After twelve years of owning my 986, I have done a lot of modifications, particularly right at the start. One of my goals has been to eliminate all of the switch blanks on my dash. When I recently installed my radiator fan switch modification I decided to update some of my old wiring. I had never done much with electronics before my first Boxster modification, the OBC hack. Looking back I was eager to eliminate my previous liberal use of electrical tape, which can become a sticky mess after a few years in a hot car.
While I had the dash apart for the fan switch mod I inspected everything. I was happy with the quality of the intermittent wiper mod and half of the spoiler switch. But the OBC wiring, illumination wiring and the dash switch side of the spoiler switch needed work.
As you can see in the picture, I previously used uninsulated disconnects and electrical tape instead of heat shrink tubing. It worked, but I am kind of embarrassed to have had such low quality wiring in my Porsche. The spoiler switch got upgraded to insulated disconnects and heat shrink tubing.
There was nothing wrong with the illumination wiring, but since I needed to add an additional wire to the lower center console for my new garage switch, I decided to replace all of the illumination wiring and install disconnects to make all of the trim pieces easily removable. I also replaced some electrical tape I had previously used with zip ties.
I then got to my first mod ever, the OBC hack. I had used uninsulated disconnects and electrical tape with zero heat shrink tubing when I originally installed it 12 years ago. I decided to replace the entire wiring harness. The version is much more professional, and I replaced the grounding spade with a ring (the spade in the picture was replaced).
It's a pretty simple wiring, three wires, two to the instrument cluster, one to ground. In the picture, it terminates in two butt connectors, because I had already installed the two VW pin wires, so just crimped onto them when I installed this new wiring.
I also upgraded the OBC mod. I originally used a Footwell Light Switch, which is the switch most people use, however it does not support illumination with the headlights when configured for the OBC mod. The solution is to replace the switch with a switch that does support backlight.
The last wiring update I wanted to address was the spoiler indicator. I didn’t built this one, I purchased it from a guy in German that modifies switch blanks with decals and an LED. The light flashes as the spoiler raises and lowers and stays illuminated when the spoiler is up. The problem is that the wires for this indicator are inserted into the plugs for the instrument cluster with little metal pins and I broke one of the pins when I originally installed it so my light did not flash when the spoiler was being raised.
It’s a little thing, but I decided to repair it. First, I needed to fabricate new pins. The best solution I found was to insert the point of a safety pin into a very small gauge wire then cut the safety pin off with pliers. However, the pin I broke was at the end of a wire with two pins. When I tried to connect my new wire with two pins to the one pin that wasn't broken, the spoiler could no longer be raised or lowered. This is because the pins are actually the ends of diodes, which act as one way valves. By connecting two pins with one wire ahead of the diode, they where connected which caused the spoiler to stop working. Each pin needs it's own diode before they combine into a single wire.
Unfortunately, there is nowhere to buy diodes local to me so I had to order them. I also decided to make the diodes easily replaceable using disconnects. I crimped a female disconnect on the green wire that is part of the indicator light wiring and a female disconnect on each of the two pin wires. Now I can solder a diode to a wire with a male disconnect on each end and it will be easily replaceable if the diode ever breaks. This also allowed me to plug in the one working diode I have until the ones I ordered arrive.
With the dash done I turned my attention to the phone connector. I have used the switched power for the phone connector for several modifications: LED runnings lights, SkyBreaker wind deflector, iPod/iPhone power and now the latching relay for the radiator fan switch. I just replaced what was there with insulated disconnects and heat shrink tubing and eliminated some more electrical tape. It’s a lot cleaner now, my only concern is that I have a lot of wires jammed under my lower center console.
I only have two blank switches left the ones that would be used for seat heaters by the parking brake. But I think I can live with them, the OEM seat heater mod is ridiculously complex and honestly I don’t care enough to spend $2k on OEM heated seats. If I ever decided to add heated seats I will use the wiring I noted in an earlier blog post.
I should note here I only do modifications that are fully reversible and in keeping with the spirit of the original design. The only exception is when I spliced my air horn into the existing horn wiring. Every other mod I have done has been non destruction with no splices or other permanent changes.
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