SaabCentral Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an 86 turbo with a wiring harness that is disintigrating. The insulation is completely rotten and crumbling leaving many wires bare. I'm honestly surprised it runs and I'm always nervous doing anything in the engine bay.

I'm considering my options to repair this for the long term. At the moment, I'm mainly concerned with getting the engine harness in good shape--e.g. the harness that goes from the ECU to injectors and sensors. (I'm more willing to deal with the lights, fans etc as issues come up)

Here is what I've come up with.

1. Looking at the bentley, it seems that only harnesses from MY 85 & 86 will be compatible. Unfortunately, this seems to leave me only with other harnesses which have the same sub-grade insulation

2. I could pull the harness and rebuild it with new wire. I assume I would have to re-use the old connectors. How feasible is this?

3. Pull a harness from a much new car and figure out what to rewire to make that work. Has anybody done this? Would it be relatively simple or too complicated to be worth the effort? I am pretty handy with a soldering iron..

4. Sell the car

I would love input or suggestions on any of these. What do you think is the best option? I know others have experienced issues with the early subgrade wiring--how did you handle it?


thanks,
arnold
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,190 Posts
1: Harnesses from any '85 will most assuredly be worse than what you already have. Some '86 harnesses are just fine, so perhaps that's an option worth exploring. I've got 2 '86s and the wiring in both are as good as any later year, but my '85 has the biodegrading insulators, so I know good '86 wiring harnesses are out there.

2: There is a tool available that allows you to pull the pins out of the connectors to reuse them. I don't know it's name, but I'm sure someone around here does.

3: This option seems like just as much work as option 2, so I'd just do option 2 instead.

4: Every 20+ year old car will have issues of one sort or another. You may just trade one manageable problem for another unknown problem that is even more difficult to deal with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
Yeah, as far as I've heard, the '85 cars were the only ones with the biodegradable wiring. I personally have an '86, and even the wires that see tons of heat and/or water aren't degraded at all. I'd go find another '86 harness if I were you.

If your car's been parked for long periods of time with the hood open, soaking in UV rays through the high-altitude colorado atmosphere could have damaged any wire, regardless of year it was made. I have a friend who lives in Dryden, WA, (dry clime and higher alt), and he says he can't leave his parts cars' hoods open or the coolant tanks and wire casings turn to powder after a month :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. You two were right. I found another 86 at the pull-a-part this morning whose harness was in MUCH better shape than mine. I guess I was too quick to assume they would all be rotting away. Makes me wonder what happened to mine that's put it in such bad shape.

The donor I found was a non-turbo unfortunately so I was only able to get the engine/ecu harness(I think they are compatible). I guess I'll have to wait to replace all the APC wiring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,078 Posts
Makes me wonder what happened to mine that's put it in such bad shape.
Your '86 might have been built during the '85 model year and re-titled as an '86 - not an uncommon thing for dealerships to do with cars that don't fly off the lot .... especially when there aren't significant changes between the years!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think you're right Steve. After about an hour staring at my new harness, the old harness and the bentley wiring diagram, it seems that the A/C is wired as for model year 85. Not sure yet what I'm going to with that.


Also, does anybody know what the sensor is that is located between injectors #1 & #2. I'm not talking about the cold start sensor. This one doesn't have a multi plug, just individual wires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,720 Posts
As far as the AMP connector are concerned, go to Summit Racings website and look for the 3 item set of connector tools. For the majority of the AMP connectors this kit will work.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/PCO-0660PT/

AND IT'S CHEAP!!!!! (Relatively speaking):D.
Note: I am saving older harness wires to splice in to keep my original colors. Perhaps a quick look at some other year wiring diagrams will show colors and lengths of run that will be usable. On that note also keep in mind that general harness connectors may change type with model year so new pins/contacts/connectors may be needed. For us in the US, try http://www.eagleday.com/ for the connectors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,190 Posts
Your '86 might have been built during the '85 model year and re-titled as an '86 - not an uncommon thing for dealerships to do with cars that don't fly off the lot .... especially when there aren't significant changes between the years!
One quite significant visual change from '85 to '86. The introduction of the side markers. If you have side markers, you have and '86. If you don't, you have an '85.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For us in the US, try http://www.eagleday.com/ for the connectors.
great website. I've decided to search out good used harnesses rather than rebuilding but that's a great resource nonetheless.


