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Old 04-11-2011, 09:47 AM
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Grounding COmponents?

Ok I'm having some battery drain issues in my 65 chevelle SBC 355cid (Optima battery in the trunk), and i was wondering what is the best way to ground components on the car including motor, gauges, battery?

also what could be causing the battery to drain over a day or two of just sitting, I've checked everything and cant find the issue?

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Old 04-11-2011, 11:01 AM
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grounding

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Originally Posted by 65malibuSS
Ok I'm having some battery drain issues in my 65 chevelle SBC 355cid (Optima battery in the trunk), and i was wondering what is the best way to ground components on the car including motor, gauges, battery?

also what could be causing the battery to drain over a day or two of just sitting, I've checked everything and cant find the issue?
As far as grounding, if your battery is in the trunk, run the cable down to the frame, clean the frame to bare metal, both sides, bolt cable to frame then paint over it. Also make sure your + cable is big enough. I use #2.

As far as grounding the engine I do it in two places, one cable from mounting bolt of starter, to frame. Make sure you use star washers both front and back. I also put one in the front of engine. Then one from tranny to frame. Do not hook to alum. as it does not make a good ground.Gauges should ground on dash.

If your battery is draining you have a short somewhere or a bad batt.

Bob
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:16 AM
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Hi
35terraplane has it right. But I would add ground straps from the fire wall to the frame & engine as well,
& if it's a truck another one from the bed to the frame.
Rich
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:03 PM
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Alumimum is s pretty good ground..... but think it's a little over kill grounding the tranny if the engine is grounded...... engine should be bolted to the tranny and if it's not, grounds are the least of your problems....lol
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:16 PM
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To check for battery drain, try this. Disconnect the Neg terminal. Hook a test light between the Neg terminal and the Neg cable. Does it light up? How bright is it? If it does light up start pulling fuses from the panel one at a time. If the test light goes out you've found the leaky accessory.
I solved this for a customer once. I hooked up test light as above. Just by chance I pulled the cigarette lighter out of its socket. Test light went out. Short repaired!
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:42 PM
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If you dont find any shorts try a new battery. Those Optima batteries are not as good as they are made out to be. I have seen several that wont hold a charge for more than a few days.
As far as grounds, you cant have too many and the advise above is good. Star washers are the key to a good long lasting connection.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:05 PM
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grounding components

Quote:
Originally Posted by EOD Guy
Alumimum is s pretty good ground..... but think it's a little over kill grounding the tranny if the engine is grounded...... engine should be bolted to the tranny and if it's not, grounds are the least of your problems....lol
Rather than me tell you why Aluminum does not make a good ground, I will let DR. Vette.


Where ever you have two dissimilar metals, and Electricity, you will eventually have Electrolysis...left to its own devices...

This is not to say it can't be done..Alternators are Aluminum , as well as their mounting brackets , (on some ) and if you remember, or look closely, older GM Automobiles with such a set up have this "White Powered Flakey" Crap all over the Alternator and bracketry...That's from electrolysis..

This stuff forms in degrees, Massive, you get the "GM Alternator look" and usually have a whole score of trouble with the charging system..Minor would be , pull a ground terminal from the body / Frame , and find an almost transparent white "Stain" Between the connectors..

For the most part..This is not a conductor..It is an insulator...and depending on the Degree of insulation, changes the resistive value of the device to source current..Via the ground circuit..(I.E. lights to the battery, for an example..)

It almost equates to running undersized wire for the draw..And we all know what happens there..a percentage of the current is used up in heat , fighting the resistance to the Device from the source current..and therefore The device is robbed of current to do useful work, dissipating it as heat..(case of dim headlight systems..)

Back some time in the 80 ish..The Construction industry used Aluminum wire to wire homes..and found scores of trouble with it..(in my area at least) Code requires when upgrading the service to use copper..Back then as now, they require for that which is still in service to be bonded with an Aluminum Bonding paste to the buss Bars and different type metals..

