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  • installing a fuse panel.

    Now that every piece of electrics in my car is now sorted and functional I got to thinking that maybe an easily accessible fuse panel might be an idea, and whilst the interior of the car is completely stripped now would be the time.
    Only reason I ask is I have found that some of the old factory fuses are quite tricky to get to now, I can only imagine what they'll be like with the trim back in.
    Is this a worthwhile exercise, to do this will the wires need to be replaced or can I just install a larger amp fuse in the old fuse holder and use the correct size in the new panel down the line, how many things can safely operate off one fuse etc.
    It's a bit like spaghetti down there at the moment and I'd really like to tidy it up.
    I know this maybe a basic, simple question but I guess I'll never know if I don't ask.

    Thanks Chris.

  • #2
    I bought a power panel off a 2003 Ford Focus and installed it in my engine bay, drivers side forward. A 100 amp alternator replaces the 40 amp unit that the factory installed. That feeds the new power panel, then a 40 amp fuse feeds the original panel at the passenger side kick plate. Many of the high amp circuits in the dash (for example, light switch) now carry small loads to control relays in the new power panel.

    I also have two auxiliary four fuse panels. One is near the OE panel and manages the new electronics in the dash (GPS, back-up camera, electric door locks, ambient lighting) and another is in the trunk to manage my subwoofer amplifier, electric fuel pump, and AC power inverter.

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    • #3
      That's another option I guess. Probably don't want to overcomplicate my pretty basic skills though haha. I'm happy with the original stuff in the engine bay and I've just got a basic inline mega fuse for the alternator.

      I'm probably more interested in the auxiliary fuse panel to run gauges, thermo fan, New stereo, electric wiper motor etc and just have it neat and accessible.
      And how's a reasonably safe and practicable way to reroute the old wires through it.

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      • #4
        You have fuses in individual fuse holders that you will never find once your dash is back together. At the very least, extend the wires so you can pull them down if one blows on a Sunday night whilst you're miles from home. - Dave
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca

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        • #5
          That's what got me thinking Dave. I had enough trouble finding and identifying them in daylight, with a light and lying on my back with no seat or steering wheel haha.
          My thinking was to snip wires, extend down to a blade style fuse holder with labels etc.
          Was more curious as to weather or not I can simply install a larger fuse in old fuse holder then use a correct size fuse in the blade holder, my reasoning for that is some wires I do have enough room to cut and strip the wires, others I can barely get my hands into to access the fuse.
          I don't really want to remove the dash if I can avoid it, kind of feel like I'd be opening a can of worms if I do, literally.
          I've spent countless hours over the last couple of months getting everything to work and actually a bit scared to upset anything behind the dash.
          Thanks Chris.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sometimes old in-line fuse holders crack and break just from age. It's better to cut the fuse out altogether, crimp new wire extensions, and I don't care where you mount the fuse. Some folks put all the fuses under the hood for easy inspection and maintenance.

            Fuses are there to protect your wires. If you put a fuse in that's too large, the wire becomes the fuse.

            I have had a few 30-amp ATC fuses melt before they opened. (The #10 wire was fine.) I have never had a glass fuse fail. If you blow fuses, track down the problem and fix it. Don't put a bigger fuse in. - Dave
            My latest project:
            CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

            "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
            --Lee Iacocca

            Comment


            • #7
              Looks like I've got some more wiring to do then. I'll be an expert by the time I finish this car. Learning a lot.
              By ATC you mean the plastic blade fuses. If that's the case glass may be better.
              I'll be happy when this parts done though, I'm a big guy and there's not much room down there lol.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chris58 View Post
                That's another option I guess. Probably don't want to overcomplicate my pretty basic skills though haha. I'm happy with the original stuff in the engine bay and I've just got a basic inline mega fuse for the alternator.

