Safety Wiring 101

Mechanical questions, help, and tutorials.
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shagzomatic
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Safety Wiring 101

Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:22 am

This was originally posted on another forum by a friend of mine. He graciously agreed to let me repost the whole thing here. :bowdown: I thought this was a very well-done tutorial.

Here goes...

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First, gotta start with a set of drilled out bolts. If you have a hex-head bolt, it can be drilled across one way, two ways or even three. One way is more than sufficient.

This is titanium. Titanium is not fun to drill. Try to buy pre-drilled if you can.
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Next, cut off a length of safety wire from your can. Make sure you have enough wire...nothing sucks more than to put a bunch of work into a wire job, and find out you don't have enough to get the job done. Too much is never a bad thing.

Place one end of the wire thru the bolt head.
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Bolts SHOULD be wired in a TIGHTENING motion. This means the wire is going to travel clockwise around the bolt head, "pulling" it tight. Run the other end of the wire around the outside of the head, and down to meet the other end of the wire.
IMG_7756.jpg
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Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:24 am

First off, I use safety wire pliers. The best and only way to do wire. It can be done by hand, but it's time consuming and inaccurate.

When using pliers, you need to figure out where to place them on the wire, so that when the twists are complete, you have a free strand to put thru the opposing bolt head AND you don't have any slack in the wire running between the bolts.

Keep in mind, as you twist the wire, it will get SHORTER in length. You need to clamp the pliers on the wire JUST PAST where the hole is; closer to the hole for a shorter distance and farther past the hole for a longer distance.

The tip of my finger marks where I'm going to clamp the pliers.
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As you clamp and twist, use your other hand to keep the free strand over the top of the bolt head. Sometimes, it may slip off, and you'll tighten right thru it (ie, start over again).
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Twists complete. 6 to 12 twists per inch is the standard. I usually do about 10.
IMG_7759.jpg
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Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:25 am

Now....here's a trick that comes right out of aviation....

As you can see, the loop running thru the bolt is still a bit loose. You DO NOT tighten up that loop by twisting the wire more. Here's what you do:

Instead of twisting the pliers along the axis of the wire, make a large loop with them, so that you don't TWIST the wire, but actually wrap the wire tighter at the bolt head. It's hard to describe, but you end up making a large loop with the ass-end of the pliers. Here's a few pics, and I hope you get what I mean...
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Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:27 am

Now your wire is ready to thread thru the opposing bolt.

Take one of the ends, and feed it thru the head. Ensure that the OTHER end goes around the bolt head in a tightening fashion. Clamp the pliers, pull tight and twist.

Repeat the same tightening method I described in the last post.
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Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:28 am

Once tight, snip the end. I usually leave 3 to 4 twists free. Take the pliers, and twist the end in towards the bolt head in a curving motion. This will ensure that your 'pig-tail' doesn't snag on rags or cut up your hands.
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Done :mrgreen:
IMG_7768a.JPG
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Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:32 am

Here's a couple of tips and ideas...

You can wire more than two bolts together. I wire my front axle and pinch bolts together, since I'll probably be loosening them at the same time to change a wheel. This is where it gets critical to leave yourself enough wire.

Also...if the wire lays over a part of the chassis/caliper/ect, it's a very smart idea to run the wire thru a length of silicone tubing to keep the wire from digging/chafing into the metal.

Hope this helps.
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IMG_7770.JPG
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Postby shagzomatic » Wed May 19, 2010 10:38 am

He also included part of an aviation manual with a section on safety wiring that provides some great info:
safetywire.pdf
(1.33 MiB) Downloaded 167 times


...and some tips on how to practice your wiring skills:
Get a board, preferrably a 1x4 about 2 feet long. Buy a few bolts drilled for wire (or simply drill a few cheap-quality steel bolts out with a hand drill). Drill holes randomly about 2" apart in the board, drop them thru and nut them tight. Get a GOOD QUALITY pair of wire pliers and a spool of safety wire. That's how I learned in Navy A-school, and it was HIGHLY effective learning. The ONLY way to get good at wiring is practice. Don't practice on your bike, cause you'll bang things and tear up the bolt heads.

Practice makes perfect :D


So there you have it. All credit and HUGE thanks to Firehawk for the photos/text. :thumbup:
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Postby L8Braker » Wed May 19, 2010 11:29 am

Great info there. He always does A+ work. :fact:
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Re: Safety Wiring 101

Postby nomrlz » Thu May 20, 2010 7:57 am

great write up :thumbup:

i always safety tie my oilpan bolts
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