Default Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 09-17-2019, 08:47 PM   #1
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Hello everyone,

This winter I am going to gut the wiring in the Jeep and purchase the painless wiring harness and put everything back the way it should be. I have the following questions: Once the dash is out and I have pulled all the original wires and fuse block, is this something that can be done in a day or less if uninterrupted? Also besides the dash coming out and seats is there anything else that needs to be removed? It is a 1979 cj7 with a 304, 4 barrel holley carb, 4 speed t18, and a bunch of led off road lights which are getting removed and not put back on.

Kind Regards,
Chris

 

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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 09-20-2019, 08:18 AM   #2
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If you've ever read an electrical diagram and have decent strippers, crimpers and other tools you could probably install in a weekend.
I've done several old chevy trucks and the universal kits worked well on them.

The model specific harnesses are nice because they already have factory end connections/light sockets - depends on if you can live with butt splicing old terminations or solder/shrinkwrap which could add another 1/2-1 day or worse you have to buy new bulb sockets & plugs.

Just depends on if the $450 cost difference(could be less if found on sale) is worth your time and headaches.

I wouldn't rip the old harness out completely before starting, I found it best to remove as I went along and keep the routing tidy, buy plenty of wire loom and small zip ties. Oh and the kits typically do not cover the engine harness, just lighting and sender circuits. I'd replace the oil pressure and temp senders with mechanical gauges Autometer has some that are decent matches for the dash.

 

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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 09-20-2019, 11:12 AM   #3
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Agree with weekend if you do it right with shrink wrapped and good terminal connections.

I've done 2 now - 1 EZ wire and 1 Painless.

My experience was both were similar in difficulty, painless seemed to have better wires, easier to read the circuit info.

I personally removed all the wires from the jeeps taking photos of specific non stock wiring areas, maybe just leaving the add on stuff (extra lighting, winch controllers, etc) in place until I was ready to re-wire them if needed.

The loom is split into 3 areas.

First thing I did was ensure the placement of the fuse box I wanted (in / out of cab etc) and then one wire / circuit at a time ensured the wires went to the same places.

Then I took the engine compartment portion, and separated into 3 sections: 1 - to lighting drivers side, includes horn, maybe compressor / lockers etc. Believe the norm is to run passenger side lighting front with the drivers and cross over in the front of jeep. 2 was all the alternator, distributor, oil pressure, temp sensor, etc that plugs into the engine / front of jeep area. 3 was wrap around the battery to passenger fender like the main power source, starter solenoid stuff, etc.

Remember, some will go from one section to the other - like the starter solenoid to coil, or charge wire from battery - etc. So that would be wires between #2 and #3 above. They should be there.

Then the Cab section for all dash, dimmer switch, etc inside the jeep.

Then the tail for lighting, fuel sending unit, etc.

once you have it all sorted out, I found it was easier to start with the cab dash area, and work on one circuit at a time. Lighting, charging, starting, sensors (oil / water etc), and when done you'll have most of the cab, and engine compartment completed. Then finish front lighting, then rear lighting, etc. once everything is finalized, and tested, then I wrap it clean. Just make sure you're leaving enough to route your way.

Common testing finds:

Stays running - back feeding power to ignition circuit from charging circuit. Diode will fix this - caused jeep to stay running with key turned off.

Horn doesn't work: actually a negative switch circuit. Fixed for me...

Suggestions from experience:

Take a lot of photos of everything while you're removing old harness - you'll want them for reference later...

Write out a chart of which fuse circuit you use for what. Like ignition is pretty standard, but power windows can run something, Electric fan (will you ever want one, if not - what can you use that for?) etc. Make sure the wires are re-routed to the correct locations before you start...

Are you wanting to swap anything in different soon? How will that impact wiring? IE - older CJ's no tilt steering - putting in GM one soon with tilt? Do it now because the wiring is different. Can do it later, but messier than now if possible.

Lots of zip ties. You'll want to temp tie stuff up to ensure routing is how you want it. Be careful - when you're going to cut a wire and terminal it - is it long enough to route correctly and still allow the dash to be removed good? Short enough to not be in the fan / hanging at your feet when you put dash back on? etc - think about those things before you cut each wire. You'll thank yourself...

Have plenty of good size (10 / 12 gauge) black wire for grounds. Your kit will not include ground circuits. Make a good ground point for each section, and daisy chain grounds along the dash to stuff. I ran a large battery cable to one side of the "oh "shoot"" bar on dash, and then ran grounds off the other side of it. battery cable goes through firewall with a bolt that has another battery cable ground back to battery / ground block location.

You'll need a lot of terminals. Find out what you want easily unplugable (like the wipers through windshield if you like removing windshield on the fly etc.), and what you want solid. Don't use the plastic coated crimp and go ones, unless like me you remove the plastic, use the right crimpers, and shrink wrap all the connections. You'll be much happier with this than just crimping the plastic shielded on and having loose connections in a year, chasing issues...

Think now what accessories you might want to use / add. If you want extra lighting somewhere, plan the switch power now with a extra circuit from fuse box. Makes it easy.

So - to answer your question finally - yeah you could probably do it in a day, but I would plan a long weekend because these are your jeep's blood veins right? You're spending a pretty penny to get things straight, I suggest taking time to make sure it's good and correct. It's important part of your rig and reliability. Nothing pisses me off more than a electrical issue out in middle of nowhere. Broken steering box or axle - yea it happens and part of the deal. Won't start on the trail, can't see oil pressure not sure if wiring or really no oil pressure - those things suck.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Also a lot of internet searching on circuits while doing it may occur...



Have your switch panel (if adding one) able to be removed from dash easily so you don't have to uninstall the dash to add etc.
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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 10-05-2019, 01:28 AM   #4
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Thank you to everyone that replied. I apologize for not getting back to the forum sooner. My work schedule has been hectic. Wiring is kind of my thing. I build computer systems and do custom wiring of power supplies from scratch and also have rewired 27 million dollar radar systems which is why to me I am thinking this is kind of going to be a 1 day job for me once I have everything I need.

I am actually thinking about just buying wire and wiring it how I want it to be the more I think about it. For example I have not pulled the dash out yet nor have I really looked at it, but I would think power runs from engine compartment to fuse block and then from fuse block to various gauges or what have you and that is pretty much it. I am wanting to wire everything from scratch from that fuse block under the dash to the gauges and then to the rear tail lights and the fuel sending unit. Once that is to my liking I would go into the engine compartment and swap out wires one by one until it is done to my liking. I also despise wires showing at all. The only wires I really want to see are the plug wires and battery cables. Everything else I want to route so that they are hidden for the most part and also labeled. I was just thinking the painless system would be a great starting point that I can then modify to my liking.

Once I get started I will post plenty of photos and diagrams for anyone interested in my ocd mad scientist approach!

 

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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 10-05-2019, 08:57 AM   #5
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Unless you have multiple rolls of colored wire the diy rewire is almost cost prohibitive.
Sounds like you have a good starting knowledge and a standard harness would be easy to cut in.


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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 10-07-2019, 11:00 AM   #6
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Yes, sounds like the best bet would be EZ wiring kit or painless just for the multi color and already labeled wiring.

You would do perfectly with either kit it sounds like.

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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 10-08-2019, 10:35 PM   #7
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The loom that goes over the steering column you want to sleeve in a section of hose because of the sharp edges of the column's brace.
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Default Re: Painless wiring harness install time? 

Old 10-18-2019, 05:42 PM   #8
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Thank you for everyone's help!

 

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