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Harness Crimping Page


     UPDATED: July 30, 2021                       CONTACT       
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Butt Splices
Crimping Open Barrel Terminals
Assembling EFI Crimp Connectors
Removing EFI Crimp Terminals
Crimping Large Battery Cable Lugs
DEUTSCH Connectors



Crimping with Butt Splices
Here's a good butt splice crimping video for beginners.

Basic crimping with nylon butt splices.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfXi60hu5zM





 
Crimping Open Barrel Terminals
Here's a good crimping guide for beginners: http://www.xj4ever.com/crimping my style.pdf
What is an OPEN BARREL terminal? 
<<< It's a NON-INSULATED terminal with open "wings" as shown to the left. Those wings are crimped over the wire. 

<<< PROPER CRIMP tools are important.  Try not to use a cheap stamped metal crimping tool.  Buy yourself something at least as good as this one to start off.   For those of you who are curious about what crimper I use, this is it for 90% of my crimps for non-insulated open barrel terminals and also many insulated terminals.  This is the Thomas & Betts model WT 112M. It runs about $40. I've had this one for 25 plus years. 


<<< Here's a close copy of that crimper, which is available at Harbor Feight. 
https://www.harborfreight.com/9-12-in-wire-crimping-tool-63989.html
With some practice, this simple tool above can create nice crimps on open barrel terminals just like a fancy crimping tool, although a fancy tool may take less time and may be a better answer if you're crimping a lot of terminals.
Check out my video below.
https://youtu.be/Mv92DNdyQXo



 Here's an expensive MSD ratcheting crimper I own and have used for a number of years when I need a fancy crimper. It has dies which can be swapped for different style crimps, such as for auto ignition cables.  It was pretty expensive (close to $100), but many years ago when I bought it there were not cheap tool options like there are now. So shop around.
THIS MSD CRIMPER: with ignition dies: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/msd-35051/overview/ or with optional open barrel dies: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/msd-3506/overview/


Here's a very highly rated copy of my expensive crimper for a fraction of the price.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OMMZ502/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza


When shopping around for crimpers, try to find one that will do open barrel F type terminals.  You can spend a lot of money on one of these tools or kits, but it you hunt carefully, you can find cheaper ones that will work pretty well.  This one pictured is under $30 for the crimper and it comes with extra crimping dies and a wire stripper.  Sometimes you get what you pay for when buying CHEAP tools, so shop carefully and read reviews if they exist.

Looking at this photo, the style of crimping die normally used for open barrel terminals that are found in my harness pages is the one on the bottom right in this photo. It's most similar to the ABOVE larger photo on my expensive MSD crimper.  The other dies might come in handy, so they would be a bonus.  I don't own this particular crimper.  This one is cheap and might be worth the cost, or it might explode!  You can never really tell until it's in your hands.

HERE: https://www.amazon.com/IWISS-Crimping-different-terminals-interchangeable/dp/B0195VXA10/



Here's a short, but decent video showing close-up crimping action for an open barrel terminal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=8jcfD1UW8SE



Assembling Typical EFI Crimp Connectors
These style connectors and terminals are available in Dave's Volvo Page: https://www.prancingmoose.com/blackvinyl.html#EFIplugs
<<< Here's a typical sealed EFI connector housing found in many different Bosch style fuel injection systems.  This one has 6 poles and is most often used for a MAF (mass air flow) sensor. 

This connector housing uses FEMALE crimp terminals, so this housing is known as a FEMALE housing. Inserting or removing a crimp terminal from one of these housings is easy, but if you're never done this before, this page will show you how.


Fuel Injection
                              2-Pole Plug<<<  Connector housings like these come in a number of different configurations.  The most common one is a 2-pole connector shown here used for a Bosch style fuel injector. This style connector is also known as an EV-1 connector.  They all use the same style crimp terminals that are inserted into these housings from the rear after being crimped onto a wire.

<<< Here's a typical ratcheting terminal crimper that works well for these EFI terminals (same MSD crimper described above). 
The below video will offer a quick view of this type of crimping operation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXDedfvmI_0   (length: 1:34)




The Terminals below are TYPE 1 EFI Terminals (Early type).
These terminals are most often found in Volvo engine harnesses up to approximately 1988.

