Ok, it’s been a bit silent on this side of the pond.
But like a duck, calm on the topside – with busy feet underwater, i have been working on the project every single day. 14 hour shifts at best.
Last time i left you the old 225 had been removed. It has sold in the meantime and is running well in a Dart. Yay!
I got frustrated with a few of the problems i encountered with the front suspension and shifted my attention to the wiring and electrical mess this project is.
Well, at least it looks like most of it will just work.
I removed the ABS module, just to notice that this is the brake pedal switches gateway to the BCM and the brake lights… Some kind of solution has to be found to get around that.
At least the engine still wants to start without the ABS, i don’t yet know if it will enter limp-mode but i will deal with that when i get this far.
Step one was getting to know how much excess wire there is and where it is. Easier said: Layout the harness in the cab and cut it down until it fits.
For this task i made a “sketch” of the cabs floor and firewall on the shop floor, using tape and a sharpie.
Obviously there is lots of extra wire length calculated in this setup.
Without the cage i don’t know exactly where stuff will end up and this way i can still move the inside fuse box around for example.
Doing it this way made things SO much easier to begin with. Then came the work on the major details. Like situating the BCM. Easier done than said.
I put it on a homegrown bracket, made from aluminum flat stock and with some rivets attached it to the heater box.
Can’t be seen from the seated position, all connectors easily at reach and it’s mounted pretty solid.
With that module positioned, i was able to route the power cables and the signal wires. Intentionally i split the original loom into signal and power and routed these far from eachother on the floor. On the one hand, this allows for smaller wire bundles and on the other, if something fries the power wires, it does not fry the signal wires as well. At least that was the original thought.
At this point, i wanted to know where the start button could be located. Easy.
I made a template, traced that out on the dashboard and a reinforcement plate, riveted that reinforcement plate into the dash and made a nice large hole in the plastic cover.
And then came the greatest success and easiest mod to the truck so far, as of mounting electrical stuff to it:
I drilled ONE hole and the accelerator pedal bolted just up. The other hole was in a perfect spot already. It felt a little light for my big and heavy feet, which is why i added an old throttle return spring to it. Now it feels nice and stiff.
So easy, i still giggle about it.
Once i had developed the layout of the cab harness far enough to make the first pass-throughs i took a deep breath and shot two large holes into the cab (second one not pictured here). This is the branch of the PDC that sits in the engine bay, feeding power to the BCM. And some more sensor wires, wiper control, etc.
The Challengers harness came with a lot of nice plastic pieces to route wires around corners. I am re-using everything i can. This is the bottom of the heater box for example.
Behind the glove box (it still fits, no problem). The heater box received more holes, so i can mount connectors to it. The RF-hub (communication with the key fobs) sits here as well.
A lot of this excess wiring has already been cut, soldered and wrapped for good. The outside connections for lighting, fuel pump, etc. have been made with AMP SuperSeal connectors. I had an assortment of these and used it for good.
You can see that stuff was dangling around on the passenger side of the engine compartment. A situation that called for immediate action and organization.
Flat stock aluminum, bending measures, rivets and rubber grommets are the only ingredients of this goodness:
Wonder what these heater hoses are on the heater box? Re-purposed Challenger stuff.
During all of this, i made repeated tests to see wether everything still starts up.
Don’t ask where the housing of the dash is, you won’t get an answer.
By the magic of resistors and reading the FSM, the old light switch now controls the new lighting functions. But i am still thinking about putting a new light switch in the vehicle. Not decided for good yet.
We are reaching the end and the most destructive phase of this blog post.
How do i get a modern turn signal stalk with high beam and wiper control on this steering column.
You’d say that’s easy, just buy a column from an early 90s truck. Unfortunately these columns are SO damn ugly and also scarce (because i need a manual transmission column!).
Which is why i gave in to one of my “it might fit”-moments and ruined three column housings as prototypes in the task of integrating the Challengers turn signal stalk into a Dodge truck steering column. Hacking at its best.
That’s the second proto. The stalk is still too far away from the steering wheel and got moved closer by 1/2″ and further outboard by 1/2″ on the third proto.
The third is actually looking pretty good. I am doing final stuff on this third proto, like installing the turn signal return cam, etc.
Destructive testing with a positive outcome, i hope.
In the next installment i will tear into the front suspension parts of the frame, get starting and find a fix for the tail lights (because these extra complicated by design) and i may hang the engine in the frame for the first time.