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-   -   Big 3 (https://forum.realmofexcursion.com/accessories-electrical/924-big-3-a.html)

speakerman 10-11-2005 04:05 PM

Big 3
 
As many of you know, upgrading the "Big 3" wires in your engine compartment can lower the overall resistance of your entire electrical system. The effects of the lower resistance are typically:

1) Reduced dimming and smaller voltage drops
2) More stable voltage and better current flow
3) Less strain on your vehicle's charging system

So for those of you looking for a cheap and easy way to upgrade your system and help out your electrical system without adding a high output alternator or an aftermarket battery, this is the modification for you. If you have heavy dimming or are getting large voltage drops during loud bass hits, but you don't have the money to spend on a high output alternator or a battery, upgrading your vehicle's "Big 3" will usually help to reduce and sometimes even eliminate the problems. So without further ado, the "Big 3" wires are:

1) Battery negative to chassis
2) Alternator to battery positive
3) Chassis to engine

Now, I suppose it would help if I explained what each of these wires does, and to do that I would like to paraphrase an explanation by IMTfox from a while ago: Think of your vehicle's charging system as two different circuits, one consisting of your amplifier and your battery, and the other consisting of your alternator and your battery. The current in your electrical system flows from your positive battery terminal to your amp, from your amp's ground to the chassis, and then from the chassis back to the negative battery terminal. But how does it get to the positive terminal in the first place? That's where the alternator comes in. Current in the second circuit flows from your alternator's positive post to the battery's positive terminal, then from the battery's negative terminal to the chassis, and from the chassis back to the block, which happens to be the grounding point for your alternator.

So, from your battery, you have the power wire going to the power terminal on your amplifier and then your amplifier is grounded to the chassis of the vehicle. From here the current needs a way to get back to the negative battery terminal, and that way is through the first of the "Big 3," the battery negative to chassis wire. Upgrading this wire will "upgrade" the circuit between your battery and your amp by giving the current a larger path to flow through to get back to the battery.

Now, think of your alternator as the battery and your battery as the amp. From the positive post on your alternator, you have the second of the "Big 3," the alternator to battery positive wire supplying "power" to your battery. From there the battery, just like your amp, is grounded to the chassis through the wire mentioned in the previous paragraph. Again, the current needs a way to get from the chassis back to the alternator's "negative terminal" and that way is through the last of the "Big 3," the chassis to engine wire. Since your alternator is most likely mounted to your engine block using a metal or conductive mounting bracket, you can simply add your new wire from the chassis to one of the mounting posts for the alternator. Upgrading these two wires will "upgrade" the circuit between your alternator and your battery, again giving the current a larger path to flow through.

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

Now that you understand exactly what the "Big 3" do, it's time to upgrade them to a larger gauge wire. You can use regular power wire from installing your car audio equipment, ring terminals, and crimping equipment just the same as you would for any other install. Let's start with the first of the "Big 3," the battery negative to chassis wire:

1) Disconnect your battery's negative terminal and get the stock wiring out of the way. You might have to cut it and crimp a new ring terminal onto it. I found it helpful to use aftermarket battery terminals with multiple ports on them also.

2) Scrape away the paint and drill the hole for your connection of the larger wire, or connect it to the stock grounding point. Either way you do it, make sure it is bare chassis metal, not covered by paint, and that the connection is as tight and secure as possible:





3) Secure the new wire to the chassis and reconnect the vehicle's stock chassis ground, but DON'T reconnect the vehicle's negative battery terminal yet! You may find it helpful to cover the negative battery terminal with a cloth or other non-conductive material and just lay the terminal on it until you're ready to reconnect it later.

Moving on to the next of the "Big 3," let's upgrade the alternator to battery positive wire:

4) Locate the vehicle's alternator and look for a terminal post connected to it. The post shouldn't be hard to find. It should have only one wire connected to it, and it should lead to the positive terminal on the battery, possibly through the fuse box.



5) Disconnect the stock alternator to battery positive wire from the positive post and connect it to the post again with the new wire added.

