My review of the Painless Wiring Harness
I ordered the Pre-Terminated Wiring Harness (Part Number: 10110) for $389.95 from 4WD Hardware Inc. This is my review of the Painless Kit and the installation.
The bottom line: The harness is very complete. It even came with wire-ties (Zip-Ties), Light-bulbs, crimp connectors, extra fuses, ballast resistor, grommets, and other useful things that you will need. Other things that you should have on hand: Soldering iron, solder, shrink wrap, electrical tape, flux (the most important), a good wire stripper, a Jeep wiring schematic and any electrical items that may need replacing.
Before starting I did a check of my existing re-usable components. I ended up ordering: a new dash light kit, temp sending unit, oil sending unit, fuel sending unit, hi beam dimmer switch, starter solenoid and a headlight switch.
The Harness itself comes in three sections:
Rear Assembly (Tail lights and the fuel sending unit)
Dash Assembly (Gauges, Radio, Switches, Fuse Block, Dash Lights, Column)
Engine Assembly (Head Lights, Directional, horn, ignition, charging system, wipers/washer, backup lights, 4WD light, intake heater, oil sender unit, oil pressure sending unit, AC, and other wires that I have no idea what they go to.)
The Rear Assembly harness was the first piece that I installed because of it's simplicity. The kit came with the rear harness terminated with FEMALE weather tight connectors. All I needed to do was use the included MALE connectors and wire up the tail lights and plug them in. The fuel sending unit really only uses one wire (Pink). The rear assembly took about 2 hours.
The Dash Assembly Harness was great. All of the colors were based on the factory color code. It came with new bulb sockets already installed. The windshield wiper plugs were labeled but the factory switch wasn't labeled. I have heard people complaining about the instructions from Painless,however, the problem is with the switch not the harness. Painless even ran enough wires for the factory options (AC, block heater and the radio). I was able use some of these wires for my on-board air setup. At first, some gauges were not reading correctly, all due to ground problems. The dash assembly took about 5 hours.
The Engine Harness took the longest to install and caused a few head aches. There are really two main components to the engine harness, there is the light, directional, horn, wiper/washer harness and then there is the ignition/charging system harness. The headlight harness was awesome, it was the exact length, had the proper connectors and was entirely wrapped in Split loom tubing. The only problem that I had was that I forgot to run a good ground from the frame to the grill and this caused some interesting blinker problems that were very difficult to troubleshoot. I had to completely rewire the ignition twice. This is where having that multimeter is critical. Sometimes different color wires are spliced together in the split loom that maybe confusing. I ended up removing the split loom to make it easier. Wiring the ignition module itself is very easy because of the color coded wires. The only thing that I screwed up on the charging system was the black wire in the alternator harness. I figured that was a ground wire, but it isn't. I think that wire is for the Alternator failure light. The engine Harness took about 8 hours.
Keep in mind that this project requires alot of patience. Things ARE going to go wrong. No install is flawless. I had alot of ground problems because of my haste. Just because the kit is pre-terminated, doesn't mean that you will be finished in four hours, there will be some re-engineering on the fly.
During the project I burned out a soldering iron and had to run to Radio Shack for a new one and I used about 6 feet of shrink wrap. I love shrink wrap and hate electrical tape. Electrical Tape is a temporary fix and should only be used where needed. The same for crimp connectors, I just don't trust them.
I can't stress enough that patience is key. It's similar to building an engine, installing new gears or a new lift. If you rush and cut corners, you'll be fixing it again in two weeks. If you are not up for the challenge, don't half-ass it. It really sucks to spend $400 just to burn out the harness in a short time. IF done right, you shouldn't have to replace that harness again for a long time.
The total time for the project was about 20 hours. I did alot of the prep work [5 hours](removing the old harness, reading the instructions about 10 times) the weekend before.
I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five?