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How to Upgrade the Big Three

Printed From: the12volt.com
Forum Name: Car Audio - Hot Topics
Forum Discription: Stickied topics from our car audio forum. Car Audio FAQs. Read First!
URL: https://www.the12volt.com/installbay/forum_posts.asp?tid=73496
Printed Date: October 19, 2021 at 4:19 AM


Topic: How to Upgrade the Big Three

Posted By: DYohn
Subject: How to Upgrade the Big Three
Date Posted: February 25, 2006 at 8:22 PM

Since this question comes up again and again here, I thought this might be a useful post.  Performing a "Big 3" upgrade on your vehicle is one way to improve the electrical system performance and its ability to supply power to your audio system.  This upgrade will help any vehicle using an after-market amplified stereo system, and most certainly should be performed on any vehicle after a high-output alternator is installed.

Please be sure you read and understand this entire instruction before you begin.

Definition: the "Big Three" upgrade means improving the current capacity of three cables: 1) alternator positive to battery positive, 2) battery negative to chassis, and 3) engine ground to chassis.  Some people replace the factory wiring; others add additional cables to the factory wiring.  This instruction is to add cables to existing OEM wiring.

Parts and Tools:

As a minimum, you will need to purchase the following:

• Sufficient length of high-strand count high capacity power cable.
- The length required differs for every vehicle.  You can measure the length of the existing cables and buy the same length, or contact your dealer or a mechanic and ask, or sometimes you can look it up in a manufacturer's wiring book, or guess.  If you guess, make sure you over-estimate and buy too much.
- High strand count cable is more flexible and more reliable than low-strand count cable.  Never use solid-core wire in a moving vehicle as it will eventually break.
- The gauge of wire you need depends on the total current draw of your audio system, and/or the current generating capacity of your alternator.  Never use smaller cable that you used to power your amps; never use smaller cable than what already exists in your vehicle; never use smaller cable than the generating capacity of your alternator; never use smaller than 4 AWG (it's just not worth the time to use anything smaller); if in doubt, always use higher gauge cable than you think you need.  If you look at the Power and Ground charts and your amplifier current draw corresponds to 2 AWG cable, use no smaller than 2 AWG cable, and use 1/0 if you can.

• 6 ring terminals or lugs of the appropriate size for the cable chosen.  Two of these need to be large enough to fit over your battery posts, or appropriately sized to bolt onto your existing battery terminals.
• 1/2" or 5/8" shrink tubing (or some other form of permanent electrical insulation.  Tape is NOT recommended.)
• Cable ties (plastic zip ties.)

• Wire cutters large enough to handle the cable you choose.
• Crimpers large enough to handle the connectors you choose.
• Soldering iron or gun.
• Solder.
• Scotch brite and/or a small wire brush.
• Heat gun.
• Safety razor blade (or other tool for stripping cable).
• Heat gun (if using shrink tubing).
• Wrenches for removing bolts in your vehicle.

Procedure:

1.  Make sure your engine is completely cool before beginning.  Identify the three cables being replaced.  Make sure you can reach both ends of all cables.  NOTE: the engine block to chassis cable may be between the engine and the transmission, or connected to the transmission and the fire wall, and is often an un-insulated flat braid cable.

2.  Determine the lengths of cable needed to reach between the three locations being upgraded.  Be sure you measure with a flexible tape (a tape measure used for sewing works great) and record the total length along the path you intend to install the cable.  You do not want your cables to be pulled tight between any two locations as things move and vibrate as you drive.  Be sure to include at least 1 inch extra for slack.  NOTE: there is no reason to copy the existing wiring layout in your vehicle unless you want to.  Also, be sure that the path you choose does not follow or lay across anything that gets hot, like exhaust parts, or anything that must move, like throttle linkage.

3.  Cut your new cable to the three proper lengths.  NOTE: some people like to use red cable for positive and black cable for negative.  Doing this is completely up to you and is nice, but not necessary.  You can use cable with any color insulation you like.

4.  Strip each end of all cables to the proper length for the terminal lugs being used.  NOTE: after full insertion into the lug, a small "band" of bare wire is usually seen between the back of the lug and the beginning of the cable insulation.

5.  Begin at any one end and insert the stripped cable into the lug.  Make sure it is fully inserted.  Crimp the connector to hold the wire in place.  NOTE: crimping large cable can be difficult.  The intention here is not to make the crimp the sole means of holding the wire, but only to make sure the lug does not slip around during the soldering phase.  I do NOT recommend using hammers or pliers or vices to crimp the connector as over-crimping can break the strands of the cable, reducing the current carrying capacity.  Do not over-crimp.

6.  You may need to use a vise or some other set of "helping hands" to hold the cable while you solder it.  Heat your soldering iron and place it on the connector (on the lug side) barrel.  Hold a piece of solder against the tip of the iron and melt the solder into the strands of the cable.  Use sufficient solder to fill the connector and completely cover all strands of the cable.  NOTE: the lug will get hot and will burn you if you try to hold it.  Also, if the insulation on the cable starts to melt, you are over-heating the cable and not paying attention to melting the solder into the cable.  You do not need to try and melt the cable!

7.  Repeat the above steps on each end of all three cables.

8.  After the cables have completely cooled, cut a piece of shrink tubing long enough to cover the soldered barrel end of the lugs and reach about 1/2" onto the insulation of each cable end.  Slide this over each lug and use a heat gun to recover the tubing in place.

9.  Disconnect your battery, starting with the negative cable first then the positive cable.  Discharge any caps you may have in the system.

10.  Begin adding your new cables along side the existing ones.  I usually begin with the alternator positive cable. Locate the output stud on your alternator and remove the nut.  Slip the new cable onto the lug and replace the nut.  There is no need to disturb the existing cabling.  Route the new cable to the battery and position it to connect to the positive battery post (or connect it to the positive terminal on the OEM wiring) but do not connect the battery yet.

11.  Secure the new cable in place by using cable ties every 6 to 8 inches.  Secure the cable to cool non-moving parts!

12.  Locate where the negative battery cable attaches to the vehicle chassis.  Remove this bolt and the OEM battery cable, and clean the mounting area of the chassis using scotch brite and/or a wire brush.  Make sure there is no dirt, rust, paint, undercoating, etc in this location.  You want bright shiny metal.  Connect both your new ground and the OEM ground back to the chassis.  NOTE:  Some people like to create a new ground location by drilling into the chassis and using a bolt with star lock washers for the new ground cable.  Route this new cable back to the battery and position it to be attached, or connect it to the negative terminal.  Do not reconnect the battery yet.

13.  Secure the negative cable using cable ties every 6-8 inches.  Again, don't tie it to anything that moves or that gets hot!

14.  Disconnect the engine ground strap at both ends.  Using the wire brush or scotch brite, clean both the engine block and the chassis as you did for the first ground strap.

