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Discussion Starter #1
Hello BB

I've had a look over my wiring harness and have found the wire itself to be in fine condition. As such I plan to replace all the connectors while leaving the wiring untouched. This means every connection will get a very small bit shorter.

It's been a while since my car was wired up - can someone remind me if this will make problems or if theres an inch or two of slack in the system.

thanks
 

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Rus, do you really need to replace the connectors? On my 74, they are still of a nice quality and in good condition. Why not just meticulously inspect, clean, de-ox them and avoid unnecessary hassle and heartache? John in Tolland....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey John

Mine are quite miserable. They've been oversprayed (red by the PO, epoxy primer by my body man) and have generally lead a hard life. I've gone ahead and ordered all new ones - I enjoy this sort of work and will be happy to spend the time now at the workbench rather than chasing down gremlins in the future.

I'm now wondering what to do about the Fuse panel which looks equally unhappy, full of bent tabs. Anyone have a shot of it in-situ?
 

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I thought the issue with old harnesses was; the wire work hardens as it gets moved/flexed leading to breaks, the insulation along the length gets brittle as it ages and cracks or falls off (potential for shorts, corrosion), the terminals corrode and work harden. I imagine the effort to replace all the connectors wouldn't be much less than just replicating (or buying a harness).

That said I will need to do mine too (Duetto) and the thought of replicating or expense of buying is painful.

Minke sure an post pics of your work :)
 

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I,m doing the same to a GTV wiring harness, as long as the cables feel flexible and do not crack you can reuse them just changing the terminals
 

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...I plan to replace all the connectors while leaving the wiring untouched. This means every connection will get a very small bit shorter.
It's been a while since my car was wired up - can someone remind me if this will make problems or if theres an inch or two of slack in the system.
Not to come across as negative, but I see two potential problems:

- I haven't memorized the lengths of every wire in an Alfa harness, but I'm guessing that some won't fit after losing some length at both ends. You'll be OK on long wires like the ones extending back to the taillights. But you may have problems fitting the shorter wires behind the dash and around the fusebox.

- 40 year old wires tend to be oxidized, even under the insulation. Manually crimping a fresh connector to an oxidized conductor may not provide a low-resistance connection.

I tend to agree with Craig_m67 when he wrote: "the effort to replace all the connectors wouldn't be much less than just replicating (or buying a harness)."

I'm now wondering what to do about the Fuse panel which looks equally unhappy, full of bent tabs.
There have been prior threads about replacing the old fuse panel with the more modern style that accepts the "blade style" fuses. This will contribute a LOT toward improving electrical system reliability; those "pointy ended" fuses are terrible. But I guarantee you that neither a stock harness, nor one shortened a bit, will fit a non-stock fuse panel. Another argument for fabricating new wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the cold water. My plan was to visually inspect the insulation and test for continuity after crimping a few new connections on. If I am dubious or if I loose more than a few inches once all the crimping is complete, I would consider all new wiring. If its just a length issue, nothing would stop me from replacing just the wires that come up short on fit-up.

Can you explain your statment on the stock harness not fitting an aftermarket fuse box? If the aftermarket has the same .250" faston style male tabs on it, are you saying that the length as the harness meets the fuse box is extremely constrained? I'm not considering a fusebox with upgraded / waterproof style multi connectors. I have a separate thread about this, but this is my front runner...

8 Circuit ATO/ATC Fuse Block - WiringProducts
 

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If its just a length issue, nothing would stop me from replacing just the wires that come up short on fit-up.
That's true. Many of the shorter wires - the ones I predict will cause problems if they are shortened - are just loose, not bundled into a harness. So replacing those would be simpler

Can you explain your statment on the stock harness not fitting an aftermarket fuse box? If the aftermarket has the same .250" faston style male tabs on it, are you saying that the length as the harness meets the fuse box is extremely constrained?
Well, I haven't personally tried to fit an 8 Circuit ATO/ATC Fuse Block to a GTV. Maybe it will bolt right in. But, I doubt it. Just quickly looking at the Wiring Products website, their fusebox has its wires coming out the bottom, while the stock Alfa box has them coming out the sides. A detail difference like that can cause problems. It'll probably take an extra 1" or so of wire to make the loop to the bottom of the new fusebox, which would create problems with the stock harness. With you shortening your wires a bit, dropping it right in seems less likely. You might hold off on crimping new terminals onto the wires that attach to the fusebox until you get things assembled, and see how the lengths come out.

But hey, give it a try - the end result will be worth the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Well, I haven't personally tried to fit an 8 Circuit ATO/ATC Fuse Block to a GTV. Maybe it will bolt right in. But, I doubt it. Just quickly looking at the Wiring Products website, their fusebox has its wires coming out the bottom, while the stock Alfa box has them coming out the sides. A detail difference like that can cause problems. It'll probably take an extra 1" or so of wire to make the loop to the bottom of the new fusebox, which would create problems with the stock harness. With you shortening your wires your wires a bit, I'm just not optimistic. But hey, give it a try - the end result will be worth the effort.

