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Battery Terminals and Cables


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27 replies to this topic

#1 jj_jeep

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:00 PM

My 1998 TJ has the original factory cables and terminals and after 250k miles, they're getting a little worn.  The negative terminal will not connect as tightly as I'd like to the battery post, so I'm thinking of replacing them.  I noticed the negative is actually two cables too.  One goes to the firewall and one to the block. 

 

After a quick look around the internet, it looks like buying replacement battery cables is not as straightforward as I thought it would be.  I thought the internet Jeep parts retailers would have them, but you get 6 pages of electric winch cables and dual battery kits. 

 

Are people making their own by buying cable, terminals, and shrink tubing and assembling?  Or buying them from some of the home cable makers that are selling them on the internet? 

 

Just wondering if someone has a battery cable solution that went well for them... 



#2 Moses Ludel

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:59 PM

Like JJ, I'd like to hear what's new in quality aftermarket battery cables...'In the day', I wrote endlessly about cable upgrades, in particular Wrangler Power Products custom cables for winches, auxiliary batteries, and onboard welders.  I emphasized in my Jeep and other truck books that grounds are as critical as hot leads.  Every 4x4 magazine project vehicle I've built with a high output charging circuit or onboard welder had an upgraded battery cable system. 

 

You need quality grounding from the battery to the engine, engine to frame, frame and engine to the body and so forth.  Amperage gauge for each positive and negative cable on my custom systems was always 1/0 welding grade cable with proper industrial grade, high amperage rated terminal ends.  This is a science:  Body, engine and frame cable attachment points cannot have resistance or voltage loss/drop due to paint, rust or a corrosion barrier. 

 

JJ, your comment on the Jeep Wrangler's ground to the engine and body is very important.  A substantial body ground protects the PCM and other electronic devices.  Newer vehicles with CAN bus have even more complex ground needs.

 

Welders onboard are a whole other story.  You need to set up grounds to make current take a short path to the welding ground point—without passing through the PCM, wheel bearings or any other critical point.  PCMs have been destroyed by improper ground circuits and onboard welding.  Visualize: You're fixing the vehicle at remote country, the welds look great, and the PCM is smoking!

 

So, if anyone can recommend a source for cables, even OEM replacement cables of quality for JJ, let's add to this discussion!  JJ, if you need OEM part numbers for the original battery and ground cables, I can furnish Mopar part numbers...

 

Moses



#3 RareCJ8

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:14 PM

i buy red/black 0 or 00 ga welding wire in bulk.  then cut to fit-- leaving always a few extra inches, invested in a special crimp tool for the terminal lugs then for good measure red/black shrink tube.  Custom lengths are the way to go and as Moses mentions, one cannot have too many grounds.  Remember body to frame, frame to engine block and redundancy is your friend.  Nearly every electrical issue I have tracked down led to a poor ground.  Clean the contact area with a wire brush on a drill clean it up well, add dilectric grease if need be, crank down with star washers then if so inclined, hit with some gloss black paint for a finished look.


VCMontanaandScramble2013277_zps6b71c866.


#4 biggman100

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:41 PM

JJ, it would depend on several factors, as to the route you should take to fix this issue. If your actual ground and power cables from the battery are still in good shape, as well as the ends of the cables, and your jeep is stock, and only sees mild off road use, you can purchase inserts that go inside the cable ends to help them fit tighter on the battery posts. These are usualy found at places like auto parts stores, or sometimes even walmart in the battery and electrical section.

 

If the cables are still good, but the ends are the only issue, you can also get inexpensive replacement battery ends, and all you do with those is cut off the old ends, strip the wire back about a half inch, slide the wire in between the two halves, and bolt them down. There are several different types of replacement battery terminals, some are inexpensive, and easy to use, and some are a bit more money, but tend to last longer and hold up much better.

 

If the cables are bad as well, there are several routes you can take. You can usually purchase replacement cables through most local parts stores.  If that option is unavailable to you, another option is to measure the length of your existing cables, and see if your local parts store has pre-made cables that have the round ends on each end, and get replacement battery ends, and replace them that way.

