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Discussion Starter #1

Should I use this wire harness in my non-stock '57 Panel Truck?

It's running a 1977 350, and I intend, eventually, to use possibly some neater aftermarket headlights like LED, etc. I also don't know what alternator is currently on the engine (aka if it's a 1-wire or not), and am also running a carb with an electric choke. All of that said, I'm not sure of what harness to get. I'm also guessing this harness is for a pickup, not a panel truck, for which I'm aware that there are differences. But, this is closer to complete than what I currently have (which is 0 harness, lol).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

"PM"
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should also mention that, since I'm not restoring this truck to original, I'd like to spend no more than $300 on the harness. Some of these prices are off the chain!
 

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What brand is the harness? I haven`t priced a truck or panel harness. But if they are anywhere close to a passenger car harness i don`t believe you will find one for 300.00. The AAW harness has been recommended many times on here. And that is the brand i put in my 57 car.
Terry
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your reply- I don't see an actual brand name on the site, but it's being sold by Brothers Trucks. I guess my biggest issue is, I'm not restoring the truck to original, so all I basically need is a harness that provides minimum functionality. I'm not looking to show the truck or need anything that is 600 bucks and totally matches how the 1957 harness was bitd for shows and stuff.

To be honest, I was even going to go with the bare minimum momentary switch for starting, and wire up turn signals and lights on toggles etc. later. But, the engine has a carb on it that has an electric choke, and everywhere I read, it's being stated not to hook it direct to battery or HEI, so I'm needing to go down the full harness path. :|
 

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Are you using the stock steering column? Or will you be using a later factory or aftermarket GM column? Gauges factory, or aftermarket?
Lots to consider for wiring harnesses, before you choose which to buy.
If the truck isn't stock, and wont be; then buying a direct replacement harness for $500-$700 like many cost, is just wasting money. Much of the original equipment harness wont apply to aftermarket gauges, and a new steering column.
I have always gone no factory universal GM aftermarket harnesses, as they're easy to wire with custom steering columns, or later columns, and gauges. There are numerous good choices below $200, and any I've purchased were always 20-21 circuit, and reasonably priced.
I'll wait for the answers before making aftermarket harness suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Are you using the stock steering column? Or will you be using a later factory or aftermarket GM column? Gauges factory, or aftermarket?
Lots to consider for wiring harnesses, before you choose which to buy.
If the truck isn't stock, and wont be; then buying a direct replacement harness for $500-$700 like many cost, is just wasting money. Much of the original equipment harness wont apply to aftermarket gauges, and a new steering column.
I have always gone no factory universal GM aftermarket harnesses, as they're easy to wire with custom steering columns, or later columns, and gauges. There are numerous good choices below $200, and any I've purchased were always 20-21 circuit, and reasonably priced.
I'll wait for the answers before making aftermarket harness suggestions.
Thanks for the info- I will most-likely be using aftermarket gauges (tach, water temp, oil pressure, volts). At the moment, I'm currently going with the stock steering column, but only because it's currently present in the vehicle.
 

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I've used Speedway's universal 21 circuit harness on several builds, and it was outstanding quality, and easy to wire. I can complete them in a little over a day.
I've also used an inexpensive Ebay harness on my last build, which was a universal harness kit that is designed to work with GM, Ford, and Chrysler products. Took a little longer as you have to pin the steering column connector, and make a few other small changes (which are included in the kit) but it too was easy to wire, and had plenty of circuits.
The Speedway GM harness is a 22 circuit and sells for $189. The Ebay universal is a 21 circuit, and sells for $100 less. Both are well marked, have great instruction sheets, and are good quality. If I did another, I'd use either, but being thrifty, the Ebay $89 harness would be my choice again. It also came with a heavy duty relay to operate a electric fan, or fuel pump. It came with a floor mount dimmer switch, but no headlight switch. The Speedway kit comes with a headlight switch, but no relay for auxilliary loads.
This is the kit I got off Ebay for my '39 Chevy coupe. The price has gone up to $109 now, vs. the $89 I paid last year.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you very much for that info- I've had many cars in my day, but this is the first one ever that I've had to completely wire myself :| The only factory gauge that I will most-likely use is the speedo (unless I can make the other idiot gauges in the same panel work in conjunction with the wiring from the aftermarket gauges). I just need to make sure that whatever I go with, it will allow this truck to pass inspection in Delaware (my next stumbling block).
 

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When cars reach a certain age they either have tons of wiring issues due to getting hot or brittle, or they've had enough owners messing with them to become junk. Anymore I find it much easier, and less time consuming to simply gut the messed up wiring, and start fresh with a complete harness kit. In the end it's such a joy to have all new wiring, and a later style fuse panel. One less thing to constantly fret over.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When cars reach a certain age they either have tons of wiring issues due to getting hot or brittle, or they've had enough owners messing with them to become junk. Anymore I find it much easier, and less time consuming to simply gut the messed up wiring, and start fresh with a complete harness kit. In the end it's such a joy to have all new wiring, and a later style fuse panel. One less thing to constantly fret over.
I have no doubt. This is also my oldest vehicle yet, so I'm sure you're right!! Do you have a link to the Speedway harness? Or do I just Google it?
 

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This is the Speedway harness. It does say it can be re-pinned out to work with other GM columns besides the later tilt columns.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you, apologies, I found it right after I posted my question :| I really appreciate the help!!

