Modified Mustangs & Fords
Factory Five Roadster Wiring Install - Project Snake Charmer Part: 11
Our Cobra Replica Project Gets Wired (Mostly)
If you've been following our online Web diary, you've likely seen several weeks of diary entries where we mentioned various sections of the wiring portion of our project. Wiring can be a daunting task for even seasoned automotive wrench turners. There's a big difference between bolting on a brake caliper and determining the proper gauge of wiring to use for an alternator circuit. Having the proper circuit protection, gauge of wiring, and harness routing is imperative to a safely wired project that will not give you problems down the road.
Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time in the wiring phase as much of the installation locations for the electrical items (starter solenoid, fuse box, gauges, and so on) are your decision, and you must factor in functionality, wire length, and future access before drilling a single hole. There were times when we literally stood staring at the frame with a part in hand for half an hour, trying to determine where it would fit best.
The Factory Five Racing Roadster kit is designed to use the original wiring harness and circuits/switches from a late-model Mustang. This was fine back in the late '90s when these Mustangs weren't that old, but now you're easily looking at 15-year-old wiring with brittle connectors-not to mention there's a lot of wiring on these donor harnesses that you won't use (such as power windows, power locks, and airbag). The newer the donor Mustang, the less this is a problem, although there will be more wiring to deal with.
A much cleaner alternative is an aftermarket wiring harness. FFR sells one for those using a carburetor instead of fuel injection on their cars. Since we are not using any donor parts, we had FFR send us its carb-wiring kit along with our project. Between the FFR harness and the EFI harness that came with our Mass-Flo EFI system, 100 percent of the car's wiring is new, with the proper wiring size and connectors ready to go out of the box.
The wiring aspect of the project requires a few specialty tools. You'll want to have a good soldering iron/gun and crimping/cutting pliers to make solid connections. If you intend to use any specialty wiring connectors, then you'll need the proper crimper for those terminals as well. We plan to use MSD Weathertight connectors for any exterior connections (lights, fuel pump, and so on) and MSD Deutsch connectors to make the dash panel removable for future service/repairs. Both of these wiring terminals take their own style of crimper, but MSD offers a crimping tool with replaceable jaws that will work with all sorts of special connectors. A butane hand torch is convenient for heating and sealing shrink-wrap sleeving, and a simple DVOM (digital volt-ohm meter) is a must-have for verifying circuits as you plan and route your wiring.
With our wiring almost complete, we'll be moving on to the body soon, though we still have a few loose ends to tie up from earlier parts of the build.