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    VWVortex


    View Poll Results: Did replacing your grounds, resolve issues, or create them?

    Voters
    14. You may not vote on this poll
    • I replaced the Battery to Frame only.

      0 0%
    • I replaced the Battery to Frame/Engine only.

      0 0%
    • I replaced all of them that I could find.

      3 21.43%
    • I cleaned them.

      2 14.29%
    • Why bother, they look good.

      0 0%
    • Briano is right replace all them things.

      9 64.29%
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    Thread: Ground effects and the repair of your car.

    1. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      05-02-2011 12:45 PM #1
      I recommend that folks Replace their GROUND's. Others have picked up my Mantra, but I see folks struggling with this issue. Some folks just need black/white proof as to the effects. Hence this poll.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    2. Member DaveLinger's Avatar
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      05-02-2011 03:02 PM #2
      Just for clarification, is this poll asking about mk1 Cabriolets only, or also mk3/3.5s, or all cars in general?

    3. Member hessiandave's Avatar
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      05-02-2011 03:25 PM #3
      Thy cabriolet god has spoketh and ye shall listeneth.

    4. Member 90Kabby's Avatar
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      05-02-2011 03:32 PM #4
      Clean contact points and replace all them things, its just good common sense....on any vehicle.

    5. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      05-02-2011 09:16 PM #5
      I replaced the battery to frame and frame to trans ground only. All other ground points have been and are cleaned as I come across them/as need be. Effects? Slightly better starting but that's about it, that I've really noticed anyway. But my car hasn't really had any ground-related issues in its 20+ years.

      My Vanagon is a different story: It has several minor electrical issues now and all of its ground points are pretty dirty. I need to go through the entire thing replacing, adding and cleaning grounds, fixing connections, etc.
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to the VW Cabriolets
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    6. Member Darter's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 11:59 AM #6
      I gotta say, the one thing that's been difficult for this new cabby owner in regards to addressing grounds is specifically what points they connect to. I've discovered a number of these grounds to be missing on my car, so I'm left scratching my head as to what "valve cover to coil" or "one on the steering column" mean (I know what these parts are, but my coil has at least one extra spade on it... does it connect there? Which valve cover stud is correct, or is there a separate ground anchor?).

      Eventually the answers turn up after lengthy search sessions, but the info is not readily available (though briano's mantra is ). What's more, I haven't found a complete list anywhere, but many threads with different locations mentioned.

      Could we compile a more detailed list and photos for cabby-info.com? So far, I've found:

      1. Battery to the left frame rail
      2. Frame rail to the transmission
      3. Valve cover to the ignition coil (coil, or coil mount?)
      4. Fuse/relay panel (to...?)
      5. Steering column (to...?)
      6. Valve cover to raintray/firewall (same as above?)
      7. Main harness to ground donut near fuse box (same as above?)
      8. Rear harness DS panel near tailaights. (DS? driver's side?)
      9. Rear Defrost PS opposite other ground. (PS? passenger's side?)
      10. alternator to the engine block or valve cover (is one better than the other?)
      11. cold start valve (to...? CIS only?)
      12. hood to fender
      13. instrument cluster (to...?)
      14. ... what else?


      Being relatively new to cabby's I hear from the long-timers that grounds are essential, and I probably look at them every other time I'm wrenching on the car, but more details about the grounds would make addressing the issue much easier. If we can demystify the locations and attachment points, that would help a lot!
      Last edited by Darter; 06-21-2011 at 12:11 PM.

    7. Member
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      06-21-2011 01:34 PM #7
      I agree with this. A good list of what grounds and maybe pics would be cool.

    8. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 03:01 PM #8
      Your wish is Granted, I am missing a few pics, but O'Well self discovery is the best, and these are on my 92,and 93 Cabbies, most CIS have the same ground points.


      The battery grounds are located:

      Back corner of the valve cover Going over to the Coil Bracket nut:




      Behind the air box on the frame horn. From the frame horn to the Transmission mounting to engine Bolt.... The only studded bolt on the tranny mounts





      From the Battery negative to that same frame mount.



      There are more than adequate and there are additional grounds that
      are from the
      A/C compressor to the Alternator Case nut.




      The ECU bracket to the rain tray.



      There are additional "bonding" wires which are also Ground from the hood hinge mounting bolt to a Fender nut. Either Side.



      In the Trunk:
      From the Tail Light Base Plate Drivers side to the Frame, I usually use a bumper bolt. I do both sides.

      Bumper Bolt:



      Tail light Bracket 3 Middle Male Spads;



      Power Steering Firewall to a screw on the power steering cover:




      Clean the Frame stud and the back side of the nut, use a little Never-seize on it and with new standard battery cables they will be able to more than do the job for you.

