading on the establishes contact. Also, you can add a
amount of resistance in each terminal-to- voltmeter. self-diagnostic feature to fuse panels that
terminal intcrfacc. What you're looking If the reading is excessively high— readily tells you when a fuse is not work-
for is one reading that's significantly 0.1 volt is the maximum voltage drop for ing correctly, page 36.
lower than the trend. When you see one any one terminal—disconnect the ter- Internal contacts in switches can gla/e
of these markedly lower readings, minals and clean them. Sometimes, just over after prolonged use, leading to in-
you've found a voltage drop that needs to the act of sliding the terminals is enough termittent problems. The ignition switch
be checked out. Remember that no meter to reestablish good continuity. That's is most susceptible bccause it is used the
reading should be more than 0.2—0.3 why you must make the test before dis- most. As mentioned earlier, defective
volts below the baseline. connecting anything. After cleaning, re- switches should be replaced bccause
If the trend-breaking reading you've test the connection. cleaning the switch contacts is im-
found is caused by a corroded connec- Some components have a threaded practical.
tion, cleaning it will probably cure the stud for each wire to connect to. The wire As you make your tests, chcck the
problem. If it's a switch, it's best to in- has a ring terminal that's slid onto the condition of the wiring and components.
stall a new one—glazed or corroded stud and is retained by a nut and lock If you're dealing with the original 6-volt
switches are difficult or impossible to washer. To test such a connection, probe system, remember that it is at least 20
clean permanently. the ring terminal with the positive lead years old. and the wires will probably be
The individual voltage-drop method and the end of the threaded stud with the showing their age. If you haven't done so
also involves testing a circuit that's negative lead. already, read the chapter on rewiring to


Ford rolay is used to bypass long circuit

between battery and starter In 6-volt sys-
tem, providing as much Juice as possible Wiring diagram lor Installing Ford-typo relay. Mount solenoid close to starter.
directly to starter. See diagram at r i g h t
Photo by Jeff Hlbbard.

determine if wires need to be replaced. Ford is used for this purpose. You'll use You must change the battery, gener-
For information on repairing and replac- the original ignition switch-to-solenoid ator. voltage regulator, starter solenoid,
ing worn components, see page 127. wire to activate the new relay. The ignition coil, radio, all light bulbs and
accompanying diagram shows the cor- tum-signal flasher. You have a choice
rect h(x>kup. whether or not you want to change the
HARD-TO-START CARS Mount the Ford relay as close to the wiper motor and starter motor—sec
Older VWs arc known for their reluc- VW starter solenoid as possible to keep pages 132-133.
tance to start during cold weather, and wire lengths shon. Be sure the relay is Generator—There arc several con-
often in hot weather, too. The cure for sufficiently grounded. It uses the mount- siderations in replacing the generator. In
both problems is adding a relay. But it ing cars for ground conductors. Note that addition to the obvious voltage differ-
helps to understand the causc before a 12-volt Ford relay will solve the same ence. you must also consider the dia-
making the correction. problem in VW 12-volt systems. meter of the generator body. It dictates
A cold battery provides far less amper- the type of generator pedestal you'll
age than a warm one, as discussed on 6-TO-12-VOLT CONVERSION need. The simplest, but potentially most
page 17. The VW starter solenoid re- This section describes how to convert expensive solution, is to install a Bosch
quires fairly high amperage for opera- a VW 6-volt system to 12 volts. The GR-26 12-volt generator—it fits the ex-
tion. Current must flow from Ihc battery basics, however, apply to any 6-to-12- isting 6-volt generator pedestal. But. bc-
forward to the starter switch and back to volt conversion. Electrons follow the causc it is from the early Porsche 912. it
the solenoid, which is a great distance. same rules regardless of brand names. It is difficult to find and is priccd accord-
The 6-volt battery, combined with added assumes that the car is otherwise stock. ingly.
resistance due to the length of wire in the For instance, if you've installed an en- A second choice is to install both the
solenoid circuit, conspire to starve the gine based on a 12-volt system into your stock 12-volt generator and the pedestal
solenoid, so it may not operate in ex- VW, you can ignore the part about in- from a later model VW. Like the 6-volt
tremely cold weather. stalling a 12-volt generator and coil, be- generator, il is rated at 30 amp. Chcck
In hot weather, the same long wire is cause the engine already has them. with local auto wreckers for these parts.
again the culprit. In this ease, though, Required Changes—First, 1 want to As good insurance, replace the brushes
wire length plus increased resistance clear up some misconceptions. You do and have output checked before you in-
caused by heat combine to reduce current not need to change any wires, fuses or stall the generator.
flow to the solenoid. So. on hot days, il switches. Nor do you need to change the Your third choice is to use the 12-volt
may not operate either. fuel gauge. It is mechanically operated generator and pedestal from a 1969-71
on 6-volt VWs. The 6-volt hom will VW van. It puts out 38 amp. compared to
'Ihc solution is to add a relay lo feed
work for quite a while in a 12-volt Ihc 30 amp available from VW car gener-
battery voltage through a shorter path
system—change it only when it gives ators.
lhat leads directly to the VW starter sole-
noid. A 6-volt starter relay for a 1945-55 The hoi tip, though, is to install an

years, so try to get the wiring diagram for
the motor you've chosen.
Some people have the mistaken idea
that you can use the original 6-volt wiper
motor with 12 volts simply by reducing
12 volts to 6. However, there's no such
thing as an all-purpose 12-to-6-volt resis-
tor. so the conversion isn't all that sim-
Here's why: Because amperage de-
termines motor speed, this is what must
be controlled. To do this, you must know
how many amperes you're dealing with.
Connect an ammeter in series with the
motor when it's running on 6 volts. The
reading should be about 1.5 amp.
There's the tricky part. You must get 1.5
amp to flow when 12 volts is applied.
Ordinarily, you don't need to change wiring when converting a VW to 12 volts. But If you're Using Ohm's law, the 6-volt system
wiring a modified bug or buggy from scratch, wiring kits like this one from Bugpack make flowed 1.5 amp. meaning the motor
the |ob easier. It contains enough color-coded wire, fusebox and connections to wire any offered about 4 ohms resistance.
buggy to street-legal specs. Photo by Ron Sessions.
n E 6 volts , rthrnc
H = -j— = ,-p-—— = 4 ohms
I 1.5 amp
Now apply Ohm's law to the 12-volt
system, keeping amperes constant at 1.5.
12 volts
alternator. VW started using them in However, you can disassemble the 6- 8 ohms
1.5 amp
1973 Beetles, and they're rated at 45, 50 volt motor and install the 6-volt gearbox
You had 4 ohms in the motor, so you
or 55 amp. The 1973 and 1974 models into a 12-volt motor. Then reconnect the
used a separate mechanical voltage reg- must add 4 more ohms to get 8. Obtain a
gearbox to the linkage. This leaves all the
ulator. while later models used an inte- 4-ohm resistor. Be sure its wattage rating
6-volt linkage intact. Be sure to use the
gral regulator. Numerous aftermarket wiper switch that goes with the motor is adequate.
suppliers cany complete altemator- you install. The wiring for these motors Watts = volts X amperes
conversion kits, including alternator, varies a little between various model W - 12 X 1.5 = 18 watts
pedestal, regulator, and sheet metal for
the fan-housing. If you're looking for
increased output, these kits arc more
costly but represent a smart buy.
Voltage Regulator—Regardless of the
generator or alternator you choose, use
the 12-volt regulator designed for it. Do
not use the original 6-volt regulator.
Ignition System—All you need to do is
change to a VW 12-volt coil. A 6-volt
coil used in a 12-volt system will destroy
the ignition points.
Windshield-Wiper Motor—There arc
several choices here. The simplest and
worst is to leave the 6-volt motor in
place. It will run twice as fast and will
eventually bum out. How long (hat takes
depends on your local weather and the
condition of the motor to begin with.
Also, the cxccssivc speed often causes
the wiper's park switch to fail, meaning If you're looking for increased output to run If switching from a 6-volt generator to a
extra lights or othor accessories, install an 12-volt type, you'll probably hovo to chango
you'll have no way to shut off the wiper altornator—It will put out 45 amp. oven at tho generator stand. This is a 12-volt stand.
motor. All in all. not a good idea. Idle. Photo by Jeff Hibbard. Photo courtesy of Bugpack.