15.  Line up the lugs on both the OEM ground strap and your new ground cable, and use cable ties to secure them to each other.  This is much easier to accomplish in your lap or on the floor than it is while lying under your car or hanging upside down in the engine compartment.  Reinstall both cables at the same time using the factory bolts.

16.  Double check to make sure all bolts are tight.  Be careful not to over-tighten them as you don't want to strip anything!  Also, on some factory alternators it is WAY too easy to twist off the positive output lug.  If you break it off, well hell, you really wanted a high-output alternator anyway, right?  It is also a good idea at this point to measure resistance of the new cables.  Take an ohm reading between the battery end of the new ground cable and the engine block.  It should read less than one ohm.  Also check between the alternator bolt and the disconnected positive battery terminal, which should also be less than one ohm.  If you read too high resistance, double check all connections and make sure you do not have something c**ked sideways or hanging loose.

NOTE:  Realize that the "absolute ground" of the electrical system is not the battery negative terminal or the vehicle chassis, but is the case of the alternator itself.  This is why perhaps the most important cable among the Big 3 is the engine ground strap, as this is what connects the alternator ground to the vehicle's chassis.  Be certain the resistance between the alternator case (the engine block assuming the alternator is properly bolted to the engine) and the battery negative is minimized.  (Thanks to the12volt for pointing this out!)

17.  When you are sure you are done and anything in your system that you may have disconnected are re-connected, clean your battery posts and reconnect the positive battery terminal first, then the negative one.

18.  Start your vehicle.  Hopefully the engine starts.  :)  Examine the engine compartment and make sure none of your cables are getting hot or are vibrating or shaking around.  If they are vibrating too much you may need to relocate them or use more cable ties.  If you see smoke, immediately shut off the car and disconnect the battery.  Seek help.  :)

19.  Assuming all looks good, take a voltage reading at your amplifier and ensure you read 13.8 (or higher) volts.  This indicates a properly operating charging system.

20.  Now'd be a good time to turn it on and make sure it sounds good!  Then of course log onto the12volt.com and post that you have upgraded your Big 3!



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Replies:

Posted By: youngone
Date Posted: February 25, 2006 at 9:33 PM
Just for everybody here and me how do you discharge your caps SAFELY. And this is a sticky i have bin waiting for. i was wondering why nobody had posted this before. Not a problem now. posted_image and DYhon if you or somebody that dose this a lot (like Forbidden or some other big time installer) could get some pics to go along with your numbers it would help people a lot.posted_image

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On the12volt you give some info and you get in




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: February 25, 2006 at 9:54 PM
The safe way to discharge a stiffening capacitor is after the battery is disconnected, connect your charging resistor (or a test light or a 10watt resistor) across the positive and negative terminals.  Leave it there until you are ready to re-connect the battery, and then remove it.

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Posted By: arrow12
Date Posted: February 26, 2006 at 3:01 PM
Thanks for posting that DYohn.  Like youngone said...  It's about time someone posted it.

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Posted By: silentdeath890
Date Posted: March 14, 2006 at 11:31 AM

Is it entirely neccesary to leave the OEM wire there, the plasit coating on my OEM ground off my battery to my chassis is dry-rotted and the wire itself is corroded. I was going to replace it with high strand 4 guage wire.



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Alpine MRP-M650 600 RMS Amp
Alpine 12" Type R @ 2 Ohm
Rockford Fosgate 1 Farad Cap
Q-Logic Ported Box
Crappy AIWA H/U




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: March 14, 2006 at 1:24 PM

silentdeath890 wrote:

Is it entirely neccesary to leave the OEM wire there, the plasit coating on my OEM ground off my battery to my chassis is dry-rotted and the wire itself is corroded. I was going to replace it with high strand 4 guage wire.

No, it's not necessary at all.  Just be certain you use the same or larger gauge wire than the original OEM.



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Posted By: the12volt
Date Posted: March 15, 2006 at 11:27 AM

Great post DYohn. Thanks for posting this. Here are a couple of tips and opinions I would like to add.

When measuring for resistance to ground, it is always best to use the case of the alternator as your reference point. This is absolute ground when the vehicle is running. I also find it better to use an analog meter for this purpose since analog meters allow you to "zero out" the meter to accommodate for the much longer than usual test leads needed to make such measurements and eliminate the resistance added by the extended test leads from your readings which provides you with a more accurate measurement and a zero ohm starting point. Doing this, you will see resistance levels much closer to zero than you will with digital meters without this "zero out" feature. Also, when replacing or adding a new ground from the engine to the vehicle's chassis, you should always use the case of the alternator as the engine connection point.

As DYohn stated above, some people replace the cables and others add them. In the majority of cases it is OK to leave the existing cables in the vehicle and if your vehicle is still under warranty, you should leave them to avoid any controversy with the dealership should you have an issue, but if it's not under warranty my preference is to replace each of the following.

Negative from alternator to chassis.
Positive from alternator to battery.
Negative from battery to chassis.

Even though it is usually not necessary, I find replacing them rather than adding them makes for a cleaner installation and helps to eliminate the potential resistance problems that can result from multiple connections at the same point, especially in the harsh conditions that exist in the engine compartment of any vehicle.



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Posted By: 5150azn
Date Posted: April 06, 2006 at 10:33 AM
Hey engine ground to chassis or to battery? I've built some race cars where I grounded the engine to the battery. Was I doing something wrong?

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Posted By: sleepy186
Date Posted: April 06, 2006 at 1:39 PM
Would it make a difference going from alternator negative to battery negative versus chassis?




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: April 06, 2006 at 2:24 PM
The engine ground should be connected to the chassis and so should the battery ground.  AFAIK alternator "negative" does not exist: alternators have a positive output and the negative is the case.  The case is bolted to the engine.

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Posted By: Mad Scientists
Date Posted: April 06, 2006 at 5:31 PM

The first gen VW Rabbit used a rubber mounting bushing for the alternator.. common problem was bad grounding. Fix was to run a ground strap from the alternator housing to the engine block. Don't know if others manufacturers do the same thing but I saw enough problems with the VWs to remember it, and to check for voltage drop from both alt housing to engine block and alt housing  to bat negative.

I've seen factory ground side wiring to run from battery negative to chassis, and another wire from bat neg to engine block. Then a connecting ground strap from the engine block to the chassis, just to make sure. 

The main point of my post was to point out that resistance measurements aren't very good at checking for bad connections.. I've seen mentioned elsewhere on the site that up to 0.5 ohms is acceptable.. what's the voltage drop across a 0.5 ohm resistance with 25 amps?.. does it look like something anyone would like to measure on their own car?

Jim





Posted By: jt824
Date Posted: April 24, 2006 at 1:29 AM
So when ungrading the big three I am adding wiring to the existing 3 locations and leaving the factory wiring intact correct?




