HOW TO: Upgrade your engine ground cable! *pics* - Ford Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005 Thread Starter
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Arrow HOW TO: Upgrade your engine ground cable! *pics*

I've been dealing with a slow starting car ever since I owned this thing. I relocated the battery with a Summit kit a few months ago and used the 4 AWG that it came with and grounded the battery to the quad shock bracket on the frame of the car. Everything was cool, but the car still started up rather slow.

I decided to try out a new ground strap since my friends car started EXTREMELY slow when his battery ground cable was barely making a connection.

I bought some weird stereo amp wiring kit from Walmart for $25. It includes about 15' of 4 gauge cable and a bunch of misc. wires for hooking up a stereo amp and speakers. I used a few feet of the 4 gauge to upgrade my alternator wire and I had PLENTY leftover to hook up this ground strap.

Materials I used:
About 1 1/2' of 4 gauge cable
(2) 4 gauge ring terminals with 3/8 holes
(1) 7/16" course thread bolt about 3/4" long
Heat shrink tubing for 4 gauge wire

Here are some pics I took. This should be helpful, especially if you are just learning how to work on your car.

I bought these cable cutters from Lowes for about about $13. I tested them on a 2 gauge battery cable and it cut through it like butter. These are a must.
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...ap/cutters.jpg

Strip the new wire. I used a razor blade and lightly cut around it
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...trap/strip.jpg

I enlarged the hole of the terminal since its only 3/8" and it needs to fit a 7/16" bolt.
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...rap/dremel.jpg

Secure the lug into something stable. I used a c-clamp since I don't have a vice. Snip off small pieces of solder (1/4" or so) into a pile and place into the lug.

Slide on the heatshrink tubing.

Clean off the exposed wires on your cable. I used sandpaper. Make sure all the wires are nice and tight so it will slide into the lug without much resistance.

Add some flux to the wires if you aren't using solder that already has it. Heat the lug with a torch. My small butane torch (pictured below) did the job but it took a long time to melt the thick solder I used (.050").

As soon as all the solder is completely melted, dip the cable in there and remove the heat. Make sure that you push the cable in as far as you can and hold it steady for about 10 seconds.
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...rap/solder.jpg

Lightly heat the heatshrink tubing with a ligher or torch..
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...heatshrink.jpg

Repeat on both ends and you'll have this.
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...p/complete.jpg

Next, I located a nice source of solid steel to attach the ground strap to. THE HEAD. On my heads, there was a bolt hole free that is tapped for 7/16" course thread. I have stock heads, so if you do too this hole should be there. I sanded off the contact area with 200 grit sandpaper. Sanding off the surface is very important, especially if your heads are painted of rusty. I then found a spare bolt that went right in.
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...rap/mount1.jpg

I pointed the cable straight down and routed it underneath the power steering pump to the swaybar frame bracket.
http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...p/swaybar1.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...rap/mount3.jpg


http://home.comcast.net/~terriblejua...rap/mount4.jpg


The end result is my car starting up much faster, a steady battery gauge, highly increased throttle response, and improved idle. The materials probably cost $10 at most, the cable being the most expensive.

If you have trouble locating 4 gauge wire, buy a factory battery ground cable from Ford or your local auto parts store and modify it as you need. The stock cable is VERY long and you will have plenty leftover.

I suggest all fox owners do this (if you haven't already) as the stock ground connections on our cars are very weak and are hardly sufficient. If you are having problems with some of the things that I just benefitted from, try it

1991 Thunderbird SC: I <3 Blower Whine.
1993 LX 2.3 Convertible: Less than half of a 5.0
1989 LX 5.0 Hatch: Sold!
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post #2 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005
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Hey Juan I might try this. Did you completely replace the ground wire from your battery with this one you made?

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post #3 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stangboy5666
Hey Juan I might try this. Did you completely replace the ground wire from your battery with this one you made?
NO. This does NOT replace your battery ground cable. All it does is reenforce the ground from your car frame to the block. It is very important to do this because practically everything is grounded to your block or the frame.

1991 Thunderbird SC: I <3 Blower Whine.
1993 LX 2.3 Convertible: Less than half of a 5.0
1989 LX 5.0 Hatch: Sold!
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post #4 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005
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Oh sorry, I didnt read the end very carefully at all. I see what you did now. It really helped that much huh? Well, I guess I will give it a go when I get my new alternator and install it. Thanks

Cardinal Red '88 GT 5 speed, 99 Contour Electric Dual Fans, Battery relocated, 130 amp alternator, 76mm Mass Air conversion, 75mm BBK throttle body, 5.0L .030 over, BBK SSI, AFR 185cc heads, Comp Cams XE276HR, BBK ceramic longtubes, Spec Stage II clutch, MM front/rear coil overs, MM front LCA's, MM manual brake conversion, Flaming River Manual Rack, 94-04 Cobra front brakes, 99 Cobra IRS, Torsen T2R differential, 3:55 gears
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post #5 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005
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So basically you ran a ground wire from the head to the sway bar bracket . ?

I current have my ground for my trunk battery using 0/2 welding cable run all the way to the a/c bracket area. I also have a ground wire run to the rear frame.

I have some thick wire I think I'll try that to see if I notice anything also. My car starts up fast though using a '93 style starter with the starter solenoid built in (hi torque mini style).

