Finishing the Wiring and Reinstalling the Dashboard

Time for another big task! Finishing up the wiring and getting all of the electrical systems up and verified, and then buttoning up the dashboard.

The 1st thing I tackled was wiring the switches and doing the preliminary routing and cabling. In stead of just crimping the end connectors on to the wire, I first strip the plastic insulation from the connector, strip and tin the wire, slide on a piece of heat shrink tubing and then crimp the connector to the tinned wire. Once I have a solid mechanical connection, I solder the connector to the wire and then position the insulation and heat it until it shrinks around the connector. Yeah, it is over kill and very time consuming, but it provides for a reliable connection that wont degrade over time.

Once I had the dashboard prepped, I covered the steering column and wheel with a heavy blanket to protect it while Jerry and I set the dashboard into place.

A while back I determined that I would be able to pivot the dashboard on the two main bolts that tie the structural member in the dashboard to the main A pillar door supports. With the steering column dropped down this allowed good access to the back of the dashboard and the firewall.

Next up I tackled rebuilding the tail/stop, parking and backup light sockets and then I ran all of the wire for the rear and cabin lights along with the speaker wires. While I was at it I also ran the head light and parking light wires toward the front along with the wiring for the cooling fan. Once all the wires were routed I connected up all of the lamp sockets and wired the high/low beam switch. Next up was running feed wires from the fuse block to all of the main circuits and the steering column connector. The fuse block came with one flasher and a relay. To be able to use the emergency flashers I needed to add another flasher, so I converted the relay position on the fuse block to a flasher. All of the lighting systems came up and operated as expected. One unexpected result was that both the break lights and the backup lights are routed though the ECM and both of these circuits worked, indicating that the computer was alive and awake as well!

After the lighting systems were checked out, I wired and connected up the cooling fan. The fan is controlled by three grounding switches. One is the adjustable temperature sensor that is placed between the fins in the radiator, the second is the A/C tri-phase switch which turns the fan on when the head pressure is high and off when it goes too low and the third is a toggle switch mounted on the dashboard so that the driver can override the other switches and force the fan on if needed. I did run into a small issue in that the Derale fan controller wants a +12 volts to turn the fan relay on instead of a ground. I solved that problem by adding another relay that applies 12 volts to the fan relay when any of the three control switches are grounded.

To complete the gauge panel wiring I needed to hook up all of the required inputs to the Dakota Digital controller. The controller uses push in connectors with screws to tighten the wires. After dressing the wires to length I trimmed the ends and tinned them for a good connection. At this point I also connected the gear shift indicator controller to both the position sensor and the main controller. Once everything was hooked up I had to program the gear selector with what gear was in which detent. Now when the gear shift lever is moved, the proper gear is momentarily displayed in the left LCD window of the Speedometer gauge. The high beam indicator and turn signal indicators are also in the Speedometer gauge and they all work as well. I had added an additional potentiometer control to the bottom of the dash on the passenger side to control the intensity of the dash lights.

Next up was the radio and speaker wiring along with wiring the power antenna that will be installed on the driver side front fender. I did a quick test of the radio by hooking up the rear speakers and all seems well!

On to the last big wiring headache, the A/C unit. The main issue here was that since I was adapting all the original HVAC controls which are on the left side of the steering column, which means that all of the control wires needed to be lengthened, and have new wire ends installed. It took a while since I had to work on the wires by hanging over the dashboard while kneeling inside the car. Once the wiring was done I hooked up the A/C ducts to the dash outlets. You can see from the photos that there wasn’t much room left. Thankfully, I was able to get the dash closed and screwed to the cowl.

Wiring the Dashboard and Reinstall

After the dash was closed up I found that the two brackets that attach the evaporator to the dash board were off by an inch. Apparently when I installed the A/C heater lines I ended up moving the evaporator about an inch toward the driver side. Time to bend up some new brackets… oh joy! Once the brackets were in place I trimmed the plastic that covers the blower motor on the evaporator and also mounted the under dash A/C outlet on the passenger side.

All electrical systems except for the fuel module are now hooked up and verified working. I even hooked up my generic code reader to the DLC port and got a thumbs up from the computer as well. The code reader reported that it could not find the cooling fan, which is good since I didn’t give the computer control of the fan, it also noted the down stream O2 sensors were not connected, which they weren’t and that the fuel module is also missing which it is! All in all a pretty decent 1st report!

Next up I have to drop the fuel tank so that I can see what needs to be done to connect the fuel line to the module and to wire the module connector and attach the fuel level sensor to it’s wire. I also need to pad the top of the tank so that it is not in direct contact with the floor.

Once the fuel system is up, I need to fabricate power steering lines, and come up with some radiator hoses then we can see if I can get the engine to fire up! Oh, I did inadvertently test the starter, which is also routed through the ECM and it works! Fingers crossed but looking good at this point!

Oh, and I had to buy and install new horns, and I am happy to say they work! What a hoot! er Toot! 🙂


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