How To Install the Big 3 Upgrade | Improve Your Vehicle’s Electrical Charging System | Car Audio

How To Install the Big 3 Upgrade | Improve Your Vehicle’s Electrical Charging System | Car Audio

– Hey guys, this is Al
with Sonic Electronix and today we’re gonna be
talking about the big three. (uptempo music) Okay guys just like I stated
we’re gonna be talking about the big three, behind me I have a 2001 Toyota Celica which we’re actually going to be doing a big three together and going over what you need
to do to accomplish that. We’re also going to be
sharing and showing you some other engine bays
because every engine bay’s going to be completely different. So really when it boils down to it there’s three connections
that need to be upgraded. So that’s really going
to be your Charging Wire from your alternator to
your battery positive, and then you’re gonna
upgrade your Battery’s Ground from the battery to the chassis, and then you’re also
going to need to upgrade your Engine Ground which is typically going to be coming off the
engine block to the chassis. Okay guys so as you can
see you’re gonna need a few tools for the job, every
car’s gonna be different. You’re gonna probably need some wrenches, some sockets, some ratchets, you’re definitely going
to want some zip ties. Of course you’re gonna need
your big three upgrade kit, you might be able to do
this with some extra wire that’s laying around that
you may have left over. Or most people typically
wind up buying a kit and a kit is going to
consist of power wire, ground wire, a bunch of
different connectors. I do want to point out that the connectors that they come with aren’t going to always be terminated,
so using a regular set of crimpers to crimp a set of
four-gauge or zero-gauge connectors onto a piece
of wire’s not really the correct tool, I recommend
something like this here that actually supports
the appropriate gauges. Now if you’re a DIY guy at home, of course we’re gonna obviously recommend trying to get it crimped
as good as you possibly can with whatever you have,
some of you may have a vise, where you can really crimp
that on there really tight, but then I would definitely suggest a butane torch with some solder to really solder this connection,
so they’re really solid, so you know you’ve got a good connection. If you crimp your connector on your wire and you can wiggle it, that’s
definitely not a good sign. Okay, so like we stated at the beginning, every engine bay’s going
to be completely different like this particular car is an example had a nice little cover that kind of covered up everything,
but that didn’t allow you to see some of the connections that we needed to look at. So this particular car the alternator’s pretty much right up top so it makes this really easy you can see here’s
the factory charging wire and it’s really a little
difficult to see here but if we pop this guy off right here we can see that this is
indeed our factory ground from the engine block to the chassis. Now I have no idea why somebody basically would run a ground about
the size of a speaker wire but that’s something we’re obviously gonna want to take a look at and upgrade. Now certain vehicles
you may have a hard time finding the original OEM ground wire, or the alternator may not
be as easily accessible, as it is in this particular car. So before you start, take a look at where all these connections might be. ‘Cause it’s really going to help you out knowing what you need to access, what tools you need, and
the length of the cable and the run and how you’re
gonna route that cable to go from the alternator to the battery, upgrading those grounds, et cetera. So we’re gonna go ahead and get started on this car, but first
before you get started make sure you go ahead and disconnect the negative terminal off
the battery so that way you don’t short out
anything or damage anything. (uptempo music) We can kind of see right
here the alternator power wire, the charging
wire, goes straight right over there and
down over to the battery or to the fuse box. So what we’re actually going to do is go ahead and take our new wire, and we’re gonna connect it
right on to that same post and we’re gonna take that exact same path right over to the battery. Now I don’t recommend
taking away the factory charging wire leave it
intact, I wouldn’t suggest doing that or dissecting
the stock harness, I would go ahead and
just add your upgraded charging wire here and
we’re gonna go ahead and start that and get
it routed right over to the battery terminal. So as you can see, we
intentionally mounted the new power wire behind
it, in such a fashion, where we could actually utilize the original cover that
covered the terminal off the alternator, now of
course, depending on the size of cable that you’re
doing, or the design of it, or the angle, you may
not be able to achieve the same exact results by being able to utilize that part again. So normally we would
wrap the cable in either tesa tape or split loom
that way it actually while it’s routed you won’t really notice that anything has changed or been added it looks like it’s factory. However, for this particular video, for the visual presentation,
I’d like for you guys to be able to see exactly
how the cable is routed. (uptempo music) Okay guys as you can see
we successfully routed our new four-gauge charging
wire from the alternator all the way over to the battery. Now if you wanted to take a step further, some guys will actually
put an end line fuse holder it may be a good idea,
however, you can see what we went ahead and did we put a bunch of zip ties every so many inches to ensure that, that wire’s not gonna fall on anything hot and get shorted out. So remember we talked about
three different points we’re going to be moving on to our secondary point, now here. Upgrading our chassis ground to battery. It’s gonna be really
key for you to make sure that you really choose a good ground. Like this particular OEM battery terminal if you follow this down the factory ground goes underneath the
battery it goes in a maze and we’d have to really take apart a lot of the vehicle to get to that point. So what we’re gonna go ahead and do is we’re actually gonna
go with a ring terminal right off the factory terminal here and we’re actually gonna create our own new ground, with a nice nut and bolt and of course we’re gonna need to clean the surface off and make
sure it’s free from paint and any kind of (mumbles) and or debris. So that way we have a nice, solid ground. But it’s really important,
where you actually choose to make a ground, because of course everything that is metal
underneath this paint, once it’s bare can be used as a ground. But you wouldn’t want
to necessarily choose just any location, there’s an example on the other side of the
car where you can see there’s a really thin,
flimsy piece of metal and it looks like you would
