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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Six Steps for Contending with Spaghetti Wiring

Posted November 16, 2021 6:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Auto Repair

We all have our black boxes—things we'd rather not tinker with because we don't know how they work and don't want to know how they work. As long as the black box is doing what it's supposed to do, it's easy enough to leave it alone and focus our resources on other things. If it's not working, we replace it or hand it off to somebody who knows what they're doing. Having black boxes is nothing to be ashamed of; it's just an acknowledgement of your limitations.

Electro-modding an old car—specifically, thinning out a wiring harness—will quickly reveal every black box in your life, both literally and figuratively.

Thinning out a donor car's wiring harness is a matter of removing unnecessary circuits before transplanting the bundle into your project car. In my case, for my Chenowth EV, I won't need power door locks, power windows, or a rear defroster, so why keep any extraneous wiring? It adds weight and complexity, but more importantly, the less wiring I have to sort through, the easier it'll be to diagnose the issues that will inevitably crop up when I get to the put-it-back-together-and-make-it-work stage.

To make sure I didn't screw up anything or get overwhelmed, I developed a few strategies for this weeks-long process.

1. Label everything. I've seen people use subtler labels than green masking tape, but subtle would be self-defeating to me during this process. I needed to see at a glance what a group of wires did and where they terminated.

2. Remove the looms, the wrap, and everything else hiding the wiring. This makes tracing wires and circuits infinitely simpler. It also saves a lot of time when thinning the harness.

Untangle the remaining four steps here.

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Previous in Blog: Electric Hot Rods: Sacrilege, or a Glimpse of Our Future?   Next in Blog: The Nut Behind the Wheel: Leah Levin on Why a Senior in High School Drives a 1951 Packard 200 Deluxe

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