Oldsmobil-ology - Keeping the smoke inside the wires

The Setup

Seriously, I think Nick and I have been a little lucky to make about 450 runs in the Olds without an electrical gremlin biting us in the butt. Nick started racing the Olds a few decades ago (sorry Nick, they already know we are "thoroughly aged"), and, like most race cars that stay with an owner that long, the wiring is showing some age as well.

The fact that we never missed a single round of racing with an electrical issue says a lot for Nick's quality work adding on accessories every year. From no delay box, trans-brake, rear half chassis, electric fan or water pump, high-output fuel pump, or rev-limiters to two and three-steps. For the last several years the car has had an MSD, a three-step with adjustment boxes for launch and high-side, trans-brake, two line-locks, dual batteries, Magna-Fuel monster fuel pump, electric shifter, shift light, oil pressure warning light, huge electric fan (which, by the way, allowed us to make three back-to-back runs without stopping at a PINKS event), electric water pump, headlights, interior lights for night racing and, last but not least, an 80-amp alternator that works to perfection. Sounds typical of a standard bracket car of today right? Well, what happened in this case was all that stuff has evolved over many, many years and the wiring and connection have basically worn out.

It's time to decide what you are going to do about the wiring.

This is the first of two articles on rewiring the Olds and bringing the interior up to date a little bit. We will do EVERYTHING in my garage so you readers can duplicate what we have done or any part of it. First things first.

The Plan

To rewire a car there are basically three steps:

  1. 1. Get ALL the old wiring removed. Even the good stuff. I know, it seems like you’re tossing out a lot of good wire ends, cables, etc. You can be a pack-rat like me and save some of it, but in the end there will be no use for it. Toss it.
  2. 2. Take a look at how the components will be installed. Where do you want your switch panel so it is easy to reach? Where will you put the ignition box? What will you mount the ignition box on? And finally you have to decide what you are going to use to control the power and where the wiring will go to the ignition box, coil, alternator, batteries, water pump, fuel pump, line locks, transbrake, fans, lights, gauges, etc.
  3. 3. The installation and attention to details will make all the difference in the final results. For this reason, and because we have rewired several of our own cars and a few for customers, we chose the Digital Delay Mega-series wiring kit.