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Old January 5th, 2016, 18:30   #1
fouillard13
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Default The Big 3 = upgrading alternator wiring, battery wiring,engine to chassis ground wire

Hey guys. ive installed a stereo system in my car and its rather large. two 12" speakers and a 1000W amp. the guys on the car audio forum figure that that setup with my stock 120 amp alternator shouldnt make my lights dim, and that I need to possibly upgrade "the big 3"

big 3 info here: http://www.caraudioforum.com/showthread.php?t=352271

basically what it is is upgrading, or adding another wire to 3 spots:

1. from the alternator to the battery positive
2. from the battery negative to where ever it grounds to
3. from the engine block to the frame, or whevever it grounds to.

I dont plan on removing any wiring, just adding an existing wire to each route.. so theres basically 2 cables going from the alternator, to the battery. 2 cables from the battery negative to the grounding spot, etc...

my question is, how hard are these to access? is it a simple and easy job, or is it going to be an all day thing getting to the alternator output stud and accessing the positive and negative cables all around the car?

what scares me the most is the engine to frame grounding strip... where is that and how hard is it to access?

thanks!
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Last edited by fouillard13; January 5th, 2016 at 18:33.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 20:03   #2
mjydrafter
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I would say all that you have to do is pull the battery and tray. The grounds are under the tray. I believe one of the larger ones runs up to the battery.

The main battery ground runs to the top of the bell housing, easy to spot and not too bad to get to.

I haven't traced the the alternator wire, but it shouldn't be too bad other than possibly digging it out of a loom. I assume it runs up to one of the big fuses on top of the battery.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 21:33   #3
dremd
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There is pre-made upgrade cables available, serious gear.

Depending on hop long you crank it you may not need a larger alternator. Keep in mind you don't have an ignition system and much less fuel system electrical draw than most of the guys on a car audio forum.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 10:19   #4
fouillard13
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pre made specifically for the Jettas?

I dont think I need a larger alternator, I think my problem is either "the big 3" wiring, or my ground location. the light dim instantly on every single loud bass pound.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 12:59   #5
turbocharged798
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The stock alternator wire is rated for 150A and the alt is rated for 120A. Unless one of the connectors has a poor connection(which does happen), you will be wasting money upgrading the wires.

Sounds like all you need is a capacitor to smooth out the ripple. The flickering is caused by the voltage regulator constantly trying to adjust to the different loads.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 15:26   #6
dremd
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http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=273859

At low voltages there is no such thing as to much copper.

My lights are brighter, everything electrical works better than it did with good factory cables.


A good way to find voltage drop is with an analog meter set to around 2 volts attach one end to the negative terminal of the battery with everything cranked as old as you want to rock out and then probe along at each point along the way and watching to see if you have any sudden jumps in voltage.
Putting a volt meter on the lead portion of the battery is probably where you should start to see if your pulling the actual battery down or not.

If you have access to a thermal camera it is a great tool for inspecting wiring. Issues light up like a flare in the night.

I haven't done hard core car stereo since 1999 (in an air cooled VW bus), but the general theory is still the same.
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2013 Nissan LEAF what are these emissions you speak of?
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2014 JSW (Went back to VW) Emissions? Well, about that . . .
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Old January 6th, 2016, 16:52   #7
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Interesting reply but I need a little help. What do you mean by "with everything cranked as old as you want to rock out"

Thanks :-)
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Old January 6th, 2016, 18:07   #8
dremd
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Lol.
I'm sorry
Autocorrect changed LOUD to OLD.

I hope you find as much humor it this as I do.
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2013 Nissan LEAF what are these emissions you speak of?
03 Silver Premium Jetta Wagon lots of OEM goodness. 1.8T Triptronic eliminated, ALH + 6 speed manual installed in place. Emissions? Yes, a lot
2006 Sprinter long range hauler, 300+ cubic feet loaded 25 mpg.
2014 JSW (Went back to VW) Emissions? Well, about that . . .
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Old January 6th, 2016, 18:32   #9
fouillard13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbocharged798 View Post
The stock alternator wire is rated for 150A and the alt is rated for 120A. Unless one of the connectors has a poor connection(which does happen), you will be wasting money upgrading the wires.

