The Studeblogger

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wiring Harness Replacement, Day 4 - the finale!

This weekend I finished the wiring harness project, pulling out the old taillight harness and installing the new one. Everything is brand-new wire, from headlights to taillights.

As with the front harness, the rear wiring came from Studebakers West in Redwood City, California. Nice stuff, with OEM wire colors; a drop-in replacement for the original.

The factory harness was routed under the carpet next to the driver's side of the front seat, up under the rear quarter panel trim, over the rear wheel well and past the trunk divider, where it then clips to the driver's side of the trunk, near the trunk opening, and then to the left taillight, across to the gas gauge sender and finally the right taillight. It's really easy routing; all you have to do is follow the clips spot-welded to the body.

First thing was to pull up the carpet a little, which necessitated removing the driver's kick panel and door sill plate. That's where I found the first rust hole in the floor, right at the base of the A-pillar, where the floor meets the front wheelwell. Just a little hole, about 3/8", but I was sure hoping there wouldn't be any. Guess it's a Stude trademark though, so we'll deal with it.

I also had to pull the rear seat to route the wires into the trunk. The seat bottom lifts right out; the seat back hangs on two little hooks on the package-shelf cross brace, and is then secured to the floor with sheet-metal screws through two oblong loops on the bottom of the seatback. Undo those screws and the whole back lifts right out.

As long as I was in there, I pulled off the quarter panel trim and shot as much WD-40 into the window regulator as I could, freeing up the window, which had only been able to roll down about 4 inches.

In the trunk, the only thing that required cleaning up was the connection to the two license plate lamps, which had been butt-crimped to the harness connector. I nipped them off and crimped on some bullet connectors to plug into the new harness. Everything else was easy as pie.

I vacuumed up the detritus under the rear seat, which is when I found the other little hole in the floor - this one under a pile of dried dum-dum at the front corner of the rear wheel-well. This one was larger than the first; about the size of a quarter - I could easily see daylight and pavement through the hole. Some 200-MPH tape for the time being, but we'll have to address this, too.

That completed the job, and after reinstalling the seat and door trim, I bolted the Stupid Grant Steering Wheel ™ back to the column. She's really ready for the road now - all that really needs doing is the brakes - stand by for the next installment!

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