wire colors

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#1
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I was just curious. As far as automotive wiring applications is there a standard in color applications? I mean should red color always mean 12 volts? Should black color always mean ground? If not, why not?
If there is such a standard, is there a chart, somewhere? I realize there are many wire colors not just red and black.
If your thinking I'm having a slow day, you are correct.
thanks
 

billr

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#2
No, I don't think you are going to find much of a standard there.
 
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#3
Yes, but, wouldn't it be nice, to open the hood of any car in the US and you know what the wire colors mean, voltage--ground--signal or whatever? I know wishful thinking.
 
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#4
1978 Fleetwood shop manual was nice, full color foldout, colors on the diagram was the same as in the vehicle. Really bad now, not even showing the pin numbers on tiny little drawings, have to go to the connector section with well over a hundred different connectors without an index to find the pin numbers and the color of the wire you are looking for.

Have to be told a zillion times not to stick my hand in a running fan or smoke while working on a fuel system, but I guess using a torch is okay.

Use to use all 16 AWG wire regardless of load, more robust, now finding 28AWG wire all over the place.
 
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#6
I had to fix an electrical problem on one of the shop's wreckers (I think it was an International) and all the wires were black. No service manual to help me, that job was not easy.
 

EricC

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#7
My boss screamed when I ordered multiple spools of wire in every color and usable gauge available to stock my service truck and shop. He screamed, but he approved it. It prevents just exactly what you're talking about Dan. That and new or younger guys just grabbing anything to make a quick repair in the field.
 
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#8
Also worked in general aviation, every wire is white with the constant question, why is it taking you so long.? In a twin can chose the alternator on either side as well as the voltage regulator, accounts for several wires. Do not depend on grounds in aircraft, so a white wire can either be ground or 24 volts.
 

billr

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#9
And... if you are working from a manual written in another language, you have to keep in mind the translation for colors. All I remember from my Porsche 944 experience is that "gelb" is yellow.
 

nickb2

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#10
Quick tip, when I don't have a similar color on hand, I tag a notice on harness to tell the next guy that the repair in there is for "X" circuit and replaces "X" color code.

Example, 5v pcm ref, FTPS sensor, tan wire or Driver door PW B+, ppl/wt wire.

I think most have a tag machine lying around the shop to identify stock on shelves. If not, "brother" make a good tag it machine.

Ours looks very similar to this. Brother_PT_9600_29fc89f7-6a20-46e6-acc4-059c540b3d9a_grande.jpg
 

nickb2

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#11
Or, just use masking tape, same result, but the plastic label stuff that comes with the tag maker seems to hold up real well to the environment, masking tape, not so much.

I also install dreaded aftermarket kits once in a while, I tag the loomex there also so when I see a car/truck back, I know real quick which harness is not stock. Lots of time, you get a car in the bay/shop that has been so fiddled with, the only thing left holding all the harnesses together are tie raps or tape and that can get frustrating when you delve into a non stock harness which has nothing to do with the system your interested in.

But hey, not all techs take the time to do it right the first time. You can tell when you fall on a job that was done right. It's fun when you see a tech who took time to solder right, route things right and just plain gave a damn.