View Full Version : Striped Wiring

04-23-2005, 09:13 AM
I'm planning on replacing the original wiring in my '53 with modern PVC coated wire. I've got the wiring diagram, and I'd like to keep the colors original. I already have all of the proper gauge solid color wiring, but I can't find the right striped wire. The striped wire is only about 25% of all the wire in the car, so I don't need much. Is there any place that sells striped wiring that might sell me 10-20 foot lengths of specific colors? I've found places that will produce 1000ft per order, places that sell wire harnesses but won't sell me wire (they say they don't have what I need?), and places that told me to just paint my own stripe on the solid color wire. I don't want to buy a complete harness ($$), and I'm willing to paint the sripe if someone has a suggestion on the right type of paint. Any sources?

G. Howes

04-23-2005, 10:31 AM
Well, you could come to my place and root through the two large boxes of miscellaneous rolls of wire.

Or you do like I did, and salvage wire harnesses out scrap cars. There is a guy at one our local swap meets who sells really nice FABRIC-covered wire that he strips out of scrapped transit buses.

Make a list of the colors/patterns you need, grab a few tools, and go to your nearest self-serve auto wrecking yard and strip away. It's not really hard to do. I used to get lots of nice wire out of VW Beetles, but I doubt you'll find many of them in scrapyards now.

If you don't have a self-serve wrecking yard near you, a regular yard might be willing to let you in to strip wire from the cars awaiting crushing. Couldn't hurt to ask.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

04-23-2005, 11:05 AM
There were several years of my life spent, making wiring harnesses for aircraft. And I've wired a few exotic cars along the way too - not to mention huge industrial machines and electrical tools. But I have to ask if your endeavor is gonna save you enough money - materials to include wire, terminals, tape, etc - and hours spent measuring, cutting, splicing, terminating, laying out and taping up your harness, to save you over buying a harness from Studebakers West.;) You could end up being penny-wise and pound foolish here.
As to painting a stripe on wires, that sounds like an exercise in tedium to me. And vinyl is a tough thing to paint with any permanance.[V] Fact is, once installed, most of your paint would probably erode in short order.
You COULD get some self-stick wire numbers from an electrical supply outlet. In wiring industrial machinery, this is what we used to identify wires as we used all red wire for the complicated control circuits. You can get them on rolls to where you can pull off just enough to wrap a number around a wire end and then cut it off with the built-in blade (kinda like a tape dispenser[:I]) Heck, they probably even have colors too[:0]! Since most of your tracer (stripe) colors are either black or white, you could stick a black or white band on either end of a wire to identify it;)

Miscreant at large.

04-23-2005, 11:30 AM
Rhode Island Wiring, http://www.riwire.com/ , sells wire by the foot with spiral or straight stripes. They have things like lamp socket parts, too!
Mike M.

04-23-2005, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the source. Rhode island seems to have what I need. I got all the solid wiring for the car new for about $100 and it looks like the striped wire will run me no more than another $40. a complete dash/engine/headlight combination harness from Rhode Island runs $363, and the body/tailight set is another $154. I don't mind doing this myself, and I have all the original wiring, grommets, clips, and bindings still on the car to use as a guideline. I'm sure it's cheaper to get the harness if you figure labor into the job. My labor is generally free, at least that's what my wife thinks. Thanks again.

G. Howes

04-23-2005, 04:01 PM
Well, I'm not getting a commission on anyone's harnesses. But I like just unplugging the old one and plugging on a new one. Rhode Island is typicaly high on their stuff. Stephen Allen's offers ALL the harnesses you need (I tallied up the one's for a 53 C-K car since you haven't told us WHAT KIND of 53 you're working on.[8D])and it comes to $382 total. That's quite a significant savings over RI. Of course, whether RI's harnesses have the cloth braiding over the harness is an unknown to me. But I personally wouldn't care since I don't do a car to be judged.;)
new53, keep us appraised of your progress on this car. Let's see some "before" pictures and some shots of your harness in the making. We've got lots of inquisitive minds here.
If I might ask, what part of the country/planet do you hail from?[:I]

Miscreant at large.

04-23-2005, 10:37 PM
Here's some photos of the car, it's a commander hardtop. I just got it about a week ago. It's an original, numbers matching, 93K mile driver that spent it's life in CA. It's solid and runs great, but needs refurbishing all over. I'm going to upgrade to modern PVC coated wiring, maybe a 6 volt alternator, but will try to keep the rest as original as possible for a driver/non-show car. I'll be taking this on in small stages until I can afford the big stuff (new paint, new chrome, etc., eventual engine work).
I did the 41 chevy truck in the background of the second picture as a frame up restoration. That one got a complete new harness. The truck was a mess. I don't think one wire was original or correct, and I agree it was much easier to drop in the new harness. We'll see how this approach works out. I'd love to have the money to do a frame up restoration all at once, but this will be a slow process. If nothing else, the wiring is something I can do as trace each circuit, verify everything works as it should, and save for the bigger items.

G. Howes

04-23-2005, 11:18 PM
THA's PURDY! ;) I'm dyin' to get back to work on my 53 Comm. coupe! [:p]

Miscreant at large.

04-24-2005, 04:51 AM
Here's an idea that I have heard but haven't had to try yet... if you need a wire with a tracer, take a sharpie in the color of the tracer and draw it on as you unroll the wire from the spool.

Sounds almost silly enough to work!


55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop

04-24-2005, 10:45 AM
Do they make a white "Sharpie"?[?]

Miscreant at large.

04-25-2005, 03:34 AM
You could start with white wire, and use a red "Sharpie"; to make red with a white stripe.
Mike M.