I know alot of us members have quite a few electrical components running off factory wiring and our factory alternator. Hid's, Amps, Winches, Aftermarket HU's, Off Road Lights, Power inverters, CB's, etc.
Hence, I thought it could be very useful to find a place to install an extra battery for reserve power or to integrate into the factory system. This would require a few modifications;
, under our hood there is little to now room. So modifications had to be made and something had to be moved to another location. Almost all batteries need to be close to level for optimal efficiency and lifespan. Plus, what better place to protect a battery, than under the hood. (I didn't want the battery taking space up in the cab)
, I wanted to make the 2nd battery strictly for Starting and running critical applications(fuel pumps, winches, starter, ignition system).
, I was debating on whether or not to have the alt continuously charge the 2nd battery. Then decided to go ahead and use a battery Isolator to charge both the batteries simultaneously, but separate them when the vehicle is off.
Once all that was contemplated about, I needed to find out the usage of all my components and the stress it would put on my alternator. Hence, I've been trying to find some info on the amps of our factory alt. but have yet to find a reliable source, so I would assume its in the range of 100-130 amps.
Mathematically, this would mean; (this is running at full capacity)
note: anything over, and your alt. will be unable to run your components and effective charge your batteries. The alt. needs to be somewhat > than the power you are pulling. Alts. are rated mainly at max ouput and not at idle. So consider this when doing your install and choosing an alt.
Here are the specs I calculated;
Amps = Watts / Volts
For a 100 amp Alt, you could get approx.
For a 130 amp Alt, you could get approx.
And a 180 aftermarket alt.
So I decided to go ahead and do the second battery and change to a 180 alt. I also wanted to upgrade the factory 4ga and 6ga wire to a better, thicker conductor. I went with 1ga mining cable, (it was a little bit of over kill) but being in a mining community I get it fairly cheap. ($1.50 per foot). Holds upwards around 500amps and 600 volts. 30ft of it weighed in about 35lbs. I also decided to upgrade all wiring that charges, starts, and runs the truck.
Now for wiring the starter with better wire.
DISCONNECT YOUR BATTERY FIRST****
You only need to upgrade the 12v supply and the ground. The other smaller red wire, is the ignition lead.
Note: power is always running to the starter, however, the starter solenoid only engages when the ignition is turned on. Due to the harsh winters here, I wanted to have amps running from both the batteries to starter. There are many ways to wire this up, but this is my method and how it benefited my application.
I used an extra starter relay, to only engage the second battery when the ignition is turned over. Thus it isolates the 12v supply from each respective battery when the ignition is not engaged(for starting). Once the truck is cranked, the batteries separate. This makes certain that my truck always has voltage and amps to crank reguarless of how much power is out of the primary battery.
You can see the second starter relay, with the wires unattached and mounted to firewall. Make sure you secure the relay using a grounded location, it requires this to work properly. I used the factory ground location and bolt to attach it.
I will install an isolator to charge the two batteries in a later step. Just going over the basics now.
Once I installed the 2nd relay, it was time to run wires from the starter solenoid to the new relay. Again, you need to only replace/add better ga. wire to the ground and 12v supply location. I precut the wires and estimated around 7 ft from the starter location to the relay. So i left the wires around the relay and ran them to the starter for connecting them. Once I get them connected to the starter, I will come back and attach them to the appropriate spots on the relay.
Here is a shot of my ratchet on the ground bolt for the enginge and starter. Please not, this has two bolts. Make sure you only take off the first one and keep the one behind it secure.(you dont want to loosen it up and have to replace a gasket from the transfercase and transmission).
With the top nut off(holding the wire), and the 2nd nut still on, holding the starter to the mount.
Once the nut is off, replace the factory wire and your new 1ga. wire on top of one another for a good connection, then tighten the bolt back on.
Now we need to do the same thing to the 12v supply.
The large wire, with the covering over it is the 12v supply to the starter.