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Solder Or Crimp??
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gakali
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:55 pm    Post subject: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

To solder or crimp? That is the question.....

For years soldering has been considered by many as the best method of repair for automotive wiring in most service applications. Does this still hold true today?

Of course nobody can argue the fact that a properly done soldered repair can be a very good permanent solution for connecting wires together. This has been done for years and has been considered by many the "professional" way to connect two wires together.

On the flip side, butt connectors have commonly been viewed as a "hack" amateur type of repair (especially in wet environments). If this is the case than why is this the only method of repair that VW allows to be performed on their vehicles under warranty??

We've all seen both methods performed incorrectly and fail miserably over time. This is a fact.

VW engineers today prefer the crimp method. They say this method delivers consistently superior results when using quality connectors and crimp pliers. They say there are too many variables that can affect reliability when soldering in the field. Vibration resistance/wire hardening being one of the main concerns. I can't disagree with this.

VW does sell several butt connectors with self sealing shrink tube but they are available from 3m or dare I say Asian sellers on ebay. I've tried both and they seem to work equally well. To be clear here I'm not talking about the connectors with the hard plastic insulators you can buy at Dollarama.

As for crimpers - below is an example of the crimp tool type that I like to use. You can adjust the crimp pressure to release before the shrink tube insulation gets damaged. Also below is a link to the type of connectors I'm talking about.

You may get the impression here that I'm an advocate of the crimp. True! First off, for me it's way quicker to crimp wires together (seconds versus minutes) Second - I usually find it easier to make repairs in tight areas or when the wires are a bit short. Third - I've drank the Kool-Aide and I believe it's less prone to vibration and oxidation damage over time. And lastly - it just seems simpler.

I'm not an engineer, electrician, or scientist. I have worked as an auto repair tech since 1990 and have probably made thousand of wiring repairs by now (24 alone when rebuilding my EV door harness Haha). I worked with Chrysler for 13 years and all we did was solder. Then I moved to a VW/Audi shop. First time I asked for some solder I got the "What the heck is solder - what's wrong with you" look. As an example, a very common VW repair is to replace pesky in-line connections with permanent crimped connections for intermittent electrical faults.

So what are your thought on this? Do you think this is all a load or are you going to try crimping your next wiring repair??

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Ratcheting-Terminal-Wire-Cr...RTM2247625

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/100-pcs-12-10-16-14-22-18-G...wdvDgbyAsQ
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Last edited by gakali on Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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M_atthewanderson
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

I work in aerospace and they don't solder. Professional crimpers and connectors are much more readily available from ebay, alibaba and amazon then they used to be. I dont think theres an excuse anymore for home mechanics to have poor hack job crimps.
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gakali
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

mattography wrote:
I work in aerospace and they don't solder. Professional crimpers and connectors are much more readily available from ebay, alibaba and amazon then they used to be. I dont think theres an excuse anymore for home mechanics to have poor hack job crimps.


Do you consider a crimped connection superior to a soldered one? If so why?
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M_atthewanderson
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

I prefer however the connectors engineered. I've only done electrical on vw's and audis, 60s to present, and they're all crimped. Nevertheless, if I purchased an awesome connector that was engineered to be soldiered I'd soldier it.
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CdnVWJunkie Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

I prefer the crimp connectors and heat shrink. The only time I break out my soldering guns or pens these days is to repair circuit boards.

I recently had to replace my 25 year old well pump at our property. The replacement pump came with crimp connectors and clear HD heat shrink. This is designed to be under water 100% of the time.
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Jeff's Old Volks Home
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

CdnVWJunkie wrote:
I prefer the crimp connectors and heat shrink. The only time I break out my soldering guns or pens these days is to repair circuit boards.

I recently had to replace my 25 year old well pump at our property. The replacement pump came with crimp connectors and clear HD heat shrink. This is designed to be under water 100% of the time.


I agree 100%. I've been fixing VWs and Audis professionally for 30 years. Soldering makes for a weak, brittle connection.
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MacLeod Willy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:29 am    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

My opinion, if it matters, is crimped or soldered, the main thing is make sure it is sealed from moisture entering the connection
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Gruppe B
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

Years ago I was helping a friend fix a non working aftermarket stereo in his pontiac. He had used solely crimp on fittings to connect the harness but it was only working intermittantly.

We pulled out the stereo causing the wires to pull out of the loose cheap crimp ends that had come from a $10 crimper and terminals package from Canadian Tire (Canadian NAPA). Within a second we see the whole harness short out from the exposed ends and burn Laughing

After replacing the dash harness, we soldered the connections to the stereo.

Either use high end crimp fittings and a proper high quality crimper or just solder and heat shrink. Laughing
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Solder Or Crimp?? Reply with quote

A soldered connection will produce a stiff section of wire that will cause the strands to fatigue and break on either end. I agree with others that a crimp is superior in most cases. I have posted before about the crimpers I use that produce a very reliable crimp. I have developed techniques that give very reliable connections using the crimps I can buy from most any FLAPS or places like Home Depot.
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