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: April 25, 2006 at 11:56 AM

jt824] wrote:

o when upgrading the big three I am adding wiring to the existing 3 locations and leaving the factory wiring intact correct?

That's the way I describe it, yes.  You CAN replace the OEM wiring if you choose as long as you use large enough gauge to supply the normal vehicle loads PLUS the sound system load.



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Posted By: specvsentra
Date Posted: May 10, 2006 at 7:02 PM
when installing the big 3 what size fuse or circuit breaker should i install between the alternator positive and battery positive leads??




Posted By: aznboi3644
Date Posted: May 12, 2006 at 7:51 PM
In my 98 Explorer its pretty sweet. It has its own fuse holder for the alternator to the battery at 150amps.




Posted By: soljah
Date Posted: May 13, 2006 at 3:05 PM
I want to upgrade the BIG 3, but I have a dilemna.  I can't put any additional wires on my positive battery terminal.  I do have an optima yellow top battery with both top posts and side posts.  Do you think it would be a problem to use both at the same time?  Any input would be greatly appreciated.




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: May 14, 2006 at 10:30 AM

specvsentra wrote:

when installing the big 3 what size fuse or circuit breaker should i install between the alternator positive and battery positive leads??

While it is not 100% necessary to do this, it is always a good idea to fuse any power carrying cable, especially those you have added to your vehicle.  Place a fuse or braker close to the battery side of the cable rated at about 80% of the cable's load carrying capacity.



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Posted By: nubiannupe
Date Posted: May 26, 2006 at 5:40 PM
Something I wanted to address and, hopefully, get input on in regards to this post (thanks, btw, to DYohn). On #6, it was mentioned that you need to hold the solder against the iron and melt it into the strands. However, I was taught that this invariably creates a "cold solder" joint, and instead you should heat the wire - allowing the solder to melt into the wire. Any input/thoughts on this??

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**Peter North is my idol***
MECP-Certified 1st Class Installer




Posted By: electrostatic
Date Posted: May 26, 2006 at 7:10 PM
when i solder ring terminals or any connection for that matter that acts as a heat sink i'll apply solder directly to my irons tip to improve heat transfer and then when the connection gets hot enough i'll apply solder to the connection.

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Posted By: jazzcustom131
Date Posted: June 03, 2006 at 3:18 PM

about soldering... I think there's several variations of what's right. I was taught, to do as DYohn begins. aplly a bit of solder to the tip.

but when adding the remainder of the solder, feed the solder oppostie from where the iron is, to ensure a proper job. It makes sure all the metal is hot, and ready to bond. So if the iron is in your left hand, feed with the righ hand, 180º from where the iron is. and I don't mean on the other END of the cable, just the other SIDE from where the iron rests.



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Posted By: aceracer24
Date Posted: June 08, 2006 at 11:55 PM
Short story, I always knew that upgrading to larger gauge wire for just about anything made an improvement but I just today swapped out my old crappy Alternator wire (about 10 gauge maybe) with some 4 gauge cable I bought from an audio store. My deck shows the volt output and normaly on my but it's around low 12's maybe mid 12 volts. After I started up the car and let it warm up I came back and saw it happily jumping between low 13 and about 13.7. posted_image I was extremely shocked. I knew the benefits but didn't really expect to see anything significant. To top it off, that was only one of the 3 things I have done so far. I have yet to replace the grounding under the car with the 2 gauge I bought and i have not run the other power wire to the fuse box yet. All in all I am pretyt happy with the outcome. Just thought I would share :)

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Pioneed DEH-780MP, 2 10' Memphis PR104D, Memphis PR500.1, TXC 6.1, MTX Thunder 8502




Posted By: reefguy
Date Posted: June 12, 2006 at 10:45 AM
question on the soldering, i use 1/0 crimp terminal, is the wire strip enough to show abit between the crimp and the wire insulation, and solder between that gap and strink tube over it?




Posted By: aceracer24
Date Posted: June 12, 2006 at 12:06 PM
I would not recommend doing it that way. You won't get as good of a bond with the solder trying to do it between the small gap not to mention you will most likely melt the insulation/tubing.

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1968 VW Beetle
Pioneed DEH-780MP, 2 10' Memphis PR104D, Memphis PR500.1, TXC 6.1, MTX Thunder 8502




Posted By: jlord16
Date Posted: June 13, 2006 at 1:28 AM
I have two OEM wires comming from the positive battery terminal, is this unusal?  I know one goes to the alternator but i cant seem to locate where the other ones goes, do some cars have two wires carrying current from the alt or does it go elsewere?

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Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: June 13, 2006 at 6:11 PM

jlord16 wrote:

I have two OEM wires comming from the positive battery terminal, is this unusal?  I know one goes to the alternator but i cant seem to locate where the other ones goes, do some cars have two wires carrying current from the alt or does it go elsewere?

It's not unusual and it could be going any number of places.  The one you should be worried about is the interconnect between the alt and the battery.  Don't disturb the other one(s). 



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Posted By: killer sonata
Date Posted: June 13, 2006 at 7:16 PM
Mine had 2 wires stock connected to the battery. 1 came from the alt, the other went to the fuse box. a positive battery post can have multiple conenctions depending on what needs to be powered and how the manufacturer wnated those wires run.

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Posted By: arctichighlandr
Date Posted: July 04, 2006 at 12:55 AM

The above description for upgrading the big three doesn't seem to fit what I'm seeing in my car.

I have an 06 Subaru Impreza wagon.  It has a couple plus wires and a couple negative wires coming off the battery.  The negative wires look like they are at most 8 gauge (1 direct to adjacent chassis, 1 to transmission(?) housing).  The plus wires are hidden by cable covers but the one that appears to go to the starter seems to be the same gauge.

The wire for the alternator first goes to a fuse box where I believe it feeds an array of items.  A plus wire comes off of the bottom of this fuse box (along with a ground wire) and feeds the alternator via a snap in module with 2 wires that look like they are only about 22 gauge.   I assume the above upgrade technique wouldn't apply to my car?  Is there an alternative that would work?   As far as I have been able to determine there is no alternator upgrade available.

I plan to add a 800w stereo (500w & 300w amp).  Since I can get some flexible 5400+ strand 2/0 wire about the same price as 4 gauge is selling for locally I had planned to overkill the big 3 with this wire as well as run it to the amps.  Now I'm not sure what to do.





Posted By: mech3
Date Posted: July 11, 2006 at 9:48 PM

I just did my big three with stinger proffesional series 1/0 gauge wire and now my alt voltage reading i 13.78v when before it was 14.1v. My elevtrical system seems to be running a little weaker hen before as both amps are not as loud as before the upgrade. I verified all grounds and they all have super minimum resistance. I am really confused- I ran the 1/0 gauge as secodary wires to the oem runs. I have tried individually removing the battery and engine upgraded runs and it makes no difference. I have the 1/0 gauge power run ran from the alt to the platinum battery terminal on the top post of my optima, and the factory line still connects to th side post. I have an extra ground on the battey also so i have grounds on both the battery top terminal and side post. I am thinking to remove the 1/0 power run from the alt to test it out to see if there is a voltage difference, as i have not yet tried that. I have taken voltage readings from the terminal on the alt, the battery, and back at my amp, and they all are within .02 volts of eachother. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks





Posted By: slipone
Date Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:10 PM

Is it good practice to leave the stock wires connected when and after installing the new wires?

