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Old 07-01-2020, 07:21 AM   #1
Bus Geek
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Good source for wire and connectors?

I need to replace the wiring in my bus running from the cab back to all the lights, and I'm not sure exactly what kind of wire to use for this. And I bought these male and female crimp-on connectors (the blue ones) that I used to hook up my new LED lights in the back, but they're kinda crap and pull loose easily.

I'm not sure exactly where I'm going to be running these wires (either inside underneath some ceiling trim or underneath the bus down one of the chassis rails), so for now I want to have removable connectors on all the lights, removable connectors on the wires I'm using coming up from the electrical box up front, and then extra-length wires with connectors on each end.

Recommendations for what to use here? Links where I can buy stuff for this would be appreciated. I have a soldering iron so I don't mind connectors that require that. Wire that comes in a variety of colors might be handy, I guess.

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Old 07-01-2020, 08:53 AM   #2
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Possibly you have used the wrong size connector for the wire size you have. LED lights typically use quite small wire, too small for the blue connector.
The three most common size connectors and their wire sizes.
  • Red AWG 22-16
  • Blue AWG 16-14
  • Yellow AWG 12-10

Sometimes, in order to get a good fit before crimping, I strip twice the length and fold it over. I use a crimper similar to these.

I like terminals with the heat shrink already on similar to these, in the appropriate size. I would avoid getting the assortment kits, figure out what you think you need and order them in lots of 50-100, much cheaper. I've found the kits don't have enough of what I actually need and I have left overs that I'll never use.

The down side to these is the insulation is slick and if you don't have the crimper placed just right the metal part will slip and ruin the crimp. But, if done correctly, make a much nicer wire end.

Otherwise use the regular insulated kind similar to these.

The best non ratcheting crimpers I have ever had is this pair that was my grandfathers. I have used them for many, many years.


I've been doing this for something like 60 years, there was no such thing as the terminals with heat shrink on them. I'm not recommending any seller or product these links are just for explanation. I have had no problems with quality of suppliers from ebay.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:18 AM   #3
Bus Nut
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I know plenty of people are crimp-connector-snobs, and look down on others for using them, but I like the ease and simplicity. I also use the ones with the heat shrink on them. With the correct crimper so it doesn't damage the shrink, I have had great success with these. I just say I echo everything else already said.

I pulled enough extra wire during demo I don't think I'll need to buy wire for several years. One easy way to get mulit-color, especially for running to the rear for lighting purposes, is to buy a 100' roll of trailer wiring.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:50 PM   #4
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Location: Philadelphia
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Year: 2003
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Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Thanks for the info, I will check these links out.
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:02 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
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It does take some practice to get proficient with a crimping tool. I too strip twice what I need for the crimp and double it over and trim to length to fit the splice connector. buying in quantity isn't a problem, you will use them up for many projects I find.
I've seen many hand crimpers but never as old as the pic above, but they are a good design.

In your case mg, perhaps a PVC weatherproof junction box might be better with terminal strip inside with as many terminals as you think you need and a few spares. Find an electrical wholesaler locally and explain your plans to them so they can recommend the best materials needed.

This is a nice easy removable situation for tracing and maintenance. Just be sure you keep the junction boxes easily accessible.
You would likely be better off buying a full reel of #12 wire and some wire markers for identification on both ends, keep records of what you terminate as you can easily identify specific lights etc,. Keeps everything neat.
Routing, I would keep everything inside in PVC conduit but that is a decision you will better be able to decide.

Question everything!
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