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Removing an Avanti 'doghouse'

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  • Removing an Avanti 'doghouse'

    I may have to re-wire my '63 due to an electrical issue that (thankfully) prevented the previous owner from starting the car. It would be totally easier in the long run to remove the skin in front of the firewall to find this problem and if I decide to convert the auto tranny to a manual, it'd be much easier on the back.

    I've done this more than once with steel Studes but not with the Avanti. I'm assuming it's not going to be as easy and maybe I shouldn't do it at all. Anyone done this...and was it tough realigning things to fit? Thanks!

  • #2
    So you want to lift the body off and cut it in half to install a wiring harness? Not for the faint of heart and certainly not necessary. All wires are visible, and although those under the dash may be hard to get to, pulling the front half of the car off wouldn't make it easier.
    Often in error, never in doubt

    ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________


    • #3
      Just had my modern day service garage install a new wiring harness on our 63 R-1 AVANTI. First one they ever done. followed the service manual to remove dash. diagram that accompanied the harness, purchased from David Thiebold, made it a snap.


      • #4
        Nothing about working on an Avanti is easy. For the same reason Chevrolet mechanics usually hate Corvettes.

        But by all means Tom, don't saw off the front half of the car!


        • #5
          Pull the dash and have at it! While you're in there, get some "Fatmat" (same as Dynamat) and coat the firewall with it. That WILL save a LOT of heat coming into the interior! If you need a harness, Studebakers West makes them up. Follow the shop manual and you will not loose any smoke form the wires! <G>

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          • #6
            Okay Guys, I guess that was a dumb idea. :-) Will pull the dash instead. Since I'm the cheapest labor I can find, I'll do my own re-wiring, one at a time. That aught to 'find' my glitch.


            • #7
              First thing to do is remove the front seats and if you are tall, the back seat bottom as well. Then level the floor with pieces of scrap wood and cover with a carpet, so that you can lay on the floor comfortably. You need to get under the dash to find and remove the 4 fasteners that mount the dash to the windshield cross-member. You may not have to remove the dash. Trace all connectors and make sure they are properly attached to their respective dash components. What type of transmission does your car have? If automatic, check the neutral start switch at the bottom of the shifter for proper attachment and continuity. If not automatic, is the jumper in place and functioning. Tell us more about the "no start" symptoms.


              • #8
                Thanks for the advice! I am tall and plan to remove seats...will also use the scrap to level the floor.

                The guy I bought the car from tried to start it, so we could more easily get it on the trailer home, but when he put the battery cables on, we noticed smoke quickly rising from various points in the wiring and got the cables off in a hurry.

                I'm sure that 'softened' a few wires. So will go through everything while it's easier to have apart in the garage.


                • #9
                  If the wires "smoked" you need to replace the engine-dash harness. Wires will be melted and fused and some probably shorted. I replaced the harness on a factory R3 that had similar damage but still operating. A shunt or by-pass wire had been added to complete the ignition circuit. When I removed the harness and unwrapped it, all the wires passing thru the firewall were fused and bare in places. Why that car didn't go up in smoke, I'll never know.
                  To remove the harness, disconnect all the points under the dash and console and door pillars. Fold the 2 main branches of the harness back tightly at the firewall and squeeze forward thru the firewall. It will go thru. You may have to compress the folded harness with padded pliers. It is worth going through this exercise, since the new harness will be installed in the reverse procedure. Once the complete harness is out and disconnected from the engine compartment, lay it out on the floor and begin to unwrap it from the firewall forward. You should quickly see the damage and the problem with repairing it.