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Thanks, Gordo.

Yeah I'll have to get up under there again. Dammit. The relays are not in the easiest spot to access (of course).

The harness did not originally include the relay circuits, I think. It's heavy wire from power to switch (the switch has a fuse) and back out to the lights. So I guess when I put it together I failed to appreciate that I'd linked the relays into a circuit with no fuse—or did I? If so, shouldn't be too much trouble to re-do with the fuse and switch on the other side of that equation, or link it to a fuse in the box, which is inches away.

Still shouldn't matter though if there's no short. So first thing'll be to suss out why it shorted. I have a suspect in mind...

On the other hand..."duty cycle?"

I wonder if it's possible I just grabbed the wrong relays, since these were in a box of electrical junk I amassed over the years, and probably from the Merklin Collection. I honestly never heard there were 30-amp relays with different duty cycles.

Last edited by edsnova

Turns out the relay is good. It was the relay plug that failed. Or, anyway, one spade connection.

Here's the relay as I pulled it out. 40 amps ought to be plenty.

IMG_6404

You can see the 30 pin got hot.IMG_6408

I went ahead and popped it apart since I'd never looked inside one before. IMG_6411

I mean, what's not to like?
I already knew I had the same condition as when I swapped that relay in a couple months ago. No lows, only highs. So, like last time, I switched the low beam relay to the high circuit. This time it worked!

Took a closer look at the plug housing.IMG_6417

Well now. Hmmm.

My best guess for now: when I put the "new" relay in, it pushed the spade on that jumper wire out of the socket. Not all the way, just enough so contact became tenuous. And then it commenced to arcing.

No sound, no smell. Just heat. No problem for a 15 minute test run, at least at first. ...

I pushed the rest of the wires out, then cut the melty one and soldered on a new spade end. IMG_6421

Tomorrow I'll hook up both relays without the plug casing and test to see if there's any heat still. Then I'll check the connections at the lights themselves, and trace to make sure I did indeed fuse this circuit correctly (which I think probably not, given the situation). If not it shouldn't be impossible to rearrange it so the circuits are properly fused via the panel, and if that's too hard I'll just do inline ones. Maybe I can get fuses built into the new relay plug. 

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I used a couple of those fused relay sockets.  Mine use an automotive tab-style fuse on one side Of the relay and you can physically clip multiple relays together.   Got em from NAPA back when I installed the external cooler/fan and my O2 sensor, but Amazon has lots of them.

Still, I think you found the problem and have already addressed the solution so I doubt that you’ll need that.   
But’cha nevah know......

Ed, make sure that the little tab sticking out on the fast-on tab is clicking into the connector housing to prevent it from being pushed out by the insertion of the relay.  That ‘s a problem that’s bitten me more than a few times.  Looks like your connector housing is distorted from the heat so the lock-in tab might not be catching.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

All fixed, btw.

IMG_6443

And yeah the tab on the spade connector (blue/14 gauge/#30) didn't engage which is why this whole mess happened. I spent like half an hour picking at the spades this time (one was a real bitch) to make sure those tabs were sticking out. Got them all locked in and realized there was no way to bolt the new relays on my nifty little homemade "relay bar" (shown above). The new holders had little nibs but the studs on my holder were too long to use. They would interfere with the relay bodies. 

The relays themselves had slots in back for metal clips (like the one between those two and the seat heater fuses), but I couldn't find my bag-o'-metal-clips-for-relays I bought like a year ago...

Finally found it and—joy!—discovered these newfangled fused relays used some newfangled kind of metal-clips-for-relays, which I did not possess. 

So, rather than just stuffing the mess up under the fender and maybe zip-tying it to a loom cover, and rather than buying yet another bag of metal-clips-for-relays, I drilled holes in two of my existing metal-clips-for-relays and then riveted those to the relay carriers and then affixed the carriers to the "relay bar," neat-like.

Some day this build is gonna end...

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Last edited by edsnova

Well done, Ed!

Hey, when you get done with all that, I have a home theater system that has this basket of snakes behind it pretending to be an orderly set of cables (my usual OCD'ed-ness was overcome by an acute lack of patience).

Nice guest room down the hall, backyard pool, although my kitchen gizmo tells me it's only 66F in there right now so maybe that's not for you, but Kathy is a fantastic chef, we have plenty of wine and Insta-Cart is a few clicks away....   C'Mon up!   When you're done we can head to the Palmer, MA track and watch my neighbor race his motorcycle.  Sit on the hill with Portuguese wine and cheese, discreetly socially distanced across the ground cover.

Jus' sayin......    

