Mechanics

$8 REPLACEMENT BATTERY CABLES DON'T LOOK LIKE ORIGINALS. IS THIS A DIY JOB? I COULD SAVE LOTS OF $!

2004 Honda Pilot • 124,000 miles

My wife took our Pilot in a couple of weeks ago for scheduled mx and they said she needed new battery and cables. Gave her an estimate of $500 for parts and labor. I decided to get new battery and cables and install myself. Advance Auto Parts checked computer and gave me a 26" positive cable and a 24" negative cable, each with a pigtail (crimp fusible link). Problem is, the replacement cables don't look like the originals. Original positive have two large cables (one to the starter solenoid and one to the power center, I'm surmising) and the negative has a short wire to the frame near the battery (8") and a long one to the engine block. I'm wondering what I have to do to make these replacement cables work. I can cut, strip, crimp wires if need be, but it looks like I might need a special terminal. Can you help?

Thanks in advance!


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SunnyD
June 27, 2012.



I can see why they recommended replacement but $500.00! I'd do it for $450.00 and give you a few hundred back. They must be pretty proud of those parts.

Do you have an under-hood fuse box that one of the positive cables attaches to? If so, how fat is it?


Caradiodoc
Jun 27, 2012.
Yes, there is a fuse box that one of the pos cables attaches to. It is multi-strand and fairly thick - it is crimped, along with the cable to the starter, to the funky terminal. I'm thinking that if I cut off the terminal connector (to pos post of battery), and buy a new connector at Farm and Fleet, that may be the way to go. What do you think?


Tiny
SunnyD
Jun 27, 2012.
Where do you live? Wouldn't be in Wisconsin by any chance?

I don't care for the universal cable clamps that you bolt to a cable, especially since you already paid to get a properly manufactured cable. Those universal ones are really meant to be a temporary repair. Instead, look for a positive cable with the correct wires. We have a small chain of Fleet Farm stores that are basically the same as a Farm and Fleet in another part of the state. I'd be willing to bet they're going to have something that will work because that type of connection to the fuse box was fairly common already by the mid '90s.

As an alternative, it's the cable to the starter that carries the largest current and must have the best integrity. Rather than cutting and splicing, you can add a second positive cable by using one with an "eye" on each end and bolting one end to the bolt on the clamp on the battery post.

I'm not wild over that little black pigtail you're holding the first picture. If that's the same diameter is the original wire going to the fuse box, that part is fine, but I don't like those butt connectors. I solder all my splices, then cover them with heat-shrink tubing, especially where you know water will be spraying in. Those are just inviting corrosion and sitting on the side of the road in a puddle of tears.

I bet you were talking about a cable attached to the stud with the pretty green arrow. If that can be cleaned up so its shiny, use that cable over and attach it with a separate nut to the sexy red arrow. First though, try to peel back the insulation and look for any white corrosion in there like there was on the battery cable. Most likely there is, and that means some of the strands of wire are eaten away already. That would be a REAL big deal to the starter. It's not as critical here but it would still be a good idea to replace it with a new one from the hardware store.


Caradiodoc
Jun 27, 2012.
We live in Roscoe, IL just over the state line, so we're familiar with the family rift that separated Farm and Fleet from Fleet Farm. ; -)

My friend suggested using the positive cable purchased to the starter and another with a ring terminal on it from the starter solenoid to the power center fuse box. The Honda factory just piggy backed both cables to the post terminal. The small wire that connected at your green arrow pointer can be cleaned up nicely. There wasn't much corrosion on that. I like your idea about putting a new ring connector on the existing wire to the fuse box (once I clean it up well and cut away any damaged wire) and attaching it with another nut where your red arrow points. I'll make a trip to F&F in the morning and see what they have. I have all kinds of fancy crimpers and cable cutters since I'm building an airplane with a aircraft mechanic friend. He's the brains and I'm the check book. ; -)

Anyway, thanks again for the help. I think I can do it right (and save a bunch of dough!).


Tiny
SunnyD
Jun 27, 2012.
Even if you do it wrong and have to do it twice you can't help but save a pile.

If you splice anything or crimp on any terminals, try to seal them with heat-shrink tubing. It's available with hot-melt glue inside to really seal out moisture. If the auto parts stores make you buy a whole kit, go to the Chrysler dealer instead. Two-inch-long pieces of pretty big stuff cost a dollar in the '90s which was a lot, but that's better than buying a whole kit if you're never going to use the rest of it.

I went through Roscoe a few years ago. I bought a skid steer from south of Rockford. Hauled it home to just south of Wausau, WI. Had lots of excitement by Madison. Three blown trailer tires in two miles, fire, bent axle, etc. Wasn't a good night.


Caradiodoc
Jun 27, 2012.