Project Regress- Build vs Buy--the saga continues



Master Mechanic
Feb 20, 2018
One of the consequences of moving from a floor mounted auto-stick to a four speed manual is that you get to deal with leftovers. In this case the leftovers are holes of various sizes, one of which was necessary to get the shifter cable through the tunnel so it could be attached to the t-mission.
For my purposes, this particular leftover turned out to be perfect for use as the access hole for the wiring harness for the reverse switch on the Muncie. Being about 1-5/8ths dia, it was just right in size to allow the plug through but left a lot of empty space due to wiring harness being only two wires.
This is just a brief pictorial of the solution that I designed and built.

So what you see here is the orphan hole that remained after the auto-stick actuator cable was removed. Just behind it is the cutaway for my Hurst Competition Plus. One option that did get some minor consideration was to bring the harness through the 4-speed pocket but with up and down shifting that can get to be a busy and dangerous place for a wire to be. Safer and quieter to use the smaller hole. Auto-stickers will recall that the cable did come with a grommet and retainer ring to secure it into place. Neither of those parts are currently ready to hand; they may have survived but their present location on what shelf is a mystery. Nor could they be used as is because the existing hole grommet is not large enough to allow the harness plug to fit through; and enlarging the hole would pretty much destroy the grommet. As a side note they are available new from GBodyParts and there is a link for them on another thread located elsewhere. Nice part, except you have to have the retainer plate to make use of it.


Which I didn't. What you see here are the classic implements to create what is known to all as a template. The base material is thin carboard; I cut up an empty box that used to hold latex gloves. The only two hard dimensions are the dia of the hole itself and locations of the two mounting holes in relation to the center hole. As you can see from the template at the upper right, the mounting holes are not symmetrical to the centre hole. This relationship shows up better in the picture of the finished retainer plate and gaskets. The rough drawing is me deciding on how much shoulder I should build into the retainer in order to guarantee that the gaskets will seal tightly and not move. The end amount chosen was 3/8ths+.


For the actual gaskets, the material of choice was a piece of thin rubber, maybe 060" or slightly thicker, from which I cut two layers. The original design only called for one but, to allow the harness through the hole in the gasket, once it had been punched out using a leather punch and keeping the hole as small as possible, a cut or slit had to be make from the hole to one side edge of the gasket to let the wires slip into place. This left an open or weak spot in the gasket design that I concluded had to be addressed and remedied.

The final design and execution. From left to right you see the metal retainer plate, the upper gasket, and the lower gasket. If you look carefully at the two gaskets you can see a thin line on each which is the cut made in both to allow them to slip over the wires. Those cuts do not line up. One comes in from the left and the other from the right. By being offset as they are, each cut gets covered or sealed by material from the other layer. Both the retainer and the bottom gasket are drilled to accept screws or rivets; not sure what method of attachment I will employ at this point-while the inner gasket "floats"; that is it is free to move around to get the best line up but is wide enough that it will still be securely held in place by the shoulder of the retainer. Although the angle on the picture isn't the best, you can still see the general shape of the retainer plate and the offset relationship between the center hole and the mounting holes.
There won't be any pictures posted of the fabrication of the plate itself. Summarily, the shape of the template was transferred to a piece of scrap 19 ga body metal and then a rough cut out was done using tin snips and patience. The center hole was drilled using a 1-5/8ths bi-metal hole cutter on a mandrel with the plate locked into place on the drill press deck. You can do this free hand but, be warned, the cutter can and will jam on you which means your wrists take a beating. With the center hole cut out, the rough shape was then refined using a b*st*rd mill cut flat file. As you can see in the picture, it still needs to be stripped and repainted. A wire wheel will take care of the paint and a little sanding and some foo-foo bomb love will hide the tool marks. Hidden under the carpet; never seen again.

And that was my fun thing to do on a Wednesday afternoon. (Good thing it was Wed., Thursday it snowed, and today it is cold.)

Phase two of this exercise will be to extend the wiring harness itself to mate it to the factory plug which normally ends, in an automatic, up at the steering column, being the plug -n that sits beside the neutral plug-in on that plastic slide switch that fits into the mast down by the firewall.


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