If i am unsure of my current draw, would it be ok if i just installed 1/0 guage wire to be safe?



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Posted By: tweakerxp
Date Posted: July 13, 2006 at 9:55 PM
slipone wrote:

Is it good practice to leave the stock wires connected when and after installing the new wires?

If i am unsure of my current draw, would it be ok if i just installed 1/0 guage wire to be safe?





Current will always take the path of least resistance, so you're fine leaving the stock wires in there. 1/0 gauge would be ideal.




Posted By: kirktcashalini
Date Posted: September 01, 2006 at 9:07 PM
I just did the big 3 with 4 AWG wire, since i have a GM i use side post for factory wiring, and since my yellow top has side and top, I used top for all the wires I added.

DEFINATE dimming related difference, and it looks great check out my job its on my profile link page 4 if you want. Thanks alot for thissticky it helped tons. whole thing cost about 80 bucks (battery tops were 50 for both...) and it was a well worth upgrade. Didnt take long at all either.

the 4awg was actually bigger than factory wiring, so you knooow its helpin lol posted_image thanks again

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Posted By: hoppinlowrider
Date Posted: September 09, 2006 at 10:24 PM

Anyone ever done this upgrade to a Chevy Lumina or any car wit a 3.1L?  I plan on doin this soon but i dont know where the battery +  goes to the Alternator +.   Does it go through a fuse box or what?  and does anyone know where the engine to ground is?   I am going to use 4 guage  i think because it looks bigger than stock.  What do you guys think?    If anyone has done this or knows where they are please let me know and show some pics if you can, please.    And i also want to know if you can use both side post and top posts on a battery at the same time?





Posted By: clayboy95
Date Posted: September 23, 2006 at 10:26 AM
  I was just going out to add to the big three, when I noticed the wire from the alternator goes to a distribution block on the firewall (90 chev pick up Ext cab.)  and just a small wire from there back to the battery.  My question is, can i just add a bigger gauge cable from the alt. right to the battery.  Thanx




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: September 25, 2006 at 8:17 AM

clayboy95 wrote:

  I was just going out to add to the big three, when I noticed the wire from the alternator goes to a distribution block on the firewall (90 chev pick up Ext cab.)  and just a small wire from there back to the battery.  My question is, can i just add a bigger gauge cable from the alt. right to the battery.  Thanx

Sure, just leave the factory wiring intact.



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Posted By: reax222
Date Posted: September 27, 2006 at 8:41 PM
I'm having touble and am looking for an easy solution. I just put a 220 amp alt in my F250, I used 1/0 gauge wire for the charge wire so far. I plan on doing the ground this weekend. The problem is the new alternator stud is too short to use the stock and new eye terminal at the same time. I am running just the 1/0 now and I only have until mid day tomorrow to get parts in for the weekend. I have heard of stud extenders, but I don't have much clearance between the water cross over and the stock stud. What will do the trick?

Btw thanks for the walk through, I started a pdf of my process if it will help anyone let me know.




Posted By: trae08
Date Posted: October 28, 2006 at 4:04 PM
can i use heavy gauge amp wire to upgrade my Negative from alternator to chassis.
Positive from alternator to battery.
Negative from battery to chassis.




Posted By: master5
Date Posted: October 28, 2006 at 10:54 PM

Ok I finally read this.

I always did this with highend, competition, demo and large systems. I assumed everyone knew this already but actually shouldn't be surprised.

Great info guys.



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Posted By: isisfreak
Date Posted: November 14, 2006 at 11:50 AM
Is 2 AWG or 0AWG really necessary? I can see for really high amperage systems, but what about the guys running low amperage? My system is only like 80A. Do I need something so heavy or can I use some 4AWG like the rest of my system?




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: November 14, 2006 at 1:00 PM

isisfreak wrote:

Is 2 AWG or 0AWG really necessary? I can see for really high amperage systems, but what about the guys running low amperage? My system is only like 80A. Do I need something so heavy or can I use some 4AWG like the rest of my system?

You can use 4AWG.



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Posted By: Mad Scientists
Date Posted: November 14, 2006 at 3:37 PM

Do most people use circuit protection in the wire from the alt to bat +?.. most factory harnesses I see have circuit protection of some sort on this wire; I'm wondering if people are leaving this out when they upgrade.

Jim





Posted By: 86monte
Date Posted: December 03, 2006 at 6:30 PM
i started mine today (86 monte carlo) and i dont see a positive from alt to battery. the only pos wire on the batt is going somewhere under the passenger side exhaust manifold (ill take a closer look tomorrow, really hard to get to). The only wire i see coming from the alt is going to the negative battery post??




Posted By: DjRDifacs
Date Posted: December 11, 2006 at 5:15 PM
There is a 4guage wire from my alternator to my starter, than another 4guage wire from my starter to my battery (positive). It should be ok to just replace my wires with 2 guage and have them wired exactly the same right? Meaning 2guage from alternator to starter, and another 2 guage from starter to battery (is high strand 2 guage wire too much for my starter?). I don't have room, nor do I want to have two 4guage, and one 2guage wires all connected my my battery post.

Thanks




Posted By: boulderguy
Date Posted: December 26, 2006 at 12:21 PM
OK, just getting around to doing this on an '05 Subaru Outback.

First look in the engine compartment reveals a 4g positive going from the alt to the engine relay box, then to the battery.

Is it OK to just piggyback an addt'l 4g from the alt to the battery+ (skipping the relay box)?

Next, there's an existing 8g battery ground to engine, but the engine connection is buried under an intercooler. OK to ground to another engine location?

Last - can't find any definitive engine to frame ground line. OK to start a new one? Am I creating ground loop points?




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: January 01, 2007 at 9:10 AM
DId you get the information you needed boulderguy?

-------------
Support the12volt.com




Posted By: boulderguy
Date Posted: January 01, 2007 at 11:24 AM
You're answer was right on - thanks. I was just too impatient to wait on the answer here. posted_image

I'll post your comments here, someone had the same question several pages ago & didn't get a response.




Posted By: boulderguy
Date Posted: January 01, 2007 at 11:59 AM
Sent by : DYohn
Sent : December 26, 2006 at 6:07 PM

Sure. Glad to help.

Is it OK to just piggyback an addt'l 4g from the alt to the battery+ (skipping the relay box)?

Yes, this is a good idea. Make it as short as possible but be sure to leave slack for engine movement.

