57 Chrysler Wiring

Wiring for the C is the most variable and hence the most controversial of all our cars. Two different harnesses / suppliers were used throughout the production year and it is not an “early versus late production” thing. The two harnesses differed rather distinctly in appearance as follows:

  • A. This harness used solid colored wires (no stripes) used non-insulated receptacle type terminals with white (which yellowed with age) colored plastic (not rubber) “shrink tube”, used the same white shrink tube for ring and spade terminals and virtually all these were tinned (zinc in colour) as were all flag terminals used at the regulator and rad. yoke terminal block. Ring, spade and flag terminals were crimp AND solder types.

  • B. This harness used many striped wires, used clear / yellowish plastic crimped insulators over all single receptacle type terminals, used black rubber “shrink tube” for ring and spade terminals and all these were plain brass (copper in colour) as were all flag terminals. Ring, spade and flag terminals were crimp AND induction welded.

    It appears that each harness came as a distinct package with no mix / match in specifications. It is important to note that all the flag terminals, for generator, regulator and rad. yoke terminal block in any one harness, were all the same. The two harnesses use significantly different styles of terminals at the generator armature and stop light switch. But all other terminals were the same configuration for both harnesses.

    All the plain brass terminals for the “striped” harness were manufactured by the company whose logo is, in fact, stamped into each terminal. From a reproduction viewpoint it would therefore be almost impossible to accurately re-create the striped wire type of harness.

    For the solid colored harness “A”, all underhood terminals were either solder-type or crimp AND solder type, which, with the tinning makes it unquestionably more rugged and corrosion resistant than harness “B”. This is the last year such widespread use was made of crimp AND solder type terminals in normal production. The instrument panel terminals for either harness were predominantly OEM crimp-type similar to most years.

    For 58 and later the trend was to universally switch to “Packard” type terminals with their characteristic snap-on insulator housings. Various suppliers were used but terminal specifications didn’t vary throughout a given year or number of years for that matter. It is both interesting and unique for 57 that the two distinct sets of terminals were used and it appears that it was the only year to use the white plastic insulation support. The 6 pole connector terminals and housing were manufactured by AMP and 57 was the last year they were used in Chryslers. With respect to all the above considerations, to say 57 was different is indeed an understatement!

    To further complicate today’s picture, all or most production headlight and parking light wires were terminated at the junction block with plain brass flag terminals. Some NOS (dealer replacement) solid colored main harnesses for C’s and D’s may exist with a mix / match of terminals but I have no clear evidence these were ever used in production.

    I think it’s safe to conclude that while all models in the Chrysler Corporation lineup made widespread use of the somewhat inferior “striped” harness only the C made widespread use of the “solid” one. From what I’ve seen, a number of its special but hidden features were continued for the D as well.

    Greg Leggatt