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Crimp or Solder Wire Terminal Connections?

A common question we're asked is whether to crimp or solder connections. For the answer to that all we really need to do is look at NASA and the Department of Defense. These government agencies require maximum reliability for space and military hardware and they always crimp connector terminals. The reason is that solder can make wire brittle and more prone to breakage and corrosion. This is especially true of small gauge wire that can break easily after a few bends near a soldered connection. So there's your answer, Coach Controls highly recommends crimping all terminals using a quality crimp tool and DO NOT solder.

Proper Crimp Connections:

Proper wire terminations are required for the safety, operation, and long term durability of your vehicle’s electrical system. Quality crimp tools are essential. Open barrel crimp tools like the one shown here have dies for crimping both the conductor wings as well as the insulation wings of the Delphi Packard open barrel terminals. It is important to lightly crimp the insulation wings of these terminals in order to help support the wire and prevent bending and breakage of the conductor.

Here is a sample of a proper crimp. Note that bare copper conductor extends a little beyond each end of the conductor crimp and that a light crimp on the insulation will help support the wire to prevent excessive bending that could lead to breakage


A closed barrel crimp tool such as the one shown at the left should be used to crimp the non-insulated closed barrel terminals provided with our kit.  The crimp tool creates a dimple in the terminal, securing the conductor without breaking any strands.



Note that the wire insulation butts up firmly against the terminal. Use a heat gun and a piece of heat shrinkable sleeving included in the kit to insulate each crimped closed barrel terminal. Once the sleeving is heated and shrunk it should be tight around the terminal and the wire insulation. In this way the sleeving acts not only as an insulator but also as a strain relief to minimize bending of the conductor at the crimped connection.

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