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Old 02/27/2007, 07:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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HOW TO: Upgrade The "Big 3"

Quote:
Originally Posted by circuit View Post
Can you post pics of your Big3 (or possibly a how-to)?
DISCLAIMER!!! DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. EVER. YOU COULD KILL YOURSELF
You are dealing with electricity, heavy cars, hot tools, etc. Protect yourself accordingly and do not attempt anything you can not handle.

So, here is a how to for the big three wiring. This is meant to upgrade your stock electrical wiring due to the larger load caused by aftermarket stereos and other accessories. TIP: NEVER remove the stock wiring. Just add your new wiring along side the existing stuff. Your old wiring wont hurt performance, it will just "add" more capacity to your new wiring. Upgrading the alternator wiring and not the grounding wire COULD result in a fire, damage, etc. I used 4ga wire for my alternator to battery connection due to the fact that a 4GA ring terminal was the largest that can be used with the factory 120A fuse "box" (that black thing that is right at the battery's + terminal). I used 4ga for the engine -> chassis wire for the same reason when it came to mounting the terminal to the engine block. Use the largest cables you can for the grounds.

Needed:
10mm socket/wrench (alternator wiring nut)
12mm socket/wrench (grounding bolts for battery and engine block)
50-70" of 4ga power wire (alt to battery) "Alternator wire" Length will depend on your battery type and the position in which it was installed.
30-48" of 4ga grounding wire (engine block to chassis ground) "Engine wire"
10-12" of 0/1ga grounding wire (negative battery post to chassis) "Battery wire"
(1) 0/1 gauge "L" shaped grounding lug/terminal (gold/platinum both work...dunno how steel would work...)
(1) 0/1 gauge ring terminal
wire/cable cutters (dremel or razor will work...)
(4) 4ga ring terminals (I suggest the solder type- noncrimp due to sizing problems I encountered)
Solder + soldering gun
(20+?) zip ties + flush snips (scissors, knife, etc would work)

STEPS
1) disconnect the battery. (if you decide not to PLEASE have someone take video of your install as I could use a good laugh)
2)Using a string or piece of wire determine how long each of your 3 wires will need to be. Cut the wires to length and solder or crimp on your ring teminal and "L" lug.
3) Connect your wires as described below.

Battery Ground Wire
This wire connects your negative battery terminal to the chassis grounding point. It is not considered a "hot" wire. This wire MUST be larger than your systems positive wire or you risk damage.

-Remove your stock grounding terminal and clean the area well. I used a wire brush drill attachement to lightly go over the area and remove dust and gunk then wiped it down with a wet paper towel.
-Mount the L shaped lug on your "Battery wire" to the chassis down at the factory grounding point (bewteen fuse box and battery - shown below)

-Attach the other end of this cable to your giant negative battery terminal (clamp that goes to the - battery post)
-DO NOT ATTACH TO BATTERY YET. That is LAST.


Engine Ground Wire
This wire connects the engine block to the car's metal chassis. It helps create or more powerful grounding system. This wire is not considered "hot" and it is negatively charged.

-connect the ring terminal from your "Engine wire" and bolt that to thru the hole in the L-shaped lug on your "Battery wire" and into the stock grounding bolt location (shown below - yellow wire)


-unbolt the stock ground to engine cable from the engine block. clean that area well and clean up the stock terminal if possible. connect another ring terminal to the end of the above wire and bolt it to the engine block. use the same location as the stock wiring for both ring terminals (1 bolt through both ring terminals and then into engine block hole). Location is shown below. Its hard to tell but the yellow wire is inside a gold plated 4ga ring terminal and then electrical taped to the terminal and the wire runs toward the left with the stock wiring running downward - this was required to make both terminals sit flush with the block for a good snug fit - more metal to metal contact is a big +)




Alternator Wire
This wire runs from your alternator (electricity generator) to the 120A fuse box on your stock battery terminal. This wire is considered "hot" and is a positively charged wire. Doublecheck that your battery is disconnected now or brace yourself.

-Remove the rubber cap from the alternator bolt & using a 10mm socket remove the nut that holds the power wire onto the alternator "bolt".
-Attach one terminal ring of your "ALT wire" to the alternator "bolt" and tighten the nut back on (get it snug, do NOT over tighten or you could break the alternator!)


