Installer's Toolbox #2 — Pro.Fit Wire Worm
The perfect helper for pushing wires into tight spaces
One of the most challenging aspects of installing a car audio system is running the wires. Amplifier installations can be particularly difficult, running wires the length of the car, often through tight crevices. But other car audio installation projects, like adding a satellite radio tuner or a Bluetooth phone kit, also involve running hidden cables.
The difficulty comes when we try to run wire under carpet, behind panels, or through any area that's hard to access, such as the firewall or the small boot that goes from the cabin of the vehicle into the doors. The Pro.Fit Wire Worm helps make the job much easier.
Many backyard installers use wire coat hangers to route the cables through these hard-to-reach areas. Coat hangers can be helpful, but they have some problems as well. It's easy for the hanger to puncture the boots, gaskets, and grommets that you intend to run your wire through. This can allow dust and moisture to enter sensitive areas and sometimes sends your wire into areas you don't intend. And coat hangers are also difficult to control.
Why the wire worm is better
- it's flexible, so it can make it through some challenging areas with many bends
- it's not sharp, so it's not likely to poke through soft areas, like grommets or boots
- it's still rigid enough to muscle its way through areas where you want it to go
- it's easier to store in your toolbox
How does it work?
Tape the cable you need to run to one end of the wire worm and then push the other end through the area you're dealing with. Once the wire worm comes through to the point where your taped-on wire is accessible, you un-tape your wire and you're done. It's easier than threading a needle.
Still a little bit esoteric? I'll give you some examples...and pictures.
The wire worm is involved in just about all of the installations we do here at Crutchfield. Here's one of the ways we used the wire worm while installing a new sound system in a coworker's car.
A three-step process
While installing a new sound system, including amplifiers and speakers, we had to run new speaker wire to each speaker rather than using the tiny factory wire. There were three basic steps to getting the wire into the doors (after removing the door and kick panels and the factory speakers):
Get access to the rubber boot that serves as the path for factory wiring to get into the door. It has grommets at each end and often has a bit of an "S" shape. A tricky place to run a wire. It's hard to reach the area where the boot meets the cabin, and if you just try to push wire through, it will get hung up in the boot and go nowhere.
Tape the speaker wire to the end of the Wire Worm. We used electrical tape, wrapping it fairly tight, and made sure we had at least 1/2" of tape on the Wire Worm past the end of the speaker wire and, conversely, on the speaker wire, past the end of the worm. That extra tape on each side makes the connection stronger so it doesn't disengage while you're pulling through the problem area.
Push the Wire Worm from the kick panel, through the boot, and into the door of the car. We had to work it a little bit, pushing in and pulling out, in order to get it through, but it was much simpler than expected.
You can start on either side. It only depends on which area gives you the easiest access. In fact, when we did the driver's side, we started inside the door, and pushed the wire through the boot into the cabin.
Accessing the doors was the primary way we used the Wire Worm in this installation, but there were other times it came in handy. We used the worm to pull 2-gauge power wire (technically known as "big, honkin' power wire") through the firewall and to pull speaker wire through the rear side panel area behind the seatbelt assembly and into the hatch area.
At the end of the day, you'll be glad to have the Pro.Fit Wire Worm during an installation. It won't catch any fish, but it definitely makes the job a lot easier.