solder vs crimping

Discussions about general body work and modifications

solder vs crimping

Postby Kingspeedy2 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:45 am

I am sure there will be a few opinions on this.
I have crimped wires and I have soldered wire connections, I have crimped and then soldered connections for many a repair job.
I have always thought a well soldered twisted wire with QUALITY heat shrink that contains the glue to be the best joint.
a former co worker who repaired sonar equipment for the navy gave me a tip and said they also clean the resin off the solder joint using isopropyl alcohol.

Recently I was having trouble with my trailer lights ,these connections were all twisted pigtails ,soldered and then wiped clean with alcohol and then covered with military grade heat shrink.
What I had discovered was that the joints had corroded and had turned to powder, I know I didn't use acid core solder .
It should be noted the wiring is from one of those discount tool places so not top quality.
Now I am second guessing the methodology.
I am aways away from starting but I am doing a complete re wire with American autowire so I know the wire is going to be quality, I believe I have all the correct crimping equipment for there stuff any any other connector I could possibly encounter. I was going to crimp and then solder each terminal with just enough solder it penetrates but doesn't wick down to far to make the joint stiff.
there are going to be places where a butt connection is going to be required so those are my main concern.
Of all the joints I have redone ,none have been on anything I have had for a long time so don't know how my other joints have faired over time.

what do you guys think about solder joints vs a well crimped connector or combo of the 2.
The internet is full of pros and cons but I come to the peeps who's opinion I value..
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby GeneB » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:04 am

This is just my opinion on electrical connections. There are many others out there as you have discovered in the internet.
Pre soldering a wire before crimping to prevent oxidation works but can cause wire breakage if the wire is flexed at the start of the solder/bare wire area. If no flexing then should be good.
Crimping then soldering is good if solder doesn't go past wire end of crimp. Soldering doesn't work if using insulated terminals (melt insulation)
Crimping only is good if using quality crimpers that ratchet. They will not release until crimp is squeezed to a preset point. This prevents loose crimps. If using other crimpers pull on the terminal to be sure it is crimped good
Solder should be Rosin core. The iron should be held on one side of the wire and solder held on the other side. The solder will wick to the heat (iron) you should see the outline of the wire strands after tinning the wire.

Good Luck
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby SASSY » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:05 am

I don't crimp anything unless absolutely necessary.
I twist the wire together, hold the gun under the twist, hold the solder down on the joint till it melts and wicks out into the the twist. Tape or heat shrink back on the road!
Have you seen some of Ron's (Comechero) work, very nice.
Mine, well it looked better done. :lol:
Fred
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I'd rather do it myself if it's done right or not,,,isn't that what hotrodding is all about?
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Comechero65 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:48 am

That pic that Fred posted is his before pic not the after. But like fred said I always solder wires but never just crimp. Even the best crimping tools cannot guarentee a permanent connection. I have had butt splices stll lose the connection even after doing a proper crimp.
I do use crimp connectors but I cut the outer covering off first then crimp. And i never use twist on
splices as those belong in house wiring not in autos. Then I solder every crimp making sure the solder flows throughout the connector. As long as I can see solder at both ends of the crimped connector I know I have a good connections. I do the same with crimp terminals. I insulate the connections with shrink tubing . I may use one or two layers of shrink tubing depending on location and thickness of the tubing.
I have never had a connection corrode away or become intermittant after following this method.
I hate butt splices as they come as they make for thick lumps at every connection and so look ugly. By using just the metal part of the butt splice and covering with shrink tubing makes for a smoother splice and not a big lump. And if doing multiple splices in a harness by staggering the splices the lumps are smaller and less obvious.
You mentioned wires breaking at joints with solder projecting out the ends of the splices. I have never encountered that. Usually the splices are in the middle of a run so that is not an issue.
Electronics is my background so work around electrical systems and electronic equipment so i have a little experience. Auto electric systems are easy as long as you use good methods and take your time to do things right. I have always repaired, cleaned up and modified my own wiring harnesses.
Only time I have had a problem is when I only crimp connections.
Have never thought necessary to clean the resin off and have had connections exposed to the outside environment. Road salts or being near the ocean could attack the connections if not sealed well. It's not hard to add some sealer to shrink tubing covering connections before shrinking the tubing.
Good luck.
Ron
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Lou's Comet » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:47 pm

Well crimped connectors have worked well for me. But you need good quality connectors, not the ones from pep boys or HF.
I use noninsulated connectors I get from a local automotive electrical shop. A buddy of mine that does big rigs told me about them. They are a lot nicer to work with compared to the cheap ones. Seen some on the Internet from 3M and Thomas Betts? that look like them. The barrel (where the wire slips in) is long enough to get two good crimps on it. You have to buy them in bulk tho, like 50/100 of each. I use the heat shrink with the sealer over the connection.

Couple other things to do when wiring the car. Don't have the wires tight/cut short, leave enough slack so there is no pulling or tension on the wire at the connector. Make sure the wires/harness is firmly attached/supported to the car body or frame and not where the weight of the wires/harness is pulling on connector, or where the harness is moving around and moving he wire back and forth at the connection. A wire covering/sheath definitely good thing too, and a little dielectric grease on connections.

Using the noninsulated connectors you don't get that lump as Ron said. With the heat shrink over it, it is hardly noticeable.

