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wiring repair, new guy


Old John
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I was glad to find a group that may help me. There's an old guy living down the block from me that I help from time to time. He has long dreamed of getting his 1973 Avanti on the road again. He's decided I'm the one to fix his Avanti. Years ago, he hooked the battery cables up backward and fried the wiring harness. I started to unwrap the harness under the hood thinking I could replace the bad wires. It continues to be melted through the firewall and on each side of the amp gauge. Could someone tell me how the dash, instrument cluster comes out so I can access the wires? I'm not sure what I'm getting into or what else might be damaged. I'm assuming the alternator and amp gauge for sure. The car has only 33,000 and otherwise looks like new. Green shag carpeting must have been in. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've read that wiring harnesses were put together by a lady with a drawing on a piece of plywood. So much for the chance of getting a schematic drawing.

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The car's owner really needs to get a parts and shop manual for his car. He's limited to the Studebaker manuals as Avanti Motors never made them available, at least to the best of my knowledge. Due to that, there will be some changes in a number of things, but one can work around those changes without too much headache.

We can give you the exact procedure...at least up through 1970 Avanti's as in '71 the steering column was changed. It's still best to obtain a shop manual...it's a pretty detailed explanation. The procedure is not difficult in and of itself, but dealing with a nearly forty year old car can make for major pains.

Also..be advised that replacing the wiring harness requires removing the upholstery from the drivers windshield post and the top vinyl moulding as a section of the harness goes to the overhead switches. The wiring harness for a '73 Avanti is also significantly different from a '63 shown in the manual.

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The car's owner really needs to get a parts and shop manual for his car. He's limited to the Studebaker manuals as Avanti Motors never made them available, at least to the best of my knowledge. Due to that, there will be some changes in a number of things, but one can work around those changes without too much headache.

We can give you the exact procedure...at least up through 1970 Avanti's as in '71 the steering column was changed. It's still best to obtain a shop manual...it's a pretty detailed explanation. The procedure is not difficult in and of itself, but dealing with a nearly forty year old car can make for major pains.

Also..be advised that replacing the wiring harness requires removing the upholstery from the drivers windshield post and the top vinyl moulding as a section of the harness goes to the overhead switches. The wiring harness for a '73 Avanti is also significantly different from a '63 shown in the manual.

Thanks Gunslinger, Is there a Studebaker manual that covers the year 1973? Where can it be bought? I was hoping to just repair the wires in the harness that are damaged. I'm also hoping I can figure out which wires those are. Is there a lot of steps just to get the instrument cluster off? Does something pry off from the front, or is there a fastener that has to come off from the back? I'll probably figure it out eventually, I just didn't want to break something in the process.

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There's no manual beyond the 1963-'64 Studebaker manuals, at least none that have surfaced that I'm aware of. You can get reprints of those from Studebaker International and originals appear on Ebay regularly. SI also sells them on a CD...I have both print and CD, and I find the print versions more useful...especially out in the garage.

You can remove the gauge cluster without removing the entire dash. Hopefully you have small, dexterous hands or you'll scar your hands up a but...not badly but it can leave you some long-term memories of your efforts! The easy thing is to first remove the drivers seat as it greatly helps with working on your back.

After that, remove the steering wheel. It's not mandatory to do so but it really helps. The steering column is retained by four bolts under the dash...remove them let the steering column drop free. Again...not madatory but it helps.

You can disconnect all the wires from the gauges from underneath, and also remove the gauge retainers and hold downs. Mark the wires carefully...they're coded, but after all these years they're likely dirty enough you can't tell the color codes anymore. After that, the gauges can be individually pulled out from the front. Installation is the reverse.

Having small hands...like a six-year old...will be a huge help!

If you want to remove the cluster inlay, there are two small nuts on the angled portions that attach to two small studs made onto the inlay. Doing that is not necessary to remove the gauges.

There may well be some changes in a '73 compared to earlier cars, but probably not very much.

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John

Here is a link to Bob Johnstone's website and is stated to be for II's from 72 up. http://www.studebake...ms/aec/aec.html

Whether it is absolutely correct I don't know, but it should help.

You should get familiar with Bob's site as there is a wealth of knowledge there and also the Studebaker Drivers Club forum if you will be continuing to help the old gentleman.

Kudo's to you for making the effort to help the senior citizen.

Bob

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Bob,

This should be a great help. It will be interesting to see how far the damage went. I like helping the old guy. Old guys have a lot of interesting stories to tell.

Jon

Jon

Yes we do and occasionally some are true. :rolleyes:

Bob

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Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've read that wiring harnesses were put together by a lady with a drawing on a piece of plywood. So much for the chance of getting a schematic drawing.

There was a booklet of wiring diagrams for (some of the) Avanti II add-on accessories, sold through an ad in the AOAI magazine some years back.

It was compiled by an AOAI member and consisted of perhaps a dozen pages of circuit sketches; it would be used as a supplement to the

Stude wiring diagram in the shop manual.

I was not able to find it in the AOAI website bookstore just now, but perhaps this will jog someone else's memory about where that

booklet can be purchased. Actually, I have a copy of the booklet at home, but I'm currently away on extended vacation until

the end of September... if you don't get further info from others, try emailing me in early October and I can see if the publication

has any contact info on it.

The factory manual diagram may be sufficient for your needs, as the burnt portions are likely only those wires that go through the firewall,

eg, wiring related to the engine compartment harnesses (starter, alternator, voltage regulator, ammeter, horns, coil, points, etc...

I doubt the damage would extend to many other portions of the harness, though I'm sure that's possible. So, you may be able to use splices to replace damaged

portions of the wiring, plus replacing any damaged devices... messy job, but it may be easier than replacing the entire harness. I once had

to do something similar on my '71 due to a short circuit caused by the harness rubbing against the right-side hood latch; that trashed all the wiring

under the hood, but luckily the burnt wiring stopped just short of the firewall grommet so I didn't have to work beneath the dash. But, the repairs are

definitely noticeable/obvious.

You might also contact Nostalgic Motor Cars at 800-avanti-1 to see if they might have a harness to fit the '73 (doubtful, and even if they do, it may

be prohibitively-priced, but it is a possibility).

Good luck, it would be a shame to trash such an otherwise pristine car.

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  • 1 month later...

Hope this post isn't too late to be of help. After I bought my '66, I found out some of the wiring was fried. I initially thought about trying to replace just the wiring but ended up taking the dash out and doing an extensive 'under dash' rework. From what you'd have to do to take the instrument cluster out, I think you could go just a bit further and take the dash out as the hardest part is getting all that stuff on the cluster loose. I replaced the (totally deteriorated) boot around the brake rod, fixed a pin-hole leak in the heater core (which had not reared its ugly head up to that point because I bought the car in early summer and had not used the heater up until the time I took the dash down) and replaced the hoses, fabricated new 'doors' and seals for the side air vents seals, replaced the totally rotted defroster hoses, changed all instrument dash bulbs, oiled up all the vent and heater control cables, etc. I'd suggest getting your ideas together to do all these things, including of course changing your fried wiring, at one time as taking the dash down is kind of a pain but totally doable. Hope this helps.

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