So. you'll need a 4-ohm. 18-watt starter on a 12-volt diet is that the starter the shall of the 12-volt starter drive is
resistor—20 or 25 watts is better. If you will crank the engine much faster. If your smaller in diameter than the 6-voll one—
can't find a single resistor, buy two and car is hard to start, this may be good. 0.43 in. versus 0.49 in. Bushings with
wire them in parallel. Add the wattage of However, it will also fling the drive gear smaller IDs arc available. So arc step-
each resistor to get overall wattage. To into the flywheel with more than normal down sleeves. Replacing the bushing is
determine effective resistance (ohm forcc. Over a period of time this will Ihc preferred method. Drive it out of the
value), use the parallel resistance formu- cause wear on the leading edge of the transaxlc from the engine side, toward
la. page 13. flywheel ring-gear teeth. Bccausc VW the front. Use a hardwood dowel and
Resistors generate a lot of heat when doesn't use a separate ring gear on the hammer to drive in the new bushing from
used this way. Keep them clear of any flywheel, eventually Ihc entire flywheel the front toward the engine. Install the
will have to be replaced. But. if you remaining components according to your
combustible or meltable components.
choose the only other alternative—using shop manual. It all sounds much more
It's a good idea to fasten them to a metal
a 12-volt starter—you'll have to install a
surface to provide a heat sink that will difficult lhan it is.
new flywheel anyway. So. unless you're
dissipate heat. building a race car. it really doesn't hurt
Although a viable solution, find an to use the 6-volt starter until it fails, then
alternative to the resistor idea, if possi- convert to a 12-volt starter system.
ble. It's too much of a cobble job.
Starter Motor—I've saved the hardest The best, least-compromised starter
part until last. Here, you have two conversion is to replace both the starter
choices. motor and flywheel with 12-volt com-
The cheapest and easiest way is to ponents. Engine removal is necessary for
leave the 6-volt starter in place. The installing them, which is why you may be
motor windings can be left as-is. but you tempted to leave the 6-volt starter and
must replace the 6-volt solenoid with a flywheel in place until one or the other
I2-voIt one. If you don't, the solenoid is finally fails.
likely to overheat, especially if you crank The 6-volt starter is used with a
the engine for any length of time. If the 180mm flywheel; Ihc 12-volt starter re-
solenoid overheats and seizes so the start- quires a 200mm flywheel. The installa-
er drive is partially engaged, the flywheel tion of the 200mm flywheel is
teeth may be damaged. Also, leaving the straightforward—consult Ihc appropri-
6-volt solenoid in place can cause an ate shop manual for details. A larger
clcctrical fire in the solenoid/start- clutch must also be used with the fly-
cr-switch circuit. wheel.
The consequence of putting a 6-volt Where it pilots into the transaxlc case.

# ^ o
Four bronze starter bushings. At bottom is
Dropping resistors. Most ot us have never stock 6-volt bushing. Right one is stock 12- Starter bushing goes here. It Is installed
seen one before. They can be used to drop volt bushing. At top Is stock 6-volt bushing from opposite side. With engine Installed,
voltage from 12 to 6 volts. Make sure you and special sleeve inside It to neck down bushing can be removed only with the
get one with the right specs. Photo by Ron bushing ID when switching from 6-volt threaded bushing puller. With engine re-
Sessions. starter to 12-volt one. moved. bushing can be driven out. Photo
by Jeff Hibbard.
Urheborrechll'ich geschutztes Matei
Trailer Wiring

Ground for fonder-mounted taillamp relies on metal fonder attachod to trailer framo, which In
turn is attached to tow vehicle through hitch—a shaky ground at best. Better to run separate
ground wire from lamp directly to good known ground on tow vehicle. Also note how wires are
"hanging" unprotected beneath trailer. Bad wiring job is typical of that found on most trailers.
Photo courtesy Traitor Boats Magazine.

Trailer wiring follows the same gener- your state vehicle code to see what is ting shocked by the cold water.
al plan as wiring a car, but it's much required, before you buy the equipment. Trailer taillamps usually incorporate a
simpler. Usually, a trailer clcctrical sys- Most trailer taillamps arc designed for single bulb that has two filaments—one
tem involves only lights—taillamps. universal applications. They'll fit just for taillamp and one for brake/turn. This
brake lamps, tum-signal lamps and about any trailer. They usually mount to bulb is identical to those used on cars
marker lamps. Rarely, a trailer will have the side of the trailer frame or an angle without separate turn signals. Some trail-
back-up lamps. Some larger trailers also bracket attached to the side of the frame. er lamps have a side-mounted lens that
have electric brakes. This chapter shows In cither case, to mount the lamp hous- acts as a side reflector and side marker.
how to install and wire the lighting sys- ing, drill one or two holes. Be sure to use Separate side markers are also available
tem for a typical trailer. Spccial con- lock washers on all fasteners for vibra- for the front (amber) and rear (red). Once
siderations for boat trailers are also tion resistance. you've selected and installed the lamp
covered. Trailer lighting is fairly wcathcr- housings, you can wire the trailer.
This chaptcr will divide the trailer- rcsistant to rain and road water. But. if There arc two schools of thought
wiring process into two parts: trailer and you're wiring a boat trailer, you'll need regarding the ground for trailer lamps.
tow vehicle. to install spccial waterproof lamp hous- Some contend that you can safely rely on
ings that will operate underwater w ithout the trailer frame as a ground, just like a
WIRING T H E TRAILER damage. If the lamps don't have water- car. Others say you should run a separate
This is done before wiring the tow proof housings, water will leak in. This ground wire, similar to what you'd use
vchicle. Its clcctrical system will de- probably won't cause any permanent on a fiberglass car body. I recommend
termine where and how you'll need to tap damage to the socket or wiring. But. if using a separate ground wire that runs
into the tow vehicle's clcctrical system. you happen to step on the brakes while from the trailer lamps to a known good
Obtain the lighting equipment you the lamp is submerged—and you will, ground on the tow vchicle. Most trailer
want to install on the trailer. Bccause when launching a boat—the lamp will conncctors include a ground terminal.
state laws govern trailer lighting, consult probably bum out from the hot bulb get- Here's a true story that illustrates what

If your trailer will Include additional lamp*
or accessories, standard 6-pln connect or
gives you two additional circuits. Shown
here Is Six Way Trailer Connector. Part Nos.
11434 (male) and 11435 (female). Au-ve-co
To protcct harness, route it on inside of trailer tongue. Use clamps or frame clips as you
would on car chassis.

can happen if you rely on the trailer frame

to ground the lighting system:
I borrowed a friend's utility trailer to
haul my kit car from the factory, a round
trip of about 1500 miles. In winter.
Clearly, a correctly operating lighting
system was critical. I had wired my tow
car according to the instructions given
later in this chapter, and everything
checked out OK. But when I hooked up
the trailer, all kinds of weird things hap-
pened. The trailer taillamps worked, but
dimly. The brake/turn lamps also worked
dimly, except when the tail and brake
lamps were on together, or when the tail
and tum lamps were on together. When I
stepped on the brakes, ihc taillamps went
out and the brake lamps didn't light.
When I operated the turn signals, the
taillamp blinked on and off but the tum
lamp did not light.
If your trailer has only taillamps and right left turn and brake lamps, all you'll need is a 4-pin
Here's a practical tip: When electrical connector like this one. available from trailer-supply houses. They come with several feet
stuff works weirdly, look for bad of wire attached, In the four standard colors.
grounds. That's exactly what I found.
The car's ground was connected to the
trailer tongue through the harness. The
tongue w as connected to the trailer frame
by a set of badly corroded pivots—the
trailer has a tilt bed. The taillamps were
grounded to the frame through their
mounts. But. without continuity from
frame to tongue, the lamps were not

