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Threading the directional signal harness thru the steering column

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  • Electrical: Threading the directional signal harness thru the steering column

    I'm in the middle of replacing all of the wiring in my '53 Commander Starliner. I was under the dash this afternoon getting ready to connect the new main harness to the appropriate places. When I located the connector for the directional signals, I noticed that ALL of the wires going into the steering column were bare. I know I have to remove the directional switch to pull the harness up thru the column, but since the wires are all bare, it's impossible to know which goes in which plug in the connector when I install the new steering column harness. Any ideas? Also, what if any tricks are there to facilitate threading the new harness down the column? Thanks.
    Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
    '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
    '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
    '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

  • #2
    Well, it's not threading a steering column, but in the past, whenever I've had to replace wiring, I will connect the old wiring to the new wiring (e.g solder the ends, tie them together, or otherwise fasten them) and then pull on the old wire, which acts as a rope pulling the new wire right where you want it. Remove original wire and discard. (Of course, this would involve terminating your cables after the harness is pulled.)
    '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

    "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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    • #3
      There's a square tube through which the wires run. Just bundle them up and push them as a whole down the tube. They'll drop out the bottom of the column slick as slime. If they seem to be encountering resistance, a smidge of powdered graphite will do the trick. Don't use any liquid lube.
      As far as the wires being bare... do you mean that all the outer insulation is gone? If so, the new ones will be color coded and ID'd via the wiring diagram and therefore marry up to the wires in the new harness.
      Now then, if you are wiring the car with a generic harness, like EZ Wiring, then you may want to pull the turn signal switch and make note of which wire goes to each point on the switch. Then its just a matter of tagging each wire with its appointed duty via the shop manual wiring harness and mating each responsibility with that of the generic harness.
      I hope that's clear as mud.
      Last edited by sals54; 10-26-2013, 10:23 PM.
      sals54

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      • #4
        Use talc instead of graphite....it isn't conductive, and cleaner.
        Bez Auto Alchemy
        573-318-8948
        http://bezautoalchemy.com


        "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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        • #5
          When I had to replace mine, I used a speedometer cable, which is infinitely usable in a hundred other wiring problems. Used it to thread new horn cable down the center of the steering rod.
          Bought a new cable, just to use for such purposes. Though the best way is to attach the new wires to the old, and pull them down. But if you don't want to do that, just tape the new wire to the speedometer cable and push it down.
          Laisez le bon temps roulez avec un Studebaker

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          • #6
            Thanks to everyone who responded, especially Bob Johnstone who sent me a PM containing the info from his Technical information site! I am now confident that I will get this done.
            Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
            '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
            '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
            '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

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            • #7
              I guess everyone has their own technique, but I found that doing a Wire at a time worked good for me. The Talc would sure help, it was the "Bullets" on the Dash Harness end that caused the most trouble getting them in.
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                I installed the new directional signal switch with harness today. Thanks to all of the above who responded to my original post, it went very well. I was expecting wires to get caught in the "tube" and I especially expected problems when I got to the 4th, 5th and 6th wire. All went very easily; when I got to the 6th wire, it took a little longer, but really not a problem for any of them. Not including removal of the old switch and harness (and boy were the old wires bad in the column!) the whole job probably took 20 minutes. Studebaker engineers did a great job forming a "trough" at the lower end of the column, so the wires were "guided" out of the tube. I pushed the wires thru one at a time based on advice here on the forum. Thanks again!
                Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
                '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
                '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
                '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

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                • #9
                  Glad you got it figured out. Your experience paralleled mine, one at a time, not too hard.

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