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Hi,

I have an '03 Jetta TDI with an odd problem. There is a four-pin connector on top of the starter that connects the main wiring harness to a small harness running down to the alternator and A/C clutch. It looks like a dime-sized puddle of battery acid got on the connector, and ate all the way through it. The plastic was so corroded that I could pretty easily crumble it away, exposing the small male spade connectors (A/C harness), and the female spades for the main harness end.

I've been looking into the best way to fix this. I REALLY don't like the idea of cutting the harness wires in any way, but the spades are very corroded, and there has been some battery acid migration up into the wires on both sides, rendering at least an inch of the wires highly resistive. I imagine when this happens a dealer would just say that both harnesses are toast now, so hand over $3500 to replace them both. Well, that's not going to happen, but I don't want to do a hack job, either. So far, I haven't been able to find a "how to" here for this operation.

I had to do some real sleuthing at the dealer's parts counter. I had to find a dealer that actually had the small A/C harness, look at the plug on it, and have them look it up. That plug is about twenty bucks for the plastic enclosure with no connectors. The parts guy managed to find some yellow (18g?) pigtails about a foot long, with the proper spade connectors on each end. He said the way they use them is to cut the pigtails in two, and butt-splice them onto the harness wire, and insert the spade connectors into the plug housing. I don't really like the idea of cutting and butt-splicing into my main wiring harness, but I guess there's no alternative.

This seems like it would be a super common problem, because that connector is right where it's likely to get acid on it in the event of a spill. The plastic VW uses for the plug bodies is very vulnerable to acid-- it almost looks like my plug was pierced by a big laser beam. Any guidance on good ways to remove and replace just the plugs on our wiring harnesses would be most appreciated. Also, if there's any source for the parts besides the dealer, I haven't been able to find it.
 

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Most plugs have either hooked pins or hooked pins and locks. Without knowning which plug you're talking about, I assume it should only have hooked pins.

Basically, you insert a terminal release tool or some tweezers into the slots to press the hooks on the wire down. Then push and wiggle-and pull the wire out. Since you already have the repair wires you should see the hooks that I'm talking about and below is a video.

You could even use a crimp as long as it's weatherproof. A cut-solder should be no problem as long as you use shrinkwrap to weatherproof the repair, and as you mentioned, the alternative is to replace the entire harness which is unnecessary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OQevVIglTE
 
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