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Wiring A 2000HP Drag Car | Why Experience Is Important [TECH TALK]

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– When it comes to building a reliable race car, one of the common areas we see problems is with the wiring harness Now building a reliable wiring harness requires some specialist equipment, some specialist techniques and of course some specialist knowledge

And we're here with Cody from Cody Philips Racing who's built this immaculate Supra behind us We're going to find out what exactly goes into the wiring harness that he's constructed for this Supra Before we actually get stuck into the harness on the Supra though, let's go back a little bit and I wanna really dive into how you got involved in building these harness in the first place It's an area where there is unfortunately very little knowledge and those that have that knowledge do tend to keep it pretty closely guarded How did you get started? – I think really it came down to as I started tuning more and more cars and my capability advanced into more of the Motec systems and then more advanced standalones that weren't plug and play, and more projects that weren't street cars or what not

We had to figure out a way to wire that stuff up And it just started with, I would go to tune cars on the dyno and a boost control solenoid would be wired wrong, fuel pressure sensor would be wired wrong So getting the crimpers, figuring out how all of that went and then of course really just loving the data behind it all The more data I could gather the more I'd crunch it And so adding sensors into things always seemed more and more intriguing

So it really just happened very naturally, it wasn't anything that I ever dreamed of doing as a job But just as I tuned more cars, they all needed to be wired and I wanted to step up the game and do a nice loom on it – Now I've seen this myself with my own career, we get a car on the dyno and nine times out of 10 when we have problems, it does come down to the wiring harness so I share your pain and I know how that goes But there's one thing getting competent at building a quality wiring harness that we'd see on a street car or maybe a club level race car But then we've got the harness that you've constructed for your own Supra and of course the harnesses you're now constructing for your customers

And these are next level, we're talking here professional motorsport wiring harnesses And these are very different from your garden variety club level and street harnesses So how did you go to that level, how did you learn the techniques such as concentric twisting, how to use Autosport connectors et cetera, how to choose the correct crimp tools, where did that knowledge come from? – I think it just comes down to you need certain things on the car and packaging all of that is difficult So creating a loom that was smaller, creating a loom that could fit around tight places and something that, I work on a lot of off road applications and it's got to be robust, it's got to be strong and so strain relieving came into play, getting rid of solder came into play because originally you kind of start down that path and you don't know any better and so you really just have to study what's out there There wasn't a class like you guys do now, there wasn't anything

And so really you just kind of study the guys out there and see if you can pick up tidbits and through the years I've picked up a lot of relationships with those guys so we share some information and what not But it's just a natural progression as you start down that path I believe – Now you just mentioned a couple of pretty hot topics there and I want to just jump back in and unpack them and this is surely going to become somewhat controversial I want to start with the age old debate of solder versus crimping And we always have a lot of people who are big fans of solder for connecting wires or terminating wires and of course in professional motorsport wiring harness construction, solder is very very rarely used

Can you tell us what your take is on the solder versus crimping debate? – Really for years I soldered stuff because like I said I didn't know any better And what I found on my own was my own failures And those are tough lessons to learn but I'd send looms to clients and they'd take it off a jump and the car stops working and they show me what's down there at a 12 volt splice in the ECU with the piece of solder on it and the solder's holding nice and tight but one of the main wires has just busted off It just can't take the vibration, it doesn't do well when you heat the solder, the insulator doesn't work well up against it It gets brittle and so really learning to crimp everything after that

Many of my clients still think that these looms are soldered 'Cause everything's covered, everything's covered in boots and back shelled and glued and it's built that way but really there's not a drop of solder in the entire loom, everything is crimped and stripped and you have to get those tools, to do it properly, you have to invest into it The materials alone are thousands of dollars to do the looms as well as the time But there is that debate and really I figured it out on my own, whether I had to read anything on the internet 'cause I had my own failures – Learning from your own failures is obviously the best way

And I think, I just want to dive into this a little bit because one of the constant arguments when we bring up the solder versus crimping debate is but I've had a soldered joint on my own car and it's lasted fine so therefore soldering's OK And yes that may well be the case but the fact still remains that at the end of your solder joint you're going to have a brittle area that can work harder, fatigue and it is prone to failure Doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to fail, doesn't mean it's going to fail today, tomorrow or maybe even in five year's time But if it is subjected to the right amount of vibration for enough time, it can fail So that's why we try and stay away from solder

The crimping when done correctly is a more reliable option Now the next technique I want to talk about that you just mentioned before was the way the harness is actually constructed So talking here about concentric twisting And again this is an area we actually get quite a lot of debate from Often this comes from those who are involved in the aeronautic industry, maybe producing harnesses or repairing harnesses for aircraft

