The sleeves are dry rotted and it's not uncommon for big chunks
of the insulation to break away leaving the wires bare. Certainly
a potentially dangerous condition exists when two or more potentially
hot tempered wires attempt to occupy the same spot. Even when multiple
wires aren't involved, arcing and fusing of single wires is common,
especially when a six volt battery is part of the system as in T&C.
Six-volt electrics demand high amperage and low voltage, a potentially
rowdy duo when not held in check.
All of the scenarios mentioned above were present in the harness
of the '46 Woodie It made good sense to discard reproduction harness
featuring upgrades that will safeguard the owners' investment. The
company chosen to build the wiring harness was Narragansett Reproductions,
an automotive wiring specialist located in eh small community of
Wood River Junction in the state of Rhode Island.
Narragansett manufactures authentic reproductions of wiring harnesses
for just about anything on wheels from Ford 8N tractors to luxurious
Lincolns and, of course, a complete set for the '46 woodie. "We
haven't kept count, but I suppose we've built 20,000 harnesses"
says Narragansett founder Ed Pease, a mathematical engineer who
left his profession more than 40 years ago to concentrate on restoring
Starting in the mid-'60s in a four-car garage, Pease and his brother
Jack were soon riding herd over a 20-car facility. "We could
restore just about everything - but I was bothered that I couldn't
find the correct wires. Plastic and tape didn't fit our needs, "Pease
In the early '70s, a braiding machine was purchased to remanufacture
an authentic wiring harness for a Pierce Arrow. Thirty years later,
the restoration shop is gone and Pease and his brother have gone
separate ways but both remain in the wiring business. Jack runs
Rhode Island Wiring Services, Kingston, RI and Ed runs Narragansett
Recently Ed, at 64, took steps to turn over the day-today operations
at Narragansett to his son Eric. The younger Pease is an energetic
27 year old who has been officially on the payroll for nine years
- having gotten into the wiring business at a much younger age.
When he was nine years old, he designed and built a hazard-warning
relay for a '40s-era Lincoln.
When Eric officially joined the operation, he introduced the use
of machine tools into workflow to service customer needs not available
in the restoration industry. An example is a fixture he machined
to reproduce the injection-molded rubber insulators located in the
wiring harness of the '60s-era Ford. Currently, projects include
directing the shop into the electronic age by mapping all new jobs
with computer software.
Narragansett is a stickler for authenticity, matching the exact
colors, fabrics, etc., yet its wiring products feature materials
that are superior to the originals in quality and function. Modern
plastic-coated wires are used throughout, plus, Pease says "wiring
to a cigar lighter is typically inadequate. We upgrade to a heavier
Please click an image below for photos and more details from
the Woodie Resto article: