Hot rod wiring harness diagram

Hot rod wiring harness diagram DEFAULT

Hot Rod Wiring

| How-To - Interior and Electrical

Period Cloth-Covered Wiring Kit For Vintage Hot Rods

There was a time when a hot rodder copied a basic wiring diagram out of a motor's manual and bought the switches, relays, and connectors at the local auto parts store. The wire was what was available that day on the revolving rack of small wire rolls. Most budget-conscious guys only bought a few colors, which often made tracing a problem tougher later on. You didn't know if this one yellow wire was for the wiper or the starter solenoid.

Kits and components aimed at such rodders building their own cars have been around for three or four decades. Considering that the evolution of wiring kits and the competition between many new companies vying for the customers, for the most part we now have many choices for quality kits and components. The instruction materials are decent, and the modern high-temperature, cross-link PVC insulation on today's wires is far superior in strength and heat-resistance to the wire-by-the-roll of the past.

As good as most kits are today, none so far serve the growing but admittedly smaller group of rodders building today's retro rods. The kits try to be applicable to all kinds of cars, so unless you're wiring a "modern" car, you always have to tie off lots of wires that aren't used. Most traditional rods do not have cruise control, power windows, power seats, stereo gear, A/C, backup lights, dome light, electric fan, third brake light, etc.

Traditional builders hide their modern plastic fuse panel, and disguise the too-colorful PVC wiring as best as possible with black tape; the better to maintain that '30s, '40s, or '50s vibe. Now, Sacramento Vintage Ford (Sacramento, CA) has provided just the solution for this group of young and old fans of the "way it used to be."

Outside of the world of original Ford Model A and V-8 restoration, most rodders have been unaware that inside the Sacramento Vintage Ford warehouse is a section called "production." This is where a staff of three men utilizes ancient machines to produce concours-stock, cloth-covered wiring harnesses for early Fords that feature all the correct terminals, brass bullet connectors, and other OEM details. Over the years, those "crossover" guys (lucky stiffs with both a restored Ford or two and a hot rod) would come to the counter at Sacramento Vintage Ford and ask why they couldn't get an old-school wiring harness for their hot rod.

Its name is the Vintage Hot Rod Wiring Kit (PN ), with an introductory price of $ The beauty and practicality of the wires is that they are colored by the threads woven over the wires, so wires can be differentiated not just by garish plastic insulation colors as with other kits, but by a wide range of subtle designations, such as a pale yellow base with light green threads woven in as a tracer. The possible combinations of the basic thread colors and the tracers result in a wiring kit with little confusion. For instance, the horn button wire to the horn relay is a Yellow/2Green (two green tracers that cross) and there is no other wire used in the kit that is the same. With most other wiring kits, there could be half dozen red wires, but every wire in this kit has a different color, and can be told apart from any others without having to print the name of the destination all over the wire.

It should be understood that the wires used in the Sacramento Vintage Ford kit are modern in every way, except for the exterior cloth covering. The strength and heat-resistance qualities match any modern wiring kit. The cloth covering is coated with lacquer, just like the old days, which keeps the threads from fraying and makes the wires stay where you bend 'em better than just the plastic insulation.

The business of keeping your wires tidy in a loom of some kind is just as necessary as in any other kit. Tubular loom material is important to protect and organize your wires. In this kit you'll find no crinkly plastic split-loom, but rather old-school loom just like the early Ford kits, with wound paper coated with tar and then covered with cloth. Sacramento Vintage Ford offers the loom material in seven diameters, from 3/16 inch for one or two wires to 3/4 inch for a big bundle. The entire loom for the hot rod kit is black with two red tracers.

The Vintage hot rod wiring kit divides the whole car into sections, each with the wires, terminals, loom, and a wiring diagram for that section in a bag, such as the "Turn, Tail, and Parking lights." There are two other cool features of this kit we like. There are separate "optional" bags of goodies depending on the variations, such as for use with a one-wire alternator, standard alternator, or a vintage generator with separate regulator.

