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Battery cables made from welding cables?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dirty old man, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 594

    from Duluth, Mn

    I am going to run the battery in the trunk of my 37 Ford Tudor. I have #4 welding wire. I am going to run it threw 5/8" water hose threw the boxed frame. Is #4 large enough?? I'ts all I could find at the store.. Thanks.. Al
  2. The longer the distance between the battery and the starter, the fatter the cable should be. 4 gauge is barely big enough when the battery is close to the starter. A good welding place will have the welding cable in 2 or 1 or 0 or even 00 gauge, and they can crimp on the connectors for you sometimes if you don't want to do it yourself. The 4 gauge wire some of the auto parts places sell is pretty junky wire sometimes.

    How fat the wire needs to be also depends on what engine you're trying to crank over, what type of starter you're using, how much your battery is capable of, and other things like how high the compression is on your engine. The fatter the better unless you're worried about weight. I think 4 gauge is pretty weak for a trunk mounted battery. When you use skinnier wire, the resistance in the wire while cranking can cause a big voltage drop which will make it crank slower.

    I used 1 gauge for a trunk mounted battery in a truck with a 355 Chevy with 10:1 compression and a high torque mini starter.

    I used 0 gauge wire for a trunk mounted battery on a car with a big block 467 Chevy with 10:1 compression and a high torque mini starter.

    Maybe 2 gauge would have been good enough for either car, but they both crank over great with the fat 1 and 0 gauge welding wire I used.

    The ground side is just as important. I used 1 and 0 gauge cable to go from the battery directly to the engine block at a motor mount bolt rather than take a detour through the frame. If you want to use the frame as the ground lead, you can weld the heads of some 3/8" stainless steel bolts to the frame to make stainless steel studs that you can hook up ground leads to. Mask the stainless threads before you paint the frame. You can slather some vaseline or dielectric grease over the connections when you're done to keep things from corroding.
  3. claymore
    Joined: Feb 21, 2009
    Posts: 896


    Forgot to add that I had the correct cable ends put on at a truck stop. They have them in stock and the proper sized tools to crimp the connectors to your nice new welding cable. Welding cable MAY be too large to get the connectors and crimped at your local parts house.
  4. humpie
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 161


    when ya run otta gas,you can run on 220
    Truck64 likes this.
  5. humpie
    Joined: Oct 28, 2008
    Posts: 161


    when you run out of gas,you can run on 220
    mike bowling likes this.
  6. The only "down" thing to welding cable is that it will sag on under car installations easier then traditonal cable, just need more adell clamps! I think any front to rear cable should be enclosed in a protectant wrap of some sort.
  7. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    So are your local U-pull yards. Look for big cars with tint, every now and then you'll find a $45 piece of fine braid stretching from bumper to bumper. Only remnant of a thousand bucks worth of stereo.
  8. Frustration
    Joined: Sep 11, 2010
    Posts: 67

    from PA

    Wouldn't the car be running off of the alternator once started (assuming it has an alternator)? I wouldn't think the connection from the battery to the starter would matter much once it's up and running, but I guess I'm asking if it would still be in the circuit?
  9. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 942

    from ofallon mo

    Not Sams first dumb ass remark.
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  10. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,673


    I ran my 1/0 awg cable over the wheelhouse through the rocker up into kick panel and then through the firewall. I covered the whole thing in spiral hydraulic hose wrap up until it exits the firewall. It'll never wear through in my lifetime or anybody else's for that matter. I also ran 4 awg along side it to the alternator so it will kill the engine with shutoff switch in the back. It turns over my 514 bbf easily, although I'm using a pmgr starter which helps.
  11. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,513

    Bandit Billy

    Old thread but I'm bored. If you put the battery in the trunk, put the solenoid in the trunk with it. For some very good reasons;
    1. You don't have 10+ feet of power cable constantly energized running to the starter 24/7
    2. You eliminate "hot start" issues
    3. It's cleaner since there is only one wire to the starter (your #1 gauge cable)
    4. Easier to service when there's an issue
    5. and harder to hot wire if you lock the trunk.

