Will a small blob cause problems?

Discussion in 'Automotive Electronics' started by c0astl|ght, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. c0astl|ght

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. This is my first post.

    Just today I soldered on new connections to a ground terminal in my mom's PT Cruiser. The ground was pretty corroded and is affecting a starting issue.

    I soldered 6 new wire extensions and got 1 more to do tomorrow. Thing is, I got 2 wires with a small blob on each of them (probably due to gravity going to the bottom of the connection). It took me 5 hours to do 6 wires. It's been hard to reach down there with one hand and two fingers to manipulate and make the initial strips and mechanical connections.

    Will those solder blobs cause me many problems down the road? Should I repair it?

    Thanks again for taking the time to read this.
     
  2. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    I don't understand perfectly. Are you saying solder ran down the bare copper wire and there is a blob hardened at the low point? If that is the only issue, you'll be fine. Solder does not corrode copper wire.

    Same if the copper blob is on the car's chassis - no problem.

    If I am not understanding correctly, please give more detail.
     
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  3. c0astl|ght

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
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    Yes solder ran down the wire and a bit of it was hanging over the rubber insulation. I wiped dielectric grease over it and covered it with heat shrink.

    [​IMG]

    This one in the picture is the 6th wire I have soldered. The first 2 have those blobs. I can even see some flux ran down the wiring.

    I couldn't bring out the wires far enough so they would be horizontal to make the solder connection. The wires won't come up so I had to go down to it.

    Thank goodness it's not a big issue. I just thought I would share.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. SLK001

    Senior Member

    Nov 29, 2011
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    Don't solder the wires - crimp them instead. A soldered connection is not as reliable as a (proper) crimp.
     
  5. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    If you used rosin core solder and not the acid core flux stuff plumbers use you will be fine.

    And the science is NOT settled on the crimp vs solder question.

    Just sayin..... :)
     
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  6. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    It kind of is:) ~99% of the original terminals and wire connections in a GM OEM wire harness are crimped only. But like SLK001 said, they are a "proper crimp".
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    First problem: Most people don't have the exact crimper for whatever connector they could find at the fix-it-yourself store.:( (Or new inserts and the crimper the OEM used.)
    If you are willing and able to buy the right crimper for your connectors, you can generally achieve reliable results.
    My car has a bazillion crimped connectors, therefore, they seem to work well when done properly.

    On the other hand, this model of car is famous for breaking wires in the bundle that crosses the driver's door hinge, and there aren't any connectors in there! It's just bad design.:( How are you going to refurbish an OEM connector when there aren't any in the cable that fouled?

    A soldered connection brings a stiffness to the wires which encourages strand breakage. I prefer soldering compared to owning a shoe box full of $30 crimper tools that were only used on one job. That said, proper strain relief is imperative! You can't let your repair wave around in the air and vibrate like a car or it will fail. I use a lot of zip-ties when working on a car.;)

    Next problem: Most amateurs haven't seen excellent, hand made, wiring harnesses. The lack of knowing how is every bit as bad as not having the right crimper tool.:( It comes down to, "choose your poison". Either buy the right crimper or learn how to build proper wiring harnesses. Neither of these options is both cheap and easy, but that's why auto electric repairs are called, "work".
     
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  8. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Solder wicks up stranded wire causing a potentially weak brittle point. Most commercially available crimp tools are crap - it takes some effort to make the crimps reliable.

    A professional ratchet crimp tool with hexagonal jaws is the way to go - but a bit pricey for just those occasional jobs.

    Most of my experience is on motorcycle electrics which are less protected from the weather. There's usually some degree of corrosion of the copper, and its rare to get away with a decent joint unless I use an active flux.

    Again with motorcycles, on older types some of the wiring is visible. Crimp splices are more unsightly than heatshrink sleeved solder joints.

    Soldering to a car chassis is probably best avoided - dissimilar metals and electrolysis etc, Always best to crimp an eye lug and bolt it on.
     
  9. c0astl|ght

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
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    Thank you everyone for your feedback.

