Buy harness, or rebuild the one I have? -
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Unread 08-30-2011, 10:28 AM   #1
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1977 CJ7 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 50
Buy harness, or rebuild the one I have?

I yanked the dash on my CJ this weekend. The wiring is not _terrible_ but it has been cut and spliced quite a bit, and a couple of the wires have melted through their insulation. What could cause the melting?

The question is... It only looks to be about 20 wires, about 6-8 feet long. Is it really worth paying $180 for an EZ-wire harness, fuse block, etc, or is it reasonable to rewire the existing one? I'm still going to have to splice connectors onto the ends of the EZ-wire harness. The existing harness is glass tube fuses.

Pros of new harness:
spade fuses
new wire
less butt splicing, but not splice free
easier for future owners, not that I plan to sell it

Cons of new harness:

Who has rewired the harness themselves? Any pictures of the back of the fusebox? Better diagrams/pictures than in the Haynes?

Anyone know where to get the proper color/striped wire?

Thanks for helping a newb!

- Demian

Diluted is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 08-30-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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1977 CJ7 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: , North Central Arizona
Posts: 3,597
Why is a spade fuse "better"?

If you ask a splicer for the Telco or Electric co. what's the worst thing you can do to wire and they'll tell you "splice it". Having said that, taking your time and soldering as well as shrink taping your splices can give you excellent results in a harness lasting for years. It's when you use mechanical connectors that just tap or crush that you expose your work to corrosion and failures.

I'd ask myself if buying the correct colors and gauges of wire in sufficient quantities and the amount of work required to restore the harness is worth the cost savings, if any. I'm retired and have lots of time; you may not be in the same boat.
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Unread 08-30-2011, 10:43 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Loveland, co
Posts: 121
If your existing harness is "melted" then absolutly yes, no question, replace the wires. Honestly $180 is cheap to put a whole electrical system into your jeep and you will spend more than that.

My real suggestion would be to buy a factory fit harness from painless that has most the connections needed. since you are replacing it anyway, do it right, and know that it is done well. the fuse block has a bulkhead connection that goes through the firewall, and connects to the engine harness (that also comes with it). it makes a nice clean connection and is not hard to install. all wires are labled to where they go, and color coded correctly (for the most part)

just my
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Unread 08-30-2011, 11:04 AM   #4
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1977 CJ7 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 50
I've looked at the painless harnesses, but I'm not really up to spending $500 on what appears to be $150 worth of copper and plastic because of the proprietary knowledge that painless has researched. I get that it's the easiest way, but it's not necessarily the best way. The EZ-wire harness is reasonably priced, but obviously more work.

Time is not the issue. I have time enough since I'm not too concerned that the Jeep is not running at the moment. It would be nice to drive it more before it gets cold but sparks flying at my ankles told me I should take care of this first.

The whole harness is not melted, just a couple wires. One of the POs put an ammeter in the truck instead of a voltmeter, and i think they used this wire, which ended up pulling a large current.
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