Close, but no cigar

Most of us at AAW know the pain. You’re looking for a part to complete your project, and a deal or temptation in the form of something that’s “close” to fitting your car comes along.

In some aspects of the automotive world this works just fine. Powertrain components, body panels and interior parts may be identical. With wiring this is often not the case.

Let’s take a look at two Chevelle rear body harnesses as an example. In this case, we’ll take a look at a ‘64 and a ‘67. They are both A bodies, and the the case of our example, both are convertibles. How different can they be? After all, it’s the same car, right?

For starters, let’s take a look at the connector for the intermediate ribbon cable. This is what plugs into the rear body to feed power from the dash harness.

The connector for the ‘64 looks like this:

The ‘67, however, looks like this:

As you’ll see, one uses a connector with locking tabs, while the other does not. If you wanted to plug them into each other you’d be all set. If you were to swap them from one car to another, you’d be in trouble. There are some additional items that come into play with these two as well.

The ‘64 has a solid tan wire built into the harness for the fuel tank sender:

The ‘67 harness uses a removable fuel tank sender extension that plugs into the rear body harness. Same wire, same color, but completely different connection:

A closer inspection reveals that the feeds to the license plate and backup lights are very different as well. It’s possible these could work with lots of cutting, splicing and modification, but it’s much nicer to know your brake and tail lights will work when you’re cruising at night.

That deal from the swap meet or local parts car can be tempting, but when it comes to wiring it’s always best to do it right the first time!