TECH CORNER: Electronic Wiring
When it comes to automotive repair there seems to be two areas that frighten most do-it-yourselfers: electronic wiring and transmissions. Both are attempted but usually fall short of a job well done, often sacrificing the safety of the driver.
I recently had the pleasure of completely rewiring a newly purchased drag racing toy for myself. It was a miracle the car actually worked. I uncovered multiple "no-nos" often within the same circuit. You might ask what is an electrical "no-no?" A non-soldered connection, such as a butt connector or a taped twist splice, is an automotive "no-no." I even found a wire taped to the end of a terminal on a switch. I also found two different gauge wires spliced together compromising the integrity of the circuit and welcoming a potential fire hazard. Five of the near 100 butt connectors pulled apart with little or no force applied to the wire. One of those five was wired to the fuel pump. High amperage accessories such as water pumps, and cooling fans need to be wired to a relay and not shared with any other circuit. It took me a full week of my spare time, which usually means a sleepless night rewiring and making my new toy not only function properly, but making it safe as well.
I happen to thoroughly enjoy the complexities of wiring and take great pride in making my finished product not only function properly, but both safe and appealing to the eye.
Some tips to remember:
- All spliced connections should be soldered and covered with shrink tubing. It is better and neater than tape.
- The proper gauge wire should be used for each circuit.
- A relay should be used for all high amperage accessories such as: water pump, fuel pump, cooling fans, etc.
- A protective wire loom that can withstand engine heat should be used to conceal and protect all wires under the hood.
- Some jobs are best to be left to someone who has an expertise in that area. After all, it is your prized possesion and why skimp on function and safety.