A Deutsch Connector Primer – UnderhoodService

A Deutsch Connector Primer

Sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment

There is more computing power in the average new vehicle than was on board the Apollo spacecraft that put men on the moon. That power comes from control modules, sensors, and other components that are linked together—and those links require connectors that can withstand the vibration, moisture, and other hazards without failure. GM’s Weather Pak connectors are probably the most familiar, but there other types of connectors available. One of those is the Deutsch connector. You will find the connectors on motorcycles, heavy trucks, and construction and agricultural equipment. They are also popular for racing and off-roading due to their vibration and weather resistance.

Deutsch connectors consist of male (pin) and female (socket) terminals—contacts in Deutsch-speak—and a housing with a male half (receptacle) and female half (plug). The connector you’ll most often encounter is the DT Series. There are two types of DT contacts—stamped/formed (open barrel) and solid (closed barrel). The contacts are interchangeable within the connector.

There are five common connector termination sizes: 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. These sizes are the same regardless of the wire gauge. The only deviation in connectors is the wire gauge. DTM connectors are for 16-18 gauge wire, while DTP connectors are for 14-16 gauge wire.

DT connectors are a good option for custom wiring harnesses. They can be assembled and disassembled 100 times without electrical signal degradation, and properly wired and mated connections can be immersed in up to three feet of water without damage. You can also fit more contacts in a single connector than you can in, say, a GM Weather Pak. That reduces the number of connectors needed in a harness—and fewer connectors mean more reliability.

Deutsch DT connectors are available from multiple sources. For example, Summit Racing Equipment offers its own Deutsch Connector Kits with a selection of stamped/formed contacts and housings; you can get one with or without a crimping tool. Summit Racing also carries terminal and housing packs.

Deutsch Connector Tools
Stamped/formed terminals require open-jaw pliers to make the crimp. The writer has used an MSD ratcheting wire crimping tool with a set of MSD Deutsch connector jaw dies. With the terminal or pin installed (open end of the terminal faces up), insert a section of stripped wire into the pin, close the tool’s handles, and the wire/terminal combination is crimped.

Another option is S&G Tool’s pliers designed to crimp both Deutsch and Weather Pak terminals. It doesn’t have an internal ratchet mechanism but is less expensive at just under $28 from Summit Racing.

Deutsch connectors with solid contacts require a tool like the ones made by Techflex and S&G Tool. Simply insert the solid contact into the tool, slide in a stripped piece of appropriately sized wire, and close the handles to crimp.

Assembling Deutsch Connectors
The key to assembling Deutsch connectors is to remember that male contacts fit into the receptacle half of a connector and female contacts fit into the plug half. To install male contacts, push the wire through the orange silicone seal and into the back of the housing until you hear (or feel) a snap or a click. If you tug the wire, it should be snug. Use needle nose pliers to insert the green wedge lock beneath the contacts, flat portion facing down. Use a small flat screwdriver to push the wedge lock into place; it forces the contacts upward into a set of grooves in the top of the housing.

Female contacts fit in the connector the same way as male contacts. The difference is the wedge lock—you slide the orange-colored lock into the groove and snap it into place with your hands.

Disassembling Deutsch Connectors
Disassembling the male half of a Deutsch DT connector is easy when you have the right tool. Lisle and S&G Tools make tools with extractors sized for different gauge wires. Select the extractor for the wire you have and insert it from the back (wire side) of the socket. Push the extractor forward and you’ll feel the wedge lock release. The wire can then be removed.

Female connectors are disassembled by inserting a small flat blade screwdriver into the side of the assembly and twisting it to pop the wedge lock out. Inside the housing are two tabs. Depress them with the screwdriver and tug the back of the wire/contact assembly to release it.

Deutsch connectors are not difficult to use; provide secure, weathertight electrical connections; and don’t require expensive tools to assemble. Consider them another tool in your electrical system toolbox.

You May Also Like

A Closer Look: Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) is used on most new vehicles and requires a different approach to diagnosis and service. GDI technology has been an integral part of helping to improve fuel economy while reducing emissions, and can be found on more than half of the U.S. fleet. In fact, the use of GDI engines has

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) is used on most new vehicles and requires a different approach to diagnosis and service. GDI technology has been an integral part of helping to improve fuel economy while reducing emissions, and can be found on more than half of the U.S. fleet. In fact, the use of GDI engines has grown by over 600% since 2010. This means that in the next five years, 42 million more vehicles with GDI will enter the Aftermarket “Sweet Spot” of 6-12 years old, during which their injectors and related parts may need to be serviced or replaced. While GDI systems have proved effective, these systems encounter specific failures and require an understanding of how they work and how to test them when they set a code.

A Closer Look: Electronic Throttle Bodies

A shop’s reputation is affected by things like accuracy of diagnosis, quality of the repair, and friendly service. Equally as important is the quality of the parts installed. If the shop does everything right, and the part fails, the customer will ultimately be upset with the shop. When a new part fails, the customer is

Enhancing Efficiency and Streamlining Operations: The Benefits of Utilizing Nexpart Multi-Seller for Repair Centers

In today’s fast-paced automotive repair industry, staying ahead of the competition is crucial for repair centers to thrive. One key aspect that can significantly impact operational efficiency and customer satisfaction is the availability of OE, Aftermarket, Heavy Duty & Salvage parts. Here are just a few advantages of incorporating Nexpart Multi-Seller, a cutting-edge parts ecommerce

Get your vehicle road trip ready with these summer tips 

Summertime is a great time to take your car out on the open road, but it’s also important to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Regular preventative maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs and keep your car running smoothly. Make sure you’re ready with these helpful tips from Delphi Technologies. Chassis The

A Closer Look: Ignition Coils

OE coils are known for their high failure rates. Engine misfires, rough idle, a decrease in power under acceleration, poor fuel economy, and a check engine light are all signs of an ignition coil that has failed. Read along for more technical information on how to diagnose a failed coil, and why the original equipment

Other Posts

Tools To Service Serpentine Belts

Servicing the serpentine belt on some vehicles is a tough task.

Engineering behind chassis: high and low-friction parts

What is overengineering? Overengineering is often described as designing a product or solution in an unnecessarily complicated way where a simple solution had been shown to have the same efficiency, or is even more effective than the original.  In the aftermarket world, the OE part is where the journey starts. It begins with testing and

A Closer Look: Turbocharger Operation and Installation

Turbocharger Overview With an effort to increase fuel efficiency, maintain performance and reduce emissions, vehicle manufacturers are adding turbocharged engines to their lineups at a significant rate. Over the next five years, the turbo service market will continue to experience substantial growth.  At a basic level, a turbocharger consists of just three major internal components:

Two Lubegards Are Better Than One

Lubegard Synthetic ATF Protectant and Instant Shudder Fixx work better, faster, and longer together to stop torque converter clutch shudder (TCC shudder).  Both products are effective on their own, but when used together they provide not only a long-term solution for TCC shudder but also offer complete protection for transmissions. Since the 1980’s lockup torque convertors