Will a 1990 wiring harness and computer work on a 88 MAF conversion? - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Will a 1990 wiring harness and computer work on a 88 MAF conversion?

Im switching over my friends 88 from speed density to mass air. I scored a 1990 wiring harness complete with A9L computer and fuel injector harness and O2 wiring harness. I was told I needed a 89 harness and computer because of a few differences with the 89 and 90 harnesses. Is that True? and can I make a 1990 harness work with this 88 or would I be better off sending it back and looking for a 89? This harness is as complete as they come. it even had the stock grommet that goes through the fire wall. with that being said, im not sure why I couldnt use it. Please help, I have to the end of the day to let this guy know if I want it or not. this is the link to a picture of what I bought.
A9L Computer and Wiring Harness 1990 Ford Mustang EEC IV | eBay

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post #2 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 08:31 AM
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I have an 88 Gt hatch, years ago I bought a kit from e-bay, and added it to my 88 harness, got a meter and an A9L computer, and it worked great for years.

I found thru searching, for a direct swap you need an 89 mas harness the grey and and black barrel plugs into the dash plugs, is what makes the diff,


on my conversion I added the wire, and pinned it in the computer main plug.
now i have my engine out, swapping to a 89 mas harness, tucking wires, painting the bay, I got that harness for sale pretty cheap if you wanna look at it, use it with all your meter an computer, would work. its in electronics


88 hatch 427 Dart FordStrokers,Tmoss ported SuperVic, Hi-Port 225's , Freezy custom cam, Pro-M engine management system with cnp,
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might be ready to dyno and run it by next summer of 2017,LoL I hope!!
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post #3 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 09:14 AM
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do a search here.

harnesses are year specific. they are not plug and play.

they can be made to work, its just wire and pin locations.

is it worth it?, its up to you.

the dash and engine harness will NOT interface with your combo without modification.

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post #4 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 10:33 AM
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Much easier to use your existing harness than swap them around. In the end, nobody will know the difference, so why spend all that extra time?
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post #5 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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I've seen lots if kits to use your existing harness but I'm just not sure what kit I need anybody or a link to exactly what I need?
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post #6 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 11:06 AM
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post #7 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Is that really all I need?
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post #8 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 03:27 PM
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You need the comp., a MAF sensor. The maf sensor harness that gets run from the maf to the computer, (should come with eec pins) swap 2 thermactor pins around in the plug, you need 3 extra EEC pins and run 3 wires over from the drivers side and tie those into the comp. as well.

(obviously there's more to it, but that's the basics)
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post #9 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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You need the comp., a MAF sensor. The maf sensor harness that gets run from the maf to the computer, (should come with eec pins) swap 2 thermactor pins around in the plug, you need 3 extra EEC pins and run 3 wires over from the drivers side and tie those into the comp. as well.

(obviously there's more to it, but that's the basics)
So if I follow these instructions on this link, and use the connector, I should be good right?
Mass Air Conversion Harness - Wiring & Accessories

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post #10 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 06:34 PM
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You can also get a remaned computer at auto zone for $100

A9l manual computer.... cardone part # 78-4352
A9p auto computer....... cardone part # 78-5895

Heres a link to some more part #

Fuel Injection Technical Library Ľ Part Numbers


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post #11 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 06:40 PM
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Oh ya, i might still have my stock mass air flow meter laying around in my garage some where, if you need it, you can have it, if you pay the shipping on it. I mean its just stock but it might get you by until you want to upgrade.
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post #12 of 49 Old 01-21-2013, 09:54 PM
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So if I follow these instructions on this link, and use the connector, I should be good right?
Mass Air Conversion Harness - Wiring & Accessories
That's what I did and worked OK for me

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post #13 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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I got a 1990 A9L computer. That should work with the 88 after the harness is re pinned right?
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post #14 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 10:14 AM
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due to the conversion by Ford to MAF for CA cars, there are two different configurations of O2 sensor wiring harnesses used in 87-88 cars. One set uses a 5 wire configuration and one uses an 8 wire confiruration. If you have the 8 wire configuration a wiring conversion kit will work well for you to keep the O2 sensors working correctly - just did this on my late 87 built 88 GT. Check the O2 connectors and count the number of wires in them. Other than that, you need to use an 89 harness. Rewiring the 90 harness to work is not worth it imho.

