"Proofing" Your Spitfire Electronics

by John McCartney

I picked up this tip from our resident 'auto sparks' man at Gaydon a few weeks ago - and offer it for your review/consideration. Wiring looms to lighting extremities are obviously prone to corrosion on the contact blades of light assemblies and with the later Lucar spade terminals a build-up of corrosion can play havoc at quite an early stage on 'dry' contacts - especially those not protected with a plastic shroud.

I've just done all my exposed (unshrouded) terminals using dual wall heat-shrink tubing. Don't heat it so that it totally hugs the terminal - just apply enough heat to make it a snug fit around the female. When its cooled, an old hypodermic syringe with some petroleum jelly squirted up the inside of the spade makes a perfect lubed contact. A quick check of some of the display cars clearly show this exercise has been undertaken many times. It's a tedious thing to do but it certainly seems to work. No bad electrical pathways either. On bulb holders, I've previously used lightweight machine oil or WD40 to prevent corrosion - but was not convinced by the results. Instead, it seems a well loaded finger of 80 or 90 weight oil has proved to be far more tenacious and effective.


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