 

When I go this route, what I usually do is get the new cables, get marine style replacement battery terminals, and replace the wing nuts on the replacement terminals with the nuts that have the nylon inserts in them, that way they don't vibrate loose.

 

My favorite way to replace the battery terminals, though, is with positive attachment battery ends. These ends are simple to use, easy to connect, and give options for multiple wires, for things such as starter, lights, and other assorted accesories, plus they have different size holes in them to attach different size and gauge wires to. The way you attach the wires is to strip back about a half inch of wire, slide the wire into the end, and then use an allen wrench or torx bit, depending on the style of the end, and tighten a set screw to positively lock the wires in place. And, for severe use, if you strip the wire back a bit, and then solder the end of the wire, then insert it into the terminal, and tighten the set screw, they rarely ever come loose, no matter how rough you are on the vehicle.

 

One of the best places to get wiring from is Painless Performance. They sell everything form single sections of heavy gauge wiring to entire wiring harnesses, for everything from classic, to custom, to off road, to boats, and everything in between! They are the single best source I have found for wiring, from ignition wiring, to wiring harnesses, to custom stereo wiring, for almost any vehicle on the planet.

 

The images i added show several different types of replacement battery terminals, from standard inexpensive ones, to some of the different available more durable styles.

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#5 Moses Ludel

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:46 AM

Wow, RareCJ8 and biggman100, now this is community!  We're getting detailed, viable technical information to our fellow members and guests.  The photos are highly useful, too!   

 

Very thoughtful, accurate and thorough discussion...Thanks much for your input, guys, JJ should have plenty of facts and ideas for his Jeep battery cable restoration or upgrading!

 

Moses



#6 jj_jeep

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 07:24 PM

Helpful replies from everyone. 

 

Moses and RareCJ8 gave helpful insight on making cables. 

 

I think Biggman probably described my current status in his first couple paragraphs.  An insert or a new negative terminal might do the trick for now until I understand the condition of my Jeep cylinder 1 misfire a little better.  I had a couple pictures, but I haven't yet figured out how to put them in the post. 

 

I checked out the Painless Performance website - like a candy store for wiring!  It did surprise me that with all the harnesses they offer, they don't show replacement cables specific to the TJ application.  I'm referring to the two cable negative battery terminal that has a cable to the firewall and a cable to the engine block.  It seems like a very clean way to do it, but the terminals on the PP cables allow for only one cable. 

 

I'll have to check the negative cable on my Jeep and see if there's enough slack to allow me to cut the end off the existing cable to put a new terminal on.  You're pretty well committed once you cut the old terminal off, aren't you!  And I suppose you can't truly know the condition of the cable until you cut back the insulation and check the cable.  I also wonder if the cable could look good at the battery terminal, but heavily corroded at the firewall terminal due to winter road spray.  These ideas lingered in the back of my mind when I considered just replacing the whole cable.  I also checked the price of cables and holy cow!  It would be nice to save the cable and replace the terminal. 

 

Thanks for your feedback... 



#7 Moses Ludel

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:31 PM

I was really pleased with the response on this question, biggman100 taking the time to offer keen insights, photos and leads, RareCJ8 sharing hardcore trail insights...Thanks, everyone, for helping JJ_Jeep here!

 

JJ, your comment about the firewall ground is very important.  Many Jeep vehicles suffer from corrosion and electrolysis at these ground points.  Catch-22:  You cannot have a painted surface at ground threads, and corrosion enjoys unpainted (even galvanized) surfaces.  I'm from the West, and road salt is not as prevalent.  (Salt was once unheard of, now various areas find it cost effective to use salt, even Elko, Nevada!)  Regardless, the firewall ground is a place to run an ohms test.

 

You also hint about wicking corrosion.  This is very common.  Even our "Nevada Cherokee" had a huge buildup of battery corrosive deposits inside the plastic-coated battery hold down frame!  Wires and cables are especially vulnerable, with damaging corrosion often invisible and running for several inches from a terminal up the insulation.

 

If you do a terminal replacement, keep in mind that conductivity must include all strands of the wire.  RareCJ8 assures this with his crimping tool.  Biggman100 illustrates several terminals with heavy-duty screw clamping.  Mention of soldering to make a one-piece wire at the terminal is sometimes a solution, use rosin core solder only.  OEM cables are either molded lead or a solder process. 

