Monday, January 6, 2014

Delivering the Volts and Sparks - Wiring Looms.

What a bloody mess!
The problem with buying non-running, old junkers is you never know quite how bad something is until you rip it apart. When you buy them unseen, it's worse.

I must admit, the wiring loom left a little to be desired when I removed it. In fairness it looked as rough as fu... I'd seen anywhere. 
  • Insulation tape covering a myriad of twiddle joints (hate those). 
  • Wires chopped off and left exposed (woohoo).
  • Multi-plugs missing and a different set of clocks wired in (aargh!).
But nevertheless, I labelled various wires that went to the regulator/rectifier, coils etc. just in case I needed it for future reference. I'd already worked out we had no functioning charging system, oil light, gear indicator or fuel gauge when I'd fired it up previously, so repairs were definitely necessary. (The gauge was actually connected up to a brake light switch circuit if I remember rightly.)
So, yesterday I decided to pull some stuff out of boxes to see what else was hidden away. There was the loom covered in dust, mud, road grime and black paint. Out it came and straight into the sink with a dose of washing up liquid, Jif, scourers and a brush. After a bit of scrubbing I could actually tell the colour of the remaining multi-plugs, the wiring colours and, as I pulled away the torn insulation tape, I came across more cut wires. Oh joy.

With it dried out in the sun, I pulled it back inside to further inspect. It's no problem to tidy up the wiring with solder joints and heat shrink (although you do need to be careful when soldering because the vibration on a bike can crack them) but, because I'll be moving the position of some of the electrical units, I'll need to wait until the bodywork is complete. 

The pics aren't much to look at, but it's a start. Next step will be to work out the position of everything, refit the loom on the bike, consult the wiring diagrams and, finally, repair it. Once the various wires are going to the right places, it can be removed and insulated as it was from the factory. Whenever a repair to a loom is made, I like it to look like it's never been touched from the factory. I'll have to settle for a tidy repair this time because of the state of it, but hopefully it'll all look pretty good when finished.

Repairing wiring.
As soon as I can lay the loom back on the bike, and know exactly where the electrical bits and bobs are going to live, I'll post a few pics of how I like to solder the wires as neatly as possible. For now, if you're about to do your own repairs, keep solder joints away from areas prone to vibration or movement, such as the head stock. Because there's no "give" in a soldered joint, it'll break easily and may leave you stranded.

Dirty terminals?
The terminals inside the multi-plugs were all quite dirty - not good for the continuity baby. CLR - Calcium Lime Rust - seems to be quite good at removing the corrosion just by dipping the plug into a capful. Thirty seconds under the CLR and they're obviously shinier. Then it's plenty of water to wash off any excess that might seep into the wiring, and left to dry. If you haven't tried the stuff, it's great for cleaning all sorts of things. You'll find it in the supermarket with the cleaning products. 

Right, I'm off to find some other parts to swear at, clean and throw around the garage.