Next, there's an existing 8g battery ground to engine, but the engine connection is buried under an intercooler. OK to ground to another engine location?

Yes, it's OK. In fact, if you can tap into one of the alternator mounting bolts this would be best.

Last - can't find any definitive engine/battery to frame ground line. OK to start a new one? Am I creating ground loop points?

Take the same connection at the alternator bolt mentioned above and run it to the car's frame. No worries about ground loops.

Good luck!





Posted By: compudude86
Date Posted: January 31, 2007 at 12:40 PM
question,
i have a buick century, the battery has no top terminals, only side terminals, with the bolt-on cables. how would i replace these cables with 4g?




Posted By: goser
Date Posted: February 03, 2007 at 10:56 AM

compudude86 wrote:

question,
i have a buick century, the battery has no top terminals, only side terminals, with the bolt-on cables. how would i replace these cables with 4g?

I actually haven't done this yet, so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but you can get a "GM side post adaptor" that replaces the factory bolt and then threads through the eye on your 4 gauge.  Alternately, and what I'm going to do once I get some more bones, is replace the battery with an optima or orbital one that has both top and side posts.





Posted By: No1stunna
Date Posted: February 07, 2007 at 1:55 PM
I have a 95 civic I'm installing a HO alternator on, and the pos from the alternator goes straight to a fuse box for misc. things. there is a fuse for the battery rated @ 80A. I'm going to upgrade stock wiring with 1/0, the alternator puts out 160A, Do I need to replace this fuse with a larger one to match alternator output/current draw? or should I run a seperate cable to the Pos. and bypass the fusebox (leaving stock wiring to fusebox) Any input is welcomed, thanks




Posted By: boulderguy
Date Posted: February 07, 2007 at 5:22 PM
Better to simply add an addt'l wire from the alt to battery + if you can fit it. If 1/0, use a 300a fuse - you're fusing for the wire, not the alt.




Posted By: 90s civ and sub
Date Posted: February 11, 2007 at 12:23 AM

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. . . .




Posted By: rzarock
Date Posted: February 12, 2007 at 9:41 AM
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!




Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:41 AM
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)?

-------------
Support the12volt.com




Posted By: rzarock
Date Posted: February 12, 2007 at 3:49 PM
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.




Posted By: GReddyboy
Date Posted: February 19, 2007 at 7:41 PM
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






Posted By: red11
Date Posted: February 20, 2007 at 11:06 AM

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.....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. 





Posted By: GReddyboy
Date Posted: February 26, 2007 at 1:35 AM
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




Posted By: GReddyboy
Date Posted: February 26, 2007 at 1:45 AM
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...




Posted By: countdrcaula76
Date Posted: February 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM

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




Posted By: boom 95 aurora
Date Posted: March 24, 2007 at 8:06 AM
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.




Posted By: 3rd gen
Date Posted: March 31, 2007 at 3:20 PM
Car: 2001 Eclipse GT

Question:

     The factory wire running from my alternator (+) to battery (+) runs into a battery terminal with a 120A fuse built into it.

     If I run 1/0GA wire along-side the factory wire, should I fuse it at the battery at 120A or at the current carrying capacity of the wire (350A)?




Posted By: forms89
Date Posted: March 31, 2007 at 4:38 PM

I got a ? My battery is mounted in the trunk (from the factory 2006 Saturn Ion).. So the posative from the alternator is split and goes to my starter and then to a distribution block type set up..  How would i go about doing to big 3 on my car?





Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: April 06, 2007 at 12:39 PM
Fuse at the capacity of the wire or lower if necessary to protect the alternator.  Leave the factory wiring intact.

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Support the12volt.com




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 11, 2007 at 5:34 PM
I have an 99 chevy monte carlo. I have an aftermarket pioneer deck thats has a battery meter installed in the deck.

I only have an 4 guage wire , and no big 3 upgrades but my bateery voltage meter always is high. It is usually at 14.3 volts, but at night time it drops to about 13.5 with lights on...

Is that normal consireding I dont have any upgrades. I have an directed audio d1200 amp..

also I had rockford p3 before I installed directed audio subwoofers. My p3's use to have my headlights dimmimg but my directed audio subs doesnt do that with the same amp? any reason why?




Posted By: stevdart
Date Posted: April 11, 2007 at 7:30 PM
Dropping from 14.3 volts to 13.5 volts because of headlights on sounds perfectly normal to me.  Better than what my car does.  For your second question, you've made an improvement.  Why question it?  And BTW, everybody with an aftermarket system that includes subs should upgrade the big three if dimming becomes an issue.

-------------
Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 11, 2007 at 7:39 PM

stevdart wrote:

BTW, everybody with an aftermarket system that includes subs should upgrade the big three if dimming becomes an issue.

I 8 bazillionize that motion.



-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 11, 2007 at 11:57 PM
How do I upgrade my wires on a 99 chevy monte carlo?

I look at the wires and its a bit confuding. Like on my alternater is like a l shape rubber boot that seems like it snaps on so it would be hard to replace or add wire.. please help..

Does upgrading big 3 means replacing or adding wrie?




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 12, 2007 at 12:16 AM
Read this post from the beginning. It will answer both of your questions. As for the protective boot covering the charge wire stud on your alternator; I just cut a u-shaped notch out of mine -near the base, globbed some rubber cement over the tiny gaps (hot glue works fine, too), and used a small black zip-tie to make sure it stayed -after the glue dried. I'm sure someone will give you the appropriate way to do this, though...

-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 18, 2007 at 11:22 PM
4g wires hold up to 150amps, use a 150amp fuse. As for the rest of your q's, read this sticky from the beginning!posted_image

-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 6:26 PM

The negatives are easily found. There is one coming off the battery to either the frame, the engine block, or even both. Simply toss (or add onto) these wires to do the negative portion. I don't see how you can't find them, unless your battery only has the positive connected, in that case the car won't start.

Alright, I did a little research for you (I work at Napa) and it appears the factory ground is 2g. It goes to both the frame and the engine block.

Keep me updated.



-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 8:20 PM
Okay thanks for the info..

Well I'm glad to say that I upgraded my Big 3 and replaced my alternator(with stock alt..105 amps) today.

I bought regular 2 gauge Duralast Premium battery cable from Autozone for around 30 bucks.

This is what I did------

1. I ran a separate negative battery cable from my batttery to a spot on a metal crossbar.(I drilled a hole)

2. I ran 2 gauge battery cable from the alternator to the positive battery post( I didn't put a fuse in yet , but I plan to add a 150 amp fuse within the next couple of days).

3. I ran a 2 Gauge negative battery cable from my engine manifold(block) to my alternator screw..(Not the positive screw)

I fully charged my battery.

Started the car and looked at my battery meter on my pioneer deck and it read 14.4 volts at first( I assuming because the battery was fully charged). But I then drove around and played my system loud and my voltage stayed at around 13.8-14.0 volts or so, except for deep bass drops which dropped the voltage to about 13.4-13.5 volts for a fraction of a second or so..