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post #15 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by R.etheridge View Post
I got a 1990 A9L computer. That should work with the 88 after the harness is re pinned right?
A9L is what's in mine. That's generally regarded as the best one to use.
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post #16 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 11:10 AM
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I used an A9L also, one thing not mentioned yet, I did my conversion, I pulled that big rubber plug, where the harness comes thru the fire wall, and ran the new cable thru there, That was a mistake I never did get the firewall sealed back correctly, so if you go that way, it'd be better to run it thru the fender, maybe drill a hole, big enough to put a rubber grommet around it in the hole.

I was going to fix mine, but I'm just going to tuck an 89 harness in there right, Good luck with it.

88 hatch 427 Dart FordStrokers,Tmoss ported SuperVic, Hi-Port 225's , Freezy custom cam, Pro-M engine management system with cnp,
Aero fuel pump wiring, alt upgraded wiring, Flex-a-Lite 52185 radiator/fan combo, T56 Magnum kit , built 8.8 rear-end 3:73 with 31 spline axles welded 03 Cobra center section.
might be ready to dyno and run it by next summer of 2017,LoL I hope!!
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Originally Posted by ndmus88gteng View Post
I used an A9L also, one thing not mentioned yet, I did my conversion, I pulled that big rubber plug, where the harness comes thru the fire wall, and ran the new cable thru there, That was a mistake I never did get the firewall sealed back correctly, so if you go that way, it'd be better to run it thru the fender, maybe drill a hole, big enough to put a rubber grommet around it in the hole.

I was going to fix mine, but I'm just going to tuck an 89 harness in there right, Good luck with it.
How many wires do you have to run through the firewall to the computer?
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post #18 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 03:03 PM
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How many wires do you have to run through the firewall to the computer?
just the one cable with the wires in it for the maf plug, if you can see the pic its that wire in the middle
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88 hatch 427 Dart FordStrokers,Tmoss ported SuperVic, Hi-Port 225's , Freezy custom cam, Pro-M engine management system with cnp,
Aero fuel pump wiring, alt upgraded wiring, Flex-a-Lite 52185 radiator/fan combo, T56 Magnum kit , built 8.8 rear-end 3:73 with 31 spline axles welded 03 Cobra center section.
might be ready to dyno and run it by next summer of 2017,LoL I hope!!
March 2018 new 2018 F150 super cab "Blue Lightning" 2.7 Twin turbo'd 10 speed automatic
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post #19 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I got it. I think I got a pretty good handle on this now. I'm just waiting on him to get the rest of the parts together
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post #20 of 49 Old 01-22-2013, 10:11 PM
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OK, I am going to post some info I found to be good - with the caveat that he says an 87 O2 harness is not an 8 wire - My car was built in late 87 and it had the 8 wire O2 sensor harness, so keep in mind if you have an 87-88 car that you must check the cannon plugs and count the wires - here you go........

87-88. Lets start here. The 87 mustang fox body 5.0 cars were pure speed density cars. This is the second year of the EFI fuel injection system and the complete make over from the 86 style interior and exterior. Some features of the speed density harness are the 2 cannon plugs near brake booster. One should be gray and the other is black. What I mean by "near the brake booster" means where that part of the harness would sit if installed. Also another feature of a pure speed density harness is thereís no provision for a mass air meter plug. Basically this would be located near the 02 harness cannon plug as well as the wide open throttle (WOT) AC cutoff relay. So just looking at those 2 things can pretty much tell you what kind of harness this is. Now moving on, in 1988 there threw a monkey wrench in the mix with the engine harness. Now an 88 harness will work just fine in a speed density 87 OR 88 car no problems with the DC or the DA1 speed density computers. However 1988 was the first year for emissions in California so pending on what the production date was for that 88 mustang harness depends on whether the harness got the extra plumbing provisions for the 02 harness. This will also effect whether the harness can be converted to mass air or not too.

