Automotive Restoration for beginners
By Phil Storr

Electrical system:

The electrical wiring and electrical accessories are very important, they must be in good condition if the vehicle is going to be reliable. The insulation falls off old wiring, especially under the bonnet and this can cause many faults and even a fire. Most older vehicles have very few fuses and this can be dangerous. Another pit fall is fitting a high current alternator in place of the 25 Amp Generator or Alternator fitted to the vehicle originally.

We all want good head lights and so we fit higher wattage globes. When we discover the battery goes flat on an overnight trip to the Nationals we fit a 50 Amp Alternator for the next trip. The trap here is the current carrying capacity of the original wiring. It was designed for a 25 Amp Charging circuit and 50 or 60 watt headlights. Not the 100 Watt Aircraft landing lights we have fitted.

If you think this work is not beyond your capability, read my chapter on fitting headlight relays.

If the wiring looks in poor shape have it looked at by an Auto Electrician and as is always the case when you are going to pay someone to do something for you, get a second opinion, some tradesmen in all industries are likely to take you for a ride. Get a recommendation from your local Restorers Club. New ready made wiring looms can be purchased for many classic restorable vehicles but bear in mind these will be built like the original loom, not intended for modern higher current devices.

If you are restoring a vehicle with a six volt electrical system you may like to convert it to twelve volt operation. Rewound starter motors are usually available but many six volt starter motors will operate happily on a twelve volt electrical system. If in doubt ask the experts. The most important area to look at when converting from six volt to twelve volt is the instruments. It is best to fit a six volt regulator so the instruments are operated on the correct voltage. I can supply these custom made for any vehicle.

Fitting switches and relays Back to the opening page The Storrs home page Phils Photo and Project page

Written by Phil. Storr, last updated 8th September 2000