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213 Stovel Ave W
Box 3005
Melfort, SK S0E 1A0
More Power Captain!
Grounding Cables and the Elemental Forces of Nature
ó by Mr. X

More power captain. No, I havenít warped back into a Star Trek series. By more power, I mean electrical resistance, as in the tendency for wires ó all wires ó to impede the flow of electricity through them to some degree.

So, why should an automotive performance enthusiast be interested in electrical resistance? Shouldnít we be more concerned about other types of resistance, like the mechanical resistance of moving engine parts or resistance against airflow? Well, yes and no. Obviously, your ride isnít going anywhere if your pistons are grinding against your cylinder walls, but from a pure performance perspective, itíd be wrong to ignore your electrical system, especially since it includes some of the most fundamental components of a modern engine. And the most fundamental element of your carís electrical system is its grounding.

The Japanese have long been using a method called "earthing", where they take large gauge cable and connect it through various points in the cars engine bay to help the electric current ground itself for more efficient flow. Through time the trend eventually made it to the USA where we call it "Grounding". What is a Ground Kit? A Grounding Wire Kit is usually made up of large stereo quality 4 Gauge high conductive cable that has industrial crimped and sleaved copper ends to bolt to the chassis of the car. The reason copper is used is for a higher conductivity rate. Most manufactures kits come in a variety of colors. The best use a loop system designed specifically for your car. Meaning it starts at the negative terminal and goes from one spot to the next in series. Connecting to all major conducting pieces of the car, IE: throttle body, engine block, firewall, fender, transmission, and such.

Everything involving your carís electrical system - from nice, fat sparks in your ignition system to nice, fat bass in your subwoofers - requires a free flow of electrons to and from the battery. Good electrical performance requires a grounding system thatís prepared to take a lot of current with minimal resistance. Your spark plugs, lights, fans, stereo, air conditioner, cigarette lighter, and so on all benefit from an elaborate electrical network that includes fuses, relays, and high-quality electrical cabling. They all share a common ground, however, and all too often a stock (thereís that word again!) grounding system consists of just a couple of skinny braided cables that connect the chassis and engine to your batteryís negative terminal. As these sorry connections rust out or come loose over time, the amount of conductive material decreases. This leads to resistance, as your carís electricity is forced to travel over less material. Itís not unlike traffic: four lanes definitely accommodate more traffic than two. As your grounding wires deteriorate, resistance increases and all your electrical devices have to work that much harder to overcome that resistance. Even brand new cars can have problems with inadequate grounding, especially if youíve installed lots of aftermarket electronics.

Installation is pretty straightforward and should take about 45 minutes. First, youíll need to disconnect your battery (unless, of course, you want to feel what itís like to be a grounding cable). Then youíll need to locate your existing grounding wires, remove them, and bolt in your new cables in their place. Some engine bays have grounding wires in awkward places, and youíll probably have to practice a bit of what I call mechanicís yoga, but the effort will be well worth it. Most grounding cables kits connect the negative battery post to various engine components, the transmission, and the firewall. The kit may include cables of various lengths, so youíll have no trouble routing them for best performance. It should also includes cable ties for neat and tidy installation. Once youíve finished connecting and routing the cables, just reconnect the battery and youíre done!  

What does a Ground Kit do? As tested by numerous respected tuners, magazines, and shops, a ground kit does what you want, add power. Results vary depending on car but here is the average results:

- 3-5 Horsepower increase

- Increased Fuel Mileage

- Better Electrical Current (Headlights Brighter, Stereo stronger, etc.

- Dress' up your engine bay!

Best of all, you only spent about 50 bucks and less than an hour to get all those benefits.

THE POINT: Your grounding wires are the foundation of your carís electrical system. Resistance, in the form of electrical impedance, is the enemy of your carís electrical equipment. High quality grounding cables minimize resistance and help make sure that all of the electrical equipment in your car is performing as well as it can.

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