About to do some custom wring for HEI retrofit

Interior and Electrical

  1. ChryslerCruiser

    ChryslerCruiser Well-Known Member

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    Where do I go to find QUALITY electrical terminals, lugs and such? I do not want this to fail due to crappy materials. . .

    At this moment I am believing that uninsulated terminals, with heat shrink that is crimped sounds like the best that can be done by the enthusiast. Who carries good or great terminals?

    Thanks,
    jase
     
  2. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    Don't use butt splices or taps if you're worried. I solder everything with a Weller soldering station and follow up with shrink tube.
     
  3. kkritsilas

    kkritsilas Well-Known Member

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    I agree with not using taps. Butt splices are good. Soldering is not, because of a known tendency of solder joints to crack under the influence of vibration and temperature swings.
     
  4. ChryslerCruiser

    ChryslerCruiser Well-Known Member

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    Is any uninsulated terminal end as good as the next? I've seen some that look like aluminum, and that gives me the shakes of apprehension
     
  5. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    Then tell that to the OEM. There are soldered joints in the factory harness. I've never had any problems either. Hell, Holley even recommends it when assembling harnesses for their fuel injection.
     
  6. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't recommend you a brand, but I do prefer to use uninsulated steel terminal ends, especially for under hood work. Little bit of shrink tube and if I'm in an overkill mood a bit of solder forward of the crimp. Soldering terminal ends is probably a bit much.
     
  7. ChryslerCruiser

    ChryslerCruiser Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Duke. That sounds do-able and I've got enough information to be dangerous!
    J
     
  8. kkritsilas

    kkritsilas Well-Known Member

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    Then Holley is wrong. There are organizations who actually do studies on this, not the least of which is the IPC (Institute for Packaging Circuits), and the US Military, amongst others. All agree on one point, no matter which company recommends it, no matter what the vibration frequency or amplitude, solder joints subject to vibration WILL FAIL. Its not a question of if, it is just a question of time.

    From the IPC-A610D (the workmanship standards for electronics, worldwide) "Joints must be mechanically secured before soldering". Later on, it goes on to say "soldering is NOT a mean of mechanical joining, it is an electrical one". In other words, you cannot rely on a solder joint for anything but a way of transferring current.

    Take it another way, how many electrical problems on this board are caused by solder joint issues, say in the dash or radio? Those solder joints have gone intermittent, and they are on a printed circuit board, far less prone to vibration than cables that are vibrating or are subject to temperature extremes, as in underhood conditions.

    Look under the hood of any new car, and I bet you can't find more than a bare handful of wiring solder joints, if any.

    As for the silvery lookiing metal used on crimp terminals, that is NOT aluminum. Aluminum and copper do not get along well, and will form dissimilar metal corrosion, a guaranteed intermittent (and with high enough current, a fire) waiting to happen. The alloy you are seeing, despite its appearance, is specifically designed to cold flow under pressure from a crimping tool, and is usually a tin plated copper alloy. It has two purposes in life, to cold flow well enough to make a gas tight joint, and to work properly with copper. You can use insulated or uninsulated terminals with heatshrink. No major difference. There are even insulated terminals that come with the heat shrink as part of the terminal (although I generally find them to be overpriced).

    You can wire up a car any which way you want. You can solder everything in. But know the above facts before you do. If you are going to use crimp terminals, invest in a proper crimping tool; the all in one crimper/wire stripper/bolt cutter type tools are not proper crimping tools.

    And by the way, this leaves out the probability of people not making good solder joints to start with, which is a very real possibility, as most people cannot solder in any acceptable fashion.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
  9. Hayzoos

    Hayzoos Well-Known Member

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    Some of the terminals that look like aluminum are aluminum, some tinned copper alloy. To tell the difference, scratch it. Aluminum is light grey all the way through. Tinned alloy is usually yellowish underneath. Tinned also accepts solder well.

    A good solder joint will not crack under vibration or temperature extremes a typical car will see. A wire solder joint is not meant to hold the wires together mechanically. The wires are to be twisted or wrapped or tied or whatever for the mechanical joint. The solder is to bind the electrical aspect of the wires. Circuit board soldering can mechanically hold light components to the electrical connection, but larger components are separately soldered via a ground plane with a mechanically twisted tab or crimped or glued.

