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I am trying to rewire my 1988 Chevy C1500 pickup..? Answered

I have replaced switches and  attempted to strengthen connections with electrical tape to no avail; and am now determined to fix the problem from the ground up. I have no experience with automotive electrical work and would very much appreciate as much detailed help as possible. My primary goal is to rewire my rear and front lights, as well as the door locks and windows.



If you intend to do this yourself (which I don't necessarily recommend), I would start by getting a repair manual if you don't already have one. Haynes is probably the most popular and I've had a few of their books myself. You can find them for sale online and at automotive stores, and may be able to check one out from your local library. They are very useful for a number of repairs.

Then whatever you do, start with ONE task at a time. Pick the job that seems the easiest for you to do, make sure you have a volt meter and the correct gauge wire (preferably in a large spool) and the right electrical connectors. Read the section in the repair manual and refer to all diagrams to fully understand what you are doing. When getting parts, bring your manual to the automotive store and utilize their knowledge and experience to ensure you have the right tools and materials.

Then disconnect your battery before making any repairs, and use an 'electrical spray cleaner' as needed (on existing connections). You should check the fuses as well, so having an assorted package would be helpful (even just to keep in your pickup afterwards).

Using the repair manual and the existing wiring as a guide determine your best method for running the new wire. Sometimes taping your new wire to one end of the existing wire and then carefully pulling the new wire in place by pulling out the old wire can be very helpful. Ensure that you feed the wire in the same manner utilizing any wire ties. Then using a proper wire cutter, cut the casing and twist the wire ends to attach them to the appropriate electrical connector. Ensure all connections are done in the same manner as the existing setup. After fully completing ONE wire connection, re-connect your battery and test the circuit. If you've succeeded the item you've wired (i.e. headlamp) should now work. If it doesn't, check other obvious things like your fuses and bulbs. Make sure you have something working before moving on to the next item.

Not only will completing ONE task at a time give you some confidence and knowledge, but it'll be your determining factor on whether or not you should continue.

Good luck. If you have any other questions, let me know.


6 years ago

That is a tough task for an automotive shop that used a premade harness on
my 1990 jeep. I took 3 returns of days and another harness before working..

I urge you not to try a full rewire, its far better to trace through bad connections
with contact cleaner and a cleaning Q-tip.