6) Run the wire either through your fuse box if applicable or through a fuse. The fuse should be sized to match the max ampacity of your wire, not the output capability of your alternator. As you can see I just went through the fuse box, so my upgrade is probably not making as much of a difference as it could if it were fused externally, but my alternator is capable of withstanding the draws anyway so I'm not particularly worried about it. If I ever begin to see a problem w/ current draws, I will probably fuse the wire externally with a 300A or so fuse...

7) From the fuse, connect the wire to the positive terminal on your battery, again, leaving the stock wiring connected when you're done. The picture below shows the alternator to battery positive wire run from the alternator through my fuse box to the positive battery terminal.



Last, let's move to the chassis to engine wire: (Again, because your alternator is grounded to the block, all you need to do is find a bolt somewhere on the block and connect it to the chassis. The alternator's mounting bracket is usually a good place to find these bolts).

Cool Again, either drill a new hole or connect this wire to the stock chassis ground. From the chassis ground, run the wire back to one of the mounting posts for the alternator (or to a bolt on the engine block).



9) That's it! You're done. Reconnect the vehicle's negative battery terminal and check out the difference! Below is a shot of the "Big 3" upgraded in my car. The other wire you see coming out of the battery's positive terminal is obviously my amp's power wire.



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

Helpful hints:

1) Leave the stock wiring attached after you're done. Don't replace the stock wiring, add onto it. Current will take the path of least resistance anyway, so replacing the stock wire will only make more work for yourself.

2) When fusing your alternator to battery positive wire, fuse it toward the battery end of the wire. As IMTfox points out later in this thread, the battery will explode if it's overloaded, while the alternator will only burn out its regulator which won't cause much damage except to the alternator itself. Exploding batteries are no fun!

3) When crimping large gauge terminals for 1/0awg and sometimes even 4awg, a vice works well. Crimp one side of the terminal at a time, creating an overlapping edge. Put the boot around this and then wrap it in electrical tape if you want. the most secure connections will occur in this way.





4) Lastly, prepare all your materials and tools BEFORE you are ready to upgrade. Know what you are doing before you start so you can be done as quick as possible. The majority of vehicles have computers that will reset after the battery is disconnected for a long time and they can cause older vehicles to do strange things if they reset.

Hopefully this clears up most of the questions you had about why we upgrade the "Big 3" and how it helps to stop dimming and other electrical problems. If not, please don't hesitate to send me a PM.

pornstar 12-25-2005 09:55 AM

nice thread bro.

one thing i would like to add:


i prefer to call it the big 4.

there is one other wire that tends to get overlooked alot.


somwhere in the vicinity of your battery most cars will have a fuse box.

its a good idea to also upgrade the wire going from the battery to the fuse box as well, with 4g.

so, the big four :)

alt to chassis
alt to batt
batt to chassis
batt to fuse box

meatloaf1986 12-25-2005 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pornstar

alt to chassis
alt to batt
batt to chassis
batt to fuse box

Isant it called like the distro block???

pornstar 12-25-2005 05:35 PM

i dont mean the car audio distribution block.

i'm talking about the cars fuse box.


my car has two fuse box loactions.

one is under the dash.

the other is under the hood a few inches from the battery.

everything in the car, lights, dash, guages, etc... is all fed from the fuse box under the hood.

the only stock wire that goes from the "car" to the battery, is the one from the fuse box. (well, and the one to the alternator.)

this way everything inside the car is protected via fuses, instead of straight wire to the battery.

so, i upgrade that wire as well.

meatloaf1986 12-25-2005 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pornstar
i dont mean the car audio distribution block.

i'm talking about the cars fuse box.


my car has two fuse box loactions.

one is under the dash.

the other is under the hood a few inches from the battery.

everything in the car, lights, dash, guages, etc... is all fed from the fuse box under the hood.

the only stock wire that goes from the "car" to the battery, is the one from the fuse box. (well, and the one to the alternator.)

this way everything inside the car is protected via fuses, instead of straight wire to the battery.

so, i upgrade that wire as well.

i mean the car power distrobution block it has big maxi fuses in it.

pornstar 12-25-2005 05:39 PM

i guess in some circles it would be called that.

i guess its symantecs.


distribution block
fuse box.

same thing :)


mine has typical blade fuses and relays... but its a 94

meatloaf1986 12-25-2005 05:41 PM

Ah ok mines a 86 and it has regular fuses also but i know for a fact that a 98 ford taurs has maxi fuses lol that car that we had i had to fix so many eletric problem on lol.

cadenceowner 01-01-2006 10:08 AM

can you do the big three with a side terminal battery? i dont think ill be able to get the optima just yet.

