Solder/Crimp automotive wiring?

I'm installing a remote starter in my car and have a problem...
Many of the wires are heavy gauge and stranded. Joining them is very difficult.
For example, I have to splice in a 14 gauge wire onto an existing wire. So I cut the existing wire, strip it back about 1/2 inch and then try and twist these two ends and a third 14 gauge wire together... all under the dashboard of my car with little slack. Needless to say, it doesn't work very well.
I do know of connectors that just splice into the existing wiring, but they are not very reliable.
I'm hoping that I might be able to find a crimp that will bind the three wire ends together so I can solder them, but I'm not sure what I'm looking for.
Suggestions?
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top hat connectors, radio shack has them. whoite they look like a hat. buy a good crimping tool too.
i use these for my job all the time
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What make and model? On some, a good deal of the dash will come off and that makes it a lot easier. Also picking the best place on a wire to make the splice can help quite a bit. But you probably know all this, and much of what I have below.

I just did a fairly complicated car burglar alarm last summer.

I don't know if they are reliable or not, but I used about 4 for non-critical splices, and when I had to take one apart, I saw that it had cut all but 6 of the strands in the wire. It was listed as suited for 3 gauges, and iirc this was the 2 or 3rd thickest, and 6 strands is plenty to make it work, but I don't like strands being cut. I won't be using those things again, except maybe for the thinnest wire it is rated for.

I know you are asking about crimping things, but the car gets hot and cold and parts of it are dirty or hard to reach, so I like connections that won't give any problems until the car is in the crusher. So...
Why can't you just solder the connection you describe in your second paragraph? If you're really short of slack, you can solder something to lengthen one half, although normally I don't cut wires that don't have to be cut. I strip off the insulation all around, scrape it shiny with the edge of a knife, wrap the new wire around it and solder it. For car work I have a Wen gun that looks like a real gun, a revolver, but they don't sell these anymore, or even the tips. But you can get other quick heating guns. I only recommend that because in a car it can be easier to put down if you can wait until it is cool. But if you're organized, you can splice a lot of things and do all the soldering in a row, and then you can put the iron down carefully or unplug it.
If you scrape both wires, get the wires hot so the solder flows by itself into all the spaces, there won't be cold solder joints that will fail later.
I use heat shrink tubing for all splices in a car, except for the T connection I describe above, where I use this stuff I call shink tape. I forget the other name. It's 6 or 8 dollars a roll and I think I've only seen it mail order, but it's well worth the price and the effort. It stretches (you stretch it as you wrap it on) so it doesn't take much to do a job and when you let go it shrinks back a little and in doing so sort of merges to the layer underneath, so the edges sort of disappear. I think they disappear even more over the nexrt few months. It becomes almost like a one piece cover.
There was a thread about this here in the last year or two, where the proper name for this stuff was given, and where it can be bought. It's great.
(When the next door neighbor's contractor cut my phone line, I repaired it and called the phone company to repair it permanently. A guy came out and said the underground guy had to do this, even though the cut part was above ground. He told me they used regular black plastic electric tape and some little round crimping things. I had soldered it and used better tape, both of which I think are better, so I never called the underground guy.)

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I thought about the scraping to avoid cutting wires, but I don't see any easy way to do it.
I am going to try this today though. At worst I'll have to cut the wire anyhow.
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Noozer wrote:

I just used soldered connections for everything. Proper crimping will do too I guess but I have big soldering iron, LOL Tony
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Be careful soldering on your back under the dash. Go to a shop where they install after market audio/alarm systems. Offer to buy some connectors, they'll just give you a handful.

(HI Tony) Yep, You need a big iron for outdoor work. A helicopter crash was investigated here recently, cause of crash was blamed on soldered connections, which were corroded, should have been crimped the inspector said, believe it or not.
JohnK
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The top hat connectors I mentioned. You remove the insulation, wrap the wires together, then crimp the connector over everything, it insulates and holds everything together,
basically a realtive of a wire nut, I have used those too
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That's right. In aerospace we always used crimp connectors vs soldered because of reliability. Soldered connections weaken the wire causing it to break under vibration. For most of us, soldered connections are fine. Also, in order to get a good crimped connection, the crimp tools are very expensive and require calibration. Generally what I do is crimp a terminal on a wire, then solder it because I don't have aerospace quality crimpers.
Dick
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Noozer wrote:

Noozer,
Stranded wire is used in a car and airplanes for a reason, it can take the vibrations without breaking as would solid wire. As wing nuts are best for solid wire, butt connectors are best for stranded. They make special butt connectors used in airplanes that has a gel to retard corrosion. Actually in an airplane you have to replace the entire wire usually if there is a problem. In the car you can attach two wires on the same side of the butt connector and one or two on the other. As for soldering, the connection would be tight and good but it's the insulation you would have to worry about. Just imagine electrical tape over a sharp soldered joint moving back and forth over time from vibration?
J
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You need to use heat shrink tubing for these kinds of joints. I am not sure exactly what vinyl electrical tape is useful for, I see a lot of it sold for very cheap, but I have found when using it that over time it's glue disintegrates and the tape comes off.
Ted
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Noozer wrote:

You need bigger nuts.

Sounds right. You may have to splice on a piece of 14Ga to one end to make it long enough so there is no tension on your triple splice.

Terrible.
In automotive we double crimp, but very very rarely triple crimp.

Get a twist cap. Do what you gotta do.
--
Thank you,



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Thanks for all the input folks!
I ended up using a butt splice for the wire I had cut. Once spliced together it soldered up nicely.
For the rest, I just carefully removed the insulation and wrapped the new wire around the exposed wire. It was a lot simpler to do than I though it would be.
Starter is in and working great. Now I just need to add a trunk solenoid and door lock actuator and it's all done.
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