What's the best wire to run in an engine compartment? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 12-28-2009
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What's the best wire to run in an engine compartment?

Electrical, that is...

I'm wondering if that is a problem with my CB. It's 18ga speaker wire, with a clear insulator, that I had laying around.
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Old 12-29-2009
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The best wire for under the hood is one that is designed for it. I know that sounds simple but when you look at wires at the parts store they will clearly state whether they should be used under the hood or not. Pick up something that is meant for it and swap it out. Should be cheap enough and hopefully fix your CB. If your looking for something online Summit Racing has spools of wire that are cheap and work great.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2009
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Old Extension cords!
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Old 12-29-2009
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Thanks Rob.

Haha John!

My dad would kill me, he wraps old extension cord up in electric tape and says, good to go!

-roll eyes-

I wrapped what electrical cord I had in the engine compartment up with the electric tape to give it another buffer from the static of the engine. Seems to of worked better.

But of course, I will swap out, ASAP.
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Old 01-01-2010
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I do not believe that Speaker Wire can cause a big problem with a CB except poor insulation MAY pickup noise form the engine compartment.
Some people use a piece of RG-58U Coax for the power wire; fused-center for the main power and the outside shield for the ground to the battery.
BUT !
As My91Ranger stated buy a good quality automotive wire instead of household wire or lamp or speaker cord; , they will carry the current but will not stand up under heat/cold/oil/gas/etc.

Check out your local automotive stores and I for one find the marine Wire is by far the best; copper, fine strand, tinned for corrosion resistance and it is very flexible and that alone make the difference for me.
The marine wire is a more expensive but in the long run will stand up better.
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Old 01-01-2010
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Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2010
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Hey, Joshua,
Try the COax for power wire, it does a good job at insulating the pwr wires from the engine static.
Buy some RG-58 U, make sure it is “U” for stranded center connector.
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  #8  
Old 01-02-2010
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Once I get the $, I'll experiment with wiring.

I don't believe I'm transmitting either, I've done numerous 10-32's / Radiocheck / Comments on the road.

I've always had someone talk back b4. Truckers like me, I run mini escorts for them on the highway, when I'm making a trip.
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Old 01-03-2010
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OK, so what you are saying is that the CB stopped working ?

If the speaker wire worked OK in the past then there should be no reason why it isn’t working now.
Do you have an SWR/Power Meter, what are the readings ?
Have you looked at the coax already installed, is the antenna end still connected to the antenna mount ?
Are there lights on in the CB ?
What happens when you press the mic button ?

Just a few questions to get a better view.
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2010
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The last SWR readings I got, when I took out in a field to tune it. Was 1.3 / 1.5.

I apply the MIC and it says it's transmitting, at full power. I can receive, but do not seem to be able to transmit.

It is possible that the CB wire I have, may be bent at some extreme angle. But from everyone's photos, the angle seems to be the same. Their are a few nicks in the rubber insulation, but it does not go through, just appears to be cosmetic nicks.

I do have the wire going through 2 C clamps that hold the topper onto the bed of my truck. They are andonized. The wire also runs through the bed of the truck, through a hole that had a rubber boot in it.

The wire than runs down, is zip-tied to part of the frame, and then runs up through the driver side jump seat, where there was another rubber boot removed.

It runs inside the plastic molding of the interior, underneath the screwed down, long plastic piece that holds the carpet down. ( I will loosen this when I get a chance to see if I might of over tightened.), behind the pedals, underneath the carpet and then towards the ash tray, where the CB is.

Hope that helps give a visual.

I might be able to get some pictures up Tuesday.

PS: My youngest brother just informed me, that while he was helping me hook it up, he closed the tailgate and it pinched the coax cable. I see no cosmetic damage out in the darkness. Would I still be able to receive, but not transmit if something had damaged the wire?
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Old 01-03-2010
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you should find a guy that knows stuff about cb radios and take it to him and have him look it over, it could just be the cb radio
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Old 01-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawklore View Post
The last SWR readings I got, when I took out in a field to tune it. Was 1.3 / 1.5.
1.3 - 1.5 is basically the worst you should have it, mainly because after that you start losing power and with only 4 watts it doesn’t take long to lose all of the CB’s power in the mismatched coax/antenna.
What type of SWR Meter are you using, a separate one or the one in the CB ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawklore View Post
I apply the MIC and it says it's transmitting, at full power. I can receive, but do not seem to be able to transmit.
This can be either good or bad.
If the meter in the CB registers at full reading during transmit it could mean a shorted coax or no antenna and it could still mean that the meter in the CB is worthless (most of us know that).
If the meter is full pin and you are transmitting with a good antenna and coax then it will mean you are putting out full power and good modulation; let ope for the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawklore View Post
It is possible that the CB wire I have, may be bent at some extreme angle. But from everyone's photos, the angle seems to be the same. Their are a few nicks in the rubber insulation, but it does not go through, just appears to be cosmetic nicks.
If you are referencing the Coax as the “CB Wire” then small diameter coax if stranded will take a good angle but if bent to extreme, pinched or squeezed or jammed the coax will not recover. This in itself may not cause your SWR to go through the roof but stray noise can get in and out of the coax and you will get a bad single on the CB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawklore View Post
I do have the wire going through 2 C clamps that hold the topper onto the bed of my truck. They are andonized. The wire also runs through the bed of the truck, through a hole that had a rubber boot in it.
Coax can handle about 20% compression before damage occurs so check the clamp and see how far the coax is squashed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawklore View Post
The wire than runs down, is zip-tied to part of the frame, and then runs up through the driver side jump seat, where there was another rubber boot removed.
It runs inside the plastic molding of the interior, underneath the screwed down, long plastic piece that holds the carpet down. ( I will loosen this when I get a chance to see if I might of over tightened.), behind the pedals, underneath the carpet and then towards the ash tray, where the CB is.
Zip ties are the same as the clamps, and most of the location, make sure the coax is not chaffed or damaged in some way. maybe the coax wore through the outer sheathing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawklore View Post
Hope that helps give a visual.
I might be able to get some pictures up Tuesday.

PS: My youngest brother just informed me, that while he was helping me hook it up, he closed the tailgate and it pinched the coax cable. I see no cosmetic damage out in the darkness. Would I still be able to receive, but not transmit if something had damaged the wire?
Check the coax at the location is was jammed, if the coax was jammed and is in a compressed mode then replace it.


Take a look at the Antenna Mount, the coax connection at the Mount making sure everything is tight and nothing has pulled out or is broken.
Next, take the antenna by itself, make sure that the Antenna is tight in the area where the Antenna Mast enters the mounting portio of the antenna (I hope that is clear); some antennas especially fiberglass ones get loose there and cause all kind of trouble especially during wet times.
Do you use any type of spring or Quick disconnect at the antenna ?

Keep in mind that the antenna is the most important part of the CB system, next is the coax and last the CB.
When buying Coax buy “Belden” brand coax, either RG-58U or RG-8X, both are good to use the RG-8X is better and is more money and use different adapters than the RG-58U.

After checking the power/ground and the coax/antenna re-check the SWR.

There are so many thing that can go wrong with a CB system it isn’t funny.
Some go in and work without a second thought but some can be a bear.

This is longer than it should be, check it out and get back to the site.

luck,
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  #13  
Old 01-03-2010
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Auto Radio Service Inc of Florida (904) 737-3051 4488 Phillips Highway Jacksonville, FL 32207
Aces & CB Radio Shop (904) 783-4747 221 Evergreen Lane, Middleburg, FL 32068 you need to call them and get them to check up your set up and check your cb radio and make sure its not broken
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