The other thing is that Sacramento Vintage Ford can help those guys who have already wired their car with a modern wiring kit, by offering 6- and foot lengths of each size of their loom material and by-the-foot of any of their colors of cloth-covered wire. There are 29 different colors in 14 gauge, 11 colors in 12 gauge, and four colors in 10 gauge. Thus, a guy could get a few loom sizes and new wires to replace the modern ones that show in his engine compartment or at headlights, taillights, etc. The wire-by-the-foot ranges from $ per foot to $ (depending on the gauge) with a foot minimum order. Note: when working with the loom tubing, be careful of abrading the covering at the ends, since this cloth is not lacquered. To cut it to the length you want, slide a piece of shrink-tubing over where you want to cut the loom, shrink it, then cut through the middle of the shrink-tube.

By the time you read this, Bryan will be out there amongst you again, drivin' the wheels off a traditional '29, though this time it'll be one that actually fits him (Brookville '29 rpu extra cab).



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Buying a 12 circuit universal wiring harness from Hot Rod Wires® means you&#;re getting the highest quality wiring harness for the vehicle you&#;re working on. This wiring harness is more basic than the 18 or 24 circuit, but our top quality craftsmanship means you can add more circuits down the road if you want. Also, our harnesses are truly universal &#; they will work on any 12 volt application. If you’re building a hotrod, classic, project vehicle, or truck, our harness will work.

Hot Rod Wires® harnesses are made in the USA using only % American copper wire. To get an OEM quality connection, we solder our harnesses, which holds up better than the crimping method our competitors use. All our harnesses include OEM-quality terminals and connectors for the ignition switch, neutral safety switch, headlight switch, dimmer switch, stop light switch, turn signal switch, alternator, seal beams and horn relay.

When you buy our harness you are buying direct from the manufacturer which assures you of better value, better technical support and assurance of selecting the correct harness, switches and accessories for your application. Our technical support is unsurpassed, backed by 50 years electrical experience. We are here 7 days a week including holidays from am to pm CST.

Included Lengths:

  • 20 feet of wire for circuits going to the rear
  • 15 feet of wire for circuits going to the front
  • 8 feet of wire for circuits in the engine compartment

Circuits Included:

  1. Radio
  2. Wipers
  3. Turn Signals
  4. Gauges
  5. Stop Lights
  6. Horn
  7. Hazard Flasher
  8. Tail Lights
  9. Park Lights
  10. Dash Lights
  11. Distributor
  12. Heat and A/C

Contents of the (Included) Terminal and Connector Package:

  • Ten brass GM female terminals for smaller gauge wire: 5 for the headlight switch, 3 for the dimmer switch and 2 for the stop light switch.
  • Ten copper GM female terminals for larger gauge wire: 2 for the headlight switch, 2 for the neutral safety switch, 5 for the ignition switch and 1 for the alternator.
  • Eight large silver GM female terminals: 1 for the headlight switch, 1 for the ignition switch and 6 for the seal beams.
  • Eight GM turn signal switch terminals for GM keyed column.
  • One GM headlight switch connector
  • One GM dimmer switch connector
  • One GM stoplight switch connector
  • Two GM ignition switch connectors for GM keyed column.
  • Two GM turn signal switch connectors for GM keyed column. First and second design provided; you will only use one.
  • One GM alternator connector
  • One GM neutral safety switch connector
  • One 5 inch blue fusible link
  • One GM headlight switch chart

NOTE: &#;GM&#; terminals and connectors are used by many manufacturers, not just GM. Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, and many others all use the same type of connector. They are &#;GM&#; connectors by convention, but &#;universal&#; might be a more apt description.

Buying a quality automotive wiring harness is about asking the right questions. Before you buy any harness, make sure you know the answers to the questions below.

FeaturesHot Rod Wires®Our Competitors
Made In The USA? Most competitors source their harnesses from overseas.
% Soldered Connections? Most wiring harnesses are crimped only. It saves money, but reduces durability.
Heavy-duty 12 Gauge Starter Wire? Many harnesses use lighter gauge wire, which leads to hot start problems.
OEM-Quality Made-in-the-USA Solid Copper Wiring? Many competitors use a blend wire material for the wiring to cut costs.
OEM-Quality Copper and Brass Terminals? Many competitors use off-shore knock-offs made from alumnium or tin.
Includes A Fusible Link? A fusible link protects your entire electrical system, but many harnesses don&#;t include it.
Is The Harness Expandable? Many competitors use the lightest gauge wiring possible for their circuit harnesses. If you want to expand, you need to re-wire the harness.
Compatible With Modern amp Alternator? Many harnesses are only rated to 60 or 75amps, which means they won&#;t accommodate a modern alternator.
Heavy Gauge Copper Wire In Every Circuit? Heavy gauge copper wire is expensive, but it minimizes resistance and ensures proper voltage across your system.
Compatible With Halogen Headlights? Many harnesses use light gauge wiring for the headlights that&#;s insufficient for halogen bulbs.
Built-in Theft Protection? None.
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Circuit Mini-Fuse Universal Hot Rod Wiring Harness Kit

