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Another Birdman Fuse block question

Discussion in '308/328' started by david, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. david

    david Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2001
    758
    Northwest
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    david
    I replaced my fuse blocks with OEM blocks a few years ago before I knew about the highly acclaimed Birdman blocks. I am using the glass fuses with the cone shaped ends, so at least I moved beyond the ceramic fuses of old. In my never ending quest to find something to fiddle with on my car, I was wondering what the consensus was regarding replacing relatively new blocks with Birdman blocks.

    Should I let the new blocks slowly melt away in 20 years or are the Birdman blocks such a major improvement that I should just order up a pair and get instant improvement in the various electrical issues that have been discussed in other threads. I will say that my electrical stuff seems reasonable. Windows move, lights turn on etc. But I'm wondering if I'm missing that additional 20%.

    Thanks for your opinions and advice.

    david
     
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  3. Doug

    Doug Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
    1,467
    Louisville KY
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    Doug
    #2 Doug, Jan 15, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
    New blocks should be fine. The main reason for replacement is due to old age and stress cracks affecting the performance. Birdmans blocks are a lower cost and modern alternative to original, not necessarily better performing.
     
  4. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
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    THE Birdman
    I beg to differ. The small conical ends on the euro fuses, glass or ceramic, are extremely problematic because of the tiny contact area. It's a crappy design, period. Newer replacement OEM blocks are not likely to melt for a while because the rivets haven't oxidized enough to create heat via resistance. I am not suggesting you run right out and replace them. But my fuseblocks will perform better and are more reliable, especially in the long term.

    Birdman
     
  5. racco

    racco Karting
    BANNED

    Nov 4, 2005
    55
    new oem boxes should last for about ten years, leave them in there
     
  6. Doug

    Doug Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
    1,467
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    Doug
    I have purchased your blocks for 2 different 308s and like them. I was just saying if brand new blocks are already there, it is not yet an upgrade and probably no difference would be seen at this point. However, if they are original or you do not know how old they are, then it most surely will be an upgrade.
     
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  8. 903L

    903L Formula Junior

    Aug 13, 2009
    702
    S. Calif. / Arizona
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    Marty K
    All I can say is that I am a very satisfied Birdman customer. I bought my first Ferrari last July. '79 GTS. When I looked at it the first time in the PO's garage I got so excited I lost all caveat and yelled, "I'll take it! Lets put it in the trailer!" The PO reminded me that maybe I should hear it run first and take It for a ride. We drove it but I did not check things like Head light, tail lights, marker lights, window switches, etc..etc.. When I got it home I found the head and tail lights worked intermittently. The head light doors would wink. The head lights were very dim and the brights did not work at all. Very dim tail lights and no reverse lights. The side marker lights would turn on and off with the closing of a door. My stock original fuse block looked new and no fuses were blown. I thought I would try to find all the grounds to make sure they were clean and well attached. I saw Birdmans ad about his blocks and how they may be able to cure a bunch of 308 electrical ills. I bought them. Took less than one hour to install. Hoped for the best but, expected the worst. Turned it on and everything worked as new. Bright lights, turn signals, tail lights, marker lights, reverse lights everything. It was like magic. I never have inspected the grounds.
     
  9. LennyZeutzius

    LennyZeutzius Karting
    BANNED

    Dec 21, 2004
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    Palmdale, CA
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    Lenny
    I had the Birdman's fuse blocks installed before hand.

    Waiting for the fuel pump one, which gets hot and melts, and have it leave me along side the road was not worth it.

    Do them now, and forget about it.
     
  10. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
    North shore, MA
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    THE Birdman
    Hey Doug, I appreciate the business and I understand what you are saying!! The point that I'm trying to make in counterpoint to your point is that the small contact area on the OEM blocks, even brand spankin' new ones, is too small and you will see a difference with the Birdman blocks because they have about ten times the contact area and they grip the fuses very tightly. You will get less resistance at the fuseholder, which translates to more voltage at the window motors, headlights, fans, and all the circuits that draw a lot of current. I understand your point...the new OEM units will not melt yet. True. They probably will not leave you stranded. True. But they still suck.

    One person buying or not buying my fuseblocks makes no difference to me...I'm not trying to pressure the OP in any way to buy them if he doesn't feel the need. But I disagree that there is no difference in performance between the Birdman blocks and a brand new set of OEMs. The OEMs are a crappy design using an inferior fuse, no matter how new they are.