The taillamps were seeking ground
through the car's brake lamps. And the
trailer-brake lamps were seeking ground
through the car's taillamps. When cach
system was operated separately, the trail-
er lamps lit. but dimly, because of the
added resistance of the car's lamps. Hut
when both systems were operated
together, the trailer lamps had no ground,
so nothing lit.
My solution was to run a ground wire
from the trailer conncctor directly to the
lamps, bypassing the tongue and frame,
and the corrosion between them. It was a
cold task, but necessary. So. don't rely
on the trailer frame as a good ground,
particularly on a tilt-bed trailer. Take the
time to run a separate ground wire
through the trailer conncctcr to a known
good ground on the tow vehicle.
Connection to Tow Vehicle—For a
conventional trailer system, you'll need
only four wires between the tow vchicle
and the trailer—ground, taillamp. right-
turn/brake lamp and Ieft-tum/brake
lamp. These four wires comc together at
By attaching tail and brako lamp wires to fomalo terminals, they are protoctod from short
circuits. Exposed (male) ground pin can contact the car body without harm. This permits a conncctor at the front of the trailer
you to coll trailer harness under carpeting in trunk. tongue. A matching conncctor continues
the circuits into the tow vehicle.
Trailer conncctors arc of two general
types, cach with four terminals. One type
is flat, with all four terminals side by
side. The other has the terminals in two
rows of two, forming a square. Regard-
less of conncctor shape, the half of the
connector that attaches to the tow-vehicle
wiring has three female (hot) terminals
shielded with insulation and one un-
shielded male (ground) terminal. The

Tap Into car's wiring at any convenient point. In this example. I was able to tap wires inside
trunk, close to taillamps.
For easy routing, trailer wire in the tour
standard colors—green, yellow, brown and
white—Is sold "stuck together" like this.
Individual wires can be pulled or slit apart. It
done carefully. Photo by Jim Barrett.

matching half that attaches to the trailer turn/brake and left turn/brake. Now tracc
wiring has three unshielded male ter- these wires toward the from of the car
minals and one shielded female terminal. until you reach a conncctor. Use a volt-
When the two parts are plugged together, meter or 12-volt test lamp to verify cach
they can go only one way. And all male wire. Here's how.
terminals arc completely shielded by the Tum off all clcctrical systems in the
conncctor bodies. car. Insert the test probe into the back of
Wire colors for trailer wiring are fairly the conncctor in the cavity corresponding
standardized. In fact, most trailer-hitch to what you think is the taillamp wire. Do
installers will sell you a conncctor with not give in to temptation to punch the test
short wire leads already attached, in the probe through the wire's insulation. This
four standard colors: provides a place for corrosion to start
Green—right later. Ground the other lest lead to a
Yellow—left known good ground, such as a bare spot
Brown—tail on the frame, or run a jumper back to the
White—ground battery negative terminal. Then have a
helper tum on ihc parking lamps only. If
It's imperative that you install Ihc cor- you see voltage at the chosen point w hen
rect half of the connector to the trailer and the lamps go on. you've found the wire
the correct half to the tow vehicle. Bc- for the taillamp circuit. Note its color and
causc you're going to be tapping into tracer, if any. If your car's harness is
circuits that are normally live when the Be sure there's enough slack in trailer wire correctly assembled, it will match the
car is in operation, the connector should to permit trailer to tum in both directions shop-manual schcmatic.
be installed so the live terminals arc without stretching wire. Keeping wire close
shielded against accidental short circuits. to hitch bell helps. Now. turn off the taillamps. Insert the
In other words, the female connector test probe in the cavity corresponding to
should be on the low vchiclc. Generally, Ihc left-tum signal. Have someone tum
the ground terminal on the female con- wiring harness must have shielded ter- on the left-tum signal. You should detect
ncctor is left unshielded. minals on all the live circuits. The ground voltage at the test point cach time the
terminal is generally unshielded. lamps blink on. Identify the wire. Repeat
To install the trailer-half of the con- for Ihe right-turn signal. You have now
The conncctor going into the tow vehi-
nector. first attach the appropriate con- identified the three wires to be tapped.
cle will also have wires in the four stand-
ncctor leads to their respective circuits in
ard colors. In fact, when you buy the Tracc the three wires to a location
the trailer. Use butt connectors and cover
connectors, they usually comc in pairs, that's protected from the weather and
them with shrink wrap. You can test your
one conncctor installed at cach end of a from accidental contact. Under the trunk
trailer wiring with an ohmmeter or sclf-
set of wires about 3 or 4 feet long. To carpel is a good place. The placc you
powcrcd test lamp.
install them, cut the wires in the middle, choose will be your tap point. Hitch the
Touch one probe to the ground ter- creating two separate connectors with trailer to the tow vchiclc. Plug the trailer
minal; it's the odd one in the conncctor. several feet of wire attached to cach. conncctor into the tow-vehicle con-
and should be attached to the white ncctor. Route the leads to the tap point
If you can get a wiring schcmatic of the
(ground) wire. Then, probe cach of the you've chosen. Be sure there is sufficient
tow vchiclc. use il as a starting point. But
other three terminals in tum. If both the slack in the wires to allow the trailer to
be careful. Factories have been known to
wiring and lamp filaments are OK. you'll turn left and right without stretching the
assemble harnesses that have non-
see continuity at cach conncctor. If not. wires. Temporarily close the trunk lid to
spccificd wire colors substituted for ihc
trace down the open circuit and correct it. be sure the rubber weatherstrip will hold
ones specified on the schematic. This
Then, temporarily remove the lamp Ihc harness in place without chafing.
often happens when the factory runs out
bulbs and probe the three lamp-circuit Open the lid and decide if the four wires
of a certain w ire color. Instead of stop-
terminals at the harness conncctor. two at should be shortened and cut.
ping production, they will substitute a
a time. You should not see continuity
color they have an abundance of. It may Identify the car's taillamp wire and the
between any Iwo of them. If there is. you
keep the line moving, but it can cause corresponding brown wire from the trail-
hdve a short circuit that must be corrected
untold grief for the unwary technician er conncctor. Splice these wires together.
before hooking the trailer to the car.
later. Repeat for right and left turn. Finally,
Find the rear lighting harness in the find a good ground for the white wire and
WIRING THE T O W VEHICLE trunk of your car. On some cars, it may attach it. You can splice il into a ground
The tow vehicle must be provided with be underneath the trunk—bed of a wire in the tow vehicle's harness or you
a conncctor that mates with the one you truck—outside the car. On others, it may can attach it to an existing scrcw in the
installed on the trailer. I explained earlier be behind the rear bumper. Tentatively car's body, using a ring terminal and
thai Ihc conncctor attached to the car's identify these three wires: taillamp. right serrated lock washer.

Wiring a Race Car

All switches In Instrument panel of Trans-Am Mustang are clearly labeled for instantaneous
reference while driving. Race-car instrument-panel design is critical. Photo by Tom Monroe.

