Modified XJ Cherokee Tech XJ (84-01)
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Upgrading Alternator and Cables

Old 03-13-2017, 06:25 PM
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Default Upgrading Alternator and Cables

I am most of the way through swapping in an upgraded Durango alternator and new upgraded cables. I am running into a few problems keeping me from wrapping things up. I am new to electrical and trying to learn so I am hoping someone can help me ensure I don't unintentionally set my jeep on fire or something.

1. The original plastic cover for the Alternator stud doesn't fit with the larger alternator and gauge wire. Is this needed and if so, what suggestions are there?
2. My battery ground bolt snapped withe tiniest bit of pressure when I started. I know I can just sand down the paint to bare metal on the frame and put a new bolt. I don't know the best type of bolt to use for this (bolt and nut, washers, self taping, etc.) to ensure a solid mount that wont come loose and provide good connectivity.
3. The engine bolt on the braided ground to firewall is difficult to access on my 99. The cables that run on top wont budge and I can't get the appropriate sized deep socket in there to remove. I tried an open ended wrench and got a little turn but it won't turn further due to hitting the valve cover. Any tips? How do people get this out? Remove all the wiring?

Any help or suggestions with these items would be great. Almost ready to start my jeep up again. I have been reading lots of old posts to get to this point and these are the answers I haven't been able to find yet.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:54 PM
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Default rear head bolt

while doing a number of under hood jobs,driling/cutting, i cut a 4 inch piece of the flat firewall metal blocking access to that bolt for future access. i cut it with a air tool cutting wheel. access no longer denied!!
i wouldnt worry about the plastic cover.

2. good bolt with a couple toothed lock washers

Last edited by nujeepguy; 03-13-2017 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by hemicuda1313 View Post
1. The original plastic cover for the Alternator stud doesn't fit with the larger alternator and gauge wire. Is this needed and if so, what suggestions are there?

It's not a good idea to leave it unprotected. I suggest you at least paint it with some liquid electrical tape. Better yet, try to find some kind of rubber boot that will cover it.


Originally Posted by hemicuda1313 View Post
2. My battery ground bolt snapped withe tiniest bit of pressure when I started. I know I can just sand down the paint to bare metal on the frame and put a new bolt. I don't know the best type of bolt to use for this (bolt and nut, washers, self taping, etc.) to ensure a solid mount that wont come loose and provide good connectivity.
Are you talking about the fenderwell ground? I just replaced mine. The original had been a sheet metal screw (which is NOT what the factory manual shows!), and I removed it, and drilled out the hole to accept a 5/16" bolt. I cleaned off the paint around the hole for about 3/8" of an inch in all directions. Then I threaded the bolt through from the backside, and added a flat washer, then the ring terminal from the new ground cable, then another flat washer, then the nut, and tightened it all down. All was liberally covered in dielectric grease, of course, to prevent corrosion. The whole thing was pretty easy, really.

If you can get a Dremel type tool in back to clean off the paint around the hole on that side, that's even better. I don't have one, so I passed on that.

Originally Posted by hemicuda1313 View Post
3. The engine bolt on the braided ground to firewall is difficult to access on my 99. The cables that run on top wont budge and I can't get the appropriate sized deep socket in there to remove. I tried an open ended wrench and got a little turn but it won't turn further due to hitting the valve cover. Any tips? How do people get this out? Remove all the wiring?
Unless it is badly corroded, leave it. You do NOT need, and actually, you do not want a large ground cable there. It is for suppressing radio frequency noise, and there is NO benefit to putting a larger cable there. NONE. It's already massively oversize in relation to the current its intended to carry (we're talking micro amps, at most). In fact, it may possibly be harmful if your main engine grounds go bad. You do NOT want large currents running there.

If it's corroded, you can just cut if off neatly, get a longer braided ground strap from the auto parts store, and connect it to the firewall location and then to any convenient bolt on the intake manifold.

I know the forum members that sell the upgrade kits push those, and I'm sure they mean well, but that part of the "upgrade" is just a huge blunder. It's not a good thing.

Last edited by BlueRidgeMark; 03-13-2017 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:02 PM
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Thank you both. These ideas are helpful.

Also glad to hear some reinforcement on the firewall ground, I saw that posted somewhere but most threads didn't mention the drawbacks.

Should the ground bolts be any type of material? I will probably head to a hardware store in the morning.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:54 PM
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Nothing special needed. You can use ordinary cad plated bolts. Stainless steel if you want to get fancy. Since it's a one-off, that's not expensive.
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Old 03-14-2017, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueRidgeMark View Post
... Then I threaded the bolt through from the backside, and added a flat washer, then the ring terminal from the new ground cable, then another flat washer, then the nut, and tightened it all down.

Hmmm. Thought so. It was bugging me, tickling at the back of my brain, so I came back and looked at what I posted. That's not what I did (though it would work).

I put the bolt through the back, then a flat washer, then a nut, and tightened it all down. Now I have a stud sticking out of the fenderwell which will accept the ring terminal from the battery cable. So, next (after the nut), is another flat washer, then the ring terminal, another flat washer, and a final nut.

Now you can disconnect the cable without disturbing the ground stud.

I'll try to remember to get a picture of it for you....
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:01 AM
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Thanks everyone.
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