JBugs Video Series

1968-69 Beetle Wiring Harness Installation - Part 1:

1968-69 Beetle Wiring Harness Installation - Part 1

Video Overview:

One of the biggest sources of problems on Vintage VWs is the wiring. Original wires are 40 plus years old and are frequently cracked which can lead to shorts. Couple that with multiple wiring "repairs" from previous owners and you can have a recipe for disaster. Tackling a job like completely re-wiring your VW may seem like a daunting task but if you take it step by step and follow the instructions that are provided with our Wiring Works Wiring Harnesses, just about anyone can re-wire their VW in a matter of a few hours.

Video Tips:

Tools you will need:

8mm Wrench
10mm Wrench
13mm Wrench
Large Phillips Screwdriver
Linemans Pliers
Wire Snips
Electrical Tape

Click here for the next video in our re-wiring series!

Video Transcript:

Hi I'm Sam with California Pacific JBugs. In this video we're going to begin the installation of the Wiring Works 1968 to 1969 VW Beetle complete wiring harness. This portion of the video will cover removing most of all the wiring, and then running and hooking up the majority of the main wiring harness.


First remove the rear seat bottom and disconnect the battery. In the trunk, disconnect the turn signal and ignition switch wiring harnesses from their connections at the fuse box, relays, and main harness connections. The wires for these switches come from the bottom side of the dash on the cars left side of the trunk near the speedometer. Do not cut these wires as they are part of their switches, and these wires will be reused.


Coming down the front left "A" pillar the dome light harness can be disconnected from the door jamb switches, the ground tang near the speedometer and the fuse box. Do not pull the dome light harness out as it will be used to pull the new harness through the roof. Remove the wiper, headlight and emergency switches from the dash. Pulling the glove box insert out makes it considerably easier to access the switches when removing them.


Disconnect and remove every wire from the fuse box, headlight switch and relay, emergency flasher switch and flasher relay, wiper motor and switch, speedometer and brake warning indicator light. The various wires and harness to the master cylinder and horn, turn signals and headlights, can all be cut away at the body. The remainder of those harnesses and wires can be removed when the new wires are being installed.


Next, at the engine, we disconnect the wires at the generator, carburetor, coil, tail lights and license light. The wire or wires from the distributor to the coil can be left in place. With the engine compartment wires disconnected, we can cut down the main harness so it can be used to pull the new harness through the body. Cut the splits in the harness down to just the main portion keeping about a foot or two of the thick red wire.


Inside the car, we remove the left rear quarter panel so we can access the wiring harness that runs behind it. Disconnect the various wires from the main harness to the voltage regulator, the starter wire, and if the relay is still in place, the black wire to the rear window defroster relay. Leave the other defroster wires in place as they are not included with the harness.


Remove the driver's seat and pull back the carpet that runs along the driver's side heater channel and the front inner left quarter panel. Also remove the left kick panel under the rear seat cross bar. The main harness is held to the heater channel with the metal spring clips that can be rotated out of place, or gently pried out. With the main harness free from the body, we cut the harness at the quarter panel leaving enough left so we can to hold onto it as we pull the new harness through. We can remove the front portion of the main harness from the inside of the car, pulling out from underneath the dash, and through the front heater channel.


At this point most all of the wires should be removed from the car, the important exceptions being: the ignition switch and turn signal switch harnesses, the dome light harness, the starter wire, battery cables, which are in place but not connected, and the rear window defroster wiring.


Now prep the main harness to it can be run through the body. The middle of the harness had a split where the wires under the rear seat are. These wires can be tucked into the splits and bundled up tightly, then wrap the split with electrical tape, just enough to keep the wires protected. The loose wires at the front of the harness need to be taped up as well so they can be pulled through the body. On the front portion on of the main harness leave the thick red wire loose as it will be attached to the old wiring harness.


Back at the rear of the car, we are going to attach the new harness to the old harness, by looping the two thick red wires from each harness together, and then taping the connection with electrical tape. The new harness can now be pulled through the body. An assistant is helpful here to guide the harness in from the rear, and to make sure that the wiring split at the rear is aligned properly. While pulling the harness in from the rear quarter panel, keep pulling until you see the taped portion in the middle of the harness.


Now, un-tape the old harness from the new harness, so you can run the new harness through the body. The harness is going to be pulled through the hole at the lower edge of the quarter panel, and once it's pulled through the original grommet can be slid back in place. If your rear window defrosters wires are still in place, make sure it is pulled through the grommet as well. Unwrap the electrical tape around the middle portion that we taped up earlier, and pull out all the loose wires.


There will be seven loose wires from the harness its self, and of course the rear window defroster if that's in place as well. Run the harness underneath the rear heater duct and then into the groove in the side of the heater channel towards the front of the car. At the front of the heater channel, run the wiring through the hole in the heater channel, and into the trunk, at the grommet in place at the bottom side of the trunk. Install the spring metal clips to hold the harness in place to the heater channel.


Back underneath the rear seat we can hook up the voltage regulator, with the thick red wire with the 3/8 spade which is going to connect to the B+ terminal, the thin blue wire with the 1/4 inch spade connects to the #61 terminal, the thick red wire with the ring terminal connects to the D+ terminal, the green wire with the 1/4 inch spade connects to the DF terminal. There is also the brown wire which is going to ground it out at the mounting screw at the rear of the voltage regulator. The thick red wire with the 1/4 inch spade from the front of the harness is the power to the starter solenoid; it will connect to it later.


The black wire with the 1/4 inch spade from the front of the harness connects to the #86 terminal on the rear window defroster relay. The rear window defroster wire is a white wire with a 1/4 inch spade terminal usually in a black sheath. If you disconnected it earlier, it is going to connect to the #87 terminal on the relay.


In the engine compartment the wiring harness splits into three portions. There is a short harness with three wires that will go to the left tail light harness, a longer harness that will go to the right side that also has three wires. The longer harness is routed behind the engine along the firewall, and there a couple metal tabs that hold the harness in place to the firewall.


The engine portion of the harness is routed to the fan shroud. A factory fan shroud will have tabs to hold the wiring in place, as it runs past the coil towards the generator. The engine harness had two loose wires, a black wire which will plug into the positive side of the coil, and a blue wire with a green stripe which plugs into the oil switch.


The generator has three wires: a brown wire with a ring terminal, that is attached to a small screw at the back of the generator, a thick red wire that connects to the threaded D+ post on the generator, the green wire connects to the threaded DF post on the generator.


At the front of the car, in the trunk, unwrap the wiring harness and rout it up towards the back of the dash using the metal tabs that will hold the harness in place.


The black wire with a red stripe, the black wire with a white stripe, and the black wire with the green stripe, will be set to the side for now. The thick black wire from the main harness connects to the fuse box on the back rear terminal on the cars left side.


The white wire, one with a black stripe and one with a green stripe, connects to the fuse box on the middle terminal on the third and fourth terminal from the cars right side.


There are two thick red wires, the longer red wire with a black sheath will plug into one of the three, #30 terminals on the headlight switch. The other thick red wire plugs into a shrouded terminal connector which then plugs into the thick red wire with a black stripe going to the ignition switch harness.


The blue wire connects to the cars lower right side speedometer indicator warning light bulb. The blue wire with a green stripe connects to the cars lower left side speedometer indicator warning bulb.


The thin black wire is for the rear window defroster relay. If your car still has the defroster switch, it is typically located to the cars right side of the speedometer; you plug it into the switch there.


With that we finish the bulk of the main wiring harness installation. We will finish the installation of the rest of the harness in later videos.