02 Harness plugs. 1987 if you look at the backside of the female 02 harness cannon plug that is found on the MAIN HARNESS (not the 02 harness itself) you will see 5 wires. The cannon plug I'm talking about is the actual plug that the 02 harness PLUG INTO aka the female part. Since 1988 was the FIRST year for the mass air harness for cars sold in CALIFORNIA only, your 1988 car can actually already be equipped with the 8 wire 02 female cannon plug found in all mass air cars but still be speed density. It will work just fine. Whatís all this mean? 5 wire 1987 harnesses can NOT be converted to mass air by just running the 4 wires, changing computers and moving the other 2 wires as found in many write ups. Why? Because 1987 didnít have the proper plumbing for the 02 harness signal return that the mass air computer needs. Also the 02 harness didnít have the jumper loop to provision this change found in all mass air cars. Letís put this in a situational basis. You have an 87 and wanted to convert to mass air. Well forget about it. Either buy an 88 speed density harness with the 8 wire 02 plug or buy an 89 mass air engine harness. Because all 89 5.0 cars came equipped mass air. If you wanted to convert your 88 to mass air engine harness you would have to first check to see how many wires are on your female cannon plug on the engine harness. If there are 8 you can proceed as normal. If there are 5 then forget about it. Just get an 89 mass air harness. Sure you could spend the time to plumb the other 3 02 harness wires but itís more of a pain than you think. IF YOUR GOING TO CONVERT TO MASS AIR MAKE SURE YOU CHANGE THE 02 HARNESS WITH THE ENGINE HARNESS AS WELL. JUST RUNNING 4 WIRES AND A METER ISNT EVEN THE HALF OF IT. CONFUSED YET? LOL

The 1989 Mass Air Harness. Simply put, in 1989 all 5.0 cars were converted to mass air harness. This was the same exact harness that could be easily used in 1987 and 1988 cars with no issues. This harness can NOT BE USED in any cars past 1989. Just 87-89 ONLY. Itís simple to identify. Of course it had the natural gray and black cannon plugs near the brake booster. It has the oval mass air plug near the WOT AC cut off relay and 02 harness female connector found on the passenger side inner fender skirt apron. It also has the 8 pin female 02 harness plug and now came with the jumper looped 02 harness for that specific transmission signal return. Whatís a signal return? Well itís just that, itís a jumper loop monitor wire that is solid purple with a yellow stripe on it. If you take your 02 harness apart from the engine harness and peel it back about 2 inches you will see it will "loop" back to the cannon plug and return to the ECU that way. Not having the proper 02 harness for the ECU thatís installed and specific transmission in the car can lead to BIG problems with the ECU including frying a trace inside the ECU. It will also be a TUNING NIGHTMARE as most tuners wonít even get the 02 harness to communicate with their tuner programs, data log or anything.

The 1990 Mass Air Harness. Well this year started some big changes to the fox mustang. We are lucky to even have 1990-1993 fox mustang as they were almost replaced by the failure of a car the FORD PROBE. So naturally they did some changes to the cars interior. The exterior pretty much was identical but the engine harnesses were NOT. 1990 engine harness started the provision for the air bags. So they moved some wires in those two cannon plugs near the brake booster. The gray and black plugs that are found in 87-89's that we spoke of previously. So with that being said, this will only work in 1990's mustangs exclusively. It will NOT work in 87-89 or 91-93. What a pain in the arse right? Well at least Iím taking the time to write this for you, so you can only blame yourself when you buy the wrong harness and see it not work right. It will also plug and play with all 4cyl swap cars that were equipped with 1990 original equipment i.e. the dash harness ETC.

