Proper Grounding locations for starter, alternator and dedicated ground buss - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
KJNewbs
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Proper Grounding locations for starter, alternator and dedicated ground buss

Step 1: Proper battery, starter solenoid, starter and alternator hook up . My question today pertains to the specific locations/bolts that I should utilize for my grounds.

I will first post my questions and accompanying photos. At the bottom, I will include JeepHammer's diagrams that I've used as my basis for 'step 1'.

Question 1: Alternator Grounding - Right now, my Delco alternator is not grounded. I would like to know where I should connect my ground wire so that I match the JeepHammer diagrams:

*Here we see my alternator and the wiring coming from the starter solenoid. Looks like the PO has a fusible link, but per the diagrams, it is at the wrong end of the wire (Let's consider that question 1.1).

Where would I want to connect a ground based on this set up? I can see a threaded insert towards the top, but what would I 'thread in' to create something to ground to. Or do I just use one of the perimeter bolts of the alternator itself?

Question 2: Starter Grounding - Right now, the negative terminal from my battery goes to a bolt on the engine chassis, Not the starter chassis as depicted in the diagrams. I would like to know where the ground should be moved to for the 'best' possible configuration.

*Here we see my starter as wired (note that the black wire shown here is coming from my starter solenoid as it should):

*Here, we see where the negative/ground is currently connected from the negative terminal of the battery (It is kind of hard to see, but look an inch or so to the right of the oil filter)


Question 3 - Dedicated ground post/buss - Right now, I do not have one of these. Since I plan to move on to gauges/lights/etc down the road in this project, I'd like to get my dedicated grounding buss in place now. Where are you guys putting these? Also, can I have some more details on how to facilitate this? I understand drilling the hole, and using brass bolt/nut with start washers on each side. But - every other time that I've drilled holes for things, I've painted the raw metal to keep rust away; what do I do in this situation, where bare metal is really what I want? So, I'm looking for location help and a deeper dive into the 'prep' work involved with creating a ground buss.

*Here we see a picture of my passenger side fender, looking down:

I'm not sure if this photo helps, but it was my attempt to capture the area depicted in the diagrams below.

As a quick reference, here are the diagrams that I've used to create my BOM and the above questions (Created/provided by Jeep Hammer):









If any more clarification or photos are needed, just let me know and I'll edit this post. Thanks everyone.....Ken

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post #2 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 11:35 AM
JeepHammer
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First off...

Take a look at the corrosion on your alternator case, look for paint, rust, ect. on the metal brackets...

All that corrosion/oxidation is NON CONDUCTIVE (for our intents and purposes) and it's a real restriction for your alternator, starter and everything else on the vehicle to 'Ground' through all that crap.
-------------------------

Secondly,
If your starter gets a 6 Ga. or 4 Ga. Positive 'Feed' wire,
Why doesn't it have a direct, 6 Ga. or 4 Ga. 'Ground' wire?

(The reason is the factory was CHEAP! It saved money NOT to put those dedicated 'Grounds' on the major electrical component groups)

With Direct Current (DC) flow, you need the same size 'Feed' as you do 'Ground', and just as direct a path for the electrical device to work properly.

This is just simple electrical FACT...
The better the 'Ground Path' (Negative Connection) the better that electrical device is going to work, no matter what it is...

MAJOR, HIGH DRAIN DEVICES NEED DIRECT, DEDICATED GROUNDS.

SO!,
Running the 'Ground' wire to the engine head might help with 'Grounding' the temprature sensor and the Secondary (High Voltage) part of the ignition,
It's REALLY HARD on the Starter, which is your highest electrical draw on the vehicle if you don't have a winch...

It makes MUCH MORE SENSE to have the 'Primary' or 'Large' ground wire connected to a starter bolt so the starter gets a good 'Ground',
Then worry about the smaller stuff with 'Dedicated' grounds from there (or from the battery Negative terminal.
----------------------

THIRD,

Your alternator produces every single usable electron of current for your vehicle.
WHY TORTURE IT!

Anything the battery stores, then puts back out is resupplied from the alternator, and the alternator creates every electron the vehicle uses in it's normal operation.

Why not dedicate a 'Ground' wire to the case with a NON-CORRODING contact so that alternator doesn't have to work twice as hard trying to overcome all the restrictions/resistance of the case corrosion, rust, loose bolts, paint, or what ever?