potentially want to ground here because there’s already an existing hole, but if you look at it further it’s just held on by two little spot welds, you want it to be a major
part of the frame itself. One thing you’ll notice
before we get started is we did have to modify the ring terminal just a wee little bit,
just so we could actually fit in-between here and bolt
down nice and secure and snug, however, if you’re using
after market battery terminals in some cases you’re not
gonna necessarily need to use a ring terminal on this side because you’re gonna strip the wire back, insert it in here, and tighten
it down by the Allen key. So it really depends on if
you’re upgrading the terminals or trying to utilize your
factory OEM battery terminals. Okay guys, so we’ve already measured and we got our cable cut to length, so we’re gonna go ahead and attach our new ground to our OEM battery terminal and route this over to
the new grounding point, we obviously definitely don’t want to ground anything to paint. So we’re gonna take our wire wheel and scrape the paint
off exposing the metal so we have a nice surface to ground to using our nut and bolt. I use stainless steel hardware, the stainless steel
hardware isn’t gonna rust. And we’re gonna finish
it off with a little bit of clear coat because we want to seal off any exposed metal to where it could start to rust ’cause obviously
we know that corrosion and rust definitely are going to lead to the ground to start
deteriorating over time. All right guys, that wraps
up connection number two and that is the battery
negative to chassis ground. All right guys, so we’re
moving on to step three which is the ground that goes from the engine block to the chassis. Now this is something that some people do a little different,
we’ve gone ahead and found our OEM ground here, as you can see, it’s like the size of
dental floss basically, in comparison to like a
four-gauge wire or larger. But it goes from right
here all the way over right on the opposite side to the chassis, and it bolts right there with a small 10 millimeter bolt. Now some people when
they upgrade this ground, they actually will go from here to the actual negative battery terminal on the opposite side, or
from the engine block, to the battery’s chassis ground. So some people will argue,
I guess it really depends on what you want to do,
we’re just gonna go ahead and upgrade ours from
here to the other point that I showed you just a
second ago, right over there. And we’re gonna go ahead and get started. (upbeat music) Okay guys, so we’ve successfully removed our OEM ground and as you can see, like I said earlier it’s really small. Here’s the OEM ground, in comparison to our new four-gauge ground that we’re gonna be replacing it with. Not only that was it
small, but on top of it, at both ends of the connection
are both grimy and dirty so we’re gonna go ahead and make sure that we get those nice and clean before we reinstall our
new after market ground. (upbeat music) All right guys, so we
went ahead and finished up our ground from our engine
block to our chassis it’s nice and solid and secure, obviously a huge upgrade form our OEM
ground that you find right here. You may have seen that we
used a few different tools just kind of like we
stated at the beginning, sometimes you may need some extensions, a wobble socket set, it
all really just depends this particular one is a 2001 Celica that we just finished. Every single vehicle is different. You might find the
alternator might be mounted at the bottom of the vehicle, might be right at the top,
it really just depends. So the tools that you may need for each individual vehicle is going
to be completely different, so what we’re gonna go ahead and do is we’re gonna go ahead
and take you around and show you some of the
different types of connections and where they might be
found on different vehicles. Obviously this one’s a 2001 Celica, but we’re gonna show you a few other cars. All right guys, so here’s
one of the examples I’m going to show you, behind
me is a 2013 Chevy Cruze let’s go over the obvious real quick. Here you can see obviously
the battery’s right there you can follow this right down there, to see the factory negative terminal going to the factory ground for the battery. It’s kind of hard to really find and see exactly where the factory
engine block ground is where it goes from the
engine block to the chassis but obviously you can see the obvious right there is the battery, oh well, look here’s one of the ones
I was talking about. I don’t know if you can see it, way down there, really hard to see, is the factory alternator. So this would probably
be one of those cars that I talked about at the beginning, where I said to upgrade or to access that charging wire to
go from the alternator to the battery you may
have to put this thing up on jack stands or get it up on the lift to actually be able to access that. So you can see this
car may be a little bit more difficult in certain
areas than others. Okay guys, so behind me I’ve
got a 2013 Jeep Patriot, and just go over real quick and pop this guy right off, there’s where the battery’s at, there’s the battery ground,
way down below there where you can’t see it
is the engine ground. There is an additional
little ground strap here and this is going to be one of those more difficult vehicles
because way down there below there is the alternator, where you probably even
have a pretty tough time accessing it from the bottom, so this one would be one of those ones where I would say have fun and maybe you might want your mechanic to do it if you don’t have the correct
tools to do this yourself. This is not easy like the Toyota Celica that you saw us do earlier. All right guys, behind me to sum it up we have a 2002 Ford Ranger pickup and this one’s actually pretty easy alternator’s right on top of the engine as you can see right there. Obviously here’s our battery, we can see our factory
ground location there, and also already has an engine ground going right down there, which is really kind of difficult to see, as well as, a engine ground strap right here. But there’s plenty of locations where you can either replace
or upgrade the ground and it’s really easy to
run a new charging wire from the alternator to the battery. The foundation of all vehicles are still going to always be the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Chevy Cruze, a Toyota Celica, a Jeep
Patriot, or this Ford Ranger you still need to upgrade
your battery ground, your engine ground, and your charging wire going from your alternator
to your battery. So, I hope you enjoyed it,
I hope you enjoyed the video on the install on the 2001 Celica, for more information and
for awesome videos like this make sure you subscribe and sign up. I’m Al with Sonic Electronix
and I’ll see you next time. (uptempo music)