Lou
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby tomb22 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:35 pm

Lou, you are absolutely right. The crimper makes all the difference in the world. I'm a retired electrician and have done a lot of crimping for electronics and power equipment. I use a Thomas & Betts Sta-Kon crimper and have never had any issue with bad splices or connectors. I've never used any solder except when the connection had to be soldered. You also need to use the right size connector for the wire.
I see they now are making water proof stake-on connectors and butt splices, but I have not tried them.
Using the heat shrink with sealer is the route to go also.
I will be rewiring my car also so maybe we can give each other ideas. I want the cleanest looking job but very dependable and I'm adding a lot of extra equipment.
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby popscomet » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:44 pm

I never saw the RR lectricans use solder,,hardly ever,,,and there is more wire in a locomotive then there is in 10 comets.....pop
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Comechero65 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:55 pm

I find even with the best crimper tool you still can have connections oxidize and loosen over time. Temp changes coupled with dampness still penetrates. When you use the inner metal sleeve of a connector whether it is cheap or not work just fine. The key is soldering every connection.
Staggering splices in a harness makes for less lumping.
I unwrap my harnesses, clean and repair any wires, then make changes or add any new wires then rewrap with new wrapping tape. Harnesses look brand new when I finish with them. I use wrapping tape like ford used. Never just use electrical tape which squirms and moves and starts to unwrap itself. Also makes a sticky mess.
Ron
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby popscomet » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:03 pm

your half breed hasn't been built long e'nuff fot the harness to show any age to start with,when you unwrap any wireing harness,,,JMO....pop
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Comechero65 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:36 am

Was talking about when I was building it. Haven't had to make any major harmess changes since then other than I recently upgraded from the old 1g alt to a newer 3g. Made some minor changes there.
Ron
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Lip Ripper » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:13 am

Wrapping tape? Part number?

And I bought an assortment of connectors that have low temp solder in the middle. I can't imagine a heat gun melting the solder so I'm guessing one would have to use a micro torch. Anyone tried these?
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Comechero65 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:47 am

I ordered wrapping tape from npd. Comes in two widths, 3/4" and 1 1/4". I usually use the 3/4" as it's similar to what ford used. And is easier to work with.

https://www.npdlink.com/store/products/ ... 731-0.html

I knew,someone makes the connectors with solder already in them never ran across them or have a source.
They also make butt splices with a nylon covering and sealer already inside the sleeve.

I just use the inner metal part of a standard butt splice, crimped on the wires then solder. Doesn't take a lot of heat to melt the solder. I just use a 25 watt soldering pencil which heats the sleeve enough to flow the solder into it. If I'm doing a large wire to connect to a large terminal I just break out the soldering gun to get more heat. As long as the connectors are not corroded or covered with glue the solder melts and bonds just fine. Occasionally one doesn't want to take solder or won't stick to the wire I may have to scrap the wire or file it or sandpaper to break the barrier that doesn't allow the solder to stick. It's fairly obvious when solder isn't taking to it or is flowing right.
Ron
Last edited by Comechero65 on Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Lou's Comet » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:28 am

tomb22 wrote:Lou, you are absolutely right. The crimper makes all the difference in the world. I'm a retired electrician and have done a lot of crimping for electronics and power equipment. I use a Thomas & Betts Sta-Kon crimper and have never had any issue with bad splices or connectors. I've never used any solder except when the connection had to be soldered. You also need to use the right size connector for the wire.
I see they now are making water proof stake-on connectors and butt splices, but I have not tried them.
Using the heat shrink with sealer is the route to go also.
I will be rewiring my car also so maybe we can give each other ideas. I want the cleanest looking job but very dependable and I'm adding a lot of extra equipment.
tomb


Not sure what brand my crimper is, like 30 years old. Bought a newer high end one about a year ago works well on late model wiring, but still like my old one for the older stuff. Pretty sure the connectors I use are Thomas & Betts.
Never had any problems with the crimps IMO big difference between the cheap pep boys connectors and quality ones like 3M or T&B. Plus when using the heat shrink with sealer the noninsulated connectors are the way to go. Even used them on my boat with no problems.

+1 on using correct size for the wire!

Just started planning how I am going to rewire my car, going to build my harness from scratch. That way I can have it exactly how I want it. I have used Ron Francis harness's for the last few vehicles. And they have worked well, but you need to cut and fit all the ends to make it clean looking.(wires are all to long which is good) and I want to up the wire size on a few things. And really don't need a lot of the wires that come with kit. I also am going for cleanest looking job and it will definetly be dependable.

YEA! If you (or anyone else) wants to kick around some ideas on re-wiring count me in! Maybe we should start a new thread??

Lou
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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby Lou's Comet » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:32 am

popscomet wrote:I never saw the RR lectricans use solder,,hardly ever,,,and there is more wire in a locomotive then there is in 10 comets.....pop


Pretty much the same in automotive wiring. Hardly ever find a connection soldered in factory automotive wiring.

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Re: solder vs crimping

Postby poboyjo65 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:28 pm

I hate soldering.I also hate butt connectors,although sometimes you have to. I'd rather run a complete new wire if possible. I dont take off the factory wrap but I dont wrap any added wires. I like the convoluted tubing & tiny zipties. makes it easy to add to later & easy to inspect, & is better protection if it gets on something hot. I use the end connectors,blade & bullet, that have heat shrink built in, then I add more heat shrink. Never had any crimps come loose.
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