If you like working on your own car or truck, chances are you’ve had to do some wiring from time to time. Whether it’s new gauges, an audio system, repairing old wires, or even rewiring the entire vehicle, crimping wires is typically a hit or miss situation with the standard tools in most toolboxes. Some of the tools that you can get at local electronics or auto parts stores are very basic, and they do a very basic job.
Crimping wires for the long term project requires serious tools, and you can get those tools from Pertronix, the company that brought you the Ignitor – the original electronic conversion for your distributor.
Pertronix has been expanding much further than distributor upgrades for your hot rod or musclecar; from the spark that gets your motor fired up to headers and exhaust components, there’s plenty to keep a gearhead busy.
When we browsed through the New Products page on the Pertronix website, we stumbled upon something that we just had to try out: the Quick Change Crimp Tool Kit (p/n T3001). This is the must-have tool that you never knew you needed, and it can be ordered from JEGS (p/n 751-T3001).
The Quick Change Crimp Tool tackles electrical wiring and spark plug wire crimping with ease – and you don’t have to be an expert at wiring to use this simple tool. After getting the crimp tool, we immediately grabbed some wires and began crimping every type of terminal we had in our arsenal, and managed to pull off some professional-looking crimps the first time out.
For wiring electrical systems, the crimp tool will handle insulated, non-insulated, D-sub, and open barrel solderless terminals; it will also crimp spark plug wires the way the manufacturer does. With a properly stripped and prepared wire from 22 gauge up to eight gauge, or 6mm to 9mm spark plug wires, the quick change dies will handle all types of wiring connectors.
The crimp tool has a ratcheting jaw that will hold terminals in place while the wire is fed into the terminal. A simple squeeze on the non-slip rubber grips and the results will have you making room for your crimp tool in your favorite tool drawer. The carbon steel body and zinc-plated hardened dies will provide a crimp that is meant to last for years to come. The ratcheting tool is also adjustable, allowing for precise crimps every time.
Putting together a Molex-style connector plug is far easier with this crimp tool, and can save you hours when creating harnesses for your vehicle. Insulated terminals are crimped properly and permanently – no more loose wires from an improperly crimped terminal. The results from all of our crimping tests, and how secure the wire is in the terminal, makes us wish we had picked one up sooner. There really isn’t a learning curve, either, just crimp away and in no time you’ll have wires that look like the picture to the left.
Spark Plug Wires A Snap
Universal spark plug wires have always been a difficult crimp to make. Some companies provide a set of dies for the vise to crimp the wires, but they don’t always turn out like you’d expect. The crimp tool takes care of that process with a simple squeeze of the handle and you won’t believe how secure the terminal will be. Your expensive spark plug wire set will get the best crimp the first time, unlike having to shorten the wire a couple inches after each time the vise tool failed you.
Pertronix also offers a new Spark Plug Wire Stripping Tool (p/n T3004) that will easily strip the insulation down to the core. Simply clamp the wire in the jaws of the tool, make three rotations with the cutter on the spark plug wire and then pull the wire out for a perfectly stripped spark plug wire. Then it’s back to the crimp tool with a little prep on the terminal, squeezing it slightly to fit into the tool. The wire can be inserted into the terminal and when the crimp tool is squeezed it creates a perfect crimp that clamps onto the spark plug wire and looks just like the one that comes from the manufacturer.
We compared two spark plug wire crimps: one with the two-piece tool that comes with many universal wire sets, and the other with the Pertronix crimp tool. After using a vise to crimp our spark plug wires we found that it was a hit or miss situation, and not all crimps came out good. But the crimp tool made easy work of the wires, and it took no time at all. This is another cool tool that everyone who does any type of electrical wiring should have in their arsenal of tools.
The crimp tool will come especially handy in our next wiring project: a complete Ron Francis Express Panel wiring kit on our 1965 Plymouth. Crimping the headlamp connector terminals and the insulated terminals for the fuseblock will be much simpler, take far less time, and will look cleaner with a permanent connection. With so many inexpensive crimping tools on the market that do a sub-standard job, this Quick Change Wire Crimping Tool and Spark Plug Wire Stripping tool have been added to our tool box just in time. You can find both of them on the Pertronix website, as well as performance headers, ignition products, and much more.