And generally these harnesses aren't constructed in that technique There's always horses for courses but can you give us your opinion on why concentric twisting is a superior technique for a motorsport application – For me it really comes down to packaging So these looms need to acquire a lot of data, they have a lot of sensors And we need things to be light and we can't have a three inch cable coming through our firewall, it's just not going to look nice and function correctly

So it really comes down to packaging and inside that Raychem that you're going to shrink down, I want to use every single void of that And so really the only way to do that properly and make it look nice is to do concentric twisting and centre our shielded cables, put heavier gauge stuff in the centre and then make the outside nice and pliable, do proper strain relief There are also other techniques but really it just comes down to getting the packaging right and having flexibility and getting a lot out of a small size of the loom – I think it's also important with a concentrically twisted harness in an automotive application, the real idea there is that no single wire is supplied any more stress than any other So there's no stress placed into the wires or minimal stress placed into the wires, it gives you a tight bundle, a minimal cross sectional area, so that makes it easier to run our wiring harness through a tight engine bay

But just as importantly as well it retains that flexibility Which is important in a car where you're running your wiring harness from a firewall through to the engine which may move on the engine mounts Whereas in a aeronautical application it's much less of a consideration And then of course you've got that DR25 Raychem sheathing that you're heat shrinking down Again in our wiring harnesses in an automotive application they are, in the engine bay they're exposed to heat but just as importantly they're exposed to moisture and a lot of nasty chemicals

So that DR25 provides some abrasion resistance as well as resistance to heat and those chemicals, is that a fair way of putting that? – Yeah and I think there's a distinct piece there that just because you have Raychem on your loom, doesn't make it milspec or high quality or all that because you can buy the Raychem, it's a quality product, a lot of people see it and they go oh I want a Raychem milspec harness It really comes down to using proper boots, boot sizing, glueing the boots with proper epoxy, strain relief at an Autosport and really the lay up of the loom as well So a lot of people just think oh yeah I got a Raychem harness and it's this or that – It's what's actually underneath that counts – Really the cover is yeah great it's Raychem, it'll protect from heat and abrasion but it's really inside what counts

And you really don't get to showcase it because it's all covered up – Yeah that is the sad thing with the amount of effort and the techniques that go into these harnesses, really at the end of the day you've got very little to show for it other than that exterior sheathing Alright so with the background of the way you got involved there and some of those techniques that we've just covered with motorsport wiring harness construction, I want to delve into the actual harness that you've put into your Supra here So can you start by maybe giving us some of the thought process you go through in the design stage What's important to understand before you even start stripping and cutting wires for the first time? – So any time that I talk to a customer, they want to wire their own project and I'll sell 'em a PDM or whatever, I tell 'em, you have to do your documentation first

So planning is super critical and I think I learned this the hard way You're on a tight deadline, the wiring guys always get left to the end, no time left in the schedule And you really just need to stop and plan for what you ultimately want I think the looms that I sell to my customers they're fairly pricey but I sell them with really anything that they would want long term down the road so they can grow into the piece So I think that planning is critical

I'll put turbo speed in there, EMAP, and some of that stuff really sounds typical but a guy who's just putting the car together and wants to go race, oh I'm not going to use that stuff down the road and then hey we want to know our turbo speed Well it's there, you just buy the sensor and plug it in – So building in some redundancy at the start And I think it's also worth pointing out that these harnesses really once they are completed, you've got almost no chance of really adding or modifying the wiring in them? – Yeah I mean we always typically run spares So for any expansion, it's hard to really fill up an M150 on a Supra

But when we start doing the transmission, the automatic transmission control and the wheel speeds and that sort of thing, we generally will fill it up We do so much data on the car through CAN and programming that we don't have any low side output triggers and that sort of thing So we can reserve all of the pins in the autosport to really just give us the data from the sensors and really to have a lot of growth for the overall package So that's kind of where our aim is, look I'll sell you this one, you won't have to buy another one If you want to add a spare sensor, a new wazoo sensor that comes out, there's a couple of wires left in there for you to do that

– Alright so where the wiring harness comes through to the engine bay, you're using bulkhead connectors there that are quick disconnect Autosport connectors Can you tell us how those work and why they're an advantage? – I really like to use only Autosports So a lot of people use milspec connectors, to me it comes down to packaging again I can get a high pin count in a small density and when I'm using just the engine loom, generally we can just use a size 20 Autosport, a 20-35 is a common one for me and it uses all size 22 pins in it And I can get all the engine vitals going through that