The 1991 Mass Air Harness. Well guess what folks, they changed the harness AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! Yep, 1991 will ONLY WORK WITH 1991. Whatís the biggest feature differences in 1991 compared to the others? Easy. Remember that gray and black 8 pin cannon plugs near the brake booster? Thereís only 1 plug there now. And itís brown. The black plug moved to the ECU side of the harness, it can be found down near the ECU. Also as the 89 and 90 had in their harnesses, of course the 91 had the oval mass air plug on the passenger side fender apron. The big brown cannon plug found near the brake booster was the same in 92 and 93 as well. However how would I tell the difference between 91, 92 and 93 then? Easy again... and I will get to it. Basically if you have a mustang engine harness that has 1 big brown plug near the brake booster and black plug near ECU then itís either 91-93. Now to tell the difference between the 91, 92 and 93 go look at the passenger side fender apron part of the harness. In 1991 there will only be the oval mass air plug, the WOT AC shut off relay, the white cannon plug for air bag passenger side and finally the large 8 pin 02 female connector for the 02 harness. Thatís all..... if thereís an extra relay there... itís not a 1991 harness..... moving on..

The 1992-1993 Mass Air Harness. Well finally got to the end of the line. Simply put 1992 and 1993 harnesses will work together no problems. None of the previous harnesses will work at all. The reason being is because of one major change in the harness and car itself. Basically the 1992 and 1993 harnesses are the same as the 1991 harness with one added feature. The passenger side apron of the harness got ANOTHER relay. This is the fuel pump relay. So how do you tell if you have a 92-93 harness? Just look at the passenger side apron and you should have the following: Oval mass air plug, white cannon plug (4 pin) for air bag, Large 8 pin female connector for 02 harness, WOT AC shut off relay, and finally the new provision being the fuel pump relay itself was moved here too... Usually has a "white" cap on the relay. So the plug isnít all black like the AC shut off relay. 91 was the last year they had fuel pump relays under the driverís seat. They were moved to this location in all the engine harness's 92-93.

Tom Moss
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post #21 of 49 Old 01-23-2013, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Good information!
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post #22 of 49 Old 07-22-2014, 07:59 PM
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tmoss, how ya been? it's been a LONG time. I have a curious question about your comment above. you say "5 wire 1987 harnesses can NOT be converted to mass air by just running the 4 wires, changing computers and moving the other 2 wires as found in many write ups. Why? Because 1987 didn’t have the proper plumbing for the 02 harness signal return that the mass air computer needs. Also the 02 harness didn’t have the jumper loop to provision this change found in all mass air cars."

Can you then explain to me why my 87 converted to MAF via the IS&T conversion kit has worked flawlessly for me going on 15yrs? and that my tuner has 0 problems tuning it? just curious..
Scott

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post #23 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 09:51 AM
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Why? Because 1987 didn't have the proper plumbing for the 02 harness signal return that the mass air computer needs. Also the 02 harness didnít have the jumper loop to provision this change found in all mass air cars."

Scott
Yes, you can add/change the wires required if you have the time and inclination/talent. Not everyone does.

Tom Moss
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post #24 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 12:22 PM
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Yes, you can add/change the wires required if you have the time and inclination/talent. Not everyone does.

Tom, i'm still a bit unclear so bear with me... are you saying that even tho I didn't change anything other than adding the IS&T kit and a A9P (re pinned of course) that I should be having some issues?. It was the 1 remark you said "1987 harnesses can NOT be converted to mass air by just running the 4 wires, changing computers and moving the other 2 wires as found in many write ups." that caught my attention. My tuner (Keith at AZ dyno) has never had any issues when tuning it, as recently as 1 month ago. I've never touched the 02 harness. everything is all 87. I was simply looking for an explanation to that statement, as it seems my setup nullifies that comment. I don't even run the VSS wires and have no idle issues either. car passed smog here in AZ as of 08. then they changed the law allowing me to remove all smog parts. car is running stronger than ever..

I'm just trying to make sense of it.. I was researching some info for a buddy when I stumbled onto this thread.. LOL

It's great to see your still around. how's the porting biz going? good I hope? I still mention you when others ask about porting stock parts etc ;-) are you at fast lane motor sports?
Scott

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post #25 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 01:11 PM
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Is your O2 harness a 5 wire or 8 wire? My late 87 harness was an 8 wire and I did the conversion like you. It is the 5 wire harness that is supposed to cause issues with O2 sensors if the additional wires are not added. The porting business is slow and steady as it has always been, we (Matt more than me) average (some times are heavier and some are slower) between 1-2 intakes per week - not burning anything up at that rate but we don't do this full time so it is the pace we like. I have an investment in Fastlane and work there from time to time as well. Right now I spend most of my time helping my oldest son get a home improvement business off the ground.

