South Africa

South Africa
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22 May 2010

Electrical connections

In the above picture the main fuse box power supply cable has been soldered but underneath there are another three BeCM power cables that should also be soldered and under the right seat on the BeCM the connectors there also benefit from re-crimping soldering, the benefits are worth the effort.

In typical fashion all electrical circuits will benefit from a slight tweaking and soldering is one of them.

Crimped joints over time develop tarnish; this tarnish is a typical and natural occurrence with copper and ends up building a resistance to current flow, this restriction to current flow can cause damage to components from overheating as it throttles the circuit of current.

Tarnish can and does cause all manner of odd operations on vehicle from dimly glowing lights to odd operation of complex electronically operated or controlled devices.

The Range Rover is not immune to these problems as age, time and climate all have undesirable affects on these part's and joins and it’s now starting to show up in true old car fashion.

When soldering the lead flows in between the gaps of the wiring and the lug, this in turn produces a clean connection where electricity can now flow without resistance.

If the problem is left for too long the resistance can increase and cause damage in the form of heat on the affected area and load demand where a electrical component requires more current, if the electronic part is starved of sufficient power it too will over load and blow.

So it all has a roll on effect right from the start when the alternator starts to produce power
Even this simple lead from alternator to battery can cause misery with charging.

On many cars you will see additional cables being added and the main area always seems to be earth straps either from chassis to engine or chassis to battery negative but the positive is also at times boosted with more cabling.

Most times if the affected cable is simply removed and the contact area lightly sanded then cable lug soldered it would solve most of the problems, very rarely is the actual cable at fault and is often accused of being the culprit.

Auto electricians do this so you can see what they have done and can justify ripping you off.
In a nut shell soldering joins is a very good action to take but there are procedures to follow before simply grabbing your soldering iron and jamming your cables with solder.

1) Be sure to remove any muck on cables, use a electrical cleaner or if that’s not available carb cleaner or thinners works well.
2) Use a quality ratchet type crimp tool to re crimp joins before soldering.
3) Solder quality is important, the cheaper solders you can get just don’t cut the grade, silver solder is the best if you are unable to get decent normal solder but it comes at high price tag.
4) Small soldering irons are ok for small wire connections but not for the larger lugs, larger 80watt and up soldering irons are expensive but will pay for itself once all the work is done considering the cost if a auto electrician has to do it, even they at times don’t have all the right equipment despite it being their game.
5) Do not over solder joins as there is no benefit, just enough is right and too much will cause the solder to flow down the cable and make it hard.
6) Carrying out this repair requires time and patience, if you don’t have any then let someone who has patience do it for you.
7) Don’t always assume once you have done this important operation you will now have a racing car at the flick of a switch cos it wont be, in my case I was fortunate to notice a difference, some will, some wont.

Either way it’s a good thing for the future and immediate life of the components.