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Technical wiring tips, tricks?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by scotty t, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. i'll be wiring my project pretty soon so i started searching for tips and tricks on how to do a first rate job of it, couldn't realy find much. and what i did was scattered all over the place. i'm not looking schematics or diagrams, thats easy enough to find. i'm looking for ideas on how to do a tidy, safe, efficient, astheticaly pleasing job.so if you've got anything to contribute please do, and show pics and give sources for the supplies/parts. it would be nice to get enough info compiled to put this in the tech archives.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  2. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 1,757

    trollst
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Get yourself a REALLY good pair of crimping pliers, spend some cash on good ones, they're worth it. Second, take your time, wire one circuit at a time, kick anyone who wants to chat out of the shop and go to it.
     
    lothiandon1940 and cptn60 like this.
  3. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,537

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    I got a kit from Rebel Wire, made things easy to start with.
    I also got a LOT of gromets and several hundred zip ties. all wires going to similar locations were zip tied every few inches, and about every foot was C gromet to hold them all in place. Biggest part, spend some time planning each wire before you run it. I managed to keep most all of mine hidden under something. Even with my OT EFI motor in my truck most wires are hidden.
     
  4. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,648

    brad2v
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

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  5. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531

    aaggie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I bought a real good book from Half Price Books called "Automotive Electrical Handbook". Written by H.P. Horner, It covers everything you could possibly think of about wiring. It even has a chapter on converting from 6V to 12V.
     
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  6. jcs64
    Joined: Apr 25, 2005
    Posts: 528

    jcs64
    Member

    my suggestion?
    never crimp a connection!
    Soldier then heat shrink.
    Nothing looks worst than those blue ,red, or yellow plastic crimp connectors.
    If those are the only terminals that I have around, ill take the time to cut the plastic collars off so I can soldier them on permanently.

    jeff
     
  7. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,008

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    As Trollst said, good crimping pliers are a must. I have a set of Kleins and I've always been pleased with them. These are half-moon style crimpers for ring terminals, spade connectors, etc.
    Also, a wire stripper from Snap-on. Spendy, but worth their weight in gold... I guarantee you'll forget the $60 the second time you use them!
    http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item...roup_ID=675136&store=snapon-store&dir=catalog
    I also like Snap-on's small butane torch for doing heat-shrink tubing.
    http://store.snapon.com/Miniature-Butane-Soldering-Torches-Blow-Torch-Miniature-Butane-P642496.aspx

    If you get a wiring harness kit, you'll need some kind of a terminal crimper for their little ends that clip into the plastic connections... I haven't found a good crimper for those yet. Hopefully someone has a line on one.
     
  8. D-man313
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,152

    D-man313
    Member

    Get yourself some of that color matched plastic wire loom and run it everywhere after you have everything wired. We just love that stuff!

    On a serious note. Take your time and focus on getting one thing wired at a time. Don't let it overwhelm you. I'm really happy with my rebel wire kit. Very easy instructions and wires labeled every 6 inches or so. I used black electrical tape and taped everything from the fuse block to every connection. No colored wires visible. If you need a hand, let me know.


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  9. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,983

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    Crimping with "good" plyers is preferable to soldering.
    Why...vibration breaks solder joints, it doesn't hurt properly crimped joints. The main reason aircraft and spacecraft "do not" solder their end fittings...!

    Use whatever methould you like to keep the wire bundles running in parallel and 90 degrees to the floor inside the car (firewall). Bend the wire bundles at 90 degree angles rather than running them at various angles all over. MUCH cleaner looking this way. Try to do this in the engine compartment also when running wiring along the firewall.

    Use good clamps to locate wire bundles to firewall/inner fender/core support.

    I'm just starting this task myself..! Good luck.
    For what it may be worth, while the various coverings may look a "little" better, I'll be using tie wraps every 6" or 8" inches to secure my bundles and leave the wire bundle/runs open. Easier to add or subtract wire, easier to find wires.