<<< If you're learning to crimp these, it will take some practice before your crimps come out just right.  The wire needs to be tightly crimped, but not so tight that the terminal cuts into the wire strands. The crimp on the insulation does not need to be super tight.  Just make it tight enough to stabilize the insulation portion, but not s tight that it cuts through it.

Be sure to pull on the wire to TEST it after crimping.  It should not pull free.

<<< An EFI TYPE 1 terminal will have a single HOOK (or spur) sticking out like that one on the underside. That hook will be what holds this terminal in place inside the connector housing. 
<<< As the TYPE 1 crimped terminal is inserted into the rear of the connector housing, that hook (or spur) will click into place when it reaches the end and is fully inserted.
<<< When fully inserted, you should hear the hook CLICK into place.


<<< Here's the backside of the EFI connector.  That hinged piece on the bottom is there to help lock in the wire or wire seals, if used. That hinged piece will not be present on all EFI connectors like this and there are plenty of these connectors out there without that part. Those work just as well.
<<< Here I'm inserting a crimped TYPE 1 terminal into the rear of the connector housing. It has a silicone wire seal installed on the wire before crimping the terminal. Some prefer crimping the seal onto the back of the terminal as you'll see below.

A wire seal like this is optional. If you decide to use a rubber boot on the back of this connector, a wire seal is not needed. 
<<<  Once the terminal is inserted, then the wire seal can be pushed up the wire and into the hole. 
<<< If your connector housing has the hinged piece, it can then be closed to lock in the wire and seal.  If your housing does not have it, you can certainly still insert a wire seal and it should stay in place without the need for a locking device, especially if you decide to crimp the wire seal onto the terminal as shown below.


Removing TYPE 1 EFI Terminals.
<<< If you need to remove an EFI TYPE 1 terminal from a housing, a simple tool is used, which may be a sharp pick or even a small micro screwdriver.  The pick is inserted into the front of the connector housing to reach that hook. The goal is to push that hook toward the terminal so it gets released from the housing and the terminal can then be pulled out the rear of the housing.





<<< Here's an illustration of how the pick will depress the hook (or spur) to allow the terminal to be backed out. 

If you want to invest in a better tool, the Rennsteig tool shown in the Type 2 section below also works very well to release this terminal.
<<< If you remove a terminal from a housing and intend to reuse or re-insert that terminal, first inspect the hook (or spur) to make sure it's still sticking out. If you bent the hook inward, it may not catch when re-inserted. So you may carefully re-bend it back outward so it'll click into place when re-inserted.



The Terminals below are TYPE 2 EFI Terminals (Later type).
These terminals are most often found in Volvo engine harnesses after 1988.
<<< An EFI TYPE 2 terminal will have TWO HOOKS (or spurs) sticking out like these on either side. These hooks will be what holds this terminal in place inside the connector housing.

In this photo a silicone wire seal has been added.  As mentioned above, this type of seal is optional.  It may be used instead of a rubber boot.  It you decide to use a rubber boot, then these seals are not needed.  This seal has been crimped onto the back of the terminal.  This is not required. It can just be slid onto the wire too.  It's up to your preference.
<<< As the TYPE 2 crimped terminal is inserted into the rear of the connector housing, those two hooks will click into place when it reaches the end and is fully inserted.

When fully inserted, you should hear the hooks CLICK into place.
RENNSTEIG TOOL: 
Since the TYPE 2 terminal has two hooks, it will be much more difficult to release from the connector housing using a simple pick.  It's possible to use TWO PICKS (like that used for the Type 1), however the proper tool makes life so much easier for releasing these terminals.

This tool made by Rennsteig works exceptionally well.
https://www.amazon.com/Rennsteig-Superior-Quality-Removal-680-12093647/dp/B00A8FXAO0/
This release tool also works quite well with Type 1 terminals.
 
This tool is inserted as shown BELOW. It will depress the two hooks at the same time. Then the wire and terminal is easily pulled out from the rear of the connector housing.

 RUBBER BOOTS
<<< Here we have a rubber boot that mates to the 6 or 7-pole connector housing. If you're using a rubber boot, then using individual wire seals will not be necessary.
These connectors are available in Dave's Volvo Page: https://www.prancingmoose.com/blackvinyl.html#EFIplugs



Crimping Large Cable Battery Lugs.

