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1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, all!

I know the topic of batteries and electrical demands has been beat to death on here, but after some reading I'm still rather foggy on how some of this works, so I apologize in advance if I'm asking questions that have already been answered a dozen times.

I have a '99 Jeep Wrangler 4.0, stock amp is 117a. I'm fairly sure the alternator is OEM, so it probably needs to be on the short list of things I'm replacing soon. It seems that running a total 950 RMS should be fine on that output, but I get headlight dimming even at 65 mph on halogen bulbs. Something isn't working. Since I'm about to get a second sub and drop the impedance I'm going to add another 250 RMS output to my system and I see this as being a recipe for an overtaxed electrical system.

I'm looking into the various things I need to upgrade and the timetable for doing it.

I have one of the yellow top batteries from either autozone or advance auto. It's been fully discharged (at least to the point of not being able to turn over an engine) twice so far. The Jeep sat idle for a year due to blowing out a differential (my newly installed Ford 8.8, thank you frozen driveshaft 馃檮), and when my mechanic rebuilt it he had to recharge the battery.

So, I'm looking at some HO alts, mechman and mean green mainly. I'm also looking at replacing the battery. I can get some AGM at a decent discount. I've considered adding a second battery, but for those unfamiliar with Jeeps they are TINY inside and my entire storage area is going to be filled by a sub box in the next month or two, so there's no space to run one that I can see.

Given that winter is upon us and I'd rather not be stuck unable to start my Jeep or having my alternator fail on the way to work I need to figure out where to start. Alternator? Battery? I have a 1F cap that I bought before researching on here and realizing that they're basically useless for anything other than filtering electrical noise, but if it has any sort of utility I could always install it, though I worry that, when I eventually get a new winch that the draw from the winch may damage the cap.

I also have a big 3 kit that I want to install, but apparently Jeeps use a "fusible link" on the alt cable that's several gauge smaller than the wire itself, so I'll have to buy one of those on Amazon and attach it before I can install the kit.

So many things....
 

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1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I should probably add: I do intend on upgrading the system to push 2k RMS down the line. I'll likely replace my headlights with LED to reduce that draw, and while I will be installing some more aftermarket light bars they will all be LED, so less draw. Other than the system and the lights the only big-draw item I plan to install is a winch, which will hardly get any use, but will be there.
 

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As far as the alternator goes, even for 2k rms, it'll help a lot. It also will help with all that aftermarket stuff you're installing.
That being said, the alternator only helps with the vehicle on (obviously), so if you can find a spot to put a second AGM, that would be best case scenario. I'm just going off friends I have with jeeps that go off roading, they use they're equipment quite often with the vehicle off. Look for something with high amp hours (ah). If you do a lot of driving in extreme cold, you're also going to want those cold cranking amps (CCA).
LED headlights will help a lot with the dimming. They use a lot less power than halogen.
 

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If I may:
Been my experience batteries that have been FLAT never recover - they may seem to, but dead of winter will fail.
Their is a lot of differences between batteries at certain 'price points. One of my cars will 'take' a lot if different batteries, but the 65 group in the biggest, heaviest, most amps and CCA for same money. It gets 65s.
Batteries often need a float charge periodically - a battery tender or such over night once a month whether it needs it or not.
Somewhere in your town is a little guy that rebuilds alternators for change. He will know them, have the parts, and be able to know if you really need a 'better' one.
Look at pulley options, based on usage.
It is a Jeep, a second battery would be a good investment.
I have good luck with (except my own stupid drains) East Penn/NAPA regular batteries. IMHO gel/AGM is for things that go upside down - like motorcycles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As far as the alternator goes, even for 2k rms, it'll help a lot. It also will help with all that aftermarket stuff you're installing.
That being said, the alternator only helps with the vehicle on (obviously), so if you can find a spot to put a second AGM, that would be best case scenario. I'm just going off friends I have with jeeps that go off roading, they use they're equipment quite often with the vehicle off. Look for something with high amp hours (ah). If you do a lot of driving in extreme cold, you're also going to want those cold cranking amps (CCA).
LED headlights will help a lot with the dimming. They use a lot less power than halogen.
I've heard having a bigger alternator increases winch speed, which is pretty cool. I'll have to figure out a way to mount a second one. I'm sure there are solutions, but I have to find something that doesn't require the storage/trunk because my sub box will completely fill the space.