                I'm probably more interested in the auxiliary fuse panel to run gauges, thermo fan, New stereo, electric wiper motor etc and just have it neat and accessible.
                And how's a reasonably safe and practicable way to reroute the old wires through it.
                Your car is older than mine so I'm assuming the electrics are even less sophisticated. My original alternator put out 40 amps at speed. My original ammeter, one of the four gauges, took power from the alternator then fed the fuse panel, located under the side kick plate at the passenger's feet. The panel has a couple of self-resetting breakers and then fuses. One side of the fuses are always on and the other side are on in the ACC position (or run).

                My new electric cooling fan eats up 50 amp. That in itself will overrun the alternator. My sub-base amplifier uses another 35 or so, and my stereo uses 15. In order to run all this stuff I installed a modern 100 amp alternator.

                Remember the ammeter? If I ran 100 amps through it I'd have a fire. Hence the reason for a new load panel. I run all the new heavy loads through it then feed the ammeter (and therefore the original panel) with a 40 amp fuse.

                Then there's that factory light switch and "dimmer" (high beam on-off). They take lots of amps through the dash as well. Back in the day I had a '67 Wagon with a light switch that would shut off all the lights while you were driving. Once it was on a park road with no street lights and no moon. Over time, deposits from arcing make the switch unreliable. So I take all these high current loads and switch them on-off with relays in my new panel, just like modern cars. The factory switches have a much easier life now, energizing the relay coils, which might take all of 2 amps.

                The starter relay on these old Fords always bothered me, since it made the engine child's play to "hot wire". So my starter gets a relay in my load panel, which will be a mystery to common thieves.

                When I planned out this job I counted all the fuses and relays needed and didn't want them buried and forgotten all over the car, or screwed to an inner fender in rows with a hornets nest of wire below. A "Hot Rod" panel puts them all in one location, but was about $200, and does not include the relays and fuses. A salvage panel was about $50 and came with high quality switches and relays.

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                • #9
                  What about adding a modern fuse panel and all new wiring under the dash? I have heard from other classic car people it is easy with all the wires marked and you now have a more easily accessible fuse panel. Has anyone installed one? And what supplier did they use?
                  Dena & Dennis Gorder
                  1958 Coupe
                  Registry # 3422

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                  • #10
                    Ok, this type of panel actually could be worth looking at. With it do relays for thermo fans, stereo amplifiers etc continue to be used then wired into the panel. As I have gotten all the headlights, high beams working it would be definitely a bonus too have basically majority of the electrics safeguarded. I'm probably more concerned about taking on to big of an electrics project that might be too much for my skills.

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                    • #11
                      Buckaroo I take it you mean like a painless wiring kit or similar. I think a lot of them also come with looms and are pretty straightforward. I'm not sure if painless are worldwide or just Australia.

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                      • #12
                        I have the same fear of tackling something bigger than I can handle. I have a guy locally that has installed a few of these but most were in new builds. I think I will search online if they make one specifically for a squarebird. I will be installing electric wipers this winter so while I am under there I may just update the wiring. Looking under the dash now looks very intimidating.
                        Dena & Dennis Gorder
                        1958 Coupe
                        Registry # 3422

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It's awfully cramped under your dash. If you ever blow a fuse, you want to access it readily and determine which one is blown. Whether you mount at a kick panel or under the hood is personal preference.

                          If you mount under the hood, help yourself by adding a few LED lights. They draw practically nothing, can be left on for extended periods and they sure help in the dark. - Dave
                          My latest project:
                          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                          --Lee Iacocca

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Exactly buckaroo, also makes it harder the fact that a lot of the old wiring isn't the same color as 60 years ago. I've got the electric wipers in mine too, they look pretty straightforward.
                            Dave probably more inside the car to tidy things up and easy access for accessories. Led are a good idea, they just run of the lights circuit I'm assuming.
                            I'd planned on having this car ready for January 2016, the way I'm going it'll be 2116. All good fun.

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                            • #15
                              Chris:
                              I know what you mean about 2116... I looked the other day and found that I purchased mine in October of 93. It's finally getting close to coming out of the body shop and then I still need to put it all back together. Really looking forward to putting in those 1/4 windows.

                              Nyles

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