Okay now at night time with my fog and headlights running and the heat on low, my voltage dropped to a steady 13.4-13.5 or so but with deep bass drops it dropped between 12.7-13.0 for a quick second..

So what do you abou this? Can some analyze this and give me some feedback please!

Oh and the only thing that I messed up was my belt tesioner.. for some reason it makes a lot of noise now(rattle, sometimes squeal). It's quiet most of the time but sometimes it can get a little loud.. Why is it causing this noise?

Thanks for the feedback my fellow bassheads.,.

-------------
Pioneer DEH-P6800MP
5.25 kicker fronts
6 1/2 kicker rear
Directed D1200 Amp
2 Directed Audio SX Subwoofers




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 8:27 PM
oh and also should I add my capacitor to my system?

-------------
Pioneer DEH-P6800MP
5.25 kicker fronts
6 1/2 kicker rear
Directed D1200 Amp
2 Directed Audio SX Subwoofers




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 8:56 PM

The tensioner is about to give. Replace that and the belt to ensure max alt. output.

You said you used the Duralast cable instead of audio cable? Those cables aren't half as good as audio power cables. The 2g is about equivelant to 4g.



-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 9:00 PM
Oh, I didnt know that...Well with the cables they are there now now so I'm not replacing them. I''m pretty sure I got more current flowing now right either way.?? Since I do have extra wires ?



-------------
Pioneer DEH-P6800MP
5.25 kicker fronts
6 1/2 kicker rear
Directed D1200 Amp
2 Directed Audio SX Subwoofers




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 9:02 PM
What happens when tensioner gives? And I'm still getting more current right then before with the duralast cables right?

-------------
Pioneer DEH-P6800MP
5.25 kicker fronts
6 1/2 kicker rear
Directed D1200 Amp
2 Directed Audio SX Subwoofers




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 9:21 PM

Oh, okay. I didn't realized you added those to the exsisting wiring. My 'b'. Since you didn't chunk the old wiring this should be fine.

When the tensioner is making noise like that, it's not keeping the belt as tight as it should be. This means that the belt is possibly slipping. When the belt slips, the pulleys aren't being turned as they should therefore the alt. possibly might not be charging like it should. This could be the reason the voltage drops so much. I have a 105amp alt in my cavalier, too and my lights don't dim. I have a max audio system draw of 102.5 amps. I try not to use any other acc. than I need to when I crank up my music. I literally drive around cold in the winter and hot in the summer (windows down on both occasions), just to be able to turn it up w/out worrying about my alt. failing.

Change the belt and tensioner. The belt goes for 21.26 here at Napa, I don't think we sell the tensioner but it should be about $50.



-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: mystereobangs
Date Posted: April 19, 2007 at 11:13 PM
The belt is nice and tight on there with less then .5 inches of slack. I don't know if it loosens up when I drive it though.. Are the tensioner easy to change.? I'm hoping all I have to do is unloose the 1 bolt, remove the tensioner, replace with new one and tighten bolt back in..

-------------
Pioneer DEH-P6800MP
5.25 kicker fronts
6 1/2 kicker rear
Directed D1200 Amp
2 Directed Audio SX Subwoofers




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: April 23, 2007 at 8:50 PM

Sorry, usually they're that easy to change. It does depend on the placement, though. Like on my G-friends' '98 Saturn SL1, I had to remove the inner fender liner in order to get to it.

With less than 1/2" of slack, it seems fine, you sure it's the tensioner? -Hopefully not the alt.



-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: tagminion
Date Posted: April 28, 2007 at 8:19 PM
ok i was looking at doing the upgrade to my 87 pontiac 6000 =] .... but ive run into sort of a delema i cant find where the alt positive goes im thinking it goes into a relay thats on the drivers side under a cover...so basicaly if thats where it is should i run the thicker gauge into the relay or straight to the battery? ive been really reluctant to run it straight to the battery seeing as it dosent seem to directly go there now....also i was going to be adding a dry or gel battery int he back what would be the appropriate wattage needed in this application for the isolator? and what would be the ideal gauge of wire going from the batterys/alt to the isolator? if someone could help me out this would be very much appreciated thanks




Posted By: still_walkin
Date Posted: May 06, 2007 at 4:31 AM
i was looking at the big 3 method and  i saw many versions to it my question is when going straight from the battery  to the alternator (positive) is a fuse required ive seen that written off and on . also the three are negitive batt terminal to chasis. 2nd battery (positive) to alternator and third negitve to engine block ground. on the third one ive seen two verisons to the third they were negitve to engine block ground and alternator to engine block ground. in brief words which is the correct way thanks 

-------------
1993 sdv
Alpine 4x6 6x9 5 1/4 swr-10d4
alpine v60
12.5 VGA flip down
Nettop pc w/10" touch screen
78nova
5-re audio 5x7 ,10" sub &
Xtx-500.5
"Take the faceplate off get the jumperpack"




Posted By: jmelton86
Date Posted: May 07, 2007 at 6:32 PM

still_walkin, you ideally want to fuse the alt. to batt. positive. This protects the wire and essentially your car from fire in the case of collision near the front of the vehicle. You want to use a fuse that is the maximum rating of the wire, 8g-75amps; 4g-150amps; etc... As for the ground, use an ohmeter and check for the path of least resistance from batt. to frame, frame to block, etc...



-------------
2013 Kia Rio -90a alternator
DDX470HD GTO14001 GTO1014D (x3)
Big3 in 1/0G
1/0G to GTO14001




Posted By: goser
Date Posted: May 10, 2007 at 6:01 PM
98 Blazer, looking into the upgrade I have 3 wires from my battery negative--One to the engine, one to body, and one to the chassis.  Then there's a ground strap from the firewall which I presume runs down to the engine as well.  How should I go about upgrading these?  I have my amp grounded to the body in the back.




Posted By: yanki01
Date Posted: May 10, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Im doing the Big3 since i already have a decent 2 amp system and about to change it out for an equaveliant 2 amp system along with an HID retro with a relay so i know ill need this.

I made out a little picture for mine just to double check....

on the grounds i have one comming from the negative which im sure every1 has. Would it be ok to use the same grounding points that the OEM negative ground has for the ground comming from the engine block? Thanks for the help! BTW- i have a Scion tC.



-------------




Posted By: yanki01
Date Posted: May 10, 2007 at 7:02 PM
woah, dont know what happened there? posted_image




Posted By: yanki01
Date Posted: May 16, 2007 at 7:27 AM
anyone?




Posted By: dk77
Date Posted: May 29, 2007 at 9:28 PM
the12volt wrote:

Great post DYohn. Thanks for posting this. Here are a couple of tips and opinions I would like to add.

