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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am no rookie when it comes to tearing down and rebuilding motorcycles... but I have always taken a caveman approach to wiring or splicing. My approach usually is nothing more than cut, strip, twist, and finish with elecrical tape. Maybe solder on occasion. Now that my S has been converted to dual naked headlights I would like to clean up and shorten the headlight/gauges harness.

What is the proffesional approache to this? Crimping tool, wire connections, heatshrink? What are the tools and supplies needed to this right.
 

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To do it right would be soldering and heatshrinking everything, and then a layer of electrical tape on top.

I've never been a big fan of crimp connections, especially on a bike where vibrations are common.

You can always return it back to stock doing the same thing, soldering and heatshrink.

I've done very professional looking extensions/shortening just with a solder gun, razor blade, heat shrink, electrical tape, and wire strippers.
 

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As stated above, it's good to make wiring non-invasive and removable if possible. Also gives it a cleaner look and you'll be proud of your work! If your application uses spade connectors stock, use spade connectors. If it's bullet connectors, use bullet connectors. If you want to make it permanent, put heatshrink tube on the wire, then twist and solder the connections together. Shrink the tubing and voila. Looks nice!

Right now I'm undergoing a wiring project on my Kawasaki F11 and since it's all crimp-on bullet connectors stock, I figured I would use those. They have their own insulation so no heat shrink/electrical tape necessary, and also no soldering ;D.
 

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Eastern Beaver sells waterproof heat-shrink tubing, but they now have a minimum order requirement.
 

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I always solder connections now. I just suck at crimping.

I know parts unlimited now sells factory style connectors for an ultra clean look. I will be using those if I choose to rewire my bike this winter. Would be nice to not have empty connectors for signals and headlights hanging around.
 

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Every single wire in your bike or car has a terminal crimped on the end.

True, but they are sized properly and probably done by a machine. The little blister packs of crimp-on connectors/terminals offer a range of just close enough. I don't like how large the insulator are on them either. There are probably much better crimping tools for them than what I've ever used, but they are more expensive than I'd ever pay for.

I strip about 1/8" and solder. A 1/2 inch of heat shrink covers it and keeps it small and flexible.
 

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A decent solder job will come off if you need it with some heat and a solder sucker. I never trust connectors to keep a connection in the elements...

Learning to solder is really easy and very useful.
 

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There are crimping tools:


And then there are crimping tools:


Don't even bother to use the one in the first picture.
 

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Get some heat shrink too, to make sure all the connections are water-tight, and I suggest to TAKE YOUR TIME and lable with a little tape every wire. Before you unplug everything, find out what it does, test it out, if the left turn signal stops working, then lable it "L turn signal"...
 

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There are crimping tools:

And then there are crimping tools:

Don't even bother to use the one in the first picture.
The right tools will make a big different. I have a auto stripper, one crimper that I like for insulated connectors and one for non-insulated. Most of the time I pull the insulation off and add heat shrink to it after it is crimped, like you can see on the relay in this pic.



or here I used red heat shrink over both connectors and blue over the terminals on the flasher.




I don't mind using crimp connectors on things like blinkers or relays that I may have to connect and disconnect more then a few times, but more critical things like headlights or anything that could keep the bike from driving down the road I prefer the solder and heat shrink method.
 

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just remember to not twist the wires together and solder them,first you cut the wires, then strip about 1/4 inch, then you take the wires and push them together, so that they are shoved together, then solder, then heat shrink.
 

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Dave, I did not know that. Thank you. Seriously, I though you wrapped them. I can see how that could cause some strain and make the connection brittle though.
 

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I like to do the Lineman's joint (or is it Western Union splice?), where the wires are twisted together (like a man-bro handshake) but more broadly across the wiring. I'm not expert, but it just seems to provide a better mechanical/electrical connection.
 
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