    A "cold" solder joint will go bad usually cracking. A "cold" solder joint occurs when the joint is moved before the solder cools to solid temperature. A poor mechanical twist of wire will allow movement for a "cold" to possibly form. A good solid mechanical twist will not. A dirty solder joint will fail as well.

    Pipe soldering is a bit different. The solder joint is an extremely thin gap between the pipe and fitting. They do provide a mechanical joint, but only when the gap is small. There is also a lot more surface area than a wire joint. Pipe joints usually also fail due to a cold or dirty joint.

    I'll trust a good solder joint more than a good crimp.

    Oh, also there was some bad solder alloys produced during the transition from lead based to lead-free solder, that was the cause of alot failures as well.
     
  10. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    This place looks to have some good quality terminals and,,,,,,,,MADE IN USA.

    Wire Terminals - WiringProducts. Ltd.

    At work, we have Wurth wiring terminals and products. They are pretty darn good, especially the terminals with heat shrink insulators. You crimp them on and then shrink the insulator. There's also some with solder in them that melts when the insulator is being shrunk or even crimp/solder heat shrink terminals. We've never had a problem with nay of them and, most importantly, no comebacks. We never ever use the vinyl insulator type terminals of any brand. Too much potential for failure and besides, they just look cheap.
    Electrical | Wurth USA

    Hardware store and parts store terminals leave a bit (OK, a lot) to be desired and the best place for them is right where they sit on the shelf, lol.
     
  11. ChryslerCruiser

    ChryslerCruiser Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Aspen I have been very leery of the quality I've found at auto parts and the like, Even at a local electrical supply, I was less than confident with what I was looking at. I found some Pico brand uninsulated terminals at summit racing, but I will have a look at your recommendation as well.
     
  12. Mikes5thAve

    Mikes5thAve Well-Known Member

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    For what you're doing just about any crimp on ends will do. Just don't buy them at the dollar store. What's more important is how good your crimper is.
    There's nothing wrong with soldering wiring on a car its not a military vehicle or air plane. There's more of a chance of a wire pulling out of a poor crimp then solder cracking and coming apart.
    If all you can get is insulated ends slide the plastic off.
     
  13. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Like Mikes said, a proper crimp tool is a must for good connections. You don't really need a fancy ratchet crimper with multiple changeable jaws but, something better than your standard wire stripper/crimper/cutter pliers.

    I've got a ratchet crimper which I use for OEM terminals but for butt splices, eyelets, etc, I use a small tool. Got mine from Snap-On but it looks similar to the pic. After crimping and shrinking the insulator (or added heat shrink tubing), the terminal will NOT come off.
    1005-KLEIN - Klein Tools 1005-KLEIN - Crimping & Cutting Tool for Connectors (10-22 AWG)


    1005-klein-3.jpg
     
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  14. Camtron

    Camtron Well-Known Member

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    I like scotchlok by 3m for small gauge wires, particularly when they’re all the same gauge. Get a good seal and they have a weatherproof gel inside to prevent corrosion. I go Weilder for butt splices/spade/ring terminals and prefer them when not all wire gauges being connected are the same.
    I have both Klein (and snap on) crimping tools, they work identical to one another; the Klein actually are easier to open/close with one hand.
     
  15. kkritsilas

    kkritsilas Well-Known Member

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    Most of the stuff that I quoted above regarding solder joint failures WAS prompted by the military. Even the highest quality level solder joints, namely military and aerospace (not just aircraft, but things like satellites and space capsules and space shuttles) have had solder joint failures, in all types of printed circuit boards, and not just with heavy components. It continues to be a leading failure mode to this day, even in solder joints that are made under carefully controlled conditions, with as close to perfect soldering processes, on solder joints that are X-Ray'd, in aerospace and in the military. This is NOT a new occurrence, it has been happening for a long, long time, pretty much since we have been using solder as a way of electrically joining components and wires. Studies on solder joint integrity have been going on for at least 80 years, if not longer. Solder joint failures even occur, to this day, on tiny surface mount resistors that weigh just a gram or two.

