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Total 12 VDC Accessory Rewire Project


RandyA

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When I bought my truck six years ago I began the process of adding wiring for accessories including auxiliary lighting, cameras, monitors, radios and more. Over the course of six years additional wiring was added over the top of existing wiring. Some of the original wiring was abandoned and left in place. Rather than doing things right from the start, I kept adding in-line fuse holders and grabbing any available screw attached to metal for a ground.

 

When one of my monitors went on the fritz and I had to trace the wiring to find a suspect fuse or broken wire I decided the rat’s nest I had created must go. In some ways it is funny since I often admonished others for putting in shade tree wiring and encouraged them to do it right from the start. I felt like a cobbler whose children had no shoes!

 

OK – enough is enough! The batteries were disconnected. Armed with some new wire cutters I began to slice through everything, pulling wires out like noxious weeds in a beautiful garden. Nothing was spared – switches, jacks, lights, plugs – they all went into a pile that looked like a plate of spaghetti that had just been dropped on the floor.

 

When I was through stripping I had returned the truck’s DC electrical system to ground zero – or where it was when I bought it.

 

I remembered the story told by one of our forum contributors about taking his truck to a dealership to help resolve an electrical problem and being refused service because he had improperly tapped into the OEM electrical system for a myriad of accessory circuits. While the Volvo fuse center had more than enough open or available circuits for relays and new branch circuits I decided not to tamper with what the Swedish gods had installed.

 

I have a rather prolific junque box filled with fuse blocks, relays and assorted wires I’ve collected from surplus centers and NOS discards. I selected a nice little eleven circuit board that was originally intended for some obscure make of travel trailer. The board was sized to fit nicely directly behind the OEM fuse board. A ground buss was added adjacent to the power board so that all new wiring would find ground at the same point – no more ground loops.

 

Two #8 AWG copper cables were snaked under the steering column – one was bolted to the power terminal stud up under the steering wheel tilt foot pedal (rated for 40 Amps) and the other was brought through the firewall entrance block outside to the ground studs below the windshield to the left of the air governor. A 40 Amp in-line fuse was installed where it could be accessed close to the power studs.

 

A second set of #10 AWG copper wires was routed back to the left A pillar and up into the overhead console to power overhead accessories – two in-line fuse holders (15A and 10A) were added to the end of the hot #10 wire. A 25 amp fuse was plugged into the main board to protect the wiring.

 

From that point forward all DC hot and ground wires going to lighting, radios, cameras, monitors, GPS, XM, computer, USB ports, etc. originated at the new fuse panel. The various wires were either color coded or marked to identify what they went to. Then, where possible, they were all pushed into split plastic wire looms and taped up.

 

In the process I needed an ignition-on power source to close a relay for selected accessory circuits. I found a useable source on OEM terminal B2-1. This is the only connection to the OEM wiring. The 3 new power relays were attached to existing screws under the fuse block access panel.

 

Anyone that has ever attempted to run new wiring from right of the steering wheel to left side knows getting under or around the steering column is precarious due to chaffing of wires from the tilt mechanism or turning shaft. I pulled a few wires through the loom holder under the steering column but ended up routing most of the bulk along the firewall behind the foot pedals with a few new brackets that accepted zip ties.

 

Taking off the dash panels to run the wires revealed that the foam that seals the ductwork for the heater, AC and defroster had rotted. Replacement foam was applied using self adhesive weather stripping tape from Lowe’s. The dash panels were cleaned and sprayed with the appropriate color of plastic paint while removed.

 

With a good 40 hours of work I now have a neat, centrally located auxiliary DC power system with no rat’s nest of wiring independent of the OEM circuits. I even have a schematic of what everything is and where it goes. There are even spare wires ready for future expansion inside the looms. Finally, the cobbler’s children have new shoes!

 

wire%20pile.jpg

Some of the wiring that was removed. Many of the circuits these wires went to had been abandoned as I changed accessories over the past 6 years.

 

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An 11 circuit fuse panel was added behind the OEM panel. On the left you can see the new ground buss identified by a long row of green screws. Relays marked with A,B & C were added. One nice feature of the new fuse panel is the LED indicators that show if a fuse has blown.

 

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Much of the dash had to be disassembled to gain access to open areas where new wiring could be pulled. This time all wires are color coded or marked and I have a complete, comprehensive schematic of all of my accessory wiring.

 

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A new rat's nest was created in the process of rewiring. Tools, switches, connectors, ties, wires were every where.

 

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The unused ash tray space now houses a 120 volt/ammeter and a convenient outlet - the meters are mostly for monitoring total load on the inverter while traveling.

 

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All of the duct gaskets under the dash had rotted. They were replaced with thick foam weatherstrip from Lowe's.

 

dash%20upper.jpgUpper dash area. Ham Radio, Bluetooth Speaker, XM, Tire Minder - not shown is SJ400 camera that mounts to windshield below.

the TPMS.

 

dash%20full.jpg

Lower dash - all accessory switches, monitors, VMSpc, CB, accessory outlets - USB, 12V & 120 VAC, Sony Radio and GPS. Everything is finally back together. Monitor in dash can look at back of trailer or back of truck cab. Monitor on dash can look at hitch or right side blind spots. I had begun to wonder if I would ever get finished!

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Randy, was that the electrical piece you were so happy finding at Double D's while at the FROG rally last year that you told me you did not really need but was such a good deal you couldn't pass it up? If so I knew you would find a use for it.

