Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF
One of the things we all deal with is making sure we have reliable electrical systems for our rigs. While many off-roaders upgrade the vehicle's alternator, install a dual (and sometimes a dry-cell) battery system and the like, what's often overlooked is the vehicle's basic wiring. Depending on age and (ab)use, this can be the weakest link in your electrical distribution system.

The stock, formed sheet-copper battery clamps for the Samurai leave much to be desired. While adequate for the stock vehicle, with age and use--and especially with upgraded batteries and increased power draws for additional lighting and accessories--they rapidly become inadequate.

While at a local electronics shop this past fall (1997), I spotted a line of products that have made some improvements in my vehicle in ease-of-use and performance of the electrical system.

The ProLink series of components from David Levy Corporation of Cerritos, CA was originally designed for the demanding electrical requirements of high-end auto sound systems, but there are components of use to off-roaders as well. All are gold plated for corrosion resistance and better conductivity. While more expensive than the usual aftermarket lead or copper connectors, I believe they offer a good value because of their superior design. All the parts were well machined and evenly plated and appear to be of very good quality. As you can see from the pictures, I've installed a number of the ProLink component parts.

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The photo above shows the BT-18P. The top of the BT-18P carries two Allen-head screws designed to accept wire terminations like the PRT-38 I used, or standard ring terminals. There is also a single hole for up to 8 AWG wire in the end.

The PRT-38 wire termination attatched to the BT-18P is for the starter cable. The other end of the starter cable also bears a PRT-38 wire termination; the 3/8#34; ring of the PRT-38 proved to be a perfect fit on the starter's stud.

Adding the connections I needed was no problem, and disconnection of the cables will be a snap.

Also visible is the starter end of the cable.Also visible in the photo is the super-flexible 4 AWG wire (JSC Wire & Cable's GIANT Power Cable #1666) I used to replace my tired factory stock starter cable. It's simply stripped approximately 3/8" and inserted into the end of the ProLink PRT-38 wire termination, then locked down with an Allen-head set-screw. The termination has so far remained tight and the end of the wire insulation fits snugly into the PRT-38's opening, providing a bit of a weather seal.

There's an additional connection point (visible as a hole in the end of the terminal) for up to 8 AWG wire. This point is where I plan to make my primary power connection to an electrical distribution “box” (to be added later) for a cleaner installation of the power distribution to such auxiliary equipment as fog lamps and CB radio. A nearly identical terminal, BT-18N, is available for the negative battery connection, they differ in marking (a “+” or a “-”) and in the fact that there is a slight hole size difference in the battery-post holes for positive and negative battery terminals.

Battery connections - negative side. Click for a larger image!The photo immediately on the left shows a negative terminal, the BDT-2428N (BDT-2428P is also available). This terminal has provision for two 4 AWG and two 8 AWG connections on its end. Connection of each size wire is made by stripping it and inserting it in the appropriate size hole, then locking it down with an Allen-head set-screw. I've attached a 4 AWG (JSC Wire & Cable's GIANT Ground Cable #1666) that leads to the engine block and an 8 AWG (JSC Wire & Cable's GIANT Ground Wire #1662) that replaces the factory-stock connection to the body.

New firewall ground installed.I was surprised to see that the new firewall ground made an immediate improvement in things like dash-light brightness and generally improved operation of electrical components inside the vehicle. I plan on replacing as many of the grounding connections throughout the vehicle as possible with heavier wire, since Samurais are rather notorious for grounding faults.

Prices for the various components were (approximately): $12 each for the BT-18P and BDT-2428N. $4 each for the PRT-38s. $0.50/foot for the 4 AWG GIANT Ground Wire and GIANT Power Cable. $0.20/foot for the 8 AWG GIANT Ground Wire.

You should be able to find ProLink components at an electronics or auto stereo shop near you.

--Scott Gomez Newsletter
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