Yes absolutely, the bolts are in the wrong place with the wrong spacing on that unit, but the wiring terminals are the same. My working presumption is that nothing is going to bolt in perfectly, I can make an adapter if the outside dims of the replacement box are the same or smaller than the factory unit. But I don't want non-standard connections because then I get into a lot of re-wiring and future caretakers would be confused.

For once the predictive power of the internet has helped me, this guy came up as a banner ad when viewing the AlfaBB - looks to be closer to the factory orientation, and cheaper, and free shipping.

EDIT - that unit seems to have the ins and outs on opposite sides... I'll keep looking.

http://www.amazon.com/HELLA-H84960111-8-Way-Lateral-Single/dp/B000VU9D20/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1421256437&sr=1-1&keywords=HELLA+8-WAY&pebp=1421256386792&peasin=B000VU9D20
 

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I've posted this a number of times but my process for reclaiming wire harness is to wait until my wife is out of the house and then throw the whole thing in the washing machine with your normal soap. Set it on normal wash cycle and let her go (you can probably stop the final spin cycle). It comes out amazingly clean (and fresh smelling!). The colors are distinguishable again and usually the overspray comes off. The tape will still be on but it pops off easily to be replaced. Even the tarnish is removed. It sounds crazy but I've done it a dozen times and never had a problem (unless my wife comes home early...).

I then replace the end. There is enough length if you cut the wire right at the connector - don't hack off an inch... After I strip the insulation I check for corrosion. If there I use solder flux to clean it off. Again, I've never had an issue doing it this way (expect that I generally hate the torpedo fuses...).

If you choose to remake the wire harness I would still wash the harness - it's makes handling it way nicer.

Replacing the fuse buss is no easy task whether you make a new harness or not. Actually it's not that hard but it requires a complete understanding of what's going on as well as knowing where you're going to install it. I made a custom fuse buss a few years ago that fits where that useless throttle handle goes (under the dash to the left of the column). It is a great place but it was just too much effort.

Fuse Buss Assy Installed.jpg

So my $.02: If you existing harness is in good shape, wash it, replace that the ends, clean the fuse buss and get on with the next phase of the project.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Aren't you the guy who told me to put my piston liners in the dishwasher?? And I listened =)

Great idea. I will give the existing harness a washdown of some sort. What is the morality of doing this if I live in an apartment building with a shared washer... humm...

By the way do you have a picture of how the stock fuse box fits under the dash? Does it attach to the dash or to the various sheetmetal tabs that are part of the steering column/firewall?
 

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I will give the existing harness a washdown of some sort. What is the morality of doing this if I live in an apartment building with a shared washer... humm...
All's fair in love and washing! (besides you don't know what they have put in there before you...)
 

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In my restoration I went for a new harness. I find electrical issues frustrating as they often start as intermittent issues. Replacing just the connectors seems like a similar amount of work with no guarantee of increased reliability.
 

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I will give the existing harness a washdown of some sort. What is the morality of doing this if I live in an apartment building with a shared washer... humm...
All's fair in love and washing! (besides you don't know what they have put in there before you...)
Honestly, I've never had any ill effects from the wire harness residue. Trust me, if there was I'd be sleeping in my alfa...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I received a lot of parts yesterday...

Really beautiful fabric heat shrink from McMaster car - goes on like a dream and provides excellent abrasion resistance.

Roll of 100 faston style quick connect m/f uninsulated connectors. I quickly realized that my crimper is the wrong one. Thanks to 1750GT for helping me out with this. The world of crimpers is a wide one and so far the only site I've found that makes it plain that different tools or at least different dies are needed for different terminal types, insulated and uninsulated, is this: http://www.ferrulesdirect.com/electrical/HNDCRMPTOOLS.htm

So I have a new crimper on order. My molex multi connectors should arrive today. Fun!

Boston Bertone - I feel that way about some systems but I'm comfortable with electrical. Like anything its testable and knowable. Curious where you sourced your harness from and what the details are like?
 

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Are you going to be replacing any of the wiring itself? If so, have you found a good source for the appropriate wires (colors, gauge, material, etc...)? I will need to replace some of the wiring in my harness, but not all of it, so don't want to have to buy a whole new loom if I can possibly avoid it. Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Nope, my wiring looks fine so I'm leaving it. The insulation is intact, flexible and not cracked, and stripping the wire back in a few places shows no oxidation. If you need to replace wire check 1750GT's thread "a french blue restoration" and look around post 650 on.
 

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I've posted this a number of times but my process for reclaiming wire harness is to wait until my wife is out of the house and then throw the whole thing in the washing machine with your normal soap. Set it on normal wash cycle and let her go (you can probably stop the final spin cycle). It comes out amazingly clean (and fresh smelling!). The colors are distinguishable again and usually the overspray comes off. The tape will still be on but it pops off easily to be replaced. Even the tarnish is removed. It sounds crazy but I've done it a dozen times and never had a problem (unless my wife comes home early...).
I am not sure I am brave enough for that Rich!
 
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