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Tricks for pulling wires through T-top tubing

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Tricks for pulling wires through T-top tubing

Old 07-05-2018, 04:17 PM
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Default Tricks for pulling wires through T-top tubing

I would like to reroute the wiring for my GPS, antenna, courtesy lights, and spreader lights though the tubing on my T-top to clean things up and because the wires currently extend across a portion of my windshield.

I've read a number of clever tricks for pulling wire through T-top tubing on this forum (e.g., magnets, shop vacs, fish tape), but I'm not sure they will work with the convoluted path to my spreader lights. I tried using 2 strong magnets to pull a washer connected to fishing line, but could not get it past the first weld joint. I've attached a photo of my T-top with one of the wiring paths to a spreader light highlighted in "red".

Before drilling holes in my tubing, I wanted to post this thread to see if anyone has used any tricks to successfully pull wire through a path with as many turns as mine.

Thanks
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:59 PM
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#1 - Is there wire already along that path you traced? It's possible those tubed are welded with no through holes.

#2 - If you are replacing the wire for the spreader lights, just tape or tie some 100LB mono or string to the end and pull it back. Pull a length of string/mono when you run your wires so you always have a pull line.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:13 PM
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I usually use fish tape, between the metal or plastic it will find its way through, if its even possible. But for that 90 deg turn I would try a damn strong magnet and a piece of round metal tied to mono.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:21 PM
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If your top was not built to have wires run through it, then you are in a very tough situation. When tops are built, the welder drills holes prior to welding at a joint. Otherwise, they just weld pipe to pipe without taking time to make a chase for wires. And if they are planning for a chase for wires, the pipes will be very straight or curved without hard angles.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:28 PM
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Use wire pulling lube.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:04 AM
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you'll have one pipe welded against another one. you won't have holes in those. only the long straight sections will pull wires through. you'll have to come up the right side vertical pipe to get to the light.
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Old 07-06-2018, 05:33 AM
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Try attaching a vacuum cleaner hose at one end then a piece of string tied to a wad of fabric at the other end,then suck the string through. Looks like your route has many turns so could be difficult.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Katrina View Post
Try attaching a vacuum cleaner hose at one end then a piece of string tied to a wad of fabric at the other end,then suck the string through. Looks like your route has many turns so could be difficult.
I was thinking the same thing as Katrina - start with a thread then some mono then a heavier cord. You'll have to plug all the other holes that might be pulling air then feed the thread into the starting hole.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
you'll have one pipe welded against another one. you won't have holes in those. only the long straight sections will pull wires through. you'll have to come up the right side vertical pipe to get to the light.

Agree with smac’. Even still no guarantee where the crossmember is welded to that aft vertical there is a hole. You could drill a small hole at an angle to the joint to be sure. If there is a hole that is definitely the way (perhaps only) to go.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:25 PM
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These will not be open pipes... You will never get the wire inside. I'm sorry.
Even if they were open, with the numbers of turns and starp stainless steel edges inside, there no way at all you would get something through.
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Old 07-07-2018, 06:46 AM
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I like the magnet idea! If there is a path through from one end to the other (In other words all of the pipe to pipe welds have through holes) I would try seeing if I could roll a steel ball from one end to the other by pulling it with magnets. The ball should be able to roll over any weld slag or raised edges that would stop a washer. You should have two magnets so you can have one on the top of the pipe and one on the bottom. By using two magnets this way you should be able to get the ball to jump or lift over any edges that would stop a washer. If that works I would drill a hole through the ball and use something very limp and slippery like Spider Wire fishing line as the pull string attached to the ball. I think this will work. You may have trouble pulling wires around all those corners but I think you can get a pull string through. Needless to say start with very light line, maybe in the 10 Lb test range to get the first string through.

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Old 07-07-2018, 11:07 AM
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As several others have noted, those welded intersections pretty clearly were not set up to have open holes for chasing or they would at least have been designed in a straight line. Exterior runs along the SS tubing with small split loom or in plastic tubing or conduit and cable ties is likely your best option at this point I believe. Just run & secure them as close to the top as you can , not hanging down at the bottom of the tubing which looks sloppy. You could drill holes for in and outs at each straight pipe run but that would be a PIA to chase , not look much if any better , and weaken the top SS tubing a bit.
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Old 07-08-2018, 08:04 AM
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You’re beat......sorry.....
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. It has not crossed my mind, although it seems highly likely to me now, that there are no through holes at the weld junctions. I may try drilling a small hole at an angle at a joint as Tomfrmnh suggested to be sure. I also like the idea of running small conduit alongside the SS tubing as TTaxi recommended and suspect that's the way I'll go. Thanks again.
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