1966 FJ40: Switch Pros as main wiring harness? Anyone?? (1 Viewer)

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Hey all!

Before I continue, I want to alert the "purist" crowd to avert your eyes. My girl is in the resto-mod category with Chevy 327, some poorly thought out dash components, 17" TRD wheels with 255/75/17 tires, aftermarket heat, and disc brakes. Tranny is a 5 speed, though it and the transfer case are both Toyota. I bought it this way, other than the wheels, and don't mind the functionality of it. It is my daily driver, All that said, this is all hypothetical at the moment anyhow.

I am about ready to embark on a wiring re-do and have been considering the different harnesses available. I am NOT savvy enough to design and execute an entire harness on my own so I'll be using something like the JTOutfitters wiring harness. Or the American Autowire version is appealing. Painless also makes one. IF anyone has experience with the JT Outfitters harness, I'd like your take. There are plenty of posts on the Painless harness, so those opinions are out there. They are all based on GM systems and use those color codes for wires. There is a LOT of amazing wire being made these days and I could go with OEM color codes, but that means starting from absolute scratch. I'm sure I could build some of the sub-harnesses but I'd for sure have to pay someone to help me execute this. That s***e is expensive.

A friend of mine is into off-road buggies and he is trying to talk me into using something like the Switch Pros RCR Force 12 as the hub for a harness. It is an interesting concept and something I could actually do myself. I have ridden "adventure" motorcycles for years and always add a secondary fuse box for easy accessory add-ons. The Switch Pros unit is basically something like that on really pro-level steroids. These units are designed for exactly this purpose in the buggy and race truck world. They are robust and quite simple actually, as well as keeping wiring quite straightforward. I would absolutely trust the unit.

The thing that is hard FOR ME is that it does actually take away from the old school charm these trucks have. Doing it would make the start-up and driving experience more fighter pilot-ish. Start up would be something like this: get in truck, dis-engage battery kill switch, hit button for "main on"(would allow use of interior lights, gauges, horn, turn signals, reverse lights, wipers, running lights, and starter- all on their own buttons), hit momentary start button, hit light button if night time. Brake lights are wired outside of the unit and straight to battery. Keeping one simple thing like a traditional pull style light switch means dual wiring harnesses running side by side (this would really de-clutter the dash, which I also like). Light switches are likely one of the more complicated bits in these old trucks. I would like to keep turn signals on the column, so that would be something to figure out. Headlights, flashers, and any secondary accessories are a no-brainer on the Switch Pros unit. Stereo is tricky. In order to not lose power and have clock, EQ settings, etc lost every time you shut down the car, some sort of constant power would have to be separated out- low amp draw. Then when main on button is engaged, another button could be used to turn on the pre-amp and amp section of the head unit. I currently have a dual battery set up and could likely find a solution there. Even my single DIN stereo doesn't have a power button. It assumes you have it on all the time, so it needs enough power to just hold it at "idle" to keep basic functions running in the background when not using the truck. There is a provision for something like this on the RCR Force 12.

Buggies are more simple in the sense that they are most likely just sitting dead on a trailer in a garage until the owner wants to run it- keeping it secure in the parking lot while getting groceries isn't a concern. Then the start up sequence would be exactly as stated above. The thing with having this system on a daily driver is that you want to keep it so the truck has at least some level of basic security right? There are keyed battery disconnects, so that would work I guess.

I can see the appeal of the Switch Pros as a full wiring harness, and I like it because I could actually do it myself, mostly. Plus it makes for a really sano wiring job. It is quite easy in the sense that everything is in the engine compartment, with only 1 wire going in to the cab and to the dash unit. None of that working upside down trying to fish wires around under the dash and actually make it look intentional and clean. There is a hybrid system which utilizes a fore mentioned wiring harness, like that from JT Outfitters, and the smaller Switch Pros SP-9100 that would control all secondary lighting (driving lights, aux lights, reverse lights- 66 FJ's didn't have reverse lights, so that's a separate switch anyway). This way you have more traditional dash switches controlling lights, wipers, etc., and the Switch Pros for aux stuff, which makes sense. My 66 has a super F***ed up dash from the PO.. Someone was toggle switch happy and put everything on toggles. I have no original type switches now anyway. It's annoying the way it was done. Separate switches for left and right wipers, etc.. Plus I have a 160 mph speedo, which is super helpful. The original dash was severely cut up for some reason, and a big piece of steel was put over the entire dash to cover up big holes cut in it. I haven't un-earthed it to see the full extent of the F***ery. My guess is that it will be hard to salvage, but I'm gonna try. For this reason, and the fact that 66 switches are hard to come by, I'll likely have to do something "not OEM" anyhow. Maybe as simple as using switches from the 68+ model years, which are still available, with older knobs bought on eBay for huge $? I love the old school nature of FJ's and try to at least lean towards keeping it original wherever I can. The Switch Pros unit would definitely be a huge leap in the opposite direction in that sense.