    Best,

    Jonathan
     
  11. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
    Sponsor Owner

    Sep 3, 2002
    5,658
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    Rob C.
    Birdman is right on in his comments. A brand new OEM fuse block is no contest to one of his fuse blocks. Its just a better design all around and for what it costs it is a BARGAIN with the increase of performance, reliability, and piece of mind.
     
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  13. bigodino

    bigodino F1 World Champ
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    Apr 29, 2004
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    Peter den Biggelaar
    #10 bigodino, Jan 16, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
    What about the relays? I don't know how old they are. Replace them all or just keep a spare of one type each?

    p.s. I'm a satisfied Birdman fuseblock customer too. It was the first thing I did when I got the car. Everything works fine (knock on wood).
     
  14. spiderseeker

    spiderseeker Formula 3

    Jul 22, 2005
    1,708
    Colorado
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    Steve
    Birdman's fuseblocks handle much higher current loads than the OEM fuseblocks. Pack away the OEM's and install Birdmans fuseblocks ASAP. It's the best $100 you can spend on a 308. The relays are 25+ years old too, so get rid of them and your electrical system will be 95% bulletproof. The relays can be found at Rockauto.com, about $9 each.
     
  15. PV Dirk

    PV Dirk F1 Veteran

    Jul 26, 2009
    5,401
    Ahwatukee, AZ
    If you are always looking for something to fiddle with on the car you can remove and clean all fuses and relays annually or bi-annually and you'll probably be fine for a good long time. Although that doesn't sound as rewarding as changing out the fuse block.
     
  16. david

    david Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2001
    758
    Northwest
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    david
    Hah! I think I will pass on the obsessive compulsive fuse cleaning idea.

    Thank you all for your input. I was less concerned about melting fuseblocks. As a few people mentioned, the OEM blocks will probably last for quite a while before they bite the dust. The main thing I was curious about was if there would be an improvement in electrical performance by putting in the Birdman blocks. It sounds to me like the decrease in resistance due to the better electrical contact is a benefit. So I will probably be contacting Birdman pretty soon to buy up a set of blocks.

    I also should probably take a look at the relays as some of you suggested. At least I will now have something else to fiddle with.

    david
     
  17. samsaprunoff

    samsaprunoff F1 Rookie
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    Jun 8, 2004
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    Sam Saprunoff
    Good day David,

    To confirm if your current blocks have increased resistance across its fuses, why do you not measure the voltage drop across the fuse(s)? This will tell you how much voltage is lost do to the block, contacts, and fuses and thus how much voltage remains for the circuit. If you would also measure the current within this circuit, you could calculate the actual resistance using Ohm's law: Resistance of Fuse (includes contacts, etc) = Vdrop / Current.

    If your blocks are fairly new with clean contacts and fuses that replacement of them may not necessary increase your electrical performance. However, over the long term replacement blocks would address the issues surrounding the original OEM design as well as giving you access to fuses that are easier to obtain.

    Cheers,

    Sam
     
  18. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
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    THE Birdman
    ^^^^ And this guy should know....he did the original design for the Birdman Fuseblocks and posted it here on fchat many years ago! ^^^^^

    It's true! My addition to the original Nuvolari design was just a small change to the way the bus bars are done and some anodizing.

    Birdman
     
  19. sltillim

    sltillim Formula 3
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    Nov 22, 2009
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    Spencer Tillim
    Birdman, is there any reason for not going with a spade fuse? Does it make a difference?
     
  20. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 6, 2002
    74,307
    Houston, Texas
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    Bubba
    We were just moving ONE technology level at a time! LOL!

    The Buss barrel fuse was readily available, as well as the matching bases, I'd imagine.

    As a note, I'm using "new OEM blocks" and the contact SURFACE comment is spot on.

    Also recall that the old blocks have seen numerous failures of original electrical components...just guessing, I'd say two or more failed fuel pumps would be enough to kill one.

    A stereo installer could take them BOTH out in a day.....:D :D

    The Mondial and TR guys are re-engineering to the spade fuse design.

    As noted you can STILL get glass 'double ended" OEM fuses, they are marked "VW"..I routinely buy out the whole stock, and grab a case of Royal Purple!
     
