Hey guys. I was recruited by a friend's friend to help with a new project. Well, turns out that it isn't much of a project. The guy bought a ******* awesome 1976 Bronco from ebay and the builders were BuildABronco.com.
The thing is stunning but it's really a 10 footer. Mechanically the entire thing is solid and the suspension work is great. The entire body is fiberglass and the floors are Rhino-Liner and the underside is completely powder coated.
But there is trouble. The day it was delivered it ran perfectly. All the lights worked correctly and it idled fine. The owner said that he noticed the power would bog down when he flipped the lights on or used the turn signals. Not a good sign. Two days after he got it, it wouldn't start. Nothing was working.
Fast forward to today. I get a chance to take a look at it for the first time. Under the hood I noticed a few random wires and some really shitty wire work, but nothing that would stop the car from running. I replaced the terminal connections on the battery and cleaned the **** out of the wires with a brush (just to be on the safe side, some of the wire work was hideous).
I asked him to help me pull the dash so we could see what we are working with.....OH MY ****. This is one of the worst wiring jobs I have ever seen. There are just bundles and bundles of wires wrapped together with electrical tape, random wires (grounds) that lead to nothing and everything is held together with either plastic crimps or just wire-on-wire with electrical tape.
I'm positive that the wiring harness is part new and part original, it's easy to spot whats been added due to the condition of the wires.
They(builders) added a radio to the Bronco and it's horridly spliced into the stock dash harness. The ground had a crimp connector on it with no wire on the other end
. Luckily it's obvious which wires are involved with the radio harness so I should be able to reverse engineer it back to normal. Oh, and it's completely cocooned in electrical tape.
Now, here is the funny part. We pulled the dash roughly 6 inches out with all the wires still attached...and the lights, horn and fuel gauge started working again....AND the engine turns over and fires, but dies immediately.
My main suspicion with the engine is the ignition key cylinder. It's extremely worn and the key will fall out no matter what position it's in. I think the cylinder is worn enough that it goes straight from "start position" to "off position". That would explain why the engine won't even rev when the gas is pressed for the brief moment it's running.
So, there are some electrical issues under the dash. You can see that the wiring has been moved from one side of the dash and just crammed into one location near the driver. It's honestly going to take me 2-3 hours alone just to remove all the electrical tape and separate the wires. HOWEVER, the good thing is that since it's really old, the wiring is minimal. There really isn't a whole lot going on with the Bronco. I can feel every connector and terminal connected to the dash by just reaching under it and once I disconnect the accessories I should be able to have plenty of access to everything when we pull the dash off.
So, mechanically, it's great.
Electrically, it's ****.
Plus side, it's old. Minimal bull ****.
*****, in my butt.
What I could use from you guys is some advice on what to look for. Anything obvious that missed or ignored, things you would look for or try, etc...
Thanks in advance. Please ask whatever you want.
Edit: My apologies for the cellphone shots. I will have a real camera tomorrow and will take numerous pictures of the wiring, what I'm doing, etc..