Wiring Harness Restoration Frequently Asked Questions

Wiring Harness Restoration Logo
Logo for Wiring Harness Restoration

What is a wiring harness restoration?

Restoration, repair, rebuild, reproduction, what is the difference?

A rebuild is generly for items with moving parts. For example, if you rebuild an alternator, you would replace the brushes, bearings, and any parts that are not up to spec. Wiring harnesses do not have moving parts so you are left with restoration, repair, or reproduction.

A reproduction is constructing a duplicate harness. We do not build reproductions and here is why. To do it you are forced to use low-quality aftermarket parts and some are not reproduced. We have had reproduction harnesses sent to us after a few years of service and they are in such bad condition that we cannot restore them. Using low-quality parts will give you a low-quality product. It is a temporary solution, with our warranty, we cannot build reproductions.

A repair is simple, you have a problem and you fix it. Sounds simple and easy but it is not. Contrary to what the self-appointed internet experts say, you cannot use crimp connectors on a computer-controlled harness. Yes, the OEM harness is crimped but it was built in a clean room, using new components and it is often heat crimped or coated after it is crimped. The vibration argument is not valid. A properly soldered connection will not crack or come loose with vibrations. Crimping two different metals is a great way to introduce resistance, oxidation, and it will vibrate loose, even if you use heat shrink. We do not do repairs, that is why we can warranty our work as long as we do. At least once every couple of weeks we are sent a harness that has been repaired, oftentimes the repair resulted in a more expensive restoration.

A Restoration is a permanent solution. If you see problems with the harness, cracking, flaking insulation, and oxidized discolored connector pins, it is likely to be in the entire harness. You cannot get a clean solder unless you remove the oxidation. This must be done chemically. The connector pins are small. You cannot sand them with a restoration. We disassemble the harness, cut the pins off the wires, and remove the oxidation with a soak in a solution that removes the oxidation and a bit of metal with each soak. So a pin can get too thin to reuse, if we did it would be a risk of fire. When a pin is found to be too thin, we scrap it and replace it with an OEM pin from our reclaim inventory. When the pins are deoxidized we solder resistance-free wires onto the pins and plug them into the connector housings. If a locking tab in the housing will not hold the pins tightly, it is repaired or replaced. It is a very involved process and it takes time, but it is the best way to provide the customer with a harness that will last as long as the original harness if not longer. There is more information on this on our Understanding Wiring Harnesses page.

How does your service work?

You send us your harness or we find a core harness to restore. We test and inspect the harness at no charge to you, and give you some restoration options.  You decide which works best for you, we send an authorization allowing us to work on the harness, and then we send you an invoice and we get started. If you don’t like the options, we send the harness back to you, at your cost, or give you an offer to buy it. More info on our services page.

How much does it cost to restore my harness?

Every harness is different. All harnesses will have some oxidation on the connector pins and ends but oxidation will inhibit soldering. So all oxidation must be removed to get a good clean solder, especially if you have a computer-controlled vehicle. On average, for a normal automotive underhood harness, the cost runs from $300 to $1000 for a basic restoration. Full restoration is usually $500 to $1500, and upgraded restoration can be $1500 to $3000. The price depends on the oxidation level, the condition of the plastic connectors, and how large the harness is. The prices listed are averages, every harness is different.

Where are you located?

We are located in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah.

Do you offer discounts?

Yes, we offer the following discounts:

5% First Responder and Military Service  You are there for us and we are there for you, thanks for your service. This requires proof of service, sadly we have had people cheat on this in the past.

5% No Rush – Not in a hurry? We have a discount for you. The pin deoxidation starts from day one, to do that we need to completely disassemble the harness. The pin deoxidation takes as long as it takes to get the oxidation off or it becomes too thin. So the discount is applicable to the build phase, a tech works on it when he is free. You can always pay the discount back and move out of the no-rush discount at any time in the process.

5% Pay By Check – With fees and fraud prevention, credit card processing is expensive, when you pay by check we pass the savings on to you. You can send us a check or pay on line via secure link.

5% Pay In Full – You can make payments, more info on this is found on our website. But when you pay in full, you are given a place in line, this helps us with scheduling and inventory. So we give you a discount if you pay in full.

Do you accept credit cards?

Yes, see above

Do you accept payments?

