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Discussion Starter #1
What goes into a custom relay harness?
Have you ever thought about that..
Have you ever asked some of the other retrofitters and lighting suppliers that commonly service our community? Or better yet do those other guys even offer custom harnesses and can they tell you what goes into them?
Have you ever seen pictures of a harness, the parts that make it up or production of one on the forums?..................wonder why?


Heres what goes into a custom Maven relay harness. :)

High quality American made 14-18 gauge XLPE wire. Not the typical "hookup" wire you find at a store, meets GM specs for wiring and even feels physically different than the much more common and cheaper PVC and nylon insulated wires, noticeable is the much tougher, higher temp resistant and thinner jacket. This allows for thinner lighter weight harnesses that are easier to hide, are more heat and abrasion resistant and are made to same standards(or higher!) as your factory wiring

Skirted and sealed mini relays. Fully weather sealed, OEM quality, and actually designed for underhood use. No worries of relay ingesting water, or other moisture.

Factory Delphi/Packard electrical connectors and terminals:
The exact same GM OEM connectors, seals, locks and terminals as used on your car. This means the same durability and quality as stock, it also means the new harness looks like it belongs in your car. :)

All terminals crimped with OEM tools, AND soldered for improved connections, this is above and beyond OEM. All splices soldered AND sealed with adhesive lined OEM type heat shrink. No crappy quick connect bullet connectors, low tension crimps, or wires twisted and taped together. Just OEM Delphi/Packard terminals and the best Kester44 solder.

All harnesses wrapped with abrasion resistant tape or loomed in conduit. No ♠♠♠♠ty Harbor Freight Chinese electrical tape to get gooey and slide around. The best and OEM specified Coroplast and/or 3M tapes, and 300degree rated conduit. A more OEM appearance, less prone to chafing/damage.

All harnesses fused with highest quality OEM (BUSS or Littlefuse)fuses and sealed fuse holders, using same ATM stlye fuses that work with your car. No open to the elements or wrapped in tape fuse holders to collect moisture and corrosion, no low quality fuses that dont blow at proper rating (Google: Harbor Freight fuse or, chinese fuse recall) no having to buy different kind of fuses for your lights and the car.
Harnesses made with our cars in mind No generic harness made by the lowest bidder in China who has never even seen under the hood of a Cruze, but harnesses custom made by a factory trained, award winning, enthusiast who loves these cars as much as you do. Designed to look like they belong, perform as well or better than original,last as long as original, be serviced with readily available parts, and not require any hacking, slashing splicing or swearing to install :)

Custom Cobalt headlight/highbeam shutter harness:


Ballast relay harness, Cobalt:


Soldered terminals:


All connections treated with high quality dielectric compound to avoid corrosion from both the environment and fretting motion:

What happens to exact same connector after just weeks with no protection:


This is the kind of crap that passes for a harness from a relatively well known retrofit "specialist":




So ask your retrofitter or HID supplier for pics of their harnesses, ask what they build their harnesses from, ask if their harness is held to these standards......you may not like the responses you get.
 

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Very interesting. I think I may be having you make me a harness some time in the next few months. I can't afford a retrofit, but followed sciphi's harness thread and can appreciate brighter lighting while staying stock even if it does mean buying an extra set of bulbs here and there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just found his thread, definitely a bit "old school" but I love it, directly powering the headlight will almost always provide improved output as he found out. Id have no problem building a halogen power harness if you were interested.

As a matter of fact I just today was doing all the legwork required for sourcing my parts and designing just such a harness :)
 

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Maven, how much would a harness cost me?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just ordered the connectors yesterday, and Id have to draw it out first to get an exact part count, but figure $100-$125 shipped to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I hope youre not one of "those" guys :lol:

Seeing as how the Cruze is not intended to experience massive G-forces, nor designed to experience temps a few hundred degrees below zero, I would hope that my "uncertified" soldering skills, full cycle two jaw ratcheting crimpers, XLPE wires and OEM spec connectors would suffice :) At the very least its better than the alternative.....Maybe later today Ill take apart a well known mass produced harness and do a comparison......
 

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...and the Space Shuttle was built by the lowest bidder too.

...but, built to the same NASA specifications as above!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
...and the Space Shuttle was built by the lowest bidder too.

