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Wiring Upgrades


Rich1

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What are the best wiring upgrades for a 240Z?

MSA currently has these upgrades as part of their sale: Headlight Relay Upgrade Harness, Side Maker Conversion, and Parking Light Upgrade Harness. Which is the most essential of these 3? Or is it just best to get them all?

Thanks

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I have them all. The headlight relay is recommended for all 240Zs, and especially so if you are going to use modern H4 headlights.

Parking light upgrade (also a relay harness) is highly recommended for all 240Zs as it helps prevent the common "melted fusebox" issue, which frequently starts from an overheated parking light fuse.

The Sidemarker conversion is a safety (visibility) enhancement, does not have any reliability benefits.

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I have them all. The headlight relay is recommended for all 240Zs, and especially so if you are going to use modern H4 headlights.

Parking light upgrade (also a relay harness) is highly recommended for all 240Zs as it helps prevent the common "melted fusebox" issue, which frequently starts from an overheated parking light fuse.

I would definitely agree. Not only that, but if you have the money I would replace the old glass tube fuse box with MSA's modern ATC blade fuse box. It is plug and play.

Saying that, the headlight upgrade would be my first purchase followed by the parking light upgrade.

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Thanks for the feedback, guess I will get them all. The fusebox upgrade also makes sense.

I assume it's also a good idea to replace the dash bulbs with the higher wattage ones...and upgrade to the higher output alternator?

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Just be forewarned that the 4 watt upgrade from MSA has fitment issues......

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27184

My upgrades (Headlight and parking light upgrades, ZXP alternator upgrade and the Sidemarker conversion plugs) are all beneficial to the electrical system and safety of the vehicle. The HLH and PLH will increase the brightness of the outer bulbs, making your 240Z more visable at night and increasing the ability of people to see you before hitting your car.

The SCP allow other drivers (to your left and right) to see your turn signal, in the front, better as all 240Z's front turn signals are below the bumper area and hard to see from the left or right. This and the ZXP alternator adaptor were Arne's Baby's. He brought them to light and I had the resources to make them, so I now make them and tell everyone where they came from. Thanks again Arne!!

The ZXP allow the upgrade to a 60 amp (81' to 83') 280ZX internally regulated alternator. This recharges the battery faster, gives a quicker charge (at lower RPM's) and helps to compensate for 40 years of wire degradation. It also helps clean up the engine bay a little.

You'll be happy with any and all of the upgrades. I, as well as Arne, Promise.

Dave

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Thanks Dave for the heads up on the bulbs. I figured since my dash was out of the car it would be easy to upgrade them, but after reading that thread, it looks like it may be easier to stick with the old 3.4 watt bulbs. Do the wiring upgrades you mentioned above make the dashlights appear brighter without the switch to the brighter bulb?

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The alternator upgrade replaces only the alternator itself and the external regulator. So any battery cut-off that isn't connected to the regulator or alternator wiring will still work fine.

The parking light upgrade harness may brighten the dash lights some, the amount of improvement varies depending on the condition of your wiring. Some people notice a significant improvement, my car (with its low miles and excellent wiring) the diff was very slight. If you can find them, you'l often also get improvement with replacement 3.4 watt bulbs.

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What Arne said.

The Parking light circuit consists of The dash lights, all 4 sidemarkers, front under bumper markers, rear taillights and the license plate bulbs, which totals around 19 bulbs.

So now you know why the fusebox and switch overheats so easily. All that power runs thru the fusebox and switch without the help of a relay, and that's what my upgrade does. It introduces a relay and fresh power wire into the circuit so the switch is only sending a 12 volt signal (less than 0.30 amps) to turn on the relay, to transfer the power.

The HLH or headlight upgrade harness is essencially the same thing, relays and power wire into an old circuit, reducing the amperage that would normally go thru that circuit.

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I got em all and the improvement was dramatic. I could SEE the road with stock headlights and I could finally read my dash gauges at night without waiting to pass under a street light. I got higher wattage replacement bulbs for the dash so it will even better when I'm done.

But now I'm considering LED's for the dash lights. What do you think Dave? Which are brighter?

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Depends on what LED's and where you get them. There have been write-ups on them here and bulbs are available at http://www.superbriteleds.com or here.... http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&Page2Disp=%2FBA9S6_specs.htm

If you wanna take the time to remove the green, half painted (at the factory) plastic domes, from the inside of the gauges, you can use a lot bigger and brighter BA9's in there and LOVE the improvement.

Most H4 upgrade housings are avialable from MSA, eBay and other sources. With the Upgrade harness in place, you can easily use a 90/100 watt bulb in there with NO harm to the system what-so-ever.

here's a good place to start but DO NOT get anything with a "Diamond" cut housing. They suck. I would suggest Sibies, AutoPal or similar units.

http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=7%22+round+h4&_sacat=0&_odkw=7%22+round+h-4+housings&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313

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Rich1, I can tell you from my experience since I posted in the thread Zs-ondabrain linked that the Eiko bulbs discussed there work perfectly. They're cheap too!

Be warned though, that one of the bulbs was DOA, so if you change them with the dash out of the car, try to figure out a way to test them before you reinstall the dash.

The gauges are definitely brighter with the 4W bulbs vs. the 3.4W bulbs.

I would probably not upgrade to the 4W bulbs without getting the parking light harness to take the load out of the fuse box. Higher wattage bulbs will just increase the current draw through that circuit, and the most people have so many issues with their fusebox already...

It's definitely good that you intend to do all the fixes at once.

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One final thought--any suggestions on upgrading headlights? How are the H-4s sold by MSA?
Over the past 35 years, I have personal experience with at least 10 different brands of H4 lights in the 7" round size. All of the cheap, clear lens lights (technically called MSR for Multi Surface Reflector) are - as Dave noted - crap when compared to good, name-brand H4s. (I will admit to the clear lens MSRs being a bit better than sealed beams, though.)

The very best I've used are Hella E-code (not the DOT approved version). Good range, broad pattern with minimal shadows. Cibié, Bosch and IPF are all quite good as well. Auto-Pal, Wipac, Lucas, Stanley and Carello are decent, but not quite as good as those top four brands. The DOT-approved Hellas are in the decent group as well.

What about projectors?
I'm not aware of any true projector H4 lights in 7" round. Indeed, an H4 bulb won't work properly in a projector assembly.

"Projector-look" H4 lights are a sales gimmick, and rank with the cheap MSR garbage.

Edited by Arne
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