Let's talk about cheap, Chinese, LS Swap Standalone Looms.
You may have recently seen a new batch of "Brand New" LS Standalone harnesses for sale in many of the LS conversion and LS Buy sell swap pages.
Now I understand at the price point they are and the scarcity of factory harnesses currently, these may seem like an attractive option. However, there are some things to consider before purchasing.
Wire Quality - GM / Holden factory harnesses use a high grade, TXL wire which has a durable sheathing, is heat and chemical resistant and was carefully selected to withstand the demands of an OEM vehicle. The Chinese harnesses do not use a high grade of wire, the sheathing is, in most cases, general auto cable not designed for engine harness construction. On top of this, they use basic colours which will often not line up with the colours used by the OE, making trouble shooting or repairs frustrating.
Connector Quality - The connectors used are generally reproduction units which in themselves are OK to use. The undoing is the terminals. The terminals (Which is what the wire is crimped to) are of extremely poor quality and feel like a tin can. Over time, these thin, tin terminals lose their retention on the solenoid or sensor and their crimp on the wire, leading to connection loss.
General Construction - These harnesses are made for an international market, meaning they are designed primarily for the US market, whose LS engines differ severely from ours. We've seen Chinese harnesses with incorrect MAF connectors, Injector connectors, O2 connectors, Throttle Body Connectors and the list goes on. Critically, often these harnesses omit all of the emissions connections, meaning when you go for engineering/rego, you need to send the harness to someone like us and have all this added in.
Support – When something goes wrong, these resellers generally have no idea where to start troubleshooting. We get calls all the time asking about harnesses purchased online with issues and the reality is, we can’t help either (Unless you send it in to us). We offer full phone and email support to all our customers and when/if something happens, we know the exact diagnostic procedure.
How do we know this? We have repaired/modified 10-15 Chinese harnesses of different brands in the past and they've all been almost identical. These harnesses are rebranded by several companies across Australia. They can be purchased for as little as $150aud shipped on Alibaba.
This all sounds quite pessimistic, but it's not all bad news! We understand sometimes people are working to a small budget, this is fine, we’ve been there too. However, the facts of what you’re purchasing should be available so you can make an informed decision. If you are in a position to do so, there are some fantastic quality harnesses made by small Aussie businesses locally with high quality components. Here at Dirty South, we are preparing to start manufacture our own brand new harnesses which will use genuine connectors, terminals and high quality wire.
If you’ve read this far, thank you! Support Aussie made.