...but, built to the same NASA specifications as above!
:lol: yeah, my aunt once told me the orbiter(space shuttle) was just a glider with people in it made from 7 million parts built to travel at 17,500mph through space carrying 4 million pounds of explosives, all built by the lowest bidder.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Alright as promised, took some comparison photos of my stuff versus common off the shelf harnesses.

Thought id just post some shots of the stuff I use to build harnesses (and retrofits), quality tools help yield quality results.

Quality parts: Delphi and Molex terminals and Delphi/Packard connectors:

Always American made cross-linked insulation wire with at least 125C/257F temp rating



Now a few comparison shots of a common overseas harness, and my work

Ballast connections, overseas harness. Lack of weatherseals visible:


Side by side, top and bottom of ballast connection terminals. Lack of seals, poor crimps, misshapen terminals are visible on the overseas harness( Dont get excited by the huge difference in size in the overseas wire.....youll see why soon :) )


Overseas 14gauge ballast terminal and wire section. My 14gauge ballast connection and wire section. Non soldered terminals, poor crimps, lack of weatherseal, all obvious. BUT their wire still looks bigger, is bigger better?


Heres what the two section of wire look like after less than 30 seconds exposure to a heat gun:


The red wire is "my" TXL wire, its better than some of the wiring in your car, the orange wire is the overseas "beefy" wire. It looked nice and big and protective before.....but literally a few seconds of heat in excess of 200 degrees just destroyed it. Another 15 seconds it probably wouldve caught fire. Notice it was so soft it actually flowed out onto the table. The TXL wire only just barely started to lighten in color, and otherwise unaffected.

Think it gets 200degrees under your hood? Are you sure the wire in your overseas harness is up to that task? Maybe you should ask the supplier if it is. You probably wont like their answer.
 

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I don't know if it would be possible to post, but could you do a comparison with a TRS harness? Curious because I think their harnesses look decent, but after talking with you and even more reading this post yours seem so much better than anything out there. Can't wait to order one for my retro.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't know if it would be possible to post, but could you do a comparison with a TRS harness? Curious because I think their harnesses look decent, but after talking with you and even more reading this post yours seem so much better than anything out there. Can't wait to order one for my retro.
Well, since you asked..... :)

This is the harness I used for comparison:
 

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Wow... lol, love TRS but I did have numerous issues with my harness on my ram, eventually after modifying it I was able to get it to work properly.

Thanks for the comparison also.

To their credit though I had heard/read that the Rams were extremely finicky with their canbus system.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The TRS harness is the best of the overseas harnesses that Ive seen, thats why I sell them too, but I only use them if people are looking for a lower cost option to my harnesses.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do you have the tools to do Deutsch DTM Connectors?
Tom,
I have the tools to disassemble DTM connections, but I do not own crimpers. Theres a few reasons.

Firstly they are expensive, that is the connector/terminal assemblies themselves are on average a minimum of twice as expensive as the Delphi 150 connectors I use. A single 2 way DTM connection can easily cost in excess of $13.

DTM connections are not serviceable at as many locations as Delphi connections.

DTM does not offer connectors that mate with or match 99.9% of GM vehicles which I specialize in

And the big one is...... DTM connectors are only rated at 7.5amps, Delphi 150 connections are rated at 15amps. This is the main reason I dont use them, and why you should be willing to consider other connection solutions.
 

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Maven, so since an upgraded harness gives more juice to the bulb thus making it brighter and hotter, how much more often would regular, or stock, bulbs need replaced?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Maven, so since an upgraded harness gives more juice to the bulb thus making it brighter and hotter, how much more often would regular, or stock, bulbs need replaced?
Its really hard to say, theres so much that goes into figuring that out. How long they run for, how often they get turned on, remember most filaments "burn" out when they are first turned on. How well the bulb was made, etc, etc, etc....

But in general a wire harness wont affect lamp life significantly. As its not providing any more voltage than the lamp is intended to be used with. It could actually be argued that since the lamp is recieving full voltage and staying nice and hot all the time that the halogen cycle would be more effective and make the last longer ;)
 

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Maven I think I am sold. I might be a bit before I have you build me a harness, but it's definitely in the future.
 
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