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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
'70 nova 2 door

I'm completely new to muscle car restoration. I do some simple part swaps on my every day vehicles when something breaks, but I don't have a lot of know-how. I'm learning as I go.

I thought the nova I purchased had all the wiring done, but that isn't the case. I would like to have a go at this myself, but I have zero experience with automotive electrical. With that being the case should I just suck it up and take it to someone or could I possibly pull it off without screwing up anything important? I've got some youtube videos queued up and it looks relatively dummy proof. My concern isn't so much the placement/connecting wires as it is knowing what gauge to run and which wires to connect to which and what ties it all together (does everything run to the back of the dash?).

The following need to be wired up: brakes, reverse, four side markers, rear speakers (not sure about kick panel speakers) tag light (if that's a thing on this model) and interior light.


Follow up questions:

Did the '70 use the same bulb sockets for both brake light and reverse light? I can't seem to find a dedicated reverse light socket.

I see that you can purchase rear wire harnesses, but those seem surprisingly expensive to be no more than a set of wires. Is a self run wiring job just as good as a harness if done correctly?

Heat shrink or crimp for a better connection? How do you know where to use a male/female connection?

Thanks, any help is appreciated!
 

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Electrical

Hey dude, nice looking car! I have done a lot of wiring on my 65, and still have some problems floating around. I was an electrician for 40 years, and I can tell you automotive wiring is completely different and difficult. You should get a complete wiring guide book for your car to begin with if you're going to tackle it so you can learn to read the schematics. If harnesses are missing, beyond repair, or cut on over the years, install new ones. This is not going to be easy or fun. I can tell by your excellent questions that electrical is somewhat Greek to you. Heat shrink is not a connection, but insulating material. Crimp type terminals are a solderless connection. There's a lot to learn about this process. Keep reading up on it and study it well before you start.
Or if you have a good automotive electrical shop in town, talk to them and maybe take it to them for an estimate. You might spend a lot of money with them, but may save yourself many headaches and enjoy your car much more and have it reliable in years to come. You will spend more than you think even doing it yourself.
Good luck to you with this challenge! It's worth the effort.
 

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1972 Nova
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The rear tails should have 2 bulbs: stop/turn/running and a reverse bulb. ETA: the reverse socket is right behind the white panel on your tail light, so the center socket. The unused portion of the tail (1/3 of it) is just a reflector. There is a plate light, and the wire is connected with the gas tank sending wire (for your gas gauge).

These will help you if you can understand them: https://www.stevesnovasite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91875

A self run wiring job is fine, there are concours cars that need to be or look completely original to be in a show, and a lot of stuff is for them.

I would solder and heat shrink all connections. If you do use connectors, always use the covered female connector on the hot side (that way if it comes apart you don't have a bare live wire).

If you have a lot of stuff that isn't wired, have you looked into a Painless wiring setup or similar? It might make things a little easier on you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey thanks for all that, that's good info.

I don't have the sockets you plug the bulbs into, do you know if both the brake light and reverse light get the same bulb socket? I've got the brake bulb socket in my cart, just don't know if I should buy 2 or 4.

I did look at painless, but you definitely pay for less pain. ?

I'm still debating. I'll probably give it a go if I can figure these things out.
 

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I don't have the sockets you plug the bulbs into, do you know if both the brake light and reverse light get the same bulb socket? I've got the brake bulb socket in my cart, just don't know if I should buy 2 or 4.
They're different. The brake/turn/tail lights use dual filament 1157 bulbs that fit into sockets with 2 contacts in the bottom. The reverse lights use single filament 1156 bulbs that fit into sockets with a single contact in the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, guys. Bob and carcrazy615 (that bundle of wires makes me think my OCD may prevent me from wiring anything) have me leaning toward having someone else do the work. Thanks for the dose of reality. I'll ask around for estimates.

I think I'll continue researching and learning so I'll be prepared for future changes/problems.