Wiring a race car is not much different By the way. most components de- prevented by using 14-gage wire. Of
than wiring a regular street car. But the scribed in this chaptcr can also be used on course, this is a hypothetical ease. If
variations, where they exist, can make a street car. if you w ant to spend the extra you're not sure, temporarily install an
the difference between winning and los- time and money to install them. ammeter in scries with the ignition coil to
ing. Most race cars don't have com- determine maximum amperes when the
plicated wiring systems, but these sys- WIRING engine is at high rpm.
tems must work flawlessly, every time, Race-car wiring is made of copper, A good race-car ignition, such as the
under conditions that would literally covered by a protective insulation; no MSD-6T, has separate leads for the pow-
shake a conventional wiring system to different from other vehicles. There arc er circuit and the on/off circuit. The pow-
pieces. three specific points to be aware of w hen er leads (B + and ground) will be 10—
The differences, then, are largely in specifying wire for a racc car. 12 gage for minimum voltage drop at
the quality of the components and the car Wire Size—You must use wire that's of maximum current loads. The on-off
on which they're installed. It's not at all sufficient gage for the maximum loads function is controlled by a separate 18-
uncommon to find aircraft grade clcc- anticipated under racc conditions. For gagc wire drawing 1/2 amp. which is
trical components in a race car. The rea- example, in normal use. the ignition sys- routed through the ignition switch.
son for using these costly components is tem may draw only a few amperes, may- On ignitions with only a single power
the same for race cars as for airplanes— be as high as 6 or 7 amp. But at the high lead and ground, all current is carried
absolute reliability, uncompromiscd by engine speeds that racc cars demand, the through the ignition switch. So. with
price. Suppliers of race-car-quality com- ignition pulses come very close together. these ignitions, you'll need a switch rated
ponents are listed on pages 152-153. This can cause a system to draw up to 30 to handle the ignition's maximum ex-
If you examine a typical race-car elec- amp at peak rpm. pected current draw under racing con-
trical system, you'll find wiring harness- As an example, if the clcctrical system ditions.
es. terminals, circuit protection, switch- in your racc car uses 18-gagc w ire for the Wire Flexibility—Wire used in a racc
es. gauges and loads. These are dis- ignition, it could cause an excessive in- car should be as flexible as possible to
cusscd here, along with a few raccr's tips stantaneous voltage drop, resulting in help prevent failure from vibration. Wire
tossed in where applicable. poor ignition performance. This could be flexibility is directly related to the num-

Support harness by clamping every 6 inches. Noto hero how Coil lead mado by race car oloctrician Frank Parker is example of
branch point Is close to a clamp for additional reinforcement. good race-car wiring. He profers harness wrap of nonadhosive
loom tape to protect wires from d i n and grime. All leads are clearly
marked with indelible Ink on waterproof wrap-around labels for
quick reference by pit crew during race. Aircraft-grade seamless
ring terminals aro used on coil loads. Photo by Jim Barrett.

Here, Essex BT-079 ftame-retardant loom tape ia being used as a Because loom tape is nonadhesive, apply a piece of shrink wrap to
harness wrap. Wrap wires tightly without stretching tape, over- keep ends from unraveling. Photo by Jim Barrett.
lapping by about one-half. Photo by Jim Barrett.

possible to rcducc unwanted vibration. a crucial point in a racc. Although you Some racers like to bundle the harness
You can do this by using the smallest shouldn't have extra wire in the clcctrical with nylon tics rather than tape. The
gage wire that will safely handle the max- system, allow just enough slack at each spaces between the tics allow you to see
imum loads anticipated. Of course, the terminal to ensure that the harness is sup- at a glancc how the wires are routed.
method of attaching the harness also has ported by clips or tics, and not by the Replacement of single wires is also
a lot to do with how much or how little component's terminals. If you expect easier.
the wires will vibrate. any movement between the component Other racers prefer to use a non-
Wire vibration is bad for two reasons: and harness, put a small loop in the wire adhesive vinyl loom tape to bundle the
it leads to fatigue of the wires, and it can before it's attached. Such movement harness. Although tape docs make it
disconncct wires from components. could occur, for instance, if the harness is slightly more difficult to trace w ire paths
Always attach the harness securely attached to the firewall and the com- and replace individual wires, it docs have
over its entire length. Don't allow it to ponent is mounted on the engine. Wrap several advantages over nylon ties.
hang unsupported for more than 4 — 6 the wire around a pencil to form the loop. First, loom tape gives the harness a
inchcs at any point. Ease of Service—Service or repairs to neater appcarancc than tics. Sccond. tape
the electrical system during a pit stop is protects wires from dirt and oil. Third, a
Also, the weight of the harness should
affected by the way a harness is de- harness wrapped with loom tape will be
not place stress on any terminals. If it
signed. constructed and installed. lighter than one bundled with nylon tics.
docs, it could pull the conncctor loose at

expert22 .q/ia http://rutracker.orq
those with plastic tabs. There are also tics
that withstand high temperatures without
melting, available from suppliers such as
Murphy Industries.

Many of the qualities to look for in
wires for race cars can also be applied to
tenninals. They must be rugged, but not
weigh too much. They must be able to
resist vibrations and should not contrib-
ute to wire fatigue. Let's look at some of
these qualities in more detail.
Terminal Design—Race-car electri-
cians prefer terminals of a certain design.
The terminal should be a ring rjthcr than
a spade, if at all possible. Obviously,
when a w ire attaches to a component, the
design of the component is a factor in
terminal configuration. That's why high-
performance clcctrical components, and
aircraft components used in race cars,
usually have threaded stud terminals
rather than the spade-type disconnect ter-
Elcctrical systems on race cars may
And. bccausc almost all wire failures loom tape. FT-105 heavy-duty shrink use soldered terminals, but the preferred
occur at the ends of harness runs, it's rare wrap is used (o keep tape ends from un- type is the solderlcss crimp connector.
that you'd need to remove Ihc tape to raveling. also to reinforce terminal con- At first thought, ihe soldered type would
make a repair in the middle of a harness nections. Shrink wrap also makes a seem to offer superior electrical continu-
during a pit stop. In any case, do not use good, smooth surface on which to attach ity and better retention of the terminal on
standard clcctrical tape or other the labels dcscribcd above. the wire. Neither is true. A high-quality,
adhesive-type tapes for wrapping har- The ring terminals used to make the correctly installed crimp conncctor is
nesses. harness vibration-resistant also make it equal to a soldered one. In addition, it
Each wire should be permanently difficult for the pit crew to disconnect a reduces a fatigue factor you probably
labeled for easy identification. This component quickly. However, this is a never considered. When solder is applied
makes it easier to trouhlcshoot electrical compromise that can be lived with. Sec to a terminal, some of the solder tends to
problems during a race, when time is the next section. Terminals. wick—run—down between the strands
important. You can label the wire with of the copper w ire. For the d istance of the
There is no clear-cut preference for
the name of the circuit, or with a signifi- wicking. this makes the wire stiffcr. But
cither clips or tics for attaching a harness
cant codc number undcrsuxxl by the pit w here the wicking stops, the wire is sud-
to a race car. Clips have the advantage of
crew. Durable wrap-around labels with denly flexible. If fatigue from vibration
l<x)king more polished, but for a repair,
clcar-plastic overlays, available from is going to set in anywhere in the wire,
the rivet must be drilled out. Also, it
Murphy Industries, arc shown in the top this is the point where it will occur. A
requires a rivet tool to install correctly.
right photo on page 141. correctly installed crimp terminal
This is not critical during initial harness
covered w ith a piece of shrink wrap will
For marking labels, use a fine-point installation, but during a pit-stop repair,
eliminate the fatigue point.
felt-tip pen with indelible ink— the extra work involved could cost the
otherwise the ink will smear when the race. The advantage of the nylon tie. of The design of the connector barrel is
overlays arc attached to the label. Label course, is that it can be removed quickly also important. First, it should be un-
every wire. No matter how familiar you with a diagonal wire cutter and can be insulated. This is bccausc you're going
think you arc with the w iring, it's easy to installed without a tool to put shrink wrap on each terminal to
forget what each individual wire is for. On the other hand, there is some opin- reduce fatigue. Using insulated terminals
The top right photo on page 141 is a ion that nylon tics can occasionally vi- would require a largcr-diamctcr piece of
good example of how racc-car wires can brate loose. If you use nylon lies, don't shrink wrap, which would not shrink
be wrapped and labeled. The two wires buy cheap ones. Look for lies with a down correctly to support the connec-
for a coil-harness lead are wrapped with small metal tab in Ihe tic head. These are tion.
Essex BT-079 flamc-rctardant vinyl much less likely to vibrate loose than There are three types of barrel