So the packaging is critical, they also do not use a vac shell that screws on So the milspec connector takes the back shell that screw on, your boot goes onto that and over time a lot of loom builders have had to actually loctite that to keep it tight and you go through vibration and heat cycles and that sort of thing and that back shell can tend to loosen so preferance for me is really just using Autosports only So you see my car and most of my clients' cars, it's really just Autosports in it – Now one of the nice features with those Autosport connectors as well is it does make it easier and quicker when you're servicing the vehicle, for example if you had to do an engine swap at the track, then instead of having to remove the wiring harness from each of the individual sensors and locations on the engine, the harness can stay with the engine, quick half turn disconnect at the firewall and everything can come out You've actually gone a little bit further than that, can you tell us how you've made it easier to remove the inlet manifold? – So on the inlet manifold I have all 12 injectors and the TPS and the MAP sensor all going through two Autosports

I mounted those underneath the intake manifold so any time we want to service the car, we don't mess around with unplugging injectors All of our injectors are booted, everything's sealed so that if they ever get yanked on or anything, the wires aren't going to come out But simple, all you do is break the fuel rails, break the two Autosports and remove the hardware and the intake manifold can come off with everything still in place Even the loom just comes right with it – I think these are some of those nice little things that can be really easy to overlook but when we are dealing with race cars they do require servicing, and things like the inlet manifold are coming off frequently so thinking about that in advance really makes a big difference

Now can you tell us about the ignition system on this particular car and how you've considered the wiring on that and why that's important – This uses the M&W Pro-Drag 6, that's the dual box, the older style – So this is a CDI ignition system? – CDI yeah and we use stock coils with the CDI, it's proven on the 2J and it worked very well I do a lot of IGN-1A coils as well so there's not any big debate on that I do both systems

I chose the Pro-Drags on my car, I ran it through a separate loom just to keep noise out of the engine harness but mainly as well as serviceability If somebody damages a coil or has a fire or something, we can just replace that one loom We're dealing with shielded cables so it's larger and really keeping the packaging down is critical there So I've got an AS 14 that I run that through and just run for the coils – Now another nice feature that I noticed when we were looking over this car as well is you've got a little button sitting there in the engine bay that you can crank the engine over with

So can you just tell us why you've included that and why that's helpful? – Well I think it's, like you said a car like this gets serviced and you need to look at it, do compression tests, do leak downs I put it in there for that but I also, when I start the car I just lean in and touch the keypad to turn on the CDI and then just walk up to the front, run the throttle if I need to, run the starter, I can see everything going on, I don't have to climb in the roll cage every single time to warm the car up so it's really a convenience thing Bump the engine over, check cams, or any of that – In terms of the power supply for all of the components, you're running a Motec PDM or power distribution module Can you talk to use a little bit about how that helps you when it comes to the wiring? I know there's a lot of debate about the expense of, or the added expense of a PDM but there's also a saving there in terms of the time it takes to wire up conventional fuses and relays

How's that all worked out in your mind? – Well I think the way that I explain it to clients is if you want to run a PDM 30 that's gonna give you 30 circuits So we need 30 relays and we need 30 fuses, and we need 30 switches So when you mount all that and the labour and the wiring and complexity of that, it really becomes a no brainer because you may pay for more money for the PDM up front, you get a tonne more capability but you're gonna pay more in labour to wire up all those mechanical switches and relays and fuses, especially time wise on my end, it's gonna take quadruple, five times the amount of time to do that than it is just to wire up the PDM straight away – Yeah I think it's really important when you're looking at these products and comparing prices, it's not just the price of the component you need to consider but it's the actual final price of that component once all's said and done and it's installed in the car Not to mention of course the added functionality, diagnostic advantages that power distribution modules can give

The other thing that I've noticed in this car that's quite unique is that you're running two Motec CAN based keypads, you've got one up the front of the car, and then you've got one in the trunk area Can you tell us first of all, what is the CAN based keypad and why is that important and then why are you using two of them? – Well the keypad is nice because it gives all its data over the CAN bus, it's only wired in with four wires and as I talked before if you wanted 15 switches like with our front keypad, you would need to wire 15 wires So it's nice to just do the four and get the data across the bus to get your functionality Really the keypad in the rear came down to just serviceability between rounds Our air to water ice tank is in the back, we need to put ice in it, we need to cycle the pump

Sometimes we need to purge the nitrous, my mechanic needs to go through and check vitals on the C127 so back there you can cycle the dash, you can run the fans, you can run the keypad and it's not a bit of climbing in and out of this roll cage between rounds So just like the button in front of the engine bay it's really just an easy service type of thing – So a little bit of added money for the additional keypad and a little bit of additional wiring but at the end of the day, all of these things add up to making the car just that much easier to work on Look the harness work in this car is an absolute work of art We're really looking forward to seeing how the car performs this weekend

And if someone out there wants to get hold of you, maybe learn a little bit more about your work, where can they go to? – On Instagram we're @codyphilipsracing same as Facebook, our website's wwwcodyphilipsracingcom We still take phone calls, we still take emails but yeah social any of that stuff, the web, all great ways – Great thanks for your time there Cody and good luck for the rest of the weekend – Alright thank you

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Source: Youtube

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