What Electrical mods should I do

Discussion in 'Workshop Forum' started by wilson340, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. wilson340

    wilson340 Daily Driver

    Annapolis MD
    So I have a stock '88 that the original owner did the Brown Wire mod before I purchased it from him. Everything seems to work well except yes the electric windows seem pretty slow moving and the low beams of the headlights seem rather dim although the high beams are pretty good.

    Was doing a random Ebay search (never know what might pop up) and came across this headlight wiring harness and was wondering what anyone's thoughts were on this? Also I have seen conflicting information about later year cars having factory relays already for the electric windows so wasn't sure if that is something I need to consider or just some misinformation. I know Bob Brown has all the answers for this and believe I had seen where he may have packaged some of this as a kit to make it easy but my search skill seem to be lacking for this board.
  2. budgetzagato

    budgetzagato Administrator Moderator

    Olympia, WA USA
    I would pursue headlight relays next. I use 12g wire in my Spider relay kits and would recommend you ask if the ebay kit uses 12g wire.

    The late model Bertone X1/9's have a single relay for the power windows.
  3. jvandyke

    jvandyke True Classic

    West Michigan
    I have relays on:
    low beam, high beam, starter relay, stereo amp idiot light, power antenna and two on the wipers.
    You really don't need a kit but Bob Brown here makes a great one for the X. I just put the two headlight relays up in the fuse box area and wired them in myself, about $12 (can get a 5 pack or relays off ebay with harness for really cheap).
    I don't have power windows so won't speak to that. Cleaning all connections and ensuring good grounds everywhere will help a lot. I suppose adding your own relays, one each for each window and wiring them directly would help immensely though.
  4. Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

    Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Waitin' On Parts...

    Philadelphia, PA
    Before doing a power window relay project, make sure what originally came with the car is in tip-top condition. That means:

    1. Do a service on your power window switches. Unlike today's cars where switchgear only has to send a very low amperage "suggestion" to some sort of Body Control Module that does all the work, the power window rocker switches in our cars handle full voltage and amperage, so the contacts wear over time and need attention.

    2. The late-style Bosch power window system works well but has a hard time overcoming the friction of the too-heavy-in-the-first-place-and-now-25-30-years-later-all-dried-out OEM grease used by the factory as assembled. IMO it's worth the effort to remove the door cards, remove the window regulator, remove all of the original grease and regrease with a lightweight white lithium grease.
  5. myronx19

    myronx19 True Classic

    Toronto, ON Canada

    Heh - they don't! At least not the one I bought. It has a very thick insulator which makes it appear like it's 12AWG - but it's more like 16 (I'll measure, but a quick look tells me it's at most 16 - I cut and stripped it at a terminal end).

    The relays aren't great either.

    In my relay mods, I use Tyco (or other good brand) with integrated freewheeling diodes across the coil.

    The ebay one is "ok", but it's easy enough to improve at least the main power wire - the rest are for sure 16.

    Also - a good set of headlights - like Cibie or Hella with H4 lamps will be a big improvement.

  6. kmead

    kmead Over half way.

    On a late model car there are fewer items which need upgrading, they made significant improvements from the factory, not least of which is the change to the fuses the car uses which are no longer the "ceramic" ones that always suffer from poor connections.

    The first and best advise is to go around and ensure you have good connections that are clean and corrosion free, both on the feed and ground side. The engine ground strap is a weak point in that people forget about them and the ground points are all 'blooms' that can suffer significant resistance due to corrosion. Dielectric grease or similar is your friend.

    As your first issue is the headlights I would recommend getting some new headlights that are not sealed beam, some Bosch, Cibie, Carrello or other H4 7"replacement is certainly in order to improve matters until you can get to everything else.

    It came OE with a high beam relay (don't know why they didn't do the low beams at the same time) so the only one you need to upgrade would be the low beams. You could do that right in the fuse box area.

    As stated cleaning the PW switches, motor gearbox and the tracks would greatly improve matters. There is also a type of grease from Honda for the tracks that many swear by in cars that have a similar arrangement:
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Honda-Genuine-Shin-Etsu-Grease/dp/B006Z9TZ9M/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top"]Amazon.com: Honda Genuine Shin-Etsu Grease: Automotive[/ame]

    After doing the above would I go and add the relays, which there are several excellent tutorials for.