If you MUST install dissimilar metals electrically, The best way to achieve that, Is , Burnish the areas to be bonded, free of paint, dirt and grease. Secure, and apply some Aluminum Bonding paste to the metals and the connector.Install a Star washer, then a lock-washer, and securely tighten the connection with a screw or bolt whatever is being used..Add that as part of an annual inspection program to inspect and renew bonding paste.

In the case of your Radiator..just bolting it to the frame does not insure it is at the same potential as the ground of the vehicle..Different metals have different resistive properties..depending on how configured..a 10 foot section of Gold 18 Gauge circular mils in diameter will be a lot lower in resistive value than Copper the same size and circular mils..In your case..you should run Ground strapping from your headlight bonding area, then to the Frame and bond it to ground..OR better , Just a straight bond to the frame, or a properly gauged wire BACK to a common point buss..

If you apply a little ohms law.. E=R/I.....and find you have a resistive drop from your headlight ground (through improper bonding, and different metal) to the source current, (the battery) .. Of say 5 ohms..at RUNNING speed you have a Drop of 2.88 Amps at the device, (headlamps)..that is 3 amps, or about 41 watts (almost the consumption of a Third headlight..at 14.4 volts) that are doing no useful work, but being dissipated as heat..fighting it's way back to the battery. That device is not going perform as well as it should.

The short story, for your application, would be , burnish the metal area, add star and lock washers, add a short ground strap from the radiator grounds to the frame, and coat the different metal connections with bonding paste..AND make it an annual thing to look at..

The second option, and a MUCH better one is a central ground buss located at or near the starter, with properly gauged wire for each circuits run direct..

Either will give you much better performance than you are getting now..REmember..you need to have any ground potential ANYWHERE on the vehicle at the same potential as the ground cable , else you will have losses.

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Old 04-11-2011, 06:20 PM
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This is excellent advise. There are compounds that can be applied to the connection to combat this but it is best is avoided.
I want to add 1 thing to this. Some of the cheap ring connectors that the parts stores carry are made from aluminum or other cheap alloys. These should also be avoided
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:00 PM
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I still wouldn’t ground the transmission but not for the reason you quote…..

I disagree with your version completely….. what you are saying that all those aluminum ring terminals and butt splices are bad and you shouldn't use them because they don't make good connections/conductors nor do they require bonding paste, and the fact that the electrical field routinely uses aluminum wire for grounds as well as current carrying main high line feeds and that every modern power panel I have ever seen has aluminum buss bars for the neutral and the grounds so an entire industry is wrong

To quote Wiki: Aluminum is a conductor, and a pretty good one. It acts to conduct both electricity (electrical conductor) and heat (thermal conductor) quite well. It ranks behind silver, copper and gold.

Electrolysis, from what I understand, is when two dissimilar metals are immersed in some form of electrolyte and the resulting chemical reaction actually displaces a portion of the metal in the form of ions etc……..not to be confused with corrosion

just saying alum may not be my 1st choice as a median for wire, but it does in fact have very good electrical properties.

Last edited by EOD Guy; 04-11-2011 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:01 PM
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Grounding

Quote:
Originally Posted by EOD Guy
I still wouldn�t ground the transmission but not for the reason you quote�..

I disagree with your version completely�.. what you are saying that all those aluminum ring terminals and butt splices are bad and you shouldn't use them because they don't make good connections/conductors nor do they require bonding paste, and the fact that the electrical field routinely uses aluminum wire for grounds as well as current carrying main high line feeds and that every modern power panel I have ever seen has aluminum buss bars for the neutral and the grounds so an entire industry is wrong

To quote Wiki: Aluminum is a conductor, and a pretty good one. It acts to conduct both electricity (electrical conductor) and heat (thermal conductor) quite well. It ranks behind silver, copper and gold.

Electrolysis, from what I understand, is when two dissimilar metals are immersed in some form of electrolyte and the resulting chemical reaction actually displaces a portion of the metal in the form of ions etc��..not to be confused with corrosion

just saying alum may not be my 1st choice as a median for wire, but it does in fact have very good electrical properties.
We are talking apples and oranges. When you put a wire, with a Aluminum connector, on a steel bolt, and valve covers, intakes,tranny's can be Aluminum, they have steel bolts,there fore when you put the wire on it, it will cause electrolysis, because of the two different metals. You are talking buss bars that, if they have aluminum screws, you will not have this.