    There is probably more reasons but I'm not that bored. Oh, and always wire a cutoff switch between the battery and the solenoid.
  12. I have run it on the same car for frickin eons!!!!
    olscrounger likes this.
  13. I think I have figured out why Sam and Brian are saying these insane things! They are huffing massive amounts of Z-Max vapors from this procedure of heating their pistons and rods to 225 degrees to and squirting the stuff on them and getting higher than a kite. I'll bet its killing their brain cells by the millions too!
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  14. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,513

    Bandit Billy

    ^^^That's pretty funny
  15. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 4,403

    from Ioway

    Technically, welding cable might not have the correct insulation for automotive/marine use. Probably a stretch, but maybe that's what they were talking about. Can't be the gauge size.
  16. Three Widow's Garage
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 224

    Three Widow's Garage

    Ok so I cut the cable off my welder, I think its just long enough to reach the trunk,
    The thing I'm not sure about should the end with the trigger go to the battery or the starter?
    '51 Norm, Truck64, TagMan and 3 others like this.
  17. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,961

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    I also heard that some BMW cars had the battery in the trunk and as such are a good source for battery cables at the wrecking yard.
    I'm going to follow that lead....... :D And see where it runs :D
  18. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,513

    Bandit Billy

    Sorry to have to correct you sir but I believe the beemer batteries are in the boot.
    mike bowling likes this.
  19. Lmao
  20. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,776

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Old ass thread, and the OP never came back to tell us what the show told him.
  21. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,703

    from Nebraska

    Funny, I just looked through this whole thread for his update! Nothing.
    @dirty old man -- Did you ever hear back from the TV show?
    Of course, we already do know the answer that it's completely ok to use welding cable for battery cables.
  22. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,859

    dirty old man

    I never heard back from them at all, no reply whatsoever, and that's why I forgot all about this thread till it just recently got revived and I got a subscription notification. Memory is failing I guess, as I only vaguely remembered such a thread and had forgotten all about it being me that started, LOL.
    Yeah, as I said back then Sam was just shilling for the cable company sponsoring their show that week. If you've ever been in a big fab shop and seen the welding cables strung out all over the floor and being dragged about, you'd know the insulation was plenty capable to use in a hot rod.
    Malcolm and pat59 like this.
  23. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    Been using welding cable for years for both car batteries and jumper cables. I always solder and shrink wrap the ends. A good set of parrot beak clamps and some welding cable makes the mother of all jumper cables.
  24. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,318

    from So Cal

    The main benefit to using welding cable is the improved flexibility vs standard battery cable. That's great if you need it, if you don't need it battery cable really offers no advantage. They make great jumper cables, because of that flexibility, makes them much easier to handle. But a 00 cable carries the same current and has the same capacity whether it be standard battery cable or welding cable. I think a lot og guys think they are going to get more current carrying capacity from the welding cable, and that isn't so.
    Hudson31 likes this.
  25. I went to my local speed shop to buy some battery cables, they said they could make them in 15 minutes, so I told them what I wanted. $40 later I had a very nice pair of cables, both marked as welding cable although the positive was red. Anyway, they had that nice drape that comes with welding cable due to the multi-strand thing.

    I did use aluminum cable one time on a stock car. I was in this great scrap yard that sold stuff too. Think it ran me $3. It was big diameter and ran from the back of the car up to the solenoid on the firewall. It never got hot and always started no matter how hot the car was.
  26. Always used # 2 battery cables! From the 60's to present day.
  27. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,961

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    I think that you are geographically confused. :D
    BMW cars are German and I don't believe that the Germans use the old British term of calling the trunk a boot. :D
  28. $um Fun
    Joined: Dec 13, 2008
    Posts: 546

    $um Fun
    from Nor Cal

    What type of battery is that posted above. I like the small compact size.
  29. No - they call it a Kofferraum... It's like those Germans have a different word for everything
    Ned Ludd likes this.
  30. LostBoy
    Joined: Mar 16, 2016
    Posts: 217


    I've used battery cable for a negative on my millermatic 220. Actually it's on there now. Works great.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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