...I also find it better to use an analog meter for this purpose since analog meters allow you to "zero out" the meter to accommodate for the much longer than usual test leads needed to make such measurements and eliminate the resistance added by the extended test leads from your readings which provides you with a more accurate measurement and a zero ohm starting point. Doing this, you will see resistance levels much closer to zero than you will with digital meters without this "zero out" feature...


Sorry to join in this thread so late.  This is an excellent tip about zeroing (relative zero) longer sets of meter leads.  I use a Fluke 87V, and it has a "REL" button for zeroing out meter leads.  Place the leads together and press the button.  The only disadvantage is that it will take the meter out of AUTO function, but that's no biggie. 





Posted By: hamzter
Date Posted: June 05, 2007 at 10:11 AM
DYohn] wrote:

jt824] wrote:

o when upgrading the big three I am adding wiring to the existing 3 locations and leaving the factory wiring intact correct?

That's the way I describe it, yes. You CAN replace the OEM wiring if you choose as long as you use large enough gauge to supply the normal vehicle loads PLUS the sound system load.




I just joined, so I am a newbie to everyone here...

Here is my situation. The battery has been relocated to the trunk. I am running 1/0 to the trunk for power on the driver side. My Alternator is on the passenger side.

so my questions are:

1. do I run 4 gauge or, what is the minimum I can run to my power mount point in the engine bay?

2. Can I also run another ground from my alternator to the motor, if so what gauge must I run. Should it match the powers size gauge?

3. This may not be in the scope of this post, but I have multiple grounds on the motor in the engine bay, will this cause engine noise?

thanks,

-------------
Mark "Hamzter" Cinense
1991 Infiniti G20 w/JDM SR20DE
Eclipse CD8445
MTX Thunder 684
Polk DB6750
Polk DB6500
Optima Red Top in the Trunk




Posted By: wopaim
Date Posted: June 06, 2007 at 10:35 PM

OMG OMG and OMG.  i did the BIG 3 wire upgrade and all i can say is WOW.  My voltage increased by a couple of tenths, the deep bass notes sound a little stronger, highs and mids sound a little fuller and richer, and you guys may laugh and maybe its just me but my truck seems to run stronger.  i took some voltage readings before at stock then wire upgrade then wire+optima.

stock:                                 truck idling 13.6v   -  idling with stereo cranked using test tone CD 12.6 (lowest drop)

wire upgrade:                  truck idling 14V      -  idling with stereo cranked using test tone CD 12.9 (lowest drop)

wire upgrade+ optima:  truck idling 14v      -  idling with stereo cranked using test tome CD 12.9 (lowest drop)

I had planned on doing this years ago but put it off and put it off.  i'm glad i finally got around to it.  i dont know why this isnt taught as the most important and fundamental upgrade to do regardless of aftermarket stereo or not.

if you havent done this yet i suggest you do.  i dont know how much the wire upgrade alone cost but it was under 100 bucks probably more like 60. 





Posted By: notaken
Date Posted: June 29, 2007 at 12:38 PM
Hello,
I upgraded grounds with 0 gage and power with 4 gage.

One issue.
Upon upgrading the grounds I have a MASSIVE increase in voltage :-)
This is a 96 isuzu rodeo.
However, I just added the positive alternator to Batter positive.
Before this wire, voltage was high, I could turn on the headlights and voltage stayed the same.
Now, I turn on the headlights and voltage drops to 12 volts for about 1.5 seconds, then kicks up back to 14.
I have a feeling that adding the wire from alt pos to battery pos is not good for the car but may be for the stereo. With this new wire, the alternator has a delay before it detects the voltage drop or something.... Any idea/truth to my thoughts?




Posted By: gmfan09
Date Posted: July 15, 2007 at 10:31 PM
I upgraded two of the three today but I could not find one of them. Engine block to the chassis was the one I could not find. Is it supposed to be from the alternator case to the chassis or the engine block cause there is only one wire coming from my alternator? I'm confused. Should there be an improvement by just upgradeing the alt to the positive batt and the neg batt to the chassis?




Posted By: still_walkin
Date Posted: July 16, 2007 at 2:50 PM
Had the same problem that engine ground is a pain to find and when you do find it if it isn't bolted right when you upgrade the last three the car won't start so since the alternator is connected to the engine you can use the alternators ground. I've seen online people either used the engine bock or the alt. But if you perfer top use the engine ground this is how you find it your battery negaitive terminal has 2 wires on the post one is the cars main ground and the other is the engines ground. It goes down the the front of your engine fans and evently to the engine block. Also it gonna be a pain to follow if your engine isn't the cleanest. But that's the easiest weay to find it or get the wiring diagrams for your car. Good luck

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1993 sdv
Alpine 4x6 6x9 5 1/4 swr-10d4
alpine v60
12.5 VGA flip down
Nettop pc w/10" touch screen
78nova
5-re audio 5x7 ,10" sub &
Xtx-500.5
"Take the faceplate off get the jumperpack"




Posted By: gmfan09
Date Posted: July 16, 2007 at 9:00 PM
Thanks still_walkin. I have a wiring diagram for my car but it is way to complicated for me to be messing around with. Use the alt as a ground do I have to drill a hole in the case and attach a bolt cause I dont think I wanna do that.




Posted By: klownicle
Date Posted: July 18, 2007 at 12:03 PM

My voltage after upgrade hasn't changed at all from my stock stuff.  I get 13.8 volts and it can go as low as 12.6 without the stereo running at night.

Anyone got any pointers?





Posted By: DYohn
Date Posted: July 24, 2007 at 11:28 AM

klownicle wrote:

My voltage after upgrade hasn't changed at all from my stock stuff.  I get 13.8 volts and it can go as low as 12.6 without the stereo running at night.

Anyone got any pointers?

Sounds like time for a better alternator.



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Support the12volt.com




Posted By: Mad Scientists
Date Posted: July 25, 2007 at 12:24 PM

If you're going to 12.6v without anything aftermarket drawing power, I'd start looking for either a voltage drop somewhere or an alternator problem.. where are you measuring the voltage at?

Jim





Posted By: qwarnon
Date Posted: July 28, 2007 at 8:13 PM
upgrading the big 3 definetly helped. its a good idea




Posted By: erroneous930
Date Posted: August 04, 2007 at 1:34 AM

heres some pics of the Big 3 i just did on my car

posted_image

posted_image

posted_image





Posted By: erroneous930
Date Posted: August 04, 2007 at 2:02 AM
I should of made the wire from the battery to the chassis shorter but i accidently got  this ground terminal with 2 1gauge inputs so just used it for grounding the battery and alternator.   I didn't put a fuse from tha alt to battery but probably will do that next.




Posted By: badasschevillac
Date Posted: August 05, 2007 at 8:40 PM

i have an hi out alt. (200 amp) and even put a smaller pulley on it (a tiny bit smaller, barley any smaller), my voltage meter (at idle) still reads very very low and my mids and highs cut out when the bass hits (when idling). can anyone help me?

