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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Electrical Problems and the Cures...

I'm seeing more and more simple wiring problems that are costing people money and time hunting for a 'phantom' problem...

95% of all charging system problems are bad grounds.
The other 5% are broken down to, 4% monkeys with wire cutters under the hood, an 1% defective hardware...

Very rarely is it the fault of hardware when an electrical system problem is persistent...
If the alternator goes bad, you change it, problem solved.
If the regulator goes bad (if so equipped) you change it, problem solved.
Fusible link goes bad, you change it, problem solved.

Monkey with wire cutters under the hood....
Who knows where to begin tracking the problem down...

The factory probably saved $50 per vehicle by not supplying the correct ground wires, (about $2 worth of wire and ends, and $48 worth of labor getting high school drop outs to install the grounds at $25 an hour...)

We've said it before, I know we'll have to say it a thousand times again...
No such thing as too many grounds...

The Starter is the largest current draw on the vehicle.
You have a large positive wire going more or less directly to the starter, but where is that large ground wire that should go directly to the starter too?
Put your primary ground cable directly to a starter bolt.

How about the alternator?
It's the second largest current draw, and it normally doesn't get a ground wire at all!
Every bit of current used by your vehicle is produced by the alternator making it the MOST USED circuit in the vehicle, and it doesn't get a ground wire from the factory? Does this seem right to you?

If you have a 10 Ga wire coming from your alternator, run a 10 Ga. ground directly from the battery to the alternator case. (8 Ga. ground if you have an 8 Ga. hot lead)
Brackets aren't good enough, the brackets and the bolts are painted, will rust, and bolts come loose, all leaving the alternator with out a ground.

How about those ignition systems!
Most rely on a ground through the distributor housing...
Have you ever pulled a distributor and seen the gunk that builds up on them over time? That stuff makes a good insulator!
And then the poor ignition has to rely on loose fitting, moving steel parts for a ground!
Most people are amazed when an ignition system component quits working...
I'm dumbfounded they work at all!

And like that isn't enough, most engines aren't grounded adequately.
It's real hard for your new $700 high output ignition to get the plugs to fire when you didn't spend $5 on a ground cable for the engine!

They complain that the engine doesn't run right when it's cold...
But the electric choke can't get a ground to work...
The ignition module can't get a ground to work, the high voltage can't get a ground to fire the plugs...
The starter 'drags' or 'It eats starters'.....
Ground the next starter and see if that helps!!

My Dash lights/ Radio(s)/ Heater-AC/ won't work or blink on and off, my tail lights won't work, and when I turn on the right turn signal, the right tail light goes out, and the left turn signal blinks real slow....

The factory was too cheap to install proper ground wires on this stuff, so you have to.
CJ Dave said you should treat your Jeep like it was three or four different and separate devices...
The Frame, so ground it.
The Body, so ground it.
The Engine, so ground it.
The Fenders, so ground them.
This is REAL good advice...

Lights in particular should have a ground ran to each of them.
It sure doesn't take long for corrosion and crud to build up between the light sockets and the (marginal at best) body ground, so if you run a ground wire, you can be sure your lights will get a ground and work when you need them...
Like when you are broke down on the trail, (or approaching a sobriety check point after a day of wheeling!)

Remember, check the ground FIRST, then check the power source....
Most of us have older Jeeps, and no one has to tell a Jeep owner about rust and corrosion!

OK Then....
(This is what happens when I forget to take my medication [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif[/img].... PROZAC! It isn't just for breakfast anymore! [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/blush.gif[/img])

That is all, end of rant!

So many cats, so few recipes...
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 01:52 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

Yep. Most of my electrical problems turned out to be grounding issues. Boy, they can get strange some times.

I'm on here so much, I have carpal tunnel reader syndrone.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 01:54 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

Good info TR, I especially like the part about the monkeys. I have had a Jeep or two where I very dearly would have loved to go monkey hunting[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/mad.gif[/img].

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 02:01 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

I agree 100%. That is why I talk so much about using a DVM. You can find a lot of problems by measuring the voltage from the neg side of your battery to other ground points on the engine and chassis. When you start seeing a voltage differenc, then you know you are starting to see a ground problem.

84CJ7, 3"lift, 32"BFG, 4.10's, R/ARB, F/Detroit, Onboard Air....89 Cherokee - New Project

They say we learn by our mistakes.....I guess thats why we are all so smart.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 02:11 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

It doesn't sound like a rant to me, sounds like some good information. If you really want ground problems, install a fiberglass body like I did. I had to run grounds to everything. I didn't do too well with the dash. When I turn on the headlights the voltmeter drops to 10 volts. I got some heavy braided cable to ground the dash directly to the ground cable. Then maybe I won't have to carry that flashlight to see my gauges at night.

I've replaced so many parts that my old Jeep has become my new Jeep.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 02:54 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

When in doubt, ground it out. Your best friends are 4Ga or larger welding cable, heat shrink tubing, and the appropriate lugs!

'83 CJ-7 nothing original but the tub and axle tubes
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 03:32 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

Amen TR,

Great info that should be added to the FAQ section of the SWB website. I've finally run dedicated grounds to the engine/frame/body and am glad I did.


84 CJ-7; 258 I6; Restored-to-Stock Condition, TR Ignition Upgrade
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 07:02 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Last June I rented a John Deere backhoe to excavate for our new garage project. The guy who brought it over told me I would have to let it idle during lunch because the starter was "dragging" and it would not crank when hot. I looked at the ground and sure enough it went to the battery box, which was bolted loosely to the hood support bulkhead, which was bolted loosely (and rusty) to the tractor clutch housing, which had the starter bolted to IT! I had to go to town for some grade stakes so I went by NAPA and got a nice ground cable and some star washers(Thanks, TR!)and I ran a cable to the starter mounting stud. The tractor engine BLASTED to a start after lunch! The starter motor was in perfect shape.....of course.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

No Prob man!
That's what I'm here for, to flick the fly sh*t out of the pepper...

I just can't stress the ground to the starter bolt enough! And it goes right in one ear and out the other on most people...
Oh well, kept me in new cars and singles for the strippers for several years!

Dave, did I tell you I got an Email from a guy that runs the 'Rocky Mountain Rescue'?
(I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds important!)
He had a picture of YOUR distributor and wanted to know how much to do a kit for 60 vehicles...
Said his tech guy was just Nuts for the idea!
(I'm just going to sell them the adaptor plates for cheap and give them the instructions, that will save a rescue crew a bunch of money, I'd hate for them to not be able to buy gas when I need help!)

The tech guy must lurk here or how else could he have found my name and a picture of your distributor?
Pretty cool, HUH!?
As for grounding, I just whipped this up for a guy that was asking how *I* would ground a vehicle...
I know I forgot the lead for the starter solenoid, and probably a host of other things....
It's crude, I scribbled it out in about five minutes...

So many cats, so few recipes...
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2002, 07:49 PM
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Re: Electrical Problems and the Cures...

Thanks for the info. I had been wondering how and what to ground. The brass bolt is a great idea. My 84 cj has it's share of rust and corrosion, and the electrical systems are no exception.

84 CJ7, 258, HEI, M/C 2100 carb, 5 inch lift, RS9000's, 33x12.5 BFG M/T's, 4.56's and Detroit softlocker, full cage & belts, Xenon flares, Dana 44 rear, GM dual diaphragm brake booster
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