-Starting at the alternator connection zip tie the cable to the existing wire looming. WARNING! AVOID running your wire near hot areas! If the wire's insulation melts and touches ANYTHING metal it WILL DAMAGE YOUR CAR AND POSSIBLY KILL YOU. Keep the wire tight against the stock wire looming with zip ties every 4-6"s and you should be fine. Now, continue running the cable along the existing loom until you get back to the battery. Follow the red circles in the photo below to get an idea of the path/route to follow. If you still have the stock heatshields and exhaust manifolds then you may have a tougher time... Another reason to get headers!


-Look at the black 120A fuse box at the end of the stock wiring harness (where it connects to the battery). unclip the back of this and you will see a nut. remove the nut. place your "ALT wire" 4ga terminal into this socket & tighten the nut back down using a 10mm socket. Zp tie the cover closed to keep it from popping back open. Photos for this are below:

Last reconnect your battery and start your car. Turn on your stereo and check for engine noise/whine. If it is present then Recheck your connections. Make sure all terminals sit flush and have a good contact to clean metal at all teminals. If no noise is present then you are done!
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Old 09/23/2008, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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HOW TO: Big 3 Wire Upgrade w/New Battery Terminals for Optima Battery

For reference, this link is http://www.club3g.com/forum/electron...a-battery.html






Optima batteries may be higher quality than your stock, but there is a serious problem with the stock terminal using one of these batteries. I killed 3 batteries before realizing the stock positive terminal was the problem. The factory gives the connector a 90 degree angle. When you upgrade to an optima model you have to bend it a bit for it to stay put which basically becomes a 45 degree angle. This will kill your battery sooner than expected since the connection is not solid.






Here is one way of making your big 3 upgrade perform as good as it looks. Using my car for example, I will try to explain this method as easily as possible. There is another how to out there about this topic, but the thread is locked and therefore cannot be updated with the correct information. If you followed that article, please take a look at your power system as it may be faulty. My sources include cross-referenced information from the internet, an electrical engineer, a power company tool shop and parts from ebay along with my own tried/true research methods. Feel free to copy my exact setup with the terminals if you wish but please give me some rep points also! Ok lets get started. Remember...do it once and do it right!



You will need;



I measured 54" for the altenator power to battery, 12" for the battery ground and about 3 ft for the ground but give yourself a little extra length to work with if you want to change mounting points on any of the wires.

New Battery Terminals of your choice. Be sure to have enough slots for the wires needed! If you cannot access 0ga crimpers, then use 4ga for this guide.

Six or Seven feet 0/4 gauge wire POWER-ALT
One foot 0/4 gauge wire GROUND-BATTERY
Three to four feet 0/4 gauge wire GROUND-ENGINE
0/4 gauge fuse holder for alternator positive
120amp fuse for alternator positive wire to battery
0/4 gauge gold connectors round ring type.
optional-high temperature loom to protect wires from hot spots in the engine.
optional-0/4 gauge gold ground post for battery ground L shaped or T shaped.
optional-4 ga connector for marking off the spots to cut to shape a 0 gauge connector to 4 ga size on alternator
sandpaper for cleaning off ground spot
Plenty of energy drinks and a full day to do this to take your own pictures to post here.
====


First, disconnect the negative connections from the battery followed by removing the positive terminals. Remove the battery cover and bracket, and then pull your battery so you can access the factory ground spot without a problem. Also, remove your air intake so you can route the wires easier.



Remove the engine ground wire connection from the engine. I wanted to save time so I just tucked away the original cable and secured it with zip ties. Next, remove the battery ground cable and tuck under battery tray. You can remove completely if you want also.
Verify the power wire is disconnected from the battery and proceed to the alternator bolt to take off the nut holding the stock power wire. To save time, there is no need to remove the wire completely but you may if you want to. You just have to deal with re-doing the loom and stock zip tie clips if you go that route. After everything has been disconnected, you are ready to install your new wires. So from here, make sure the O-ring for the alternator cable will fit into the slot for the alternator power. A 4ga connector or 0ga connector shaved down to a 4ga size will work perfectly in there. Put the bolt on over the O-ring and run the main power wire below following the pictures posted away from the exhaust heat and over the radiator hoses.



You should put some high temp loom over the first few feet of the wire for extra protection from anti-freeze or engine oil dripping onto it. Run the wire as safely as possible to your fuse box where you have the 120amp fuse waiting. I chose to mount my fuse box near the battery.




From there be sure to have enough to reach the battery terminal BUT DO NOT CONNECT THIS WIRE YET. Now we move to grounding points. For this, you will want to make sure the contacts are clean on both ends, so after disconnecting the engine ground from the engine, clean up those parts since there is alot of grime in the area on the engine and dirt near the battery.