 

Straggling strands of wire are common on cheap, two-bolt with a light strap replacement terminals.  Use a high grade terminal...Solder might help here, see whether it's recommended by the terminal manufacturer.  We're talking about a healthy size soldering iron for this gauge wire!

 

Others can add to this...

 

Moses



#8 jj_jeep

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 07:47 PM

I mentioned on the cylinder 1 misfire post a while back...  I cut the neg terminal off the factory cable.  The cable was corroded a bit, so I cut it back an inch or so, stripped the wire, tinned the ends the best I could with a small electronics solder iron, and crimped on some copper ring terminals on the two cables (one goes to the firewall, one to the engine block).  Then at Biggman's suggestion, I put a marine terminal on the battery post so there was a place to attach the ring terminals.  It was a quick, cheap fix to see if the cable was part of my misfire problem.  Not clear if it was (didn't completely fix it - had to replace injector to do that), but it seems like my headlights are brighter now (placebo effect, or real - not sure).  And I know I need to reckon with these cables one day.  With that in mind... 

 

I did some more searching about battery cables and the car audio guys actually call it "the big 3 upgrade" referring to new, higher amp capacity cables for the alternator to batt, batt to firewall, batt to engine block - and battery to frame - so it's 4 in the case of Jeeps.  There's a decent You Tube video on a Jeep TJ (search - Jeep TJ big 3 upgrade featuring 12 volters - if interested).  What I was curious to ask is...  these guys connect the battery to the firewall, and then it appears they run their other new ground cables from the firewall instead of from the battery (firewall to frame and firewall to engine block).  Whereas, my Jeep from the factory had a cable from the neg batt to the firewall and another cable from neg batt to the engine block.  The question is, does it matter?  Is there an advantage of one over another?  Just wondering why Jeep did it one way and the aftermarket appears to do it another way.  It seems like a clean way to do it - it solves the problem of connecting two cables to one battery post.  They also paint over the finished connections as Rare posted.  I've heard of conditioners and coatings that can be applied to the terminal on the battery post as well - do people recommend this? 



#9 Moses Ludel

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:58 AM

Audio guys work a lot with unitized body cars.  Their high-amp audio systems are within the body/interior.  On a D.C. system, the shorter the cable or wire lead, the less resistance—whether the ground or hot side, as amperage load is the same on D.C.  With high draw audio equipment and the need for "clean" circuits with the least amount of radio frequency interference, this may be why audio folks prefer to run the battery ground cable to the body and junction from there.  The body junction is also away from the radio interference risk from the alternator and starter, which mount to the engine.

 

Your Jeep has a "drivable chassis" with the engine cradled in insulator mounts and a metal, ladder frame.  On older vehicles like this, the ground goes to the frame rail with a strap to the body.  Modern chassis have high output alternators and critical EFI components at the engine.  It's deemed wiser to ground at the engine and strap to the body from the engine.

 

The best approach is a full size wire system of grounds that connect the body, frame and engine.  We've talked about this, RareCJ8 in particular, and the routing can go first to the engine, engine to frame, and frame to body.  Body ground is important for lights and audio systems, frame and engine for the alternator, starter motor (engine attached) and the EFI components. 

 

The battery hot terminal leads for the system typically go to the heavy starter motor junction point and to the power distribution box (via the pigtail).  Again, the goal is to reduce wire lengths and minimize resistance loss over distance.  Cost of copper is another OEM consideration.  Later models with CAN-bus have minimized the needed wiring. 

 

Moses



#10 jj_jeep

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:22 PM

Makes good sense.  Thanks, Moses. 



#11 biggman100

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:06 PM

JJ,  would like to add to what Moses said, if i may. After years of my brother owning a high end stereo shop, one thing i learned is that they dont pay as much attention to the engine wiring as they do the wiring that runs the stereo, and its associated components. With that said, i would advise, as Moses did, to try and follow the factory wiring as much as possible.

 

There is one thing i didn't mention in my list of wiring ideas, and that is universal replacement cables. Most parts stores stock these, and there are many different types, but, an advantage over using replacement ends, and running your own wire, is that they come with the wire already molded to a battery terminal end, and will usually have at least one pigtail off the end as well.