    Mike
     
  10. D-man i already told you i need slave labor i mean carpenter help!
     
  11. J&JHotrods
    Joined: Oct 22, 2008
    Posts: 549

    J&JHotrods
    Member

    Try to think ahead about the size of some wires that will be bundled together and consider some sheathing or plastic wire conduit to bundle up multiple wires. And I prefer to just tape it all up into it's relative shape(making corners, etc..) before wrapping it in conduit, the factories still do it like that so it's good enough for me. Used to bundle with zip ties because it looks so clean but it's harder to fit into the conduit and-it never fails(murphy's law)-the more zip ties I use, the greater the chance that I'll have to get into the harness again for repairs, splices, etc...Solder and shrink wrap everywhere you can, crimps can come loose over time and like jcs64 I remove every blue and red collar, they just get in the way of a good crimp and look like poopoo. Part of my job is automotive wiring, I use mostly packard elec crimpers but they aren't exactly something you'll find at the parts store.
     
  12. thanks for the tips guys keep em coming. i want to run my alt. wires on the outside (tire side) of my front wheel wells, any thoughts on wraps or conduit?
     
  13. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,773

    roundvalley
    Member

    Think-one wire at a time. Do not cut any wires until you are POSITIVE they are the correct length to attach to the final posts.
    Lots of wire ties, long and short. You will use alot to temporary bundle and cut loose before you do the final. Don't pull the ties tight before final finish.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  14. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,983

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    P.S. -

    Another thought of soldering lugs in place.
    I've got "factory" wiring on my motorcycle, that was "factory" soldered.....that is cracked and is causing computer faults..!
    Since I can't "unsolder" the joints, I reflowed the solder...all is fine...for the time being..!

    Mike
     
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,479

    squirrel
    Member

    The methods you use may depend on how you want it to look when you're done. I went to some effort to do a "different" wiring job on my Chevy II. I didn't use any plastic tie wraps. I did use a lot of "aircraft" type metal/rubber clamps. The wires are all taped up together using friction tape (still available at Ace Hardware or Home Depot). I used crimp terminals, but removed the plastic collars, and crimped with one of those half moon crimpers that Brad mentioned. I also found a decent crimper for the old Packard 56 type terminal ends,

    [​IMG]

    at my local auto parts store, it looks sort of like this

    [​IMG]

    I used terminal strips for the wires that go to the rear of the car, that terminal strip is mounted on the kick panel near the fuse panel. I used two terminal strips on the firewall, one for the engine wires, the other for the front lights. Wiring is mostly color coded to the original GM colors which were mostly the same from the 1950s into the 80s.

    [​IMG]

    Just giving you a few ideas for how to do things different, if you're interested. This car is set up to mostly look like it's from the 60s. Lots of slot head screws, and other old fashioned stuff, for those who dig the details.
     
    scotty t likes this.
  16. GeezersP15
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 538

    GeezersP15
    Member
    from N.E. PA

    trunk.jpg
    Here's a pic of the electrical system in my 48 Plymouth. Not a kit...built from scratch. Plenty of spare circuits if I need them later. Used crimp terminals for the smaller gauge wires, but you need a really good quality set of crimpers. The larger gauge wire terminals were crimped and soldered. Take your time...one wire at a time. Fuse each circuit. I made a spreadsheet describing each conductor...where it starts, what size/color, where it goes, and the route it takes to get there. That might be handy when I have a problem, and don't remember what I did. Automotive wiring isn't difficult. You just need to take your time and plan the system. Use good quality wire, and terminals. Avoid the crap sold by Autozone, WalMart, etc. Marine supply vendors are a good source of wire, and quality terminals can be purchased at your local electrical distributor. Brands such as Thomas & Betts, and AMP are good. Use grommets where the wire goes thru sheet metal. A method I've used is to use 1/4"plastic tubing as a conduit. Run the tubing where it needs to go, then push the wire thru it (a bit of WD-40 is a good lubricant to help the wire get thru the tubing). Take care to use the proper wire gage for your circuits, and it is OK to go bigger than you think you need. Use high temperature rated wire if close to exhaust manifolds, or other high heat sources. (Teflon insulated wire is great for this application). Let us know how your project turns out. (Lots of pics). Good luck, and happy wiring.

