Removal of a Wiring Harness

by Susan Revermann
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power wiring image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

The electrical wiring in a vehicle is connected to a wiring harness which is, in turn, connected to the fuse block in the engine. This wiring is the equivalent of household electrical wiring and a fuse box. There may be times when you will need to remove the wiring harness and replace it due to damage or other electrical issues. Removing the wiring harness may prove to be more challenging than expected, but you can usually complete the removal process within a few hours.

Step 1

Open the hood, locate the fuse block and remove the center bolt that holds it in place. The square, plastic fuse block is typically located in the upper right corner of the engine compartment near the windshield. Disconnect the entire engine, transmission and chassis harness from the fuse box.

Step 2

Locate the bolts that run along the windshield and down the side and remove these with a socket wrench. The size and number of bolts will depend on your specific vehicle. If there are no bolts, find the seam in the dashboard, insert a flat head screwdriver and gently pry the dashboard off.

Step 3

Disconnect the A/C ductwork by grabbing the tubing and separating it where there is a seam.

Step 4

Locate the two bolts on the steering column near the wheel and loosen or remove them. These are accessible from underneath the dash.

Step 5

Remove any other bolts that are holding the dash in place and set them aside. Pull the dashboard down so you can see the wiring in the back.

Step 6

Insert a very thin, sturdy rope through the firewall hole into the fuse block in the engine compartment. Return to the engine compartment. Find the end of the rope and tie it to the fuse block tightly so you can pull it through and disconnect the wiring easier.

Step 7

Take several pictures of the wiring or write down which color wire goes where. This will be very helpful when reassembling the wiring. You can also attach labels to the wires so you can identify them later.

Step 8

Unplug all of the wires from the backside of the wiring harness and disconnect the master disconnect (fuse block) from where it meets the wiring harness. If there is a rubber sheath or bolts around the wiring harness, remove them to remove the wiring harness.

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