 

You can either use a crimp connector or solder and heat shrink tubing to connect the pigtail to the battery to firewall ground, and the other wire you just connect to the block where the existing ground was located, or anywhere that you can connect the ground wire to get a good ground. They come in different lengths and configurations, so that almost any wiring can be replaced with minimal work. I have enclosed a couple pics of the types i have used before. There are several different types, and they come in both top and side post configurations, and are available for both the ground and positive sides.

 

One big advantage to using these is it takes the guesswork out of whether the original cable is corroded under the shielding or not.

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#12 biggman100

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:16 PM

JJ, i also failed to notice one of your questions, sorry about that. You asked about conditioners, and coatings that you can add to the terminal ends. I personally wouldnt recommend it. I know the ads, and the hype say they are good for the battery, and they may be, but i have also seen where they can cause issues as well. With the coatings, they cause a variety of issues, from not being able to get the battery end off easily if need be, to having to just scrape them off when you need a jump, or someone else does.

 

The conditioners, on the other hand, aren't worth the money, because they tend to degrade and even wash off very quickly. I know some battery shops, and even some people, are very adamant that they do help, but to me, they just aren't worth the money. A tip i have learned that is inexpensive, and really does work, is to use coca-cola to clean the corrosion off of the ends from time to time, before it gets too bad.



#13 Moses Ludel

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:31 PM

Emphasis is on biggman100's suggestion that you splice and solder (rosin core only) and use heavy duty heat shrink tubing.  For modern EFI systems with high amp alternators, avoid use of the yellow butt connectors shown on these universal "pigtail" cables.  The pigtail is fine... 

 

I like the molded or soldered cable ends shown; I'm not good with the yellow butt connector idea.  There is risk of corrosion and unpredictable wire contact at the butt connector crimps.  Cut off the butt connector and strip back copper wire for a thorough "weave" splice.  Solder the woven wires together and use heat shrink shielding—make sure heat shrink tubing, when shrunk, exceeds the wire's original insulation thickness.

 

When RareCJ8 talked about crimping bigger cables, he meant the industrial strength crimping tool used by electrical shops on welding and high amperage cable ends.

 

Moses



#14 Moses Ludel

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:46 PM

I use the traditional baking soda approach for cleaning battery terminals.  Wearing eye protection, remove the ground terminal, then the hot terminal cable end.  With a mixture of baking soda and warm water in a tin can or a jar, I submerge the terminal end into the solution, wiggle in around without splashing on paint or body parts, and if necessary, I use a retired tooth brush to scrub up the terminal.  Protect your hands with nitrile shop gloves, and avoid splashing solution on your clothing or skin!

 

If you dip deep enough, corrosion under the cable insulation will foam out, too.  Clean thoroughly, then rinse with clean water, repeat several times if necessary.  Install cables with the hot lead terminal first, then attach the ground terminal.

 

You can also clean the battery case and posts with baking soda in solution, but avoid getting any solution inside the battery fill cover openings!  Baking soda neutralizes and will damage the internal battery...Always rinse away debris thoroughly and assume that the terminal buildup is both corrosive and harmful.

 

Often, I will simply take a trip to the car wash, and with the engine cooled down, spray clean the engine and bay, including the battery or batteries.  This is quick and efficient, the terminals' external debris comes off readily...Note that I said "cooled down engine".  We've all heard stories of engine blocks, manifolds and heads cracking when an unwitting owner sprays cold car wash water on a hot engine!

 

Moses



#15 biggman100

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:13 PM

Moses, a thought on your idea of washing down the engine bay. In NY and PA, it is illegal to wash the engine bay, and some, depending on how dirty the truck bed is, wont allow you to wash inside the bed either. The reason is, at least around here, that most car washes recycle the water that is ran through the wash bays. Most have even taken to installing cameras, or have an attendant on duty, and will take down your license plate number, and will report you to authorities, which can result in fines, especially if they find any oily residues in the water. Some of the more strict ones also have restrictions on washing any recreational vehicle, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, large commercial trucks, and extremely muddy off road vehicles. It used to be just a few of the larger car washes, but now even the small out of the way places have signs forbidden washing certain things.



