The Proper Tool for the Job

Posted on 22. Mar, 2010 by in Tech Articles

Often you can get away with a tool for a job it wasn’t intended for, producing a similar result as if the proper tool was used in the first place. A screwdriver can be used instead of a seal puller for axle seals or a rear main, wrenches can be doubled up instead of a breaker bar for a tough fastener. It can be difficult to achieve a strong, reliable crimp on a Weather Pack terminal without the use of a proper crimping tool.

We will try to make some crimps with various tools around the shop here and compare them to the crimp from a proper ratcheting Weather Pack crimper. I followed the same general method with all tools except the Weather Pack crimpers.

  • When not using the Weather Pack crimpers, I found it easier to break the terminal down into four separate areas, two crimp tabs that hold the seal and two that connect to the wire.
  • Bend in the tabs that hold the rubber seal just enough to where I can still get the seal inside.
  • Place the wire and seal combo inside and tighten the tabs down onto the seal.
  • Gradually work the wire crimps into location
  • Firmly clamp the wire crimps into their final location.
  • Lets start off with some small Vice-Grips.

    The Vice-Grips as used in the images above were a bit difficult to use. I found them best when adjusted so I could find a good balance point right before they locked down. I found myself going back and forth between multiple angles trying to make each of the four crimps just right. I would say I needed to tweak each of the four areas (two seal tabs and two wire crimps) at least five or six times each!!

    Next up I tried a set of high-end crimping pliers.

    These crimping pliers used above weren’t all that bad to use due to the various shaped areas available to squash the terminal inside of. The same remains, I again needed to bend and tweaked each of the four areas at least fire or six times each.

    Third I tried a pair of wire strippers. This may not be what most people reach for to crimp terminals, but these aren’t normal crimp terminals either.

    This process was nearly identical to the Vice-Grips as I was only really able to use the end nose of this tool to shape the terminal.

    Needle nose pliers are up next.

    Not much difference to report here with the needle nose as seen above. Since they had a smaller nose tip they were able to shape the seal tabs a bit better than other tools, yet I still needed to hit each of the four crimp areas multiple times to achieve a finished product.

    Finally come the ratcheting Weather Pack crimpers.

    This was a night and day difference to every tool I tried. Insert the terminal into the pliers, lay your wire and seal combo in the appropriate location, crimp, done!

    In the terminal comparison picture above, the Weather Pack crimp is on the left with the wire bent opposite all the others.

    I was surprised I didn’t butcher the terminals more than I did when not using the ratcheting Weather Pack crimper. I did, however, take my time on each one (several minutes per terminal) to do the best I could with each tool. Once you have a good rhythm down, a good crimp with the ratcheting Weather Pack crimpers can take as little as 20 seconds. Add up all the terminals you’d be crimping if you’re building out a complete harness. The time wasted when not using the correct tool for the job would be huge!!

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