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My 69 RS has a pretty strong 350 that struggles to turn over and start after the engine has been brought to operating temperature. Timing is set at 12 degrees initial, 34 total, and I'm sure it's fighting the ignition system. Car has a nearly new 1000 amp battery, stock high-torque starter, etc.

The battery cables are 4 guage, and I'd like to upgrade them to something larger in order to get more power to the starter, and try to maintain a stock look. Any recommendations?
 

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You are fighting heat soak; especially if you have headers. A heat shield that protects the solenoid would probably be more productive.

Mr Gasket's 3678 GM Starter Heat Shield for Full Size starters (won't work with compact Hitachi gear drive starters):


The inside of the Mr Gasket Heat Shield:


A Dorman 45629 GM Solenoid Heat Sield:


Big Dave
 

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New battery cables, molded clamps, min 1 GA cable.
Move engine ground from alt bracket to block - bolt boss on front of block below alt.
Wire brush the block clean.
Use a star washer.
Coat the block and cable terminal with grease.
Externally charge the battery - it will take a long time for the alt to charge the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info guys. Where would I find 1 or 2 GA cables with the ring terminals attached?
 

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Welding cable in 1 or 0 gauge will be a much better choice than a hardware store A/C cable in that size; as the finer the strands the better the current carrying capacity with the least electrical resistance. I use Taylor Wire automotive cable and their screw on battery lugs to mount my batteries in the trunk.







Big Dave
 

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Notice Everett said MIN 1 GA. Good advice. You can buy the stuff to make your own on eBay. I like using a F*** solenoid and no other wires to cook to the starter but that's not stock. :)
 

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The fine strands of welding cable are actually not ideal for a DC system (made for high frequency AC), and adding another solenoid is a bandaid. Better to get automotive battery cables and replace the ends.
In the meantime, the OP may want to look for hotspots in the existing cables (+ and -), look at where the - circuit runs, and/or measure voltages in the circuit.
The high current side should have the shortest path from battery + and back to battery -. The entire round trip is suspect.
All adding a solenoid does is add complexity to turn on the existing solenoid and make the owner redo the wiring (which is actually what solves the problem). The next time the system has a problem there are 2 solenoids and more wiring to not troubleshoot. So add yet another solenoid?
 

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I like using a solenoid as part of a system described starting here (http://www.madelectrical.com/electricaltech/chevymain1.shtml) that improves the whole charging system. I guess I should have mentioned that. That includes better battery cables. Stock cables are undersized in any system as has been pointed out.
 

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Stock cables are undersized in any system as has been pointed out.
If you can start your car using the stock system, what makes them undersized? Do you think that GM engineers didn't know that?
 

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If you can start your car using the stock system, what makes them undersized? Do you think that GM engineers didn't know that?
Check the temperature of the undersized cable compared to a larger size cable. Before I studied engineering at college I already knew that if available you bought the six volt cable over the twelve volt cable (ya I'm that old! I first started working on cars with a six volt battery and starter). The six volt starter cable was bigger to offer less electrical resistance.

More finer strands of copper makes for a much more flexible cable that will not pull out of the terminal due to motor movement. You really should solder crimp on battery cable ends that are hand crimped to reduce resistance and holding power of the connection.

I recognize that in an A/C circuit the higher the frequency the closer to the surface of the conductor the charge rides. I used to make radio frequency transformers to electrically harden steel that required very fine cable strands to connect the power to keep the cable gage down to a practical limit.

Big dave
 
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