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Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

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  • Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

    I'm good with mechanical stuff, bad with wiring. I have a basic understanding of wiring... I can wire stuff after reviewing it 100 times, but as far as wiring a whole car I'm kinda at a loss. Here's the wiring I got with the dune buggy. 5 fused circuits, and 1 ground bus bar with 8 posts...



    I found a lot of blown glass fuses in the car, and a package of 30a fuses used to replace the 15 & 20 amp ones that blew. I'm guessing 5 fused circuits ain't cutting it, and a few more wouldn't hurt. I don't wanna spend $150 on a box & harness if I don't have to.. I'd like to build my own circuits, and wire this thing up with an ATC/ATO blade style fuse box. I found a wiring diagram for a 65 beetle that has 8 circuits. It very closely matches what's already in the buggy sans the dome light which I want to add back in since it has a roof.

    Here's the diagram I've using...





    The buggy has an aftermarket ignition switch, a stock VW turn signal lever, flip switches for the lights, and a dimmer switch for the headlights. It still has a stock VW generator, I think the output is somewhere around 35-40 amps. I may upgrade to an alternator at some point, but not now..

    I was eying up universal fuse blocks and grounding bus bars and found these. I can't seem to find a USA seller for the fuse box though...

    ATC/ATO 8 way fuse block..

    This one looks OK, I wanted something with 8 circuits and screw on terminals.. China though uhhhgggg...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/161644026223



    Brass terminal ground bus bar...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/301568182004



    Am I on the right track?
    Last edited by tardis454; June 7th, 2015, 09:06 PM.

  • #2

    Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

    Looks good - but if you can find a fuse box with extra slots/ circuits, it wouldn't hurt to have some spares for future additions that may be added.

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

      Sounds like a plan. The last chevy van I junked I saved the fuse block and substantial lengths of the harness coming out of it. already labeled too.

      Using the factory turn switch and tail lights will make things much easier, converting to American style combined brakes and turns is an excercise in futility.
      Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

        your biggest thing is running the wiring more like a new car since I am suspecting the body is fiberglass, so the old cars would just have their own ground at the light or horn, where a non metal body will have grounds with everything. As far as fuses and circuit sizes, all you need to get the car to run is the ignition switch to coil, ignition switch to starter. The generator will have a regulator of some sort, I think that might be the problem with the fuses though. If its not putting out the full voltage, the circuits are going to draw more amps, so a 79.00 one wire alternator might actually save you some headaches if you are thinking of doing it down the road anyway..

        Run a big enough wire from the ignition switch on to the fuse block to keep the heat down. I mean everything is run off that wire that you want to be off when you turn the key off and undersizing that wire builds heat thru everything. I would think the only 30 amp fuse you might be using is on the headlights, but the difference between running everything 16 gauge or 12 gauge is not that much. Also keeping the power lines protected a bit more than it looks they are now will help with corrosion which also causes more amp draw. Some dielectric grease on the terminals of the box might be a good idea because its probably gonna get wet sometime..

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        • #5

          Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

          Looks good - but if you can find a fuse box with extra slots/ circuits, it wouldn't hurt to have some spares for future additions that may be added.
          There are 10 way and 12 way fuse boxes available..
          I don't know what else I would add, everything the buggy needs is already there.
          I suppose a 10 way box wouldn't hurt though?

          10 way..

          http://www.ebay.com/itm/361205801258





          12 way..

          http://www.ebay.com/itm/360910934454




          Sounds like a plan. The last chevy van I junked I saved the fuse block and substantial lengths of the harness coming out of it. already labeled too.
          Using the factory turn switch and tail lights will make things much easier, converting to American style combined brakes and turns is an excercise in futility.

          I robbed a bunch of wire from cars at the junkyard and bought spools of new wire, I'm covered on that.
          I think the buggy has the small round blinker relays, I have to check though.
          By the way, how did you wire up your buggys and sand rails? What did you use?


          your biggest thing is running the wiring more like a new car since I am suspecting the body is fiberglass, so the old cars would just have their own ground at the light or horn, where a non metal body will have grounds with everything. As far as fuses and circuit sizes, all you need to get the car to run is the ignition switch to coil, ignition switch to starter. The generator will have a regulator of some sort, I think that might be the problem with the fuses though. If its not putting out the full voltage, the circuits are going to draw more amps, so a 79.00 one wire alternator might actually save you some headaches if you are thinking of doing it down the road anyway..

