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DIY Bus Harness/upgrades
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Ohio_Style Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:15 am    Post subject: DIY Bus Harness/upgrades Reply with quote

The wiring in my DCab is hacked. I have already spent waaaay too much time sorting it out, and the PO's had it sandblasted, then did some painting, then let it sit outside with no windows, so the sheathing is trashed, the connectors are trashed, the fuse block is trashed, stuff is spliced.....It all needs replaced.

I'm currently more concerned with functionality than originality. I don't plan on ever selling the truck, and want to be able to just drive it, have bright lights, and no hassles.

Stuff I want:

Blade style fuses
H4 headlights
LED other lights
Some sort of 3rd brake light
USB plugs stashed in the back (2 kids...)
Stereo (nothing crazy, just enough to have tunes)
Reverse/rear scene lights

It seems like no one is upgrading the wiring and fuseblocks. I assume it's to preserve the originality. My stuff is already junk, so I figure why not. I can't find much info on folks who have swapped out fuse blocks and such.

I'll be building the harness from scratch. Starting to design the layout and I will be sharing it to be picked apart. Using good copper primary wire, and still looking for a fuse block that will fit in the stock slot. Looking to stash the reverse/scene lights into either stock beetle reverse light housings (leds hidden in them maybe) or some sort of old chrome housing, same with 3rd brake, I want to eventually build a full rack, so incorporate it into it somehow that is inconspicuous.
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Mikee
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would buy a replacment harness and modify off that to save time.
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Ohio_Style Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, unless it's $400, it seems like the aftermarket harnesses are all junk. I have installed several in beetles and hot rods and hate them all.

I am not buying a $400 harness to cut up. No to mention, adding circuits on for the extra stuff (I'm planning a 10 circuit setup instead of the stock Cool will end up with a more hacked setup anyhow.

I actually enjoy wiring, as long as it is from scratch and not undoing a bunch or previous garbage. I am buying a full rack of primary wire in various gauges and colors (have more than just this I plan to work on) and will be soldering, heatshrinking and greasing every connection.
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Mikee
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

then enjoy, lol

the bus harnesses I have bought are all good quality.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohio_Style wrote:
Eh, unless it's $400, it seems like the aftermarket harnesses are all junk. I have installed several in beetles and hot rods and hate them all.


Bug's and hotrods are way different than a Bus. 99% of Split Bus harnesses for sale are made by 1 company, Wiringworks. Or call Kyle in Elyria and see if he could do a custom harness for you.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can build one just fine. I'm mostly curious why no one is doing anything other than stock when it comes to fuse blocks and such
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I split the hot for an additional fuse panel. I used thin aluminum plate & screwed it to the horizontal member that the regular fuse block is on. Radio Shack for the fuse block. I screwed hi / lo headlight relays attached to the same piece of aluminum.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohio_Style wrote:
I can build one just fine. I'm mostly curious why no one is doing anything other than stock when it comes to fuse blocks and such


Because there is no real need for such, and for the few requested looms it would be a royal pain to get just right for each customer.

Lots easier and less time to just repro the stock wiring harness and add alongside a 21' long cable with six 16 gauge individually insulated wires in it.

Stock fuse box works just fine as long as you solder up the internal connections, and every ten or so years clean up the connections and apply dielectric grease to keep corrosion away. Solder up the riveted connections in the headlight switch also.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I meant as far as people doing it to their own busses, not an off the shelf kit. I understand that there is not enough demand for any harness other than stock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohio_Style wrote:
I meant as far as people doing it to their own busses, not an off the shelf kit. I understand that there is not enough demand for any harness other than stock


Well then the 21' of cable gives one all the gauges we need and can run center brake light or euro lenses if the VW did not come with such.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Mikee on this one. Why on earth would you reinvent such a tedious wheel? I put a high value on my time. You don't mention what year you have, but with my '65, I have a one-year only harness. Reinventing it just to add some do-dads would be silly, so one accessory, 3-conductor line is all I need to add.

Fuse blocks require reterminating wires in very tight confines on a bus. It doesn't surprise me you are not finding a drop in blade replacement. To convert and have all the extras will likely result in you hacking your factory bracketry and altering your kick panel opening to match.

Save your old harness- it has 100' of color coded wire for future handy uses.