If a 10 Ga. wire is connected to the 'Positive' on the alternator,
Then connect a 10 Ga. to the case so the 'Negative' can have a direct path back to the battery!
-----------------------

Fourth,

STEEL is a HORRIBLE conductor of electricity for our purposes.
Torturing the 'Ground' to the Head Lights, Dash, Ignition, Tail Lights/Fuel Sender doesn't make sense either.

A simple 10 Ga. 'Ground' wire hooked up to the 'Ground' terminal on the head lights/side lights/turns signals in the front will clear up a BUNCH of problems with those lights.

A simple 10 Ga. 'Ground' wire hooked up to the Dash, then going up to the wiper motor will solve a BUNCH of gauge problems, dash light problems, and wiper problems...

A simple 10 Ga. 'Ground' run to the back of the vehicle connecting to your tail, brake, plate light, side markers and fuel tank will take the guess work out of those circuits.

YES, it costs you a couple of rolls of 10 Ga. 'Black' wire, and YES you will have to run those wires through the harness with the other wiring, but it stops so many problems you won't believe it!

There are also SPECIFIC grounds you need to be aware of,
Like a DEDICATED GROUND to the engine head then over to the ignition module.
The engine head ground helps out the temp sending unit, the SECONDARY ignition (Spark Energy at the plugs) then when it continues over to the ignition module,
It gives a DEDICATED GROUND to the Primary ignition circuit (Module and Coil) so your ignition works the way it was designed.

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

Now, AMC supplied vehicles for Military/Government fleet use.
ALL military vehicles DEMANDED dedicated grounds, and they didn't have the problems we have because of it.

In 1967, AMC listed the dedicated grounds as a $7.50 expense to the standard vehicle.

It's probably $25 or $35 by now, but $25 or $35 WELL SPENT doing it!

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

REMEMBER!
ELECTRICALLY SPEAKING, You ARE NOT driving a single vehicle.
You are driving a lot of loose parts flying in close formation without contact unless you GROUND EVERYTHING ELECTRICAL...
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post #3 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 12:45 PM
82JeepCJ7
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Word of advise. Never use the side terminals of an Optima to hook the starter, winch, or other high amp draw devices up to. The internal buss bar on the Optima to the side mount is very small and can burn in half very quickly.

I moved my starting solenoid down below the battery. This does two things. First it cleaned up the fender. Second it shortened the amount of cable needed to get the voltage to the starter.

I ran a ground cable directly to one of the starter bolts for a direct path. No worries about losing the ground through the block.

Beat it to fit, paint it to match!

Wheel, Wrench, Repeat.
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post #4 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 01:20 PM
Mike Romain
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On the bare metal and all the connectors, you can use dielectric grease to prevent rust. I also went with a dedicated 10 gauge wire for all my lights and stuff and it made them work much brighter. I am all 'glass though, but there was a difference from the old steel tub.

I put mu ground buss bolt over beside the fuse panel and ran the large battery cable across the firewall to it. That way I can easily pick up all the 10 gauge pieces as they join together at the fuse panel.

Oh, the hold down foot on the distributor is it's ground path and yours sure looks rusty.

Mike
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post #5 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 01:34 PM
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Since your brass bolt is going to be connected back to the neg terminal of the battery you don't need bare metal.

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post #6 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik719 View Post
Since your brass bolt is going to be connected back to the neg terminal of the battery you don't need bare metal.
The body tub still needs a ground. Stock there is a mesh cable from the rear of the head to the firewall which is through paint, only the threads are bare, but a brass bolt through the firewall near the fuse panel on bare steel will double nicely for the tub ground.

Mike
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post #7 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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A couple of new questions/things to confirm based on the initial responses, I'll go from the bottom up...

Erik719 - That makes perfect sense - The brass bolt isn't intended to ground to the frame, it is simply intended to provide a place, other than the negative terminal of the battery, to provide a grounding location. As long as all cables/connectors that I connect to that brass bolt make good contact, I am in good shape - Sound about right?

Mike Romain - I like the idea of putting the ground bus over by the fuse block. I guess it all boils down to the person's preference and overall vision for the under-hood look of the vehicle and the wiring path one will take for all dedicated grounds. (Assuming I fall back on the point made above by Erik719).

