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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Auto Wiring and Weatherpack-Style Connectors
By Wayne Scraba/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Estimated Time120 minutes
120 minutes
What to Know When Adding Electrical Accessories -
Trying to isolate all the electrical components in your car to make it easier to remove/swap out each one without cutting wire or dealing with quite a bit of harness? Read on…
Auto Wiring and Weatherpack-Style Connectors
Look under the hood of any late model car or light truck and take a good look at the electrical harness. You’ll regularly find a series of unique connectors used to join various sub-harnesses to the main electrical harness. What’s with that? The factory designed the setup to allow for partial wiring harness and electrical component removal and repair should it be necessary. This means that specific sub-assemblies with electrical hook ups can be removed, serviced and replaced without peeling out an entire harness or removing a large number of individual connectors. While there are a number of different connectors out there, some of the most common are called “weatherpack” (or “weathertight”).
GM (and probably other manufacturers) has used several different varieties of this connector configuration for years. It’s a crafty arrangement and, when you do a bit of digging into these connectors, you’ll find they’re designed to tolerate temperatures from -40° to +257° Fahrenheit. Simultaneously, they’re not affected by water spray, chemicals, vibration or dirt. Equally important, these connectors are designed in such a way that they cannot come apart accidentally. An external positive locking system ensures the respective ends of the connectors are completely joined.
Taking a weatherpack connector apart is very easy, but remember they’re engineered to stay in place once locked. The pieces are designed to be separated by way of a special slot formed within the connector body and, in other cases, it’s possible to split the connector by hand. The screwdriver slot feature proves useful when the connector is in a hard-to-reach location. By design, each terminal within the weatherpack is equipped with an individual tower. With this feature there isn’t a chance of shorting between the respective wires. Additionally, each connector segment is equipped with a secondary lock that snaps over the terminals and prevents the respective terminals from backing out.
The ingredient within the connector transferring electrical current is the terminal pin. These terminals are non-orienting. What this means is that the terminals do not require turning to engage them during connecting or disconnecting. The terminal pins are fitted with double lock tangs that secure the pin within the connector. The terminal includes an extra-long spring member that's designed so that the terminal can't loosen once installed. So far so good but, as pointed out earlier, the weatherpacks are also resistant to water, dust, oil, brake fluid and other fluids or chemicals. This is accomplished by incorporating self-lubricating silicone seals on each of the terminals (male and female). Further, these silicone seals are crimped to prevent contamination from entering next to the wire. The seal design is such that multiple sealing ribs are used to keep the terminal pins dry and clean.
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