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Dedicated Grease Monkey
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143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Seeing how i haven't seen anywhere on this site a write up on how to do this yet i am introducing this quick "how to".

The premise of a Big3 upgrade is to improve power flow in your vehicle for stereo and also free up power to the rest of the vehicle. This upgrade is great to do whether or not your installing a larger stereo. I have also seen more responsive tranny shifts and no dimming of interior lights under conditions like when you have lights on, a/c on and stereo going.

What you will be replacing is the lengths of cable that run:

Alternator to positive terminal
Chassis ground to negative terminal
Block ground to negative terminal

WARNING!!!!!!!When doing this install, you will need new battery terminal clamps, new cable of whatever cable you choose(i used 0/1awg cable on my install), and a handful of ring terminals in different sizes. Also when working remember to disconnect the battery and be careful not to reverse connections or accidentally cross the terminals.

These directions are based off of a 2001 dak sport with the 4.7L engine, so i apologize that i do not have specifics for any other models, but if you follow these instructions, it should help.

You are going to want to start by taking measurements. When you do this you will need to measure the distance between points making sure to leave a little bit of distance for engine movement(make sure to run measurement away from moving or hot parts).

Next cut the lengths of cable and attach terminals to the ends. I used ring terminals or if you have a battery clamp that just slots the cable into it and clamps down that works too.

On the 4.7L engine the alternator, starter and fuse box cables are all ran into the factory battery clamp together, you will need to use a razor to strip away the insulation closest to the clamp so that you can clip the cables right at the clamp. Do not strip the insulation of the starter wire to far as you will be reusing the end of that cable, put a ring terminal on the starter cable or leave it alone if you don't need 1 for your battery terminal.

Positive Side

The Alternator Cable:
1. Remove the cap on the alternator that covers the terminal
2. Remove the nut and slide cable off terminal, i used the middle section of this cable to make a new cable for the fuse box, but you can use whatever you like.
3. Clean terminal and bolt of dirt or in some cases corrosion
4. Take the new larger cable with ring terminal attached and place onto terminal
5. Tighten bolt down, depending on the ring terminal you use, you may or may not be able to get the safety cap back on the alternator terminal
6. Connect the new alternator cable and starter cable to new positive battery clamp

The Fuse Box Cable:

The fuse box cable will be to short to be reused so you will need to remove it and replace it with a longer cable. I reused the middle section of the old alternator cable, because it was in great shape and it was cheap:
1. Remove the fuse box cover
2. CAREFULLY unbolt and remove the fuse box cable
3. Clean terminal and threads if needed
4. Install the new cable and CAREFULLY tighten the nut back down
5. Put the fuse box cover back on
6. Connect the cable along with the new alternator and starter cables to your new positive battery clamp

Now you may be asking yourself if there is any specific order the cables ring terminals should be stacked. Personally i haven't found any, but what i did was stacked them in this order; stereo cable ring, alternator cable ring, starter cable ring, and then fuse box cable ring on top. Pick whatever way works for you.

Negative Side

The battery clamp on the negative side has the cables run in on opposite sides, do not worry, because you will be throwing the cables and battery clamp away. For this, you will need to remove the battery tie down and pull the battery out of the way or out of the truck.

The Chassis Ground Cable:
1. Unbolt the cable from the chassis
2. Screw the bolt back in and tighten down-you won't be reusing this ground point, it is not sturdy enough and generally is not a solid ground point
3a. I used 1 of the 2 bolts that hold the top radiator support in place right in front of the battery tray
3b. Undo 1 of the bolts and scrape the paint away big enough for your ring terminal, clean spot and apply a dielectric gel or something similiar
4. Attach the cable and tighten down with the bolt that you removed earlier
5. Attach the cable to your new negative battery clamp
6. Put the battery back in the truck and reattach the tie down strap

The Engine Block Ground Cable:
1. Unbolt the cable from the engine block
2. Clean the contact surface and bolt-----most likely dirty
3. Connect the new cables ring terminal to the engine block
4. Connect the cable to the new negative battery cable

Now that all the cables are ran and everything is tightened down, take some time to zip tie and secure the cables however you see fit. Make sure that the cables running to the motor are clear of moving parts and that they have room to move with the motor.

Clean up your battery terminals and apply a dielectric gel or equivalent to the terminals.
Connect your battery clamps to there terminals and start it up.

You have just completed your Big3 upgrade , please comment on what you thought of the process and anyone running a programmer, let me know if there is any significant changes to anything.
 

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Premium Member
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3,052 Posts
good info. of course when doing this is a good time to clean the battery and terminals and check the water level if necessary.
 

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born to drag
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140 Posts
nice right up bro. i was in the process of doing this as we speak. I was gonna use 0 gauge wiring as well, only diff is my gay as truck has the 4 banger. But the grounds in the dakotas blow. My f150 by far has the best ground system ive ever seen in a vehicle.
 

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Dedicated Grease Monkey
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143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well i have been driving around for a summer after doing this and other than more stable power to everything, my trucks automatic seems to have improved shift time and absolutely no lights dimming when the a/c kicks on or my subs are running. That is actually impressive when you take into account that my subs RMS power draw is 1400 watts being pulled by 2 1600 watt amps.
 

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36 Posts
i just did it today and i use to drop voltage from 14.3 to 10.9 when the bass hit witch was really really bad. soo i got zero gauge wire re did it all. and got everything nice and neat and tested it out. its running at 14.9 at idel and when the bas hits it drops to 14.1
big improvment!! :) soo im happy with it and it was worth every lil penny .


oh and my head lights are like 25% brighter and they dont flash at night when the bass hits ither :))
 

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Dedicated Grease Monkey
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143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I picked up my 1/0 cable through a local stereo company and picked up terminals and some marine battery clamps from the local auto parts store. If you are doing a stereo do 1/0 cable, if you are doing it to take some strain off electrical components use 2AWG.

Make sure to crimp and/or solder the cable into the terminal ring cup. Soldering just ensures maximum energy transfer and ensures that the cable cannot slip out of the terminal ring.
 

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Dedicated Grease Monkey
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143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Anybody else do this yet? I took new readings after installing the higher output 160amp durango alternator(dakota alternator is at 136amps). Yes i realize that doesn't sound like much, but it has given the increase i was looking for and guess what it is the same price or cheaper than the lower amperage dakota alternator. Up too you, but i like it.

Anyway, so charging with the dakota alt was at 14.34 volts and dropped to 13.63 volts when the subs hit deep. It dropped as low as 11.86 volts with out the Big 3 Upgrade.

After the Durango alternator was put in, it charges at a solid 14.79 to 14.8 volts and only drops to 14.42 volts.

So i will be the first to admit that those numbers don't seem to much of a difference, but when that much of a change keeps the flashing lights out of your rear view, a non-clipping sound system and a fully charged battery the next morning. I will take it.

Also a note to anybody interested in the durango alternator, it is a plug and forget deal. There is NO need for any kind of additional resistors or any other crap. Just bolt it in, plug it in and drive.
 

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Hey all,
@edgeofvamp, I know this is a very old thread but I think it could be the best way to solve the low volt alternator issue I'm having.

I was hoping you could clarify. On my 2000 Dakota 4.7l base model, the positive from the alternator runs to the fuse box through the 140amp bridging fuse and then to the positive battery (Picture attached) Am I correct in thinking for this particular upgrade Im by passing the fuse box and running the cable directly from the alternator to the battery? Or do I have two cables running from the alternator, one into the fuse box and the other directly to the battery?

Hope I can get some clarity here as I don't want to bypass the 140fuse and create a bigger issue if I'm not supposed to.

14303
 
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