Your comment on the distributor - I'm going to assume that the 'hold down foot' is that rusty a$$ piece you can see in my third picture. I will add taking that off and cleaning it up to my list. Though it brings a fresh question to mind - since I need it to act as a good ground, I'm thinking I don't want to paint/finish that piece. What is the best plan to remove the rust, prevent it from coming back, all while maintaining it's ability to act as a good ground for my distributor?

82JeepCJ7 - Thanks for the input on the Optima side terminals. I plan to keep everything on the top, so I should be in good shape.

For the starter ground - in my picture, there are two bolts visible (one is associated with the green painted plate and the other is up towards the top on the side (think noon poition on a clock if the positive connecting is at 9). Are either of these locations good for the ground?

You said "no worries about losing the ground through the block" - what exactly does this mean? Are you saying that the ground location I show in picture 3 is adequate for the starter, or am I missing something?

JeepHammer - Thanks for the detailed break down on grounds in general. I plan on running a 10-AWG wire from my ground bus to all the major areas of the Jeep when I get to the rest of the electrical wiring (as you mentioned, front for lights, dash for gauges, rear for lights, wiper motor). My fist step is making sure that I can get matching gauge grounds to the alternator and starter. For my alternator, would I just go to one of the two bolts that we see in the picture (thinking clocks, there is a bolt at noon and at 3 that we see in my photo)?

The only part of your post that got away from me was this:
"There are also SPECIFIC grounds you need to be aware of, Like a DEDICATED GROUND to the engine head then over to the ignition module.
The engine head ground helps out the temp sending unit, the SECONDARY ignition (Spark Energy at the plugs) then when it continues over to the ignition module, It gives a DEDICATED GROUND to the Primary ignition circuit (Module and Coil) so your ignition works the way it was designed.
"

Where on the engine head would you run this ground? Next, if I were to then go to the ignition module, where would this go? Mike Romain's post mentioned my rusty hold down foot was the path to ground for my DUI....Are you saying that in addition to getting rid of that rust I should add a heavy gauge ground wire to the bolt as well?

I think I covered everything from everyone's posts. Sorry to come back with so many questions.... Tring to make sure I have it all covered before moving on..... All the best and thanks for all of the continued support....

Ken

-KJ Newbs / Jersey

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post #8 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 02:03 PM
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i believe the OP was asking for pics of which bolt to connect his new grounding to on the alt and starter
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post #9 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJNewbs View Post
Mike Romain - I like the idea of putting the ground bus over by the fuse block. I guess it all boils down to the person's preference and overall vision for the under-hood look of the vehicle and the wiring path one will take for all dedicated grounds. (Assuming I fall back on the point made above by Erik719).

Your comment on the distributor - I'm going to assume that the 'hold down foot' is that rusty a$$ piece you can see in my third picture. I will add taking that off and cleaning it up to my list. Though it brings a fresh question to mind - since I need it to act as a good ground, I'm thinking I don't want to paint/finish that piece. What is the best plan to remove the rust, prevent it from coming back, all while maintaining it's ability to act as a good ground for my distributor?
Dielectric grease is your electrical system's friend. I coat the clean foot with that. The whole ignition system grounds through that foot, the old stock module's case is totally electrically isolated, only the black wire from it to the distributor acts as it's ground.

On stock ignitions, this black wire needs the ground tag also, then the hold down foot isn't important, on yours, the foot is all it has.

Mike
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post #10 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PERK View Post
i believe the OP was asking for pics of which bolt to connect his new grounding to on the alt and starter

-KJ Newbs / Jersey

1983 lime green CJ7 - 258 with DUI & Weber, Crane cam, 2" lift, MTs w/ BFGs

2010 2-Door, 6-Speed Black JK Sahara - Teraflex 3" Coil Lift with Front Lower and Rear Upper Flex Arms - Bilstein 5100 Shocks -JKS Front Adjustable Track Bar - Teraflex Front Knuckle Gussets - Rock Hard Oil Pan/Engine Skid - Rock Hard Transfer case skid - Rock Hard Evap relocation Kit - Poison Spyder Rocker Knockers - MBRP off-road exhaust - AEV Pintler Wheels - GoodYear MTR/K 35x12.5x17 - Detroit Track Loc Carrier up Front - Yukon 4.88 Gears - Cobra 75 CB with Cool Tech bracket - Die-Tech mirror relocation brackets
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post #11 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJNewbs View Post
I think JH mentioned to any bolt that comes loose. That is what I do. I use a loop or an open ended loop connector under the bolt or just slid under a loose bolt. That threaded ground connector hole in the back of the alternator with a loop connector would work also.