Battery cables were fabricated for this installation. Note per- This battery cable crimpor is used to install cable terminals much
manent labels Installed on them. These heavy wires lead to master like smaller ones used on wlros. Except this one has to be
cutoff switch o n opposite side of panel. squoezed in a vise or struck with a hammer to crimp terminal. The
terminal is shown in place, but the cable was omitted for clarity.

vibrating loose. More important, you can cable to the starter solenoid. The T-type CIRCUIT PROTECTION
tell at a glancc if the fastener has turned, connector is used to join two cablcs When the subject of wiring protection
bccausc the polish on the fastener won't together at a battery post. They're needed for racc cars comes up. there's only one
line up with the polish on the surrounding when you have two batteries teamed component that is even considered.
area. together in the vchiclc. That's the circuit breaker. These come in
Battery-Cable Terminals—Terminals For battery terminals, there is a heavy- several configurations, but one kind is
used on battery cables in racc cars also wall shrink wrap with a hot-melt sealant. most suited for racc cars. To repeat what
have special requirements. First, it's It is available from Alpha Wire or NAPA was said earlier, circuit breakers are de-
often necessary to mount the battery a automotive jobbers. signed to react to excess amperage by
great distance from the engine for im-
proved weight distribution, so custom
cablcs are usually required.
Select cable terminals that can be
crimped onto the cable. Don't use the
type that clamp on—they could come
undamped during a race. The crimp ter-
minal should be installed to the battery
cable with the appropriate crimping tool.
Obviously, the small plier-type tool you
use for harness-wiring terminals won't
do the job. There are two specific tools
for this purpose: One is an expensive,
heavy-duty plier-type tool; the other is a
tool that is squeezed between the jaws of
a bcnch vise or hit with a hammer to
crimp the terminal to the cable.
Battcry-cablc terminals come in sever-
al configurations, depending on applica-
tion. The battery-terminal connector
attaches the cable to the battery; both
side- and top-terminal kinds are avail- Use cable T-fitting like this if you're wiring several battenes in parallel. This terminal Is
able. The lug connector attaches the suitable for top-post battory.


Battery box protects battery—and driver—during a crash. Battery box must be securely tastened to be effective. Photo
They're frequently used for off-road racing. Photo by Jeff by Jeff Hlbbard.

Special to locate battery at rear of

Trans-Am was done to improve woight dis- light snowmobile or garden-tractor batteries for power. Photo
tribution. Monroe. by Ron Sessions.

overheating and snapping open. They wrong in the circuit, the circuit breaker from national electronics distributors;
don't melt like fuses do. The common behaves just like a sw itch. But if an over- the latter from aircraft-supply houses.
circuit breaker remakes the circuit as load or short occurs, the built-in mech- Not surprisingly, these quality circuit
soon as it cools. If the short is still there, anism snaps the toggle switch open, breakers have two threaded studs on the
it heats up. snaps open, and the cycle breaking the circuit. back to receive ring terminals. Make sure
repeats. These arc also callcd auto-reset This type of circuit breaker is es- the circuit breaker you sclcct has a steel
circuit breakers. The auto-reset type is sentially a self-operating off switch. Un- toggle. Breakers with plastic toggles
not the best for race-car use. like the auto-reset type, it will not turn have failed under racing conditions.
The preferred circuit breaker is one itself back on. When the driver attempts It's not only evident that using a circuit
with a built-in toggle switch. Actually, it to turn on the circuit manually, the circuit breaker as a switch means that the circuit
looks more like a conventional toggle breaker will again break the circuit if the breaker protects everything connected to
than like a circuit breaker. But its opera- overload is still there. it. but also that everything conncctcd to it
tion is special. Normally, the driver turns High-quality toggle-type breakers arc operates simultaneously. If you want to
the circuit on and off as desired, using the manufactured by Potter and Brumficld control something separately, you must
toggle switch. As long as there's nothing and Klixon. The former are available add another circuit breaker. Or, you can

add an additional circuit breaker to act as
a sort of "accessory" protection device.
Bccausc cach component sharing this
one circuit breaker has its own control
switch, cach can operate independently,
provided the circuit-breaker toggle is
switched on. Some of the components
you'd put on this circuit includc wipers,
oil-pressure light and starter solenoid.
Sizing Circuit Breakers—In con-
ventional street vehicles, breakers and
fuses arc sized slightly bigger in capacity
than the current draw of the load. The
idea is to protcct the component from
electrical damage. In race cars, circuit
breakers arc used to protcct the entire
clcctrical system—primarily the wiring
harness—rather than individual com-
ponents. So, the breakers in a race car
should have much more capacity. During
a race, the driver wants the component to
operate as long as possible.

For example, if a fuel pump con-

Location and typo of maator cutoff twitch or© determined by race sanctioning group. This tinuously draws several times its normal
switch is controlled by a linkage and knob. current, il will eventually die. But the
driver is betting that it will last long
enough to finish the race, which is more
important lhan saving the fuel pump. If
the circuit breaker keeps shutting oft the
pump, the race is lost.
Depending on the component, you can
size breakers three to five times larger
lhan the actual currcnt draw of the com-
ponent. but do not excccd the maximum
amperage rating of the wires in the cir-
cuit. The circuit breaker must protcct the

As you've already seen, it's common
to use the circuit breaker's built-in toggle
switch to control most circuits on a race
car. But for those circuits having a sepa-
rate switch, here's a racer's tip used by
many wise racc-car builders. From the
discussion on switch types, page 30. you
know that all you need to tum a circuit on
and off is a single-pole, single-throw
(SPST) switch. And. if you had a double-
pole. single throw (DPST) switch, you
could control two separate circuits with
one switch activator. But you could also
to control a single circuit is another. Photo by Tom Monroe. connect both poles of the DPST switch to
the same circuit, providing two separate,
independent paths for current to follow
through the switch. If one pole should
malfunction, the other pole would carry

Sealed switch. Dirt and dust are sealed out,
keeping the switch contacts clean. Photo
courtesy of Bugpack.

