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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Technically, it will be four wires, but who's counting?

I am looking to upgrade the ground wires and main power wires to the starter and alternator. Tthe grounds were done (battery to frame & engine to frame) so now it's time for the power side. I wanted to retain the factory battery cover on the positive terminal, but I think I am beating my head against a brick wall on that. However, I thought I would post here and see if some had done a wiring upgrade and retained the cover. I just like those covers because they keep everything nice and neat looking but I could learn to live without it.

I upgraded the grounds with 4 ga. wire. Probably overkill as short as they were, to begin with, but it is what I had on hand to work with. I have 4 ga. for the power side too.
 

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I see 4 ga. is rated 135 amps.
Yeah, but a couple of factors probably let you use smaller wire than you'd think:
1) Wire in open air can generally carry more current than rated because it can dissipate the heat. Ratings are based on how hot the wire will get over time. E.g. I've seen 12 ga wire (rated for 20 amps) used as a temporary service drop for a house (100 amps), where the wire is in open air instead of buried in a wall. 4 ga. copper has a resistance of 0.000815 ohms/meter, so a short length isn't going to add any appreciable resistance to the circuit.
2) That heavy draw is the starter, and only for an instant. Otherwise, you'll probably burn the starter out long before you burn the ground wire out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just for Grins, you didn't tell the SIZE of OEM vs 4 ga
I see 4 ga. is rated 135 amps.
Did you just double them up...? OR do a total replacement...? Dozen't seem to big...

https://www.tedpella.com/company_html/wire-gauge-vs-dia.htm
The engine to the frame ground was a strap, not an actual cable, well in the sense of what I replaced it with. Both the engine to frame and battery to frame were so short, probably around six inches for both or so, that replacing them probably made little difference. However, most OEM cables of that size, while 4 ga in size for example, have internal strands that are along the lines of 18 - 20 ga. each (just guesstimating). The cable I replaced it with had finer strands and thus much, much more of them. If I had had 2 ga. wire I probably would have used that but since the alternator is rated at what, 125A, I think the 4 ga. will work fine. Two of them on there at that with copper crimped lugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, but a couple of factors probably let you use smaller wire than you'd think:
1) Wire in open air can generally carry more current than rated because it can dissipate the heat. Ratings are based on how hot the wire will get over time. E.g. I've seen 12 ga wire (rated for 20 amps) used as a temporary service drop for a house (100 amps), where the wire is in open air instead of buried in a wall. 4 ga. copper has a resistance of 0.000815 ohms/meter, so a short length isn't going to add any appreciable resistance to the circuit.
2) That heavy draw is the starter, and only for an instant. Otherwise, you'll probably burn the starter out long before you burn the ground wire out.
I have seen some really questionable wiring before, especially in residential, but I have never seen that done and it would have scared me, LOL

You don't happen to know what the current draw when the starter is engaged, do you? I plan on replacing power wire from the battery to both the alternator and starter but am not sure if 4 or 2 ga. would be enough since I don't know the current values for the starter. I would assume that since, normally, its so momentary, that 2 ga. would be fine.
 

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You don't happen to know what the current draw when the starter is engaged, do you?
Just looking at what Auto Zone has for Soul batteries, they're 750-950 cranking amps max, so it should be a bit less than that even in cold weather. But that's only for a couple of seconds. (The two issues are, is the resistance high enough to limit the current and be a problem, and will the wire get hot enough to be a problem.) The Soul should start by then. If you go 10 seconds continuously, you're getting into the "burn your starter out" territory, its windings are gonna melt before your 4 ga. strap does.

And that's even if your battery will put out that kind of current for more than a couple of seconds. I doubt it. (Don't remember who, but at least one person on this board worked in the battery industry and would know.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just looking at what Auto Zone has for Soul batteries, they're 750-950 cranking amps max, so it should be a bit less than that even in cold weather. But that's only for a couple of seconds. (The two issues are, is the resistance high enough to limit the current and be a problem, and will the wire get hot enough to be a problem.) The Soul should start by then. If you go 10 seconds continuously, you're getting into the "burn your starter out" territory, its windings are gonna melt before your 4 ga. strap does.