***i added 1/0 to both the +batt.--->+alt. and the -batt.--->engine block, i know this has probably been asked a million times, but what else do i have to do? is there something that can stop what i have explained above? and also what is the point of putting a fuse in-between the +batt. and the +alt.? and if i were to do this what amp fuse would i use, more than 200 because of my alt. output?



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Posted By: erroneous930
Date Posted: August 05, 2007 at 9:37 PM

you want the wire from the -battery to go to the chassis and also one from the case of the alternator to the chassis.

if your amp is cuttin out it could be the ground for the amp, just make sure to scrape all paint off for all grounds/make it shiney...





Posted By: badasschevillac
Date Posted: August 08, 2007 at 11:16 AM
ok did the big three, and still my voltage is not were it is suppose to be. when i first start the truck its good, but that is only the computer telling the motor to rev higher to warm up and get the oil press. right. then when i put it in gear, the rpm's drop so does the voltage!

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Posted By: furflier
Date Posted: September 05, 2007 at 1:29 PM
I am getting ready to do the big 3 in my 2006 Nissan Frontier. The issue I have is there is a variable voltage sensor in line with the neg of the batt & frame on truck. In the owners manual it says not to bypass this device. It also says that bypassing will cause the battery not to fully charge. So my questions are what do I do about the ground? Has anyone done this vehicle before?

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Posted By: snyper99
Date Posted: November 05, 2007 at 6:44 PM
how can i dp the big three on a 68 pontiac catalina with an external regulator,right now the alternaot has two wires attatched to it,one from the stud(+)on the back and one wire from the alternator to the regulator,i wa also thinking about getting a internal regulated alternator with the alternator conversion kit




Posted By: robyn402
Date Posted: November 20, 2007 at 6:29 PM

just so i'm totally clear the 3 wires your upgrading are

1) Battery to ground

2)alternator to battery

3) alternator case to ground





Posted By: doggs88
Date Posted: March 15, 2008 at 3:26 PM

With my '88 Crown Vic, I seem to be getting sufficient power already to my electronics. No caps and 3 amps in my system. Minimal headlight dims @ night compared to what I've seen in others'. Will the Big 3 do anything for me at all and if I'm getting  around 13 for each of the amps, should I try for the Big 3 to get more, or is it overkill?



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I'm 'bout to "P**p My Ride"...




Posted By: chequemonque
Date Posted: March 26, 2008 at 7:18 AM

I have a 99 toyota truck that comes with a 70 amp alt. I am going to do the big three, but have a question in that regard. From what i can tell the output from the alternator runs directly to the fuse box under the hood. If i run power directly from the alt to the battery does that cause some kind of power problems? Also, do I need to put a fuse between the alternator output and the the battery.  Im looking at the big three to stop dimming in my headlights when the stereo is turned up. **alpine 9885 tuner, alpine mrv545 amp, 10 inch p3 sub, and infinity perfects. The amp is working hard  as the p3 and the perfects are power hungry. I may add an amp later for the sub..... My battery is stock or a replacment of lkq.

Thanks





Posted By: ruggerman
Date Posted: April 01, 2008 at 4:00 PM
just added som 8awg from the bat to the alt and it made a difference. At idle my volts went from 13.8 to 14.5 Gonna do the complete ugrade this weekend using 2awg and solder the connections, I just crimped it now, as I had the 8awg left from my high amp. Thanks DYohn it was a very informative thread.posted_image




Posted By: doggs88
Date Posted: April 06, 2008 at 5:53 AM

I too want to upgrade to the Big 3 in my '90 Ford PGT. The problem i'm having is the alternator not charging the battery due to the stator wire not being plugged up. I can't seem to find it anywhere in the vehicle. Can anyone please help me out to determine where I'd possibly find this wire.

posted_image



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I'm 'bout to "P**p My Ride"...




Posted By: doggs88
Date Posted: April 07, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Nevermind... found out that THIS alternator was for the automatic.  The manual GT didn't have the stator wire as the alternator itself was of a "self-excited" make.   posted_image



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I'm 'bout to "P**p My Ride"...




Posted By: prgngsta88
Date Posted: April 07, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Hey i just got an alpine 12 inch type r with a MRP 500 500watt alpine amp with a rockford 1 farad capacitor installed in my 08 civic lx and i was told by the people who work at best buy that the capacitor makes it sound better and would prevent making my lights dim. When i play something with hard hitting bass my lights dim slightly but nothing like u would notice right away, u really have to look at it to see it. I am extremely new to car audio and hardly know anything about it. Please help me out because when i look trough forums people say you need a cap but i do or a new battery and alt. But i hear that you need to change those out for a very powerful systems like something around 1000watts or more. I really need help because i do not want this to damage my alt if thats possible.

Also my sub is connect to my stock radio system for now if that makes a difference. I plan to change the rest out once i get over this problem. I heard of people doing a big 3 will this help? Also im wondering which deck i should get and which 6 1/2 speakers to use to replace stock speakers.

Heres the links to the main components i have.
< color=#003399>https://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7057383&productCategoryId=abcat0302037&type=product&tab=1&id=1108124880979#productdetail

< color=#003399>https://www.alpine-usa.com/US-en/products/product.php?model=MRP-M500&lang=en&tab=F

< color=#003399>https://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8286482&productCategoryId=abcat0307008&type=product&tab=1&id=1172880157454#productdetail

< color=#003399>https://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7008542&st=q+logic&lp=3&type=product&cp=1&id=1099392684268





Posted By: italian_virus
Date Posted: June 24, 2008 at 8:27 AM
Well gentlemen the BIG 3 is offically upgraded
and my car runs smooth.
i used 4 gauge and i put a optima deep cycle battery in...
next thing to upgrade is the alternator




Posted By: akickz
Date Posted: June 28, 2008 at 3:48 PM
didnt want to start a new topic so i'll ask here. I upgraded my alternator to battery wire, and my negative battery wire to chassis, but not my engine to chassis. will my alternator not charge like it should? it seems to run fine but when i play long bass songs it drops to 11 volts. i have a 200a HO alt, running 2 jl 1000/1. I have a extra yellow top in the back, do i need another?




Posted By: kureti
Date Posted: March 30, 2009 at 6:56 AM
like to understand if this 3big wire configuration be helpfull to reduce the alternator whine noise.

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K. Venugopal Rao




Posted By: tinmanchris217
Date Posted: May 12, 2009 at 11:45 AM
Thanks for the thread, DYohn. I've referred people here countless times to explain "The Big 3".

I had a question about the choice of wire. Do you guys see any disadvantage to running 2-4gauge wires for the Big 3?

I had 50 ft laying around, and wanted to do it properly. If the wires are the same length, electricity should flow evenly between them both. Any potential dangers with this?





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