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Door wiring harness - are later replacements any stronger?

Discussion in 'RT/10 and GTS Discussions' started by Randy, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Randy

    Randy Viper Owner

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    OK, this breaking wire thing in the chassis-to-door wiring harness is getting tiring. Does anyone know if the later replacement wiring harnesses are any stronger than the stock harnesses for the 2000 model year?

    After having the driver's rearview mirror (both axis) quit working last year, then also noticing the driver's door lock LED wasn't coming on, I found three broken wires in the chassis-to-door wiring harness. I fixed these by splicing (soldered) in heavier wires and insulating with medium heavy heat-shrink tubing.

    So, yesterday afternoon, after nine months and 13k miles of driving it to work most every day, I just had the internal door handle quit working. When pulling each wire to find the break last night, three wires came free. So, I've spliced in three more heavier wires, but I figure I've still got more to go, and I'm going to have problems stuffing many more of these heavier wires through that rubber corrugated conduit.

    *Why* they break is more obvious to me now - they undergo a fairly sharp bend when the door is closed, then they're stretched fairly taught when the door is full open. Too bad they couldn't design this section a little better - like offset them vertically more so it undergoes a less-radical twist, but its pretty tight, and perhaps not feasable.

    So, does anyone know if the replacement harnesses offer any sort of increased resistance to this chronic wire breakage problem over the original stock harness, or should I looking into making my own harness out of really heavy wire, or stock up on enough replacement harnesses to last me another 70-100k miles that I am likely to have it?
     
  2. Viper Wizard

    Viper Wizard Enthusiast

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    I have never repaired those door wires on GENI's & GENII's up to 99, after that, just about one out of three Vipers get door wires repaired! This is what WE get since DC is buying CHEAP parts from Mexico!! :eek:
     
  3. Big Medicine

    Big Medicine Enthusiast

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    My 96 has this problem. Is there a replacement Chuck? How much? I've resorted to just leaving the windows rolled down and using the manual release.

    If there's a plug & play harness replacement, I'd buy it.
     
  4. LETHAL GTS

    LETHAL GTS Viper Owner

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    This is interesting to me, because I had my car into the local yocals over three times for them to fix my door (outside button will not open the door). They still don't know what the problem is and now my warranty is up. So it looks as though I am outta pocket for a new wiring harness.
    Or maybe I can fix mine like you did Randy. Is it a big job repairing? Do you have to remove the whole harness? Can you splice right at the door (assuming that's where the break is).
    Signed,
    Tired of having to leave my window down!
     
  5. Andrew2KRT10

    Andrew2KRT10 Enthusiast

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    By the way Chuck,. my drivers door no longer puts on the interior lights.

    Andrew
     
  6. Paul Scharf

    Paul Scharf Viper Owner

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    I have used door harness, either side, if you want to go that route. Probably can fix you up with a low mile unit.
     
  7. Randy

    Randy Viper Owner

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    Depends on your ability with needle-nose pliers, soldering, etc. I did three wires on Thursday night in about 60 minutes, but I've obviously had to do it before.

    You do leave the wiring harness on the car (or the time would be probably quadrupled or more):

    1) pull the rubber boot out at both ends (its snapped/pressed in, and goes back almost as easily)
    2) using fingers or needle-nose pliers, gently pull on each wire (from either end). If its broken, it will come loose, and, if like mine, look like someone took a pair of cutters to them in the middle.
    3) I start on the chassis side, soldering a four-inch (or longer) section of wire onto each broken wire. Insulate it well - I use heat shrink tubing, but good electical tape will do.
    4) Noting color code of the wire, stuff each wire through the rubber conduit to the other end. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, depending on the wire you are using. I used some spare 18-gauge wire; anything thinner (higher gauge number) would likely be more difficult to "push" through, although some coat hanger wire might help if it was stuff through first and used to pull the wires back through.
    5) splice each wire onto the matching color code wire on the door side, then insulate it properly.
    6) TEST before re-attaching the rubber conduit at each end (speaking from experience - I spliced two wires, and didn't find the third until I thought I was done). Note that the door solenoids don't work unless the door is within a couple inches of being fully closed.
    7) if everything works, re-attach the rubber conduit on both ends.
    8) proceed to cuss the door wire manufacturers liberally throughout the procedure.
     
  8. Randy

    Randy Viper Owner

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    Yeah, I put more than 70k miles on my '95, and never had any problems with the speakers (only wires on a gen I door that I can think of).

    So, do we know if the replacement wire harnesses are of the same lesser quality as were OEM on the '00 and later cars? I'd expect them to be, unless they figured out the problem and stopped buying from that supplier.
     
  9. Casey

    Casey Enthusiast

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    I've got the same problem right now with my driver's side door.

    So should I fix it, or just replace the harness?
    How much is the harness?
     
  10. obaa996

    obaa996 Enthusiast

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    Does anyone know of a replacement source for those rubber conduits? My wiring is fine, but somehow the conduit tore, and I can not find a replacement anywhere; nothing looks even remotely similar. For those who've had to replace their harnesses; do you happen to still have the old one?
     