#16 Moses Ludel

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:38 PM

Thanks for clarifying the difference between living at New York State and Nevada.  They're close together in the alphabet but apparently light years apart in car wash regulations.  After you drive on dirt roads with a 4x4 for hours or ride a dirt motorcycle on a designated trail, where do you clean off the vehicle?

 

At Nevada, car wash facilities recycle the solution and separate debris.  On a per car wash basis, I cannot think of any that allow cleaning of oily or greasy car parts.  It is very illegal to dispose of drain oil, grease, batteries or other automotive stuff "on the ground"—anywhere in Nevada.  We have the state's own EPA equivalent as well as EPA guidelines.  There are few professional facilities for "steam cleaning" engines anymore, they come under strict guidelines in urban areas. 

 

When I talk about cleaning the engine and battery at a car wash, I'm talking about vehicles without oil leaks that have a dust coating in the engine bay from traveling dirt back country roads.  How do you address this at New York State?  Is it illegal to clean under the hood of a vehicle at a New York car wash? 

 

We see a lot of mud cleaning, as many vehicles travel dirt roads in inclement weather, it's a common sense and courtesy thing, folks "police" themselves at the car wash.  Most behave well, sometimes you have to slog through clay mud and clean the car wash cement floor before attempting to clean your vehicle.

 

Thanks for clarifying, this is important for the unknowing tourists passing through your state.

 

Moses



#17 biggman100

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:03 PM

In NY, we have companies that do steam cleaning of engine bays, whether it is a newer, oil free vehicle, or an older oil coated diesel truck. There are even companies that will wash ATV's, motorcycles, and snowmobiles for a fee, but the regulations on them being allowed to be washed in a car wash are lightening up quite a bit, due to club and group complaints and actions in the capital. Just opening the hood on a vehicle at a car wash can cause a visit from the state police, especially if the camera doesnt pick up the reason you opened the hood. I learned this first hand when i washed an older truck, and had to get under the hood to dry off the distributor cap because water got on it and it wouldnt start. The camera caught me opening the hood, but not why, and when i got home there was a state police investigator at my house. Luckily when i opened the hood, i was already done washing the truck, and didnt have the wand in my hand. Cleaning off of mud, road salt, and the like are acceptable at the car washes here, because, as one politician put it, that is what the car wash is for. Many people call NY a pseudo police state, because of things like this.

 

As for dumping anything automotive related on the ground, if you are caught, it not only can result in hefty fines, but up to 10 years in prison as well. Even dumping old tires in NY can cause severe penalties.



#18 biggman100

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:07 PM

One other thing i wanted to add. The last post i made about the universal cables, is that most are available for fairly reasonable prices. I have seen them as low as $12 or $13 around here at local parts stores, such as AutoZone. At some sources they may be more, but they are still fairly inexpensive, but a solid way of adressing the battery cable issue.



#19 Moses Ludel

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:34 AM

These generic battery cable replacements must be the new "normal", since OEM cables are either not available or very costly.  Again, if installed properly, with rosin soldered connections on the pigtail and plenty of heat shrink protection, these cables should do a good job...for far less cost—as you describe, biggman100...Thanks for the tip and homework!

 

Moses



#20 jj_jeep

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:24 PM

You never know where a thread will go!  I have never washed my cars under the hood.  I guess I've always been concerned that I would do more harm than good.  I have definitely cleaned the battery and terminals with baking soda and water.  I've heard a legend that in a case where a car wouldn't start, a can of coke poured over the battery terminals had enough effect to get the hulk started. 

 

I did speak to the auto parts store about battery cables and they sell the universal ones which have a ring terminal on one end and a terminal for the battery post on the other end.  But he mentioned they also will make cables for you with the giant crimp tool and 1/0 cable and shrink tubing (no solder - they don't want to risk employees burning themselves).  The only hitch I see is there doesn't seem to be a great battery post terminal that accepts two cables like the original equipment did.  That's why I wondered about junctioning to everywhere from the firewall.  Biggman's suggestion of using the marine terminal on the battery and then stacking cables with ring terminals seems to be the closest "off the shelf" way to do junction the block and firewall both to the battery like the OEM cables did. 



