JBugs Video Series

1966 VW Beetle Rewiring Series - Main Harness:

Video Overview:

Wiring a VW Beetle may seem like a daunting task but with a little patience and some time, just about anyone can re-wire their own VW. Our tech is going to show you how to wire a 1966 Beetle in our next series so follow along and learn how simple it is!

Video Tips:

The tools you will need are:

Linemans Pliers
Flat Head Screwdriver
Phillips Screwdriver
Wire Cutters/Stripers
Wire Crimpers
1/4" Female Wire Terminal End
1/8" Ring Terminal End
"Fish" Wire (rigid chase or feed wire)
Electrical Tape
12 Volt Battery with Jumper Leads

Video Transcript:

Hello! I'm Sam with JBugs.com!

At the moment, we've got a 1966 Beetle in the shop that we're going to be rewiring. The car is nearing the end of its restoration and at some point, had been in an accident that crushed in the front left of the car. The damage is still evident inside the trunk but it won’t hinder the installation of the wiring.


We're going to be installing a Wiring Works WK-113-1966 wiring harness. The harness is made in the U.S. It is a factory length, factory color coded, and pre-terminated, original style harness. The harness includes an instruction booklet, all the main and sub harnesses, loose wires and connectors and it can be installed in a few hours by just about anyone. We'll also be installing a new eight circuit fuse box which for some reason comes from the manufacturer with the terminals out of place.


We'll rearrange the fuse box which takes a few moments with a flat blade screwdriver and a pair of pliers. We don't need to pull all the terminals, just the ends that we'll be moving. The single circuit fuses should be at the outer edges of the box. All of the bridged, single wire terminals are all pried up. The running light terminals, high beams, low beams, will sit at the right side of the fuse box inside the single circuit as it sits in the car. On the output, the lower side of the fuse box, the inner single wire terminal from the left will be swapped with the inner right multiple wire terminals. Both are removed. All the terminals are pushed and tapped back into place into the fuse box in their appropriate slots. In just a few moments, the fuse box is set up properly for the Beetle.


With the fuse box correctly arranged, we can head to the car and begin the installation. Here in the trunk, we can see some body damage which actually lifted the bottom of the dash in the trunk. This causes issued that will have to be addressed later. With the fuse box clip set into the hole in the trunk, next to the fuse box opening, a flat head screwdriver is used to make sure it is pressed into the hole completely. With the fuse box installed, we can now get to work on the wiring. Unfortunately, every original wire had been pulled out of the car before it was painted so we can't use the original wires to pull the new wires into the car.


At the back of the car, in the engine compartment, a stiff wire is fed through the body at the upper left of the engine compartment. With some effort, it pushes out of the left quarter panel inside the car. Now, the main wiring harness can be prepped by wrapping the loose wires at the front of the harness with electrical tape. All the wires are wrapped up leaving the long thick red wire loose. That wire is taped to the feed wire we just ran through the body. Inside the car, the feed wire is used to pull the main harness through the body. The harness is pulled until the split at the rear of the harness is at the firewall.


Next, the left and right taillight lenses are removed followed by the bulb holders. We use a battery jump box to verify what terminal on the lower filament bulb is used for the dim running light and the bright brake light. The white wire is attached to the dim running light filament terminal. The black wire is attached to the top turn signal bulb terminal. The red wire is attached to the bright brake light filament terminal. The taillight harnesses are routed through the hole at either fender. A taillight grommet is installed in the hole at either side of the engine compartment. The taillight harnesses are routed through the grommet and into the engine compartment.


Next, we remove the license light assembly from the decklid so we can properly route the wiring through the seal and through the decklid. This car has a later model license light bulb holder with a separate ground wire. The assembly is attached to the decklid with the two outer screws and then we can address the wiring at the bottom side. The loose brown ground wire, from the license light, is stripped, a ring terminal is crimped to the end, and the ring terminal is attached to the center screw to the license light assembly. The grey wire from the license light assembly is stripped, a quarter inch terminal end is crimped onto it, and a shrouded wiring connector is used to connect the gray wire to a separate sheathed white wire with a red stripe. The sheathed wire is routed to the top of the decklid and into the engine compartment where it is tucked up inside the upper lip of the firewall and taped in place. We close and open the decklid a few times to make sure the wire does not get pulled off the firewall and that it isn't loose to the point where the decklid pinches it when its opened or closed.


With all the wires in the engine compartment, we'll connect the left tail light sub-harness with three shrouded wiring connectors.

The black wire with the white stripe is connected to the black wire in the sub-harness.

The white wire with the black stripe is connected to the black wire in the sub-harness.

The black wire with the red stripe is connected to the red wire in the sub-harness.

The black and red wire is doubled and as it is the brake light wire and travels to the right side of the car after connecting to the left side.

At the right side, the wires are hooked up nearly the same as the left, the only difference being, the white wires have red stripes and are connected to a T connector that connects to a white wire in the sub-harness. The black and red wire connects to the red wire and the black and green wire connects to the black wire.


From the main harness, the long leg of the harness is going to be routed to the right side of the engine compartment as it is the wire from the ignition switch to the starter. A grommet is installed at the hole in the firewall and the starter wire and the separate sheathed red power wire is fed through the grommet. These two wires will hook up to the starter once it is installed.


Now, inside the car, the stiff feed wire is untapped from the wiring harness and the harness is routed through the quarter panel through the hole at the lower edge and along the heater channel all the way to the front of the car. At the left front kick panel, the harness is routed through the hole in the heater channel, up the inner fender well, and pulled tightly against the heater channel. The harness is pushed up, through the hole at the top of the front firewall and pulled up into the trunk. The harness is unwrapped and the red wire with the black stripe is attached to the 50 terminal on the ignition switch. The white and black and the white and red wires are attached to the lower terminals on the fuse box at the second and third terminals from the left-hand side of the fuse box as we look at, standing at the front of the car. The black wire is hooked up to one of the upper terminals at the top right of the fuse box and we'll take a break here.


In our next video, we'll continue installing the wiring and get to work on the front of the car where we'll install the front sub-harnesses to the headlights, turn signals, horn, and master cylinder. Thanks for watching, say hello or let us know if you have any questions, in the comments below. If you need a wiring harness for your vintage VW, stop by JBugs.com where we offer complete and main harnesses for most air-cooled models along with thousands of other parts and accessories for your VW.