BTW: The "high roller" connector terminals have dual tabs on them to insure that they don't push out the back (along with keeping the tab straight as the connection is made).   I have a very small Xelite screw driver (3/32" wide blade) that just fits in the locking tab release slot.  For the dual tab versions there was a special pickle fork tool to release them.  Those were usually for Mil spec or NASA spec stuff.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Wiring is a big Bug-a-Boo for a lot of people.  Do you try to make it organized and neat from the start (preferred, but it slows down getting started) or do you try to neaten it up after running leads to things?  (and then find out that your lengths, routing and/or turn radii suck).   And what do you do later on when you inevitably add or change things - Neatly include it in the harness or tie-wrap it alongside, just to "get r dun"?  Besides - Nobody's gonna see it, right?

And then there's that bit about; "Just wire it up.  You don't need a wiring diagram.  You'll remember where everything went." and we all know how THAT goes later on.  And that includes noting the wire color - They offer different colored wires for a reason!   Just ask @Alan Merklin (and others) how much fun it is figuring out wiring that someone else did when they only used red colored wires for the entire car!

In the industry, three people design harnesses: The product designer doesn't give a hoot about wire colors - All he/she cares about is signals, power and grounds from assembly A to B.  He/she will never have to troubleshoot or fix it.  
The manufacturing or field technician is the one who cares about colors because they need to find a fault fast.  They intuitively want to know that grounds are always green (brown if you're German), power is always red (sometimes black, if you're English) and can trace a signal by wire color (usually by different stripes).  The cable/harness designer is caught in the middle and is usually the one who chooses length, gauge, bends, anchor points and wire colors with input from the techs.  While there are industry standards for all this, it seems like every company uses a lot of leeway once you get away from basic power and grounds and as long as they're consistent over time, that's OK.

Sorry - This got a little long.  I used to live this stuff but even that doesn't guarantee that I always do a good job wiring things.  Sometimes OK is good enough.  

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

There was sale somewhere on that red wire used by Shade Tree Sam on two different Speedster projects .. I've seen lamp ( zip) cord, bell wire, Romex, 7 wire trailer cord too. In my rolling tool chest resides a dedicated large pair of scissors for the singular purpose of  eliminating wiring nests, once the deed is done it's easier to start from scratch then to figure out someone's wiring thought process.   For me wiring is the best part of assembling a car. On speedsters I use Greg's Vintage Motorcars harness because I know where every color wire goes by heart.  Going to Tom's Bucannon's  garage early next week to hunt some wiring gremlins he has.  

In my rolling tool chest resides a dedicated large pair of scissors for the singular purpose of  eliminating wiring nests, once the deed is done it's easier to start from scratch then to figure out someone's wiring thought process. 

I like the way you think, Alan. One of these days when I get a round tuit, I'm going to post a few photos of the MG TD replica project I picked up this summer. The previous two owners stalled on the wiring. I started by testing what worked, but didn't get far before smoke rolled out from under the dash. I cut the whole mess out, then used this street rod harness from Amazon, with modifications for rear engine and Volkswagen-specific items like the location of the brake lamp switches and particulars of the turn signal and hazard lamp circuits, plus grounds for every light and device mounted to fiberglass. 

Eric

My Spyder is a mess. The PO had wired one high beam to the other low beam. Only one of my turn signal tach indicators flashes, they both illuminate when I turn on my lights. I'm probably lucky it hasn't burned to the ground yet. 

I've often thought I should just buy a new harness from Carey, pull it all out and start from scratch. The immensity of the job is the only thing keeping me from doing it. 

I had a clean start since the car had been sitting outside for 14 years. The PO had purchased a new harness from Henry, but being the first VW I had ever touched, there was lots of head scratching. Plus, my need for lots more relays, fuses, AC, ignition switched driving lights, fuel pump safety logic, oil pressure gauge, Speeduino, fuel injection and electronic ignition...

I wish I could say it's squeaky clean, but the best I can say is that it's well documented (I am too aware of my failing memory). Not my favorite part, but it beats fiberglassing by a country mile.

I had a clean start since the car had been sitting outside for 14 years. The PO had purchased a new harness from Henry, but being the first VW I had ever touched, there was lots of head scratching. Plus, my need for lots more relays, fuses, AC, ignition switched driving lights, fuel pump safety logic, oil pressure gauge, Speeduino, fuel injection and electronic ignition...

I wish I could say it's squeaky clean, but the best I can say is that it's well documented (I am too aware of my failing memory). Not my favorite part, but it beats fiberglassing by a country mile.

The best thing that ever happened to me, wiring wise, was having to work on amplifier racks like Gordon's second picture. I talked the company into buying a Brady label maker. At the end of the job, nobody wanted it. So I kept it. 

It makes fantastic labels that you can write stuff like "Headlight Fuse to Ignition switch" make two, (one for each end) and the label has a clear nylon tail that covers the label. 

