Battery cable wiring - positive harness has 3 cables -
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Unread 09-13-2011, 10:07 PM   #1
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 139
Battery cable wiring - positive harness has 3 cables


I need to replace my positive battery terminal... the thicker cable that goes down to the solenoid is corroded and I have to jiggle it sometimes to make the car start. It got annoying really fast.

I got a new positive cable and after I opened it up and looked at it, I saw that it has three wires and I'm not exactly sure where they go. Here's a picture.

I've read this up in the forum but am still drawing a blank. Obviously, the big red one goes to the solenoid at the bottom. I'm figuring the other red wire is the one that hooks up to the fuse box right next to the battery. I have no idea what to do with the small black cable, however. Is the thin, black cable for extra wires that people happen to hook up directly to the battery? At any rate, I suppose I could just leave it there and not do anything with it.

I just wanted to get some positive affirmation as to what I'm doing. Let me know if I got it right.

Any help is much appreciated.

Svenlylethor is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-13-2011, 10:34 PM   #2
Web Wheeler
1991 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Posts: 1,297
Just set it up the way it was originally. I believe some vehicles are grounded through the (+) of the battery, but not your Jeep. Just leave it alone make sure it's isolated (don't splice it). It can be used to power aux devices, but you'll have to run it through a fuse if you ever use it.
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Unread 09-13-2011, 10:50 PM   #3
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Yes one goes to the starter solenoid and the other goes to the power distribution center that is right behind the battery. The other would be any aux components you want to add.

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Unread 09-13-2011, 11:31 PM   #4
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1988 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: San Jose, CA, Hammerspace
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There are two leads OEM - but some later model vehicles have three or four (so the aftermarket tries to cover all bases.)

1) The heavy lead does indeed go to the starter motor solenoid.

2) The secondary (smaller) lead would go to power distribution - use the larger of the two small leads, and either splice or reterminate PRN.

3) The smaller secondary lead (of the two) you don't need at all - but you may use it for an added accessory or somesuch, if you like. Or, just cut it off at the clamp.

I make custom battery cables, so I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on what's going on under there (and Gawd alone knows how many XJs I've worked on - all of them have only two positive leads from the battery + post, save possibly the Diesels. I haven't worked on a Diesel yet, they were only around 1985-1987 here in the States.)
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:07 PM   #5
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cambridge, MA
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Got it. Thanks for the help, guys.

I installed it earlier today... Dang, those jeeps get dirty around there. Luckily I had safety glasses on because I got that junk all over my face and body.

I ended up splicing the secondary lead to the power distribution. The power distribution cable, however, is the same as the thick, red cable. I just spliced them as good as I could and taped it up real tight.

One thing I noticed, however, was that when I hooked up the two cables back to the solenoid by the oil filter, there was a 3rd cable (I think it was the ground) and it was almost completely off. I tightened it up though. Other than that everything was fine.
Svenlylethor is offline   Reply With Quote

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