If I may:
Been my experience batteries that have been FLAT never recover - they may seem to, but dead of winter will fail.
Their is a lot of differences between batteries at certain 'price points. One of my cars will 'take' a lot if different batteries, but the 65 group in the biggest, heaviest, most amps and CCA for same money. It gets 65s.
Batteries often need a float charge periodically - a battery tender or such over night once a month whether it needs it or not.
Somewhere in your town is a little guy that rebuilds alternators for change. He will know them, have the parts, and be able to know if you really need a 'better' one.
Look at pulley options, based on usage.
It is a Jeep, a second battery would be a good investment.
I have good luck with (except my own stupid drains) East Penn/NAPA regular batteries. IMHO gel/AGM is for things that go upside down - like motorcycles.
Yeah, had a feeling it was dead. It might still be under warranty, and it wasn't a bad battery, about $160 at a big box shop, so if I can just exchange it I'll do that

Any brand recommendations?

Well, Jeeps do go upside down on occasion, so I'll probably look for something that can handle it just in case. The previous owner rolled mine 馃ぃ

What's the reason for the regular battery tender use? Not opposed at all, if it helps I'll do it.
 

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Yeah, had a feeling it was dead. It might still be under warranty, and it wasn't a bad battery, about $160 at a big box shop, so if I can just exchange it I'll do that

Any brand recommendations?

Well, Jeeps do go upside down on occasion, so I'll probably look for something that can handle it just in case. The previous owner rolled mine 馃ぃ

What's the reason for the regular battery tender use? Not opposed at all, if it helps I'll do it.
yellow tops are AGM just spiral instead of flat. they dont mind being discharged, but you'll never fully recover the charge from the car alone.

If you want greater alt output by all means grab a bigger one. I would big three it first. something else older vehicles benefit greatly from when still using halogen bulbs is relaying the headlights. it cheap, easy and would probably solve your dimming issue while increasing output.

just went and had a look in the battery cage.

stock you use a 34, you could fit a 65, same post orientation, height, depth just a few inches wider. this buys you 50% more reserve capacity a few hundred extra CCA

if you're going to be off road buy an AGM, they can go up down and around with out issue.
 

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East Penn at NAPA are great batteries, catch a good price - stack discounts/rebates.

The Battery Tender types give a float charge / late in cycle fine charge control that most simple chargers don't do. A Battery is "charged" at a certain voltage, but a float charge slowly gets it up to absolute capacity.
 

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What's the reason for the regular battery tender use? Not opposed at all, if it helps I'll do it.
Good smart chargers have a recovery/repair cycle that runs first (before normal charging) and can rejuvenate a sulfated battery. I'd get a nice charger and use it on your battery first before doing anything else. NOCO makes great chargers.
 

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It鈥檚 been a while but I did a major cable upgrade. I remember when upgrading the ground between engine/chassis/battery my JL 900/5 stopped cutting off from low current and my headlights stopped dimming. I鈥檓 not in a position to speak authoritatively on the subject because I read up, did it and moved on with my life over a year ago but I鈥檓 hoping to spark a conversation on the grounding side of the big 3.
 

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the battery to body, body to frame/sub frame, engine to whatever seems to cover all the bases. could maybe toss in one more for the rear subframe/beam?
I know I did engine to body, battery negative to body and one more. I probably skipped the alternator to wherever it went because it鈥檚 stock and didn鈥檛 seem to matter. I know just doing the grounds was the hot ticket because the amps were wired well and the stock ground was like 10awg from battery to body.
 

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I know I did engine to body, battery negative to body and one more. I probably skipped the alternator to wherever it went because it鈥檚 stock and didn鈥檛 seem to matter. I know just doing the grounds was the hot ticket because the amps were wired well and the stock ground was like 10awg from battery to body.
yeah i just look at the OEM alt wire. and the OEM alt output. if it seems reasonably matched then great. Also depends on the alt style. If you have one that uses a plug vs one with a stud for output.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It鈥檚 been a while but I did a major cable upgrade. I remember when upgrading the ground between engine/chassis/battery my JL 900/5 stopped cutting off from low current and my headlights stopped dimming. I鈥檓 not in a position to speak authoritatively on the subject because I read up, did it and moved on with my life over a year ago but I鈥檓 hoping to spark a conversation on the grounding side of the big 3.
Since I'll need to buy a fusible link (and figure out how to join two battery cables) for the alt power wire I think I'll do like you did and just do the grounds, see if that improves things. Awesome that made that much of a difference for you!
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Now to figure out which wires those are 馃ぃ
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm considering this instead of the regular big 3:


Custom fitted for my year of Jeep. Has the fusible link and everything, including battery terminals and the whole nine yards.
 
