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Thread: What to wrap wiring harness with?

  1. #1
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    What to wrap wiring harness with?

    So I recently finished up all the thinning/removal of unnecessary electrical accessories of my E30 318is wiring harness. The old plastic tubing and combination of fabric and plastic electrical wrap crumbled apart and made a huge mess, anyways...

    So my question is, what is the best method of tying all this wiring together to keep it organized, somewhat protected from dirt and the elements, and probably most importantly, avoid damage from abrasion?

    Anything better than just using a whole lot of generic vinyl electrical tape?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by mkodama; 05-11-2010 at 05:52 AM.

  2. #2
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    Standard wrap around loom from McMaster Carr.

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  4. #4
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    I use the plastic split loom that all the Japanese cars use. You can buy it by the box at Napa. Then I use the high temp 3M tape they sell at home depot.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses!

    I was partway expecting fancier, more expensive stuff and then getting a lecture on how important proper protection of an electrical system is vital to my safety, but good to know the basic stuff does the job, lol.
    Last edited by mkodama; 05-11-2010 at 06:21 AM.

  6. #6
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    I just used electrical tape, but I stagger the tape so that the wires are partially exposed. So It kind of looks like a barber pole; a stripe of tape, then s stripe of wires, rinse, repeat. This allows me to still trace wires without having to unwrap everything...

  7. #7
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    The corrugated split tubing is good for just about everywhere on a car. The split allows for easy access for maintenance and troubleshooting. I rarely use spiral wrap stuff and only where I need maximum durability.
    You can't afford to go that fast.
    The more Mustang parts I put in my BMW, the faster it goes.

  8. #8
    NeilM is offline Member BMW E36 M3 Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxxfish View Post
    I just used electrical tape, but I stagger the tape so that the wires are partially exposed. So It kind of looks like a barber pole; a stripe of tape, then s stripe of wires, rinse, repeat. This allows me to still trace wires without having to unwrap everything...
    The problem with electrical tape is that the adhesive gunks up the wires with heat and time. I like that split loom stuff, which is also available in fire resistant grades and in sizes from at least 3/8" to 3/4". You can also get snap-on (lower case) Y and T connectors for it.

    Here's one source for the flame retardant stuff: http://order.waytekwire.com/products...e%20Coverings/
    You do have to buy it in 100' coils, but it's cheap.

    I'm a little compulsive about wiring protection. Ironically my car suffered a major short circuit under the driver's side dashboard at the Glen a couple of years ago. The acrid smoke pouring out just above my knees caused me and my passenger to pull over and exit the car in a big hurry. Ironically it turned out to be abrasion failure of an original stock wiring bundle that had been inadequately taped at the factory.

    Neil

  9. #9
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    it turned out to be abrasion failure of an original stock wiring bundle that had been inadequately taped at the factory.
    The factory harness is a disaster. I was shocked when I pulled the interior out and saw that BMW just basically flung the harness down under the carpet. If you look at a Japanese harness, it's attached to the body every 8" or so. I split loomed the entire interior harness. Christ, look at where it goes through the rear seat brace. It just rubs on the sheet metal. It's just the crappiest thing I've ever seen. My $12K civic was wired better.

  10. #10
    NeilM is offline Member BMW E36 M3 Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterKwan View Post
    I split loomed the entire interior harness.
    I wish everyone would do that on their race cars. I keep instructing in them and having to be careful not to get my feet caught up in the dangling wires on the passenger side.

    Neil

  11. #11
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    We use cloth hockey tape. It doesn't gunk up as badly as electrical tape and can be removed for modifications without too much trouble.
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    are you making this a track car miles?

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    Cloth tape is great i use 3M friction tape and then put wire loom over everything.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the additional replies. Right now I'm kinda undecided between the split convoluted and spiral wrap.

    I need to lay my wiring harness out to find how thick all the bundles of wires are now to figure out what sizing I would need. Spiral wrap seems kinda nice for its one-size-fits-all design.

    Quote Originally Posted by m1356guy View Post
    are you making this a track car miles?
    Yup. Why else would I be removing "unnecessary electrical accessories" and posting in the motorsports forum.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
    Yup. Why else would I be removing "unnecessary electrical accessories" and posting in the motorsports forum.
    are you making this Spec e30? sorry if i missed a build thread or something

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by m1356guy View Post
    are you making this Spec e30? sorry if i missed a build thread or something
    Nope, just a have-fun, driving event, still-street-legal, learn as I go, car.

    Spec E30 doesn't even allow the 318is anymore to my knowledge, not to mention racing is just too expensive for me at this point in life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterKwan View Post
    The factory harness is a disaster. I was shocked when I pulled the interior out and saw that BMW just basically flung the harness down under the carpet. If you look at a Japanese harness, it's attached to the body every 8" or so. I split loomed the entire interior harness. Christ, look at where it goes through the rear seat brace. It just rubs on the sheet metal. It's just the crappiest thing I've ever seen. My $12K civic was wired better.
    yep, the japanese do wiring better than any other country
    -Rich-


  18. #18
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    I ended up going with the some spiral wrap of the clear, nylon, self-extinguishing variety, rated for -40F to +250F from mcmaster. http://www.mcmaster.com/#sleeving/=75i7ym

    It seemed to be the best option in terms of easy application and removal, needing only one or two diameters for the job, and easy to service. I can't wait until I get this wiring project finished up!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterKwan View Post
    The factory harness is a disaster. I was shocked when I pulled the interior out and saw that BMW just basically flung the harness down under the carpet.
    Sorry to get Off Topic, but this was NOT the case on my car, the loom IS actually attached to the shell every two feet (approximately) with black plastic zip-tie looking rings that have a rivet or sorts into the sheet metal on the bottom side. They are not reusable and I had to remove them all by giving a quick pull on the loom and the plastic ring snaps (shears) right off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by greg s View Post
    standard wrap around loom from mcmaster carr.
    -2

    similar to p/n 1459t22
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver///M View Post
    Self Wrapping Split Braided Sleeve works great! That's what I used on my last couple cars. Pegasus sells it by the foot in many sizes...
    -------------------------------------------------------

  22. #22
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    lol, buying the spiral wrap was a huge mistake. Takes way too long to apply it.

    It looks decent, each size covers a pretty broad range of wire bundle sizes, it seems to give good abrasion protection and the rated self-extinguishing and temperature specs are probably good, but it is not worth the time to apply at all.

    Now to try something else...

  23. #23
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    davesnavy is offline Bimmerworld Transporter BMW CCA Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
    lol, buying the spiral wrap was a huge mistake. Takes way too long to apply it.

    It looks decent, each size covers a pretty broad range of wire bundle sizes, it seems to give good abrasion protection and the rated self-extinguishing and temperature specs are probably good, but it is not worth the time to apply at all.

    Now to try something else...
    Split loom is better. Once you get the hang of the technique, i.e., bend it backwards to open the seam, the harness snaps right in. Much faster than slowly winding the spiral 'round and 'round. The seam also makes it easier and faster in tighter locations.

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