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Old 08-13-2015, 09:39 PM   #1
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Brake wire junction

I'm installing all new brake wire, replacing the 35yo wire. Can't decide best way to join the wires where the 5 wires all come together. Looking for some advice.
I can think of 2 options;
1. Use new spring loaded wire nuts like was there originally. They're the B/G+ wire nuts by 3m. Not like regular wire nuts, they have a big square spring that pulls the wire in and then keeps them under tension. I'd put some anti oxidation compound in there first then wrap the end with some moisture resistant electrical tape and secure it in the belly.
2. Strip, flux, twist, and then solder all the wires together. Then wrap a bunch of moisture resistant electrical tape around the soldered end and secure to something in the belly. Cable clamp to a cross member likely.

Any recommendations or other options I'm missing. Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:49 PM   #2
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I like shrink tube, two or three layers.

For stuff like brake wires i wont solder, i will strip a lot of insulation and twist them together tightly and shrink wrap.

I usually will not hook five wires together in one spot, but instead pair off the front axle and the back axle, so that only three wires come together at any one point.

Some folks wont like this method but I have used it with great success over many years.
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:53 PM   #3
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Thinking back, I ran a wire to the front axle, and another to the back axle all the way from the trailer plug. (Umbilical plug) and the split for each wheel.

I ran 10 gage all the way.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:26 PM   #4
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Just curious why no solder?

Already have the one wire going back and everything is closed up inside so don't think I'll add another.
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:36 PM   #5
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I remember Lewster recommending these:
http://www.armacostlighting.com/stor...re-connectors/
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
Just curious why no solder?

Already have the one wire going back and everything is closed up inside so don't think I'll add another.
I have soldered and used shrink wrap on some of the brake wires that were non functional due to corrosion in the wire nuts that were previously in place.

At the time I thought it would be the best thing to do - but I have heard since then that due to stiffness of the solder joint (and maybe neat effect on the wires causing the copper to become brittle?) the wires can then break either side of the solder joint.

Not sure if that is a real consideration or not - so far my solder joints done several years ago seem to be holding up.

I did notice when I came to solder the brake wires that the copper wires were quite black with corrosion and would not "take" solder well. I had to splay out the strands and scrape repeatedly with a craft knife to get down to bright copper and make a decent solder joint.


Maybe a better solution is the crimp type but connectors that are intended for outdoor use - they have a heat seal feature once crimped and a sort of glue inside that melts and supposedly seals the wires. I think you can get them at places like Home Depot.

If I have any more trouble with my brake wires I plan to try those - they are sitting waiting in my trailer repair tool box for emergency use when traveling!

Brian.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:36 AM   #7
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I am getting ready to connect the wires to my new Dexter axle with electric brakes making the timing for this appropriate. On our '58 Traveler I am using marine grade wiring and staying with the same connectors. Wire nuts are not an option mostly because they damage stranded wire (easy to test by twisting them on & off a few times). Wire nuts also allow corrosion because the connection is not sealed and they can come loose. I guess someone could use a sealant and then wrap some electrical tape around it to correct this but why?
We owned our last boat 19 years and I did notice that soldering does create a "hard spot" in the wiring...also some heat shrink (the kind with adhesive) will do the same. I noticed this "hard spot" caused the connection to fail 10 to 15 years after the work was performed.
I found that a Closed End Terminal makes a secure connection and can be sealed easily with some liquid tape or silicone.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:02 AM   #8
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As some have said soldering heats the wire and makes it hard and brittle.
A possible failure point.
If I am connecting wires outside or under the trailer or tow vehicle. I use heat shrink butt connectors with a piece of heat shrink tubing over the butt connector and liquid electrical tape.

http://www.amazon.com/Yellow-12-10-S...SMDB81JEQVQ0JF

try this video.

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Old 08-14-2015, 08:14 AM   #9
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Heating copper wire does not harden or embrittle it, heating ( even up to its melting point and then quenching) softens copper. What does make make copper wire hard and brittle is deformation thru bending, vibration, impact, etc. Solder your connections, crimp without deformation, avoid nicks from wire stripping tools, provide strain relief, and secure installed wiring so as to minimize flexing and your wire will last brittle free "forever". 😊
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dayner View Post
Heating copper wire does not harden or embrittle it, heating ( even up to its melting point and then quenching) softens copper. What does make make copper wire hard and brittle is deformation thru bending, vibration, impact, etc. Solder your connections, crimp without deformation, avoid nicks from wire stripping tools, provide strain relief, and secure installed wiring so as to minimize flexing and your wire will last brittle free "forever". 😊
Best response of the bunch. Thanks.

BTW there is a "potted" wire nut now available which has a built in moisture sealant and oxidation protector. It can even be used to make connections underground on 120 volt wiring. It completely seals the connection unlike any tape which only holds the moisture in once it gets in (and it will). One time use only. Available at Home Depot, Lowe's etc. Looks like a big special wire nut, and comes about 4 to a pack, and not cheap, but very good.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:14 AM   #11
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I remember reading, and experience confirms, that in the marine environment soldering is not recommended due to corrosion. That said, before I read that I did solder connections on my boat and as long as they were kept dry, they were fine. I have observed the solder corrode away in outdoor unprotected joints on antennas. Whatever you do protect the joints from moisture. When i replaced some brake magnets I used crimp butt splices and heatshrink.

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Old 08-14-2015, 09:34 AM   #12
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A good thread on WOODALLS in re new brake wiring and size increase.

(John Barca) JBarca

Independent Brake Wire Feed Upgrade
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:27 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input all. Still trying to decide but I think I'll probably end up soldering the ends.
The fact that there are 5x 12gauge wires coming together I don't think butt splices would work to well without having a whole bunch of splices = more points to fail. That's definitely a good option for where the brake wire and wire from the actual brakes come together since it's one wire in to one wire out. Underground wire nuts seems like a good option there as well.
Since the ends won't be subject to any bending stresses and will be secured in the belly to a cross member I think the solder is going to be the best electrical connection. Ill strip a good length so I can get a really good twist, fluxing before twisting. Then heat and feed plenty of solder. Cool with wet cloth to cool the wire insulation back down. Then I'll trim a little off the jagged end. Then I'll dip the whole thing in liquid electrical tape up past the insulation to protect it then wrap the hell out of it and secure it somewhere where it's not likely to get much if any moisture. Wire clamp close to the soldered joint and another back a few inches to support the wires. All the wires beyond are /will be inside split loom for extra protection.
I understand the concern with solder stiffening the wires. More of a concern where wires are butt spliced and soldered, or soldered in a linear fashion. The copper stays soft but gets encapsulated by wicking of the solder along the wire creating a stiff joint because the solder becomes hard and wire becomes inflexible. Bending would then increase the stress on the copper strands since they can no longer flex independently and can break.
Soldering a connection like the wires were inside a wire nut and no bending on the connection, there shouldn't be an issue as long as the wires are secured. If I do this I zip tie several times a few inches back from the soldered joint as a strain relief measure.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:43 AM   #14
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USCG doesn't allow soldering due to vibration. Never a concern for us, right?
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