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Since I'll need to buy a fusible link (and figure out how to join two battery cables) for the alt power wire I think I'll do like you did and just do the grounds, see if that improves things. Awesome that made that much of a difference for you!
I have a thread going currently you might have seen called 鈥渘ot so ho alternator鈥. I鈥檓 pulling a pretty big draw off my electrical system with two rapid chargers for lawncare equipment and there鈥檚 a good amount of discussion on the usefulness and purpose of the general upgrades involving alternators, batteries, specialty batteries, ect.
The condensed version is I鈥檝e been running my current system in my lower description and pulling around 3-400 actual steady watts from the 12/120v inverter and fast charger without any trouble. It wasn鈥檛 until I added a second rapid charger that my electrical system couldn鈥檛 support everything. I鈥檒l add though that I did replace my regular lead acid battery with a Duracell AGM in summer because the old battery was beginning to concern me. I鈥檓 not sure if it was an old battery and or the first rapid charger in use all year was the final nail in its coffin. But I鈥檓 pretty sure that running a 300w chargers was a similar power draw to listening to my stereo loud for 6-10 hours a day. Just because I have a ~1,300w system, it doesn鈥檛 mean I draw 1,300w hardly ever.

Edit: I鈥檒l add that I did the ground upgrade before I was charging equipment in car so just my stereo system alone was too much for the stock Toyota grounding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thats a great kit! Not surprised something like that is available. with the 87 lightbars and such most people put on their jeeps
It's really slick! It would be perfect for a HO alt, and fitted for the Jeep instead of figuring out how to make it all fit.

I have a thread going currently you might have seen called 鈥渘ot so ho alternator鈥. I鈥檓 pulling a pretty big draw off my electrical system with two rapid chargers for lawncare equipment and there鈥檚 a good amount of discussion on the usefulness and purpose of the general upgrades involving alternators, batteries, specialty batteries, ect.
The condensed version is I鈥檝e been running my current system in my lower description and pulling around 3-400 actual steady watts from the 12/120v inverter and fast charger without any trouble. It wasn鈥檛 until I added a second rapid charger that my electrical system couldn鈥檛 support everything. I鈥檒l add though that I did replace my regular lead acid battery with a Duracell AGM in summer because the old battery was beginning to concern me. I鈥檓 not sure if it was an old battery and or the first rapid charger in use all year was the final nail in its coffin. But I鈥檓 pretty sure that running a 300w chargers was a similar power draw to listening to my stereo loud for 6-10 hours a day. Just because I have a ~1,300w system, it doesn鈥檛 mean I draw 1,300w hardly ever.

Edit: I鈥檒l add that I did the ground upgrade before I was charging equipment in car so just my stereo system alone was too much for the stock Toyota grounding.
I did! That's what got me thinking on it, I just didn't want to hijack your thread. I'm really curious about just improving the ground (I'm pretty the Jeep uses pitifully small-gauge wire), so I might try that for now and if it fixes things just coast on that until I get the HO alt. I'm pretty sure, as old as my alt is (22 years) it's probably about time to change it, but I'd like to go in order from most -> least immediately necessary.

Good smart chargers have a recovery/repair cycle that runs first (before normal charging) and can rejuvenate a sulfated battery. I'd get a nice charger and use it on your battery first before doing anything else. NOCO makes great chargers.
Oh that's really cool! I've been wanting to get a battery charger anyways. The NOCO Genius 10 looks pretty decent for the cost ($100), so I might opt for that. Thank you!
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Looking at the NOCO 5 and the CTEK 40-206, which do you think would be the better? The CTEK has slightly better reviews, a bit higher price tag.
 

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Looking at the NOCO 5 and the CTEK 40-206, which do you think would be the better? The CTEK has slightly better reviews, a bit higher price tag.
from what ive seen on the road, the noco stands up better. In my case its people who hardly understand what they do or how to care for them though. CTEK is great if you take care of it.
 
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