ROE 01-01-2006 12:24 PM

sure can. it may be a bit harder to connect wires though.

devs8 02-17-2006 09:02 AM

me and my freidn were thikning of doing the big 3 in my car but i figured it woudl be a waste of ime fo rmy car since its a POS and not worht psending all that time!

txcyko 05-16-2006 09:30 PM

it wont take that long man :wink:

Scarrell 05-17-2006 12:26 PM

ok.. so i just bought some 2gauge wire, and 6ring terminals.. hoping to do the big 3(still am), and my damn altenator is at the bottom of the car.. its a 95 Saturn SC2.. anyone know off hand where the ground for the alt is? because i cant find it, even looking under the car.. any hints or tricks?

Scarrell 05-17-2006 12:53 PM

kinda need to know asap... well i really need to know asap, lol

cadenceowner 05-17-2006 12:57 PM

are you asking where you connect the wire onto your alternator?
the post i think is kinda facing up on the passenger side.
its a pain in the ass to get to.
to be honest, they put the alternator in the worst spot.
but i think the alt post in either facing towards the firewall, or a little more up


im not sure what you asking tho?

Scarrell 05-17-2006 12:59 PM

im not really sure what im asking either, lol... i dunno, thanks though.. ill figure it out guys!

Garrett Powered 05-28-2006 12:19 AM

on my GM w-body (turbo grand prix) its the big 5.

1. block to chassis
2. block to battery
3. battery to chassis
4. amp to chassis
1-4 are all ground wires

5. all the positive wires from the alt->battery->amp.

97lude 06-24-2006 06:19 AM

my question is that i cant find the engine to chassis #3. you said you can run it from the alternator to the chassis. if i do that do i have to find the old ground and unhook it or can i leave it alone and have two?

mattnificent 07-03-2006 05:06 PM

so you leave the stock wire on with the new bigger wire?? u do this on all of em??? nebody here gotta car wit da batt under the backseat?? how hard is it??

AJē06 07-09-2006 09:55 AM

I dont see pics in the original post. is this just me??

AJē06 07-10-2006 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AJē06
I dont see pics in the original post. is this just m

e??

ANYONE?

VikingLax18 07-10-2006 08:21 PM

I have a question. Im not sure the exact words but within the part of 'alternator to battery +' you say install a fuse near the end of the wire on the battery side. Do I HAVE to do this, becuase one i dont wanna go buy a fuse and fuse casing, and second, I just wanna run a new 4g wire straight to the +, not through the fuse box.
thanks

alpine247 07-10-2006 08:27 PM

ok how do i do the big 3 on my tempo i dont think u can but i wanna do it so damn bad :lol:

pic i know i need to replace my wire harness :lol:

http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...247/alt001.jpg

http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...247/alt002.jpg

http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...247/alt003.jpg

http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...247/alt005.jpg

VikingLax18 07-10-2006 08:46 PM

Red the directions
thats how you do it. :x

alpine247 07-10-2006 09:22 PM

dude i know how to do it, but how when there no stud behide the alt, it just wire harness

Garrett Powered 07-13-2006 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 97lude
my question is that i cant find the engine to chassis #3. you said you can run it from the alternator to the chassis. if i do that do i have to find the old ground and unhook it or can i leave it alone and have two?

If you cant find it, leave it and use a 4 or 2 gauge from the alt bracket to the chassis, but then make sure there is an equal ground from the batt to the chassis and the block to batt or it wont be as good.

this brings up another good point. how well does a ground signal travel through the block and bolt threads and how much loss is there between the stud on the other side of the motor? thats why I use kopr-shield on the alt bracket bolt threads to ground the alt better to the block and skip the extra wire from the alt bracket to the chassis.

as for the tempo. thats ford for you. go to autozone and get the high output alt harness!!!!! I actually have one here that didnt fit on my old ass ford, but I think its for your car.


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