A unique starting problem?


JOETWINT

FORD GT OWNER
Mark IV Lifetime
Jan 22, 2008
312
Brooklyn N.Y.
Thanks! I looked at the lugs from your links. I have been unable to find a "Y" lug similar to the original Ford one. Trying to calculate the current carrying capacity of the single wire fed by both wires is beyond my pay grade. I have some work experience crimping 1/16-1/2" stranded wire lugs and cable fittings, but I do not have the crimpers necessary to firmly and properly attach the crimped lugs to the wire while it's in the car. Therefore, any new lug will have to be soldered, which means putting a lot of heat into the cable ends and undoubtedly damaging some length of the woven cover that protects the wires.
There are. a couple of ways to solder it on .One is to melt the solder in the lug first then slide the cable into the solder filled lug while it is still melted and cool quickly with flux.The other is to drill a small hole in the lug end close to where it attaches to the starter.This will allow u to fill the lug with solder while at the same time keeping the heat away from the insulation.Be sure to clean wire and inside of lug with a red pad and flux prior to heating.The flux will help draw the solder into the lug.
 

HighHP

GT Owner
Jun 3, 2019
156
Ed Groce, Spokane, WA
See pic for my starter connection. It is bent less than 30 degrees.

Here is another option in conjunction with JOETWINT comment above. First, be sure the battery is disconnected. The large wire goes to the battery, the smaller wire goes to the alternator. These two can be spliced anywhere, however note comment below. A great place for a splice with lots of room is near where the engine and transaxle bolt together. See other pic. If you do splice, you may be able to use the OEM cable and OEM sheath. Or use similar cable and sheath rated for the oil and high temp environment. Solder the starter side lug onto the cable on your bench. Have the wire stick straight up from the lug and be quick, so the solder does not seep to far into the cable, it gets stiff. If you do buy cable, better buy some extra cable and lugs, you may need to do this more than once to do it right. Leave the cable extra long so you can cut off the screwed up first and second solder job if needed. Probably best to bend the lug as needed prior to soldering, fine tune the angle when installing the cable. Then splice the other end to the stock wire using one of the allen screw splices noted above. No heat near the car required. It is best to solder the end of the wires prior to inserting and tightening the allen, although not required. One advantage of this option is you will eliminate the alternator wire from the starter, thus less wire between the engine and frame next to the starter. And more flexible. If you shop around you can buy a splice that has two holes on each end. Or maybe the alternator wire and battery wire will fit in one hole of the splice, if large enough. Probably don't want to solder the wire ends if inserting both in one hole.

If you splice as noted above, be sure that the in-line fuse or fusible link on the alternator wire is not eliminated. I did not locate it on my car but they usually are near the alternator where the wire is in free air and not in a wire loom. This is not a normal fuse, it is a piece of special wire or metal that gets hot and melts away. I guess that is how a normal fuse works, but this is usually encased in plastic or wire coating. They normally have "fuse" written on them. See the two wiring diagrams attached.

You may want to consider welding cable, it is flexible almost like rope. It comes in various sizes and is available at your local welding store. See link for the properties of welding cable vs battery cable. Just be sure it has the proper rating and protect it from abrasion. As mentioned by someone above this wire is not fused and is hot all the time. A short to the frame or engine would be disaster.


Keep us posted on what you finally do.
Good luck.
 

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mmlcobra

GT Owner
May 25, 2013
974
That's pretty scary for a non fused wire!
 

MAD IN NC

Proud Owner/ BOD blah bla
Mark IV Lifetime
Feb 14, 2006
4,185
North Carolina
Subscribed (y)
 
Thanks for all the suggestions! However, none of the options seem quite satisfactory to me. The original lug has both wires crimped and soldered. Keep in mind that whatever repair is done has to be done with the cable hanging down under the car while it's on my lift. Not possible to put it on the bench etc. Finally, I was mistaken about rust on the broken edges of the lug - it is (apparently) silver painted copper, stamped "AMP 2/0 W*"

1) There are two 2/0 ga. cables attached to the starter lug, not one. That makes it difficult to splice to a single lug as original. I cannot find a usable two into one lug (similar to the original ford used lug) for sale anywhere.

2) Every joint means more resistance and poorer electrical conduction and possible problems (heat, poor starting etc). I could use a pair of screw fixed butt connectors and cut the end off a new cable and splice those cable ends (new cables are $137 and up) to the existing cables, but that means four new joints with fixing screws that could loosen. On the other hand, that would make it possible to repair easily if the lug broke again, and would allow lengthening the cable to make it more flexible near the starter.

3) I think I can make a two into one lug from a single lug, but that has to be soldered and crimped to the old wires, and the heat would likely damage the existing wrapping and any insulation.

4) It might be possible to replace the entire cable with a new one, but I have traced the rear end of the cable, and it goes into the left hand side large diameter frame tube and runs through it forward. I'm not sure how easy it would be to replace it, given that it carries the current for the entire car and has assorted branches to other components.

Those are the options I've thought of and the problems associated with them. Any advice will be gratefully received!

David
 

HighHP

GT Owner
Jun 3, 2019
156
Ed Groce, Spokane, WA
You have two choices for most lugs. Plain copper which can corrode in moist or salty environments - driving on coastal roads? The other choice is tin coated copper. Tin protects the copper from corrosion and these connectors are sometimes referred to as marine connectors. Most factory lugs/connectors are tin coated copper as you noted above. They solder equally as well after cleaning the surface and using the proper flux.
Please keep us posted on your fix. Very interesting issue.
 

