Lotus Elan

New Loom or continue fixing piece by piece

PostPost by: nwbaxter66 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:59 pm

I am the new owner of a Federal 70 Plus 2S.
Absolutely delighted with being back in the Plus 2 fold (having sold the previous one when I moved to the US 30 yrs ago). But am deciding whether to bite the bullet and install a new wiring loom (investment of time and $$) rather than dealing with a succession of very irritating wiring problems.
I have all the basic necessities to drive the car - indicators, headlamps, windows, brake lights, temperature gauge, but all seem a little ropey and don't instill me with confidence.
I have rewired a 67 MGB in the past, so this wouldn't be my first attempt at a total re-wire, but that was a bare shell.

One of the advantages would be to install a new/restored dash at the same time, so that would be a positive.

I am leaning towards going with the new loom, it would mean avoiding installing a bunch of new relays for horn, windows, headlamps (or at least make them part of one major job).

I am assuming that I can install without lifting shell off the chassis?

I would seem to have two choices for US based suppliers - Bean or BritishWiring, the latter seems to offer the most flexibility,

Any preferences, suggestions or recommendations on fix or replace or which supplier?

Thanks much
Nick Baxter
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PostPost by: MarkDa » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:12 pm

New engine bay loom - they aren't that expensive compared to unwinding and checking every joint, fixing and then rewrapping. Normally very messy as well.
Straight forward enough job.

Doing the dash is a major undertaking have you evidence that it needs replacing?
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PostPost by: nwbaxter66 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:16 pm

Thanks - re: the dash - on inspection there looks to be a bunch of DPO wiring "fixes" and none of the dash lights are functioning at this time (: so I am thinking that it makes sense and to put in a new dash at the same time - if I wasnt going to to the dash, it might be marginal.
N
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PostPost by: The Veg » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:09 am

Hi Nick,
I'm on the downhill side of refurbishing my dash and while my wiring was good enough to keep, I did do a few things that should greatly improve operation and reliability.

1) Replace all old quick-disconnect/push-on terminals with new, non-tarnishing ones with insulating sleeves.
2) Clean all connection tabs on switches.
3) Open all switches and clean contacts (window switches were especially bad).
4) Replace 'bullet' connectors with multi-pin plugs; I'm using a pair of 15-pin Molex which I am connecting for one-way fit so the two plugs can't be confused (male is on car loom on one plug, female is on car loom on the other plug).

It's a lot of time-consuming work but I think it'll be worth it in regard to preventing future problems. If you get a new loom, some of these things could be easily incorporated into it.

Also, I took the page-size electrical diagrams to a copy-and-print place and had them blow them up to about 2' x 3', which makes them MUCH easier to read, especially the one that only show individual wires where they emerge from a loom.
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PostPost by: crannyr » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:26 am

Get a new loom!!!! Otherwise you are only postponing 40 years of problems from; heat, vibration, oxidation, and assorted gremlins yet to show themselves. If a refinished dash is in the budget go for it. Every time you sit behind the wheel you will pat yourself on the back for the decision and investment. Also consider conversion of instrument lights to LED, cheap and easy with the dash out and you will be able to see instruments at night.

I have purchased at least 4 complete harness from British wiring for several rebuild projects cannot say enough good about their service and quality. good luck with your project.

Rick
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:48 am

I just rewired about half of my early +2. Everything works really well now (except for the tacho, but that's internals) but I'm not happy with it. I think I'll do a complete re-wire next summer so I can make it extra neat and get the wire colours correct. I made a lot of modifications to my circuits, installed 16 fuses and a heap of relays. I think next time I'll got a painless wiring generic fusebox and loom and do it right. The standard loom scares me with it's 2 fuses :shock:
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PostPost by: Europatc » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:47 pm

It has to be a new loom. The difference new wiring makes.
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:05 pm

Nick,

I would go for a new loom. In my case 1968 S4 Elan the wiring was frighteningly bad. My mistake was buying a new dash. Although the dash looks good it did not fit, and took me ages to make fit. I bought a new dash as it was cheaper than having the old one re-veneered. This turned out to be a false economy, as it took me approximately a month to obtain a satisfactory fit with the new dash.

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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:50 pm

Definitely get new looms. My wiring on my 69 S4 was not just tired/dirty but also worn and burnt in places!

