Quick Transport Solutions Inc.

Protect Your Electrical System from Corrosion and Bad Wiring

Although the future may bring trucks that no longer have user-serviceable parts inside, we still have electrical problems to deal with today. From connecting wires to bad sensors and lighting problems, many of these issues are caused by corrosion that results from bad wiring.

For proper truck health, one must follow the fundamentals of proper electrical maintenance. Always work to keep corrosion out of the system and make proper repairs right away. Let’s take a look at some ways you can prevent or mitigate electrical system problems.

Beware of Misdiagnosis

It can be easy to mistake corrosion for basic wiring problems, and vice versa. Appearances can be deceiving.

A failed sensor alert might not even be the sensor. It could be the wiring to the sensor or a bad ground somewhere else within the system. Corrosion, when it’s a problem, can degrade voltage and current flow, which the sensor interprets as a failure.

By paying attention to proper cable routing the first time, it’s easy to determine the source of the problem. Proper wiring also prevents chafing and abrasion.

Properly Replace Wiring

A truck that might have gone through several clutch replacements will have had a lot of wiring cut away or moved, including the cabling to the starter. Fault codes and fire danger comes from improperly replaced wiring.

Many trucks are now coming with wiring that’s a real bird’s nest to get through. This causes problems at the fleet level when technicians are trying to get deep within the compartment.

Here are four essential electrical maintenance tips for you to practice when replacing wiring:

  1. Avoid test lights that have piercing probes, as they could potentially poke holes in the wire.
  2. Avoid using non-sealed butt connectors. They may be cheap, fast and simple, but they are bad at protecting from corrosion.
  3. Use soldered and/or crimped connections and make sure they have double-walled heat-shrink tubing.
  4. Make sure you know how to repair electrical connectors properly before embarking on doing so. There are specific procedures that the manufacturer recommends you follow.

Although anyone can be careful, manufacturers are beginning to recognize the need to institute better wiring standards that keep technicians in mind.

Manufacturing Better Wiring

Many a fleet technician attributes electrical problems to poor quality wire insulation. It’s not uncommon to see harnesses worn through insulation. As soon as exposure occurs, wicking occurs and the systems begin to fail.

Some are advocating a new standard in which expensive-to-replace harnesses aren’t one-size-fits-all wiring schemes that come pre-stuffed into the frame rail. While these changes may cost more in the beginning, the long-term payouts on the maintenance side will more than make-up for the upfront cost.

Another potential area of improvement comes in the form of more anti-cap wiring on critical systems. This would prevent corrosive moisture from making its way back to those very pricey electronic control modules.

Wiring in engine components is sized for the task, but lacks redundancy. Once compromised, even just a bit, corrosive problems threaten the entire system.

Changing Old Ways

Some argue that old habits die hard. With all of the sealed connectors available, many fleets still prefer a metal plug on, say for instance, a J560 trailer connector. It’s an area that’s a hotbed for corrosion, but it’s hard to change routine. Even so, the upcharge for a premium connector may only be around 10 percent, certainly not a huge amount when long-term gains are factored in.

As the pace of innovation continues, trucks are throwing fault codes at a breakneck pace. It doesn’t help that each code also has its own unique diagnostic tree for technicians to follow. Some processes call for specialized equipment.

Larger fleets and dealers have the resources to maintain highly skilled technician programs. For smaller fleets, the expense to stay current might be immense. The gap between skill level and need will only continue to grow as fleets respond to the improving economy.

No matter what happens, the need for proper electrical wiring that prevents corrosion has never been greater. Always keep an eye on potential problems and keep yourself and your rig safe.

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