For my '23 touring, I am running my stock electric taillights and getting ready to run the connection. Questions is, what is the best way you guys splice and install your wiring? A butt connector just looks bad, so does tape, so what's the best looking way you do it?
here's what gets spliced:
When I need to do that on a see and be seen area, I use the Model A connectors as they are about the smallest out there to begin with. They are a pain in the butt of sorts, but work well in use.
Unseen, I'm a bit anal about splices getting corrosion so I use a western union line splice and (gulp/heresy) a slip over shrink tube sleeve.
When installing turn signals and brake lights on my '15 Touring, I had it in my head that, for the sake of historical originality, the installation should be removable, so I bought all manner of plug-in connectors and hid most of that stuff under the car. _I knew that was sort of a slip-shod way of doing things and that the right way was to instead solder the wire ends together and use shrink tubing. _But, lazy lummox that is yours truly, I didn't even bother to solder the plugs and sockets to the ends of the wires; I just crimped them on. _
Wonder of wonders, though; the darned setup has held for over six years with nary a failure. _The only problem I ever had was with the starter-mounted brake-light switch. _I replaced that switch with a much higher quality Fun Projects unit. _The lamp type you are using can be wired up in such a way that you have not only turn signals, but three brake-lights and three night time tail-lights, assuming you install a socket adapter in your rear kerosene lamp. _You just need double-filament bulbs.
I run a dedicated ground to all lights, use a 12 gage wire on 6 volt systems and solder and shrink tube all connections. I have been doing this for years and pretty much eliminate potential problems. Remember on a T with so much wood good grounds are always a problem, RV's have the same situation. KGB
just for correction and clarification....looks like I forgot...
While I use the western union splice, unlike western union lineman I do not leave it bare and rely on tension for the connection....but rather solder it before sliding the shrink tube over.........
If that's a stock light, it should have a plug for a single wire, not plastic wire pigtails. (If you want to be anal.)
In keeping with my own anal tendencies, I'd rewire the from the bulb socket itself with cloth covered wire and hide the connector(s) down at the frame. ;)
16ga. is plenty for tail lights. I might run 14ga. for lights on both sides of the car. (Because of the length of the wire.) But 12ga. is an overkill. The generator wire is 12ga.
There are lots of varying opinions on wiring in all genres of vehicles.
I recently bought a boat that had been in salt water for 22 years. I completely wired it from scratch. Out of curiosity, I studied and tested each circuit before disassembly.
This was all marine (tinned wire). Every single soldered joint, even factory solder in an accessory itself was experiencing a degree of failure. Either total, or glitchy when you moved the wires around. Every crimped connection, dark brown and seemingly loose in it's crimp, still worked great.
Even the ABYC standards advise against solder.
I'm two seasons into a immensely complicated wiring job with alarm systems, cut out relays, solar, etc in wet and humid conditions on a boat with no failures.
I used all bare connectors with no insulation, dip the ends in dielectric grease, then insert the wire and crimp. After that I heat shrink with a good adhesive lined heat shrink. I make full runs when I can, no butt connectors in a place I can't get to them later.
Also, I match wire gauge to the proper ampacity. I'm really into appearance and have the equipment to trace wires easily so I go the next step and usually use one color like black for aesthetics.
I haven't wired a model T yet, but every time I see yellow vinyl connectors on a fire wall, I sort of cringe...lol!!! I'm guessing I'd friction tape or use cloth wire loom to hide every single piece of heat shrink.
Just my observations and .02
To have a look of the era you can cut a piece of small diameter rubber hose slide it on then use the above western union style and then slide hose over it. Also a dab of black rtv inside each end seals it.
I solder and shrink tube all electrical connections unless the are designed to be removable. After that is done I slide a piece of black fabric wire loom over the splice.
The best way is to eliminate ALL splices.... It simplifies everything if you run an individual wire from the source of the power (switch, fuse whatever) directly to the load (bulb, horn, etc). For example the ignition switch will have one wire from the ammeter and separate wires to the coil and one to the brake light switch. There should be no jumpers and very definitely NO splices.....
