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Battery cable DIY upgrade details

Old 03-16-2019, 08:13 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 11
Year: 1998
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
Default Battery cable DIY upgrade details

I recently upgraded the battery cables in my '98 XJ and want to share some details of the project, in case it may be helpful to others. I leveraged several posts from this site to help me, but I found it hard to find all of the details what parts I would need, what modifications had to be made, etc., so here's an attempt to tie some of that together.

First, the goal of the project was to upgrade the factory wiring with larger, finer strand cables, replace the inline fuse to the alternator, and dress up the engine bay a little. Most of the process was very straight forward, but there were a few modifications that had to be made, most notably:

1) adding a second stud to the PDC to allow for a mega fuse to replace the inline fuse to the alternator
2) removing the plastic connector on the starter and rewiring the power/solenoid feed wire

I have the 117amp stock alternator and could've used 4ga wiring, but I decided to go with 2ga, in case I wanted to upgrade the alternator down the road. To make installing the new (and future) cables easier, I replaced the stock battery terminals with military spec versions. The nice part about these is that there is a separate bolt to add accessories to that allow for easy access to add cables, while not having to loosen the terminal from the battery. I also decided to use a braided flex coating to dress up the wiring.

Most of the cables were straight forward to make and just consisted of removing the old cable and cutting a new one of similar length, crimping on lug terminals, covering in the braided flex coating, and adding heat shrink to finish. All the ground cables were easy, but the starter and alternator cables required a small amount of additional work:

1) starter cable - I had to remove the plastic housing that connected the power and solenoid wires to the starter, so that I could run new wires directly to the starter. The plastic housing was molded around the two wires, so I had to cut the wires and simply unscrew the plastic housing. This allowed me to connect each wire separately directly to the starter. Beside making the new, 2ga battery to starter cable, I needed to add a ring terminal to the solenoid wire to connect it to the starter.

2) alternator cable - I wanted to remove the inline fuse, add a second terminal to the PDC, and install a mega fuse. I've seen people make their own second terminal several ways, but, to keep things simple, I purchased a 5/16" carriage bolt from Lowe's and ground the sides/top of the bolt to a roughly square shape, so that it would fit snugly into the blank terminal slot. Additionally, I had to grind the lug that attached to the alternator, because the standard lug wouldn't fit in the housing around the positive terminal.

Here is a list of the specific parts I used to complete the project (total $136):

1) 2 ga flexible welding wire - 10' of both red/black (
$47 on Amazon $47 on Amazon
2) military spec battery terminals (
$11 on Amazon $11 on Amazon
3) tinned copper battery lugs - 2 ga and 3/8" (
$10 on Amazon $10 on Amazon
4) tinned copper battery lugs - 2 ga and 5/16" (
$10 on Amazon $10 on Amazon
5) red/black TechFlex sleeving - 25' roll of 3/8" flex (
$9 on Amazon $9 on Amazon
6) black TechFlex sleeving - 25' roll of 3/8" flex (
$9 on Amazon $9 on Amazon
7) red and black heat shrink - 4' of 3/4" 3:1 (
$11 on Amazon $11 on Amazon
8) lug crimper and wire cutter (
$29 on Amazon $29 on Amazon

The final product.

Modified PDC lug cover.

Mega fuse installed.

Carriage bolt ground and fitted in.

Sample finished cable.

Battery terminal and modified solenoid wire.

Updated starter wiring.

Modified alternator lug compared to new lug.

Starter plastic connector that was removed.

Cable length and lug connection detail.
The openings of both lugs for the engine head to firewall cable had to be drilled out slightly to fit the posts. Also, the alternator lug had to be modified to fit the alternator, as shown above.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope this was useful.

Last edited by BroncoMan; 04-02-2019 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:28 AM
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cruiser54's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Prescott, Az
Posts: 37,772
Year: 1990
Model: Comanche
Engine: 4.0

Very nice job Danny!! Excellent write up also.

As an FYI, upgrade cable kits can be purchesed from a CF member in the link below if you don't want to DIY.
cruiser54 is offline  
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