Typing this has made me aware that I do want to keep at least some of it more old school, so I think I have my decision. I am curious though if any of you other resto-mod champions have gone with something like the Switch Pros unit and how you like it day to day? I could still be talked into it... I'd bet that the crawler crowd would have no issues with the Switch Pros direction as those trucks are likely trailered to their destinations. Not to mention, those trucks are stripped down to their bare necessities anyhow.

So it comes down to the day to day drivers of these beautiful old trucks. Anyone using such a system?

Thanks for reading the morning blather. Cheers to all you nut-jobs that have the "fever".
 
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Joined
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To me your dilemma looks less complicated than you might think....


If you were starting with an original motor and drivetrain...

If you had all (or most of) your original gauges...

If you had all (or most of) your original auxiliaries...

...I would suggest getting a copy of the year specific wiring diagram and repair everything back toward stock. That’s the retro old school way. But you don’t have that.


With what you do have...

... if you had a least some working knowledge of “Cruiser” idiosyncrasies, hundreds of hours of free time, AND a butt-load of cash I would put it back toward stock. Do you have those? I’m guessing not or you wouldn’t be looking for alternatives.


Now, sInce you do have a hacked up sheet metal dash, a 327, and the vehicle is a daily driver I would embrace your destiny: Make a nice simple base plate to fill in your cluster disaster, mount a bunch of parts store gauges in it, and get a painless harness. You can add back in a few year-specific switches and gizmos as time and money allows. I have a confession...

"Hi! My name is numby and I am a purist. I spent way too much time and money fixing up a junky old land cruiser that probably should have been parted out. If I had to do it all over again I would probably just run a GM small block or maybe a 292, an NV4500/205, and tons."

Whew! I feel soooo much better.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
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I'm in the same boat as you as far as having may non-stock parts (chevy 350, gm steering column, etc). I went with the painless system years ago and I'm glad I did. If you are going to keep it street legal, you won't need to figure out turn signal and hazard flashers, ignition, accessories, etc. Plus without a key, it makes it much easier for someone to steal your ride.

I didn't have all of the stock switches for headlights, heater, windshield wipers ], etc, so I added some extra dash switches for those items.

LC Dash 01.jpg


I then added an additional relay box for certain circuits like headlight high/low beam, horn, off road lights, and heater.

LC Dash 02.jpg
 
Joined
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slammer67, thanks for that. I like how you've made that sorta raised panel. Makes it look deliberate and is very thought out.

Do you recall how many "circuits" your Painless harness had? Seems like it had all the basics covered, then you added what you wanted on top. Good way to go.

thanks for the response.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
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I think it was an 18 circuit, but it's been awhile.
I built the panel for the switches out from the dash so I would need to hack the dash up to install the switch panel.

I also thought of using a switch pros setup for several of the circuits on the rig. But I was looking at the cheaper versions with the 6 or 8 button panel.
Amazon product
 
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ToyotaMatt

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73FJ40

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I'm in the same boat as you as far as having may non-stock parts (chevy 350, gm steering column, etc). I went with the painless system years ago and I'm glad I did. If you are going to keep it street legal, you won't need to figure out turn signal and hazard flashers, ignition, accessories, etc. Plus without a key, it makes it much easier for someone to steal your ride.

I didn't have all of the stock switches for headlights, heater, windshield wipers ], etc, so I added some extra dash switches for those items.

View attachment 2638148

I then added an additional relay box for certain circuits like headlight high/low beam, horn, off road lights, and heater.

View attachment 2638150
@slammer67

Could you point out the switch that activates the flux capacitor?

1617891435487.png
 
Joined
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I'm almost in the same boat. GM type steering column, actually flaming river push button ignition, dakota digital dash and no FJ40 switches. I did purchase the rcr force 12 for lights, head lights, wipers and accessories. Everything else will be wired to the EZ wiring kit from JT Outfitters. The flaming river ignition box and dakota digital should make wiring easier.

I cant give a recommendation yet as it's all still an unorganized mess on a 4x8 sheet of plywood in the garage. I think the most interesting will be getting the headlights, park and brights working on the switch pros.

I am brand new to wiring...at this level, but I watched about 10 hours on milspec wiring on HP Academy so I'm looking forward to the pain.
 

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