Hey, what's the battery cable lengths for the standard starter equipped car chassis? This is for my 24 roadster.
I need the ground strap, lead from batt to foot switch, then switch to starter post. I'm not near my car at the moment but when I go home tonight it'd be cool to be able to stop by Autozone or something to grab a set or go to Lowes for some wire.
Does anyone cover them with anything?
You won't find original style 6 volt 1/0 gauge battery cables at Lowes or Autozone. You will only find 12 volt #6 or #7 cables which will not work on a 6 volt Model T.
Contact Lang's Old Car Parts (or other parts suppliers) and ask for the correctly made copper ground strap and 1/0 gauge battery to switch and switch to starting motor cables with correct end terminations designed to be used with a 6 volt system. These include the proper armored sheath for the cable from the starter switch to the starting motor.
You can find original 1/0 gauge cable at a welding supply shop and you will have to find and install (solder) the correct/unique install correct cable ends.
For all that hassle, in my opinion your better off with the first option.
Ron the Coilman
Cool deal Ron this I will do! I need to make another order anyway so battery cables will now be on the list
Then when you get your battery cables, look at the crimped ends and make sure the copper wire is absolutely tight in the cable ends. They should be soldered if you have an iron capable of doing it...
Some of the cables offered by the major T parts dealers are not the most fantastic quality. They often do require some inspection and additional labor to correct...
You will not get the correct wire at Lowes, AutoZone or most Model T parts suppliers. They all seem to buy from the same wrong source. It will have the correct cloth covering, but will be totally incorrect for every other detail, except length.
You can get all the correct cable ends in copper from the Restoration Supply Company. Seems like they have the cable too. They have the shrink sleeves that should be used on each end to keep dirt, oil and grease out of the connection area.
You will need 6 feet of cable, if you also want to replace the ground strap with a real cable. A new ground strap will also be 2 Gauge 12 volt cable.
The + and - terminals are slightly different in size. The = terminal gos on the starter switch cable. The last set I had made have those terminals reversed.
The actual cable lengths are:
Switch to Starter Cable - 34 inches
Battery to switch cable - 27 1/2 inches
Battery to Frame cable 8 1/2 inches
The total cable required is 70 inches.
Looking at the currect specifications for cable suggests that the 00 Gauge cable is even a little short of the initial starter draw requirement.
Coilman posted some charts of those current numbers and they were in a magazine article, bit I don't remember where.
I get mine from Y n Z's Yesterdays parts in Redlands, California. They do stuff right. They made the ones in my '25 which I just finished a couple of years ago. I had bought some so called show quality ones from a well known supplier, and had to toss them because they were not correct! They even soldered the positive battery connector on backwards!
I looked into this more and found that the quality of battery cables currently sold by most parts suppliers has deteriorated significantly. Same situation and the wiring looms.
If you want good quality and properly made battery cables get them from YnZ's your make your own as Jim Golden suggested.
Ron the Coilman
A few questions
1-What is the final wire size reco should someone decide to go to YnZ? Their price difference between sizes isn't all that much
2-Still need to buy the cloth covering kit from a T vendor and will it fit the larger wire?
3- Does YnZ just sell the parts or will they make complete and tested cables/ground straps?
As I mentioned, Y n Z will make stuff right. You need to send them the exact size you need, and preferrably a sample.
Don't forget about Rhode Island Wiring Service. They have quite a good catalog, top notch stuff and will custom make a harness or cables to your needs, but more importantly your measurements. I buy the 2/0 (00) cloth covered battery cable from them and have the local electrical shop crimp and solder all the connections. Also, anytime I have added-in an accessory (spotlight, push-button starter switch, etc,) I buy the cloth covered wire from them so there is no vinyl or plastic coated wire visible. You can visit their website at riwire.com
True, todays available cables are not identical to the Ford, but real close. Have used them and don't think any real issues can occur just because the ends are crimped....seem to pass the electricity just fine
But the length has always been an issue with me, they vary always too long. Here is an original battery to switch cable, its 27 1/2" eye to eye at the terminals. The repro cable is about 29", a bit too long for me.
Close up of the terminals, very close to the original in shape, a bit narrower, and of course the terminal on the repro is crimped. Don't think I will add solder, as the cotton will get burnt, and won't make much difference in my lifetime of this T owner....
You could get order 6 volt cables from O'Reilly Auto Parts. They won't have the cloth cover but should be the right gage. Tractor Supply may also have them.
Where did you get (from what vendor) the repo cable? Is it 0 or 00 gage.
At the risk of poking my nose into your question to Dan here is my unsolicited opinion. You don't want cables with staked ends. They are prone to corrosion and long term trouble.
The Model T charging and lighting system needs all the help it can get anywhere.
You can buy cloth or rubber covered 0 (1/0) or 00 (2/0) cable, the battery terminal end and ring ends at Y n Z and easily make your own cables. Y n Z Yesterdays Parts
You must know/learn how to solder big connectors/cable and with a bit of heat shrink tubing you will have a quality job that will last for another 80+ years.
Ron the Coilman
The biggest size TSI has is 1GA. Use them on my 55 Ford (6volt) and they seem to work OK.
I prefer soldering the terminal to the cable. Crimping allows corrosion to creep in between and around the idividual wire strands causing loss of conductivity.
I used oo welding cable,
electricity actually flows "around" the conductors , not in them , the finer the stranding,the more conductors , the better the flow,
also fine stranding puts less strain on connections as it is much more plyable
I solder and heat shrink the terminals
I have not had any battery chargeing or starting issues and I run a 6 volt battery
Your absolutely correct, one can buy 0 or 00 cable at any welding supply shop or at Mc Master and Carr.
Ron the Coilman
Hmmm I guess I might try the welding cable route.
Maybe I could just glue black canvas around the cables to give the look?
The usual Model T parts vendors have the "loom sleeve" for the cables, but I don't know what size it is. (Hey, I'm a '15 guy.) Sacramento Vintage Ford has the asphalt-impregnated loom sleeve available in any diameter you want, sold by the foot, so you could get it to fit welding cables or whatever. I used it on the wiring harness for the '15 I'm working on. This piece is 3/8" i.d., 5/8" o.d.