          Yep, it's fiberglass, that's why is has a grounding bus bar. I don't think Dad in law grounded this thing correctly. Upon further inspection the ground bar doesn't appear to be hooked up right, aka " not being used for proper grounding". The front lights are grounded to the pan. The rear lights have individual wires going from them to the pan. It doesn't appear that the grounding bar is grounded to the pan properly. Maybe that's causing the fuses to pop? As for the $79.00 1 wire alternator.. I wish! It's aircooled and the fan runs off the alternator/generator. Alternator conversion kits start around $135.. http://www.socalautoparts.com/produc...me-new-p-13408


          Run a big enough wire from the ignition switch on to the fuse block to keep the heat down. I mean everything is run off that wire that you want to be off when you turn the key off and undersizing that wire builds heat thru everything. I would think the only 30 amp fuse you might be using is on the headlights, but the difference between running everything 16 gauge or 12 gauge is not that much. Also keeping the power lines protected a bit more than it looks they are now will help with corrosion which also causes more amp draw. Some dielectric grease on the terminals of the box might be a good idea because its probably gonna get wet sometime..

          I don't think the wire sizes used are 100% correct.
          I found a lot of thin wire where thicker wires should've been.
          Parts like the starter, generator, coil etc were wired correctly though.
          It looked like the ignition switch had a fairly thick set of wires on it too.


          What do you guys think about the Chinese fuse block? It looks ok to me I guess.
          I would imagine it's better than the 5 circuit glass fuse block that's in there now?
          And another thing.. relays. The VW crowd talks about installing a hard start relay and a headlight relay.
          They claim it creates less load on those circuits. I need to look into that further.
          It doesn't look like it's that hard to wire in a few extra relays..
          Last edited by tardis454; June 8th, 2015, 08:02 AM.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

            On my first rail, I used one of those (At the time) $40 buggy universal wiring harness kits from Bugpack. It wasn't a bad price, as it was all wire-tied into lengths and wire sizes..........but those lengths are based on a stock seating arrangement. Since my driver seat is farther back than the factory rear seat I had to modify it for length.

            And NONE of the wires were labeled or stamped as to their purpose. Had to spend a couple of nights sitting on the living room floor with a factory diagram and label them by hand.

            There are better ones out there.


            The rest I have just made my own harness's. In addition to my boat factory days, I also did a stint in a wiring harness factory. I have a fairly decent supply of different colored and gauge wires on hand.

            Solder your terminals if you can. Will make it trouble free for many miles in the future. Too much resistance builds up on the crimp on terminals to satisfy me, they always end up causing trouble.

            And running a Ford style starter relay at the rear close to the starter is an excellent cure for an old harness with too much resistance to fire the factory solenoid on the starter. The deal is that the factory wire (18g iirc) has to run all the way to the front of the car to the ignition switch, then all the way back again to the solenoid. It is simply too small and with age the resistance becomes too much to fire the solenoid. The solenoid get the blame when it is actually fine.

            So use the Ford solenoid like a cheap heavy duty relay to send more current to the factory solenoid, and activate the Ford relay with the factory 18g wire. Works like a champ.

            With a new harness and heavier starter wire you should not need to do this though. Can't hurt either for that matter. Your call.

            Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

            Comment


            • #7

              Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

              Solder your terminals if you can. Will make it trouble free for many miles in the future. Too much resistance builds up on the crimp on terminals to satisfy me, they always end up causing trouble.

              And running a Ford style starter relay at the rear close to the starter is an excellent cure for an old harness with too much resistance to fire the factory solenoid on the starter. The deal is that the factory wire (18g iirc) has to run all the way to the front of the car to the ignition switch, then all the way back again to the solenoid. It is simply too small and with age the resistance becomes too much to fire the solenoid. The solenoid get the blame when it is actually fine.