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Dang, Randy....If I had attempted that rewire, I would have been found dead in a scrap wire cocoon of my own tangling. I hope you had all the new wire you used in your inventory......otherwise it would have cost you a king's ransom at today's cost of wire. I'm sure that the project was satisfying and it sure could come in handy to know where all the wires go to and come from. Another of your well executed and beautifully photo documented projects. As usual, I'm impressed. We are heading out for Colorado near the end of the month...any chance you guys will be there ?? Thanks for sharing this project and be safe. Charlie PS I did get the Kelsey Hayes air over electric brake controller installed. I still have to road test it for actual braking force but the meter says it's working

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When can I drop off my truck......

Only had it a year and it needs to be "Organized".....

 

The pile of wiring you pulled out looks like the pile I pulled out from underneath the bed of our truck. Every time a light or the RV plug went bad, someone just added a new wire and plug or light. Seemed like miles of broken wire.

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Randy What a job!! It really looks way past impressive. Especially for us mere mortals. We are sitting here at the old pottery C/g now called Campark. It leaves a lot to be desired but w/elec h2o & sewer plus Passport America U can't beat the price. I PM'd you last night. Hope you got it. This high tech stuff is really over my head. I just was wondering when you were going to put those disk brakes on. I will come up and help. As directed. W/tools jacks jack stands, or just me. Whatever you need. One of these days I hope to put disk on our new one. So just give me a call. I must be talking to the wire wizard! How is the finger? Take Care, Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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Nice cleanup job!

 

A while ago I picked up a Dymo label maker that prints on heat-shrink tubing. It makes it super easy to label wires. Here's a shot of some of the wiring in my race car. You can see the labels:

 

12523079_10154394864687080_1751579648053

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Randy I just was wondering when you were going to put those disk brakes on. I will come up and help. As directed. W/tools jacks jack stands, or just me. Whatever you need. One of these days I hope to put disk on our new one. So just give me a call. I must be talking to the wire wizard! How is the finger? Take Care, Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

Pat - they are on. Kodiak's on all four corners. I had some problems with the Actuator - seems the pump inside locked up and broke the end off of the motor shaft. A new actuator should be here by Wednesday and all I need to do is bolt down and bleed the lines - all the electrical and plumbing is complete. If anyone needs some 12" Dexter electric drum brakes off of 7K EZ Lube axles I know where they can find them - cheap too :rolleyes:.

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Randy Dog gone I wanted to help! How long did it take? Any problems during removal and install? Are you going to be on the road this weekend? Keep in touch. Are you going to the Nat Rally? Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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JeffW Does it actually print on the heat shrink? How does it work? Picture? Name? Vendor? Sorry for all the ?'s but you got my little mind "Racing". Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

 

Yes, it prints right on the heatshrink. The heatshrink is flat in a cartridge.

 

This is the one I have: http://www.amazon.com/DYMO-Industrial-Labeling-Keyboard-1801611/dp/B005MR516Y

It's about $60 for the labelmaker.

 

5' of heat shrink is around $20-30 depending on size.

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Yes, it prints right on the heatshrink. The heatshrink is flat in a cartridge.

 

This is the one I have: http://www.amazon.com/DYMO-Industrial-Labeling-Keyboard-1801611/dp/B005MR516Y

It's about $60 for the labelmaker.

 

5' of heat shrink is around $20-30 depending on size.

 

I know what my next tool is going to be. I need a label maker anyways. Thank you for the tip.

 

Al

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A harness company I know uses a fancy version of the Heatshrink label maker to print all their plug labels etc. They shrink them onto a small zip tie and put the zip tie around the cable right behind the plug. Works great.

 

Fair enough job Randy---but I don't see any wire braid to make that into a finished cable. And you let your tools get major disorganized---they should all be laid out in a neat row on the dash.... <_<:rolleyes::D Sorry--just kidding! Seriously nice work!

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Randy you are running a suicide knob on the wheel - are you a retired heavy haul driver?

No, I am a retired EE College Professor and Shade Tree Try-To- Do-It-All-Or-Die-Idiot. At some point in the past 70 I occasionally drove school buses, fire trucks and heavy crash/rescue trucks. Never a true heavy hauler. But, I love my suicide knob - especially in parking lots and city driving. It has been there 6 years had I have yet to feel like It was a safety barrier. Depends on how you were taught to drive - in EMS we were allowed to lift our hands to another position on the wheel when maneuvering in an emergency. In school bus driving you kept both hands on the wheel and slid them back and forth. I'm still an EMS driver and the knob does not get in the way.

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Yes, it prints right on the heatshrink. The heatshrink is flat in a cartridge.

 

This is the one I have: http://www.amazon.com/DYMO-Industrial-Labeling-Keyboard-1801611/dp/B005MR516Y

It's about $60 for the labelmaker.

 

5' of heat shrink is around $20-30 depending on size.

I like the pricing for that one better. I did try an experiment today. I wrote on yellow heat shrink tubing with a very fine tip black permanent marker and then slipped it over a wire and reduced it with my heat gun. It worked and the numbers would not come off. Such a simple idea and much better than stick-on markers.

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On old non-power steering trucks and tractors, particularly the old narrow front farm tractors, that knob was called a "suicide knob" for good reason. If one front tire would hit an obstruction and you didn't have a firm enough grip on the wheel or the knob, it would yank the knob out of your hand and spin the wheel hard...often resulting in the knob coming clear around and breaking your wrist.

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I like the pricing for that one better. I did try an experiment today. I wrote on yellow heat shrink tubing with a very fine tip black permanent marker and then slipped it over a wire and reduced it with my heat gun. It worked and the numbers would not come off. Such a simple idea and much better than stick-on markers.

 

yeah I was shocked at how inexpensive the label printer was. It's made my work so much neater and easier to maintain, for sure!

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