Our universal wiring harness is the perfect solution for vehicles with no reproduction harness options, custom builds, or the budget-minded DIY builder. This compact hot rod wiring harness works with nearly any volt vehicle, engine, and transmission combination (carb or EFI, automatic or manual), including engine swaps. This circuit wiring harness is ideal for basic vehicles with minimal power accessories.

A compact fuse box mounts discreetly out of view, or choose an open installation for easy access. Harness consists of 4 branches that are strategically bundled to simplify installation. The foot-long tail light leads allow easy mounting in most compact and mid-size vehicles.

Plug-and-Play with GM Tilt Columns

Wiring up the steering column controls can be a daunting task, but our harness makes it easy. This harness plugs directly into most GM-style tilt steering columns. It connects to aftermarket tilt columns from ididit, Flaming River or Speedway Motors, as well as factory GM tilt columns from cars, trucks and vans (see our full list of compatible GM columns). If you're sourcing a column from the junkyard, look for one with a flat "ribbon"plug, either /8"or /4"long (with 10 or more wires). Ignition switch plugs to connect "keyed"GM columns are also included in this kit.

Not using a GM tilt column? No problem. This harness easily splices into other steering columns with the included pin-out wiring diagram (it helps to have a wiring schematic for your vehicle here, too). Wires are conveniently bundled and labeled every 6 inches - just take your time and be attentive when splicing it in.

Modern High-Quality Insulated Wire

Patches and splicing are tedious and unreliable. Your car deserves better! Start fresh with modern polyethylene-insulated, stranded bare copper wire. Each harness is constructed from premium quality GXL automotive wiring, with the appropriate wire diameter for each fused circuit (ranging 8 to 16 gauge). Every strand of this wire harness is covered with a high-temperature (°F to +°F) outer coating, color coded, and labeled to aid in a smooth installation for any DIY enthusiast. In other words, you can expect the same quality of automotive wiring used by the big 3 OE manufacturers.

Modular Design with Modern Fuses

An innovative 2-piece fuse block design gives easy service, fuse replacement, and endless mounting solutions. Mount the baseplate and then clip in the fuse block assembly. The clip-in fuse block detaches easily for service and arrives complete with modern ATO/ATC blade fuses and a common 2-prong style flasher. No more fragile, corroded glass fuses! Crimp connectors and terminals are included to get you started right away.

Conveniently Bundled Wires

Our universal circuit harness consists of 4 branches that are conveniently bundled, so you can get started right away. Here's a quick rundown of those branches:

  • Front of vehicle/engine feed wires (EFI engines will need an additional engine-specific harness)
  • Dash panel instrument feed wires (mechanical or electric gauges)
  • Ignition/lighting feed wires
  • Rear of vehicle feed wires

The included 5-page instruction booklet, with color printed pictures, covers each of these pre-bundled circuits in detail.


  • Perfect for restoration projects, custom vehicles or budget-minded DIY builders
  • Universal design for nearly any volt vehicle – great for engine swaps!
  • Plug-and-play with GM tilt steering columns (can be spliced into others)
  • Connects directly to aftermarket tilt columns from Speedway Motors, ididit and Flaming River
  • Works with nearly any engine/transmission combination (carb or EFI, auto or manual)
  • Tail light leads are 12 ft. in length
  • Constructed of GXL insulated, automotive-grade copper wiring
  • High-temp polyethylene insulation makes it viable in engine compartments
  • Includes appropriate wire diameter for each fused circuit (ranging 8 to 16 gauge)
  • Compact "x "x "fuse block mounts discreetly out of view
  • Two-piece fuse block design makes for easy fuse block removal/service
  • Uses modern blade-style ATO/ATC fuses in place of outdated glass fuses
  • 12 individually fused circuits, conveniently bundled into 4 "quick start"bales
  • Each wire strand is color-coded and labeled every 6"for easy identification
  • Complete wiring harness kit weighs less than lbs. installed

