We don’t know about you, but one of the scariest things to us (well it used to be scary before this story) was installing a custom wiring harness in a project vehicle. While building our Project F-Word 1969 Ford pickup, we bit the bullet and knew that’s exactly what we’d need to do. The old wiring harness was indeed intact and (mostly) worked, but after all those years and God knows how many owners, the stock wiring was filled with twist ties, wire nuts, worn and cracked connectors and wires, and just general abuse that comes from age and people trying to add various electrical goodies.
Custom Cluster And Wiring
We went to our friends at Painless Performance for a brand-new wiring harness and Andrews Tuning & Performance for a custom Dakota Digital dash cluster. The Painless Performance 21-circuit direct fit 1967-1977 Ford F-Series Ford truck harness is the perfect upgrade, especially when you compare it to the old factory harness. Painless’ harness uses many of the factory connections that are already pre-terminated. Also featured is its unique covered micro-fuse block with a 20-amp auxiliary relay circuit for accessories such as fog lights, electric fuel pump, or whatever you feel like adding in. Each wire is custom printed with the circuit identification as well as using Ford color codes for easy installation. They also offer part number 10118, which includes all brand-new headlight, ignition, dimmer, wiper, and brake switches.
We also got one of Painless’ harnesses for the rear-mounted battery that we were going to use, for weight distribution issues and to clean up the engine compartment (that Coyote is wiiiiide). Part number 40105 uses two 16-foot black and red cables that are 1-gauge (almost welding cables), which allows for them to be attached to the engine for maximum starting current and helps prevent voltage drop to the engine. It also eliminates the need for heavy cable connections between the engine and frame and includes side post adapters and high-amp crimp ring terminals with heat-shrink.
The Andrews gauges are a combination of Andrews and Dakota Digital working together to design a custom gauge cluster—based on Dakota Digital’s standard cluster—that they build to the customer’s wishes. It’s a service that Dakota Digital offers, and Andrews has this very cluster as a part number that you can buy. It looks really cool, take a look at the instrument cluster here.
This cluster has all the awesome features that are offered in the Dakota Digital HDX series gauges and use the Dakota Digital OBD2 module. The cluster can pull all the data from the Ford Control Pack without any additional wiring. RPM, oil pressure, voltage, engine temp are all pulled without any wire. See it here. Basically, we eliminated those wires from the Painless harness and ran our own wiring for the speedometer and fuel level per Dakota Digital’s schematic.
With those parts and a few subtle changes to adapt them to our project truck, wiring it all was shockingly simple, and actually turned out to be kinda fun. What caused stress-inducing nightmares and cold sweats during the night turned out to be a worry about nothing. It all went together surprisingly simple and took less than a full day to finish. We’re actually kind of looking forward to doing it again someday. Not tomorrow, but someday! So, let’s look into what it took and how we wired this truck.