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Tip of the MonthRunning down electrical problems on your classic ride can be frustrating, especially with an aging stock wire loom. Replacing the wire loom with a quality product is always an option, but before you tackle that unpleasant job consider what problems you really have.
Most electrical issues are either bad ground or poor connection related. Splicing in new wire ends is also an option, and can go a long ways towards curing a faulty connection. Even replacing an entire wire loom can still leave you with the same problem, especially if the component like a light switch is at fault. Don’t get me wrong, a new wire loom properly installed can go a long way to solving those gremlins, and usually has the benefit of extra circuits included, allowing for some upgrades like sound systems, air conditioning, or high-intensity lighting. After all, there is an industry built around supplying stock or custom looms, and most manufacturers do a superb job with their products and customer support. But if you are only adding a few accessories with a nominal electrical load, most stock wiring can handle it with no problem.
Case in point is our early Chevelle, which still has the original loom with popular additions like A/C, dual radiator fans, high-intensity headlights, and fuel injection. The original loom has handled the additional load with no problems. We did experience an electrical problem lately, but it wasn’t the original loom’s fault.
On a recent road trip at night, the quad headlights were called on for extra duty. During low beam operation everything operated as designed, but after a few minutes of high beam operation, the headlights began flickering on and off. Not good on a dark country road. All four lamps are 100-watt bulbs (compared to the factory units at about 30 watts). The remainder of the trip was driven on low beam only without incident. Of course, the original loom was suspected as the culprit, but after further investigation, it turned out to be a faulty headlamp switch. We removed the switch and disassembled it to find the contacts were simply dirty and slightly corroded.
Rather than repair the old switch, we ordered a new one from our friends at OPGI Industries. Problem solved! We also purchased the slick instrument removal tools they offer, making the job of removing the retaining nuts a breeze. So, before you condemn the original wire loom, take a few minutes and inspect the components connected to the loom. Also make sure all units are grounded properly. We find a lot of issues are ground related, as stated earlier. OPGI is at www.opgi.com or you can call 800-243-8355 for quality parts and help.
Take A SeatI have a 1969 Chevelle that I have been restoring for several years. I am at the point of putting in the interior. I need a back seat. It had been removed before I bought the car. I cannot find one. Does any other rear seat out there fit my ’69? I live in San Antonio, Texas, and have access to several classic car yards in which to shop. I have been told a lot of stories, but do not know what to believe. Hope you can help me.
We really don’t know of anybody that manufactures GM A-body rear seats, but I’m sure there is a solution for your missing Chevelle seats. One custom manufacturer that comes to mind is Glide Engineering out of Rancho Cucamonga, California. I would check with the folks there for help. Contact Glide at 909-944-9556 or www.glideengineering.com. Also, used seats are another option. I believe the Cutlass, GTO and Skylark have similar seat frames, and any good upholstery shop can use stock reproduction covers and make them fit. In looking through Internet sites like eBay and racingjunk.com, I regularly see seats for most GM A-body models. Give it a try and I think you might get lucky!