Electrical Repair Soldered vs. Solderless

Michael from Clinton Mobile Technician Posted   Latest   Edited  
Discussion
Electrical

On Linked In I often spar with others on electrical issues. One issue that has come up several times is the soldered vs. solderless repair. I have thrown down the gauntlet on this debate in offering a scientific experiment to prove my contention that a non-insulated solderless connector with heat shrink can do an adequate repair. Most of the time we go the rounds in what we hold to be true. Science is best way to calm these debates. I have offered, on Linked-in some basic supplies in order to do this experiment at home. The first five to respond on Linked In will get the wire, heat shrink and solderless connectors for the experiment. If interested, hop on Linked In and respond to my post. Soldering wires is a very good way to do electrical repairs. Solderless can do a good job too if you have the right materials. I will report back as the experiment moves forward.

+4

James from Bishop

 

Diagnostician
 

Following . I’m intrigued 

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Rudy from Montebello

 

Technician
 

Only stubborn, old doddards think soldering is the best way to go. One can argue that both have their places,but for general repair, a solder-less repair,when using good practices,is more than adequate.

youtu​.​be/faLn-SjVfwY

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Chris from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

Did anyone notice the crimp connector is upside down in the pliers?

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Marlin from Estacada

 

Technician
 

No, because it is not.

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Chris from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

I must have been taught wrong, I was always shown to keep the seam of the crimp inline with the convex side of the crimp pliers. Is this not correct?

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

The spiked side needs to crimp without spreading out the seam. If the seam is not brazed, then it makes a mess of your crimp. Some connectors use a crimper that folds the sides into the wire. Maybe that is the confusion. I loaded a picture. Sorry it is so blurry. It actually looks better without blowing it up. I have also taken a picture of the crimper for open crimp type terminals. A finished crimp is also included.

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Marlin from Estacada

 

Technician
 

For this type connector, what he showed in the video is correct. Doing it the other way on a brazed connector can crack the seam open, and on a non-brazed connector can spread it open and let strands loose.

For terminals with open tangs, a different crimp tool must be used and the open side of the connector faces opposite the smooth concave.

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Hi Marlin,

The crimper die pictured in my comment above is for open type terminal. In fact, I made the completed crimp pictured with it.

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Chris from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

Thanks for the insight, its the smal things that make all the difference 

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Marlin from Estacada

 

Technician
 

Yes, I know. You must have mistook what I was replying about. The formatting on this site makes it easy to mistake who is replying about what.

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

I use the solderless method on a regular basis. I spare no expense on heatshrink and connectors. Pictured below are the connectors and heatshrink I use. IMO, the repair looks very professional. We will let science figure this one out.

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Chris from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

This is similar to the Ford OEM repair kits we used for most repairs. We did not typically use these on SRS, Vref sensors, or network wiring.

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

It would be interesting to try some different splice techniques and test them with a scope. Most vehicles have splice packs on the network. It may not be so different of a connection with a solderless connector. I suppose it would mess with the twist some. SRS would be a different story. Whether it is a repair that disrupted the airbag system or not, ignoring the vehicle manufacturer standard can open you up to liability.

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Geoff from Lahaina

 

Diagnostician
 

we have good 3M heat-shrink but yours has goo in it. Got a part number for each size, or kit number?

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Here is what I currently use. It seems the company makes one similar that has been tested with Diesel contamination. I may switch to it if I can find it.

waytekwire​.​com/item/22204/DSG…

waytekwire​.​com/item/22203/DSG…

I also use Tin coated Copper connectors with brazed barrel. They do not have the split in them so they can be crimped anywhere on the connector.

terminalsupplyco​.​com/Store/Default…

Enjoy.

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Geoff from Lahaina

 

Diagnostician
 

Great links! Thanks M.C.

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Geoff from Lahaina

 

Diagnostician
 

well, crap, another STUPID company that won't MAIL things. UPS and FedEX charge more than the items cost.

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

I may be able to help. I am not sure how to make contact with each other on this forum. You can message me on linked in.

+1

Geoff from Lahaina

 

Diagnostician
 

Wow, that is very generous of you! I already used the product description to find something similar on Mouser​.​com though. I am not sure how we contact each other either. Maybe that is not set-up yet. (ahem, Scott?) I'm not on Linked-in either. I do see two "Michael Christopherson" on iATN, and one is in Clinton, Utah. Any chance that's you?

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Yes, that is me

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Geoff from Lahaina

 

Diagnostician
 

sent you a message that way,

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Nick from Culver City

 

Manager
 

I recently saw a connector that contained solder and water tight heat shrink all in one. when the heat shrink is melted the the solder is supposed to melt and bond. I've never tried them but they looked intriguing. 