For suppliers I would note that the looms all seem to come from Autosparks UK whether you buy them in the UK or US. The UK suppliers, even with shipping, are substantially less expensive for the same items. I ordered mine from Matty as Autosparks direct had a lead time. Matty had them in stock. Be sure to specify what model you want and generator or alternator setup. I would note that if you have a modern alternator (such as Hitachi not Lucas) then you can get the generator loom version as the alternator plug won't work anyway.

You might consider replacing the Lucas bullet connectors with modern Molex/Delphi type plugs as others also suggested. They are much more secure and don't fall out. In hindsight I would have converted my looms all to this type. As it is, I did convert over to a modern RTMR relay/fuse box using Delphi connections. I added relays and fuses throughout - as per advice elsewhere on the forum. Fuses are all co-located in the RTMR as below. The various relays, original (headlights, horn) and newly added(windows, fuel pump, ...), are micro-relays in weatherproof Bussman boxes.

img_8719.jpg and


img_8722.jpg and


img_8724.jpg and



The new wiring is much neater, robust, and safe than the original. This approach is not for the purist but certainly I feel more confident with this more "bullet proof" approach.To me it beats having unfused spaghetti everywhere and odd relays here and there. I still did add a cutoff switch anyway for piece of mind while parked or in the unfortunate event of some kind of fire.


My new dash I got from Prestige Autowood. Very fine work and an exact fit. Not the cheapest but first-rate. Randy Keller can customize it if you wish (additional gauges/switches). I kept mine original - with a cutout for the radio - just as I got it from the factory. But a radio is not installed in the dash but rather is a hidden bluetooth one in the boot(trunk) - controlled by my iPhone - gives me Sirius/XM as well as my music library.

img_8718.jpg and
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:32 am

Do you have some more details on your Bluetooth stereo? I want to do something similar soon.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:59 pm

The hidden Bluetooth radio/stereo in the boot:

http://www.outofsightaudio.com/

I got the Mark I, 2 channel. Used standalone, no other unit.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:45 am

I went with a totally new loom for my Plus 2, and very happy with it. Also went with a dash from Randy Keller, excellent!

I considered the British Wiring / Autosparks looms, but went a different route. My Federal car was the original two fuse setup, so I wanted something more robust. I also wanted to accommodate a Nippon Denso alternator, add some relays, have electric headlamp pods, and locate everything inside the car rather than the engine bay.

I got my loom from Spyder Engineering in the UK. They use a similar loom for their Zetec conversions. It was a sort of British version of a Kit Car loom. Note some circuits had to be added to what I got, e.g. electric window lifts, pod lifts. I also had to add relays for the headlamps, side lights, etc. The loom already includes multiple ground runs for a fibreglass car.

What I really liked is all the wire colours match the British Standard, so trouble shooting is very similar to a stock setup (unlike a Painless setup). The loom was easy to modify to accommodate left hand drive, additional relays & fuses, etc. The wire was modern thin wall; not for the purist but it fits in the dash easier and matching cable is readily available at Vehicle Wiring Products or AES. I was also able to remove pretty much every bullet connector from the car; the kit car loom exclusively used modern block connectors and I bought additional ones as required. The fuse / relay blocks were relocated to the back wall of the glove box, which allows easy removal of the entire dash if required.

If you decide to go with the more stock configuration replacement loom, I would still recommend adding the block connectors to separate the engine, dash, and rear looms easily (like Veg is doing as well). The mass of bullets located against the firewall is a bitch if you ever need to remove the dash, and as the wire colours fade it is really easy to simply connect them incorrectly.

Only electrical fault I can recall after initial sorting was a loose ground on a tail lamp.

.Best of luck with the job. It is an excellent winter project, and can absolutely be done with the body in place. All the wiring runs through the interior of the car or down the sides of the engine bay. I laid the entire loom out in the basement with the new dash in the middle resting on a carpet. This allowed me to take my time assembling and testing everything. Once everything was in the car, I cut and installed the multiwire loom separation connectors at the dash / firewall.

If you are interested in any more detail on the Spyder loom let me know. I haven?t checked lately, but a guy local to me was buying one to rewire his Plus 2 this winter. I should get a good reason to pop over and see what he got.

For sure ask any questions as you go as there are several ?interesting? circuits in the Plus 2! :D

Cheers. HTH

Stu
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