This way any trouble shooting is easy, chances of failure are small and unless a wire gets cut, if the power is at one end, it WILL reach the other. I admit it takes a little more wire, but even electrical neophytes will understand how it works.....
As for termination, the flux used in solder connection can deteriorate over time, so crimps, with a proper crimping tool will provide years of trouble free service.
Going on a number of years in use, cringe! I used the blue vinyl wire for ALL my tail lights and horn hook up, crimp on connectors and with wood body ran the blue ground wire to battery. I used old style telephone staples to hold the wire in place. Got wires hanging out in all the wrong places at the rear of the huckster. Works for me!
I like the crimp connectors, but I remove the colour plastic from the connector. After lightly crimping I like to solder them. The Model A bullet connectors are nice also. When finished I like to use woven loom.
I like "maintenance man" friendly so I prefer the Model A connectors.
awesome guys, thank you
I'm new to the Model T. But does anyone use junnction or terminal blocks?
I was thinking of running front headlights or rear taillights to a junction block grounded to the frame at the rar or under the hood on the firewall. Then runing hot wires from switches or power source to the blocks. If you ever needed to remove a tail or headlight, just unscrew from the block and replace the single unit.
Robert, Maybe I misunderstand what you are saying, but the Model T has a junction block under the hood where you could disconnect any assemblies such as lights, if needed.
Back on topic, I solder and use adhesive lined 3:1 shrink wrap on everything. It may not be correct, but it's bullet proof. I try to keep where I do any splices out of sight. I guess I never realized you can buy the asphalt cloth loom, and that would certainly go a long way to hiding modern wire and splices. I will have to pick up some just to hide things a little better.
I have an 8 or 9 point cross bridge terminal block hidden on the inside body sill by the low speed pedal (Under the floorboard).
I used it for the 4-way/turn signal/brake lights I added...and then I went anal as I replaced all of the signal stat wiring and all of the pig-tail wiring so that I could home run from any of the new lights to the terminal block in cloth covered wire and cloth looms over the wires
Cost a fortune to do that way BTW as that is a bunch of color coded cloth wire sitting in asphalt coated looms sized correctly for what was in them ...put a homemade splash guard over the terminal strip...but it was still a heck of a lot of fun and a whole days work on a nice spring day screaming for a T project.
The BEST way is as Chad and George have said: solder and shrink tubing. I have worked in the marine field for many years and it is the only way to ensure trouble free connections.
That being said ... its permanent and not adaptable to easy disconnects. If you want that ability you will have to compromise and go with terminal strips and spade lugs or bullet connectors.
Bud, no offense, but if you've had any experience in the marine field, you know that soldering on a boat is not recommended by those who wrote the book on marine wiring standards. See my post above.
Soldering will be just fine on a garaged T with normal use to be sure. But crimps done correctly don't fail.
If you have an original light or lamp, they used a plug, and you shouldn't have to splice anything.
I've never heard of flux causing a soldered connection to fail, BUT I have heard lots of horror stories about the new "Lead-free" solder causing fails. This is a very interesting thread; I would lean towards the Model A type connectors, because it seems one often needs to take things apart for one reason or another (change of plan, more restoration work, etc.).
Don't know if this is a useful tip or not, but my wiring harness on my WWII jeep used the cloth covered wire and spade or ring connectors. Instead of the shrink insuallators, they used small vacuum hose. The short black rubber tubing installs like the shrink insullation and after the connection is made, slip the tubing up the wire and over the connection.
Looks period correct, but don't kow how waterpoof it is.
Robert is right. Whatever 'usual' method is used won't be weather tight - even heatshrinks. When I rewired the racer I bought all connections were soldered, then waterproofed and then the heatshrink went on.
I guess we've had different experiences. Don't know who wrote the book, but over the years I have had nothing but problems with crimped connections in a salt water environment. I spent weeks replacing all the crimped connections on my last liveaboard (41' Hatteras). Nothing actually failed but intermittants were everywhere.
I do use crimped connections because somtimes you have to. But after crimping, I solder them.