              So use the Ford solenoid like a cheap heavy duty relay to send more current to the factory solenoid, and activate the Ford relay with the factory 18g wire. Works like a champ.

              With a new harness and heavier starter wire you should not need to do this though. Can't hurt either for that matter. Your call.
              You must be talking about one of these guys...



              I definitely want to add something for hard starting. When we tried to start the buggy years ago we smoked the solenoid damn quick..

              I also want to add a battery kill switch for security and safety reasons..
              I got this one for free, it looks like it'll do the job nicely.



              When you speak of soldering the connector you're talking about crimp connectors right?
              Does that China fuse box looks ok to you, or should I buy something better?
              I looked, and the buggy has been converted over to the round flasher relay if that matters..

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              • #8

                Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                That's the one......its even wired correctly.

                Keyed kill switch is a great idea. Don't need to play "find the buggy"!

                Yeah, soldering the crimps.

                I have no love for the chinese stuff, but try to find something NOT sourced from there. Use it, but also use protecting grease on the terminals so the cheap coating will stay in place?

                tardis454 likes this.
                Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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                • #9

                  Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                  on the crimp connectors, I think Gardner Bender (GB) are still made in the USA. I have gotten good service from them in the past. The collars don't tend to crack if you do crimp it, although I'm also inclined to solder a crimp type connector in a permanent installation like you're doing.
                  tardis454 likes this.
                  Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                    missing relays.
                    the 5 main fuses you got there are 5 relays in an 87 subaru...then the fuse box goes complicated afterwards.
                    that will alleviate the random popping fuses, pair up things to go together.
                    being as simple as this one is, just choose headlights and parking for relays as a start.

                    wipers and heater can use one too..

                    another thing to do is a heatsinked main power feed near alternator. 4 or five fuses, maybe to power side of relays. let the key do the little side (on/off).
                    I had to run alt to battery, battery to underhood fuse bus (big ones, like 40 amp 50 amp)

                    and to be sure car keeps running at nearly all fuse errors, the ignition gets a seprate wire to battery, relay powered by key.

                    I had the dumbest factory setup ever to need to start over..now that it is memorized, works for anything.

                    The gmc truck is my favorite however, as the most robust and simply by factory. They use more underhood stuff.
                    tardis454 likes this.
                    Previously boxer3main
                    the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                      Relays could help, I really dont think you have enough load to really need them though. I just bought these cheap packs of 5 from Amazon to get some of the alarm features to work on the camaro.

                      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o02_s00

                      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o04_s01

                      Got 5 relays, then one socket, they sent the rest today, but they claim they are good for 30-40 amps. It would definitely let you run some smaller wire just to control the relay and once you start working with them its just making the ciruit but allowing the load to come from a heavier conductor.

                      I really dont see anything wrong with the fuse box, at least it seems like you have a fighting chance to keep it relatively dry.
                      tardis454 likes this.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                        If it doesn't already have one , one addition I could think of would be a cigarette lighter/ power receptacle ... for charging cell phones or perhaps running hand held spot lights or tire pumps.
                        Deaf Bob and tardis454 like this.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                          You guys have some very good suggestions, thanks for that. This is why BS rules.
                          I have a 2 port power receptacle I can use. That's a great idea that I totally overlooked yellowmalibu.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                            I want to get a waterproof lighter socket for boats to put on my truck for pumps and lights outside the cab.
                            I made portable lights by using a speaker magnet for a base and a tractor light, using an old extension cord and small battery charger clips..
                            The 35 watt ones will stay lit all night on one charge with 900 CCA battery.

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Need Help: Dune Buggy Wiring For Idiots

                              I want to get a waterproof lighter socket for boats to put on my truck for pumps and lights outside the cab.
                              I made portable lights by using a speaker magnet for a base and a tractor light, using an old extension cord and small battery charger clips..
                              The 35 watt ones will stay lit all night on one charge with 900 CCA battery.
                              ...ask me how I know? ;)

                              Comment

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