Tom Moss
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post #26 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 03:07 PM
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Is your O2 harness a 5 wire or 8 wire? My late 87 harness was an 8 wire and I did the conversion like you. It is the 5 wire harness that is supposed to cause issues with O2 sensors if the additional wires are not added. The porting business is slow and steady as it has always been, we (Matt more than me) average (some times are heavier and some are slower) between 1-2 intakes per week - not burning anything up at that rate but we don't do this full time so it is the pace we like. I have an investment in Fastlane and work there from time to time as well. Right now I spend most of my time helping my oldest son get a home improvement business off the ground.

Tom, Honestly I have never checked to see if mine is a 5 wire or 8 wire. the manufacture date is 2/87. I'll have to check it to be certain now, but based on it's perf I'll assume for the time being it must be the 8 wire. I will get back to you for the definitive answer since it pertains to the info posted. Would hate to discourage others with 87's..

It's great to see your keeping busy be it with your son, your port biz or at FL.. a little has changed here, bought the 2012 GT/CS in 11/11 then added a few mods, and then lately finished off the suspension in the 87 via CC plates, B springs (1.2" lower), rack & pinion & PS pump.. thats enough for now till this gawd awful heat goes away sometime in late Oct. just no fun sweatin my arse off when it's 120*+ inside the garage I gotta get the A/C back in before next summer. I've had enough LOL

Great to chat with ya once again since the days of 50tech
Have a Great Day
Scott

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post #27 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 03:37 PM
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Great to chat with ya once again since the days of 50tech
Have a Great Day
Scott
Same here, Scott - have fun !!

Tom Moss
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post #28 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tmoss View Post
Same here, Scott - have fun !!
Tom, this seems to throw a monkey wrench into things. (unless I shot the wrong pics LOL)..the 2 pic's are both 5 wire. the 1 near the brake booster (8 wires on male side/ 5 wires on female side) and the one near cyl #1.. 5 wires in & 5 wires out..go figure

I saw this article which looks to be very similar to your posting.. FOX MUSTANG SPEED DENSITY MASS AIR HARNESS GUIDE | eBay


one thing I noticed in this article was the comment. (IF RUNNING THE 87 CONVERSION TO MASS AIR JUST LEAVE THE 02 HARNESS ALONE BECAUSE IT DOESNT MATTER.)

see what you did? ROFL
Scott
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post #29 of 49 Old 07-23-2014, 11:14 PM
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that is the right colors for the O2 cannon plugs, and it looks like one has 3 and the other has 5? The wire count is in both plugs, not just one. The jumper in the Auto harnesses does not count I don't believe (see manual-auto plugs in first pic below).






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Originally Posted by tmoss View Post
that is the right colors for the O2 cannon plugs, and it looks like one has 3 and the other has 5? The wire count is in both plugs, not just one. The jumper in the Auto harnesses does not count I don't believe (see manual-auto plugs in first pic below).
Tom, I tried to detail this picture in hopes you understand my configuration better. I hope it makes a little more sense this way. I had never bothered to check all this (had no reason to).

Now I know why I HATE wiring LOL
Scott
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post #31 of 49 Old 08-11-2014, 04:25 PM
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Hey I wrote that guide! I edited that a long time ago because I actually was wrong about 87-88 5 wire/nss circuit and converting.

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Hey I wrote that guide! I edited that a long time ago because I actually was wrong about 87-88 5 wire/nss circuit and converting.

Thanks, now please tell us how it was wrong for the Mustang community......

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Very informative post tmoss. I have an 87 mustang and installed the 88 California mass air harness. So your saying basically I have to purchase an 89 o2 harness? Cause right now I have this problem where if I shut off the car it will not start back up. All electronics you can think of have been changed. So I'm thinking it may be because mix matched wiring harnesses? I have the California computer and an a9p I've tried and same result.
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If you did not put in the California O2 harness, then there could be a problem - but I doubt it has anything to do with a warm start problem.

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