the current. This use of a switch is called Race-car Instrument panel Is all business, and Is laid out for easy service. It can be tipped
redundancy. In a street vehicle, such re- out lor access to wiring.
dundancy isn't necessary. In a racc car.
it's extra smart. It can be especially
aggravating to lose a race bccausc of a
failed switch.
Regardless of how many poles your
car's switches have, or how redundant GAUGES Sending units for electrical tempera-
they are, there's one thing you should not There are two schools of thought ture and pressure gauges work on the
do—use cheap switches. Don't even regarding race-car gauges. One holds principle of providing varying resistance
think of using factory or aftermarket that the gauges should be mechanical, for the sensor terminal of the gauge. This
sn itches intended for ordinary street and therefore outside the scope of this means that gauge reliability is only as
vehicles. Use an aircraft-grade switch or book. The other holds that all gauges good as the sending-unit ground or pipe
an environmentally sealed MILSPEC should be clcctrical or electronic. Prob- adapter.
switch. These switches cost much more, ably. both sides can make a valid argu- Sending units are screwed into the en-
and most aren't very fancy, but they get ment to support their pet theory. Let's gine block or head using the built-in ta-
the job done. And that's all that matters. just say that if you choose clcctrical pered threads of the sending unit. If the
Sec suppliers list, pages 152-153. For gauges, pay attention to the following threads don't make good contact with the
example, the TL-serics switch, made by precautions. engine, or if there's some pipe sealant in
Microswitch. is an excellent aircraft- Auto Meter, a respected manufacturer the threads, the gauge may not work at
grade toggle switch. of competition instruments, offers an ex- all. or at best, inaccurately. The same
One spccial clcctrical switch that's re- tensive line of mcchanical gauges for problem could occur if the sender or
quired by certain race-sanctioning pressure, temperature and vacuum. But adapter is screwed into an anodi/ed fit-
groups is the master cut-off switch. The their tachometers are all electronic. And ting. because the anodizing is usually
location is also determined by the rules of these instruments arc to be found in a aluminum oxide, which acts as an in-
the sanctioning group, but essentially it's wide variety of succcssful competition sulator.
outside the body where it can be reached cars. They also offer tachometers com- Here's a hot tip. Carefully drill a small
easily by a rescue person. The location of bined with a rev-control unit. And final- hole into the hex head of the sending
the master switch is usually identified by ly. their "mcch/clcc" tachomctcr com- unit's or adapter's threaded fitting. You
a painted symbol for further aid in find- bines a mcchanical pickup driven by the must determine where the hole can be
ing it quickly. Being able to shut off the distributor, but is electrically isolated drilled, and how deep, to avoid ruining
entire electrical system with one switch is from the ignition system. The pickup unit the sensing element inside. Then, tap the
critical in preventing fires in race-car generates a signal to operate the electron- hole to acccpt a small machine screw.
accidents. ic tachomctcr head. Finally, run a wire from a known good

ground to the scrcw installed in the new
hole in ihc sender. Now. the sender will
be adequately grounded regardless of
contact made by the threads. Again, it's
extra work, but such attention to detail
wins races.
Warning Lamps—It's a good idea to
provide warning lamps as back-ups for at
least the oil-pressure and charging-
system gauges. Off-road race cars often
use warning lamps instead of gauges bc-
causc the jostling doesn't permit in-
terpreting gauge readings anyway!
They'll also "grab" the driver's attention
belter than the needle of a gauge. And.
the dust and vibration cncountcrcd in off-
road racing can destroy Ihc best of
For best visibility, warning lamps
should be large. Round clcarancc lamps
for trailers and RVs make excellent
warning lamps. The ones shown in the
photo arc installed on the instrument pan-
el of a competition Baja bug. Note how
lamps arc shaded for better visibility in
Good idea: Dzus 1 4-tum fasteners allow quick access to backside of instrument panel. daylight.
Bad idea: Protruding gauge bezels may look sharp and shade gauges from direct sunlight,
but they would also fee'sharp should driver to be thrown against console during a orash. Adjustable pressure switches for oil-
Photo by Tom Monroe. pressure lamps arc available from suppli-
ers like Stewart Warner or Moroso.

The loads used in any specific race car
arc determined by the nature of the com-
petition, the rules of ihe sanctioning
body, the preferences of the driver and
the car builder, and the requirements of
the car itself.
To clarify this, lei's suppose you're
going to wire a car intended for Formula
Vee racing. There are only a handful of
loads on the entire car. The starter motor
is conventional, the ignition is con-
ventional, and the gauges are up to the
individual team. No lights arc needed or
permitted. Electric fuel pumps arc not
permitted. From what ihis book has
taught you about wiring already, you
could probably wire such a car in your

Cars intended for use in professional
This oil temperature sender, mounted In the oil reservoir, has been drilled and tapped to road rallying and off-road racing require
permit installation of a separate ground wire. With wire In place, sender does not rely on
an extensive lighting packagc. A typical
contact through pipe thread on sender body.
setup would be a set of two high-output
driving lamps and a set of two spotlights
or fog lamps. Such cars require a becfed-

A good lime lo wire instrument panel Is when you still have good Trailer clearance lamps, shaded from sun, make hard-to-miss
access to I t Photo by Tom Monroe. warning lamps on this competition Baja Bug. Stick at right of
Instrument panel is horn-switch scutator that can be operated with
a slap of hand. Large knob below floods engine and driver's com-
partment with Halon-13 fire-extinguishing agent. Photo by Jeff

up charging system to handle the extra

loads. This includes a high-output alter-
nator and battery with a high reserve
capacity. However, when wiring lights
for a race car, perhaps the most important
decision you must make is how you want
to control the lamps.
Some racers prefer a special control
board w ith toggle-type circuit breakers to
control the lamps. Setups vary: one
breaker for each lamp: one breaker for
driving lamps and one for spotiamps, or
one breaker to control a set of lamps on
cach side of the car. Which one you
choose depends on the amount of circuit
protection you want versus the number of
sw itches you want to deal with during a
race. The third configuration makes
sense in racing—if a front corner of the
car gets damaged, damaging the lamp
circuit on that side, the lamps on the other
side will continue to work.
The advantage of the toggle-breaker
setup is that it doesn't require relays,
which arc just additional components
that could fail during a race. Bccausc
toggle-type breakers combine the
switching and circuit-protection func-
tions into one unit, if they pop oft due to a
momentary overload, they can be im-
mediately reset, unlike fuse-protected re-
Relays—There arc situations where a Class 7 off-road racing truck relios on minimum Instrumentation, resulting in simple,
setup using relays may be preferable to uncluttered dash. Light switches are mounted on panel between seats. Photo by Tom
the toggle-breaker setup just discussed. Monroe.

One is if you want to use low-amperage
switches instead of breakers to control
the lamps. For example, let's say a cir-
cuit with two 100-watt driving lamps
draws a total of 15 amp. but the switch
you've chosen won't handle that much
current. Note that few standard switches
arc designed to handle over 15 amp.
although several lighting manufacturers
offer switches w ith their lighting kits that
can handle up to 40 amp. If you choose to
use a switch with a low amp rating, you'll
need to control the lamps with a switch-
actuated relay. The switch, fed by the
instrument-panel circuit, carries only a
small amount of current to operate the
relay, which in turn, handles the load.
Depending on the number of poles and
throws in the switch, it can operate one or
more relays in one or more circuits. One
example is to use a relay for each lamp in
a two-lamp circuit, with one switch con-
trolling both relays.
High-output driving lamps for off-road buggy are mounted as high as possible tor optimum
range. Lamp covers are a must lor protecting lamps. Photo by Tom Monroe.
The sccond situation is when ex-
cessive wire length between the lamps
and the switches on the instrument panel
would cause an unacceptable voltage
drop in the system. Using a relay short-
ens the length of wire required to carry
current to the lamps, reducing voltage
drop in the wire. Using a heavier gage
wire or one with a larger number of
strands will further reduce voltage drop.
lor example, assume the circuit for the
100-watt driving lamps uses 18 feet of
14-gagc wire. Using the chart and in-
structions on determining wire sizes,
page 23. you can calculate total wire
resistance, which is 0.05 ohm. Using
Ohm's law to calculate voltage drop, you
get: R (0.05 ohm) X I (15 amp) - E
(0.75 volt).
For olf-road racing, driving lamps are operated individually or in pairs. Eoch circuit has its
As a rule of thumb, voltage drop in the own circuit protection. Photo by Tom Monroe.
wire should not cxcecd 0.5 volt. Now.
assume that by using a relay you can w ire
the same lamps with 8 feet of 12-gage case, the switch would handle only the
wire. Applying Ohm's law. you get: R relay coil current (about 0.050 amp).
(0.014 ohm X I (15 amp) = E (0.216 Other complcx switching arrange-
volt), which is acceptable. ments can also be handled easier with
Relays may be necessary in some rac- relays. If you use relays, cach circuit still
ing classes that require that all lights be requires protection—an in line fuse,
able to be switched off by a single con- fusible link or circuit breaker. If you go
trol. If you're using breakers, this could with fuses, your best bet is to use relays
be handled with a master light switch, but with built-in fuse holders, provided by
could also be easily done by using a sin- the lighting manufacturer. Otherwise,
gle sw itch to activate all of the relay coils you'll have to install in-line fuses to pro-
in the headlamp circuits. In the latter tect the circuits.

