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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went to start the 'vette for the first time in a month or so. Normally she fires right up, but I've moved up 3000 feet in elevation so I wasn't sure what to expect. Took a lot more cranking than normal, probably 10 seconds worth to make sure the float bowls were full, then a brief pause, then another 7 seconds, and still no ignition. At this point something smelled a little warm, so I reached back to see if the battery was getting hot. Side of the battery was cold... negative terminal cold... then burnt my thumb on the positive terminal clamp. :surprised

No obvious signs of corrosion at either end of the positive cable and the insulation looks to be in fine shape. I know looks can be deceiving with corrosion issues so maybe I'll try to get an ohm reading from one end to the other. Once I got her started the ammeter read a good 25-30 amps so the battery was clearly a little down on charge.

Long story short, my question is this:

Is it typical for the positive cable and/or positive battery terminal to get physically hot after extended periods of starter operation?

I suppose if someone had a measure of the typical current draw of the starter on a stock L46 I could measure the wire gauge and we could calculate the power dissipation...
 

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Was the + side wire also hot? If not I would say the connection is not making good contact. With that said I would think the extended current draw would cause a heat build up at the point of most resistance. I wouldn't think it should get hot enough to burn your thumb but very warm, may be!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Was the + side wire also hot?
you know that's a good question. I suddenly lost interest in touching anything else after scalding my thumb :laughing:

You make a good point that if the clamp itself wasn't making a very good connection at the actual terminal then it could be the bottleneck in the whole system and the source of the excessive heat.
 

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I don't know the current draw, but it can't be higher than the cranking amp rating on the battery. That would be a good way to calculate the max possible thermal dissipation. Never hurts to clean the terminal and apply some terminal grease.

~wd-40:buhbye:
 

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Definately dirty connection!! should not get that hot. warm possably but not hot. Dirty terminals can do funny stuff like the corrotion acting like a diode to make the battery discharge but not charge. Clean em and all will be well in vette world again.:thumbsup::D
 

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I told you to clean those connections...:spanked:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
what's the preferred method for cable replacement? Seems like welding cable has been mentioned a lot in the past. What are the perks of welding cable over standard battery cables available through Jegs or Summit? What gauge is only minor overkill? Crimped ends preferred over clamp style?

Here's a pic of my new brand a few hours after the incident. If I got hauled in by the FBI that would make for a funny thumb print! :laughing:
 

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what's the preferred method for cable replacement? Seems like welding cable has been mentioned a lot in the past. What are the perks of welding cable over standard battery cables available through Jegs or Summit? What gauge is only minor overkill? Crimped ends preferred over clamp style?

Here's a pic of my new brand a few hours after the incident. If I got hauled in by the FBI that would make for a funny thumb print! :laughing:

If you have money to spare then buy pre-made cables, this would be the easy way. If your like me and trying to save every dollar it would be cheaper to make your cable. The gauge would depend on how many electrical mods you have done, elect. fans, sound system, ect. all draw more current than the stock system. You can buy cable ends that you can make a solder connection with if your handy with a small propane torch. On the subject of welding cable I would not have any problem using it. Its made to carry loads for long periods of time and lasts for years. Its insulating cover is softer than automotive wire so I would use a covering like the real inexpensive corrugated covering they use from the factory.

I would think you could also just replace the ends on the cable that is in the car now:huh: It is unlikely the cable its self is bad, but I have seen strange things in the past. :rolleyes: Usually the wire has to get real hot all the way through to cause problems. If the cable end connection is the problem the cable may be good.:D

:cheers:Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll start by just cleaning the connections really well and pulling the coil wire to the distributor it'll keep cranking without firing. That will be my test to see if my issue is in the cable, the connection, or the cable ends.
 

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I'll start by just cleaning the connections really well and pulling the coil wire to the distributor it'll keep cranking without firing. That will be my test to see if my issue is in the cable, the connection, or the cable ends.
Sounds like a plan:thumbsup:

Another good source for a new used cable would be from a salvage yard. If i'am not mistaken the newer model cadillacs have the battery under the back seats. I would think there are others too. They should have good cables just call around and offer to take the cable out your self for a discounted price. I went to a salvage yard today and scored a drive by wire gas peddle, TAC module, wiring harness, washer bottle, ECM bracket, and a MAF sensor for my 8.1L install for $40. :devil: Mark
 

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Big welder cable is top stuff. most times you can find some in salvage yards, get the stuff that is flexable,fat as your thumb or finger with fine multi strands. Crimp and solder ends on and you will have a hd cable for life:thumbsup: dont forget to do both earths as well or clean terminals like i think will be your problem and go hard:devil:
 

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Big welder cable is top stuff. most times you can find some in salvage yards, get the stuff that is flexable,fat as your thumb or finger with fine multi strands. Crimp and solder ends on and you will have a hd cable for life:thumbsup: dont forget to do both earths as well or clean terminals like i think will be your problem and go hard:devil:
The stock cable is no. 2 size. I went to an electrical supply house and bought "0" size copper, which is 2 sizes bigger. I used a big copper crimp-on lug at the front and clamp-on type at the battery. End of problem cranking problems and it's 15 years later on a BBC.