It is amazing the number of times I have saved folks from having a garage put on a new alternator when just the bolts were corroded and lost their ground to the alternator frame so it really needs a dedicated ground.

The starter has two huge bolts holding it to the block and you know, even loose starters will still turn over good enough to eat up a ring gear, so in my opinion those bolts are all that is needed.

Same deal for the head, mine has a whole pile of big bolts holding the head onto the block which I figure aught to do it.

Mike
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post #12 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
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i believe the OP was asking for pics of which bolt to connect his new grounding to on the alt and starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by KJNewbs View Post

Remove the front top bolt at the starter plate and clean off the paint.
Install a longer stud in its place with a brass nut, add ground cable and another brass nut. Tie ground cable into neutral.

Mine is in shown in series:



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post #13 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Remove the front top bolt at the starter plate and clean off the paint. Install a longer stud in its place with a brass nut, add ground cable and another brass nut. Tie ground cable into neutral.
Fatman, to make sure I'm following - you are referring to my picture, right? I'm taking a guess that the green painted part on my starter is the 'starter plate'? As long as I've got that correct, I can follow the rest. (Your picture took me for a bit of a turn because it looks so much different than mine).

Cheers.

-KJ Newbs / Jersey

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2010 2-Door, 6-Speed Black JK Sahara - Teraflex 3" Coil Lift with Front Lower and Rear Upper Flex Arms - Bilstein 5100 Shocks -JKS Front Adjustable Track Bar - Teraflex Front Knuckle Gussets - Rock Hard Oil Pan/Engine Skid - Rock Hard Transfer case skid - Rock Hard Evap relocation Kit - Poison Spyder Rocker Knockers - MBRP off-road exhaust - AEV Pintler Wheels - GoodYear MTR/K 35x12.5x17 - Detroit Track Loc Carrier up Front - Yukon 4.88 Gears - Cobra 75 CB with Cool Tech bracket - Die-Tech mirror relocation brackets
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post #14 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Romain View Post
I think JH mentioned to any bolt that comes loose. That is what I do. I use a loop or an open ended loop connector under the bolt or just slid under a loose bolt. That threaded ground connector hole in the back of the alternator with a loop connector would work also.
Thanks for clearing that part up for me Mike. Do you happen to know what the thread is on the Delco alternators? I've never purchased studs, but based on Fatman's post and yours from above, All I need to know is the size and thread count, screw it in and place a nut to keep it from moving? Would I then do the same thing suggested by fatman on my alternator (insert stud, tighten down brass nut, put ground wire in place, tighten another brass nut)?

-KJ Newbs / Jersey

1983 lime green CJ7 - 258 with DUI & Weber, Crane cam, 2" lift, MTs w/ BFGs

2010 2-Door, 6-Speed Black JK Sahara - Teraflex 3" Coil Lift with Front Lower and Rear Upper Flex Arms - Bilstein 5100 Shocks -JKS Front Adjustable Track Bar - Teraflex Front Knuckle Gussets - Rock Hard Oil Pan/Engine Skid - Rock Hard Transfer case skid - Rock Hard Evap relocation Kit - Poison Spyder Rocker Knockers - MBRP off-road exhaust - AEV Pintler Wheels - GoodYear MTR/K 35x12.5x17 - Detroit Track Loc Carrier up Front - Yukon 4.88 Gears - Cobra 75 CB with Cool Tech bracket - Die-Tech mirror relocation brackets
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post #15 of 50 Old 07-04-2011, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by KJNewbs View Post
Fatman, to make sure I'm following - you are referring to my picture, right? I'm taking a guess that the green painted part on my starter is the 'starter plate'? As long as I've got that correct, I can follow the rest. (Your picture took me for a bit of a turn because it looks so much different than mine).

Cheers.
I'm referring to the round end plate (forward most part on your starter) The bolt at the top is the one to replace


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