The Official R-F "Big 3" How-To - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 01-12-2006
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The Official R-F "Big 3" How-To

Alright...well I thought it was time someone did it...thats right, the big 3. Commonly talked about by many, known by few (haha that sounds cool) Anyways, the big three is the process of upgrading the (alternator to pos on battery wire), (battery ground wire), and (engine block to frame ground wire), hence the name..."big 3"

The big three can be very versatile...even for a stock truck. It lets you make the most of your electrical system. Becuase we all know that your electrical system is only as good as the wiring it is hooked up by. I ran 2/0 just because i'm nuts and over cautious. You can do it with 4 or 2 gauge and definetly that is all you need. I went from 13.98 volts at idle before (no lights/ac) to 14.21 after. And with the lights on before I was about 13.59 at idle (w/ ac) and after i was 14.16

Pretty nice if you have some offroad headlights or a bangin system.
Even if you just think your electrical is not up to par.

It's worth the hour this will take you...trust me. It's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to upgrade your electrical system.

Here's what I used..and you probably need...
-Bolt cutters (for the thick wire)
-6 wire terminals
-About 10-15ft of whatever gauge wire you decide to use (i reccomend 0 gauge)
-Electrical tape (to seal the wire terminals)
-Needle nose plyers or cutters (wire stripping)
-Box Cutter (for the boot on the alt)
-Various sockets (I used 7/16, 1/2, and 5/8 the most)
-About an hour of time and a little knowledge

WARNING: I AM NOT HELD RESPOSIBILE FOR ANY DAMAGE DONE TO YOUR TRUCK BY ME. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS IS JUST A GUIDE...NOT A RULEBOOK. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. ELECTRICAL SHOCK MAY OCCUR.

My truck...2002 ford ranger edge 3.0 liter 2wd


Here is a how to for this

I used 2/0 wire bought from welding supply



1. Unbolt the negative terminal on the battery and take it off
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2. Unbolt the positive terminal on the battery and take it off

3. Next measure out how long from point to point all your wires need to be. Go about 6" over this measurement.
For reference...here is the battery ground

The alternator bolt

And the engine block-frame wire (it's the silver one...its up by the windsheild wiper almost)


Put all the wire terminals on...make sure they are on tight.

Alright...so now that we have identified we can start taking all the bolts off. Start with the battery ground. Take nut off the stock bolt and put your new wire on it, rescrew the nut on. DO NOT PUT THE CABLE BACK ON THE BATTERY YET. Should look like this



The wire should be dangling (negative that is)

Now go over to the alternator...this gets tricky. Take off (peel away) the rubber boot that is right here...



Now take the bolt off and strip away the boot on it. It almost looks like a spark plug boot. Put the new wire on over the existing terminal. It should be pretty tricky to rescrew the bolt...they don't give a lot of room. I had to trim the peice that rests against the terminal (on the alt). You can put this wire all the way to the battery positive. Don't hook it up just yet, it's a little tricky...i'll explain that later.

Should look like this....



Make sure none of the wires are grounded...i just used a DMM when I was done before i hooked up everything. I'll explain later

Now to the engine block/chassis one....unbolt the bolt up top
The bolt on the bottom should look like this....

DON'T TAKE THE BOTTOM BOLT OFF...it's a PITA

Ground to this bolt...it's by the dipstick.



Just take the nut off the put the new wire over the existing and bolt it up...easy as cake.

Now wire that up and under the P/S and hook it up to the original bolt you have.

You have just completed (if/when you do it) the first phase to the big 3.

Now take a DMM...like this one

And check all your points...they should read 0...i do this just as a precaution...i don't have another truck :)

So then you can start hooking everything back up. For me I have a system so I already have another wire to worry about...but the wire terminals on the 2/0 are about 1/8" thick...pretty thick if you ask me...especially to fit in a battery terminal. I just jammed it in there like so



Next you can finally hook up the ground wire back to the battery...your dome light should come on. If it sparks alot...something is wrong...take it off IMMIDIATELY (sp)

It's a good upgrade...should take about an hour

If you have any questions...hit me on AIM at jrpro130 or [email protected] or you can even PM me..i'm always around :)

PS: if there are any edits please tell me
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Old 01-12-2006
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looks good good job
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Old 01-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighRollerII
looks good good job
thanks...i hope someone actually uses this...it took forever to make
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Old 01-12-2006
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Go ahead, call me stupid. It's a question....

Do you think that the increase in voltage is due to the regulator trying to compensate for the additional resistance you have added to your electrical system with this HUGE wire?