Sand down the factory battery ground location to clean it as well. Using the same bolt you took off from that point, connect your L/T ground connector over that spot followed by placing the end of the battery ground cable into it. The engine ground O-ring will go over the L connector with the bolt through it. Make sure the bolt is nice and tight and that your battery ground cable sits in the hole securely. Give it a tug to make sure it won't come loose during operation of the motor. Connect the other end to the terminal you want to use and DO NOT RECONNECT THIS WIRE YET. You can however, connect the engine ground wires to both points at any time since there is no power to the motor. After everything looks nice and situated, ensure the grounding bolts are secure and move on to the stock positive terminal. When ready, go ahead and simply cut the wires as close as possible to the positive terminal. These are just like speaker wires so you should not have a problem working with them. The 2 white wires for the ECU and the starter wire {black with red stripe} do not have alot of slack so I routed them to the side posts of the optima battery. The stock altenator wires were tucked away since I was using much better metal and larger gauge wire. What you should do is connect these wires into the new battery terminal you want to use for the sides and secure them while the battery is out for easier adjustments. The alternator one can go anywhere you please so route that into the side one or top terminal depending on how your cable management is. Once you have your alternator wire fused and ready along with the other wires, you can reinstall the battery. Re-secure that into the tray and proceed to connect your battery terminals, starting with the positive ones and then move to ground. Do not put the battery tray ties back on until you have everything adjusted and tighted. Once finished, take a step back and enjoy your work...you shouldn't even had seen a spark if you followed this correctly.





Also as a side note for those who got the same terminals as me...you will need to tighten the side ground terminal before putting the battery back in since that nut will be inaccessible. Also the power wires for the LED indicators can be hooked up to its own terminal with the ground connected to the other terminal. Hopefully this works well with everyone out there and brings a little more peace of mind to using optima in your setup.


Last edited by tizal; 02/04/2009 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Updated details and fixed broken links to pics.
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Old 09/24/2008, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Agreed, nice write up. Or, if you like to fab, you could do what I did.





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Old 09/26/2008, 07:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICEMAN99TURBO View Post
Agreed, nice write up. Or, if you like to fab, you could do what I did.

Never bent a thing, just extended. 5+ years and still as good as new.
Yeah, thats a good way to keep your battery safe. I am sort of a mad scientist though in which battery serves the motor, car alarm, stereo, amplifiers, and neon lights. If I add that switch panel from ebay into the eclipse, I would easily also accomodate adding 4 more devices into the positive terminal without any disruption.
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Old 11/09/2008, 09:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Big number 4??

I found that my "loose connection" issue I'm having was really corrosion in my wires.
So while I do intend on following the instructions found in this thread to dress up my Big 3, first I have to get her rolling ASAP.

I ran a new 4 gauge AutoZone battery cable straight from the Alternator using this thread as a guide.

And then I ran a 4-gauge power wire, left over from an amp install, to replace
"Big Number 4": The Power Lead to the ECU/Fuse Box.
(It's the two white 8-gauge wires that connect to the stock battery terminal.)


Here's what I did:

First I popped off the fuse box cover to find where the power lead attaches.
I removed the nut holding it down and pulled the wire out of the loom.






Then I got a 4-gauge connector and bent it into an "L" shape.





I soldered it onto the end of my 4-gauge power wire, covered it in some new loom, and replaced it back into the fuse box connection.





The other end I connected to my new side post battery terminal connection.
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Old 01/04/2009, 12:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice one! I thought about that myself while i was doing the upgrade, but I wasn't sure if I should really do it since i could already fit those wires into the terminal...AND i didn't have corrosion. But that would be something to add on since 4ga is the right size to replace the two 8ga wires. But aren't you afraid of voiding your warranty?
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Old 01/19/2009, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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on the first picture the positive terminal has 120a fuse, my question is will this how-to work if it doesnt look exactly like that. my positive terminal has a completely different 120a (fusible link). it has like a little flap on the top which you can flip on or off to check the fuse.
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Old 01/23/2009, 12:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davila825 View Post
on the first picture the positive terminal has 120a fuse, my question is will this how-to work if it doesnt look exactly like that. my positive terminal has a completely different 120a (fusible link). it has like a little flap on the top which you can flip on or off to check the fuse.
As long as you use a fuse within 18" of the battery you're fine.
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Old 02/04/2009, 03:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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if you have one of those terminals with the fuse already built in, there should be no need to have to add another fuse holder unless you wanted the looks. they make some cool holders with a voltage meter in them for monitoring the altenator line.
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