Supply pictures as you go.
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Alexmobil
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello. Im about to start the rebuild of the electrical system of my DC. By the moment there are zero electical wires.

I will use the original fuse block just for simplicity. IMHO will be easier to use the original wiring design to rebuild every electical system

Reverse lights: B+ from tail lights and a switch in the cabin

3rd brake light: B+ from stop lights

Tachometer: B+ from switch and an extra wire from the coil

A relay for the starter ( I dont know how )

The usb conectors sounds good, maybe somebody has a drawing.

Regards.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I have visited the factory for either VW/Audi or Mercedes-Benz this was simply done on a wall. They drew the shape of the car 1:1 on the wall, they had nails to guide the shape in chalk and wooden blocks to wrap around for depth/height. They then had the real electrical items, real switches, motors, headlights, rubber grommets going through the firewall/chassis screwed to the plywood wall.
I was expecting some state of the art 3D printed CAD shit, but they explained they can do it quicker the old way for these prototypes or odd stuff.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject: Re: DIY Bus Harness/upgrades Reply with quote

Ohio_Style wrote:
Stuff I want:

Blade style fuses
H4 headlights
LED other lights
Some sort of 3rd brake light
USB plugs stashed in the back (2 kids...)
Stereo (nothing crazy, just enough to have tunes)
Reverse/rear scene lights


I have a 66 Kombi/custom camper. I redid the stock wiring but added a second battery and fuse box for running a stereo, USB chargers, cigarette lighters (for accessories/charging) and interior lights (sconces and reading lights). Mine is a camper and my plan was based on wanting to use these while the engine was off and still have juice to restart; however, you may be able to use a similar setup and still keep the basics stock but put your upgrades on a second battery. Added benefit is you could use the USB charges and lights while camping or tailgating without worrying about your starter battery. There is a lot of information on this site about second battery setups and the battery isolators needed.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: DIY Bus Harness/upgrades Reply with quote

I have added reverse light to a few buses. I use the stock 67 nose cone and wire it up like VW did. You can buy a new nose cone to take the reverse light switch. Of course this requires the tranny out, but I had the tranny out on these buses for tranny reasons, and swapped the nose cone then. There are threads on adding this

I have not seen a 3rd brake light like that I liked the way it was wired, for my own bus, but there is a thread on it. I did add taillights to the bumper of my kombi (for safety and for style), and made tidy little wiring harnesses to jump them off the regular taillights.

I have added a separate sheath of accessory wires to a different bus. It was used to add euro lights to US spec wiring, oil temp + oil pressure gauges, and at one point a tach.

etc

Basically, I too would just get a new wiring harness if the old one is hacked to badly, and add to accessorize.

The wiring in my old 54 truck was mostly home done. A few original wires were left, not many. It all worked, with wiring in place for winch, oil temp gauge, radio, and some other accessories. I left it, but found the non Bosch color coding less that ideal. I can read Bosch color coding so it makes just makes sense not to try to invent a new alphabet.

Generally for not Bosch color coded wiring I remove it and toss it out the window.
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Alexmobil
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The color coded wire is usefull to troubleshooting.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohio_Style wrote:
I meant as far as people doing it to their own busses, not an off the shelf kit. I understand that there is not enough demand for any harness other than stock


most people nowadays are trying to keep their buses somewhat original, because of the value. Most people "are not good at wiring" even though these cars are very basic. On top of that, if not using stock colored wires, it can be very hard to determine a problem down the road. Sure, if you are good at electrical, you build a wiring diagram while you are wiring... lots of people just refuse to even try

One more thing I will say - A lot of people (I know some personally) have ripped out their whole harness to create their own - and never actually do it. they become overwhelmed and give up on their project car and let it sit. I personally know of an 80's HOT VW's cover car that my friend ripped out all the wiring, "can't go stock" because it has a few extra gauges and switches, and it has now been sitting for over 20 years. it ran and drove and the gauges worked when he drove it home from getting it re-painted, it's never been seen again...
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can add a fused distribution box powered by a separate lead directly from the battery. Place this box behind the front kick panel. You can mount it using rare earth magnets, the kind that have a provision for screws. Add relays to headlights. Power relays and any additional accessories from distribution box. You can do all this without hacking the factory harness. When you're done you can unplug and remove it all without leaving a trace.
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