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mmahon04 mmahon04 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 63
Garage
Review: Classic Retrofit Porsche 911 Fuse Panel

Hey all,

Thought I'd share my thoughts on the Classic Retrofit Porsche 911 Fuse Panel offered by our host.

Reason for Purchase

I've had to do quite a lot of electrical work on this vehicle, and continually coming back to the fuse box has made me loathe its antiquated setup. I hate not being able to find Bosch (GBC) fuses with ease, and any I do find are the plastic type. My A/C circuit had always had some excess resistance in it at the panel (usually ending up in a slow meltdown of the A/C fuse without popping it), making me want to replace that fuse panel.

Initial product/packaging thoughts

Product was delivered inside what appeared to be a poster tube, but much heavier duty. For a second, I thought I had received the wrong product. Packed to the hilt with paper, then also wrapped in bubble wrap. Appears to be of very high quality manufacture, and pretty weighty. I have few doubts that it'll hold up.

Installation Notes

My car is an '88 Carrera, with basically the works as far as electrical goes. All wiring at the fuse panel (coming and going) is stock. Starting with that base point, let me say that there is no way in hell this can be installed inside an hour, or at least I'm not seeing it. It's not as if I'm a novice at this kinda thing either; I've done plenty of electrical and mechanical work to a wide range of vehicles, from vehicle rewires to full suspension installs to HVAC work. ~3+ hours is what it ran for me.

The issues that factored into the time taken were sixfold:
1) My wiring was exceptionally tight for some of the terminals (little to no slack). Initial suggestions are to loosely zip-tie the panel in front of the stock equipment while you're installing. My wiring was much too tight to allow that degree of play, so I let it hang loose sans zip-tie.

2) The stock wiring terminates in ferrules, meaning these will have to be re-rounded to install or removed entirely for space constraints. I was quite reluctant to do this, as it would mean trimming some of the lines even shorter than before. As suggested in their installation videos and in pictures on their site, I did need to remove the ferrules on 3 lines though.

3) There are fewer terminals on the "hot" side of the fuse block. The stock 911 fuse blocks have multiple terminals (joined on the backside) to accept multiple lines per fuse. Case in point: stock fuse block for panel 1 has 5 terminals (all joined on the backside) feeding power to fuses 4-6. This block setup only has one terminal aligned per fuse, meaning that in some cases you're initially attempting to cram 3+ wires into a single terminal (if you follow the install instructions to a T). I resolved this by looking at which "hot" sides are bridged together, and spreading the wires across those if possible.

4) There are slight shifts of terminal locations. While the order remains the same, the exact location of a given fuse may be different than on the stock fuse blocks. Would not be a big deal ordinarily, but when, in my case, fuse 2 for panel 2 (high beams) is shifted about an inch and a half to the left and the wiring is tight, this becomes a big issue.

5) Bolting the panel to the car. Initial install statements advise using some grease to stick the nylon spacers to the back of the panel, but I found it unnecessary. My problem was getting the original bolts through the panel, keeping them in place, and aligning everything. The spacing between the fuses (which includes the bolts holes) is not even pinkie-finger wide. I ended up cutting 4 narrow strips of duct tape, to which I put the screws facing out from the sticky side, and pressed them into the channels between the fuses and through the holes in the board. This kept the screws in place and allowed me to line everything up without worrying about losing a piece.

6) The fuse box cover needs to be altered. One of the interior vertical ribs on the fuse box cover needed to be clearanced/cut flush with the box to avoid the relays on the board, and a horizontal rib on the side closest to the front bumper needed to be trimmed flush to not hit a fuse. Initially I used a razor blade for trimming, but in order to clearance the rib over the relays, I ended up using an oscillator to make short work of it. Without that, I think you'd be stuck spending some serious time hand filing, grinding with a Dremel, or trimming out bit-by-bit with a razor.

After installation, turned the car over, and I appear to have every feature functional. Radio, A/C, all lighting, power seats, etc. I'll have to give it awhile to see if I missed anything.

Final Thoughts
Regarding the product, it does what it says it does. Pluses there for sure. On the downside, I would say that I have some serious gripes about the lack/position of feeder terminals. Near all my problems stemmed from that; removing of ferrules to slim down lines to fit in fewer terminals, stretching of lines to fit in terminals that have been shifted, and when I ran out of room, having to confirm that I could relocate some of the "hot" lines to other terminals (if bridged).

It's late and I'm tired, but I thought I'd write this up while my memory is largely fresh. Hope it comes to some use.

Thanks,
Matthew
Old 09-23-2015, 10:05 PM
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