When electrical issues become a problem in your car’s engine, it may be necessary for you to remove the wiring harness. In order to make sure that you do not hurt yourself or your engine in the process, it is important for you to follow each step in the directions carefully and completely. Before beginning any work, it is always wise to look at the specific process for your vehicle. Read all instructions thoroughly before doing anything and make sure you have all necessary parts and tools on hand. You may also want to have a camera ready so that you can take pictures anytime during the process. This simple precaution can be a great help in remembering how to put things back where they belong.
If you get in the middle of this job and get stuck, do not hesitate to stop and ask for help from a mechanic. At the same time, however, don’t be intimidated by the prospect of giving it a shot yourself first. As you remove the wiring harness, you will get to know your engine and gain the experience and knowledge you need to work with your vehicle in the future.
Before You Start the Job
Prior to jumping into this electrical job, you will want to be sure that you can identify and locate the parts under your engine’s hood. You will need to know where to find the fuse block, AC ductwork, and the firewall hole. You will also be working around the transmission, chassis harness, and the engine connection itself, so get to know your engine and look at an engine diagram to plan the job out before you get started.
Next, gather the tools you will need to remove the wiring harness. Make sure that you have several sizes of socket wrenches as well as a flat head screwdriver. You should also have a strong, thin piece of rope that you will use in the process of removing the wiring harness. For difficult wires, you may need a small, precise tool like a dental pick, small needle-nose pliers, or a pair of forceps to prevent breakage.
Tips for Removing a Wiring Harness
Once you have a big picture of the engine construction and you understand the general process you’ll be attempting, you are ready to go under the hood. Follow these steps:
- Disconnect the fuse block. The fuse block is made of plastic and is located on the upper right side of the engine. Remove the bolt that is in its center, and then remove all connections from the fuse block including the engine itself, transmission, and the chassis harness. You can check your engine diagram to make sure you have identified all the right connections and that you know how to reconnect them later. Some quick research concerning your particular vehicle should steer you to the right location of these items so that you can be sure before you disconnect them.
- Remove bolts. You should have several bolts that you will need to remove, and they should be located along the windshield area as well as along the side. Using a socket wrench of the correct size for your own vehicle, remove these. It is possible that there will be no bolts in your vehicle. If this is the case, then you can use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the dashboard in order to gain access to the A/C ductwork.
- Remove the A/C ductwork. Find the tubing and separate at the seams. Once again, double check the engine diagram if necessary, so that you can easily find and remove the right tubing.
- Remove bolts on the steering column. Look under the dashboard area and find the bolts on the steering column. Remove or loosen them.
- Locate the wiring. If there are any other bolts holding the dashboard in place, remove them so you can get a clear view. The goal is to get behind the dashboard to see wiring.
- Connect a thin piece of rope to the fuse block. This step might be a bit tedious, but it will make removing the wiring harness easier later on. From the dashboard side, thread a thin, sturdy piece of rope or string through the firewall hole. Pull it through from the engine side into the fuse block. Tie the rope to the fuse block so that you can use it to pull the wiring harness through late.
- Take a picture of the wiring. At this point, you would be wise to get out your camera, smartphone, or tablet and take some pictures of how everything looks and where each part connects before you take out the wiring. You might also consider labeling the wires in some way so that you remember where to replace them when it is time.
- Disconnect the wiring. Disconnect the wires from the the wiring harness. Look for the spot where the wiring harness joins the fuse block and disconnect there as well. In order to remove the wiring harness, you may also have to take off rubber sheaths or bolts. Use the rope you connected earlier to pull the wiring harness through.
The process of caring for your vehicle can be a complex one. The more that you know about how the engine is built, what potential problems are specific to your vehicle’s make and model, and how the various parts work together, the easier it will be to keep your engine in good working order. As with anything, however, it is important that you are prepared to do the work. Don’t be afraid to tackle new projects, but be sure that you are knowledgeable enough to jump in without ruining your engine or hurting yourself in the process.
If you follow these tips for removing a wiring harness, you will find that it is a fairly straightforward job that will allow you to make a variety of adjustments to your vehicle. As with any job, take the time to research your particular vehicle in order to note any differences or specifics that will affect the way you proceed.