Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/20/22 5:15 p.m.

I'm really fussy about wiring and repair a lot of wiring at my shop.  I try to use period correct, OEM-style terminals for the car I'm working on, not just part store connectors.  I've struggled to come up with a good crimping tool for these types of terminals, with one crimp on the wire and one on the insulation.

I finally found a tool I really like after trying so many other tools, so I thought I would share it.  It's a Delphi brand tool I got from Mouser electronics.  It wasn't cheap--$100--but since it was a brand name, I thought I'd try it since I've been so disappointed by other crimpers.  Mouser was the best price I could find.  Several other places had what looked like the same tool for $150 or more.  There also seem to be copies out there for much less.  Anyway, here it is:

I thought I'd share a couple of my other crimping tools in case anyone is interested.  I'm also hoping some of you will share your favorite tools so I can maybe add a couple of new ones to my toolbox.  So here goes...
 

This is a tool I used to use for those double terminals.  I got it from British Wiring and it's clearly a Taiwanese copy of something.  It works okay, not great.  I have to be really careful inserting the terminal and often have to pre-shape the terminal a little.  It does both crimps at the same time, while the Delphi tool does one at a time.  I can make two crimps with the Delphi tool much faster than one crimp with this tool. Sometimes the crimps fail with this tool.  So far, that hasn't happened with the Delphi tool

These are my workhorses for conventional terminals and butt connectors.  I rarely use butt connecters--I usually replace a whole wire before splicing two together, but that's another story.  The crimper on the left does a great job and the two types of automatic wire strippers speed me up and don't pull strands like lower-quality ones do.

I don't use this tool for crimping anymore as the one above is better, but it's got this handy set of cutters for machine screws from size 4 to 10-32.  I love this tool for getting those screws just the right length.  Most people don't know it can do that, so I thought I'd share.

I have a pretty decent pile of crimpers I don't like and I didn't take a picture, but I imagine that most of them are offshore copies of good crimpers, often sold at prices similar to the good ones.  Frustrating.

What are your favorite crimping tools?  I'm mainly asking about old-school spade and ring connectors as I don't do much with Weather Pack, Deutsch, etc..

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
2/20/22 5:55 p.m.

Timely post as I just came on from working on installing the wiring harness in the 1929 Hot Rod. I am using one of the e-bay wiring harnesses and thinking of how I would like to step up the game with a better OEM style wiring system for terminating a lot of things like lights or making sub-harnesses. My mind was more on the weatherpack system, but same idea.

 

I have experience with doing a lot of industrial wiring and the cost of the crimpers  for any of the pins/sockets was breathtaking for a lot of them. I tried a Chinese starter kit of "weatherpack-style connectors and crimper and it all went in the bin. 

I think I am done with British cars, so hence the idea of building up a weatherpack system/inventory of parts that works. 

mke
mke Dork
2/20/22 6:50 p.m.

I have the blue one.

I have given up ever trying to own the right crimping tools.  What I do is flue th3e wire, crimp with whatever is closest then solder the connector side so I KNOW its attached.  Once it cools I do whatever crimp I can on the insulation.  I know its not a perfect solution but it make reliable connections without a huge investment in tools.

67LS1
67LS1 Reader
2/20/22 8:53 p.m.

I have the blue crimpers and the center wire stripper. Both work very well for me.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/20/22 9:21 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Ford licensed the Lucas bullet connector and had them all through their pre-war cars.  I discovered Willys did too on my CJ2a. I regularly use Lucas bullets in hot rods. I tend to work on more traditional stuff and use cloth braided wire, but I've done some with conventional wiring too.  

Anyway, these are the two tools I use.  Up top is a pliers that make it easier to put the bullets into the insulated connectors.  The bottom is the crimping tool for the connectors.  Crimping is so much faster than soldering.  I bought this tool from British Wiring 20+ years ago.  One of the guys as the shop has one that is about 5 years old and it doesn't work quite as well as mine, so something's going on.

I have a kit with the four sizes of bullets and the various connectors, etc..

This is why I like them so much.  This is from my Jeep, so picture something not rusty and with modern wire.  The bullet connectors make it so easy to have nice disconnects and splices.  Despite their reputation, they last a long time.  For exposed ones like these, I usually just seal them with some grease.

On old Fords, I usually use this connector kit and put shrink wrap over the terminals.  

I've done a lot of work on cars with Ron Francis, American Autowire, Painless, etc., kits and they're all pretty good.  The wires with printed circuit names on them are pretty nice.  Hopefully that's what your kit has. Some of the eBay/Amazon copies of those kits seem okay, but I'd probably throw away the terminals and get some trusted ones.  I've been buying my terminals from Terminal Supply lately. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/20/22 9:36 p.m.

In reply to mke :

I do that too if I can't find the right combination of tool and connector.  I suspect that a lot of the issues are that the tools are off-shore copies of good ones and the connectors are iffy too.  A good tool with a quality connector that was designed for it always does a good job.  It's just hard to find both.

Turbine
Turbine Reader
2/21/22 5:35 a.m.

My background is industrial wiring and use the red/black handle manual crimpers for about 95% of the jobs I do. I've tried a few different types of ratcheting crimpers, and never really been impressed.  


For automotive things, I've held off on buying one of the Molex type crimpers like the one in your first post solely for cost reasons. I've been able to get a decent crimp on Molex terminals with a combination of pliers and stubbornness in the past, but I'll probably break down sooner rather than later. 

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