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Old 10-25-2005, 01:01 PM
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Is there special wire for cars?

This may be a stupid question but I was wondering if I could use the wire that they sell at hardware stores for houses to wire my car. My concern is heat and the wire's resisence to it. I've always used it and had no problems but was wondering if it was OK

Thanks,
Jacob

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Old 10-25-2005, 01:27 PM
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Most of the wire for houses has got one solid strand of wire in it. Automotive wire is multiple strand, therefore it is not as stiff. Also the outer part of the conductor is what actually carries the current, so with multiple strand you actually have more surface to conduct which makes it better for DC applications. I would reccomend automotive wire.
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:06 PM
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Automotive wire also comes in an array of colors, where as house wire is red, white, and black. There are also 3 or 4 lamp cord colors. When you start getting alot of wires running around all the same color, you will wish you used the automotive.
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Old 10-25-2005, 03:53 PM
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Wire

Doc here,

Any Mil-spec stranded Wire will work for automotive wire.

If you spend a bit more, I recommend Teflon Coated wire..It is resistant to Chafing, wear and supports higher heat, in addition to being resistant to Oil gas and grease..

It is a bit harder to strip, standard strippers have a hard time gripping on the wire, and the cost is a bit higher than Poly Vinyl coated wire..but I think is well worth the difference.

Doc
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:19 PM
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I'v gotten auto grade wire at hardware stores b4. I'v heard of people wiring cars with 12/2 Romex house wire, never seen it/ tried it. I want to rewire my '51 Chevy to original with cloth coated wires, they have the plastic underneath the cloth, the original harness is in good shape, only a few wires actully need attention.
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:37 PM
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Doc here,

Romex IS NOT the way to wire any Automotive products..

Mil Spec Stranded Wire is the minimum way to go...

Cotton Clad wire is NOT recommended for two reasons:

1)Cotton will soak up petrol products and act as a "Wick" when exposed to heat and Flame.

2)Cotton Clad wire will support a flame by itself..

Aways use PVC or Teflon wire..(unless it's a 100% total restore job)

Doc
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Old 10-25-2005, 06:27 PM
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There are also different insulations formulas for auto wire. The higher quality wire has insulation that is better able to stand up to underhood temperatures. I believe Painless Wiring has an explanation of the different types of wire insulation.

Vince
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Old 10-25-2005, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docvette
Doc here,

Romex IS NOT the way to wire any Automotive products..

Mil Spec Stranded Wire is the minimum way to go...

Cotton Clad wire is NOT recommended for two reasons:

1)Cotton will soak up petrol products and act as a "Wick" when exposed to heat and Flame.

2)Cotton Clad wire will support a flame by itself..

Aways use PVC or Teflon wire..(unless it's a 100% total restore job)

Doc
I know romex is not a good way to wire a car, just said I'v heard of it ( just mentioning cause of the topic of hardware store wire )


I'm probably going to use a stock repro wiring harness for my car, which uses the cotton clad wire, it is not a total restoration but I want it to look like it could have been built in the 1950's ( not a nostalgia hot rod but, using parts, colors and designes popular in the '50's ), that and the fact, only the cotton clad wire harness is the only 1 available as a stock replacement.
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Old 10-25-2005, 07:42 PM
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I'm not real sure if this makes a difference or not but I heard since automotive wire is stranded it has less resistance and less heat due to resistance
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Old 10-25-2005, 08:28 PM
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Doc here,

Basic Electronic theory Tells us that all wire has what is known as the "Skin Effect" and dictates that current flows more at the outer most part of the wire as opposed to the inner part..

Using This logic, Solid would be a better choice..But it isn't..Not sure if it's because you have several strands with "Skin effect" inside a single conductor, or it's just cheaper and easier to use...and the current levels are within spec..never really bothered to question it to be honest..

If it were RF , then Solid would be the way to go..in applications such as antenna and grounds..

However, you are correct in the fact that stranded is a better choice for automotive applications.

Doc
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:05 PM
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Do hardware stores carry pvc or teflon coated wire? if so how can I tell it apart from the other wire?
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Old 10-26-2005, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobm99
Do hardware stores carry pvc or teflon coated wire? if so how can I tell it apart from the other wire?
Doc here,

ACE and Home Depot do..

Just read the jacket..it will say something like Milspec PVC wire 18 GAuge stranded ..or similar right on it.

Teflon is speciality wire, and you might not find it at the local hardware outlet..you should do an online search for wire suppliers for this.

If it's to be a big project buy in bulk..you'll save $$ (500 ft 1000 ft rolls) over smaller rolls that will nickel and dime you to death..and remember Colors too, add that all into your equation..

BTW: Welcome to the Forum!

Doc
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Last edited by docvette; 10-26-2005 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 10-26-2005, 10:12 PM
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Great thanks a lot for all your help!
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Old 10-27-2005, 07:51 AM
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I only use mil spec aircraft wire
used in my 69 camaro for 25 + years and never seen any chafing or current lose through the years.
I also use hermetically sealed connectors aswell.
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Old 10-27-2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawg
I only use mil spec aircraft wire
used in my 69 camaro for 25 + years and never seen any chafing or current lose through the years.
I also use hermetically sealed connectors aswell.
Doc here,

Dawg,

All Modern Aircraft wire (as far as I know) Is Teflon Coated...which is why it makes such a sweet installation!

Are you talking about the Cannon Connectors for pressurized Bulkheads? The black round half twists? Those are great if you use that "Black Goo" that comes with them..and the pins are a pain, (but I solder them anyway instead of using that cannon crimper at $275.00 , with the little hole in the middle)

That route makes a sweet Life long trouble-free installation..


The only thing I would like to have, that I no longer have access to, is a wire marker machine for my shop...

JACOB..

I notice you live in the Bay area, Go to the Oakland airport and try Quinns surplus on the GenAv ramp for that wire and Cannon Bulkhead connectors...

Or (and you'll pay more for it) One of the Avionic Shops there..Maybe if you can get in with somebody there, he can get you the stuff wholesale...

I flew out of there for years with JAL, (until they kicked the training Division out for too many "student gear up Landings" on the active Runway.. Then we moved FTC to APC Napa..added 500 foot to their active for jet traffic and moved to a much better environment.) I used to get wire (still was an active Rodder during those years) and connectors that way.

Quinn's has TONS of electrical and Electronic Stuff For pennies on the buck! Wear your old Jeans, and prepare to spend a day crawling around the piles of "Stuff" ... Some new, Some old, Some overstock...From Computers to electronic components, to wire and connectors...some OLDE retired airline (like me.. ), some public service stuff..(I once got an X/K radar gun from a police cruiser there!)

Anyway, if you go, have fun! Look for Everything you might need..

Doc
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