If I ever do a new harness, it will be labeled to within an inch if it's life. 

 

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When I built Pearl, 25 years ago, I made a "hybrid" harness:  I pulled the entire harness(es) from the '69 VW donor, then pulled it apart and added to it for my needs and then installed it in the speedster.  The thought behind this was that all of the colors in the VW wiring diagram in my Bentley service manual would automatically match and all I had to do was add a few more wires and colors and Voila!  I'm done.

That was the thought process, but it probably doubled or tripled the time needed to get everything done, not to mention that nothing from the VW harness was the right length or ended up precisely in the right place so there was a lot of cutting and fiddling - Everything to the front was made from scratch because I added relays and a fuse box under the hood, not under the dash.  Now I have a gas heater in the nose and the harness for that was from scratch and grafted into the existing harness - a real PITA, but it got done and now I'm about to change a lot of the heater harness for the new fuel control module I'll be installing - The old module was in the nose, while the new module is behind the dash so the old harness is junk.

If I were to re-wire her I would assuredly get a new Speedster harness from whichever builder makes the most sense, lay it out on the floor, add the few things I need not already included, make them slightly long and un-terminated, write down the colors and gauge of everything added and slap that puppy in there and be done with it.  Then I could cut and terminate everything new in place.

IF I were to do it again.  Which, at my age, is unlikely unless a grandson wants to learn how to do that.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Ditto that! As a cheap, "nail straightening Yankee", I foolishly thought I would use the CMC harness. All new, but a complete rats nest and I'm not sure the gauge was right in a most places. I should note that I'm fussy about things like wiring. Neat, shrink wrap, rub protection, etc.

I FINALLY smartened up and called Will at Vintage Speedsters. Cheaper that a few other bids and CAKE to install. I can't tell you what a thrill it was to see the car light up after all this time.

Call Will. You won't be sorry.

This is how we did cabling at Data General Computers in the 1980's.  Once the prototypes were debugged, the cable designer copied the proto harness and drew a harness layout on paper, then all of the terminations and colors were noted along with bend radii and attach points and such.  Then multiple copies were made of the print and laminated for use in the cabling shop.  This could also be easily translated, if necessary (we built cables in Thailand and Manila, for instance).   

Cabling Board

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As far as labeling, that's one of the things I love about the street rod harness I purchased from Amazon. Every wire is labeled with its purpose every couple of feet. The only downfall is some of the leads come up short when converting from front to rear engine, brake lamp switch up front, etc. I spliced in extensions as necessary and kept a spreadsheet of them so at one point, when I find time, i can build a proper wiring diagram in Visio. 

@IaM-Ray posted:

My issue with the thermal label makers is that they eventually will fade especially when heat is applied near them and then they turn black and you need to relabel.  Do those brady labels survive that?

Brady labels are tough as nails. As far as I know, the print is ink, not thermal. The major telecom company I used to work for standardized on Brady for labeling everything in the central offices, equipment, cabling, and fiber optic jumpers. Brady isn't cheap, but their stuff is good. 

@IaM-Ray posted:

My issue with the thermal label makers is that they eventually will fade especially when heat is applied near them and then they turn black and you need to relabel.  Do those brady labels survive that?

Yeah, Ray. They're not strictly thermal, they have a roll of labels and a roll of carbon paper-like vinyl. I think a laser burn the carbon onto the label. 

I have everything in my engine compartment labeled, including my spark plug wires, and they're as fresh as the day I put them on. 

They aren't so immune to solvents, though. I've tried to label my Wurth Brake-Kleen and Kerosene QuickShots and if anything gets on the lettering, it dissolves it. 

(But the printing on the wire labels is protected. The sprayer labels aren't. I just realized I should cover the labels with some clear packing tape and they'd be indestructible)

 

Heres a shot that shows my spark plug labels. Took last year during my shroud mods. They were one year old at that point. (They still look the same one year hence). 

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Last edited by dlearl476

As far as labeling, that's one of the things I love about the street rod harness I purchased from Amazon. Every wire is labeled with its purpose every couple of feet. The only downfall is some of the leads come up short when converting from front to rear engine, brake lamp switch up front, etc. I spliced in extensions as necessary and kept a spreadsheet of them so at one point, when I find time, i can build a proper wiring diagram in Visio. 

One of the things I love about my Mercedes is that all components have a code, and the wires between components have a color, a stripe, and the component numbers the wires run between are in a trace along the entire length of the wire. 

 

Here's a page from the WIS software. 

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The plug on the transfer case control module is N78. The plug on the low range switch is S97/6. So the wire between the two will be labeled "S97.6-N78/A3" along its entire length. Makes it really easy to, say, make your own trailer light plug from a Crutchfield VW stereo plug because the Mercedes part is NLA. 