Installation Tips

  1. Switches and relays are available individually: 
  2. Kit has two flashers for turn and hazard and they are the 2 prong style
  3. 30 amp fuse for heat/cool
  4. Two 30 amp relays, one each for the horn and electric cooling fan
  5. Horn and electric fan both have 20 amp fuses in dedicated circuits
  6. Main harness is over 12’ in length to satisfy most applications
  7. Headlights are on a 30 amp fused circuit
  8. Installation Tip: The back of the fuse block un-snaps from the fuse block (see above photos). By releasing the back unit from the fuse block, the installer is able to then mount the back unit where required for installation purposes and then re-snap the fuse block assembly back into the base unit.


12 Circuit Wiring Harness Installation Instructions (PDF)

Instructions for Matching with Turn Signal Switch (PDF)

Speedway Motors 12 Circuit Wire Harness Install: Part 1. Bad Hombre Garage Ep 43

Please Note: This diagram was designed for 12 volt systems, but can also be used for 6 volt systems. If used for 6 volt, make all the wires heavier by 2 gauges. For example 14 gauge wire will become 12 gauge, 10 gauge will be 8 gauge, etc.

Wiring Diagram

Source: Mike Bishop&#;s book &#;How To Build A Traditional Ford Hot Rod&#;, page

Wire hot rod lights? The one automotive job we all dread is the wiring. Yet, with help from this how-to book even the neophyte mechanic can install a wiring harness.

Dennis Overholser, longtime technical specialist for Painless Performance Products and avid hot rodder, walks you through nine chapters sure to clear away your fear of electricity.

Topics include:

  • the basics of DC electricity;
  • installation of additional circuits;
  • choosing and installing the best battery,
  • starter and alternator;
  • installation of the gauges;
  • finding and installing a new EFI harness; and
  • wiring a complete scratch-built hot rod.

Photo-intensive, hands-on sequences document and help explain the installation of both an EFI harness on a late model V-8, and the installation of a complete harness kit into a newly built hot rod.

Written in easy-to-understand language, this new book from Wolfgang Publications is a necessary addition to any hot rodder&#;s book shelf. With pages and over color photos, this wiring book is the electrical bible you need for that next electrical project.

Shop Now


Diagram hot harness rod wiring

Why Buy From Hot Rod Wires®?

We have the wiring harness for your Street Rod, Hot Rod, Classic Car, Custom Car, Muscle Car, Truck, Jeep and Kit Car or for any 12 volt application.

Made in the USA!

Compare the Quality Features of Our Wiring Harness to Others:

  • Manufacturer direct Pricing on each wire harness saves you about $
  • Every Hot Rod Wires® wiring harness is % soldered to insure reliability.
  • We use a heavy 8 gauge alternator charge wire to accommodate AMP plus alternators in each wiring harness.
  • Each wiring harness has a heavy 12 gauge wire for the starter circuit. (This means no hot start problems.)
  • All our wiring harnesses have a heavy 12 gauge wire for the ignition circuit that is compatible with any ignition system and any fuel delivery system from a carburetor to fuel injection.
  • The wire in each harness is GM gauge and color coded with GM terminals and connectors. This does not mean its use is limited to GM; it can be used for any 12 volt application.
  • Every wiring harness is made with % cross-linked copper OEM wire not a blend wire.
  • All our wiring harnesses have a battery lamp indicator for charging system monitoring.
  • Each wiring harness has a theft deterrent system.
  • Not only do we provide expert Technical Support during regular business hours, we go one step further, we provide this same service in the evenings and on the weekend when you are working on your project.

Each wiring harness is designed for easy installation and dependability. By buying direct from the manufacturer you keep the cost as low as possible and still get the best quality wiring harness with the best Technical Support.

If you have a 6 volt system and want to change it to a 12 volt system, we can tell you just what you need and provide easy instructions to make the change as painless as possible.

We offer a full line of electrical switches and components for all your automotive wiring needs.

Please come again soon!

Car Wiring 101

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