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There are a bunch of inexpensive replacement wiring harnesses for sale that are not weatherproof!

They might be ok for a trailer queen that never gets wet. But for a working tractor it is nothing but a short-term fix that will probably start causing trouble before it's even a year old! I got lazy working on the 52 and spent $20 on a replacement harness instead of building it myself. I thought it would save time, WRONG! I was very dissapointed. The new harness was made with crimp-on terminals!! The only thing a $20 harness might be good for is to get the rubber boots and correct wire sizes. I won't use one without replacing all the terminals.

When properly applied, using the correct crimp tool, crimp terminals are ok for dry locations that dont carry a lot of current. However, the wiring harness for any vehicle (especially a working tractor) will get rained on and should be weatherproof. Any copper exposed to air and moisture will quickly begin to deteriorate. That green stuff copper turns into is not a good conductor. For good, long-lasting, weatherproof connections you have to keep air and moisture away from even the smallest bit of bare copper wire.

Wiring Harness
Re-Worked New Harness for Late 8N

I replaced all the terminals on this brand new harness, so they would be completely sealed and weatherproof. The wife thinks I'm nuts when I start rebuilding brand new parts, especially when I start taking stuff apart on the living room carpet! But I went and got a piece of cardboard to catch all the loose bits of wire, insulation, and gobs of hot solder, so she let me get away with it (this time).

It takes time to do it right, but this is the way I build a good wiring harness: Take some 1/8" heat-shrink tubing and cut pieces about an inch-an-a-half long. Slip a piece onto the wire far enough away from the end that heat from soldering will not prematurely shrink it. If my new crimp-on terminals come with the hard plastic sleeves, I carefully twist them off and throw them away. Then, rather than using a crimp tool, start with a pair of regular pliers and carefully reduce the entire diameter of the terminal around the wire. There is a seam that can be made to overlap if you crimp one side first and then work your way around.

1:Find The Connector Seam
2:Crimp One Side Down
3:Crimp Other Side To Overlap
4:Continue Until Strands Are Fully Compressed.
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This makes a good mechanical connection that is smooth. "Mechanical Connection" means this crimp is only intended to physically hold the terminal on the end of the wire. For the best possible "electrical" connection, that will also help prevent corrosion, terminals must be soldered.

Once the terminals are crimped, heat up a soldering iron and apply solder to each connection. You will be able to see it flow into the crimp when it gets hot enough. Make sure the copper wire is covered. Wait for the terminals to cool a bit, then slide the heat shrink to cover the entire joint all the way to the ring terminal. Use a heat gun to shrink each end. If you are using marine grade heat shrink the glue will appear at each end for a completely water-tight connection. Some people use a propane torch or cigarette lighter on heat shrink tubing. I don't like to risk burning up a harness I just spent a couple hours putting together and stuff like that always happens on the last connection, right?

Wire Terminals
Male/Female Butt Connector

This butt connection shows how finished weatherproof terminals should look. The only exposed metal is the minimum required to make the connection. In this case, the female socket is completely covered. When these are connected, the insulation covers everything.

Wire Terminals
AIP Electronics

Here's another properly finished weatherproof terminal that was on a distributor made by AIP Electronics.

You can buy the original fabric type cover material, but I just used the 3/8" and 1/2" split plastic wire protector like is found on most cars. You can probably get the two short pieces you need (free of charge) from your neighbor's car. You know, the guy who borrowed your grill last year and never brought it back, GRIN. No, we might think about it, but don't do it. The loom is inexpensive stuff and easy to find in the electronics area at home improvement stores. Harbor freights even has it.

That is how I make wiring connections. I fully understand this may seem overly anal about wiring and terminals. It is so much faster and easier to just slip pre-insulated terminals on and give them a squeeze. Lots of the store-bought wire harnesses are made exactly that way. The reward for extra effort is a harness that will last for many years and not create those mysterious electrical gremlins that have to be tracked down with a meter and a prayer.

If you got here from a link on another page, use your browsers BACK button to go back to where you were. If you are looking for more information on Ford 8N Tractor wiring and wiring harnesses, you might find what you want on my electrical page HERE. -or- If you were looking for 6 volt and 12 volt Wiring Diagrams for early and late 8N Ford tractors, they are on my 12 volt page HERE.


Content and Web Design by K. LaRue — This Site Was Last Updated 02 FEB 2023.

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