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2 of the wires on my motorbike were cut and used to hotwire it. It's been recovered and I need to permanently connect these back together.

What would be the best and easiest way to do this?

Image of Cut Wires

An image of the wires in their current state can be seen here with the red lines indicating which wires need to be reconnected.

Thanks for your help!

migrated from electronics.stackexchange.com Jun 25 '16 at 17:21

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The best way (high quality of job, pride in workmanship) is to:

  • Pick up an assortment of different diameters of heat shrink tubing.
  • Remove the entire harness from the bike. Do NOT skip this step. If you try to cut corners here the results will be bad. (No Whining!)
  • Cut the sheathing back ten inches from the damage area.
  • Purchase up a few feet of the same gauge of red braided wire.
  • You are going to be soldering in replacement sections of wire. You will want at least a 1/2" of copper overlap, preferably 3/4" or more (and that's why we had you purchase extra wire in the step above)
  • You are going to have to really think about the heat shrink tubing before you start the repair.
  • You will want a separate heat shrink on each wire and a larger heat shrink on the harness as an assembly. That will require you to think about each step in the process and think about four steps ahead so the heat shrink is in the right place at the right time.

An alternative method is to use these crimp on connectors: Crimp on connector.

They'll work, maybe. Until they don't. I'm not a fan.

Good luck with it.

  • Thanks for the answer. What are the risks of not taking the harness off the bike? Is there any way to effectively determine the gauge of the current wire? Also, there's only about an inch of wire left on the side thats been separated from the harness, before it goes into the ignition barrel, is this a problem? – M A Jun 25 '16 at 18:02
  • You could remove half of the harness. The key is you need access to the ends of things to be able to slide on heat shrink. I'm not sure what before it goes into the ignition barrel means. Most electrical wiring ends with a crimped on metal spade or female terminal. These little bits, in turn are pushed into a plastic hardshell connector that keeps things organized. With the right tools you can remove an individual wire from the hardshell. DON'T force it. Check out this search to understand how this stuff works. – zipzit Jun 25 '16 at 18:10
  • Working on a harness is kinda like TIG welding. You need to get really comfortable in order to do a really good job. Nothing requires more patience (and more hands or tools to hold stuff!) than soldering up wires. This job is much easier sitting at a table or workbench than not. – zipzit Jun 25 '16 at 18:22
  • Ahh, I think enough of the harness is exposed to slide the heat shrinks on. Any idea on how to judge the gauge of the wire? The 2 wire ends on the top of the image I posted come directly out of the ignition barrel, of which only about an inch is exposed before they disappear into the barrel. I don't think the barrel can be disassembled without breaking it either. Thanks for your help – M A Jun 25 '16 at 18:26
  • Do you by chance have a vernier caliper or a pretty decent 6" scale / ruler? You need to best guess the diameter of the copper wire bundle just as it leaves the red vinyl protection. Then check it against this. Just looking at the photo, I'd guess its 10 or 12 gauge, but I'm not positive. – zipzit Jun 25 '16 at 18:36

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