89 GT Hatch: Custom M90 Supercharged w/ Ported Trickflow Trackheat Heads, Stage 1 cam, Streetheat lower / Sheet metal upper, Tweecer RT & PLX Wideband, 75mm TB, 1.6 Roller rockers, 3.73s, MSD 6a, Canton 7qt Pan+ Windage tray, 36LB Injectors, 200 amp Alternator, 75mm Pro-Mas MAF, 190lph fuel pump,Spec Stage 1 Clutch,SouthSide LCA's, Pro 5.0 Shifter, Steeda CC Plates / Springs, FMS Aluminum Driveshaft, New T5 w/ 2.95 first gear, Underdrive pullies, Zirgo 3300Cfm Elec. Fan, AFCO alum. radiator
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Freddy, do you have a battery relocation? If so, you probably should run your ground cable out of the trunk and bolt it to the quadshock bracket. The longer the cable, the more resistance there will be. Also, since you grounded the battery to the A/C bracket area, it would still be a good idea to connect the motor to the frame with a cable.

You said you have a ground wire run to the rear frame. Where does the other end connect to? The battery?

1991 Thunderbird SC: I <3 Blower Whine.
1993 LX 2.3 Convertible: Less than half of a 5.0
1989 LX 5.0 Hatch: Sold!
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post #7 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005
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Hey Juan, this is a great inspiration to fix my ground cable from the battery to the frame. I once had a problem that caused my entire electrical system to fluctutate and the car would'nt even run. It would shake violently and for the longest time I couldn't figure it out. Well it turned out to be the ground cable that was torn from the battery negative to the strut tower. I couldn't believe it. Well I fixed the cable after a year with the problem and its been another year and well the cable is all corroded and I think it needs replacement since my electrical system, from gauges to lights flicker.
post #8 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-08-2005 Thread Starter
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Yea, not many people suspect that the ground cable can be the cause of so many problems. Replace that cable with a generic 2 gauge cable from your local parts store. Autozone carries them in various lengths to fit your application. Oh, and your battery negative battery cable should run from the battery to the engine block. At least mine does.

1991 Thunderbird SC: I <3 Blower Whine.
1993 LX 2.3 Convertible: Less than half of a 5.0
1989 LX 5.0 Hatch: Sold!
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post #9 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-08-2005
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When I moved my battery to the hatchback I grounded the battery to chassis and than I went in under the hood and grounded the engine to chassis, and I still noticed it would crank over slow sometime. So I talked to a buddy of mine hes a chrysler tech, he told me anytime you run current threw long power cabes you should get a bigger battery. So I upgraded the wimpy 750 cca battery to a 1000cca battery and that did the trick.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrible Juan
Freddy, do you have a battery relocation? If so, you probably should run your ground cable out of the trunk and bolt it to the quadshock bracket. The longer the cable, the more resistance there will be. Also, since you grounded the battery to the A/C bracket area, it would still be a good idea to connect the motor to the frame with a cable.

You said you have a ground wire run to the rear frame. Where does the other end connect to? The battery?
Yes, it's 4 gauge wire like most cars use. I have it bolted onto the top of the battery terminal. I removed the bolt and put that inbetween and bolted it back in.

I have an Optima red top battery and the welding cable is very very thick.

I just added a wire like you described from the sway bar to the back of the a/c compressor bolt with a nut. It seems to have helped. I had no problems with accelleration and seemed to keep my voltage meter slightly higher. I'll keep an eye on it all week to see how it performs.

89 GT Hatch: Custom M90 Supercharged w/ Ported Trickflow Trackheat Heads, Stage 1 cam, Streetheat lower / Sheet metal upper, Tweecer RT & PLX Wideband, 75mm TB, 1.6 Roller rockers, 3.73s, MSD 6a, Canton 7qt Pan+ Windage tray, 36LB Injectors, 200 amp Alternator, 75mm Pro-Mas MAF, 190lph fuel pump,Spec Stage 1 Clutch,SouthSide LCA's, Pro 5.0 Shifter, Steeda CC Plates / Springs, FMS Aluminum Driveshaft, New T5 w/ 2.95 first gear, Underdrive pullies, Zirgo 3300Cfm Elec. Fan, AFCO alum. radiator

Last edited by white angel; 02-01-2008 at 11:30 PM.
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post #11 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-09-2005 Thread Starter
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Just make sure that you connect both ends of the ground cable to steel or cast iron, not aluminum. Not sure exactly where you connected yours on the AC bracket. Can you take pics? Interested in where you mounted it.

1991 Thunderbird SC: I <3 Blower Whine.
1993 LX 2.3 Convertible: Less than half of a 5.0
1989 LX 5.0 Hatch: Sold!
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so pretty much you ground the head to sway bar frame bracket?? anyone else know of something i can use here to heat shrink the plastic other than the heat gun you had?? i dont wanna go buy one juss for this.. im correct tho right??? juss ground from your stock iron head to sway bar frame right? im thinking of doing this tomorrow

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Any cigarette lighter will work on the tubing.

Nice write up Juan!

That one deserves a place in the AFM Tech section. :thumbsup

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If you put a battery in the trunk and you have welded in sugframe connectors, I highly siggest you drill and place your ground cable attachments points to the subfram connectors.

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lol but what if my cigarrette lighter doesnt work!!!!

1990 mustang GT 5.0 all white auto tranny. Pretty much stock for now except flowmaster mufflers. I can't wait to get back and work on my mustang . I miss laying under the car and wrenching, then having my hand slip and smack myself in the face.
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