Suppliers are iisted two afferent ways. 8. California Terminal Products 24. Jacobs Electrical Products
First they ore listed by company name in (Cat Term) 3327 Verdugo Rd.
alphabetical order. Then, they are cross- 1990 Friendship Drive Los Angeles. CA 90065
referenced by number under product El Cajon. CA 92020 25. JT & T Products Corp.
categories. If you're looking for a particu- 9. CEC Industries, Ltd. 206 Commercial St.
lar product, look first in the product list. 2502 N. Milwaukee Ave. San Jose. CA 95112
The numbers listed after each product re- Chicago. IL 60647
fer to the companies that carry that prod- 26. KC Hllltes Inc.
uct. Some of the companies carry a full 10 Del City Wire Co. Inc. P.O. Box 155
line of electncal products: many also carry 2S24 S.E. 15th St. Williams. A2 86046
materials and accessories not listed here. Oklahoma City. OK 73129 27. Leisure Components Corp.
Be sure to ask for manufacturer's cata- 16730 Gridley Rd.
logs when making inquiries. 11 Dlco Co.
323 E. Ball Rd. Cemtos. CA 90701
Every attempt has been made to make Anaheim. CA 92805
this list as current a s possible at time of 28 Llttetfuse Inc.
publication, and to keep it updated each 12. Dry Launch Lights 800 E. NonJiwesi Highway
tane this book is reprinted But new com- 1113 Greenville Rd. Oes Raines. IL 60016
panies are formed and others go out of Uvermore. CA 94550 29. Longacre Automotive Racing
business, as time goes by. Some change Products
13. Dyna Plastics
addressos without informing us. So. don't 3205 Forge Rd. 15406 Cabrito Rd.
consider mis list to be the final word, but Shreveporl. LA 71109 Van Nuys, CA 91406
use it as a starting point for your shopping 30 Mallory Ignition
task. Also chock the latest automotive 14. East Penn Mfg. Co. 550 Mallory Way
publications for suppliers of wiring and Deka Rd.
Carson City, NV 89701
electrical products. Lyon Station, PA 19536
15. Fulton Mfg. Co. 31. Mlze & Company
1. Allison Automotive Co. 1912 South 82nd St. 300 Industrial Ave.
Performance Ignitions Milwaukee. W! 53219 Kingman. KS 67068
720 E. Cypress St. 16. Cenelco Inc. 32. MSD Ignition
Monrovia CA 91016 Division of Autotronic Controls
11649 Chairman Drive
1A. Anlxter Bros. Inc. Dallas. TX 75243 6908 Commerce Ave.
24750 N. Industrial Or. El Paso. TX 79915
17. General Automotive Specialty Co.
Farminglon Hills. Ml 48018 33. Murphy Industries Inc.
2. Antique Auto Electric P.O. Bo* 3042. U.S. #1 and 130 Whitco One-Stop Electrical Centers
9109 (Rear) E. Garvey Ave. North Brunswick. NJ 08902 2801 Rockcreek Parkway
Rosemead. CA 91170 N. Kansas City, MO 64117
18. GM Industries Inc.
3. Auto Meter Products Inc. 2226 W. Wabansta Ave. 34. Narragansett Reproduction
413 W. Elm St. Chicago. IL 60647 Ed & Miki Poaso
Sycamore, IL 60178 Woodville Rd„ P.O. Box 51
19. Harnesses Unlimited
4. Blazer International Corp. Wood River Junction. Rl 02894
P.O. Box 435
2960 Hart Drive Wayne. PA 19087 35. Nartron Corp.
Franklin Park. IL 60131 5000 North U.S. 131
20. GTE Products Corp.
5. Bob's Auto Electric w. Main SL Reed City, Ml 49677
815 Third Ave. Hiflsboro. NH 03224 36 Pentron Products Inc.
International Falls. MN S6649 (Sun Gauges)
21. Haulamatic Corp.
6. Bussman Division 195 Anthony St. Instrument Products Division
Cooper Industnes E. Providence. Rl 02914 1560 Trimble Rd.
Box 14460 San Joso. CA 95131
SI Louis. MO 63178 22. Helta Inc.
37. Peterson Manufacturing Co.
42 Jackson Onvo
7. BWD Corporation Cranford. NJ 07016 4200 E 135 St.
11045 Gage Ave. Grandview. MO 64030
Franklin Park. IL 60131 23. Ideal Corporation 37A.Pioneer Standard
1000 Pennsylvania Ave. Electronics
Brooklyn. NY 11207 5400 Naimam Parkway
Solon. OH 44139

