Dashboard Diary, Chapter 5
Finally getting near the end of installation of the BulldogSecurity RS-102 remote starter, we now have to run circuits from the dashboard out under the hood for the interlock shutdown and tach connections.
The interlock is a lead that'* grounded by a pin switch whenever the hood is opened, so that the starter doesn't crank the engine if the remote transmitter is accidentally pressed while you're working under the hood.
The tach connection allows the controller to detect engine startup immediately, and light the parking lights right away as confirmation. Without this connection, the controller cranks the starter for a second or two, then releases it and waits to detect a voltage surge from a running engine. This is less accurate, takes longer, and doesn't give you parking light confirmation for 10 seconds.
So I've got two wires I need to get through the firewall someplace, and route them round to the front. The pin switch needs to go under the hood somewhere up front; the tach connection needs to go all the way round to the front right corner of the engine where the coil pack is.
In the firewall to the left of the steering column are two large grommets for passthroughs. The outer one has some large thing like a vacuum hose in it; the inner one passes the hood release cable through. Picked the inner one since it'* easier to reach on the engine side. Folded a length of small-gauge solid wire over the end of a small, sharp, flat-bladed screwdriver and shoved it into the rubber sleeve of the passthrough grommet under the dash, next to the hood release cable. The sharp tip on the screwdriver punched a hole in the end of the sleeve on the engine side and pushed the wire on through. I would then use the thin, solid wire to pull the two stranded wires on through. It was still a really tight fit, so to make sure the stranded wires would stay tied on to the end of the solid wire that I was using as a puller, I actually soldered them on, then yanked really hard on the wire coming through under the hood, and it pulled the two stranded wires through the firewall grommet for me.
Put the wires inside a length of black plastic split-loom conduit so it would match the other wiring under the hood. Routed it along the driver'* side wheel well with some other cables, past the air pump and through a gap in the radiator support behind the left headlamps, then along under the hood latch. On the front edge of the radiator support right next to the hood latch are two holes about 1/2" or so in diameter. Mounted the pin switch in one hole and ran a nylon cable tie through the other to secure the conduit where the interlock wire came out. The conduit continued on past that point and through the gap between the right headlamps and radiator support. The tach wire emerged at that point to jump the gap over to the coil pack. I put a male-female spade lug connection in there so the tach lead could be disconnected if the engine needed to come out, and soldered the tach lead to the white wire of the coil pack (lead E, fifth from the _right_ end).
Trickiest part of this step was getting the height of the pin switch just right so that the hood would press it down when latched, but wouldn't either squish it flat or miss it altogether, but using the pre-punched hole was near-perfect to begin with, and I could see it through the grille as I lowered the hood to make final adjustment.
Secured the conduit at various places along the way so it would stay where it was supposed to, and closed the hood. In our next chapter: We finally get the car to start itself. Sort of. Okay, we had some last-minute problems to sort out. Stay tuned!
-- Andy Green