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With their heavy insulation, grounded barriers, and strong rip-prevention weaves often built into the casing, spark plug wires can be a royal pain. There aren’t many strippers that can easily handle the tough casings, but there are plenty of options for crimpers.

The unit above retails through Summit Racing Equipment and is manufactured by Taylor. The design doesn’t look terribly robust, but the $16 asking price isn’t bad. If that doesn’t seem like a decent value, there’s a pair of simple cast-aluminum blocks made by MSD which contain a jig for stripping plug wires with a razor. Put the two pieces between a vise’s jaws with a terminal in between, and they turn into a crimper. And that little doodad runs for only $7, which is close to cheap-ass tool territory.

The high-end option comes in the form of dies for interchangeable-jaw crimpers. The exact model will depend on the crimper you own, but they usually retail for around $30. This model [What’s This?], from SG Tool Aid, is a good example.

Taylor Plug Wire crimper [Summit Racing Equipment]
MSD Stripper/Crimper [Summit Racing Equipment]

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Automotive electrical work.

How many people ran for cover? Even among tech-savvy Toolmongers, electrical work can be a big, hairy monster, partially due to the confusing nature of electrical diagnosis, and partially due to the wide variety of tools needed to do the work properly. Fortunately, one of the most common styles is pretty cheap.

Mac Tools retails a crimper designed to properly attach Weatherpack connectors, but there’s a nice bonus. Many different terminals can be secured with this crimper, even if they aren’t designed for it. Deutsch and Yazaki terminals work nicely in Weatherpack jaws, which isn’t a bad trifecta for $35. Unless you’re a pretty neurotic type-A personality, this will do nicely for occasional repairs. Anyone who’s used one of these before will probably note that this plier-style crimper isn’t as precise as a torque-sensing type, but careful use will navigate nicely around those issues.

Weatherpack Crimper [Mac Tools]

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