Back in the 60's and 70's they wired houses with aluminum wire which were blamed for many fires, because of the heating and cooling of the wire, it would cause the screws to loosen and back out causeing loose wires.

Now you have not been around too know Dr. Vette, I never had the pleasure to talk with him either, But I do know that he was the GURU on anything electric. you can disagree with me all you want, but what was in my post was all from Dr. Vette, so I guess you disagree with him also, that is your right.

Bob
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:25 PM
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Yep, I disagree with anyone who thinks

"When you put a wire, with a Aluminum connector, on a steel bolt, and valve covers, intakes,tranny's can be Aluminum, they have steel bolts,there fore when you put the wire on it, it will cause electrolysis, because of the two different metals. You are talking buss bars that, if they have aluminum screws, you will not have this.:”

Those alum buss bars with alum screws have copper wires connected to them, 2 diff metals, and because there is no electrolyte…….. no electrolysis, might be some corrosion etc…...

The iron block is bolted to an alum tranny, there is a grounding strap on the block etc….. also 2 diff metals etc….

Bottom line, aluminum is a very good electrical conductor and unless it is submersed in an electrolytic solution, over a period of time with a current flowing thru it, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

The same logic holds true for any 2 diff metals, ie... copper and iron if immersed in an electrolyte and a current is applied, electrolysis will take place..ie..... copper plateing

Last edited by EOD Guy; 04-11-2011 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:47 PM
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When aluminum wiring is used in household wiring a special paste is used to keep it from suffering from electrolysis at the joints. In many communities it is not legal to use aluminum for entrance feeds as it was proven to burn houses down and I believe it is illegal for any internal wiring everywhere. All dissimilar metals have this effect to a point, aluminum and steel is about the worst combination. Aluminum is not as good a conductor as copper, this is why in areas that still do allow it use require 1 or 2 sizes larger if you are using aluminum over copper.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:51 PM
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Grounding

Quote:
Originally Posted by EOD Guy
Yep, I disagree with anyone who thinks

"When you put a wire, with a Aluminum connector, on a steel bolt, and valve covers, intakes,tranny's can be Aluminum, they have steel bolts,there fore when you put the wire on it, it will cause electrolysis, because of the two different metals. You are talking buss bars that, if they have aluminum screws, you will not have this.:�

Those alum buss bars with alum screws have copper wires connected to them, 2 diff metals, and because there is no electrolyte��.. no electrolysis, might be some corrosion etc�...

The iron block is bolted to an alum tranny, there is a grounding strap on the block etc�.. also 2 diff metals etc�.

Bottom line, aluminum is a very good electrical conductor and unless it is submersed in an electrolytic solution, over a period of time with a current flowing thru it, there shouldn�t be anything to worry about.

The same logic holds true for any 2 diff metals, ie... copper and iron if immersed in an electrolyte and a current is applied, electrolysis will take place..ie..... copper plateing
Like I said DR. Vette was the man, so I guess we will have to agree to disagree. It really does't change my mind And you are not going to change yours. So I will just keep on using the right ground. You can use what you want.

Bob

Bob
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:49 AM
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Your point is aluminum is not the "right" ground because it causes electrolysis. My point is, that is simply not true. Electrolysis cannot take place unless an electrolyte and a sustained current are present.

In post #2 you stated to use a grounding cable to ground the tranny to the frame but don't use aluminum..... the bolts that bolt the tranny to the engine block provide equal potential to ground for both the engine and the tranny via the grounding strap you also suggested for the block, therefore, IMO, there is no need for a separate grounding strap for the tranny.

No need to keep adding Doc to your references, I too think he was very knowledgeable and often use his advice in his posts to solve my issues.

Last edited by EOD Guy; 04-12-2011 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:41 AM
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Every airplane made has tinned copper connectors grounded to Aluminum with no problems.
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