Building an Engine Wiring Harness

23 Building Engine Wiring Harnessfire Wrap 3000
01 Building Engine Wiring Harness

Whether you need to customize your engine wiring harness or just want to improve its appearance, we offer an alternative to purchasing expensive aftermarket harnesses. Keep in mind that this is not a definitive guide on building wiring harnesses; rather, we show you some basic steps on how to properly restore/clean up your engine wire harness using a number of DEI products.

If you’ve noticed by now, the OE harness has been sheathed using electrical tape and plastic loom. Yes, it’s cost effective on their part, but in all honesty, it doesn’t look good. The factory-style split loom is an eye sore with its bulky appearance while electrical tape over time will “weep” adhesive and peel off, leaving a sticky residue that’s a nuisance to remove.

The most important thing to consider before tackling this particular DIY project is deciding if this is a full-blown rewire job or a simple clean up. The more time-consuming wiring jobs will take a few days to a week to complete, so if this is your daily driver plan accordingly. Upon spending some time researching different methods of making wiring harnesses more clean and subtle, we decided to loom the harness entirely in heat-shrink tubing (no seams). We began by spending some quality time peeling off about a roll of old, greasy sticky, electrical insulation tape from our Subaru STI engine harness.

  • 02 Building Engine Wiring Harness
  • 03 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Products
  • 04 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring

Wiring Harness Rebuild

06 Building Engine Wiring Harness Plug
05 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring Diagram

It’s important to use the proper tools: a good set of wire strippers and cutters, a soldering iron, a heat gun, shrink wrap, pick tools, and self-vulcanizing tape. Always keep an OE service manual handy to access the wiring diagrams for your vehicle’s exact year and model/sub-model due to wiring differences between models. Repair any frayed wires prior to rewrapping.

Document the current wiring/clips and routing with detailed pictures prior to de-pinning the harness. If necessary use masking tape and/or zip tie to separate the wires and label each connection prior to taking photos for future reference to keep track of your progress. Most importantly, don’t begin by simply tearing apart your engine harness! Carefully plan your route of attack while sorting through the tangled wires. Properly measure each wire length as well as how they are routed to ensure your finished harness will install properly without any issues.

07 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring

Heat shrink offers a clean, no seam look, and it will never peel off or break. The DEI heat-shrink tubing is mil-spec grade, withstands up to 275 degrees F of direct heat, and is flame retardant. This meets or exceeds the corrugated looming that you typically see on engine harnesses.

  • 08 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring
  • 09 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring Pick Tools
  • 10 Building Engine Wiring Harness Wiring Shrink Tubing

DEI Hi-Temp Shrink Tubes

DEI Hi-Temp Shrink Tubes can be used to insulate wires, wire splicing, connections, and terminals and meets the material functional properties of mil-spec DTL-23053/5C. Professional-grade mil-spec flexible polyolefin tubing provides excellent electrical insulation, protection from dirt, dust, solvents, and foreign materials as well as providing strain relief. With a 3:1 shrink ratio and temp resistant from -67 degrees F to 275 degrees F, DEI shrink tubes are an alternative to corrugated plastic, which over time will cause “chaffing” of wires inside the conduit. It is best to have your wires tightly wrapped with heat shrink so they do not rub against each other. A simple trick to speed up the process is to use a wire secured to tape holding the main wires to pull through the heat-shrink tubes.

  • 11 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Hi Temp Shrink Tube
  • 12 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Hi Temp Shrink Tube
  • 13 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Hi Temp Shrink Tube

DEI Fire Tape

14 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Tape

Fire Tape is a nonadhesive silicone rubber tape that is self-bonding, self-curing, and forms a permanent watertight barrier that withstands 475 degrees F direct continuous heat. We like the fact that you’re not left with a sticky residue when unsheathing the wires. Combined with the DEI Fire Sleeve or hose protective sleeve products is an excellent insulating alternative to vinyl tapes and can be used to wrap wiring harnesses and cover and protect wire splices. Problematic portions of the harness, such as the firewall plugs that are too large to fit heat-shrink sheathing over the wires have the option of being rewrapped in loom/tape or nonadhesive silicone rubber tape as we used in the photo at the left.