Yes, we require a minimum of half down. It works like this, you pay the down payment and we start work on it. We require at least one payment a month but that amount is up to you. When we have worked through the payment that you have banked, we put the work on hold until you make an additional payment. We would consider the harness abandoned if we do not receive at least one payment per month, abandoned harnesses are subject to storage and other fees. Of course, we can’t ship until the payment is paid in full.

How long does it take?

We wish we had room for 500 techs to build harnesses but we don’t. Due to tech limitations, space limitations and volume, and more importantly, the condition of the harness, it can take some time to restore the harness. Some harnesses take a long time to get the pins deoxidized. There is no way to know how long it will take until we start deoxidizing them. Sometimes oxidation comes off easy and sometimes it is stubborn. During the pin deoxidization process, the connector pins often become too thin and we will need to replace them with ones from our B-D reclaim inventory and that adds to the time because the process starts over on the replaced pins. Some harnesses are worse than others, Some harnesses like Mercedes Benz, for example, can take well over a year, this is because connector parts are hard to find and there tends to be more oxidation on the pins. So there are no set time limits, however, you can have your harness expedited at any time during the process. We always say restoring a harness is more like restoring a painting than rebuilding an alternator. We have Bronze (start level), Silver, and Gold production lines if you need it sooner, click the link for more information.

Is there a refund if I decide I want to cancel the order?

This is custom work and there is a lot of labor that goes into it. Once we start on a harness we cannot return it to the condition it was in when a customer sent it to us. Because of that, we cannot cancel an order, however, we can return it “as-is”, that is the condition it is in at the time the customer wanted to cancel it. If there were any unused funds, after shipping and costs to that point, they would be refunded.

Can you build me a new harness?

Yes, in some cases, but it would be very expensive and the quality would be very low. To build a new harness it would require us to buy aftermarket reproduction connectors. That would be expensive, but the larger issue is that the quality would be very low due to the low quality of the aftermarket connectors. It is always better to rebuild a harness than build a new one, both in quality, and price.

I am doing an engine swap, can you join the two harnesses together?

Yes and we can make any upgrades, remove unneeded components, modify it in any way you need, and make it look factory.

I bought a used harness for my vehicle but it does not fit or is not working, can you help?

Wiring harnesses are not like any other part of a vehicle, it is very common for a harness to be one year only in production. This is because of changing technology or emissions regulations. The harness is one of the most expensive parts and one place that the manufacturer tries to save money. The customer is constantly in the research and development department. This is the reason why they only support harnesses for 7 to 10 years. It would take up a lot of shelf space to support them. Even though a body style, engine, transmission, and accessories did not change for, say five years, there may have been 4 different harnesses. We can take the harness you have and make the necessary changes so that it will work with your vehicle. However, the best way to do this is to use parts from your harness and the used harness that you have found.

Can you find a harness to build for my vehicle?

Usually yes, the problem is this, harnesses tend to oxidize faster when not in use. Also when someone needs that one connector for a vehicle that they have, they cut it from a harness when they are browsing the wrecking yard. And finally, rodents love to eat the insulation on a soy-based harness, so your harness is likely to be in better condition than the one we find. There is the problem of finding an exact match, we recommend this, we find a core, build it, and have you send in your harness so we can double-check that it is an exact match.

My harness is missing insulation or it is brittle and flakes off, why?

Thank the manufacturer for that! In the late 80s, they went to biodegradable insulation, the first round was soy-based. Then they learned that rodents love soy, round two. This time they changed the formula and rodents no longer feasted on the insulation, but guess what? Heat makes the second generation of insulation brittle, the perfect thing for under hood insulation, where it is very hot. The answer to this is to use industrial-grade wires. They are not biodegradable. The fact is this, a harness from the 60s through the early 80s, should, in theory, last 100 years, usually not due to other factors. That 20 years or so had the best automotive harness, but fuse technology was lacking.

Can you upgrade an older harness to modern fuses?

Yes, we can replace your glass fuse box with modern fuses and give you onboard relays and flashers.

My harness was in a fire, can you restore it?

That is a tough one, most likely yes. However, the wires next to the ones that burned will have overheated. That heat will result in higher oxidation levels. The deciding factor is if the connectors are damaged or not. If they are, then it is better to find a core harness to build and use your connectors as needed, if possible.

How much will you pay me for my harness?

It all depends on the condition, you will need to send it in so we can test and inspect it, then we can give you a quote.

Can you test my computer, sensors, and switches?

Yes, we are happy to do so, there is no charge for computer testing, but there are charges for some sensors and switches.

What is the harness on?