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

These have been around for a while. Car Products had them back in the day. In theory, they are awesome. I tried them and was not happy with the result. Others may have had better success.

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Marlin from Estacada

 

Technician
 

I consider them to be one of the stupidest ideas for electrical connections ever. They rank similarly to using wire nuts for automotive wiring.

The problems (not a conclusive list):

The joint can only be cold-solder, and is almost certain to be a poor one at that.

By the time the solder is liquid, the tubing will already be hindering wire insertion.

If both wires cannot be inserted at the same time, making the second connection could be very detrimental to the first connection.

+1

Chris from Commack

 

Technical Support Specialist
 

Mazda's wiring repair kit had those in them. I never had an issue using them, but I preferred the Ford crimp kit with hot melt wax shrink tube in the picture above.

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Brady from Yakima

 

Owner/Technician
 

I've tried those and have not had good luck with them.

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Jeff from Yakima

 

Diagnostician
 

I use these, I get them from Del city, I have tried other brands but The heat shrink splits, the Del city are my favorite. Works great and i feel that the repair is To my standards which is set pretty high.

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Sean from Cornville

 

Owner
 

I just got some of these from Amazon yesterday, and tried them on two different repairs. They work really well, but since they don't have the sealant all the way to the end of the heat shrink, they look funny, and the ends can peel up. On the second one yesterday, I ran dual wall heat shrink over it after the repair, and it looks great. Much easier, and higher quality connection than the butt splices that have the dual wall heat shrink built in, which I have used for years, but was never fully satisfied with, because if they had a great crimp, usually the heat shrink was cut.

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Andres from North Lauderdale

 

Diagnostician
 

This is great! I’ll be watching this post. Thanks

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Luke from Buellton

 

Instructor
 

I am a big fan of the BMW crimping butt connectors. They are approved for all repair, including CAN and SRS.

+3

Rudy from Montebello

 

Technician
 

Those are nice. Is there a special tool to crimp with or just regular crimping pliers?

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

I have started experimenting to see how long it takes for copper to start oxidizing. I have put two stripped and twisted wires in a salt bath of warm water. 1 cup tap water with 1 tablespoon table salt. Water at 110F. If it does not turn in the water, I will take it out in the morning and see what it does during the day. Inserted into the water at 6PM Mountain Time.

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Bruce from Spring Hill

 

Technician
 

Mike Becker has some videos where he tested different splice techniques. It's on the Wells tech YouTube channel

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Bruce from Spring Hill

 

Technician
 

Here's part 1, there is 3 parts 

youtu​.​be/IXT1h-qDcY0

+2

Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

I watched this series. It was interesting. It kind of threw a ringer into what we all believe.

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Sean from Cincinnati

 

Technician
 

I personally use both methods, I was under the impression if the wire harness repair is a spot where the wire is very secure, then soldering is good to use but if the harness moves then solder shouldn't be used since the solder actually makes a stiff spot in the wire actually causing issues later on

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Shane from Summerville

 

Technician
 

I use the solder method every time. I may just be set in my ways, but I will follow this thread to see what others thoughts are on this.

+1

Steve from Irvine

 

Instructor
 

Mike,

Depending on the manufacturer and time of writing, crimping with the proper connectors are some manufacturer's procedures. I have read where soldering is not permitted during warranty repairs due to the potential breaking of the solder, welding or crimping only.

Proper crimping tools are needed to crimp the wires so that wire fatigue and weakening of the tensile strength does not occur. 

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Thank you for that. If you run across some printed material that can be shared it would be good to get the facts from the OEMs.

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Martin from Burnaby

   

Instructor
   

Michael. Some useful information regarding GM procedures for terminal replacement, splice clip, soldering etc, is located in pages 9-14 of the J…H Terminal Repair Kit Instruction Manual.

If you do not have the -620H version of the manual, the older version can be found in a Google search for "J38125". The pages are not numbered the same, but the info is still around that range. I have seen the -620H offered via a bit torrent, so it is out there. Note: On page 14 of the 620H manual, the Green Duraseal Crimp Splice Sleeve 24-22 AWG PN … is no longer utilized, so the Salmon 20-18 AWG PN … sleeve is used with the conductor trimmed of insulation to expose 2x the normal 5mm length and the conductor is folded and crimped.

GM Folded - Over Wire Repair SI doc # 2531817, covers joining wires of different sizes or when there is not a spec splice clip or sleeve offered by GM SPO. The document includes a table to identify where folded over is the procedure to use, depending on the wire gauges.

Regardless of whether wires are soldered or not, the primary method of joining the conductor to another conductor with a splice clip, splice sleeve or to a wire termination, is mechanical crimping. As good as we might manage to crimp with the spec crimpers, we cannot duplicate a machine crimp.