  • 15 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Tape
  • 16 Building Engine Wiring Harness Before DEI Fire Tape

    Before
  • 17 Building Engine Wiring Harness Before After DEI Fire Tape

    After using DEI heat shrink and Fire Tape.

DEI Fire Sleeve

19 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve
18 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve

Constructed from a high-temperature-resistant braided glass material, woven into a sleeve and heavily coated with 100 percent iron oxide silicone rubber, Fire Sleeve provides the ultimate in heat insulation and protection from direct heat up to 500 degrees F continuous/2,000 degrees F intermittent heat. The fire sleeve helps to insulate wiring, hoses, oil/brake/transmission lines and can also be used for bundling and protecting hoses, electrical wiring, and more. To dispel heat, we wrapped the ignition coil wires with DEI Fire sleeve, which happens to sit adjacent to the turbo up-pipe.

  • 20 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve
  • 21 Building Engine Wiring Harness DEI Fire Sleeve
  • 22 Building Engine Wiring Harness Ignition Coil Iring

Fire Wrap 3000

23 Building Engine Wiring Harnessfire Wrap 3000

Constructed from the same material as Fire Sleeve but with the convenience of a hook and loop edge closure design. Simply wrap Fire Wrap 3000 around wires, cables, or hoses without the need of disconnecting. We plan to cover the larger harnesses in the direct path of the turbo and downpipe once our newly rebuilt engine has been installed.

Using a labeler can help identify plugs when installing them on your engine. You can take it one step further and use clear heat shrink to protect the labels.

We think the results are pretty nice and make for a really clean look, but you can be the judge.

source: importtuner

Six of Today’s Sickest Steering Wheels

After you’ve installed all the typical bolt-on parts and want to improve your driving experience more, it might be time to look at an aftermarket steering wheel. It’s not quite the same as holding a nice pair of boobies, but there’s something stimulating about grabbing onto a high-quality sporty steering wheel. Maybe it’s the smaller diameter, thicker padding, firm grip or the leather/suede finish… Whatever it is, these steering wheels can give you a more positive driving experience and quicker feedback—something a lot of boring stock wheels don’t offer.

There are literally hundreds of aftermarket wheels out there but we selected some of the staff favorites here. Steering wheels come in all shapes, diameters, depths and materials so do your homework to ensure you get what’s best for your hands. As a warning, many of you will likely have to ditch your factory airbag so make sure this is something you’re comfortable with. (Please check your state’s law regarding this type of mod, which is most likely for off-road use, unless you own a car without steering wheel airbags.) But, if you want the look and feel of a racecar, game on!

Nardi Sport Rally Deep Corn

Price: $350

Offered in black suede or perforated leather, this Nardi piece is one of their most popular. Features red stitching and a slight concave design that spaces the wheel 2″ closer to the driver for better steering input. Comes available in two sizes (330mm, 350mm).

Sparco L777

Price: $259

Contact: sparcousa.com

One of our favorite Sparco street wheels is the L777. Sold in 350mm only, it has a concave design with 63mm of depth. Whether you get it in leather or suede, this wheel is sure to improve grip and turn heads.

Sparco Carbon 385

Price: $999

Contact: sparcousa.com

Sparco sells this competition steering wheel made of 100% carbon-fiber. The 330mm gets its name because it weighs only 385g—half the weight of competing wheels.

Personal Trophy

Price: $288

Personal wheels are just as good as the best of them (and they’re also from the same company as Nardi). The 350mm Trophy model is one of their top sellers and comes in many different variations—leather, suede, red/yellow/silver stitching.

Nardi Classic Line

Price: from $355

Elegant, gangster, baller, whatever you want to call it…this wood steering wheel is what Nardi is known for. The fine mahogany goes perfectly with a classic car or might even work on a new ride. You be the judge!

Vertex 10 Star

Price: $410

Contact: vertex-usa.com

If you can’t tell, this wheel is the flashiest of the bunch. You better be sliding around corners or dressed to race, because the Vertex wheel has a wild style. The 330mm 10 Star wheel features a super-deep 90mm dish and leather upholstery.

Model Annie Anaya
source: superstreet