Sounds like all you need is a capacitor to smooth out the ripple. The flickering is caused by the voltage regulator constantly trying to adjust to the different loads.
ah man, I hope thats not true. I just spent 70$ USD / 100$ cad on a ton of new cables!!





1x red 1/0 terminal to go to the alternator output lug.
1x dual 1/0 battery terminal for the positive lug on the battery
3 feet of red 1/0 cord

2x black 1/0 terminals for the engine to chassis ground
3 feet of 1/0 cord, might be extra, better than being too short.

1x black 1/0 terminal to ground to the frame from the battery negative
1x dual 1/0 battery terminal for the negative lug on the battery
3 feet of 1/0 cord.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 18:44   #10
fouillard13
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I just read in another thread that the alternator output lug to the battery positive terminal should have a fuse in it... what do you guys think about that? straight wiring it is a bad idea?

if I needed a fuse, what size would you recommend?

this is sure getting complicated/pricey just to have loud music and no headlight dimming/alternator damage!!

"but I have a concern about the alternator wiring. A second cable from the starter solenoid to the alternator output effectively bypasses the alternator fuse. Follow the two paths: 1 Battery + to fuse to alternator. 2 Battery + to starter to alternator. Path 2 will continue to carry current even if the fuse could blow!"

"I for one would not run the cable from the alternator to the battery without some sort of fuse or fusable link."
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Old January 6th, 2016, 18:47   #11
dremd
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Mine has been unfused for 4 years, haven't failed yet.
But, yeah a fuse is a great idea.
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2013 Nissan LEAF what are these emissions you speak of?
03 Silver Premium Jetta Wagon lots of OEM goodness. 1.8T Triptronic eliminated, ALH + 6 speed manual installed in place. Emissions? Yes, a lot
2006 Sprinter long range hauler, 300+ cubic feet loaded 25 mpg.
2014 JSW (Went back to VW) Emissions? Well, about that . . .
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Old January 6th, 2016, 18:55   #12
fouillard13
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does the stock wire from the alternator to the battery positive have a fuse?

if so, what size?

guess ill find out when I get the parts and install the wires for the big 3 eh.
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Old January 6th, 2016, 19:10   #13
dremd
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Yes, factory fused in plastic box on top of battery. I think it is a 150 amp, but I really don't remember.
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2013 Nissan LEAF what are these emissions you speak of?
03 Silver Premium Jetta Wagon lots of OEM goodness. 1.8T Triptronic eliminated, ALH + 6 speed manual installed in place. Emissions? Yes, a lot
2006 Sprinter long range hauler, 300+ cubic feet loaded 25 mpg.
2014 JSW (Went back to VW) Emissions? Well, about that . . .
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Old January 6th, 2016, 19:13   #14
dremd
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Check out http://www.bulkwire.com/wireresistance.asp if you would like to see what running heavier cable will do in a car.
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2013 Nissan LEAF what are these emissions you speak of?
03 Silver Premium Jetta Wagon lots of OEM goodness. 1.8T Triptronic eliminated, ALH + 6 speed manual installed in place. Emissions? Yes, a lot
2006 Sprinter long range hauler, 300+ cubic feet loaded 25 mpg.
2014 JSW (Went back to VW) Emissions? Well, about that . . .
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Old January 6th, 2016, 19:24   #15
sparkeez
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbocharged798 View Post
The stock alternator wire is rated for 150A and the alt is rated for 120A. Unless one of the connectors has a poor connection(which does happen), you will be wasting money upgrading the wires.

Sounds like all you need is a capacitor to smooth out the ripple. The flickering is caused by the voltage regulator constantly trying to adjust to the different loads.
The stock alternator wire is not rated for 150 amps lmao! the fuse rated for that. fuses always rated higher then wiring otherwise the fuse would blow every time you had a bunch of **** running at once.

wire has ratings, depends on the thickness.

Last edited by sparkeez; January 6th, 2016 at 19:42.
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