Since it's related to the topic of bad/old/tired wiring, I'll share this moment in my car history:

I had a 1966 Chevelle 2-door Malibu, completely reassembled the car myself (my first time doing that), it had a 327 in it. The harness had come out of a 4-door '66 Chevelle donor car, and although tired, it was functional. I got the 2-door up and running and it was a dream come true! Out of nowhere, one day, I go to start it in my garage, and nothing. No click, no nothing. Just dead. Battery was fine. Starter was fine. Wiring was all connected correctly to all of the ignition. It probably sat for at least 3-6 mos while I racked my brain on what the issue could possibly be. I was livid. One day, I'm out cleaning around the car, and notice a wire hanging....................

The ignition wire coming from harness and going to the starter had been wire nutted together somewhere prior in its life. Well, that nut came apart, and it wasn't in plain view.

I promised myself that when it came time to do THIS vehicle, I wasn't using anyone else's mess. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The new wire harness arrived yesterday from Speedway. YAYYYYYYY!!

And now, on to the questions:

1. my truck's original harness, key, ignition, were long gone before I got the truck- I have a leftover ignition cylinder and key from my '66 Chevelle. Can I use that, temporarily, to wire up and start the truck? (I'm guessing yes)

2. I have no idea if the alternator currently on the engine is original/oem for that engine, or a later one-wire conversion. How do I confirm that so I don't fry anything in the new harness? I had done a 1-wire conversion on an alternator 20 years ago, but it simply involved swapping out the voltage regulator, and some minor instructions.

Thanks in advance for any help! My goal is to at least start this truck once by Labor Day!!
 

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Summit has inexpensive wire kits, here's a universal 18 circuit for 2 bills.
 

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The '68 Chevelle ignition switch can be used, and all you need is a wiring diagram for that particular ignition switch. It can also be your permanent switch once wired in. The terminals should be marked on the back for what each does, and pretty straight forward to match up with the Speedway kit.

Whether the alternator is original to the truck, or the engine, shouldn't matter. All you really need to confirm is what it is, and how it's wired. There are 1 wire, and two wire circuits, so just need to know the model of alternator, and whether it gets internally excited, or needs external wire to excite it. The Speedway kit comes with the wire marked "exciter", so if needed it gets used. If not simply safe it off near the alternator in case you ever change to a 2 wire.
I'd look for numbers on the existing alternator, to determine what it is through a search. But also look at the connector, and post a picture here and we can tell you what type it is. The 10SI is pretty common, and can be wired as a 2 wire, or jumpered to self excite and work as a 1 wire.

When you start the installation first choose the fuse block location. Don't make life tough by putting it where the stock fuse block was if it's tough to get to. I've often put them dead center under the dash, or even on the passenger side of center if it was easier to access.
The wiring harnesses are grouped, so spread them out by cutting the wire ties, but don't cut all the ties! Leave the last couple on each group as some wires are simply jumpers, and will fall out if all wire ties are cut. Once you've got each harness isolated you'll find they fall into 3 groups basically. One to the dash, one to the frontend, and one to the tail end. I usually start with the dash loom and wire up ignition, gauges, etc. first. Then up front I isolate that loom further into engine wiring, and lighting groups. In the rear it's all lighting, except for fuel sending wires. The dome light will be with that group, and needs to be separated out as you route wiring back.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the info! I'm actually wanting to make sure all is good with the engine internals, so I was planning to wire up the engine components first. I will also find numbers/info on the alternator and report back. It looks like a plain vanilla GM alternator to me, but I will confirm.

My only other real worry is the dreaded neutral safety switch. Do I truly have to hook that up? I can see it in the wire diagram. My main worry is, the shifter is a floor-mounted shifter from a later GM (maybe a Chevelle), so there's no wiring to any shifter in the column, etc. I just don't want to get everything wired up, and then find out the car won't start bc of some issue with that switch.
 

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That's an original 2 wire alternator, and the kit should include a connector to wire it in. If not they are easy to connect, and easy to buy repair connectors for.

I'd not worry about installing the wiring harness temporarily to fire the engine. Just wire it like a engine stand would be wired. Needs power to the coil or HEI. Then battery to the starter, with jumper to a pushbutton switch, and hot to the coil. Use a inexpensive starter remote switch for the pushbutton. I keep one in my tuneup kit just so I can start engines while being beside them. No need to even have the alternator wired to test run the engine. Just a belt to keep the water pump turning, and cooling. Of course the usual hoses, etc. to the radiator.
Once you know it runs well, then you can remove temp wiring, and start the harness install.

You don't need a neutral safety switch to start, run, or drive the car. They're a good idea, just to avoid possibly starting it in gear, and go crashing into something. But if you're careful to always put it in park you can get along without it until you wire it later. Easy to break the start circuit to the solenoid later, and run it through the neutral switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the quick reply- my only concern about that alternator was, years ago, I'd read an article on how to swap out the VR, and I don't remember if I did it to convert it to a 1 wire, or just to up the amp output, but I did it to an alternator on another car. Either way, I wanted to make sure that "upgrade" had not been done to this one, where I could manage to hook it up wrong and end up damaging something.

On the engine stand wireup, I'd give anything to be able to do that :( the prior owner of the truck even had the wiring in place to do so, but the switches look older than me, and the whole thing just keeps whispering to me "don't use this". So, I figured I'd kill 2 birds with one stone, get the minimal harness in place, and fire it up.
 
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