Rewired the rear end.. Again. Plus other goodies - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-09-2016, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Rewired the rear end.. Again. Plus other goodies

Disclaimer: I am long winded and I add lots of pictures. You were warned. A few years ago I pulled all my carpet (after driving through a hurricane with the doors off) and bedlined the tub. When I did that I figured I'd get the wire looms that run to the rear out of the way so I extended them up and over the roll bars, under the roll bar padding. Now the time has come that I want to start messing with the roll bars so the wiring has to get moved again. My original idea was to put it back in the stock location, tucked up under the lip of the tub. I was considering using some sort of hard conduit for protection, but then I read somewhere that there's space inside the rear fender that passes from the B-pillar to behind the taillights. This space indeed exists, and with a stiff piece of wire, you can definitely fish a line through. So while I was planning all this out, things started going wrong in the jeep. The driver brake light and turn signal went out intermittently, it would work one day and be out the next. This suggested to me it was a wiring issue and I assumed somewhere one of my extensions was loose or shorting out. A few days before that, the steering wheel lights, controls and horn all went out. Which I think is a separate issue. Then a few days after, the battery died. And not just died, it died hard. I picked my son up from day care and drove home like normal. Went to leave again and poof - blackness. Like EMP apocalyptic deadness. So I figured the time had come to get to the electrical issues. I replaced the battery with a dual Genesis Offroad tray and isolator setup, and a pair of Odyssey batteries. I did this first because 1. it was the last of the reasonably warm weather and I like working outside and 2. I wanted a working battery to troubleshoot down the line. I installed the whole system but did not connect the batteries, in case a short in the system out back was somehow slowly murdering the last battery. I try to take pictures along the way, but sometimes it leaves a lot to be desired. I'll share what I have.
Old battery and tray out:

New batteries in:


Good quality stuff from Genesis. Instructions were clear, parts fit well, no complaints. Also while outside I changed the oil which I know is routine but it's SO EASY that I have to mention it. The Rock Hard 4x4 skid window, drain valve, oil 'catch pan' (more like a jug at this point), cartridge filter and ramps make this the cleanest, quickest oil change of my life. It makes me happy and I wanted to share it. With you.


With that out of the way, the cold weather rolled in and I rolled the jeep into the garage to start pulling things apart.
Fun:

Take it all off, yeah:

Strip!

Old extension connections. I stagger them now, to avoid the clumps and the possibility of shorts from the splices melting through the heat shrinks:

I tested each wire before disconnecting for continuity. It all checked out, 2012 Justin did a solid job. Actually 2012 Justin was a jackass, I did some weird ass stuff. Anyway. I kept testing and checking stock wiring, connectors etc. and finally found it. I had been using the trailer wiring harness to power the license plate light I have on the hitch. That bastard was corroded all the way through and shorted out the driver turn signal. Picked up a new harness from the dealer and popped it in. The bulb was porked at that point too so I replaced that as well. Presto, everything works. Still, it was time to rewire. I only took pictures on the passenger side so you'll just have to trust me that I did both. Access to the fender is tight at the B-pillars so I opened up a small hole:

You can see the fish wire in there that I'm lifting out:

Prepping the extension cables:

And through! View from the taillight hole:

Some planning (since the wires go through the tub the other direction now) and soldering. I also do the two-way-twist splice now, they don't add much of anything to the diameter of the wire:
(Additional comment here, my old soldering iron was crap so I went all out on this one. It is AMAZING and worth every penny)

The electrical tape there is what I use for organization. A strip here and there to keep everything straight. Don't judge my electrical tape. I used adhesive lined heat shrink on all splice joints for weather protection. This time I tried out heat shrink tape because the circumstances didn't really lend themselves to braided wire loom or regular heat shrink. I'm not terribly impressed, it's very stiff and not pretty, but it should hold up. Used the stock grommets and ran everything as simple as possible to the tailgate and sub (and the washer and wiper motor on the driver side):


I think it came out pretty slick, zero exposed wiring behind the B-pillars. I'm going to do the xm antenna and sound bar wiring in some nice braided sleeve and heat shrink, that will be the only thing left on the roll bars. I have to figure out a solution for the CB antenna cable (which you can see above, it runs through the tailgate right now), but aside from those, I'm finished back there for now. Everything works and I'd be perfectly confident sinking the whole rear end in a lake and making all the lights go. I'm waiting on some 3 wire marker lights to integrate into the turn signals up front, and I'll be wiring in the Inspired Engineering LED headlights I've been running for a while (which rock my socks off btw) for DRL and turn signals. I have nice waterproof connectors ready to make up harnesses so the headlights, signals and marker lights can all be removed individually. Then I can plug the batteries in! I also have some thermal wire sleeving I want to add under the hood, every one of those corrugated plastic looms near the engine disintegrates into dust when I touch them. There was a bit of relocating things to be done for the battery tray and all that stock wire protection took a beating. But now I'm rambling. I think this is a great option for anyone looking to clean up the tub, that is all!
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-12-2016, 05:23 AM
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Damm that's a lot of work. But we all do things in our own way.

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If people don't take a stand now,you'll be bitches under their thumbs tomorrow.
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I think too much of a pressure variant between Earth and outer-space... lack of oxygen... something like that.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-12-2016, 06:38 AM
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let this serve to help and inform the many owners that attempt troubleshooting tail lights and/or turn signal intermittent and failing issues how simple, thourough troubleshooting can yield quick , if not labor intensive to correct , results on the cause.
OP found his issue was corroded trailer wire connectors that had been tapped into pretty standard duty as a license plate led power source and this was source of wacky electrical issues. Take Note : these JKs are buggy as heck where their electric connections are concerned . Check the simplest stuff first .

Nice , productive weekend, Justin.


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post #4 of 4 Old 12-12-2016, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j3ff3ry_j33p View Post
let this serve to help and inform the many owners that attempt troubleshooting tail lights and/or turn signal intermittent and failing issues how simple, thourough troubleshooting can yield quick , if not labor intensive to correct , results on the cause.
OP found his issue was corroded trailer wire connectors that had been tapped into pretty standard duty as a license plate led power source and this was source of wacky electrical issues. Take Note : these JKs are buggy as heck where their electric connections are concerned . Check the simplest stuff first .

Nice , productive weekend, Justin.
Thank you!
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