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Some of you have seen the wiring on my buggy, it's organized choas. When i did my harness i didn't use a single crimp on connector (i hate the things and have never had problems with them), i soldered and heat shrinked everything. I suck at electrical though after my buggy build i'm getting pretty decent at it though i'd rather not mess with it.

One problem is when i did my harness i didn't know where i was going to mount my fuse box and computer so i have some wires that are way too long and are looped around and zip tied to take up slack, is cutting out the slack, soldering and heat shrinking them acceptable or is there a better option? I guess i could start pulling apart plugs and putting new little prongs from the gm dealer on them though i think that could turn into a disaster.

Another problem is when i was finishing up my buggy i was running out of money and spending $20 on 1,000 zip ties was a lot more appealing then dropping almost $100 for 4 or 5 different boxes of wiring loom. I did use hold downs to hold down the long runs of wire to the back of my buggy and to hold some wires out of the way (though my starter wire liked to catch on fire at the badlands) and i need to add a couple more. I plan on picking up a bunch of loom but is there really any reason to use it over 2 or 3 wires that are zip tied together? I don't really like the stuff because it makes problems harder to diganose and fills with mud/ water.

What are some prefered ways to mount computers and relays? My computer was mounted with 1 zip screw for a while and that killed it quick with all the bouncing around, my fuel pump relay has kinda dangled. I'm thinking i'm going to use the 2 other mounting holes for the computer, make a sheet metal backet and then use some rubber washers for some vibration dampening. I'm not sure how to mount the fuel pump relay, it's a factory s10 relay, i might need to cut something off of a stock s10. I'm thinking i'm going to make a "glove box" for my computer, fuel pump and head light relays, ignition module, and fuse pannels. My rig is an open rig and as much as i hate it it sees a lot of mud and water, i'm thinking about cutting some holes in the bottom of the "glove box" for cooling (my computer used to get really hot mounted right by the exhaust), should i also add a cooling fan?

And last but not least what's a good soldering gun? The ones i orginally used to wire the buggy sucked and took for ever to use.

Thank you very much for the help, i'm trying to get my buggy to be less of a pain on the trail wasting everyone's time while i'm chasing down stupid things.
 

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I don't see anything wrong with cutting a section of wire out and soldering the ends together. IF it's done right. Here's my method:

1) Strip about 3/4" from each end.

2) Slide two pieces of heat shrink onto the wires; one about 1 1/4" and one about 1 1/2".

3) Twist the wires together - end of one wire to the insulation of the other and vice versa.

4) Apply solder, and make sure it flows throughout the joint.

5) Coat the joint with Liquid Electrical Tape. About $5.00 for a 1/2-pint can at the hardware store or commercial electrical supply house.

6) Slide the short piece of heat shrink over the joint and shrink it. You should see the liquid electrical tape ooze out the ends of the heat shrink.

7) Slide the long piece of heat shrink over the joint and shrink it.

Aaron (JYG) prefers the top-quality (aerospace?) heat shrink with a glue/sealant inside. I would use it if it were available locally. Instead I use 3M (You're welcome LEVE) and the liquid electrical tape.

Regarding split loom versus zip ties: The problem with zip ties is that they hold wire bundles together tightly and rigidly. Over time that can theoretically lead to chafing of the insulation and fatigue breakage of the conductors. It's something that I've never personally seen, and I doubt that it's a significant real-world problem. Still, I would avoid them where possible.

Something that's neater than split loom is nylon bundling ribbon. It bundles a bunch of wires together quite securly, but is rather time-consuming to apply. A bundle is stiff and tough, and can be zip tied to supports without worry of fatigue.

Here's a picture of some auxilliary wiring in my Jeep.



For most applications I'd go with split loom though. It's easy to add and remove wires as necessary, and good enough.

I like your idea of making a plate somewhere to mount the computer, ignition module, relays, addional fuse holders and so on. I'm not so crazy about making it an enclosed box because of the heat problem. Water splash shouldn't bother those things. Just keep them high so that they won't be completely immersed.
 

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I like to strip the wires back and hook them together using the "J" shape. Hook them to each other, squeeze them with needle nose pliers, and solder them together, you may reomove a few strands if you don't want it to be a larger connection. I use a butane soldering gun, it heats up quick and lasts quit a while. Also no cord to get in the way. I bought it at Lowes. It is a Weller P2KC I think, it will cost you around $35-45.
 

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Those little butane irons are nice, but I prefer my Weller WTC temperature-controlled solder station for wiring work. They're a might pricey, at around $125, although used ones can be picked up for $100 or less.

As for the J-splice, I don't like it for two reasons:

1) It leaves a thicker bump in the middle where the wires are bent back. That occasionally will make you use a larger heat shrink.

2) There is less contact area between the two pieces of wire. In theory that would mean a little more resistance at the joint. Not a real-world concern.

The advantage to it is that it holds the two wires together better before soldering. My feeling is that if they don't hold with my method, I haven't stripped enough insulation, or haven't twisted them together tightly enough. The larger the wire, to more insulation must be stripped.
 
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