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How to Upgrade the Big Three


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90s civ and sub 
Member - Posts: 22
Member spacespace
Joined: December 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: February 11, 2007 at 12:23 AM / IP Logged  

I have a 90 Civic w/a h/o 135 amp alt. 

Alt to batt, cable - 4g.

- Batt to tranny case, cable (factory ground location) - 4g. 

Eng block or alternator to chassis, cable?? . . . . . . Crickets.

I have a 4g wire connected to the alternator mounting bolt, but the Civic's a unibody.  Could someone throw me a bone as to where the "chassis" end of this cable should go to??  Thanks in advance.

90 Civic DX Hatchback- 135 amp alternator
92 Suburban - 200 amp alternator
Stereo rebirth, coming soon. . . .
rzarock 
Member - Posts: 4
Member spacespace
Joined: February 03, 2007
Location: United States
Posted: February 12, 2007 at 9:41 AM / IP Logged  
I have a 72 Chevy C20 Pickup. After upgrading the Big 3 the battery doesn't seem to be charging. It started fine and everything seemed to work great initially however, after driving the truck for a few miles the gauge lights dimmed, the turn signals were slow, headlights were dim and eventually the truck died. After jump starting it I made it home but can't figure out what the problem is. I didn't add ground straps in addition to the OEM cables because there were no OEM cables to begin with. I used 2 gauge ground cable from the battery to the chassis. The same from the engine head to the chassis. I did run an 8 gauge cable in addition to OEM wire from the (new) alternator to the battery positive. I used a dual row barrier strip with jumpers to connect the cables (two from the alternator, one to head unit, one to amp) to the battery positive. It's bolted to the inner fenderwell with rubber behind it to prevent shorting. I'm lost please help!
DYohn 
Moderator - Posts: 10,735
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Joined: April 22, 2003
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:41 AM / IP Logged  
You said you have a new alternator.  Are you sure it works and is properly installed, and is the correct type for your vehicle (many GM vehicles require alts with internal voltage regulators)?
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rzarock 
Member - Posts: 4
Member spacespace
Joined: February 03, 2007
Location: United States
Posted: February 12, 2007 at 3:49 PM / IP Logged  
The alternator was installed two weeks before I did the upgrade and it worked fine. The truck uses an external voltage regulator which I replaced when I did the Big 3. It might be that. Also, the OEM wire from the alternator is soldered to four other wires in the OEM harness. One to the battery (+), two to a harness on the firewall and one to the voltage regulator. I was originally going to replace the OEM wire from the alternator that fed the other wires but read that leaving the OEM wire and running a separate cable from the alternator to the battery was OK. I'm not sure that this applies to vehicles running an external voltage regulator.
GReddyboy 
Member - Posts: 48
Member spacespace
Joined: July 24, 2002
Location: United States
Posted: February 19, 2007 at 7:41 PM / IP Logged  
I’m having a simerlar problem after I upgraded my grounds as well. I initially just upgraded my alternator to a hi-output 160amp from alterstart.com, and also ran a new 4guage power cable from the alternator to the positive battery post of the battery, and left the factory alternator charging wire intact. Afterwards I went to autozone to have my battery/alternator checked, and it said everything was working fine with the alternator charging at around 160amps.
Next, I proceeded to upgrade my grounds, but left all my stock ground wires intact. I ran a new 4guage ground from the alternator case to the negative battery post; another 8guage extra ground from the post to the chassis, and another additional 8guage that ran to the tranny, then to the valve cover. All the additional grounds are connected to a new aftermarket negative battery terminal that has the setscrew for the added grounds, and the factory 2-6guage ground wire. Everything worked fine for a few weeks until on certain mornings my starter would seem to struggle or click. I then took my car to 3 autozones to have the battery/alternator checked, and all said the battery is fine but the alternator is charging as 55-60amps max at 2k rpm ( stock alternator charges at 80-90amps) and charges at between 6-15amps at idle!!! The weird part was the charging amps at idle would jump around when he moved the tester around the ground wires.
Am I not suppose to ground the case of the alternator and run it straight to the negative battery post? Or is the spot where I grounded the wire on the alternator case bad? pic location where i grounded wire My next step is to just unconnect the alternator negative ground at the negative battery post and get retested to see what happens. If it does not make a difference then it looks like I need a warranty replacement from alterstart. Any other suggestions please let me know thanks
red11 
Member - Posts: 1
Member spacespace
Joined: December 18, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: February 20, 2007 at 11:06 AM / IP Logged  

Yeah, I would do just that. Remove the alt. (-) to battery (-) and  make your grounds :

1) battery (-)  ---->  chassis

2) Tranny/engine block  ----> chassis

And if that doesn't work, get your alt. checked out.  Seems like your on the right path to finding out whats going on. 

