The Kombi Files

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31/01/2005 12:00   Coloured Spaghetti Which Doesn't Taste Nice   [Interior]

One of the dubious joys of any car restoration is the electrical system. It is invariably old, corroded, incomplete, and worst of all has often been modified along the way by well-meaning but seemingly pretty dopey people.

Our other big drama was our continuing lack of a service manual. Hell, why drop the $50 on some book when we can guess how everything is meant to go together!

We were aided by some images (pirated?) from a service manual with wiring diagrams from various van models, from 1959-1975. I believe credit goes to Marty for giving up long hours of his job to find these on the Internet

We decided to remove as much of the wiring loom from the first kombi to swap into our freshly painted shell. The reasoning was that at least our first rust-bucket had started, not only that but it survived the trip from Jamberoo to Canberra with only minor issues. (who needs tail-lights at night anyway? Kudos to Ash for jamming that AA torch behind one of the taillight lenses. It's the thought that counts.) Also our new wreck had had various bits scavenged from it before we bought it, so there were crudely snipped off bits of cable all over the place.

Unlike some of our other ventures, the loom swap was well planned. In the absence of a wiring diagram, we labelled _every_ connector coming out of the fuse box with a bit of masking tape and a letter, so we could put it back in the right spot. As we were only swapping everything forward of the fuse box, there were one or two mismatches, but these could usually be worked out by elimination.

When everything was swapped over (here I gloss over many hours of work. It was as boring as it sounds) we had a bit of a problem. Nothing at all seemed to work. lights, fans, nothing.

After we'd hooked up those big red wires underneath the van on the starter, things started to happen. We had to sand some connections with wet&dry to get good contacts, we had to solder some extensions in place (NB. Even if you are poor like us, for God's sake get a soldering iron with enough power to handle 20A automotive cable. Ours didn't and it sucked. There, I've said it)

After one weekend we had headlights and an oil pressure light. The next we had headlights, a generator (alternator?)light and some groans from the starter. (Ash can take over in describing what happened after that...)

In summary, we got the wiring 95% complete, it took ages and each weekend we had very little physical appearance of progress, but we got it done. Yay for Martin and me.

 
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