Up until this past summer, if you wanted to wire your classic pickup the old-fashioned way-with a quality (insulated) cloth-wrapped wire, that is-you literally had to do it the old-fashioned way: individual wire by individual wire, as there weren't any full vehicle harnesses previously available. (You could, however, have an automotive electrician scratch-wire your truck, but it's getting harder and harder to find skilled individuals still willing to perform this.)

Fortunately, someone who could do something about this finally did; thanks to American Autowire, you can equip your pickup with one of their proven Highway 15 harnesses and get that old-timey look only a cloth-wrapped wire can provide. With their new and improved Nostalgia version, every single wire, from the heavy-gauge main power feed to the gauges and even the horn button, features fully insulated cloth covering, just like the good old days. But contrary to how it was back in the day with the uninsulated wire, you won't have any potential meltdown worries (granted you've taken the precautions and got secure grounding and terminal connections as well).

When I learned of American Autowire's latest at the NSRA Nats last August, my mind was more than made up-that's just what I was going to use to wire my '39, no qualms about it.

I'm glad I chose this particular kit as my first attempt at a full vehicle rewire. While it may not have each individual wire screen printed (with source/termination), like any of American Autowire's harness kits, the Nostalgia Highway 15 did come with detailed schematics for each and every section, which are grouped alphabetically to help make things even easier. With 15 circuits (which is more than plenty for this project, but those requiring additional ones should consider the Highway 22), a 175-amp Maxi fuse main circuit breaker, ignition/headlight/dimmer switches, and enough terminal connectors to last till the next project, this kit has it all.

On the user's end, you'll not only need to be familiar with open-barrel F-type crimps, but have the proper tools in which to perform these styles of crimp (yes, that was plural-see the sidebar for more on the Delphi terminals), as well as standard non-insulated/insulated terminal crimps. Furthermore, it's strongly recommended the user be outfitted with the appropriate soldering equipment-if not, call in a favor from a friend who's a proficient solderer (soldering connectors helps promote conductivity). Along with crimping pliers, wire cutters, solder and soldering iron, you'll also need a means in which to shrink heat shrink tubing-an old Bic lighter will do, but a handheld mini-torch or even a heat gun will also do ... better. Finally, since you'll be dealing with yards of wiring, have a way to secure all that wire: a big bag of 4-inch zip ties as well as sufficient frame clamps are a good start.

Crimping Tips & Precautions All terminal crimps are not created equal. That saying can be interpreted a number of ways, but the one that's probably most important here is how crimps are created on the end user's behalf. But even before that should be considered, what's equally as vital is having proper knowledge, as well as the tooling, prior to performing a crimp. Basically, it's not the common insulated/non-insulated terminals that are a major concern (though that doesn't mean the accuracy of said crimps is any less crucial), but certain types of open-barrel connectors-namely the Delphi Packard "F-type"-designed to be crimped not by hand, but by a high-speed production machine. See where this is going? Where there's a will (or make that the proper procedure and correct tool), usually there'll be a way.

Despite what some pocket-protector armor-shielded geek may have told you, it can be done, but without a doubt, have your handy soldering kit at the ready-unless you'd rather stock your garage with boxes of connectors during the learning process?! The following shows the process of manually crimping a Delphi ignition plug terminal-and what you can do to secure it, even if the initial crimp isn't quite as sufficient as you'd like it to be. Also, be aware that American Autowire has a tool rental program specifically for situations like this-keep that in mind, as specialty crimpers aren't cheap.

SOURCE
American Autowire
150 Heller Place
#17W
Bellmawr
NJ  08031
856-933-0801
www.americanautowire.com
Juliano's
100 Windermere Ave
Ellington
CT  06029
800-300-1932
www.julianos.com
Chevs of the 40s
1605 NE 112th Street
Vancouver
WA  98686
877-735-0587
www.chevsofthe40s.com
Speedway Motors
340 Victory Lane
Lincoln
ME  68528
800-979-0122
http://www.speedwaymotors.com
Bowtie Bits
3101 W. Harry
Wichita
KS  67213
888-838-6887
www.bowtiebits.com
XS Power Batteries
7501 Strawberry Plains Pike
Knoxville
TN  37924
888-497-7693
www.4xspower.com
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