Wiring the passenger compartment

With the rear wiring done, I had to do the part I was avoiding: the inside.  In prep, I have been buying new chrome bezels and such for the ignition switch and headlights so I should be ready. One thing I haven’t gotten yet was a wiring fastener kit for all the various clips needed to keep the wiring in place. That should be easily left for the cleanup stage though.

So, first off, I should mention I had to install the left side branch 3 times. I could have done it just once if I had been more thorough in reading the directions from AAW. The issue was with the route getting blocked by various other things not currently installed.

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Wrong #1. You can see here, I wired the branch behind the frame which is just behind the gauge console. The problem with that is that its in the path of the wiper motor arm and maybe the clutch return spring if things move around. Can’t have that, so I did what looked better based on the stock wire retainer clip you can see there.

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Wrong #2. So, this looks better, and I was feeling pretty good about it after I did a test fitting of the original gauges. Then I went to install the wiper motor and bracket. It turns out that the bracket rests right up on the pedal bracket, so the wiring branch is in the way.  The only thing left to do is read the directions and put it where they say, which is right along the firewall, behind the top of the pedal bracket where they left a little space just for this. That was annoying as I had to drop the pedals to move the wires into place and then bolt them back in.

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It’s hard to get a good picture, but I finally got it right by this point. The instrument cluster and left side branch are both run across the firewall, with space to be routed behind the cold air intake, which is currently not in place. I do have a couple of wires crossing the front, specifically for the right side lighting, glove box light, and door light switch. I still need to get the clips to keep them in place, and out of the way of moving parts.

I decided to get new chrome for the interior, as well as new switches of course. I noticed some pitting on my original chrome and for the price and quality of the reproduction parts, I felt it was worth it for the parts I see every time I get in.

The light switch went in no problem. Every time I had to put it back in. The main issue was probably with tooling. The retainer part is screwed in with a flat tip screw driver. Mine may have been too small as it chewed up the end a bit. Not enough that I want to replace it, but enough that I wont be taking it out many more times. Also, there is a button on the passenger side which lets the pull knob come out. Good to know before applying gorilla strength to try to remove it.

When installing the ignition switch, I was a bit worried about getting the retaining ring on tight without scratching it, so I bought the Drake tool. Don’t bother. It’s over priced and didn’t fit the Drake retaining ring as the ring slots were too narrow. Nice idea if it’s executed correctly though.

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On the passenger side, I had a few new wires for options the car never had. The orange is for the glove box light. I noticed the original glove box insert had the roughly 1 inch hole on the back left for light to get in, but the dash itself has no hole drilled for the light switch.

The light is similar to the door lights with a spring loaded plunger. It would normally be in a half inch hole on the lower left side of the glove box frame. You can see here there is a raised point with a dimple in it. If the car came with the lighting option, that would be a hole for the plunger switch. I guess I just tape it off for later options. Of course, I need to get some wire tie downs as well, to keep it on the rail and out of the way of the glove box. I might also do some research to be sure its supposed to be there, and not above or along the firewall. One of the things I missed by not tearing down myself.

Also, the other blue and white wires are the courtesy lights. I didn’t have those either, but that appears to be something I can easily add. I will wait until later before I make my lighting more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe after I see that the new harness works in general. This can get tucked under the dash for now as well.

To end the line, you can see the blue wire below the door plunge switch. That goes back down the running board to the rear quarter window. It would be used for a left side dome light. I used the right side, so just taped it off and left it there in case I want to do something with it later.

The last piece was putting the wiper motor back in. I thought it was hard to get the fine threaded bracket screws in before, but with wiring in the way, its super annoying. To solve it, I put a piece of electrical tape over the head of the bolt and crammed it into a deep socket. From there, I could use the socket to get the thread started while it held on to the bolt without letting it slide too far into the socket. Once I did that, it all came together real quick.

From here, I just have a few steps left. It’s about time I drill some holes and mount the washer pump pedal, and the high beam switch. The next big thing inside is going to be the heater box and venting. The glove box is ready to install, but I have been keeping it aside for the visibility. Seeing how many options there are for the gauges, I should probably start researching that now too.

All in all, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Well, other than running the left side three times. Knowing what I know now, I think I could do this much faster next time. I would probably get the little braid tool from Painless too. The majority of my time was probably spent getting wire into the braid. The engine compartment wiring is a whole other project for a later day.

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