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Ground Cables Connection Mod

9981 Views 40 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  cincinsight
Hi All.
Welcome to the Ground Connection Mod:
’05’s in the garage now, 11 miles on her and I’m doing the mod’s to bring her up to speed. While doing the ground connections I realized I never posted this one, although I had helped many an insighter with this issue. This is something I would fix whether your having an issue or not. Well, here goes…
Back when I had my ’00 Red 5 spd w/AC Insight I went thru a period where recalibrations were becoming more frequent to the point where I’d have 1 or 2 a day. Didn’t know much about insights back then (I’m finding I know less now) but I knew to go bother the dealer (who knew even less) and get turned away “can’t find anything wrong, no trouble codes”.
I did know that I’d had to replace the 12v battery when it was less than 2 years old and wondered if there was a correlation. My current battery was just over a year old. Just for the hell of it went to KMART and got a battery and replaced mine. Recalibrations went back to 1 every day or two. As I used to be a dealer mechanic (back when they fixed cars) I remembered that ground connection issues could cause some unusual symptoms. A bad ground usually wants to be found, a poor ground may need to be chased to get caught.
Got out my SM and looked up the grounds under the hood. Obviously the car has grounds everywhere, I stayed under the hood where contamination would be more prevalent. There’s a ground connection for the 12v battery and two engine ground cables at the left front of the engine compartment near the air filter housing (see pics). Also, one more for the EPS (electric power steering), under the 12v battery box, didn’t bother with that one.
What I noticed at first was that we have copper cables with aluminum crimped ends bolted to aluminum with a steel bolt (electrolysis). What really got may attention was the paint had never been removed from the contact surfaces (now livid). Although this may be acceptable for a regular vehicle I would not expect this practice to be utilized on a hybrid. As I expected, using all the tricks of the trade, I almost couldn’t get the bolts out. A non-mechanic type wouldn’t have had a chance. The ground cable for the 12v battery was the worst. Sanded and filed all the connections (including the bracket for one of the cables, air filter housing mounts to it). Sprayed all with lubricated contact cleaner (Radio Shack) and put all back together with new bolts (Ace Hardware).
Don’t take this as a fix all, recalibrations can be caused by a number of things. This fixed mine though, they went back to one every month or two, which I could live with. I no longer replace my 12v battery every year or two either. And with the paint there all the electrolysis will occur at the very worst place, the threads (there’s that word again!) of the bolts. Good Luck, Jack
You can see the pics at:
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My guess from looking at the gauge of wire is the IMA may draw a huge ground in full charge/discharge. Probably by doubling the wires and seperate chasis ground points, they lowered the ampage over cable to a more managable amount.
Well, just got done with a HUGE insight project.

Dynamate Extremed my whole ride. Firewall, floor, seatback, battery deck, roof. While the floor was up, I installed new speakers, amp, speaker wire, and RCA cables...

So sub, why are you posting this in the ground cable thread?

Well, I had plenty of 2 gauge ground cable left over from my monster amplifier install kit.

And you know, I thought... its time to do the ground mod!

So, I replaced both ground cables with 2 guage monster ground wire, with copper eyelets and shrink wrapped the ends.

I went for a test drive just now to make sure I had no shorts or bad grounds...

Well, of course I had a recal, but I charged to full in 2 miles of freeway at 60mph, and for the first time EVER I have 20 full bars in my battery meter! (I always had 19, and never could get to 20)

To boot, I get more charge bars on my IMA braking! To early to tell what other benefits my 2 gauge grounds have in store for me, I will keep you all posted! :twisted:
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8) Do I sense some gauge envy? :lol:

True, increased girth of my bundled cable is overkill, but it was free wire (aside from the price to install my amp) and the quality and size of wire should more then eliminate near future ground issues :twisted:
Mike Dabrowski 2000 said:
Bigger is not always better. The reason the wires fail near the crimp, is that they need to flex somewhere, as the engine shakes a lot when idling. If the wire is too big, it will have trouble flexing, and could fail mechanically rather than corrosion related.
The beautiful thing is the quality and quantity of braided, twisted copper wire inside these 2 gauge cables. There are 12 bundles of fine braided wire. They flex, and the shrink wrapped ends won't come apart easy :twisted: Much better then tape :!:

The reason welding wire wouldn't be good, is electrical current travels down the OUTSIDE of the copper wire. Gauge alone does not describe the wires potential surface area. Having thousands of fine copper wire twisted and braided dramatically increases surface area, and decreases resistance to current accross the wires length. :?
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