January-May 2005 – Trunk floor, wiring harness (redesigned)

New trunk (“boot”) floor

The old trunk floor was totally exhausted, with the laminate of the plywood virtually falling apart in thin wooden sheets. The pieces were good enough to stack together like so many playing cards and trace onto a new sheet of plywood. I used 15/32 thickness plywood that was left over from roofing repair on an outbuilding. The original was probably one-half inch plywood, and I will eventually get around to counting the laminate sheets. The only piece of hardware I have reused is the prong that fits forward of the finger hole “handle” for the right side sheet. The snaps are readily available. The original plywood was painted in one coat with what must have been a flat black, or perhaps a black that was thinned enough to soak in and dull. I used Rustoleum flat black that I had left over from another project. The piece matched perfectly and fit very well.

Custom wiring harness

At least in some measure, the data plate was a dalliance — something fit between more mechanical work that could be accomplished either when winter cold was tolerable or spring warmth chased cold away. During those better moments in the garage, we focused on the rear end of the car. As it now sits, the car is pretty much ready for final upholstery, polish, and chrome from the rear bulkhead back. That includes the wiring from behind the rear bulkhead, in spite of the fact that the wiring harness is completely absent forward from that point.

The harness bothered me when we removed it (intact, believe it or not), because it seemed an unwieldy beast. Since wires can extend from the fuse boxes to the rear lights, I imagined the difficulties of troubleshooting and reinstalling a new harness modelled after the old one. In order to get rid of part of the awkwardness of managing the loomed wire, I decided to modularize the harness. The first one is designed to fit the rear section of the car, and it delivers power to the rear lights, the fuel level sender and the fuel pump. The connections forward of the rear harness are through two connection blocks, one an eight connection block and the other a four connection block modified to handle three connections. Both of the blocks have been modified to reflect the actual circuitry. The large block covers the lighting, and the small one is devoted to fuel sensing and pumping. The ground for everything is to the body, either by wire connection or by direct contact. I have all wiring coming to the rear through the harness hole on the left side of the car. I believe this is not standard, since I believe wiring was routed on both sides of the car to the rear.

Aside from the modularizing and perhaps some routing, the harness follows the original. Wires are color coded to the original specification, and they are wrapped in tape. I did depart from the original somewhat by not inserting the little “LUCAS” labels inside the harness, and I used heat shrink tube to seal the ends of the tape in order to discourage unwinding and give the piece a bit of a finished feel. Figuring out where the harness splits off is really just a matter of cutting the wires, laying them out to figure out where they go, and temporarily clamping or taping the general shape.

I’m using “bullet” connectors on the ends for the lighting, but spade connectors are used at the custom blocks. They’re just easier to manage. After crimping, those connectors also get the heat shrink tube treatment.

A very good source for wire is Rhode Island Wiring Service (http://www.riwire.com). They also carry connectors. They will put together a wiring harness for you, and they apparently have done E-type harnesses before. I’ll probably salvage wire from the original harness, too.

I have looked over the original fuse blocks, and I am increasingly tending toward replacing the old blocks with some newer fuse block setup, using the newer plug-in type fuses.