Lets Talk Open Barrel Crimpers - Reviews and Discussion

Mattax

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Lets review and discuss crimpers for 'type F' open barrel terminals.

For those not so familiar:
Open barrel is when the gripping portion starts open.
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Pretty much all terminals in our cars are crimped to the wires with this design.
Type F open barrel terminals 'wings' get folded onto the wire so the reuslting cross section looks like an upside down W. The first pair grips the conductor and the second pair grips the insultator the same way. According to AMP catalogs, Type F may or may not have the insulation gripping wings.
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Here's my impressions of three open barrel crippers I've bought, along with a typical (older) cheap closed barrel crimper as an occassional reference. One thing for sure, while sometimes they work the first try, to be consistant with different terminals and wire sizes, practice and some experimentation helps.

Astro Pneumatic 9477 with interchangable jaws:
This looked like it would do everything. At first everything was easy, other than figuring out which jaw positions should be used. More on that later. With one squeezer the conductor and insulator gets crimped neatly and to the same force.
The problem came with the male terminals that have stop tabs that stick out. The jaws are too wide to do these correct. One solution is to grind the side of jaws down.
upload_2020-7-23_16-54-19.png


About the jaws. They have mysterious numbers on them which are not the AWG sizes.
The booklet is what you'ld expect from an import item. It does have little chart which can sortof be used to figure out what position should be used for automotive wire. I took a pen and marked up the jaws and the box - which helps. With a narrower jaw, I could make a better decision visually.
upload_2020-7-23_17-1-10.png

It turns out the numbers cast into the jaws are metric wire sizes; either diameter or square area, I don't recall which. However I've found nothing is absolute in terms of deciding which size crimp is best. The various terminals have different thickness material and different length wings. So sometimes experimentation is required.

Bottom line is that these weren't the Do-all crimper I had hoped, but they have enough positive features that I don't regret the purchase. One bonus was when I needed to crimp some spark plug wires, instead of buying a crimper, I bought the optional jaws. Worked great for that.
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Jaws will create both crimps of a female Chrysler type terminal in one squeeze
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But a terminal with stop tabs like this male Packard 56 will get damaged.
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Mattax

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I sold a ton of these on the MAC truck. Parallel jaws, simple operation and with a little practice, a factory looking crimp.
Open Barrel Crimping Tool

View attachment 1715566352
Those might be a good option. Parallel jaws should be a real plus. Could use a detailed review. :poke:
Certainly the price is right for someone starting. The question is will it cover all their needs.
There are some trickier crimps, like the ones with side by side wires.
Another thing I found the Astro struggled with was crimping the heavy gage ring terminals I selected for the 8, 10 and 12 ga power feed and related wires.
That surprised me because I thought its compound action would make it easy to compress the bigger stuff.

I ended up using the larger of the two replica Packard Crimpers, which isn't really designed for that job, but it got it done.

American Autowire 'replica' Crimpers:
upload_2020-7-23_17-30-45.png

Shown above sitting in the lid of the Astro Crimper box.
American autowire's crimpers are supposed to be replicas of Packard Electric's hand crimpers.
They come with no information, no guidelines, in a plain cardboard box. There is (or was) a video showing how to use it, but they are a one size fits most situation.
In other words, the smaller one (yellow handles) will work for most wire gages and terminals used on a typical car, I guess.
The larger one is called a double - and that seems to be what it originally was for. It was for crimping two wires side by side when using a terminal specifically made with a wider insulation barrel.

upload_2020-7-23_17-37-24.png

In the photo above, the Packard 58 terminal on the right and the one in the jaws are specifically made for holding two wires.

Both crimpers are narrow enough so there are no problems with interference if one is careful.
(Crimper at the topof photo is an older general purpose closed barrel crimper.)
upload_2020-7-23_17-40-50.png


Bottom Line. These work well, but are expensive and seem to be more expensive every time I look. They are not what I'd want to work under the dash with, but are fine under the hood or on the bench. They do require some eyeballing and experimentation when working with smaller (18 and 20 ga) and large wires. On the other hand they provide good leverage on larger heavy ring terminals.
 
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Mattax

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Third and maybe last from me? IDK TMM has me tempted with the one he posted for carrying in the car and underdash work...

Molex 63811-1000
This one doesn't really fit in with the others because it's really made for smaller terminals. But since it works the same way, and Molex sells other versions (different dash number) it seems worthy of a post.

Background. I had a brainstorm to replace the trailer wiring connector on my tachometer with something much smaller. Maybe even small enough to go through a 3/8 hole in the dash. Molex's Micro-fit 3.0 series seemed like it would do the trick and would be easier to install (wrong). None of the crimpers I already owned were doing a good job with the tiny terminals and 20 ga wires. Time to support the American economy. Well I half succeeded. The desktop magnifier with lamp was made you know where. :( But this Molex crimper is made in the USA :)

upload_2020-7-23_17-59-1.png

First thing in its favor is that each crimp position is clearly marked in contrasting numbers.
While perhaps in someone's theory the crimp positions behind the fulcrum are for the insulation crimps, in reality, go by the size.
Upon opening the clamshell we can see the jaws themselves are very cleanly cut, and the tool has a little oil on it.
Speaking of opening the clamshell, it didn't require a chainsaw or even a utility knife. Its just snapped together.
thumbs_up-gif.gif


Finally, the packaging reverse has a easy to read conversion chart to guide us users as to which position to use for which wire.
upload_2020-7-23_18-7-42.png


With the magnifying glass and a little experimentation, this worked well for its intended purpose.
Here's some micro-fit terminals next to a Packard 56.
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Here's the 18 and 20 ga TXL test wires installed in the housings.
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And here's the pull to failure test results.
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And the real thing.
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How 'bout on a bigger terminal?
I tried it out on a AMP Faston-male terminal and wasn't too happy with the result. The chart guidance doesn't work well because its based on a terminal made of thinner metal and with shorter wings. Maybe it will work OK with a some Packard type terminals. I didn't have time to further experiment this morning.
Here's how that terminal looked after recrimping using the smaller American Autowire crimper.
upload_2020-7-23_18-21-43.png


Bottom Line: Good crimper but the -1000 may be best for smaller terminals than we typically work with.
 

