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FireEngineMike 04-10-2019 02:41 PM

New Battery Cables

I could not find the answer through searching so I started this thread. I am replacing two sad looking battery cables and an even sorrier looking starter cable and going to 00 gauge for the new ones per many recommendations. I want to add a ground wire from the body ground to the starter bracket while I am ordering cables.
Do I have to remove the starter through bolt to accomplish this?
Does it go back together easily? I cannot afford to open a can of worms. It has to be as easy as anything ever is on a Flathead Ford.
If not there, where is the best location to mount the starter end of the ground cable?
What diameter lug do I need on the starter end of the ground cable?
Thanks for the help.
Edit: The truck is 6-volt positive ground.

WABOOM 04-10-2019 02:44 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

Watching this thread.

ford38v8 04-10-2019 03:00 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

Mike, Of the two mounting bolts, the outside bolt may be the easiest to use for that purpose, as the inside bolt should already have a steady clip fastening it to the bottom rail of the block. Alternatively, just remove and clean up that clip for reinstallation, as it should also provide grounding. There should also be a ground cable from the passenger side head to the firewall. If you ever do want to go deeper, check the mounting surface of the starter for corrosion & paint, as that is the original grounding location. As to ease of installation, though, your idea would certainly be easiest. Remove only one of the two bolts for the grounding. One thing here... Count the turns when removing the bolt to ensure that it is long enough to accommodate the thickness of the cable when reinstalled.

Drbrown 04-10-2019 03:20 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

An Old-Timer changed my '47 over to a 12 volt negative ground system.

I assume you have a 6 volt positive ground system. If I had your system, my negative would run thru the solenoid to the starter, but the positive ground would run directly to the starter body bolt. This is intended to give the starter the greatest "punch" possible. My body (firewall) is grounded to the intake manifold bolt next to the passenger-side head. They also added a ground from the frame to the body as some possible insurance.

Kerk 04-10-2019 03:49 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

I think I would remove the starter and clean both of the surfaces that the starter mounts to and then change the cables and where they connect to to be sure all surfaces are clear for cood contact. JMHO kerk

FireEngineMike 04-10-2019 04:20 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

Ford38v8: the green book calls for two bolts the same length. The bracket fits under the head of the inner bolt so a wire lug should (sounds like assume) fit under the outer bolt. That is a good reason to use the outer bolt. Is there any chance of movement that would make it difficult to reinstall the bolt?
Edit: Ford38v8 and Drbrown: Grounding should be 1. battery positive to starter case and 2. head to body bolt. No direct connect of the battery positive to the body bolt?

Paul Bennett 04-10-2019 11:26 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

Having spent considerable time doing things wrong plus having convered a starter to 12v, I consider myself a starter expert. The danger is opening up the starter end plates slightly too far and pop goes the brushes out of their working position. Placing them back is a pain. (a day's work)

HOW TO remove a starter:
  • Remove the cable.
  • Remove the outer bolt, keeping the inner one tight.
  • Find a nut which fits that rod.
  • Put the rod back in place in the starter but do NOT thread it into the engine. Instead,
  • Carefully loosen the inner rod about1/4" maximum, keeping the end plates tight against the starter. I use a large screwdriver and gently pry the end plate against the engine so as you slowly loosen that inner rod.
  • The object here is to remove the starter from the engine while keeping starter end plates tight so the brushes don't go wrong. Emphasizing. Pry the whole starter back just enough to put that nut on rod which you earlier removed from the starter but just put back in.
  • I use needle nose pliers to hold the nut, threading it onto the rod while loosening the other rod from the engine.
  • The object is to use that outer rod to keep the end plates tight against the starter. This is to prevent those pesky brushes from going awry.
  • With that rod tightened against the end plates, you can now unscrew the other rod from the engine.
  • By maneuvering the now loose but heavy starter around the bendix up/down hung up on the flywheel gear, you can remove the starter.
  • Putting another nut on the back rod is recommended.

For super quality reasonable price battery cables, I highly recommend Battery Cables USA

All that said, you don't need to remove the starter to change the cables.
Also, you don't need to change the wiring to change polarity. The starter will turn in right direction regardless of pos/gnd or neg/gnd.

In addition, for good current flow, you don't need to put a lug in the starter rod. The dual rods are quite adequate to flow current into the engine blocks and there are better engine bolts to put the chassis wire than to use a starter rod.

I do hope my word pictures are in focus, i.e. clear enough.

Tinker 04-10-2019 11:32 PM

Re: New Battery Cables

Starter grounds to the engine. The starter has 2 long bolts the run the length of the starter. Theoretically once you remove the bolts the starter can be pulled apart, But it won't fall apart. (just loosen them and keep them with the starter). On the bench you can then pull it apart if you like. I've never had a starter open up with the bolts loosened (they are tightly fit and have at least a 1/8 1/4 overlap). Lift up and toward the engine to remove and clear the flywheel. You can run a nut on the bolts on the bench if it's going to sit there for months.

Removing the starter and removing paint or grime were the starter meets the engine will ground the starter better. A ground wire to the engine will then help the starter and the ignition.

Yes you could remove one bolt and add a ground.

I've been using 00 welding wire for a bit now for battery cables. You make ends or have a shop around that does them. Had a local forklift place that did them. I did them myself.

Added asphalt wire looms around the wire to hide the look and look more vintage.

V8 Bob 04-11-2019 07:53 AM

Re: New Battery Cables

Running the 00 battery ground lug to a larger 7/16" bell housing bolt or one of the four unused 7/16" front motor mount bosses straddling the crank is much better than to one of the much smaller 5/16' starter bolts, imo, and is how I wire my Fords. A smaller ground is then then run from the bell housing to the body and frame.

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