I just replaced my Big 3 last night with 1/0 awg all around.  I am getting a constant 14v now with almost no drop.  Now I just have to install my hardware.....How to Upgrade the Big Three - Page 6 -- posted image..  I am going to keep an eye on it for the next couple days and make sure what is happening to you, doesn't happen to me.  Keep us posted on what you find out. 

GReddyboy 
Member - Posts: 48
Member spacespace
Joined: July 24, 2002
Location: United States
Posted: February 26, 2007 at 1:35 AM / IP Logged  
So I went to autozone to test if it made a difference if i pulled the ground wire from alternator to negative battery post; reading from 15 peak charge amps went to around 22peak amps. So it might have something to do with my grounds. Next I wanted to see if it made a different replacing to whole different chassis to negative post ground. Then i bought a new battery ground cable at autozone. As i was replacing it, i found out my positive battery post was pretty loose! but does that have anything with amps charging too low because the tester, clamps onto the battery post, not the battery.
Next, I went to autozone again to check and my peak charge amps went up to 85amps, stock suppose to be at 90amps. So the negative post with all the new ground cables i put on are bypassed(ziptied to the side); except the 4ga from valve cover to chassis, and another 8ga to chassis are still functional.
Eventhough i fixed part of the problem, im still disapointed, I didn't spend all that time putting in addition ground wires for nothing, and since i payed for a high-output i want to get most out of my money. Did the way i ground the wires have anything to do with this? One thing i noticed is that my lights still dims when i turn up the volume when the bass hits, this is only a 250rpm mtx thunder amp. Long before, the dimming would not happen but the dimming happen a few months back. The dimming happened before i had any alternator or ground problems, so basically it happened before i even replace any grounds or the alternator. On the other hand i recently just changed the amp so im sure the dimming is not from the amp, but my previously amp did blow fuses at high volume.
In conclusion, I hoped the dimming would disapear after i had the alternator replace, and with the added grounds. But problems got even worse, because of the starting problems. what ya think? a major headache i know, Is there a way to check if the ground wires or power wires are tight and clean? Does anyone know where i can get a tester that reads in amps? Insteaded of repeatly bothering autozone employees. Please help guys, not sure if i should return the alternator just yet. thanks
GReddyboy 
Member - Posts: 48
Member spacespace
Joined: July 24, 2002
Location: United States
Posted: February 26, 2007 at 1:45 AM / IP Logged  
ok i guess i kinda contradicted my self a lil, when the previous post i said it charged at 55-65 peak amps to 10-15amps athen 22amps then 90amps. Everything is so fluctuating! i dont know maybe the employees are giving me wrong info. So i need to really invest in an amp meter to check it myslelf...
countdrcaula76 
Member - Posts: 26
Member spacespace
Joined: February 14, 2006
Location: India
Posted: February 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM / IP Logged  

hi

i just upgraded the 2 wire out of the bg three ( alternator -> batter(+) and batter(-) to chasis ) , now on the third one , my alternator has a seperate bolt for adding on a negetive ground wire to it but the oem wire is from the engine block to the chasis . so im not sure where to add the third cable from the alternator case or from the engine block , can any one help me . 

i checked the voltage and it is around 14.25 and drops as low as 14.20 . cant wait to add the third wire

- saif ullah khan
boom 95 aurora 
Member - Posts: 6
Member spacespace
Joined: February 24, 2007
Location: United States
Posted: March 24, 2007 at 8:06 AM / IP Logged  
i understand the big three and have done it on a few cars.
now in my new (1995 olds)auroura the battrey is under the back seat and the postive wire runs through fuse boxes and a jumper box of sorts under my hood before going to my alt.
my ? is will it mess whith anything by bypassing all them fuses and the jumper box and going strait to alt.
or is this reason for the big three being a biger improvement for me then others.
i will use 0/1 gauge for this and will fuse at both ends . better safe then sorry.
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