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57 Bel Air - Project: Rewire and prevent fire


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Lately I've been rewiring some old school cars and this is my latest project. This car was purchased several months ago and unfortunately, the owner hasn't been able to enjoy it.

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Originally I was contacted to install a dakota digital cluster as well as clean up some of the garbage under the dash. This kind of mess is common under the dashes of old school cars like this. Dead leads and butt connectors were everywhere, and the aftermarket fuse panel was overloaded with add a fuse taps. I don't know what's up with the upside down fuse box lol.

In between our initial meeting and when I had an opening in the shop to get it in, the car left the owner stranded after a local cruise. This became the priority, as not much can be more embarrassing then having a show car hauled home on a wrecker. These older GMs have a single lead from the battery positive terminal to the starter stud. The alt, ignition switch, and fuse box are also connected at the starter stud. After finding the stud was missing a lockwasher which lead to the nut backing off, and causing an intermittent loss of electrical, I saw that there were only two leads hooked up and they both had shittyshittybangbang crimps on their ring terminals. Time to check it over a little more.

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The unfused, unsecured lead from the positive terminal had touched the header and melted the insulation. This could have been a disaster.

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So, about those two leads that came off of the starter stud...here's one - this is wire that powered every component in the vehicle (except one). The fuel pump, msd ignition, lights, radio, you name it, all went through this supercrappy connection. I have bigger speaker wire in my pickup.

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As for that other lead - it went to a butt connector and stepped down to a 16g lead where it then went into an undersized relay to supply power to the efans. So one lead to power everything, and one lead to power the efans. Sigh.

At this point, I had another talk with the owner and he agreed that now was time to make this thing right. Many of the issues are going to be corrected using parts available from CE Auto Electric Supply. I've used Tony's products in several wiring projects, from a 57 Nomad with a built 502 to my mildly modded 2003 Trailblazer, and have always had great results.

The project now has four parts, with an estimated completion date of June 20th.

1- Improve the power and ground distribution and make it safe

2- Clean up the garbage under the dash, remove add-a-fuse taps and dead leads

3- Rewire the efans and use an intake mounted temp sensor for auto on/off (the relay coil was wired to ACC and the fans were always on with the key)

4- Dakota digital cluster install

I'll update this thread as progress is made.

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Beautiful Car !!! But are you sure that this is a Belair and not a 210 post ??? It's possible, but This is a sedan, not a hard top ...

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Yeah, Dad just took a look as well and said he wasn't aware that the Bel-Air came as a post. A hardtop was all they came in to his knowledge.

As said though, GORGEOUS car. Fix that wiring ;)

Edited by CleanSierra

Im not the one you want to try to troll. Just a fyi for you.

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Yeah, Dad just took a look as well and said he wasn't aware that the Bel-Air came as a post. A hardtop was all they came in to his knowledge.

As said though, GORGEOUS car. Fix that wiring ;)

I thought that the Belair package was a sedan option for the 55 and 56, but not the 57 or 58 models ...

Honnestly, it would look better if it was sitting in my driveway next to my 49 Ford !!!

EDIT: I must say that there is a couple of SICK rides in your shop there brother ... Dang !!!

Edited by Cablguy184

Kenwood / HELIX / Linear Power (For The Love Of Music) / Brutal Sounds / OverKill Electric Co 

Questions About Sound Quality ?? Try Here ... Sound Quality, What does it REALLY mean ?? 

SMD SOTM Winner "White Lightning" 1997 GMT400 Chevy Silverado   

"The Green Dickle" 1994 GMT400 Chevy "Phantom Dually"   

Randal's 2007 Chevy Avalanche (we haven't named this one yet)

Dylan's "Brutal" 17 Chevy Cruze RS Hatch                         

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Part of todays mission was addressing the efans. I couldn't find any labels or anything on them so I don't know their current requirements. Here's their connectors - something doesn't look right...

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Just shove a male spade connector in there...lol

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As for the other one...well it had insulated female spades, but the crimps were not so good.

The problem - poor connections at the efans connectors

The solution - HCKIT12 efan connectors from CEAES

Note: I got the kit which includes male and female connectors/pins because the condition of the fan connectors was not known. I was able to salvage the connectors on the efans.

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The efan harnesses prewired. Since the current requirement is unknown, I went with 8 AWG from CEAES and grabbed a couple of MEGA 8 AWG rings as well for the grounds.

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Here's the power leads shoved through a half ass grommet and wedged between the radiator and the body. The loom was a little squishy but nothing was burnt.

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At this point nothing surprises me anymore. So when I saw the fans were grounded to some flimsy brackets I wasn't even phased. When I can get the car up on the lift, the efans will be grounded properly along with the body/chassis grounds.

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Kinda unrelated, here's a peek at the DD cluster the owner decided to go with. The chrome bezels are retained. I wasn't feeling it when I first put them in, but when I saw it this morning I thought it looked ok. The illumination will be red. You might be able to see that only one lead is hooked up to the fuel gauge (on the right in this pic)...maybe that's why the fuel gauge didn't work?

The next mission that I'm going to post here is building a accessory fuse/relay panel that will accommodate the additional loads that the aftermarket wiring harness wasn't built to handle. For instance, the lead for the "fan" off of the fuse panel is maybe 16g wire. That might be enough to power a relay coil, but not the fans themselves. Once again, I'll be using components from CEAES.

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Hell yeah, sweet car!

In for pics.

:good:

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