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Old 08-10-2005, 06:23 PM
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Aluminum Wire????

Last night I was fixing my friends 81 malibu which had no fuel indications. found a broken wire in the trunk and was surprized to find the fuel guage sender, taillight harness was copper strand wire and then was spliced into solid aluminum wire which ran through to the dash. all the wire colors were the same so it looks like GM did this originally but this was the first time I had seen it. Since it was spliced into the rear harness moisture had penetrted the aluminum wires insulation and corroded it back quite far. the wire was also hard to strip as it kept breaking. Is this wire common and what are you supposed to do to splice it. I just spliced in some new wires but I am not very confident in their ability to hold or how long it will be before the wire degrades again.

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Old 08-10-2005, 06:46 PM
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Wire

Doc here,

Is that a Flat ribbon wire running front to trunk?

Or a round harness full of different gauge wires?

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Old 08-10-2005, 11:17 PM
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there were 5 wires of different guages running in a plastic conduit. not the standard plastic protective wrap but a long semiflexible tube.
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Old 08-11-2005, 03:12 PM
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Wire

Doc here,

I find it very hard to believe that GM would use aluminum wire in any application at all..with the possible exception of 3 rd party supplied ribbon cable (which they did use on some years) Simply because it is more expensive to use, Can not be soldered, and lends itself to massive electrolysis problems.

While it may be Silver colored copper wire I doubt it's aluminum wire, is it magnetic? If so It is not Aluminum.

Do you have a Solder Iron? try heating a 40 watter up and try to tin the wire, If you get solder run on the wire it's copper or other type.

If you are getting wires breaking off when you try to strip them, you are either pressing too hard when you strip or the wire is REAL rotten..try a more "ginger " grip when you strip them, then try to solder (tin ) the wire.

If you can achieve that, then the next step would be to get some shrink tubing and cut slightly longer than the joints will be, install them on the unsolder wire, and then join all the wires by color together by soldering them and then putting the tubing over the joints.

Short of that, You can measure the length and route of the harness, and get matching color and gauge wires and build a replacement harness outside the car, strip the very ends, then go to the car and marry the new harness into the car soldering the ends in..try not to use butt splices they often fail..solder is the way to go.

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Old 08-11-2005, 10:52 PM
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I wouldn't think it was stock but they went right through up to a plug in the dash and all were the right color wires. Wierd. they were definately aluminum and yes they were brittle. The corosion in the fuel guage wire extended over a foot past the splice. The insulation on all of them was bubbling where the wire was corroding underneath. I am an aircraft electrician by trade so I know my techniques were not the problem. I just used butt splices cause this was a midnight repair but I wasn't happy with them. This car is a beater so it ain't worth making new harness' and the end under the dash was all servicable. I just wanted to know if anyone had seen anything like this before. I have never on any car. someone went to a lot of work if this was done aftermarket. I mean we are talking about a 200$ 1981 malibu classic 4dr with no modifications. Even has the factory am fm radio. Anyway thanks for the input.
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Old 08-12-2005, 03:29 PM
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Wire

Doc here

Totally weird, I've run across a few (very few ) Cases of Aluminum wire on production Vehicles in the past, Primarily when they were switching over to Confuser control, where the wire was aluminum and flat ribbon, but provided to the factory by other's...

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