#21 Moses Ludel

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:31 PM

If anyone is inclined to wash off their engine, again, the caution is to make sure the engine castings are not hot when you begin!  As for moisture in the wrong place, there are several concerns. 

 

In the breaker point ignition era and even HEI, I would avoid shooting hot wash water or steam cleaner spray (very legal and commonly used at repair shops "in the day") directly at the distributor cap.  Sometimes, I would cover the cap with plastic or rags for added protection.  Even condensation from this kind of cleaning would create moisture beneath the cap that biggman100 experienced. On modern engines, avoid high pressure spray around the PCM, sensitive wiring and plug connectors.  

 

Also avoid shooting water into the air cleaner intake, and by all means, if you use an open-face air cleaner (which I avoid using on anything but a strictly street driven vehicle), keep water away from the air filter element.  If anyone would like to know why not to use an open face air cleaner, please start a new topic, I'll gladly elaborate.

 

Coke on the terminals may have little impact if the battery is dead, I've heard of energizing a dead battery with other approaches that would be far less drinkable than Coca-Cola.  Coke, incidentally would be very rough on the vehicle's paint finish.

 

Battery cables made at your auto parts house sound worth pursuing.  If you go that route, JJ, let us know the cost, and please provide a photo or two of the finished product!

 

Moses



#22 biggman100

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:54 PM

JJ, if you are only putting one or two wires on a marine terminal, stacking in that case would be ok, but as i have found in the past, if you stack too many wires on a marine terminal, it either wont get tight enough, and will vibrate loose, or will end up possibly crushing and breaking the smaller ring terminals due to vibration. If you are going to go the marine terminal route, i would recommend replacing the wing nut that comes with them with a Ny-Lock nut, because the wing nut rarely ever stays tight.

 

In the case of needing 3 or more wires running from the battery, i would recommend using a positive lock battery terminal end. They can be purchased with anywhere from 4 to 8 connections in the terminal, and if you solder the end of the wire, then crimp it by tightening the set screw, they usually dont come lose easily. I used these style ends on both my current and my last Dakota, as well as on a 1999 Durango that had a winch, electric-hydraulic plow, 6 driving lights and large stereo, and even with the abuse from plowing large amounts of snow, and mild trail runs, and whatever other abuse i put it through, the wires never vibrated loose. I have enclosed a pic of the ones i normally use, which can be purchased at walmart, AutoZone, and most other parts stores for around $10 or $15 each. They come with the allen wrench needed for the set screws as well, and if you are like me, i always put them in an envelope in the glovebox, so i dont lose them.

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#23 biggman100

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:01 PM

Moses, i was in a parts store today and spoke to a longtime friend who is also the manager. He said that a couple different companies originally came out with the universal cables for older or heavily modified vehicles, where the original cables weren't available, or the original cables wouldn't work because after modifications they were too short. He did say though that the universal cables haven't really been out that long.



#24 biggman100

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:41 PM

JJ, one other thought i had, after something i saw today, was the idea of using a branch block to run your ground wires. I would never recommend this for the main ground to the engine, but for accessory grounds, such as from the battery to the firewall, the battery to the frame, and the battery to the core support, unless someone knows a reason why it wouldnt work, i dont see where they would cause an issue, as long as they are attached to the vehicle firmly so they dont move around.

 

Another use i see for them is to branch off the pigtail on the universal cables i mentioned before. Below is a pic of one, so you can see what i am talking about. On the type shown, you run one wire, say the ground from the battery, into one side, and have 4 output leads, that you can then branch off to anyplace you need a ground. I would always place the block under the hood though, and not inside the vehicle.

 

post-40-0-01268200-1377240132_thumb.jpg    



#25 jj_jeep

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:51 PM

Biggman, thanks for your options.  I was thinking of something like your last post when I asked if junctioning everything off the firewall was a good way to go.  Something like what you show there might be a nice option.  But I liked Moses comments that seem to indicate a priority order of grounding engine directly to battery.  And then I really like the idea of the solder, crimped, shrink tubed cable - it just sounds like the best possible to resist corrosion or vibration.  I saw some military spec battery post terminals that looked interesting.  It's similar to the marine terminal, but horizontal.  And then I saw a "tougher" looking ring terminal that looked very thick and flat, so it would stack nicely.  All that to say, the pre-made ones at the auto parts store are hanging there ready to go on my marine terminal with the but you recommend.  It's a sickness, this Jeep stuff!  My wife will attest to that! 



