Author Topic: Under dash wiring harness  (Read 211 times)

Offline Scat Pack Fever

  • Mopars Rule!!!!!!!! Always Have, Always Will
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 611
  • Chrysler did it best!
Under dash wiring harness
« on: May 14, 2019 - 10:48:56 pm »
Hello All,

I was wanting everyone's opinion on selecting a dash harness. I see that Year One sells an oem Harness for $600 https://www.yearone.com/Product/challenger-cuda/hu293e

Or one from Kwik Wire that uses newer fuses, but is not plug and play for around $340 (no pun intended)
https://kwikwire.com/14-circuit-wire-harness/.

I dont want to use my old one as its old and had brittle wires. Has anyone ever bought and used the above harnesses?

Thanks,

Robert




Online 70chall440

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5561
Re: Under dash wiring harness
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019 - 01:25:31 am »
All depends on what outcome you want. If you use something like Kwik wire, it does not bolt into the firewall like the factory harness nor do any of the sub units (engine harness, headlight harness, etc.) clip into it, rather is it an integrated unit requiring you to run all the wires and terminate them. I used a Kwik harness in my Cuda and like it fine but if you are going for that OEM look/usability the Kwik system isn't like that although you could make it somewhat similar but using connectors such as Weatherpack, Packard, Metripack, etc. but it still would not be the same.

On top of this, I will tell you that the factory harness was pretty substandard in terms of wire diameter and overall routing, but obviously it did work. I am getting ready to do my 70 Road Runner and I will be using an aftermarket harness as I just cannot justify paying the price for  a factory harness that I feel is substandard to begin with; but then again my RR will be far from a restoration or OEM car so it will not matter.

The nice thing with the new aftermarket harness is that every wire is marked with its function every 6" or so making installation way easier than trying to follow a wiring diagram. That said, it is not without its challenges trying to make factory switches, gauges, etc. work with an aftermarket harness, it definitely is not "plug and play".

Hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions about this subject, there are a few of us here who have done quite a lot of wiring.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6 EFI, 73 Cuda 416-6 EFI
05 Hemi Durango, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 Ram 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger 6 spd RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR (under const)
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline Scat Pack Fever

  • Mopars Rule!!!!!!!! Always Have, Always Will
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 611
  • Chrysler did it best!
Re: Under dash wiring harness
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2019 - 09:46:31 pm »
Thanks for the reply!

I definitely am not concerned about the oem look.  The kwik is cheaper in price and better quality, but i know nothing about terminating wire connections. lol. The only reason I would buy the oem dash from year one because its easy. could i use my old harness as a template maybe? also, did you say I can buy the oem connectors?

Thanks,

Robert

Online 70chall440

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5561
Re: Under dash wiring harness
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019 - 12:42:52 pm »
Robert - if you don't have a background or experience in wiring you will have a learning curve. You are going to need some tools and have to develop an understanding of how all this works. It is definitely doable, but takes a methodical approach and an understanding of basic electrical principles; in other words it is not something you are just going to stab in there and everything is going to work especially if you want to use the factory switches, gauges, steering column, wiper motor, etc. All of these things will require you to understand how they were designed to work and then adapt the harness to them. Again, totally possible but just not super easy. Harnesses like the Kwik, Painless, etc. are designed for hotrods primarily and while they give you all the circuits you will need, it is up to you to figure out how to make them work.

When I built my Cuda I used a Kwik 14 circuit harness, but I basically tore it apart and rebuilt it to match my car. I had the dash out on a stand and installed the fuse box into the glove box area and then ran all of the wires as I needed them. I ran a lot of relays for certain things such as my push button start. I have a 2" 3 ring binder full of wiring diagrams, some provided, many of my own design.

Mopars (as well as the other brands of the era) used a connector called a "Packard 56" or just Packard. They are available currently in a variety of configurations (1, 2, 3, 4, wire). They are comprised of a male and female connector (generally need to be purchased individually, 4 parts; the 2 housings and the 2 connectors). They require a special crimper to assemble which is stupid expensive, however there are work arounds with less expensive tools. I also use Weatherpack and Metripack connectors in certain places like under the hood or anywhere exposed to moisture. The Packard connectors were good for their day and they can take more amps than the others, but they are not sealed so they are susceptible to corrosion. These other connectors have their own nuances for assembly which you will have to learn. I solder every connector I make, some will argue that the car manufactures don't and therefore the hobbyist doesn't have to, however I would argue that the manufactures not only have better equipment but they have better assembly techniques and there are few things that will piss you off more than electrical issues, specifically a non contacting terminal (which cannot be seen).

All this said, it is certainly possible to use the Kwik system or another one like it, however it comes at a cost. If electrical work is of interest to you or you have a background in it then go for it. If you have never done any electrical work and have little or no interest in it, I would strongly recommend against it. 

Do you have the original harness? One option is to remove the original and remove the wrap that is usually on it zip tying the harness as you remove the wrap so you keep all the wires together as they were originally. Then take one set at a time and trace every wire repairing or replacing as needed. You could conceivably rebuild an entire harness this way, but it will be tedious but far cheaper than buying a new one. You can reuse most of your original connectors and get some Packard male/female terminals to replace worn out or damaged originals. You will still need some tools but you have a road map to where you are going. Granted the original harness/electrical system was not the best, specifically the aspect of how Mopar ran the alternator wires, but you can address this when you do the harness by upgrading the wires with heavier wires and re configuring the harness based on the many guides online (here included) to basically bypass the amp meter.

There are some Mopar specific after market harnesses out there, but from what I am seeing they cost as much as the originals; sure they are probably better in terms of routing and quality of wire, but they still are going to require an understanding of how it all works and the tools to install it. I've been doing Mopar electrical systems since the 70's and I can say with authority that there is no easy way to do this other than getting a repo plug and play harness and even then there are challenges.

Whatever way you decide, we are here to help
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6 EFI, 73 Cuda 416-6 EFI
05 Hemi Durango, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 Ram 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger 6 spd RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR (under const)
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline Scat Pack Fever

  • Mopars Rule!!!!!!!! Always Have, Always Will
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 611
  • Chrysler did it best!
Re: Under dash wiring harness
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019 - 10:39:02 pm »
thanks for the advice! I might look at my original dash harness. im going to clean and check it. it may not be as bad at i think. I also need to make a stand for the dash so I can hook everything. I just got the dash pad today from the dash pad factory.

Thanks again,

Robert

Offline Scat Pack Fever

  • Mopars Rule!!!!!!!! Always Have, Always Will
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 611
  • Chrysler did it best!
Re: Under dash wiring harness
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019 - 04:04:38 pm »
I just purchased a clean 1974 rally dash harness off ebay for $125.00. I'll look it over and use it. I appreciate the advice.

Online 70chall440

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5561
Re: Under dash wiring harness
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019 - 11:00:32 pm »
No problem, just take your time and learn it before installing it (as in what wire goes where and does what. You will probably need a wiring diagram to help.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6 EFI, 73 Cuda 416-6 EFI
05 Hemi Durango, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 Ram 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger 6 spd RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR (under const)
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)