  21. david

    david Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2001
    758
    Northwest
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    david
    I have gone ahead and placed my order for Birdman fuseblocks. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference. As I mentioned, my OEM ones aren't that old, so it will be a neat way to check how much difference the better contact on the fuse makes. I will report in later, once I've got them in and do a little road test. Unfortunately it won't be all that scientific, more seat of the pants impressions than anything.

    david
     
  22. Doug

    Doug Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
    1,467
    Louisville KY
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    Doug
    Just time your power windows full down then up with new stock and then replacement. The we get a percentage of performance:)
     
  23. david

    david Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2001
    758
    Northwest
    Full Name:
    david
    That's an interesting idea. I will try that. BTW, I cleaned and rebuilt my power window mechanisms last winter. That in itself was a major improvement, so they are operating at their best right now.

    Another interesting test will be the wipers which I also degunked last winter. If I remember correctly, I still get a little clatter from the intermittent thingy every now and then. Someone at the time recommended that I get the Birdman blocks.
     
  24. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    7,001
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    There just doesn't seem to be a spade fuseblock that's easy to retrofit into the available space. Browsing the electrical supply catelogs, all the spade fuseblocks are designed to solder into circuit boards, not for wire crimp or solder connections.

    There have been a couple of spade fuseblock designs posted that fit, but required substantially more assemby than the Nuvolari (aka Birdman) design, the contact ratings on one apprach were controversial & the other one was expensive to produce. There were pilot runs of both but so far no one has tried to put either of them into volume production.
     
  25. Paul_308

    Paul_308 Formula 3

    Mar 12, 2004
    2,335
    I retrofit two 10 fuse spade types into mine with ease. The extra fuse on each block was nice for stereo and alarms. What I particularly like about the spade fuses is the type with an LED build in, so if/when a fuse if blown, the bad fuse lights up. Plus I use self-resetting circuit breakers for the windows...they have blade connector. Parts came from Weytech Wire.

    Don't ask for pictures again. It's very easy to make an aluminum plate mount the 2 fuse blocks which replaces the original plate, and paint it black to match.

    If you can't or dislike doing metalwork, just buy Birdman's foolproof kit.
     
  26. ramosel

    ramosel Formula 3

    Sep 11, 2004
    1,236
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    R Moseley
    Paul, so as not to confuse folks, did you mean Waytek?


    Rick
     
  27. Paul_308

    Paul_308 Formula 3

    Mar 12, 2004
    2,335
    I'm allotted 2 mistakes a day. That was my first so far today...yes Waytekwire.com - good people, nice to deal with, great prices. Warning, place an order with them and you get a thick catalog every 3 months.

    Incidently, I just double checked by googling 'weytech' and up pops my post ^ which wasn't more than a couple hours ago. Google must have nothing better to do but scan FChat looking for my errors.
     
  28. david

    david Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2001
    758
    Northwest
    Full Name:
    david
    It was a rainy day and my wife was walking around the house with a tape measure so I figured that it was a good time to head for the garage and install my new fuseblocks. The job was really easy as many of you have said. The one tip I would offer is that where I had to use the piggy back splitters for the two plugs, I found it was easier to plug the back plug to the splitter, then slide the splitter onto it's place on the block, then put the front plug on.

    Now, here's where the scientific inquiry part happens. There was some discussion earlier on this thread about whether replacing relatively new blocks would make a difference. Someone suggested timing my window opening and closing before and after. Considering it was the only aspect that I was equipped to measure, I figured what the heck, I would try it. As I said, I had done the window motor rebuild last winter and I also have relatively new blocks, so I honestly didn't expect that there would be a measurable difference.

    Well I was wrong! There was indeed a difference. I measured up times and down times on both the driver and passenger windows. I did each operation twice to make up for trigger finger reflexes. And here are the results:

    Before avg. down time: 2:54.5 After avg. down time: 2:48
    Before avg. up time: 2:99.5 After avg down time: 2:75.5

    So while I will admit that this is a fairly loose study, it would sure seem to indicate that there is modest improvement in the speed of the windows. (And that time is 2 SECONDS and change, not 2 HOURS for all of you who complain about slow 308 windows...;)) This would back up what Birdman and others have commented regarding better electrical contact.

    As far as other observations, it does appear that my lights are brighter but that's pretty subjective. Also when I lifted the antenna it shot out of the sleeve and is now stabbed into my garage ceiling! The horn is louder and I now get 400 HP on the dyno! These fuseblocks are amazing!

    Plus my wife has put away the tape measure for the time being, so I think it's safe to go back in the house for a while.

    david
     

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