And that's even if your battery will put out that kind of current for more than a couple of seconds. I doubt it. (Don't remember who, but at least one person on this board worked in the battery industry and would know.)
Thanks. I knew it would not put out that kind of current long, but the battery to starter is a bit longer run. I didn't measure it out the cable, but I did run it and cut it to length and it's probably two and a half foot long. I'm pretty sure 2 ga would be plenty. I ran that size on my Grand Prix and the run on it was probably closer to three feet. The OEM length was even longer, but I took a more direct route.
 

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I'll have to snap a picture of mine later. i just added a 4ga wire from alt to battery, ground out a hole in cover for wire to pass through.
 

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In actuality, Kia made the + starter wire heavy enough, but, the starter grounds to the motor and the only ground to the car's body is that one little 8" long strap, bolted down to a painted surface.
Then the ground path has to go around through the car's body to the second little 8" grounding 'wire',also bolted down to a painted surface and then to the battery. That's two great big NO-NO's.*
* When I looked under the hood of the 2017 Turbo Soul, I was horrified to see that Kia has done nothing to FIX that poor grounding. So in at least five years, they've not learned their lesson.

The Simple fix is to un-bolt those two little ground wires and clean the paint off of the body where the wires are attached. Then to help the engine and all of its electronics, I just added a 24" ground wire, with eyelets on both ends, from the NEG Terminal on the battery to an available bolt on top of the engine.

I did all that within the first month that I owned the car, and in five years and 60k miles, I've not had even ONE electrical problem in my car.

NewCableAtBattery.jpg
In this pic, you can see the NEG Terminal on the battery, with the small grounding cable going to the nearby shock tower. And the new ground cable going from the battery NEG terminal to the engine.
I strongly encourage the use of the Anti-Corrosion felt washers under the battery terminals. Available from Walmart, dirt cheap. :joyous:

Cable to block.jpg
Here's the new Engine Grounding Cable, attached to the blue bolt on top of the engine. That provides a great ground for the starter, alternator, fuel injectors, spark plugs and all those engine sensors.



NewConnection@shocktower.jpg
This pic, shows that little grounding strap going from the engine block to the passenger side strut tower. That's the only ground for the starter, alternator, and all the rest of those engine parts that I mentioned earlier.

If a person did nothing else, just adding that one ground cable from the NEG terminal on the battery to the engine, would solve a hundred potential electrical problems. Like, poor starting, and poor battery charging.

I showed this to my Kia Service Manager and he agreed with me that the stock grounding really sucks, and that just adding the one new cable would solve most of the problems.

Be careful, not to over torque those little black bolts that hold down those grounding cables....they are brittle and will break very easily. Please, don't ask me how I know that! :miserable:

Cheers mates,
FL Hamster :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you, FLHamster. I did not think of adding an additional ground to the engine. It should have dawned on me that that strap being the only one might be, as you have determined, problematic. So I will add another ground as you have at a minimum.
 

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I am truly blessed, that some years ago I was able to move to central FL from Peoria, Illinois.

So I don't have to deal with Ice, Snow, and COLD, which can really take a toll on a car.

The coldest morning I ever saw here in 29 years, was +18 degrees. The only thing that happened to my car (not my Kia Soul) was that the TPMS light came on. The car started normally.
I called my service manager and he told me to raise the air pressure in my tires to 38 psi and I'd not have to worry about it any more. The car handled so much better with the higher tire pressure, that I've never run with lower pressure since then. I'm currently keeping all four tires at 42 psi.

I don't know if y'all remember, but in most American Made cars of the past, there was a heavy RED wire that went from the POS terminal on the battery directly to the starter. And from the NEG terminal on the battery was a heavy Black cable that attached to a bolt on the front of the engine.
I've replaced many of those cables in years past. So when I saw how the Kia was grounding, my thought was "YOU GOTTA BE KiDDING ME!!!" (maybe not in those exact words) lol
I just couldn't believe that Kia was relying on such Mickey Mouse grounding for their starter and all the engine circuits.

Just adding the one 24" battery cable solved potentially a hundred different electrical problems on the engine alone. And by cleaning up the other little cable that goes from the battery to the Strut Tower, I am assured that all the circuits inside the car that ground to the car body have a direct path to ground on the battery. I don't want my remote door lock to fail just because I was too lazy to scrape off a little paint. I didn't make the dang car, but I have made it better.

