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wiring advice for race car

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  • wiring advice for race car

    Hey group,

    Recently I had to relocate my fuse box inboard to make room for my cage that is going through the firewall. What a mess! It is unbelievable on the amount of wires I am dealing with. I am thinking about starting from scratch and tossing the harness. I use my car for racing and will be trailered so most things like turn signals, defrosters, radio, etc will be eliminated. I was looking at a Painless Performance universal fuse block. It seems like their kit will simplify this project immensely. However, the kit makes no provisions for "injection electronics" or ABS as the stock fuse block does. How do I retain these systems? By the way, the engine harness is untouched.

    Basically I want to reduce the wiring to the bare minimum (ignition, brake lights, head lights, gauges, ABS, and an engine that RUNS!) ANY input is appreciated.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Where do you want to move the wiring to? You will probably have some wiring running from the front of the chassis to the rear.. but not as much as stock.

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    • #3
      I've gotta do the same thing in a couple of months. I'm thinking of making up long pigtails from only those items I need with their respective connectors and enough wire to reach where ever I could possibly want.

      Then, with all the pig tails plugged in, I'll route everything nice and neat to where ever the fuse box decides it wants to be. I may just screw the factory fuse box into a homemade panel where the glove box was or something similar.

      I know, easier said than done. But it's a game plan at least!

      Good luck,
      Jake

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      • #4
        I have messed around with wiring on several modified cars over the years.

        The one thing I have learned is that you cannot improve on the factory wiring (unless you are driving an older British or Italian car perhaps). Not only did the factory have the advantage of total access when installing the wiring, they also know what they are doing with regard to routing, connectors, protection, etc. The very best you can hope to do is to "equal" the factory setup, and it is unlikely you will even achieve that.

        I only say this because I have learned anything that is modified is more likely to be a potential future source of problems than the factory setup.

        Bottom line is, don't change anything unless you absolutely have to.

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        • #5
          wiring

          I do not want to improve on the factory wiring, it's just that there is so many wires and accessories I do not need. If I had a picture of the harness now, you'd laugh! I think the potential for problems is there if I leave it with unterminated wires all over the place.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ironhead
            I have messed around with wiring on several modified cars over the years.

            The one thing I have learned is that you cannot improve on the factory wiring (unless you are driving an older British or Italian car perhaps). Not only did the factory have the advantage of total access when installing the wiring, they also know what they are doing with regard to routing, connectors, protection, etc. The very best you can hope to do is to "equal" the factory setup, and it is unlikely you will even achieve that.

            I only say this because I have learned anything that is modified is more likely to be a potential future source of problems than the factory setup.

            Bottom line is, don't change anything unless you absolutely have to.

            No offence Ironhead, but you may not have seen the work of a competent electrician. Cannot improve on the factory wiring? Only they know what they're doing? And my favorite...

            "The very best you can hope to do is to "equal" the factory setup, and it is unlikely you will even achieve that."

            Biting my tongue.... :grr:

            Jake

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            • #7
              I second that. the thin gauge factory wiring breaks down easy with heat which is why on a 10 year old car there are lots of lights coming on and headlights failing, etc. I'm going to replace the wiring in my car and the engine management system and I guarantee it will be 10 times better that whats there now.

              CT

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              • #8
                Jake,

                No offense taken. I am not sure what it is in my post that seems to have caused you such stress. Are you an electrician perhaps?

                Read again. I did not say that "only" the factory knows how to wire a car. All I said is that they know what they are doing. That doesn't necessarily mean that you or any other non factory person does not.

                The auto manufacterer has had many generations of automobiles, in the case of BMW for many decades, where electical systems have been developed, tested in the real world, and improved upon. They have learned what works and what does not over the long term. They also have access to any needed specialized connectors, relays, or other components, which can be constructed for a specific application if needed.

                Do you think the average garage enthusiast with a roll of wire, some heat shrink, and a soldering iron can outdo the auto manufacterer? I do not. As I said, if care and the proper components are used many electricians/enthusiasts can EQUAL the factory electrics, but rarely improve on them. This is particularly true if fabrication of entire harnesses is involved, rather than just a few splices or connections. The wiring on modern German and Japanese cars is essentially "bulletproof", trouble free for many, many years. How is that possible to improve upon?

                I should also add that I am talking primarily with regard to the reliability and longevity of the wiring. I for example rewired my headlights with heavier gauge wiring than the factory provided. Yes the lights are now slightly brighter. But I also had to iron out several glitches in my work before the system was dead reliable, and I did not have to worry about the sudden loss of headlights. Perhaps I am just a crappy electrician....

                From my point of view, saying you could do a better TOTAL job wiring an E30M3 than BMW, is roughly equivalent to saying you could also design a better S-14.

                My apologies if my opinion has upset you.....=)
                Last edited by Ironhead; 09-28-2003, 12:51 PM.

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                • #9
                  I would just reloacte it in the engine bay, get a tilton master cylinder then mount the fuse box where the brake boster used to be.

                  I agree, that a total rewire is not only a PITA but very hard to do. But anything can be done with time and money.

                  Do not click
                  At least it's German

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ironhead
                    My apologies if my opinion has upset you.....=)
                    No worries Ironhead. I didn't mean to sound abrasive but I see that I have.

                    I know it’s typical that a lot of re-wiring jobs turn out to be sub par. But I believe this to be a reflection of the technician, not the impossibility of improving the factory harness. Improving factory electrics is one part skill and one part patience. Your comments imply everyone lacks these attributes. Right here:

                    "...it is unlikely you will even achieve that."

                    I think people forget that it isn't a manufacturer’s ultimate goal to bomb proof the car. That would be counterproductive! :p Almost anything can be improved upon when you don't have to consider production costs. S14's too.

                    You should see the wiring in a Grp A or DTM M3. Military cannon plugs and very little fuss. Only what's absolutely necessary stays. I don't think you could find one 'production car' section of wires in that thing. Production wiring looms lack quality environmental protection measures and this is where the biggest improvement is to be had.

                    TTW18 needed to move his fuse box due to the installation of a cage. He wasn't trying to build a better mouse trap, it was out of necessity. Your assumptions did not address the question and implied he probably wouldn't be able to do a good job. Some take offence to that.

                    Cheers,
                    Jake

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