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Replace batt cable, or fix?

Chapap

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I have one large negative cable and three small ones. Large should connect to block near starter, two small ones run under the engine compartment fuse box, one supposedly hooks up near headlight. The fourth small wire in the pic that’s spliced near the block side goes thru the firewall somewhere (so I read).

This pic is from an eBay listing and is the only version of the harness that doesn’t have splices for all the small wires. What would yall do? Try to do it right and replace the harness and only splice the firewall wire (tough location to do that) or crimp/solder on a new terminal connector to existing wires… or something in between? Not a fan of this cable’s steel terminal connector.
70992
 


vigness

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Without knowing where the old one is bad, I'm shooting in the dark. Usually the wire large goes down to one of the starter bolts and a light one goes to the body, usually the radiator saddle or the fender. I had a bad end, the previous owner had put one of those POS clamp on ends on it. I got a crimp on lug to fit and soldered it on. Add one of the top to screw post converters they use for marine applications, and I was all set.

I did solder it, not just crimp. Strip it back and dunk in flux, heat, solder, and let cool before messing with it. Done it many times, only time I had a problem was when I first did it many vehicles ago and just crimped. Had to cut back, flux, and solder it six months later. The little body wire I just cut and crimp a ring terminal on it. Sometimes I solder, other times I don't, no reason either way, and it becomes a separate wire to deal with instead of part of a big mess. You could get just a simple negative cable the right length and do the ring terminal on the little wires as a compromise.
 

Chapap

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Without knowing where the old one is bad, I'm shooting in the dark. Usually the wire large goes down to one of the starter bolts and a light one goes to the body, usually the radiator saddle or the fender. I had a bad end, the previous owner had put one of those POS clamp on ends on it. I got a crimp on lug to fit and soldered it on. Add one of the top to screw post converters they use for marine applications, and I was all set.

I did solder it, not just crimp. Strip it back and dunk in flux, heat, solder, and let cool before messing with it. Done it many times, only time I had a problem was when I first did it many vehicles ago and just crimped. Had to cut back, flux, and solder it six months later. The little body wire I just cut and crimp a ring terminal on it. Sometimes I solder, other times I don't, no reason either way, and it becomes a separate wire to deal with instead of part of a big mess. You could get just a simple negative cable the right length and do the ring terminal on the little wires as a compromise.

No wires are bad (that I know of). A POS clamp on end is the problem.
 

vigness

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Yup. I didn't want to go through getting the ground cable loose from all the taped tie down points along the way, and at the time I didn't have a garage to work in to get the truck up and crawl under to unbolt the starter end. I happened to have some of the clamp to stud adapters from an old camper battery, and I plan on adding the same thing to the positive for a disconnect when I pull it behind the RV.

For me the biggest pain was waiting... and waiting... until the whole thing got hot enough to actually solder. What ever you think it will take if you are used to soldering 16ga to even 12ga wire, quadruple it.
 

Chapap

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Any idea how important the small grounds are? I’m currently running rich and the computer is the last component to be changed. That better fix it or the next thing to chase is a bad ground. If any of those accessory grounds are bad, do they have backups? I’m leaning toward going the hard way and doing the whole harness just in case.
 

sgtsandman

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All the grounds are important. A bad ground will cause all kinds of funky errors to happen.

From what you describe, it sounds like fixing the existing wire would be the easier solution. Of course that will all depend on how good your electrical repair skills and equipment are.
 

Chapap

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All the grounds are important. A bad ground will cause all kinds of funky errors to happen.

From what you describe, it sounds like fixing the existing wire would be the easier solution. Of course that will all depend on how good your electrical repair skills and equipment are.
I’m a half way decent solderer. I soldered a lug on a 4awg wire twice (for an amp) and it indeed was a pita. Will have to do some research if I end up dying big solders. A torch comes to mind.

Idon’t really think I have problems past the lug (see pic). I’m just thinking that I’ll lose too much slack to get to good wire.

71007
 

sgtsandman

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Those clamp on terminals are the bane of everyone’s existence. You might have to replace the whole thing. @ericbphoto might have some suggestions to save it.
 

vigness

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I used my little propane torch to do it, a 'regular' soldering iron doesn't have the wattage to get and keep that hot enough, even in a closed garage.
 

ericbphoto

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Those clamp on terminals are the bane of everyone’s existence. You might have to replace the whole thing. @ericbphoto might have some suggestions to save it.
The best thing to do, if you can afford it, is to buy new cables. I prefer the ones with the older lead clamps. But the newer clamps can be ok. Just coat with protective spray to prevent corrosion after you get it all connected tight.
 

19Walt93

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It will be less fun and more aggravating to keep chasing problems than it would be to just replace that mess and do it right once. I don't mind the steel clamps at all. Those clamp on terminals should be removed from the cables and thrown into the ballast box on your tractor or melted down and molded into musket balls.
 

Ram50Ron

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Looking through this thread thinking we should already have someone thats a member selling better than stock, replacement cables?
I read a few old old archived threads that spoke about someone who was that source, but doesn't seem like they are still around?
With all the other things we want to do on our own, this is one thing I'd like to hand off rather than build my own!
Better connection/bigger gauge cables sourced here to replace crappy stock cables seems like money in the bank for someone in the industry or as a side job.....
Ram50Ron
 
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vigness

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I didn't want the hassle of taking the entire cable loose from all the tie points just for an end. I cut the end back, cleaned and dipped in rosin, then soldered a lug on the end. Now I can put any end I want on it. I happened to have some post to lug adapters they sell for boat motor connections, and popped them on. I only did one, but I'm thinking of adding some Anderson connectors for jumper cables, so I will wind up doing the positive cable as well to give me a good connection point for both sets of cables.
 

Eddo Rogue

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I think you want the "big 3" wiring upgrade mod.
 

Ram50Ron

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I think you want the "big 3" wiring upgrade mod.
That was exactly what I was talking about, having someone thats a member produce better cables resulting in a Big 3 (or 4/5) upgrade we could all buy for a decent price compared to some of those offered online.
I hoped a few standard length basic upgraded cables per model could work for almost every Ranger generation, then individuals could do their additional upgrades as apply for individual circuits like sound systems/winches etc.
Gotta be some source for better pre-made Big 3/4/5 upgrades at a more reasonable rate then what I'm seeing on the web so far...
Ram50Ron
 

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