Demonx2

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Thx for the informative post. I'm about to start the total rewire on my project so it's also very timely for me! I appreciate the options and info you've laid out.
 

RustyRatRod

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I think they all suck because none of them are ever consistent. Even if you're really careful. Sometimes you get a good crimp and sometimes not.
 

Slowswinger

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Great info and great post. I have never taken the time to crimp those properly but always soldered the connection.
 

67Dart273

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I take a much simpler, red neck, back yard approach. Some will not want to hear this, but it works for me. I don't screw with special crimps anymore. I just hand crimp them with needle nose or whatever tool gets the crimp "seated," AND THEN SOLDER THEM. Use ONLY "electrical/ electronic" rosin core flux based solder. For a little more flux on hard-to-solder stuff, you can get flux pens from Kester. These are the only way I know to buy flux in small quantities anymore. There's a dazzleing array of flux so you have to do a bit of research.
 

gregcon

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I have an MSD crimper (the ignition box MSD people) that works well.

Like a lot of other guys, I generally crimp then solder anyway.

If I'm doing something that doesn't require 'stock' type terminals, I'll use WeatherPak or Delphi connectors.

For bigger stuff, like 8ga+, I'll use my big Molex crimper, crimp connectors, solder, and heat shrink.
 

toolmanmike

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Mike, Is there one you are familiar with like this for 12 ga and larger?
You almost have to go with the ratchet style with the exchangeable jaws or the Deutsch crimpers. They go to 12 gauge.

TCT747-KIT.jpg


deutsch.jpg
 

TT5.9mag

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I wore out my set of Molex open barrel crimping pliers on the last harness I built. They are a well made product and did exactly what was claimed. The pivot became slightly “rough” for lack of a better term, when I was 200-300 crimps into using them, requiring a little more effort to open after crimping. There is definitely a learning curve and most of that is looking at the crimp after crimping and doing a “pull test”. I will definitely buy another set. Most of the instructions on the connectors that require this type of crimp prohibit soldering at all saying it’s an unreliable solution. Del, I do not doubt your abilities or experience but most of them frown on soldering.
 

Mattax

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View attachment 1715641004 View attachment 1715641005
I wore out my set of Molex open barrel crimping pliers on the last harness I built. They are a well made product and did exactly what was claimed. The pivot became slightly “rough” for lack of a better term, when I was 200-300 crimps into using them, requiring a little more effort to open after crimping. There is definitely a learning curve and most of that is looking at the crimp after crimping and doing a “pull test”. I will definitely buy another set. Most of the instructions on the connectors that require this type of crimp prohibit soldering at all saying it’s an unreliable solution. Del, I do not doubt your abilities or experience but most of them frown on soldering.
Next time look to see if Molex makes one for slightly larger wires and terminals. Yours looks like the 63811-1000, same as I bought for use with the micro-fit terminals.
 

Tooljunkie

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I bought the snap-on version,Blue Point actually, of the first kit you posted. Thoroughly disappointed to say the least.
Im big on soldering terminals as well,high current wires usually get soldered.
Lots of tiny terminals in efi cars, and a real pita to find a match to repair. I end up parting out connectors and splicing wires.
Up here in rural manitoba, have to work with what you have.
 

TT5.9mag

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Next time look to see if Molex makes one for slightly larger wires and terminals. Yours looks like the 63811-1000, same as I bought for use with the micro-fit terminals.
I bought these specifically because AEM recommended them in the manual for the infinity ecu. Almost all of the wires in my harness were 18-22 gauge.
 

Mattax

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I bought these specifically because AEM recommended them in the manual for the infinity ecu. Almost all of the wires in my harness were 18-22 gauge.
Gotchya. That makes sense.
 

mopardude318

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So where is a good place to buy those F type ring terminals? #8 - 5/16 stud size would be nice. 14-16 & 10-12 wire sizes.
 

RustyRatRod

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So the consensus is that no one crimper works 100% and they all suck in some way. Sounds like everything else.
 

ESP47

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I'd buy the more expensive assisted crimpers if I needed to crimp for my job and needed to use them every day.

I'd buy one of the thinner manual crimpers if I was doing an entire harness.

I'd use needle nose pliers and a dab of solder if I was just repairing a connection here or there.
 

RustyRatRod

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I'm gonna need some decent crimpers, because I have a wiring harness to install in the rat truck and some electrical work to do on Vixen. This is a great thread, but I have to admit, I've not seen a pair yet I'm impressed enough to spend money on.
 

4spdragtop

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I bought a couple Iwiss and not impressed. I'm tuffing it out with the last Iwiss I bought. Approx $40 Cdn, and I didnt want to spend much more than that.
 

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