One automotive trend that has been picking up steam that we are not excited about, is the introduction of cheap parts. While these pieces are inexpensive, they are also inferior in quality. The old saying, “you get what you pay for,” immediately comes to mind.
If you take a look at Amazon or eBay, you will find all kinds of stuff that is much cheaper than their name brand counterparts. Low-priced items like steel-braided hoses, fittings, throttle bodies, and intake manifolds can all be found. The part we want to focus on is LS-swap harnesses and, more specifically, TXL wire.
Recently, we did a full-blown article with the help of BP Automotive that specifically discussed the problems with these cheap harnesses. While we did mention TXL wiring, we didn’t go into much detail. In the video above, Bill Hillock, the owner of BP Automotive, walks us through one of the dangers of not using TXL wiring under the hood of a vehicle. With just a heat gun and a few seconds of exposure, the primary wire starts to bubble up and melt. Since there is no fusible link in the harness, if a wire shorts out, the odds are, your car burning to the ground from an electrical fire is pretty high. Bill then does the same test on the TXL wire without incident.
But what is TXL wire, and what are its applications?
According to Del City’s website, “TXL wire is a stranded, bare copper, special purpose automotive wire that is insulated with chemically cross-line polyethylene. The thin-wall insulation has a smooth surface and is available in a variety of bright colors. TXL wire is resistant to moisture, most solvents, and can withstand extreme temperatures. These features make TXL cross-link wire ideal for engine compartment applications where higher heat resistance is required.
This special-purpose wire can be used in cars, boats, buses, tractors, and most any other applications containing engines when the minimal diameter and weight are required. Gauge sizes range from 22- to 8-gauge with a variety of spool sizes. For an application or project with heat-resistance demands and minimal wiring space —or capacity, Cross-Link TXL wire is a perfect solution.”
While some of the less expensive primary wire is still resistant to moister and some chemicals, it lacks in the temperature rating. The TXL wire temperature rating is -59.8-Fahrenheit to 257-degrees Fahrenheit. High-quality primary wire is rated at -40-degrees Fahrenheit to 176-degrees Fahrenheit, which is considerably less than most engine operating ranges. While the cold temperature ratings are fairly close between the two, the high-temperature rating is not. 81-degrees may not sound like much of a difference, but when wires need to be routed around the exhaust and to the starter, it becomes required.
Look at it this way, if General Motors or any other car manufacturer could save money safely using a cheaper wire, they would. But, since they all use TXL wire under the hoods of vehicles, you probably should too. Just keep that in mind the next time you are on the market for an LS-swap harness and remember, they are inexpensive for a reason.