BTW, solder isn't that good of a conducter, if you get good mechanical contact you might be better off without it.
 

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The stock cable is no. 2 size. I went to an electrical supply house and bought "0" size copper, which is 2 sizes bigger. I used a big copper crimp-on lug at the front and clamp-on type at the battery. End of problem cranking problems and it's 15 years later on a BBC.

BTW, solder isn't that good of a conducter, if you get good mechanical contact you might be better off without it.
I will agree with this to a certain extent. The problem is having the proper equipment to make that mechanical connection. Most do it your self kind of people dont have a $500 crimp tool. and yes it does take a special tool to completely crimp the wire in the connector properly. If you want a lasting connection at the battery I wouldnt recommend the clamp on type at the battery they suck. :surprised Mark
 

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The reason i mentioned crimp and solder is the crimp does the connection while the solder holds it from moving/coming loose and stops the acids from causing corrotion.
Thats been my experiance from living on a farm to working in a tractor/header wrecking yard for 10 years and seeing how other people(farmers)bubba things,some good some not so good.
 

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I will agree with this to a certain extent. The problem is having the proper equipment to make that mechanical connection. Most do it your self kind of people dont have a $500 crimp tool. and yes it does take a special tool to completely crimp the wire in the connector properly. If you want a lasting connection at the battery I wouldnt recommend the clamp on type at the battery they suck. :surprised Mark
The best would be a custom made oversize cable.

On the cable I made, the copper lug end, which went at the starter, I just slowly crimped in the large vise. I don't have the $500.00 tool either. The clamp-on that I used has direct contact over a large area on the lug side and is positively tight due to the strap. If there is any corrosion, you can see it and take care of it. No, it does not have the contact area of a full crimp-on type. But for something that I made over a decade ago, it's been trouble free and my engine turns over and starts fine.
 

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what's the preferred method for cable replacement? Seems like welding cable has been mentioned a lot in the past. What are the perks of welding cable over standard battery cables available through Jegs or Summit? What gauge is only minor overkill? Crimped ends preferred over clamp style?
Clamp style is the worst, best is crimped and soldered.


I would think you could also just replace the ends on the cable that is in the car now:huh: It is unlikely the cable its self is bad, but I have seen strange things in the past. :rolleyes: Usually the wire has to get real hot all the way through to cause problems. If the cable end connection is the problem the cable may be good.:D

:cheers:Mark
The oem cable is copper clad aluminum, corrodes internally near the connections and it’s next to impossible to solder with traditional methods.

The stock cable is no. 2 size. I went to an electrical supply house and bought "0" size copper, which is 2 sizes bigger. I used a big copper crimp-on lug at the front and clamp-on type at the battery. End of problem cranking problems and it's 15 years later on a BBC.

BTW, solder isn't that good of a conducter, if you get good mechanical contact you might be better off without it.
Since the oem cable is alum, then you could easily stay with the same size, but I too use 0 ga.:thumbsup:


Here is my $1.00 tool that crimps every bit as well as any other.
I just tool 2 pieces of alum, clamped them together, drilled the appropriate wire size hole and ended up with 2 swaging blocks. Insert the flux coated wire into a welding connector (better quality) and use a dulled cold chisel and hammer to crimp.
Can’t pull it apart using all my force.
Then sweat solder.
I didn’t do it in these pics, but for sealing it, wipe the area with silicone and use good heat shrink on top of that. Works with no problems on ocean boats with salt environment too.
The welding emds work well on side poste or marine batteries and adapters are available for top posts. In that case I just bolt to the clamp on style mounted to the posts first.




Here is a previous post on the cables and a good pic of the soldered crimp

Best is to make them out of welding cable and use the solid copper lugs crimped and soldered on.
Herre ae the lengths, can't find the engine mount to starter one, but that should be easy to measure.







 

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THATS WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT:thumbsup:
A real good homemade crimp job.I would like a little more solder but good stuff.:D
 
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