I need to connect!
January 14, 2010 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I'm having trouble finding automotive wiring repair kits.

So, I'm frequently in situations where I need to rebuild or replace automotive wire connectors and harnesses. I can't seem to track down repair kits for European and Asian cars, nor can I find really good universal kits where I build my own male and female connectors. And I'm not talking about the cheap-o Harbor Freight spade terminal kits. I need something more secure, tidy, and insulated. Even if it doesn't use OEM terminals and connectors, I need the universal ones to be of a similar quality. I'm tired of cannibalizing my stash of salvaged connectors to try and rig something up.

Are there any electronics gurus out there who can point me in the right direction?
posted by Jon-o to Technology (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if it's the same stuff, but motorcycle enthusiasts are very fond of Eastern Beaver wiring. They have lots of connectors, relays, etc. Would that work?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:53 PM on January 14, 2010

There are kinda two options. There's the standard "universal" options made by Painless, Kwik, etc. These are targetted at the hot-rod market, and are an easy way to get a bunch of varied colors of decent-quality wire and sheathing. They tend to be less focused on terminators, however. Unless you're using your bog-standard Bosch injectors or GM weatherpack sensors, you'll need to splice in the factory plugs.

The best alternative to a those sorts of solutions, IMO, is to order the raw supplies from somewhere like DigiKey, Mouser, and Avnet (and their ilk). They sell wire, loom, terminators, crimpers, pins, and basically everything else you'd need. You can do a parametric search to get the plugs you need (2-pin, weatherproof, etc) if you want to ditch the factory terminators altogether.

Hopefully I understood your question correctly!
posted by TheNewWazoo at 2:02 PM on January 14, 2010

The most common connector you will find are the anderson powerpole. They common in forklifts to amateur radio shacks. They make them in tons of sizes.
posted by Climber at 2:09 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In addition to the excellent recommendations above, I have also had great success with Waytek Wire. Specifically, take a look at Terminals and Connectors section, which has some excellent components.
posted by mosk at 2:17 PM on January 14, 2010

For OEM stuff, I assumed you were trying to get Bosch connectors, so I searched on that (most german stuff is of Bosch origin, as is a lot of Euro Ford) and I struggled like hell to get the terminals and the like.

In the end, I had to get them from the US (I was in the UK at the time) so this is surprising to me.

I searched for Bosch connectors and came up with this place which looks good to me. It has a partr number search that should work for Bosch (and others) although it might not lookup OEM numbers. Waytek looks good and maybe Bosch connector suppliers may find local people with good connections.

I had a similar struggle finding some OEM connectors for a project a few years back - I was trying to make a new loom for a car that had a Ford Cosworth engine slapped into it and needed to make the loom from scratch - fitting a custom, military/aviation style, loom with OEM connectors was damned hard for sourcing. I totally got lost in all the options and in the end just asked a Racing Loom manufacturer where they got their connectors from. They were very helpful and I got some very cheap options from them, including local ones that I had no way of finding with my own searches. It's who you know, it seems.

I seem to remember getting a string of male and female connector terminals (like 100 of each) for less than the postage to get them to me...

I can maybe give you some leads for these kinds of people, if nothing else comes up.
posted by Brockles at 5:48 PM on January 14, 2010

I have used Del City and found their stuff to be high quality, not cheap like HF but you get for what you pay for!
posted by Country Dick Montana at 8:28 PM on January 14, 2010

Incidentally, the problem I had wasn't finding the connectors, it was finding someone with them in stock that was at all interested in small volumes of them (ie less than 10,000 or so!), which was why I went the motor sport route to tap into the sort of suppliers that will deal with the ordinary man.

The links here look far more comprehensive than I had available to me 10 years ago, mind you.
posted by Brockles at 7:49 AM on January 15, 2010

Response by poster: This is great, guys! Everyone has some good advice. I think I have what I need to put together a solid repair kit. Eastern Beaver has some good looking OEM Asian connectors AND H3 bulb connectors with preinstalled wiring. I always see those connectors melted or scorched in my customers cars. Waytek has some good shrink-barrel connectors kits and assorted connectors. What I like about Eastern Beaver, though, is that they sell connectors kits that include the correct terminals.
The Bosch sites are good, too. But looking through them, they have the Jetronic series of connectors, but not many common Motronic era connectors. But, I have enough of those in the bottom drawer of my box to rewire an entire 1.8t engine harness, so I'm not too pressed.

At any rate, I think that between all of these sites, I can assemble a great, reliable, well stocked automotive wire repair kit for myself and end my days of scrounging.
posted by Jon-o at 3:25 PM on January 15, 2010

Response by poster: And then there are these bad boys...
posted by Jon-o at 9:00 AM on January 17, 2010

Response by poster: I wound up buying some stuff from Waytek wire. I bought their heat gun kit and a pile of heat shrink butt connectors.
posted by Jon-o at 2:06 PM on February 6, 2010

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