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  #1  
Old January 12th, 2014, 20:56
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Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Step one in fixing my flickering headlights (Lucas?) is to have a decent place to pull power for the relays. Neither the years, nor the previous owners have been kind to the original wiring. Here is what I started with:



It may not look quite so bad on the surface, but as soon as you scratch the surface you start to get a sense of what is lurking beneath. The fact that I could hand tighten the clamp nuts on top of the positive terminal told me things weren't up to snuff there. And the negative terminal was tightened down as far as it could go, and yet it still could be taken off the battery post with ease. Not visible is the battery box which is cut open at each end as if to take a longer battery, and of course you can see that glorious strap across the top. It is time to clean house.

In the process of looking for a new battery tray I found that Dirtbound Offroad makes a steel tray designed for an Optima 34/78 battery: http://www.dirtboundoffroad.com/opti...erokee-xj.html

I'm not sold on the 34/78 format, but I do like and use the Group 34 batteries. I ordered a tray and yes, it will work with a Group 34 with the addition of the clamps which come as part of the 34/78 package. So that's what my new system will be designed around. I used an old, dead 34 for the mock-up. No smoke to let out this way.

Finally knowing where I was going it was time to take apart the mess I had on my hands. Here's what was lurking on the positive side:





That is the factory starter cable intertwined with what appears to be some sort of Monster Cable primary wire. There are quite a few strands doing next to nothing in this scenario.

Then on the negative side:





That's more of that Monster Cable or whatever it is. Notice the corrosion in the pocket formed by the grub screw. Whatever material they are using there, it does not appear to be the right choice for use with copper.

A substantial part of the problem here is that there is always a need to tie in something new, and there never seems to be the right provision for doing so. All too often folks just look for the quickest solution that will get things working today, but not much thought is given to ten years down the line. There is a better way.

The first thing I did was add in a junction block for the positive cables:



That is a 3/8-16 stud on an insulated mount. I have it screwed to the PDC mount. A short cable now goes between it and the PDC. Additionally one cable runs between that stud and the battery post, plus the factory starter cable now is routed to that stud. There is still room for a couple more cables.

Then we have how things now are managed at the battery itself:



Those are a military style terminal. They accept cable lugs. Multiples if need be. More options for expansion when needed.

They also offer flexibility. Not having sprung for the $300 Optima yet, I still need to be able to use the battery the Jeep came with. I have to shuffle a wire, but it works:



Just thought I would share.
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  #2  
Old January 12th, 2014, 21:27
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kastein kastein is offline
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

That came out quite nicely. I like it

Only question - why lead lugs? I usually go with brass marine style ones.

Both styles of terminals the PO left on there for you are the devil. I've seen so many horrible intermittent connections from them.
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Old January 12th, 2014, 21:54
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Nice job. I just did similar on mine.
The sup $20 cable lug crimper I got on ebay works nicely, I'm sure they are all about the same.
Crimp, heat with MAP, add solder where you can, add heat shrink.
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Old January 12th, 2014, 22:56
the_midwesterner the_midwesterner is offline
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Thanks for posting!

I will be upgrading all of my electrical system and this gives me some ideas.
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  #5  
Old January 13th, 2014, 08:30
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Quote:
Originally Posted by yossarian19 View Post
Nice job. I just did similar on mine.
The sup $20 cable lug crimper I got on ebay works nicely, I'm sure they are all about the same.
Crimp, heat with MAP, add solder where you can, add heat shrink.
If you scored one of these off ebay for $20 I'm turning green with envy...



I'm betting $20 gets you the anvil type. And I wish the PO had at least made the $20 investment. They work a whole lot better than a hammer and the concrete driveway.

As to why not the brass marine type, you can write it off as a preference if you like. I have broken a brass terminal. I had one crack in half for me. And I am not particularly fond of the vertical post. Given the choice for a horizontal post, I'll take that one.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 08:53
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Wow - I hadn't been able to see it before - that's a very nice tool and a very nice crimp it makes.
Telecom industry? Electrician? Doesn't look like a hobbyist purchase...
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Old January 13th, 2014, 09:06
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Battery lug crimp tool: http://www.waytekwire.com/item/460/C...GA-TO-250-MCM/

I had the questionable good fortune to spend time during college working for a guy who had all the toys. He was an influence. Good or bad is debatable.

At any rate, I know what I want. Building up the war chest to get it takes a bit longer.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 09:16
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Yeah, I will buy good quality tools any chance I get. That one's way way better than my Harbor Freight 8 ton hydraulic crimper, the dies actually crimp nicely instead of squashing excess metal out in sharp flashing form along the sides. Hell of a price to swallow, though, if I needed large terminals like that crimped more often I'd jump on it for sure.

I really don't like the vertical post, but I couldn't find any brass terminals with a horizontal bolt hole through them like yours and needed it immediately since my PO left a hacked up mess almost as bad as yours, it was actually causing intermittent "completely dead vehicle" symptoms and jerking/cutting out while driving on bumpy roads. Aint it great what dumbasses will do to wiring?
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Old January 13th, 2014, 09:36
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

where did you get those terminals? i need them.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 09:41
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

I used some battery terminals from DelCity with drop in solder slugs and did all my 1ga cabling that way.

They sell a "fusion" terminal now that is installed in the same manner, but comes preloaded with solder. I don't have any experience with them, but no need for a crimper.

http://www.delcity.net/store/Fusion-...-Lugs/p_804186

I've yet to have any issues with the way I did it. I can tug as hard as I want on them with no chance of any movement. I use heatshrink on the ends as well.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 10:32
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

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Originally Posted by XJLI View Post
where did you get those terminals? i need them.

Right here: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1...tary-Ordinance

Note they come separately as positive and negative.

You can get a lead free version too. I figure Kali will probably outlaw the lead, so I got them with lead.

The solder option definitely exists. There are pellets for a variety of cable sizes: http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1486/Solder/

I have gone for the crimp and solder, plus heatshrink with sealant. My goal is 20 years/200K miles.

Note that Waytek is not the only option for sourcing these products. You may be able to find them locally if you have the right specialty shop, and I am sure they can be ordered from other places. I have simply found that Waytek is reliable and good quality. I have never found their prices to be out of line for any given product. I might find a cheaper option elsewhere, but it will come at a reduced quality level.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 10:33
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Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

I've looked locally and couldn't find anything that nice. Thanks for the link.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 10:42
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Amazon and Prime 4x4 sell them, too. Prime is a forum sponsor...
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Old January 13th, 2014, 10:51
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

Quote:
Originally Posted by yossarian19 View Post
Prime 4x4 sell them, too. Prime is a forum sponsor...
And a great guy to boot. We were able to spend a lot of time chatting with him and his family in Moab.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 11:02
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Re: Battery and Cables: Fixing the Mess and Upgrading

I ran into the Prime4x4 guys on a trail in Moab while they were doing a trail fix. Great guys. I have their Fuse Block and Terminals. Very happy.
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