Almost There …

I spent another five or six hours working on the car today. My goal going into this weekend was getting the car done, as far as registering it is concerned. I didn’t have a long list of things on that punch list, and frankly decided to take care of items that were on my “post-inspection” punch list, too.

Its not “done” yet, but its close and I see no reason to think it won’t be by Tuesday.

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I started off dealing with the fact that the hazard lights didn’t work. I knew at some point in the past I knew why they didn’t work, but after a year I couldn’t remember why. I had to go back through the dash wiring to remind myself how I’d wired it up.

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I remembered the reason they didn’t work was because I had run separate circuits for the turn signal indicators and the hazard lights. The way the hazards work is that a pulsing source of 12v runs through a switch, and then into both the left and right turn signal circuits. I had intended to do that connection behind the dash, but once I’d run the feed for the dash indicator lights, it actually was easier to pull the turn signal indicator spade connectors and the spade connectors for the two outputs of the hazards out of the Delphi connectors, and just splice them together. I already had diodes in the hazard circuit, so I could feed power back out the indicator wires and light the parking lights appropriately.

A short video I shot with my phone showing the hazard lights working.

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Next I took care of buttoning up some of the relays and stuff behind the dash, using some velcro. The dash is really quite a mess of wiring right now, but it sort of is what it is. When I get the body painted, I may try to lop half the wire out of there to de-bulk it. While I was at it, I wired up the power feed to the wipers.

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I wanted to get all the wiring taken care of behind the dash — I assumed (correctly) that getting the dash final fitted was going to be a hassle, and I wanted to not have to take it back off until the painting is being done.

I mounted the fan speed controller to the firewall, and connected the blower to it, as well as the power feed and ground. The power feed and the potentiometer wires got bundled together into part of a harness that will run down to the center console. The heater power feed from the Ron Francis harness also is run into that harness, so the entire system can be turned on by connecting the 12v from the car to the power feed to the power controller.

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The other part of the heater and vent setup is the new electronic valve. There was a wire harness that takes power and ground and connects the servo controller knob to the valve itself. The harness runs through a grommet just to the right of the power controller.

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On the engine side of the firewall, the harness can be seen running to the valve.

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At that point I was getting ready to be installing the dash. One problem I knew I was going to have, and hadn’t figured out a solution to, was how I was going to actually get the steering column in. The underdash panel makes it basically impossible to fit the turn signal assembly in. I ended up just using tin snips and opening up the space in the underdash panel below the steering column. It doesn’t impact the strength of it, and is invisible, but fixed the problem.

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The center console harness contains the heater control wires, the radio circuit (which I may re-appropriate as the power feed for the heated seats), and some extra circuits related to the car alarm that aren’t used. They tuck through the opening the heater ducts and terminate in an 8-position Delphi connector. (As I type this I just realized I forgot to tape off the bottom outlet in the heater core, so I’m going to have to take the dash back off tomorrow to do that. Ugh. That’s another hour or more of work…)

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The dash then got hooked up — there are a lot of connectors that needed to be connected.

The next hour I spent struggling to get the dash installed. It was easy when the body wasn’t on — the bottom edge and trim got bolted together to the underdash panel, and the velcro held the top edge. Because the top edge needed to be tucked up under the edge of the body, fitting the dash in was a real nightmare. Eventually I cut most of the velcro off the dash hoop which made it easier to muscle it around once it was attached.

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Eventually I did figure out how to get it installed, or perhaps I just got lucky and finally got it lined up correctly.

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The steering column got bolted up and the steering wheel installed. At that point I powered up the car and tested everything. All the circuits seemed to be working. I started the car for a few seconds (the radiator is still empty from when I swapped the heater valve). I decided to do something I hadn’t done in the past… I put the car in gear and slowly let out on the clutch, and watched the rear end turn!

Tomorrow’s plan was to finish things up — get the belts installed, bolt the transmission tunnel top on, install the passenger seat and do a pass around checking torque of the bolts in the suspension before putting the wheels on.

I’ll have to add taking the dash back off to the list to fix the heater core, but it seems certain I’ll be ready by the end of the weekend to deal with the state. More updates to come!