    I tried to crimp but I just don't know how to make a secure crimp connection. Also the wires I was reaching for are between 2 ac lines that only my fingers could reach. I could barely a wire stripper down there. Let alone try to turn and twist it to try and make a mechanical connection. Could not be done. Too many objects in the way to rotate tools:

    [​IMG]
    However I was finally able to finish the last 2 wires extensions today but now run into another problem. Now I am trying to put all 7 wires into a new eyelet by soldering and it is not working. I'm not even sure if it did work I would get a good electrical contact.

    It is possible to solder 7 wires to this eyelet?:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Alright. Thanks again everyone.
     
  10. c0astl|ght

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
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    The first picture I cannot reach far down to wires.

    The last 2 are my attempts to solder 7 wires to the new eyelet.

    Sorry won't let me link pictures anymore. Had to upload them.
     
  11. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    That flux looks frighteningly like the zinc chloride type of corrosive flux I was warning against.

    It makes beautiful connections and then the copper turns green, then the wire breaks.

    The next problem I see is the use of a soldering iron that is not strong enough to heat the mass of copper you have there.

    7 wires and a large copper lug will be hard to do.

    Tin the wire ends 1 at a time push them into the lug and then get a propane torch. Heat the exterior of the lug and feed solder in till it fills. Take the heat away when the solder is melting well. Continue to feed solder in till it is filled... wait forever while the huge mass of metal cools off. Do not touch it till it is cool or the connection may be compromised.
     
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  12. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    20170217_131837.jpg To put two wires in one lug that will not hold two wires. ...
     
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  13. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    For that big lug I would use my bernzomatic torch.
    It's a handy little tool. you can use the soldering attachment or not.
    In that confined space I would use the soldering tip to avoid burning anything else.
    That little torch with soldering tip puts out much more soldering heat than the ol Weller 8200 soldering gun, plus it's smaller and more portable (no cord).

    Good tool for many more uses as well, a good investment.
     
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  14. ian field

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    Oct 27, 2012
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    I'm thinking its time to walk away from this one........................
     
  15. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    @c0astl|ght
    In case you don't understand what he means....
    It isn't clear what you are doing, but it looks unorthodox, and probably unsafe.
    He is letting you know that he won't be party to this kind of thing.
    Rather than steer you in the right (safe) direction he will wash his hands of it and let you figure it out on your own.
    Better that your mother receives a Darwin Award on your behalf, than he share any culpability in your shoddy soldering job.
    Don't take it personally, it's a CYOA thing. Some professionals in this field cannot afford to have their name/avatar associated with this kind of Mickey Mousery.

    While Ian may be out, the rest of us are still here. I think.
     
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  16. ian field

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    Oct 27, 2012
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    I've no great aversion to bodging when the situation calls for it - I take pride in some of my bodges being better than the original equipment.

    But since you mention Darwin Awards - it looks to me like that's the way this is heading.
     
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  17. c0astl|ght

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
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    Thank you for this. :D

    I know I am a solder noob but I gotta tell you, it's fun.

    I used rosin flux to make the connections and I am going to get a big torch to melt this 7 wire down.

    I'll try tinning one wire at a time if my next attempt doesn't work (which is to just put use a stronger blowtorch and melt solder all in there).

    So far it's not too dangerous because battery is out and I soldered my solenoid wire on the "S" terminal and was able to start the car through my solder connection.

    So one solder job was good. Just this one is a pain because the 7 wires in this case are all vertical.

    Alright. Thanks again for everyone's feedback. I appreciate it. I'll let you guys know of the outcome.
     
  18. c0astl|ght

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
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    Here is my first solder job which was a success.

    Car starts from starter relay through my new connection. Using Power Probe and delivering power to the pin of starter relay sends power through my connection into the starter motor. Just now to fix grounds on the ignition side.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. ian field

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    I'd forget about soldering a starter motor cable - and bundling 7 smaller wires.

    If you haven't got the tools you need to do the job, another alternative is to obtain a clamp on eye lug from a welding equipment supplier, they can also sell you heavy cable fit for the job.

    The more I see of this thread; the more I think you should obtain the starter cable as a service replacement part, and just fit it.
     
  20. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    In the past; Automotive topics were prohibited by the forum terms of use - this thread is a glaring example of why.

    You should probably hide your avatar while hinting that what's shown in the photos is an OK thing to do!

    I'm trying to stop the TS winning a Darwin Award - you're goading them on...................
     
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