2112

Blue/white 06'
Mark II Lifetime
I have made up several 1/0 and 2/0 cables for my boats. I always had the advantage of making them up on a bench.

This 5-ton crimper might help you crimp the lug in/under the car;

 
I have made up several 1/0 and 2/0 cables for my boats. I always had the advantage of making them up on a bench.

This 5-ton crimper might help you crimp the lug in/under the car;

Thank you. This crimper would be very useful if I go that route.
 

JOETWINT

FORD GT OWNER
Mark IV Lifetime
Jan 22, 2008
312
Brooklyn N.Y.
https://www.amazon.com/East-Penn-Connect-Battery-Lug-Dual/dp/B00U30Z3FY
try this to get you going and then bring the car to someone qualified to swap the harness with the o.e.m. part.
 

TO AWSUM

Ford GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 4, 2007
1,346
Niceville FL
Before you order that crimper, I'd check your nearest AutoZone, O'Reily's, Advanced Auto Parts, etc. to see if they have a crimper you can borrow for free. They require a deposit which is refunded when you return a specialty tool like a crimper.
 
Thought I would bring this thread up to date. The starter cable fix is in progress. First, to fix the lug (still not repaired) we removed the old, crimped cable end. The lug is plated copper, and as far as I could find out after much searching, the equivalent is not available. The old one must be carefully cut off using a high speed cutter (Dremel etc) and then heated to loosen the solder. Ford used the belt and suspenders approach, they crimped and soldered the two wires (yes, there are two - one 2 ga, one 6 ga). I will use two correctly sized 90 degree lugs on the starter stud, which will allow a better cable run directly to the starter terminal and prevent breaking another lug in the future. I have ordered the new lugs and a professional quality hand crimper for installing them; they should be delivered within a couple of weeks.

As an aside comment, I also learned that a replacement cable is NOT AVAILABLE. Ford has them back ordered with no availability date, and no dealer in the Ford system has one in stock. I could not find one outside the Ford system either. I'm sure some of you will look for yourselves - there is one shown on ebay - it is not available. There is another in the Ford system at a Michigan dealer - it was returned as defective and is not in stock. One lesson I have learned is that despite what the parts suppliers show as available, you must check to be sure what they offer for sale is actually available! Second, I take this as a warning to all of us - we cannot rely on Ford to support our cars in the future. Parts are only going to get harder and harder to find.

I'll post again with more details (part numbers, mfg info on the parts, etc) after I've finished the repair and established that my repair method works properly.
 
Hi guys!

This is the concluding message about the breakage of the starter lug of the positive battery cable on my car, 05 1638. It is fixed, but it was not easy. To recap a bit: no replacement cable was available anywhere at the time of the failure, which occurred because there was not enough free play in the cable between the starter post and point at which the cable was cable-tied to the frame, so engine movement relative to the frame broke the lug. There appeared to be only two options to fix it: remove the broken lug and crimp a new lug on the wire, or make a new L-shaped lug and solder and bolt it to the remaining (swaged) part of the broken lug. I chose to crimp a new lug on the wire because I thought it was less likely to damage the ends of the cable. That turned out to be incorrect, but who knew? Replacing the cable is not trivial, either - it runs from the battery through the frame and comes out on the left side not far behind the firewall. Of course it has leads going to various things, too, so it would take a lot of disassembly to replace. Finally, be warned that the cable is live all the time, whether the key is on or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It turned out that the effort to repair it was not trivial. The positive cable consists of two separate wires (2 ga and 6 ga) attached to the single lug that failed. The old lug had to be cut off without damaging the wires, and it was also soldered, so that made it quite a bit more difficult to remove. I could not find a 2 into 1 lug that would work, so I had to source two 45 degree lugs to suit, buy a crimper (lugs and crimper available from Remy Battery in Milwaukee - check out their web site, they have a lot of good stuff), and finally make a bridge of .083" sheet copper to connect the smaller lug to the larger (see photos). I soldered the flat end of the 6 ga lug to the copper plate (and put a 10-32 machine screw through it to make sure it would never come off) and drilled a hole in the other end of the plate so it would be clamped by the 2 ga lug when installed on the starter post. It sounds pretty straightforward now but it took a lot of time, thought, and many trials to figure out how to make it all work, source the parts (a bunch of trial and error), construct the piece, install and test it for continuity and voltage drop, etc. This time I made sure that there is enough free play in the cable to accommodate engine movement relative to the frame by eliminating the cable tie closest to the starter. I finished last Saturday and all seems well. My car is now back together. I suspect the fix is actually stronger than the original, too.

And oh yes - about half way through the process, I was able to get a new cable from a dealer (at twice the list price) so I have a back up. Ford still has no spares in stock and no delivery date. I think that to keep our cars running, availability of spares is going to become increasingly important as time goes on.

In the photos, note how close the starter ground cable is to the starter cable lug - although there is apparently a fusible link in the cable, if that lug fails and the cable grounds, it's still big trouble. Be warned, check your starter cable's free play. It took 30,000 miles for mine to break.

20191016_114418Sm.jpgstarter-lug-1Sm.jpg20191215_122710Sm.jpg
 

franimal007

Owner
Nov 1, 2018
218
Endwell, NY
Sounds like that should be a safety recall.
 

JOETWINT

FORD GT OWNER
Mark IV Lifetime
Jan 22, 2008
312
Brooklyn N.Y.
nice work!
 

Saint Ho

GT Owner
Feb 12, 2013
421
Paris FRANCE
I admire your patience. Congratulations.
 

HighHP

GT Owner
Jun 3, 2019
156
Ed Groce, Spokane, WA
Looks like a nice fix. Thanks for sharing.