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Last edited by dlearl476
@IaM-Ray posted:

@dlearl476 which model do you have of the labeller?

Yeah, Ray. I have an IDXpert 2.0. The one on the left with the software/computer interface. I used to have to label 72 Channel mixing consoles, and all their inputs/outputs, so it was easier to do it on a laptop and hit "send" than "typing" it in the little keyboard. 

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Of course, I haven't needed that capability since, although I've toyed with writing a program for, say, every wire on my Ducati. But once you get them labeled, you only need 1-2 labels at a time. 

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Last edited by dlearl476
@IaM-Ray posted:

https://www.bradyid.com/label-...l-printer-pid-139535

IT says that they use Thermal is this what you have?

It's true it is thermal transfer, but unlike a printer that prints on thermal paper (that turns black in the sun) it uses a carbon paper-like tape that is heat transferred onto vinyl. 

https://www.slideshare.net/mob...bel-printer-brochure 

 

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Last edited by dlearl476

 

Real men don't need labels and documentation.

They're the wiring equivalent of reading the instructions. A real car guy can look at any bundle of wires and instinctively know where to start messing. And you don't repair so much as keep adding new stuff until it's all better.

My VS was delivered new to me obviously wired by some true car guys. The telltale hints were everywhere. Like in the engine compartment where a green wire was led to a cleverly hidden spot behind a bunch of other stuff and then butt-spliced to a purple wire. There was no reason to do that other than to throw off wusses who rely on color codes and labels to figure things out.

I'm a car guy. I just knew the purple wire and the green wire were the same one. Developing a feel for this kind of stuff can take a lifetime.

But it's under the dash where the 'car guy' school of wiring reaches high art. A mysterious, thick bundle of wires emerges from under some carpeting and then immediately disappears up and behind a steel crossbeam, where it's tightly zip-tied in place. Most of the wires from the instruments and panel switches are led into the same blind space.

You can play with lights and mirrors as much as you want, while lying upside down on the floor, clutch pedal jabbing you in the ear, but you will never actually see what is connected to what up there. Color codes? Labels? Seriously?

Wiring and wiring repair on my car is done by feel and intuition. If you can't follow a wire through the maze to its source (about half the time), it's best to cut it off and wire in a new connection. The more wires, the more impressive it all looks when you're done taping it back together.

Labels? Nah.

Car guys just remember what everything does.

 

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

I once visited a computer Data Center in the US Pentagon.  After they check your references and scan you and probe you and poke you and pluck you and badge you and assign a Marine guard to you, you then have to walk down endless corridors and around a few bends and then take an elevator up or down (I honestly can't remember which, after the turns) and then they re-scan you and re-probe you and re-poke you and re-pluck you before allowing you to enter their sacred data space, all the while followed closely by that Marine Captain just waiting to throw your butt out of there if you mess up.

Once inside the Data Center, which I had to walk up a set of 6 or 7 steps to enter, I was led to our equipment which was a string of disk storage arrays, each the size of a kitchen refrigerator, all in a row in the middle of the room and our field install guys were just finishing up the install.  I looked through a hole in the floor where all of the interconnecting cables are lain and was surprised to see a huge mass of cables less than 12" below the floor - like an impervious carpet of cables, totally covering any trace of the real floor, just lying there and way more than needed just for our equipment.  "Wow", I said to one of the Pentagon IT guys, "Is this an older Data Center?  Is your sub-floor only 18" deep?"   

I was surprised because Data Center sub-floors are, by code, usually 24" - 36+" deep and then a support floor is suspended above that to give you space to run your equipment cables neatly under the floor and/or service them in the future.  

One of my DC field guys heard the question and answered it for Mr. Pentagon: 

"Nope, what y'all are lookin' at is a 8 FOOT sub-floor space, an' that's almost totally filled up with old cables" (as he gives Mr. Pentagon a cold look).  "When they reconfigure any-thang they just cut off the connector ends of the cables, leave 'em lyin' there and drag new cables through on top for the new stuff.  Someday, their Devil's payment's gonna come due and they'll have to pay someone to remove all those cables and some guys're gonna sell all-a them cables for the copper value and they gonna make a killin".

So there it is........   Your Gum-mint, hard at work.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

I worked for a major university health system at one point and helped design and install the first internet network there (still remember my arpanet ID). We surveyed a wiring closet used for 3270 terminals and it had a similar appearance to Gordon's data center subfloor. 

I asked how they knew which terminals were attached to which cable and the closet team said it had been that way when they were hired. They said they just started unplugging cables one-by-one and waited to see which nursing unit called the help desk...

Oh, the early days.

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