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
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
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.
Mr. X ó Bigger, Better, Faster