Thanks everybody!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Actually, I just found out I can get a painless harness for around $270, not nearly as bad as some I had looked at previously. I think that's the route I'll take. It will be additional work as I'll go ahead and replace what has already been done, but at least I'll know it's all new and a 50 year old wire isn't going to snap on me.

Thanks again for all the help.
 

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I have wired cars using Ron Francis, CenTech and American Auto Wire complete kits. I am not one that understands electricity very well but with a good kit you do not have to. And, once you have installed a kit "things" do seem to make more sense.
I think you are on the right track buy purchasing a kit rather than spending that money, and likely more, on a technician to repair circuits.

Realize however, wiring a completed car is significantly more difficult than wiring a car while under construction.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, Alf. She's very much under construction.

I'm pretty set on that painless kit because of the price, but I am reading that American Autowire is considerably easier since it's car specific. Double the price though.
 

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J, I would be careful that the Painless kit is not generic or universal......that price would indicate that it is.
The more non-specific the kit, the greater your basic knowledge will have to be.

The AAW kit is tailored for your year, make and model and uses factory Packard and Delfi terminals. Their instruction sheets are specific to your model and their tech staff will hold your hand if you get confused.

J, not trying to spend your money......just speaking from my experience.
Alf
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I definitely appreciate the input.

Painless 10101 is the one I'm considering, but AAW may be worth the extra.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Does anyone have input on the best place or time to buy an American Autowire Wire harness?

500878 at classic industries is $559. Current plan is to wait for a 35% discount code. Though now that I think about it, it is probably a discount limited item, it'll get a discount, but probably not the full 35%.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just sucked it up and bought the wire harness. JEGS finally ran a discount code $50 off $500, which essentially took care of the taxes.

That's an insane price for a wiring harness, but I suspect it will be a small price to trade for all the aggravation it will save me my first time wiring.

It will be a few weeks at least before I get started, but I'll update with my experience with the American Autowire harness.
 

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Just sucked it up and bought the wire harness. JEGS finally ran a discount code $50 off $500, which essentially took care of the taxes.

That's an insane price for a wiring harness, but I suspect it will be a small price to trade for all the aggravation it will save me my first time wiring.

It will be a few weeks at least before I get started, but I'll update with my experience with the American Autowire harness.
You made the right choice. When you get the kit in your hands you will realize it's much more than just a 'wiring harness'. AAW puts a lot of extra goodies in their kits and the instructions alone are worth the extra cost.

Mike
 

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Just sucked it up and bought the wire harness. JEGS finally ran a discount code $50 off $500, which essentially took care of the taxes.

That's an insane price for a wiring harness, but I suspect it will be a small price to trade for all the aggravation it will save me my first time wiring.

It will be a few weeks at least before I get started, but I'll update with my experience with the American Autowire harness.
Laughing my head off, man - and not in a condescending way. You sound just like I did not too long ago: Another hundred bucks! Five hundred dollars! A thousand dollars!!! After a while you just get numb. You picked exactly the right word - insane. That's what you have to be to play this game, and that's how much money it takes to play.

For those of us who have it in the blood, it's not a choice, it's an addiction. Welcome to the club.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
You made the right choice. When you get the kit in your hands you will realize it's much more than just a 'wiring harness'. AAW puts a lot of extra goodies in their kits and the instructions alone are worth the extra cost.

Mike

Thanks, Mike. I'm looking forward to digging into it.

I appreciate the dose of reality from everyone above.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Id like to know the part# and how the process went as I will have to do this myself in the next few months!:yes:
500878 for my '70. Forever burned into my memory from deal searching. Verify, but I think that kit covers 69-72 Novas.

Message me if I forget to update this post with how it's going.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Laughing my head off, man - and not in a condescending way. You sound just like I did not too long ago: Another hundred bucks! Five hundred dollars! A thousand dollars!!! After a while you just get numb. You picked exactly the right word - insane. That's what you have to be to play this game, and that's how much money it takes to play.

For those of us who have it in the blood, it's not a choice, it's an addiction. Welcome to the club.
I hear you. Numb is the word.
 
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