  Lots of people have a tool like this one pictured.  This one is from 12 Volt Planet, but there are many other versions available everywhere.  This tool is designed to be hit with a hammer or squeezed in a vise.  I prefer using a vise.  This tool is functional and offers pretty good side support for the cable lug. There are better and much more expensive tools, but this one is pretty cheap and better than just smacking the lug with a punch or a screwdriver.  The BIG disadvantage to this tool and others that use a vise is it's hard to crimp a lug under your hood. 


Lots of people have old tubing flaring tools laying around. 
Here's a new use for half of your flaring tool in a vise that also offers good side support for a large lug when crimping. This photo is from plan-to-build.com/making-lugs-for-3-0-cable-from-copper-pipe/.



This inexpensive flaring kit from Harbor Freight will go up to 5/8 inch O.D.
https://www.harborfreight.com/7-piece-tube-flaring-kit-5969.html


SOLDERING
Below video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkMdlPsBxkc
I have NOT normally been a fan of soldering when building an engine harness. Solder is fragile and tends to crack when subjected to vibration. if a harness connection cracks, it will lead to immense frustration in trying to find the connection problems. 

Soldering PLUS crimping
can be done and can work very well in a harness.
 

It's obviously a lot more work than just crimping.  Here's a video below demonstrating the use of solder AFTER crimping a battery lug.


Large Crimping Tools
<<< If you will be doing frequent battery lug crimps or if you need to do crimps like this under your hood, you might want a large crimping tool.  These can be expensive, but if you're been looking on-line, you've probably seen something like this IWISS Terminal Crimping Tool on Amazon.  It advertises the ability to crimp a number of large METRIC sizes, but according to the below video it slightly misses the mark if you want perfect AWG size crimps.  But for the price (under $30) it might be good enough, especially if you have some tools to modify the crimping dies to better fit your needs.
Below video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuAg1Ong6lI

 

DEUTSCH DT CONNECTORS
(Amphenol equivalent connectors below CLICK HERE)

Hard to spell, but Deutsch connectors are very good. Fully sealed, easy to use connectors suitable for almost any automotive application.
Deutsch connectors are sold by TE Connectivity, formerly Tyco Electronics.
I like these connectors, so I thought I'd highlight them here.

Most common types used for automotive:
DT Connectors: 14-18 AWG, up to 13A rating, uses Size 16 contacts (terminals).
https://www.mouser.com/new/te-connectivity/te-deutsch-dt-series-connectors/



DTP (Power) Series Connectors: 10-14 AWG, up to 25A rating, uses Size 12 contacts (terminals).
For higher amp power connections up to 25 amps.
https://www.mouser.com/new/te-connectivity/te-deutsch-dtp-connectors/


TERMS TO REMEMBER FOR DEUTSCH DT OR AMPHENOL AT SERIES CONNECTORS:
PLUG: This refers to the MALE connector housing, which inserts into the female receptacle housing.
RECEPTACLE: This refers to the FEMALE connector housing, into which the male plug housing inserts.
This part below can get confusing.

SOCKET: This refers to the FEMALE contact terminal, which is placed into the MALE PLUG housing.

PIN: This refers to the MALE contact terminal, which is placed into the FEMALE RECEPTACLE housing.

Here are some a good Deutsch plug assembly demonstrations.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE712DGw8CY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EixzYfBS50





AMPHENOL AT SERIES CONNECTORS
Amphenol AT Series connectors are sold by Amphenal Sine Systems.
https://www.amphenol-sine.com/a-series-connectors

Amphenol AT Series connectors are 100% interchangeable (every part) with Deutsch DT connectors.
A comprehensive cross-reference is available here:

https://www.amphenol-sine.com/DeutschConnectorsCrossReference.html

Most common types used for automotive:
AT Series Connectors: 14-22 AWG, up to 13A rating, uses Size 16 terminals.
https://www.amphenol-sine.com/at-series



ATP (Power) Series Connectors: 10-14 AWG, up to 25A rating, uses Size 12 terminals.
For higher amp power connections up to 25 amps.
https://www.amphenol-sine.com/atp-series



COMPARISON VIDEO: Deutsch DT versus Amphenol AT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM1yvLv8YCw






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