Whether you are relocating a battery, installing a one-wire alternator, or just trying to clean up engine bay wiring, heavy gauge wire (i.e., your 12V battery ground cable or any 2 or 4 gauge wire) is not something easily "made-up" by the average hobbyist. The primary limitation here is that it's not entirely clear how to crimp large terminal ends to heavy gauge wire at home. If you can find large terminal ends at a welding supply store, you still need to figure out how to attach them with confidence. I've used the solder and dip method (shown below) for a few years with good results after learning about it here on FordMuscle. Nothing has broken free, but I always thought there must be a better way.
Preparing terminal end for heavy gauge wire - solder and dip method
Recently ACCEL released their Lighting Cable series of heavy gauge wire and accessories that allow you to make-up any length wire AND compression fit your own terminal ends. While the lighter weight of ACCEL lightning cable is of interest to those who are very serious about shaving weight, I am more excited about the terminal ends. Here, I'll demonstrate how easily and securely I made-up a cable for a one-wire alternator on my 5.0L '85 Thunderbird.
ACCEL's Lightning Cable series offers 1/0, 2, and 4 gauge wire on spools along with heat shrink tubing and different assortments of compression style terminal ends. You can see more here.
This is the engine bay of my Thunderbird. I've illustrated where I needed to add a 4 gauge wire between my one-wire alternator and 12V direct from the battery.
Here I have layed out the tools and supplies I needed, including a short segment of 4 gauge ACCEL Ligthning Cable and terminal ends.
This is a close-up of the compression style terminal ends.
I began by cutting off about 3/4" from one end of the cable's sleeving.
Discarding the residual sleeving.
And here's a shot showing about how much exposed cable you want relative to the compression fitting.
I fit the ACCEL eyelet into a vise and turned the corresponding compression fitting in two or three threads deep.
Inserting the cable...
And tightening the compression fitting.
The fitting and eyelet securely attached to the cable.
Next, I slipped on some shrink tubing.
Then, I hit it with the heat gun. A very clean result, but that was just the first end of the cable.
I needed to measure and cut for a custom fit.
I repeated the simple procedure for the opposite end of the cable. Remember, with these fittings you can always remove the terminal, shorten your cable, and reattach... so it's better to cut too long than too short.
The cable was now ready for installation, here I'm attaching one end to my alternator.
The final product installed, very clean.
For more information about this product and where to buy please visit ACCEL Ignition.
Pricing from Summit Racing on ACCEL Lightning Cable
Pricing from Summit Racing on ACCEL Terminal Ends