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Connector Insights from iCONN

How Long Does It Take to Install a Wiring Harness

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , August 5, 2019

Between constant exposure to weather conditions and the relentless rumbling of tires on pavement, the internal workings of a vehicle in the transportation industry can really take a beating. Of course, most vehicle parts are specially designed to stand up to harsh working conditions, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible.

The electrical wiring inside a vehicle is kind of like a person’s central nervous system. Each wire has a job delivering all types of messages and commands back and forth to different parts of the machine. And just like your nervous system, a single vehicle can contain dozens of miles of wiring that weighs hundreds of pounds.

Fun Facts

Lucky for technicians, a vehicle’s extensive network of wiring is bundled together into groups called wiring harnesses, which makes them easier to navigate, repair or replace. A wiring harness includes an organized set of wires, terminals and connectors. In most situations, an electrical issue involving a wiring harness can be pinpointed to a short circuit in one or two wires. But in severe cases, a full wiring harness replacement will need to be done.

How long will the vehicle be out of commission?

Unfortunately, timing will depend on the extent of the damage, the location of the harness and the type of replacement harness used for repair. Wiring harnesses can be purchased off-the-shelf. But customizing your harness may improve durability, performance and installation. Some solutions come fully assembled with termination points on both ends. Others require a little extra work. If the wiring harness in question is located in a tough-to-reach area, the technician may need to disassemble parts of the vehicle to gain access.

In other words, installing a wiring harness could take as little as an hour, as long as 20 hours, or longer if complications arise.

Despite the ambiguous answer for timing, dropping in a wiring harness is a significantly faster and safer way to install electrical assemblies compared to placing each wire one by one. Plus, because wire harnesses are primarily assembled in a controlled environment outside the application before installation, quality control is easier to manage, as is the risk of human error. Nothing wastes more time than a wiring mistake, which brings us to another point: Wiring harnesses involve tightly bundling wires together and each wire has its own protective outer-jacket. This compact formation reduces movement and abrasion, prevents short-outs (which can lead to serious issues, including fires) and extends their life span far beyond that of individual wires.

To learn more about the solutions we custom create for transportation manufacturers across the country, click here.

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