Audi S6 Harness Swap

You come to a point in a project where it is clear that this is no longer reasonable or worthwhile. That time came when I removed the carpet from this car and saw the state of the wiring. I had purchased a wiring harness just in case I ever needed to splice something in. It turns out I am going to need that wiring harness sooner rather than later.

After pulling the carpet I got to removing the wiring harness. The initial plan was to remove just the radio harness and replace it as it had loads of splices in it and was overall destroyed. When I found these same splices and unsafe wiring throughout the car a decision had to be made to proceed with a complete wire harness swap.

These pictures may be a little disjointed at times and repetitive. I took hundreds of pictures for my own reference when I am re-wiring everything.

You can see above and below a plethora of splices. Just look closely and you will be amazed.

You can see all of the in-line splices and such. You can also see that at some point someone had taken a lot of the tape off of some of the wires and made a mess of it. The car has clearly been gone through before by at least one person and when putting it back together they did not show much care. A lot of the panels have broken or cracked plastic clips.

At this point I am starting to get somewhere. The first pictures you see near the top of the post contained pictures while I was taking apart the floor clips and generally taking in the cluster that I have unleashed upon myself. The pictures going forward will document the un-wiring of the car.

Check out the state of this mess...

Moving up to the fuse box in the engine bay.

Something tells me this relay is not OEM? The wiring you can see attached to nothing is part of the windshield wiper sprayer.

Also had to go up front and remove some cables from the ABS pump.

Later, possibly this coming weekend, I will get the engine bay stripped. I need to buy some shelving to store all of these parts.

Back to the interior!

Getting to the point where it is almost ready to start pulling out!

You can really see how incredibly untidy the wires were when you look at how clean it can be. That being said, this many wires in this small of a location is always going to be difficult to work with. I am at the point now where I am ready to move to the back of the car and start getting that torn apart.

Here is one of the rear door handles:

It's like this on both. I have no idea if this is stock or not. I highly doubt it, but the solders are pretty darn good, so it is possible.

Much less complex in the rear doors than the front. I'm going to try to keep the foam but I will also likely run some sound deadening inside these door panels. There are also several clips that are broken, but that is just life with these.

Moving rearward to the hatch. There was only one splice toward the connectors. The real damage was done toward the bulkhead, though.

The pictures are dark and dingy just like my garage was when doing this.

What appears to be the Chernobyl Elephant's Foot. I don't know if this is stock or not, but it is disgusting.

License plate illuminators. Probably replace these with LED bulbs if I can. They are super crusty and have probably only been taken out once, if that.

The harness wasn't moving through the hatch like I wanted so I just cut it. I felt bad doing it, but it needed to be done. This harness was never going to be used again anyways except for spare connectors possibly.

Fast forward a week and it is now Sunday. Time to get back at her a little! Started with more disassembly of the rear end and doors.

As you can see, this is a lot more work than I initially thought. A normal person would have stopped and just thrown in the towel but I am determined to get this thing restored to how it should be. You may notice that the lighting changes with some pictures and that is simply because some are taken with the flash and some are not. This was at midnight and light was sparse.

The were only a few wires up top in the headliner and running up the D pillars. In fact, they were essentially just a few vacuum lines and antenna cables.

This is the antenna repeater as far as I know. Probably super old tech. I wonder if there is a way to replace this with something new? I'd love to have a much better, modern antenna if possible.

Sorry about these blurry pictures, it was the best I came away with. The rear lightbulbs have a super cool mechanism that is just a single turn of a knob and it unlocks them from the housing, making it very easy to change bulbs!

More absolutely disgusting wiring and such. The amount of oil buildup from the glue over the years is awful. Before putting in the new harness I will remove all of the old tape as this stuff smells and coats everything it touches in slime. What you can see in that last pic above is the sub-harness for the rear hatch. Turns out you can just replace the hatch harness! You can see in the pics below where those cables tuck up to. I have no idea what this green canister is.

Down in the back was some sort of multimedia serial type connection. I wonder if it was for a sort of cd changer or something similar?

Again, more disgusting oily crap. Ugh. It's EVERYWHERE. This whole thing is going to need a very deep clean.

Now onto some final bits in the rear end! I take off the last two trim pieces on the rear hatch area and get the lines out. There is so much cabling everywhere!

Those last three pictures show everything now being in front of the rear seats. Huzzah! For my next trick I take those wires and put them in front of the rear bench area, into the main cabin. I also finally got to the passenger rear door!

Please enjoy the carnage which is the current state of this car. It is absolutely awesome how many wires were used to do every little thing in these cars. People don't really consider the tech that goes into a 1995 car, but this thing was LOADED!

At this point we move forward to the engine compartment. This is where it gets both greasy and annoying. There are so many little things to take apart and break in the process. The task is certainly daunting but I have no doubt that this car will one day be back together as it is was meant to be.

Time to get these reservoirs out! That's pretty simple but also pretty messy.

This is a lot of pictures, but it will help me in the future when I put it all back. There are also tons of fasteners to undo and little finicky cable things. Next up is the mineral oil reservoir and window fluid reservoir. These things were the dirtiest. There must have been some leaks over the 26 years of life of this car as everything is caked in grime. It is going to be very satisfying cleaning it all.

You can see above the motor to blow the fluid. I'll be replacing this if I can find one. It seemed to be slightly broken on the sensor side of things. It will be nice to finally have window washers again!

Next up: AC drier. This little cannister hides nicely behind everything. I am so impressed by the packaging of things in here. It's so well done with interweaving pipes and wires. Lines running through channels, the frame, and even some lines that are designed to run through parts of the reservoirs. Impressive engineering.

Well, that's out. I have no idea what this other little thing is but it seems to be the vacuum pump or some such.

Next: ABS module. This sucks because it means leaking brake fluid all over and dealing with all of the little lines. These lines are akin to medusa's snakes.

Check out the wiring on there! It is enclosed in the case, which is strange, but I guess makes sense for protecting the leads.

Next I removed the brake bomb, aka the brake pressure accumulator. This device controls both the power steering and the brake pressure.

Pretty simple. Cool mounting system as well! I know this one is brand new because I installed it when I got the car!

My final trick for this side of the bay is to remove the brake fluid reservoir and master cylinder. It's pretty gross inside. I may see about getting an upgraded master cylinder for the large brakes that are installed.

Just a few more wires that needed to be unplugged and untangled. A few cable ties snipped and we were ready to pull the wiring through the firewall. Also, check out the little orange thing. I believe it is part of the vapor venting for the fuel system.  

Next up we pull the wires through the firewall! This was a little difficult at times as the lines got caught up on things. Luckily I didn't need to be incredibly careful as a lot of it is going in the bin anyways.

As you can (maybe) see, the wires are now pulled through. All that is left is to untangle everything and get it out of the car. This requires removing a few more wires from the overhead controls (light, sunroof motor, etc.). In the process of this I broke a clip off from the trim. This is pretty much worst case scenario. I guess I can probably glue it back on but super frustrating.

Such a perfect overhead panel ruined by the screws.

Check it out! Almost clear of wiring now! I will tidy up a few more things and then get to cleaning the floor to bare metal. I am going to end this post here and make another one in the future as this has gotten super long.