    Wayne trunk.jpg trunk.jpg trunk.jpg trunk.jpg
     
    scotty t likes this.
  17. Oh i dig the details! there won't be many wires visible, but the bar has been set pretty high for the quality of this build thanks to my buddy Jon who did the fabrication. i don't want anything modern looking to show, but i do like to utilize modern tech when i can hide it. all the tips so far are helping me get my mind right. THANKS
     
  18. GeezersP15
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 538

    GeezersP15
    Member
    from N.E. PA

    I have no idea why there are multiple pictures posted. Damned computer !!!!!
     
  19. thats ok, that wiring job looks like it should be in the space shuttle! very impressive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  20. any particular brand or source for relays? headlights, fuel pump, etc. what about ford style starter solinoid? im running a late model (80's) starter on an early hemi with headers.
     
  21. jhtdon
    Joined: May 29, 2012
    Posts: 112

    jhtdon
    Member
    from Florida

    I am sorry ahead of this comment. My good Neighbor rang my door bell one morning in a high state of consternation. He was leaving for work and he checked his oil in his Monte Carlo and he could not get his hood down and he was going to be late. Since I was the close car nut he came to me. I asked what did he lubricate his hinges with, as I picked up my Oil can and headed across the street. His answer was WD-40. Two squirts of oil on the hinge pivots and the hood silently closed. WD-40 is the fortieth try at developing a Wire Drier product. It washes away the oil as well as getting water out of the distributors. Paint shops are not fond of it. A lube is not its main purpose.
     
  22. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,090

    Ebbsspeed
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've always soldered and then used heat shrink to insulate and provide strain relief. I know that crimping is preferred by some, and recommended by some industries. To me, whether a joint is crimped or soldered, there is a point in the connection somewhere between the connector and the wire where there will be flexing if there is vibration. That said, there is the possibility of work-hardening the metal and then cracking/breaking with either type of joint. I use a long enough section of heat shrink to insure good strain relief, and normally will leave a "vibration" loop, or enough wire so that the majority of the vibration is absorbed away from the connection. I've never had a failure in a soldered connection, and there are those that have never had a failure in their crimped connections. If you wire it yourself you should be able to troubleshoot a failed connection, so does it really matter?
     
  23. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,479

    squirrel
    Member

    Relays? what for? I only have one, it's for the horn, an old stock replacement I found on ebay. Stock switches work for all the other stuff.
     
  24. i ran halogen headlites on my 55 chevy and melted the headlight switch on a long drive to the hunnert car pilup. you don't think i need one for an electric fuel pump?
     
  25. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,479

    squirrel
    Member

    I've been running halogen headlights in several old Chevys with old Chevy switches for years...I guess I've been lucky? or you had a defective switch? maybe a modern cheesy repop?
     
  26. elba
    Joined: Feb 9, 2013
    Posts: 615

    elba
    Member

    In my opinion, crimping wire is most important. Buy a set of aircraft crimpers. You can Google or I think Aircraft Spruce in Ga. has them. I have used all the cheap ones and this type is the best. It crimps the wire and also forms the insulator at the beginning of the terminal. Take a close look at the yellow terminal and you will shat a great job the ratcheting crimpers do.
    Also get good wire stripers.
     
  27. vtmopar
    Joined: Jun 5, 2013
    Posts: 47

    vtmopar
    Member
    from Vermont

    Solder everything you can, with good solder.
    Don't use crimp connectors.
     
  28. Here's a little tip/trick that can help quite a bit while the rough in layout stage. Of course you'll be labeling things differently. image.jpg
     
    tomkelly88 likes this.

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