Cheers Mates and Happy Motoring!
FL Hamster :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I called my service manager and he told me to raise the air pressure in my tires to 38 psi and I'd not have to worry about it any more. The car handled so much better with the higher tire pressure, that I've never run with lower pressure since then. I'm currently keeping all four tires at 42 psi.
I have, generally, always ran at 38 - 42 psi. I don't recall what prompted me to run at those pressures, but it was a number of years ago. I believe it may have been to try and see if it would help with fuel economy and I do not recall if it did or not, but I do recall, as you, that the vehicle handled a bit better so I stuck with it.

I don't know if y'all remember, but in most American Made cars of the past, there was a heavy RED wire that went from the POS terminal on the battery directly to the starter. And from the NEG terminal on the battery was a heavy Black cable that attached to a bolt on the front of the engine.
I do remember those. I upgraded the cables on one vehicle several years ago switching out the cable which seemed just on the small side for its purpose and was a bit too rigid with its minimal strand count, with a larger much, much higher strand count cable. I did that for the battery positive to the Fuse box, battery positive to Starter and the battery ground to frame and battery ground to engine. It was that vehicle that convinced me to do it on each vehicle since. I did the one out of necessity doing a repair, but after doing so I had a noticeable gain in fuel economy of all things. I am almost anal about tracking my fuel economy. Always have been because many issues with an vehicle will show in fuel economy before you notice them otherwise. So I had a long proven track of fuel economy records for that vehicle and after only changing out those wires, I saw around 2 mpg improvement.

Just adding the one 24" battery cable solved potentially a hundred different electrical problems on the engine alone.

Cheers Mates and Happy Motoring!
FL Hamster :cool:
I went out today to measure out the legth I would need to make up a cable. I don't like buying the pre-made battery cables for that as I prefer to use the higher strand count and more flexible cable. There is a place here in town I can take the cable to and they will crimp on the terminals for me and put the heat shrink on there that seals so it has a nice finished look. A little bit of extra work and cost but I like how it turns out. I hope to also be able to do the battery positive to the starter soon. I just have to find the time to get up under there so I can measure it out and find a good way to retain the stock positive terminal set up so I can keep that cover on there.
 

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HO Krazy!

I too am a MPG nut. Well, conscientious anyway. With my last car, the Suzuki SX4, I started keeping an Excel Spreadsheet, recording every fill-up and every oil change, added accessory, etc.
So I have a running record of ever penny I've spent on this car since day ONE.

Also I bought a "Scan Gauge II" which monitors a dozen or more engine parameters, and can display four at a time. It can also display Cel Codes and even reset them. It might well be the best $159 I've ever spend on any car.

47MPG.jpg

Knowing at any moment what my MPG is, helps me to gauge how hard to push the old GO pedal to balance performance against MPG. My little 1.6 is capable of some really great MPG if I just keep my #12 off of the GO pedal. :) I've also discovered that turning on the AC, drops my MPG by 3mpg.

As for the cabling, the demands of our little 4-Bangers is not nearly as great as a big throbbing V8. And for convenience, I just used the 24" battery cable that I could buy at Walmart. I guess you could say, "Po boys have Po ways". If I were making up my own cables, I'd use welding cable and SOLDER the ends on....not crimp them. But that really isn't necessary for this application.

It really gets me, how many complaints about electrical problems I've read on this forum, in the last five years, that could very well be due to nothing more than bad grounding. If Kia messed up the grounds that we can see, I wonder how many they messed up that we CAN'T see??? I guess I'll never know.

Y'all have a great day now, Y'hear?

FL Hamster :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I need to get me a Scan Guage. I didn't need one on my last vehicle because I had a Bluetooth ODB II adapter and that paired directly with my navigation head-unit. So all I had to do was open the app on the head-unit and I could monitor all that. I haven't pulled the trigger on the aftermarket android navigation unit for the Kia yet because the backup camera seems to be the wildcard in that it does not directly interface with the radio and I hate chopping up my wiring.
 

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It escapes me why anyone would find it 'necessary' to add starter & charging system wires.
 
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