1968 Pontiac Firebird Complete Wiring Harness Replacement

the wiring was about like one would expect in a 40 year old car. I had decided fairly early on that I would buy a modern
replacement kit to redo the wiring. I had always thought I would go with the Painless kit because that was the name I
was always hearing about in magazines or car shows on TV. I had called Mopac, a performance parts store in Calgary
for a quote on a kit for 1st gen F-bodies. It was around 450 Bucks. But once doing a little research on the web I learned
the Painless kit did include a modern fuse block and some very high quality stamped wires but that it did not come with
any of the sockets and connectors. You were to splice the new wires into all your existing old ends. This fact was a
little disappointing to me as I figured that any wiring job would likely only be as good as the weakest point. I also learned
there were alternatives to Painless out there. I was not really doing a numbers matching restoration so I was looking for
a modern updated kit. Modern fuses and relays we ok with me. I found exactly what I was looking for in the
American Autowire Classic Update kit. This kit had everything I was looking for in it and I was able to find one for $400
plus shipping from an ebay reseller on a "buy-it-now" (this was in 2007). Here is a pic of the kit borrowed from the
American Autowire site. They likely won't mind since i am "extolling it's virtues" here.

Everything in the kit is grouped and individually bagged. The wires, sockets,and terminal supplied seem to be
of excellent quality and everything I have done so far has had more than enough wire supplied to get to
where they needed to go. It is great that the wires are individually stamped with exactly the wire purpose
and the colours are pretty much exactly what they are supposed to be. I have never done anything like
this before but it worked well so far. I purchased a good quality "weatherpak" style crimper from NAPA.
the blue handles tool with the close up below. There are much better styles of this crimper available for
over $100 but this 45 dollar one worked just fine for me. The tool second from the right is an automatic
wire stripper. I picked it up one day in a sale bin somewhere. It worked greeat. Once you set the little
depth gauge you just insrt the wire end and squeeze the grip and it perfectly strips the wire ends with
no damage to the copper strands at all. A nice tool.

The kit had a lot of paper instructions with it. "mostly" pretty easy to follow, but with the sheer
volume of wires and the tightness of some of the installations there were a few head-scratchers here and there.

 

and I mentioned the wires were well labelled every few inches.

On each of my terminations I crimped, then soldered, then covered with heat shrink.

here are a few shots of the process.

strip the wires

slide on your heatshrink. and twist wires if joining two to a single termination.

place terminal on wires.

use crimping tool to crimp both clamps well.

solder terminal.

slide down heat shrink and apply heat to sleeve.

takes time, but do it right so you don't have problems in the future.

top of heater box area.

here is a bundle of sound system wires heading down the passenger side. I
ran these together on the opposite side from the car's rear end bundle and
the stereo main power cable.

one of the benefits of the AAW kit versus the more common Painless kits is
the addition of all the sockets and ends. painless kits have good panels and wires
no doubt but require you to splice into your 40 year old plugs and sockets
which seemed silly to me.

the kit supplied bulbsockets with my ends attached.

here are a couple of shots of the rear taillight bezels and side markers all wired up.

this is the stock steering column turn signal assembly that I used with my new ends soldered on.

this is the stock steering column turn signal bundle termination that I cut it off to
replace withthe AAW termination block.

thsi sis the new AAW block.

this is the other block that attaches to the new one.

just a shot of the fun under the dash.
this area takes a large portion of the re-wiring time.

lots of days of upside down and wiggling around.

 

Return to Home Page