~~Hello and welcome to the first in a series of blogs from a very good customer of ours. Allan has been dealing with us for a long time and builds replica American police vehicles to an insanely high standard. We'll be showcasing his work in a series 'The Sarge's Blog'. So without any further preamble I'll hand it over to Allan. Enjoy! -
Welcome to the Sarge's Blog.
I've been asked to share my wisdom and experience with the followers of Stanley R Harris Ltd whom I've been a customer for over 20 years. Yes they're still taking my money!
I've been in the American police scene for over 20 years and have equipped many vehicles with every conceivable piece of police equipment available. During the years I've learnt many lessons, some the hard way. Mistakes have been made but hopefully I can pass on some intelligence which will prevent you from making some of the same mistakes I've made. In the main I will talk about the build of my current police cruiser which is a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor or P71. This is a retired cruiser from a Texas Sheriff's Department. It was retired early as a result of being caught in a flash flood in Texas where the car was allegedly up to its roof in water. Unfortunately I was unaware of this when I purchased it and it only came to light when I started to look closer at some components which were failing prematurely. Discussions with the Texas Sheriff's Department where the car was in service revealed the truth, it was retired due to flood damage and was sold for scrap! Now you might be thinking, 'Did he recover any money from the seller?' Yes I did, but the whole cost of the car was now much more than I bargained for. A 'Top Tip': don't buy a car you haven't actually seen or driven! Images are deceiving and not everyone is honourable!
Still this hopefully will make for an interesting story which I will tell over the coming months. If you have any questions, I can be contacted via Stanley R Harris Ltd who can forward you my email address.
So let's get started with some fundamentals. In any project the following applies:
1. Decide what you want, don't compromise as you will only be disappointed. In the end you will remove what you have fitted for the correct equipment and will have spent twice as much.
2. Research your equipment online or by asking at the counter. I've found the knowledge of some people in the industry to be second to none.
3. Don't buy knock-offs! They might look the same, they might even work the same...for a while, but sooner or later they fail and again you will have wasted your time and money.
4. Plan your installation, work through the process in your mind and on paper where necessary.
5. Have the correct tools and equipment available to complete the job, this is also part of the planning process.
6. Where possible complete wiring away from the vehicle as there is less chance of accidents and it's easier to complete loom building in the comfort of a garage or workshop.
7. Experience has shown, where possible avoid 'Crimped' connections. SOLDER everything! Wires during installations can be pulled and this is where connections and looms fail.
8. Externally use waterproof connections and again where possible heatshrink all the connections for additional protection.
9. Pre-assemble everything prior to an installation and check it all works. There's nothing worse than completing the installation only to find one thing will not work, is it the equipment or is it the installation?
10. To hide your wires and make everything look like a factory fit run all wires through copex and again heatshrink the ends.
So, there you have it, some basics, but many still try to cut corners and eventually are caught out!
On the next Blog I'll start with how I prepared the vehicle for its installation of equipment
Love The Sarge,