Ergonomics—The science of how an- from a load back to the battery. Self- and motors are the two common types of
atomy. physiology, psychology and other grounded components arc attached directly loads found in a car.
human factors relate to the design and posi- to a grounded metal part thnwgh their Loom—Harness covering, usually of a
tioning of machines, instruments and con- mounting screws. Components mounted to woven material. Older cars used woven-
trols. nongrounded pans of a car require a sepa- cloth loom, most modem cars use a
Flasher—The device that causes a turn rate wire running to a known good ground. corrugated-plastic loom, or split loom.
signal or hazard warning system to turn on Halogen I .amp—A specially lomp that Loom Tape—A nonadhesive tape used as
and off at regular intervals. Although turn gives off a brilliant white light. Because of a harness wrap. Adhesive-type tapes, in-
and hazard flashers look alike, they are its high intensity, a halogen lamp is often cluding electrical tape, arc not recom-
mechanically different and should not be used for fog lamps and driving lamps. mended for wrapping harnesses. Often, a
interchanged. Hazard flashers arc some- Harness—A bundle of clcctrical wires. piccc of shrink wrap is used at tape ends to
times called heavy duty flashers. For convenience in handling and for neat- keep tape from unraveling.
Fuse—A circuit-protcction device, cali- ness. all wires going to an area of a car are Nylon Ties—See Harness Ties.
brated to melt at a predetermined amp bundled into a harness Original Equipment Manufacturer
level. It acts as the "weakest link" in the Harness Ties—Self-tightening nylon (OEM)—A designation used to describe
circuit, shutting off current before it can straps used to bundle wires into harnesses. the equipment and pans installed in a car by
damage wires or components. Available in stock lengths that can be cut to the manufacturer, or those available from
Fuse Panel (Fuse Block)—A plastic or size after installation. Oncc tightened, they the car manufacturer as replacement parts.
fiberboard assembly that permits mounting cannot he removed unless cut from the har- Sec Aftermarket Parts.
several fuses in one centralized location. ness. Ohm—A measure of clcctrical resistance.
Some fuse panels are part of. or contain, a Harness Wrap—One of several materials Ohmmeter—A test instrument used to de-
terminal block. used to bundle wires into manageable har- termine resistance in an electrical circuit.
Fusible—A circuit-protection de- nesses . See loom, split loom, loom tape and In auto electrical wink, it is often used to
vice. consisting of a conductor surrounded harness ties. determine the resistance various loads con-
by heat-resistant insulation. The cimductor Human Factors—The factors of an- tribute to a circuit or system.
is two gages smaller than the wire it pro- atomy, physiology, psychology and so on, Ohm's I JW—The clcctrical formula that
tects. so it acts as the "weakest link in the that must be considered when designing describes how voltage, current and resist-
circuit." Unlike a blown fuse, a failed fus- and positioning machines, instruments and ance are related. The basic formula is: E
ible link must be cut from the wire for controls. See Ergonomics. (electrical pressure in volts) = I (current
replacement. Hydrometer—A syringclikc device used flow in amperes) X R (resistance in ohms).
Gage—A standard SAE designation of to measure a battery's specific gravity. Parallel Circuit—A circuit in which cur-
wire sizes, expressed in AWC« (American Indicator Lamp—An instrument-panel rent can flow independently through sever-
Wire Gage). The larger the gage number, display used to convey information or con- al components at the same time. See Series
the smaller the wire. Metric wire sizes arc dition of the monitored circuit or system. Circuit.
expressed in cross-scctional area, ex- Unlike warning lamps, indicator bmps arc Polarity-Protected Conncctor—A mul-
pressed in square millimeters. Also spelled not used in critical situations. A headlamp tiple-cavity conncctor that can be con-
gauge: In this book, the spelling gage is high-beam indicator lamp is an example. nected in only one way. cither to a mating
used for wire size to help avoid confusion Sec Warning Lamp. connector or to a component.
between this and instrument-panel dis- Induction—The process of inducing volt- Printed Circuit—An clcctrical conductor
plays. spelled gauge (below). age potential into a conductor by passing consisting of thin metal foil paths adhered
Gauge—An instrument-panel display the conductor tlirough a magnetic field. to a flexible plastic backing, also callcd a
used to monitor engine conditions. Also This is what causes a generator to produce PC board. PCs are used primarily in OEM
spelled gage (above). A gauge with a mov- electric current. instrument clusters and other electronic de-
able pointer on a dial or fixed scale is called Insulator—Materials that do not conduct vices.
an analog gauge. Those using only numer- electrical current. Examples are cloth, Relay—An clcctromcchanical dcvicc con-
ical readouts arc callcd digital gauges. The glass, plastic and rubber. Wires for modem sisting of an electromagnetic coil, a fixed
driver must interpret the gauge reading to cars have plastic insulation. core and a movable armature. The armature
determine what action to take, if any. Junction—Any point from which three or is generally connected to an electrical
Generator—The engine-driven device more wires branch out in a circuit. switch that moves according to whether the
that converts rotary motion into clcctrical I jimp—An clcctrical load designed to coil is energized. Like a switch, a relay is
potential. See also AC Generator and DC emit light when current flows through it. It used to open and close circuits, but is usual-
Generator. consists of a glass bulb enclosing a fila- ly activated by another switch in a remote
Grommet—Component used to protect ment. and a base containing the electrical location.
wire that passes through a panel. Usually contacts. Some lamps, such as sealed- Resistance—In electricity, the resistance
donut shaped, made of rubber or plastic. beam headlamps, also contain a built-in to clcctron flow present in an clcctrical
Ground—In a single-wire system, any reflector. circuit, expressed in ohms.
metal part of the car's structure that is di- l/oad. Electrical—Any device that uses Resistor—Any conductor that permits
rectly or indirectly attached to the battery electrical current to perform beneficial electron movement but retards it. Ex-
negative post. Used to conduct current work in a car's clcctrical system. Lamps amples include tungsten and nickel.

Index Charge-indicator lamp, 41, 42
Charging process, 15
Driving lamps, 49. 53, 72, 148,
Charging system, 15. 89-90 Dropping resistors. 133
Circuit diagram for, 89-90 Dynamic displays. 39
A Chassis harness, 113 Dzus l/4-turn fasteners, 148
AC Generator (alternator). 20 Circuit protection, 34-37
AWG (American Wire Gage). 24 Circuit breaker, 12. 35-36, 83, E
Adjustable wire stripper, 116 144, 146. 149 Electric motors, 56-59, 127
Aircraft-grade electrical Circuit protection, 12, 144 Replacing, 127
components. 139 Circuits. 9 Elcctric speedometer, 48
Alternating current (AC). 19 Clearances for component Electric gauges. 43
Alternator. 5, 74 installation, 73-75 Electric motors, 5
Locating. 74 Closed-end conncctors. 64, 65 Elcctrical symbols, 81-87
Ammeter. 48. 90 Coils, symbols, 87 Switches, 30
Circuit for optional, 90 Cold-crank rating, 17 Electricity, definition, 6
Amp-hours. 17 Commutator, clcctric motor. 56 Electrolyte, 14-16. 18
Analog gauges. 42, 46 Commutator, generator. 19 Elcctromagnetism, 9
Armature, electric motor, 56-58 Component installation. 70-80 Electronic ignition, 55
Armature, generator, 19 Components, mounting, 80 Electronic voltage regulator. 21
Attaching terminals, 143 Compression terminals, 66 Electrons. 7
Auto-reset circuit breakers. 144 Conductor materials. 25
Autofuse, 34 Conductor. 7 F
Connectors & terminals, symbols Factoiy-madc instrument cluster,
Auxiliary lamps, locating. 72 83-84 26
Conncctors, trailer, 135 Field coil, generator, 19
B Constant voltage regulator (CVR). Field coils, electric motor. 58
Backup lamp, 98 43-44, 92 Fixed-location components, 70,
Backup coil, 146 Coolant-temperature gauge, 47 77-78
Balancing-coil gauges, 43-44 Coulomb. 8 Flashers, 62
Basic power circuit, 89-90 Counterelcctromotive force Flashing side-marker circuit, 98
Battery, 14-18. 71-75. 145 (CEMF), 57 Fog lamps, 53, 72, 148
Construction, 15-16 Cranking capacity, battery, 18 Fuel-gauge sender, 45-46
Details, racc car, 145 Crimping terminals, 143 Fuel-level gauge, 48
Locating. 71-75 Current flow, direction, 7 Fuel-pressure gauges, 42
Ratings, 17 Cylindcr-hcad temperature gauge, Fuse holder, 61
Battery box. 145 48 Fuse panel. 60, 73. 83
Battery cable. 24
Symbol for, 83
Battery-cablc terminals, 65-66,
D Fuse, 12. 34-35, 83
DC generator, 19-20 Symbol for. 83
Brakes circuit, 97
Diagrams, drawing, 87-99 Fusible links. 12. 36. 37, 83
Brushes, electric motor, 56, 58
Diode. 21 Symbol for. 83
Brushes, generator. 19
Direct current ( I X ) . 19
Bulkhead connector. 61, 101
Disconnect terminals, 63-65 G
Bum-out repair, 124
Distributor. 55 Gauges & senders. 39. 42-48. 75,
Butt Connectors, 64. 65
Double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) 147
C switch, 30 Senders for, 42-48
Cable clamps. 112 Doublc-polc. single-throw (DPST) Locating. 75
Cable, 24 switch, 30, 146 Gel cell batteries, 17
Charge & discharge cycles, Driving-lamp circuit. 33 Generator, 18-21
battery. 14,15 157
. . . whether it's a restoration project, race car.
kit car. trailer or street rod. don't be
intimidated; wire it yourself Jim Horner shares
his years of experience and cuts through the
technical jargon It) show you how
Learn about basic clcctncal theory , how
various elcctrical components work and
drawing circuit diagrams. Includes lips on
using electrical lest equipment and
tnHiblcshooting clcctrical circuit*.
Choose the right components, build your
own wiring harness and install them by-
following the step-by-stcp instructions.
Profusely illustrated with over 350 photos,
drawings and diagrams. Suppliers list included.

Bonrwvfto Salt
Tom Monro*


ISBN 0-895-86238-7


Premier 12 expert22 flna