"Big 3" preparation for new amp install - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-28-2015, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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"Big 3" preparation for new amp install

I replaced my 2010 JK with a new 2015 Rubicon. I want to upgrade the stereo components bit by bit (already replaced the head unit). Next step is to upgrade the amplifier. I have a nice JL Audio HD900/5 and amp install kit ready to go, but before I start installing it, I wanted to upgrade the "Big 3" electrical wires under the hood.
Those 3 are:
1. Ground wire from battery to frame
2. Ground wire from engine to frame
3. Power wire from alternator to battery

I planned on using 4 AWG wire for each, but I've got several questions before I begin.
One, I've read here and there some talk about the stock ground strap wire being braided and how that helps reduce radio interference. Is this true? Will I be introducing problems by replacing that cable with just a standard 4 gauge wire?
Should I buy a specific type of wire for this upgrade?

Also, looking under the hood for these wires, it's getting a little confusing. All the wires are neatly bundled together, so it's a little tricky figuring out what goes where, but it looks like there are several ground wires. I counted 4 in different areas, several along the side of the car near the battery. So would it be smart to replace all of those?

Has anybody done this on a 2015? The wires a bit different from what I had in my 2010.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-28-2015, 03:34 AM
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I would go with at least 2 gauge wire for your big 3 upgrade. The reason being is the amp itself accepts 4 gauge wire and the factory wiring is pretty much 8 gauge wire. 8 gauge wire has 16,509 circular mils of conduction area and 4 gauge has 41,740 circular mils. So you'll what a wire with at least 58,249 circular mils to not tax any of your wiring. 2 gauge wire has 66,369 circular mils, so it gives you a little extra breathing room.

I've never heard anything about braided wire having any effect on interference. Sounds more like somebody screwed something up and blamed it on the wire and it became a wive's tell.

While there are several grounds, it should become clear which ones are the real big 3 when you get them unbundled. I'd have to look at my 2013 because I don't remember if the alternator grounds through its brackets, or if it has a dedicated ground wire. Either way, it should become obvious which wires need upgraded.
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-28-2015, 07:42 AM
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I did a similar mod to an '88 Bronco I had, though I did it while upgrading to a 160A alternator to keep from burning the truck to the ground.

I ended up "rolling my own" battery cables and grounds with 1/0 welding cable, an assortment of lugs and terminals, solder pellets, and adhesive-lined heat shrink.

IMO, it ended up being much better than anything off-the-shelf, because it allowed me to re-route the cables in more sensible ways. Plus it only cost me about $100 in parts and supplies.

Find a local welding supply shop -- they should be able to hook you up with everything you need. The only tools needed are heavy-duty wire/cable cutters (I used bolt cutters) and a propane torch (to melt the solder and shrink the heat shrink). You could use a heat gun for the heat shrink, but the torch works just fine if you're careful.

Chase

2013 Billet Silver JKU Sport S, 6-Speed, TF Leveling Kit, Spidertrax 1.5" Spacers, 285/70R17 Firestone Destination M/Ts on OEM Sport wheels.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-29-2015, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that insight guys.

IndyJLH, that's great info to know about the load and suggesting to go with at least 2 AWG wire.
I probably am going to just try and buy what I need, rather than go COBrien's route just because I'm trying to do this quickly and "rolling my own" cables is going to add an extra step of learning and not sure I'll trust my work.
Does something like this look about right for what I'll need:
http://www.amazon.com/Camco-47473-2-...FEFVZR68EC88ZZ

Also, before I start taking things apart and sorting through wires, I'm still trying to get a better idea of what grounds I'll be needing to replace.
I've taken a few pictures of what I've found (some of these look like they'll be really hard to get to).





This isn't the ground that goes to the engine, is it? I can't quite tell when looking from above and then looking from below.

Last edited by covalt; 07-29-2015 at 10:20 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-29-2015, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-30-2015, 01:10 PM
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The 2 gauge wire you linked to will work just fine. Just make sure you order the correct length for your application. Last night I looked at my 2013 (should be the same as your 2015) and would have to unbundle the harness in order to tell which wire is which. The real obvious one is the +12V one coming off the alternator. The less obvious ones that need to be determined are alternator ground and battery ground.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-31-2015, 08:48 PM
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I'm considering installing a JL Audio 500/1 amp to power 1 sub. Would I need to do this upgrade as well?
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-01-2015, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn1112 View Post
I'm considering installing a JL Audio 500/1 amp to power 1 sub. Would I need to do this upgrade as well?
For a single 500W Class D amp like that, I'd say no. However, use at least 4 gauge wire for your power and ground.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-01-2015, 09:29 PM
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Thanks, and yes I plan on going with 4 gauge
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-04-2015, 09:58 PM
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You do not have to upgrade all of the grounds to the body of the vehicle just one.
The jk has a horrible ground to the frame at least on my 08 it did. A full 2 volt drop from body to frame.

One 0 gauge wire from battery to frame and all good. Next I play to upgrade alternator and with it the wire. Beyond that... why upgrade the wire at all???

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Originally Posted by nlgrav182 View Post
Maybe they just corrected your ridiculous mistake. Who the fuck orders chrome anything?
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