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Tf …never showed what he was supposed to….got women knowing more then you..πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚I'm appalled πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

  2. thanks bro! did my upgrade just according to your video which I keep playing and pausing and replaying back again. I know I may look and sound stupid but the result was a great success and i took pride in it for the DIY. but my electrician told me that I should be passing on the fuse box for the alternator and not directly to the positive terminal of the battery. any thoughts on that area?

  3. a friend of mine showed me his wiring upgrade and it was welding cables from work….he always kicked my ass in the car audio department, parked next to me he could drown me out….dont know how his rust bucket held together….lol…also older cars may require some extra connections…fyi

  4. Sorry but people SHOULDN'T follow this guide, especially with the power wire from the alternator to the battery because you DIDN'T put an inline FUSE and God forbid that wire ever gets corroded and touches ANY part of the engine that wires going up in smoke!!! Don't give instructions or information when you truly don't know what you're doing!!

  5. , TIP……. slide your heat shrink tube over the wire before crimping. and yes, always use heat shrink tubing to cover and protect your connection to your wire !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    especially in a salty environment .!!!!!!!

  6. , Another Tip…………
    if you cannot find or get to the original engine block ground, don't worry about it. Just run an entirely NEW GROUND and leave the factory ground.
    Nothing wrong with doing that. After all, it's a factory ground anyways. so leave it for you do it yourself kind of people.

  7. , Another Tip………..
    after you clear coat or paint your new ground connection to the body, nothing wrong with putting a little bit of DIELECTRIC GREASE on that connection point !!!!!!!

  8. Quick tips- Strut tower nuts work extremely well as ground points because they are nice and large, the metal on the strut towers is thick, and you can tighten the nut down very tight without stripping it or causing damage because the nuts and studs are large and sturdy. I would also suggest finding a large bolt on a sturdy part of the engine block to connect the ground to instead of connecting it to a small bolt on a valve cover or something similar. That way the cable is connected to a thick piece of metal that can handle current well, and you can tighten the bolt down nice and tight for a solid connection. I hope that this helps someone

  9. How the heck does this guy has 200000 subscribers. But doesn't know anything on a car besides an alternator. I guarantee he has caught vehicles on fire more than a few times.