    The wipers are slow, a plug in upgrade to add two relays inline has been popular and well documented. Again ensuring the mechanical system is working properly would be your first step to be certain binding in the posts isn't the first problem. This is an inline install that you could remove if you wanted later.

    After that it would be reducing the load on the system: LED bulbs everywhere that you can. Bob Brown has been kind enough to document what bulbs to use where, so look for a few of those threads.

    An interesting activity which a few very hardy souls have done is use the rice sized LEDs to change out the lighting in all the switches to replace the rather dim light pipes. This is not hard but does require a fair amount of patience and craft. Jeff VanDyke has been a pioneer on that one.

    Lastly would be an alternator upgrade to get more electricity into the system, there are some good tutorials for a GM replacement that has worked well and allows you to get a replacement nearly anywhere. It would be the last thing I would do as cleaning up, tuning up and upgrading the weak spots in the system will ensure overall reliability, performance and the likely avoidance of future problems.

    Those are the high spots and I hope that helps.

  7. budgetzagato

    budgetzagato Administrator Moderator

    Olympia, WA USA

    Yes but install a relay first, H4 lights second. Even "stock" sealed halogens will be brighter with a low beam relay. And the extra wattage of the H4 bulbs can/will cook a headlight switch without a relay in the system.
    kmead likes this.
  8. kmead

    kmead Over half way.

    Cooking the switch hasn't been my experience with standard h4 bulbs, but is excellent advice given the rarity of that switch.

    I had those two lines transposed and then switched them in my post thinking about his immediate problem, shoulda left it be :)
  9. wilson340

    wilson340 Daily Driver

    Annapolis MD
    thanks everyone,

    I have ordered the above mentioned grease for the windows tracks along with some dielectric grease and will start working on simply cleaning up and inspecting what I have. Then it sound like I should still add the relays for the windows and hope I can find the link on here to tell me exactly what I need for that.

    Then sounds like I should add in the low beam headlight relays which I should be able to do without the referenced kit and then determine if I really need to replace the actual headlamps.

    I knew when I purchased the car that while everything worked it would still manage to keep me busy :eyepop:
  10. budgetzagato

    budgetzagato Administrator Moderator

    Olympia, WA USA
    H4's are 55w minimum, where the sealed halogens are 35w to 45w. The ignitions switch is also vulnerable to overheating due to current draw through it for the headlights.
  11. kmead

    kmead Over half way.

    Here are some of the threads and guides you seek

    First off is the Electrical Wiki, which offers guides to several of the upgrades

    Wiper Relays

    The mating connectors for the Wiper motor courtesy of Zonker:
    The connector housing attached to the motor is one of these two (either one should work):

    TE / AMP part number 1-480282-0, DigiKey part number A112236-ND
    TE / AMP part number 480004-5, DigiKey part number A27932-ND.

    The mating part on the car harness is TE / AMP part number 171432-1, DigiKey part number A106884-ND. This part has pins that snap into holes in the sheet metal. For an insertable relay setup the version without these pins might be better; TE / AMP part number 1-480281-0, DigiKey part number A112235-ND.

    And of course whatever contacts you prefer for these housings.

    Low Beam relay, no cut version courtesy of Zonker:

    On the car, I have a buzzer relay right behind the fuse box that is begging to be put to better use. Here's what i propose:

    85 wire (+) grey/red wire pulled from fuse 5 (E)
    86 wire (-) black pulled from buzzer 30/51 wire (ground wire)
    30/51 wire (+) new - 10ga wire from junction post.
    87 wire (+) new - run to fuse 5 where grey/red wire once was.

    This should save adding additional relays up near the lamps and make it so no existing wires have been cut or harmed, as well as pull the load out of the headlight switch where he saw discolored plastic on the switch connector around the black wire. (He is pulling wires that already exist at the fuse box and repurposing an existing but undesirable feature for the keys in buzzer, looking at and understanding the wiring diagram will be key to doing this mod in particular, this way. The alternative is to put relays out towards the headlight pods and run wires from the battery to the relays)

    Adding more as I find them
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2018

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