  11. scottgf

    scottgf Viper Owner

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    I had harness problem on my 94...
    I did a same fix....replaced section of wires...
    My Gen one has speaker wires as well as wire for door switch for interior lamp and key "dinger" thing...
    Cheers,
     
  12. Big Medicine

    Big Medicine Enthusiast

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    For the record, in preparation for changing the entire harness out later this week, I removed my door and brought it inside the house where it is nice and cool.

    If anyone is changing their harness and decides to remove the door to work inside, be sure to roll the fuggin window up first. If you don't, you'll wind up like my dumba$$ and have to plug it back in to roll the window up. You can't reach the inner harness through the glass.

    Just a tip.
     
  13. Casey

    Casey Enthusiast

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    I'm laughing with you! :D
     
  14. treed

    treed Enthusiast

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    When you put your door back on, did you replace the vapor barrier (black plastic liner between door panel and door) with new? re-use existing? take it off?
     
  15. GTSnake

    GTSnake Enthusiast

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    I remember Tator said it was something like $300? It was just way too much to replace rather than just soldering. I just did my fourth wire last week.
     
  16. viper spray

    viper spray Enthusiast

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    On mine I had to feel the wire to locate the break inside the wire , it was thin at the break. Then I just spliced a wire in there and the speakers were working again. It was easy.
     
  17. Randy

    Randy Viper Owner

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    After the 12th wire broke a couple of weeks ago (internal door handle again (?)), I went ahead and replaced the wiring harness. I had ordered and received the replacement harness about a year ago after I'd fixed the 11th broken wire, and after starting this topic, even though no-one seems to know whether the replacement harness wires are more resistant to the crimp-break that plagues so many of our cars.

    I didn't see any need to remove the door from the car - leaving it on the car provides a holder for it and protects the door finish - removing it implies to me that you would need to make a holder and protect the finish.

    I rolled the window up as soon as I pulled the inner door panel off and could see the harness attached on the far side of the window. :cool:

    It took me around 90 minutes to do the replacement - you really have to pay close attention when you remove the old harness as to where everything was attached, as its not real obvious when you start installing the new one (and I could find no reference to the physical mounting of the harness in the factory service manual), nor is it very feasable to leave the old one in place while putting in the new one. One head-scratcher I encountered were the identical plugs that go to the door latch assembly - I had to guess which one was which based on the wires to one being slightly longer as related to the mounting location - it worked after I finished, so I must have either guessed correctly, or it didn't matter (and I bet that it did matter).
     
  18. Big Medicine

    Big Medicine Enthusiast

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    I have it laid out on a spare bed on top of a down comforter.

    When you are six foot three, two-hundred twenty five, short tempered with big hands and it's 120 degrees in the garage, trust me; it's better to remove the door. My hands barely fit through the holes in the door, and I'll probably have to recruit my wife to help. That will be challenging enough.

    It is more important for me to be comfortable and to take my time. Otherwise, I'll tear it up and get mad about it, which will lead to even more repairs, usually to me and to the car.
     
  19. Big Medicine

    Big Medicine Enthusiast

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    They come with the harness. Little over a hundred bucks for 96-99 models, more for later models.
     
  20. Big Medicine

    Big Medicine Enthusiast

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    I will reaffix with new adhesive.
     
  21. Big Medicine

    Big Medicine Enthusiast

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    I'm with Randy on the new harness; it gets old every two months. If one is breaking, trust me, there are three more sittin' on ready, rockin' on go. You'll think you are a member of a pit crew you get so familiar with fixing those wires.
     
  22. GTSnake

    GTSnake Enthusiast

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    I think after fixing most of your wires you're better off keeping your repaired harness than buying a new one. I would believe that a new one would end up breaking faster than a repaired one.
     
  23. KHitman

    KHitman Viper Owner

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    Driver side speaker wire busted on mine... I thought I blew the stock stereo :bonker:

    I repaired it when I replaced my speakers, but as a few others have said on this thread... what a pain in the ass it was! What size are these wires... 50 gauge? :curse:
     
  24. Jay Herbert

    Jay Herbert Enthusiast

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    Heavier wire will not do any good, it will only break quicker as the stiffer cross section will fatigue faster, or it will fracture at the solder joint. You'll need to replace the area that is flexing/breaking with some special wire called "high-flex" wire. The copper inside is wound in a spiral pattern instead of straight to allow it to flex without breaking, it is also made of an alloy more conducive to bending. It is used in automated assembly equipment and is intended to flex for multi-millions of cycles without failure.

    Igus high-flex cable
     
  25. Vic

    Vic VCA Venom Member

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    Jay, you took the words out of my mouth, thats what I was going to do next. I first saw highly flexible wire in the elevator industry, that could bend for many millions of cycles. The copper wire itself had a very fine braid, and the insulation was softer than say, THHN or TFFN wire, even softer than MTW. The source you linked to has similar stuff as we used to use. I'd rather use something like this high-flex product, than buy another harness with probably more of the same crappy wires. Good info!
     
  26. GTSnake

    GTSnake Enthusiast

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    I don't think you need high flex wire. If the wire you repair it with has some additional slack it won't be in tension the whole time.

    They should have used high flex wire to begin with. :rolleyes:
     
  27. KepRght

    KepRght Enthusiast

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    high flex wire, good point!
     

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