    A lot of mechanically secure, properly made solder joints also fail. What happens is that the solder joint fractures. Then moisture and dirt get into the crack. If what caused the initial fracture continues (and in the majority of the time, it is vibration), the fracture will continue to expand, moisture and dirt will continue to get into the crack, and a failure will occur over time. How long it takes to fail is a function of both the amount and intensity of the vibration, and to a lesser extent, temperature swings. In all cases, the cause of the failure is the same, it is the inflexibility of the solder itself that is the issue. Solder is NOT flexible; it cannot absorb vibration, nor can it expand and contract at the same rate as the components that is is joining together. Note: this even disregards improperly made solder joints, whether they are cold, dirty, just bad, or poor quality solder (i.e. where the proportion of the tin/lead is off, or even in the newer non-lead solder).

    Solder joints WILL crack in automotive conditions. The automotive environment is not particularly benign; there is vibration (engine and other internal components, plus whatever the road/tire interface contributes) and cars are typically used in all sorts of weather (-40 to +45C outside air temperature, and typically, -40 to about +100C or so under-hood). This is a lot more difficult than say, a PC, or an LCD TV, which may cycle a few times during transportation, and spend most of their lives inside a house at about 22C, no vibration at all. Components often times have to be specified for automotive use, and cost more. Even so, one of the leading causes of electrical failures in consumer electronics, automotive electronics, industiral electronics (central office switches, cellular base stations, power plant control panels), and even military/aerospace electronics is solder joint failures.

    The ideal crimping tool is the ratchet crimper, which is what is called a controlled cycle tool in that it is not left to the opinion of the operator whether the crimp was sufficiently compressed or not. You keep squeezing the handles until the tool releases, and you have a good crimp. Takes the person out of the equation in terms of crimp quality, so that you don't get great crimps to start with, but as time goes on, the crimp quality suffers due to the operator getting tired, or bored. You will also note that the ratchet crimper makes a flat crimp, whereas the non-ratchet crimpers make a smaller indent that is often times curved, or more of a groove. This makes it a lot less iffy as to whether the crimp was made evenly, so if the wire is slightly misaligned, it isn't an issue with a ratchet crimper.

    As with all things, don't cheap out on the crimp terminals. The amount of engineering that has gone into the crimp terminal would amaze most people. I highly doubt that the dollar store terminals, or the ones on Allie or Bang Good have had that kind of effort put into them.
     
  16. ChryslerCruiser

    ChryslerCruiser Well-Known Member

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    My take-away's here are that the crimping tool is more important than the terminals.. and most "good" terminals are of a high enough quality to do the job. . .
    That actually caused me more uncertainty than the crimping tool when I posed the question. Don't have to worry about that as much now.
    Thanks Guys, I appreciate the time spent in sharing your knowledge. Now I need to get busy creating something that works and does not look like a rats nest.
    Jase
     
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  17. kkritsilas

    kkritsilas Well-Known Member

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    The tool and the crimp terminals are designed to work together. The ratchet type crimp tool just guarantees that you get a consistent amount of pressure across the entire crimping surface.

    The crimp terminal, under pressure is literally designed to cold flow around the wire. Not just to clamp down, like say a pipe wrench does on a pipe, but cold flow as in the wire embedding itself into the crimp terminal. This is why properly made crimp joints are often called gas tight. The contact is so intimate between the wire and the terminal, gasses cannot get between the terminal material and the wire or wire strands.

    If you should ever have the occasion to find an old wiring harness with crimp terminals, take the time to split one of the crimp terminals apart. you will find that the terminal won't just fall off. and that if you look carefully, you can see that the wire strands are actually embedded in the terminal material. This also explains a couple of things, that the tin is there to prevent corrosion (as it is far less prone to oxidation/corrosion than the copper alloy that it is covering), and that any incorrect design will create a problem. If the copper alloy is too soft (as in just plain copper), the crimp will not have sufficient strength, and may tear during the crimping process. Too hard, and the wire may not embed itself into the alloy, which will create higher resistance, may fracture during the crimp process, and also wear out the crimp tools faster.
     
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  18. Mikes5thAve

    Mikes5thAve Well-Known Member

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    We're not talking hi tech stuff here. Any crimp on end that has been crimped tightly will last longer then the components you are installing.
     
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  19. 69-

    69- Well-Known Member

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    Fully agree. If I need to solider a splice or so, I use a nail and heatshrink all around that to keep vibration and movement off the soldered area.

    Prefer crimping in all other areas/connectors.