Soldering non-insulated splice clips and heat shrinking is the norm, but terminals should not be soldered that connect to a module, because solder could interfere with the physical connection.

Physical inspection and voltage drop testing of crimp and soldered connections is recommended to ensure the connection is secure and will not adversely affect current flow

Regarding the GM supplied Duraseal splice sleeves, the sleeves are 20-18 AWG, while other salmon sleeves offered elsewhere may be 22-18 AWG.

As far as heat shrink materials go and also heat shrinkable splice sleeves, quality can range from the "good, the bad and the ugly". You get what you pay for and many of us utilize products that may be supplied via a parts counter that bases purchases on price rather than quality.

FWIW, it is easy to damage heat shrink using an open flame, so a heat gun or the reflector adapter and tip can be used on a butane soldering iron. Electric soldering irons are not recommended due to the possibility of electrical induction into the conductor.

GM recommends the Ultratorch J-38125-5 / P/N … with spec heat settings. Personally, I have a Blue Point butane kit that has served me well for several years.

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Thank you for the information Martin.

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Steve from Irvine

 

Instructor
 

There is, I am trying to figure out how not to break contract agreements and get you the printed information. 

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Steve from Irvine

 

Instructor
 

Mike 

Please check this out

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Thank you Steve

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Wow, VW really does not like solder do they? "Splices may be welded or crimped – never soldered!"

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Steve from Irvine

 

Instructor
 

This is standard across the three lines. 

I believe based on the brands, it is a preference. As long as you perform a proper crimp and sealing , you should be better than before the repair.

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Ward from Saskatoon

 

Technician
 

Hello: I live in Saskatchewan, Canada. In winter we have roads graveled and salted, though not to the extent of Ontario and the rust belt states as salt is only effective at temperatures of -18C or so and we are usually colder than that.

Over the years I have found crimp connectors, even the better heat shrink ones will get moisture inside them and corrode internally. I always crimp with a naked (uninsulated) crimp connector, solder the crimped connection, then cover it with a good quality dual wall heat shrink tubing (dual wall is the fancy name for the stuff with the glue inside), Connections are NEVER made where the wire flexes. A broken wire or wires in an umbilical to a door or hatch have a piece of new wire spliced in with connections made in the door and body. ABS harness repair kits for FWD GM products come with a foot or so of wire even though the wires break an inch or two from the connector where the harness flexes as the wheel pivots on the ball joint. This extra length is to allow you to make your repair on the control arm where the harness does not flex, although I have seen far too many crimped at the flex point by the ball joint with predictable results.

I have never had a connection I made by crimping, soldering, and heat shrinking fail. Three years ago my daily driver, an '82 Dodge W250 got a new engine. While I was swapping I thought it would be a good time to put in fuel injection. I am running a 360 CID Dodge engine on a MegaSquirt fuel injection system with fully sequential injection and coil near plug ignition. The throttle body, IAC, TPS, injectors, and coils are from a 5.3L Chevrolet pick up from a wrecking yard, complete with their connectors. The wiring harness is all crimped. soldered and heat shrunk to new SXL insulated wiring to form the harness to the fire wall, and again inside the cab to the ECM. Like the repairs I perform at work, I have had no failures of any type on the wiring on my fuel injection.

I had hoped the fuel economy on the truck would be better but it runs so smoothly now I find it hard to keep my foot out of it!

Ward

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Michael from Holt

 

Diagnostician
 

The main thing I see in crimp connections is they are miscrimped or sized incorrectly for the wire guage. Unfortunately alot of shops dont buy the proper supplies to make this a adequate repair. Most of the time I like to solder the wire but I am not against a good crimped connection either but it needs to be done properly. I have seen far to many with wires that are loose or easily fall out of the crimp connectors due to improper sizing or crimp location. This is a must be done properly kinda thing and shouldnt cause a issue.

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Michael from Clinton

 

Mobile Technician
 

Hi Michael,

I hear you loud and clear.

A few years ago I researched the best terminals and heat-shrink and put together some comprehensive kits. I set up in 3 kits comprising of the popular splice sizes. Each kit had every variety of terminal I could find. Where possible I bought seamless (brazed) terminals. The kits even have butt connectors in dissimilar sizes for downsizing or upsizing a splice. I loaded up my truck and took them out to shops to sell. My efforts failed. I sold two boxes. I got the "I just get them from the parts store when I need them". I still have a closet full of these. I have more than a lifetime supply. It is hard to sell your passion about wire repair when others just don't share the vision. Meanwhile the vampires continue to poke wires without sealing them up, Use insulated splices open to the elements and hacking their way through repairs.

+1

Tom from Santaquin

 

Owner/Technician
 

Following

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