One quite significant visual change from '85 to '86. The introduction of the side markers. If you have side markers, you have and '86. If you don't, you have an '85.

Well, I do have the side markers which leaves confused as to why the A/C is wired like an 85. I guess it doesn't matter since it didn't work anyway.


Using the non turbo engine harness worked perfectly. Car fired up first try. If anybody else ever tries this, the only thing to be aware of is that there are two brown and white wires that come off the fuel pump and ECU relay pack. On a non-turbo, these wires are connected together. On a turbo, they connect to two similarly colored wires that go into the dash (I believe going to the overboost cutoff switch).

If your car is a 5 speed and your donor is an automatic, you'll need to unhook a single wire black connector that is in the loom near the ECU. This wire connects pins 11 & 15, which should only be the case for an auto. This is my understanding of the schematics anyway, ymmv.


This little project was definitely $30 and 8 hours well spent. Just removing the old harness caused most of the insulation to fall off. I honestly can't believe the car was running as well as it was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
918 Posts
I assume your APC box is in the normal, '86/up fender liner location? Just trying to get a bearing on how your car is wired...

I just pulled a LH2.2 wiring harness from an '88 I parted out to have in stock in case the one in my '85 grenades. Guess I'll have to go over schematics and check out the differences!

FWIW, I'm already running the ECU from the '88 which works great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I assume your APC box is in the normal, '86/up fender liner location? Just trying to get a bearing on how your car is wired...

I just pulled a LH2.2 wiring harness from an '88 I parted out to have in stock in case the one in my '85 grenades. Guess I'll have to go over schematics and check out the differences!

FWIW, I'm already running the ECU from the '88 which works great.

Yes, my APC is on the driver side fender. Fortunately, the LH system and APC system are completely separated(more or less). This definitely simplified things. Replacing the harness that runs from the ECU to the engine is really not that complicated. The hardest part was getting the power steering reservoir back on.

Thats very interesting you can run an 88 ECU. Was that a simple plug and play?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,905 Posts
I think it comes down to late or early build during production My guess is a build date (found on door jamb sticker) of 1985. My 85 SPG is a late build of around March or April of 85, I think Aug 84 would be considered an early build 85.

Let us know the build date of your 86.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think it comes down to late or early build during production My guess is a build date (found on door jamb sticker) of 1985. My 85 SPG is a late build of around March or April of 85, I think Aug 84 would be considered an early build 85.

Let us know the build date of your 86.

It says 10/85.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,078 Posts
One quite significant visual change from '85 to '86. The introduction of the side markers. If you have side markers, you have and '86. If you don't, you have an '85.
Quite true - but it could be an engine harness from '85 - when model years change the car companies don't just chuck left over stuff - they adapt and use it as they can. If the insulation is falling off the wires it's still the bad stuff. Out of curiousity, has anyone checked painless for a solution? They make replacement and custom wiring harnesses - pretty popular in the VW and Jeep worlds (along with American muscle car restorations) - I never looked to see if they offered Saab replacments. Not sure what the cost would be BUT I do know that when you get a harness from them, the color codes are OEM, the connectors are correct and the wire lengths are spot on. www.painlesswiring.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It's interesting because not all of the wiring is in bad shape. For instance, in the engine harness, 90% of the wires had insulation just falling off of them but there were a few that were just fine. Everything under the dash looks brand new. Most of the headlight and APC wiriing seems pretty good. But where the door harness enters the door it's pretty destroyed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,078 Posts
The engine harness on my '85 8V NA was in pretty sad shape when I got it - I removed the harness, laid it out on plywood, traced it and re-created it with new 12GA (and 14GA, where appropriate) wires - if I still had the 4*8 sheet of plywood I'd donate it to the cause but it became a model RR base (IIRC) - it was a major PIA - but when done I no longer had electrical issues with my Saab. Note - mine was NOT a turbo - but still had the wonky wires in the harness - while this trait is attributed to '85T's only I suspect the supplier was used for multiple years and models. Re-doing it isn't that big of a deal (especially if it's not a daily driver) - getting the correct connectors and such - well - use a company like painless as a source - the AMP connectors should all have part numbers molded into them - and the tools to attach them aren't that expensive.
Best of luck

steve
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top