#26 Moses Ludel

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:56 PM

Glad we have wives understanding enough to stick around...You, biggman100 and I apply a good deal of time to our automotive subjects!  Ah, but think of the expense we've saved our households by not farming out automotive repairs and by doing our own troubleshooting!

 

Moses



#27 hobiecat

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:05 PM

I have a 2006 Wrangler TJ 4.0 with 6 speed. About 6 to 8 weeks ago, I ran into a very troublesome electrical problem which I haven't been able to solve. However to try to fix it I put in my own ground system after taking some hints from other posts. here's what I did:

 

Using all 4 gage cable I mounted a 3/8 in brass bolt on to the fender with brass nuts and washers after wire brushing (elec) both sides. This became my main ground point. I then made cables and ran my neg battery cable to this point followed by the tub, engine, frame , etc cables. I just had the cables crimped at an auto parts store. Each terminal was shrink wrapped.  Once these were done I covered all bare metal and connection points with clear lacquer (borrowed from aircraft industry).

 

The results: the jeep has NEVER run better and lights are brighter.  However my original problem, no interior lights, no gages is still here. My radio, heater, cruise and exterior lights and directionals all good.  So I have a decent ground system but need some help on this other stuff.  Thanks, Hobiecat. 



#28 Moses Ludel

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 08:55 PM

Nice work on that ground circuit, Hobiecat...Regarding your gauges and interior light problem, sounds like a connection issue.  Do the test of these circuits from the point you know you have current (Power Distribution Box, for example) and trace outward to the device (gauges, interior light socket and so forth) with a volt-ohmmeter and continuity test...To save time, check for continuity over long wiring circuits then narrow it down to where a circuit is "open".  Don't rule out simple items like fuses at the Power Box...

 

The gauge connector behind the instrument panel is a known issue on the TJ and XJ Cherokee, and there are other electrical gremlins with the TJ Wrangler.  I did a magazine article on the connector fix for the gauges on an XJ Cherokee.  Some TJ Wranglers suffer the same fate, and often, just an unplug and re-plug after cleaning contacts with Mopar electrical cleaner is enough to get the connector to behave.  Otherwise, here's the XJ Cherokee fix, which is similar to the Wrangler:  http://www.4wdmechan...Gauges-Fix.html.  The gauge connector is a possibility; however, on an '06 model, I'd look for a much simpler fix first. 

 

Any aftermarket installations like a sound system, add-on lighting or an alarm system?  These can often be a source of trouble due to poor connections or bad splicing of wires.  On a vehicle as new as yours, I'd look closely at anything added aftermarket that could interrupt circuits or create shorts and opens in the electrical circuits.

 

Talking about splices, I recently heard of a unique way to moisture proof wire splices.  I'll throw this out there for use where practical.  The suggestion came from a retired electronics specialist and AT&T wire splicer:

 

1) Make a clean strip of each wire end and overlap the two wires with ends facing toward each other—think butt connection without the butt connector.

 

2) Place heat shrink well up the wire, away from soldering heat, for use after soldering the two wires together.

 

3) Solder the wires with rosin core solder or rosin flux and solder for electrical connections.

 

4) Take a heat glue gun and run a thin, even bead of hot glue over the soldered joint.  Allow to cool.

 

5) Place the heat shrink tubing in position over the soldered and glue-coated joint; shrink down the tubing for a good seal.

 

The hot glue, once cooled, forms a barrier that resists corrosion wicking up the wires' insulation.  (Corrosion is otherwise hidden beneath the heat shrink tubing.)  On critical circuits like EFI PCM wires and for electronic modules that are hypersensitive to voltage fluctuations and ohms resistance, this anti-corrosive barrier would be better than heat shrink tubing alone.  Something to consider...

 

Moses




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