I work on Freightliners and Internationals, and they don't even have wiring this large, and they run 4 700 CCA batteries...
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucks05EDGE
Go ahead, call me stupid. It's a question....

Do you think that the increase in voltage is due to the regulator trying to compensate for the additional resistance you have added to your electrical system with this HUGE wire?

I work on Freightliners and Internationals, and they don't even have wiring this large, and they run 4 700 CCA batteries...
Correct me if im wrong but doesnt the larger awg wire create less ohms and that being the point.
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Old 01-12-2006
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id use shrink wrap instead of electrical tape. i dont think 2/0 awg is needed unless ur running more than 200A. 4/0 awg is sufficent and easier to work with.

its because of the amperage the altenator puts out. it could be restricted in factory form with the smaller wiring. also, there would be less restriction with larger wiring.

its like having a pump able to flow 100 gallons per hour but pipe only able to use 75 gallons of that.
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Old 01-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optikal illushun
id use shrink wrap instead of electrical tape. i dont think 2/0 awg is needed unless ur running more than 200A. 4/0 awg is sufficent and easier to work with.

its because of the amperage the altenator puts out. it could be restricted in factory form with the smaller wiring. also, there would be less restriction with larger wiring.

its like having a pump able to flow 100 gallons per hour but pipe only able to use 75 gallons of that.
100 percent correct.

I should have used shrink wrap too though...

well, i'm purchasing an orion 2500d which pulls about 205 amps at full tils

along with the 300 amp alt i will be purchasing

so i figured i might as well do the upgrade now

and 2/0 is for up to 700 amps...i alway like to go overboard

i was going to use 1/0...so i went overboard and went w/ 2/0

the voltage increase is due to the relief of restriction. I would get 14.21 volts at 3k rpms....so it's nothing to do w/ the ohms or whatever you were talking about. I'm going to go see what the resistance at the battery terminals is...i have no idea to tell you the truth
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Old 01-12-2006
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u got a nice system set up...good ****!
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Old 01-12-2006
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:) thanks man...i'll be competing in meca db1 and sr1...

just plain old speaker comps...who can get the loudest...although one is SQL (sound quality loudness/level)

soooo yea...i got wayyyy too much money into audio

it's my addiction, next to my truck/offroading/fishing/girls

it's also my anti drug...after i buy my audio/truck stuff i have no more money left for drugs :( ahhahah just kidding...i'm a good kid
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Old 01-12-2006
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hey i have a question... isnt there a fusable link in the power wire from the alt to the battery? if so what did you do?
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  #11  
Old 01-12-2006
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IMO this should be done to your truck at 100k miles.

Nothing like having everything go dead at 11pm friday night and the only lights you can see are liquor stores, national check cashers and the lit black and mild's........

When I did mine I put dielectric grease in all of the battery ends, then shrink wrapped. I think it holds up to corrosion a bit better, but what do I know, I only work on boats which are more susceptible to corrosion.
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Old 01-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrpro130
100 percent correct.

I should have used shrink wrap too though...

well, i'm purchasing an orion 2500d which pulls about 205 amps at full tils

along with the 300 amp alt i will be purchasing

so i figured i might as well do the upgrade now

and 2/0 is for up to 700 amps...i alway like to go overboard

i was going to use 1/0...so i went overboard and went w/ 2/0

the voltage increase is due to the relief of restriction. I would get 14.21 volts at 3k rpms....so it's nothing to do w/ the ohms or whatever you were talking about. I'm going to go see what the resistance at the battery terminals is...i have no idea to tell you the truth
LMAO, ohms is a measurement of resistance.
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Old 01-12-2006
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off topic....................................


Ricky, just letting you know that I'm going to the tower shopps car show around 7. I havn't called my friend dom to see if he wants to take his b3000 over too.

Let me know:

Matt
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2006
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Yes, first of all, the bigger wire is LOWER resistance.

Second, you have bypassed the fusible links going to the alternator. Just a comment -- I'm not sure if it concerns you. If your alternator ever shorts out though, a nice engine fire is possible.

Third, I'm not too happy looking at how you connected the positive wire. The way you jammed the lug in keeps the clamp from tightening properly. You need to revisit that or you're going to get some nasty corrosion and eventual failure.

Overall though, I'm sure it's helped a lot with voltage drops if you have big current accessories. That's some awesome wire you used!
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Old 01-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz

Third, I'm not too happy looking at how you connected the positive wire. The way you jammed the lug in keeps the clamp from tightening properly. You need to revisit that or you're going to get some nasty corrosion and eventual failure.
Bad connections will also cause a lot of heat buildup....
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Old 01-12-2006
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True, but he may have a good connection because of the lug jammed in there pulling the clamp. But around the sides of the clamp it may still be open and junk is going to accumulate over time.

