Archive for April, 2017

Why to stay away from American Autowire…

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

First off, this is in my opinion.  Being that I do a fair amount of electrical work, I pursued an account with American Autowire out of New Jersey way over a year ago.  I never received any type of catalog EVER even though I requested one FIVE TIMES.  That should have tipped me off.  They were well aware of the fact that we only deal in big Pontiacs.  I dealt with a person named Josh in Customer Service and Ray in their Tech. Dept.  So far, so good….

My first (and only) order was for something out of the normal scope of wiring for a 64 Pontiac Catalina. Lets side-step here a moment.  Having a 1961 Impala 2 door sedan, I needed to replace the front harnesses (both headlight and engine harnesses) and wellingtonclassics! had and still lists (as eBay 252444607179) a slick set of harnesses for 61 to 64 Impalas that not only has the front light harness but a cool (but simple) harness that allows you to lose either your generator or early alternator and go to a later model (70 on-up) GM built-regulator alternator AND a high energy ignition (HEI)  You can do away with the troublesome voltage regulators we mostly get now from China AND you get away from troublesome points AND it is built into a factory looking harness right from the get go.  OK, so I ordered  one of these sets from a friend of mine.

A bit of my history here.  I owned my own automotive electrical shop Las Vegas, NV from 1979 until I left Las Vegas in 1985. I had employees and rebuilt starters, alternators, sold 1,000’s of batteries and did tons of electrical work on everything from cars to Wayne Newton’s helicopter.

Since I am VERY FAMILIAR with both 61-64 Chevrolets and 61-64 Pontiacs and KNOW that outside of the firewall plugs (and a small variation whee the voltage regulators are mounted), these harnesses are the same damn harness. After a couple of calls to American Autowire, they agreed and made a “new style” harness for my Catalina incorporating both new features.  As with ALL 61-66 Pontiac front harnesses, they need your firewall plugs.  They un-clip your old wiring from the plugs and use new clips.  Chevy plugs are being made.  Anyway, I got my new harness and am about to install.  I had my good friend Doug Pauschert in Hernando Beach, FL call Josh and try to order a harness just like mine.  He refused saying they would not make the same harness as they thought it might burn his car down.  My harness did NOT have the HEI wire in the main harness they built.  It came with a separate 12 gauge wire to go from the pink wire terminal on the back of my ignition switch straight to my HEI.  For those of you of there, HEI systems require 12 volts AND a 12 gauge wire.  Your factory wiring is a ni-chrome wire that drops to 9 volts to run with a points system(like an old ballast resistor). You cannot run a HEI system off factory wiring to the coil.

I called American Autowire and spoke to Josh and then Ray in their Tech Department. Neither were able to explain to my satisfaction, their grounds or not making the new new harness for Doug.  Also, about the time, work was started on my former 65 2+2 convertible with Comfortron Air Conditioning for the new owner.  The car was going to need every piece of wiring new.  I requested pricing, lead times and whether or not they needed any of the weird plugs to do the job.  I gave them all the information needed.  I waited and called FIVE TIMES, and to this day, a year later, still have heard nothing.  I decided to call Lectric Limited in Bedford Park, IL (866-624-1850) to inquire about the 65 2+2 wiring.  Within 7 minutes, I had all the specs, costs and delivery times in hand.

I called American Autowire and spoke to Josh’s supervisor Dan.  I told him about how Josh had failed all the way around.  He promised me he would look into this and true to form, I have never heard from anybody ever again.  However I did hear from a person who still deals with them last week and I have been BLACK-BALLED from ever dealing with American Autowire. I was already done even when I was dealing with them!  It should be noted that Ames Performance deals with Lectric for all the wiring they sell.  I strongly suggest you consider all the above when you are considering choosing a supplier for your wiring.  Again, this is in my opinion.  LK 9/22/2018