  10. Thanks for this video..
    I am planning on upgrading because i want to add a few subwoofers πŸ”Š and I thought upgrading was gonna cost crazy amount of money…

  11. Dielectric grease? Its not just for spark plug wires. Give them lugs a good coat and them battery terminals for sure. Even the charge wire stud on the alternator. You can thank me later on when you look things over and your stuff isn't all corroded up and crusty and you buddies stuff looks like it's been on there for 20 years. I'd put a little between the body ground one and around the head of that bolt and the terminal so it will have some protection then paint over it to seal it in there. It's Vasa line for your car. Lol

  12. My daily driver is a 1996 F350 big block 4×4 crew cab and also a 1991 7.3IDI F250 4×4, Changed up the battery cables to 00 gauge and the same for the ground cables. Just a maybe pointless question here….what about installing a secondary ground route between the battery ground at the chassis fix point to the engine to chassis ground at that chassis fix point?

  13. i have 2 engine grounds can i get away with just changing one? Theres one on each side of the engine. Im going to be using 1/0 ofc wire because i have a couple feet just laying around

  14. These are basically jumper cables. Either going from the alternator to the battery or battery to chasie. In my opinion bigger the awg the better.

  15. It's a doom explanation of how not to do this , u should use a multimeter or a toner to check continuity 4 these cables no chance 4 this

  16. How do I find out what kit will work in my car?
    Where on your web site will I navigate to to find out which kit to purchase ?

  17. I did this upgrade just exactly the way u showed me… I have a 3.5L Pontiac G6, my fuse relay for my dash cluster lights keeps blinking and door chimes sound goes off and only when I turn my daytime and fog lights off car runs excellent… Should I ground the alternator to chassis also?

  18. Does anyone know if most charging wire has an inline fuse and what the amp rating would be? Also does anyone use any type of chemical like "Deoxit" or another chemical to help bond the two connections to the ground and power cable and to help with corrosion? Thanks in advance! Great channel and great products that I can trust!

  19. Intention is good, but having two ground locations might provoke a "ground loop". This induces noise on the car's electricals…

  20. What if your battery is in your trunk ? And your alternator is under the hood? I got a 2013 cadillac ats would i have to run wire all the way through my car or under ?

  21. Using a bigger wire does not do much if you are using a dinky thin terminal like that its restricting current flow use a infra red thermometer that dinky terminal vs a thicker one and see how much hotter it gets thats resistance

  22. this is the cycle: watch a video/ read an article and learn the right way to do something, watch another video or article and learn the real proper way-last video was wrong, watch another video to discover that that the guy in 2nd video forgot to include some really key things and overall the techniques are not reccomended, watch another video and learn more- then have pro spl people tell you it's completely wrong, again. Where do I fucking start fackkk!

  23. And additional 'tip' is before you crimp the terminal end, is to dip the freshly stripped wire into some light oil (PB blaster, WD-40 etc) because the wound wire will 'wick' the oil back up under the rest of the wire insulation to help prevent corrosion seeping up into wire after time. And then if you decide to use heat shrinking sleeves, it will protect just that much better. (ESPECIALLY for the Northern states that use salt etc on the roadways)

  24. to avoid short circuit, better to use fuse 80amperes between alternator and positive terminal of the battery duhhh

  25. Make sure those cables are copper. Copper clad Aluminum doesn't belong in an engine bay. Always use automotive grade battery cables for the engine, chasis and alternator.. and use captive heavy gage copper lugs.. squirt some deox in the lug barrels before crimping then finished with shrink tube.

  26. Thanks.Doing a build on my prostreet mopar and that video answered a lot of questions for me adding more electrical acessories like electric fuel pump and fans to name a few..Now l just get some heavy gauge wire and go to work.

  27. Ground is a none current carrying conductor. If you get current across the ground. Ever fuse on the car would blow.

  28. Wtf I've got a 2013 chevy cruize and jeep patriot, what are the chances, I wonder if they had the same problems mine had.

  29. Is it ok to use ground 0 guages? I have premade wires with rings already on my dad was gonna scrap all i gotta do is slap em on

  30. This is truly and excellent idea to do. Especially if you have a vehicle that mounts it’s battery under the passenger seat or back in the trunk.

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