What would fool you is that you may not be able to turn the connection and it feels tight because the end of the lug is jammed up against the battery post -- but it's not really a "tight" connection.

The right way to do it is to buy some new battery post connectors and get them crimped at a shop. Shouldn't cost too much and you'll have a real tight setup then.
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Old 01-12-2006
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Awesome, despite a few technicalities. I've been planning on doin that when I upgrade the electrical and sound systems.

Except I'll just use 1/0 Rockford cable.
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Old 01-13-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolla_guy72
Awesome, despite a few technicalities. I've been planning on doin that when I upgrade the electrical and sound systems.

Except I'll just use 1/0 Rockford cable.

If you can pick up cheaper cable do it. You, nor will any other human ear hear the diff. in the marked up RF cable compared to any other (none twisted-which is used in speaker wire) cable on the market.
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Old 01-13-2006
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yet another task i've been meaning to take care of! for the most part, good job with the write up! im sure a good number of people on here may atttempt this now that there's a decent how-to for our trucks.

just curious- what's the stock wiring?? 8 gauge? i never thought to look at it, so im guessing.
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Old 01-13-2006
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I noticed one problem..
4/0 gauge is BIGGER than 2/0 gauge.

stock i believe is 6gauge?

I think 2 or 0 gauge would be fine..
2/0 gauge is overkill
and 4/0 is twice as big diameter as 2/0 if I remember right...

Best place is a welding shop.. about 1/3 or less the cost
of audio cable wire.

Chuck, the bigger the wire the LESS resistance.
Also when you use bigger wire you get less voltage drop..
which is why people with insane sound systems use very large cable
over .5volt drop is not acceptable even with 100+amp loads.

Rand
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Old 01-13-2006
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Yes, the gauge numbers become smaller as the diameter becomes larger and is expressed as a single number: 8 gauge is smaller than 4 gauge for example. This is true up to a certain diameter.

But when you get to the "oughts", the reverse is true: 4/0 is bigger than 1/0, as you say.

Around the mill, 1/0 is referred to as "one ought" wire.

If you're running this in your engine compartment, pay attention to temperature specs. All wire is not the same and you probably want at least the "105 C" temperature rating, and higher if you can get it.
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Old 01-13-2006
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i goofed up, D'OH!
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Old 01-13-2006
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i just like to go overboard on everything

jon...as far as the way i have the binding posts done...that is temporary. I meant to explain that i'm getting a 300 amp alternator and a red/yellow top. The optimas have dual battery posts.

And as far as the wire...i ONLY use welding wire. It's about 1/3 of the cost and you can't hear the difference. And I compete...if that means anything.

I didn't do a lot of the "precautions" i guess because I didn't feel the need to at the time...

And yes, I should have fused the alt-battery...but it's not needed...it's reccomended, yes, but not needed.

It worked for me...I just wrote this up to help you guys out. Yes 4/0 is overkill, but also 150db is overkill too....

As far as the "ohms" thing someone else was talking about...I know ohms is a measure of resistance, I know that. I must have meant to write resistance, but wrote ohms or something. Just a typo.

I dunno, I hope I helped someone...I just did overkill because I guess I'm nuts. And I didn't seal everything up YET because I still have a LOT of plans as far as electrical. This is as temporary as my stock tires...it's just somehting I needed to get out of the way for now.

If there is any other questions...just lmk
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Old 01-13-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
Yes, the gauge numbers become smaller as the diameter becomes larger and is expressed as a single number: 8 gauge is smaller than 4 gauge for example. This is true up to a certain diameter.

But when you get to the "oughts", the reverse is true: 4/0 is bigger than 1/0, as you say.

Around the mill, 1/0 is referred to as "one ought" wire.

If you're running this in your engine compartment, pay attention to temperature specs. All wire is not the same and you probably want at least the "105 C" temperature rating, and higher if you can get it.
IIRC, mine is 105 C...might be 115...it ends in a five...i dunno
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Old 01-13-2006
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I don't like how you had to grind the terminal lug that attaches to the post on the alternator. That can be detrimental to the integrity of the wire as well. If it's too big, use a smaller terminal. And you really should think about putting some sort of circuit protection to compensate for taking out the fusable link wire. Other than those, this is definatley a good mod to do if your going to be using alot of juice.
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