      Remove your Instrument cluster:
      http://cabby-info.com/Files/DashRemoval.pdf

      On the back of your cluster, remove the Shroud off the main connector
      by pressing in the finger tabs, and carefully pry off.





      Carefully lift the Mylar connector off the tongue.





      Place one strip of electrical tape on the pad side of the plastic tongue.



      Replace the shroud.

      You should also remove the nuts off the back of the cluster and sand them to clean them.
      Sand the lock washers too.

      Brush the mylar with steel wool I usually twirl it around the stud sticking out, and that cleans the mylar too.

      Replace the nuts and tighten them.


      Now you are going to add an additional ground wire to the main cluster connection.

      From the Large Connector, go back about 4 inches and use a wire splice to join
      a 12 inch piece of wire to the number 2 pin, brown wire.



      Between the "X" drill a small pilot hole, and sand around it to get it to bare metal.
      Add a terminal connector to the bitter end of the new spliced wire.



      Use a sheet metal screw to screw the connector to the frame. You now have a good cluster ground. You can run
      This ground to the console gauges and get a more accurate reading, although I have used the ground from the
      Cassette Tape Holder Lamp.

      Inside the Cabin on the firewall there are Star connectors that are riveted to the Frame.
      The have the majority of grounds. Don 't have a pic.
      Last edited by briano1234; 10-20-2011 at 06:05 AM.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    9. Member Darter's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 03:32 PM #9


      Nice pics! Looks like I have more missing than I thought... Will have to go over my car some more to see how these other locations are fairing (didn't know about the a/c to alt, for instance).

      What is that metal piece that is under the ground strap ring on the valve cover gasket? I'm pretty sure I don't have it...

    10. Member CajunSpike's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 03:43 PM #10
      Its a copper plate. It's held in place by a nut on the valve cover. As far as I know its intended to allow a extra good ground to the block, for the wire that runs to the firewall. It also holds the wires/plug assembly for the 02 sensor, in the visible slot to the side of it.

    11. Member
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      06-21-2011 03:54 PM #11
      Now that's what i am talking about! I know what I am going to do when I get off work tonight lol.

    12. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 03:59 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Darter View Post
      Eventually the answers turn up after lengthy search sessions, but the info is not readily available (though briano's mantra is ). What's more, I haven't found a complete list anywhere, but many threads with different locations mentioned.

      Could we compile a more detailed list and photos for cabby-info.com? So far, I've found:

      1. Battery to the left frame rail
      2. Frame rail to the transmission
      3. Valve cover to the ignition coil (coil, or coil mount?)
      4. Fuse/relay panel (to...?)
      5. Steering column (to...?)
      6. Valve cover to raintray/firewall (same as above? It's valve cover to ignition coil bracket only)
      7. Main harness to ground donut near fuse box (same as above?)
      8. Rear harness DS panel near tailaights. (DS? driver's side?)
      9. Rear Defrost PS opposite other ground. (PS? passenger's side?)
      10. alternator to the engine block or valve cover (is one better than the other?)
      11. cold start valve (to...? CIS only?)
      12. hood to fender
      13. instrument cluster (to...?)
      14. ... what else?
      I'm working on an illustration that shows all of the main ground cables in the engine bay. As for all the other "minor" ground points, they differ between the years and are listed in the electrical section of the Bentley Service Manual, as are the connection types for each year. I may go through all of those lists and add them to the illustration, text-wise.

      A/C compressor ground varies based on car year: some ground at the battery, some ground on the engine block.

      PS = passenger side
      DS = driver side

      Quote Originally Posted by Darter View Post
      Nice pics! Looks like I have more missing than I thought... Will have to go over my car some more to see how these other locations are fairing (didn't know about the a/c to alt, for instance).

      What is that metal piece that is under the ground strap ring on the valve cover gasket? I'm pretty sure I don't have it...
      Brian's photos are of his Digifant, so don't go looking for the same grounds. Cases in point: 1) The A/C compressor. Your factory ground is at the battery. 2) The ECU. CIS does not have an ECU in the rain tray, it has an ICU (ignition control unit) and does not have a ground strap. 3) The valve cover. CIS valve covers use the same type of hold-down strip in the back as is used in the front; use any nut for the ground strap on that rear strip you like (make sure it's clean).
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to the VW Cabriolets
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
      "Fashion is a waste of money that could be better spent on, say, maintaining your car." ~James May

    13. Member Darter's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 05:21 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86 View Post
      A/C compressor ground varies based on car year: some ground at the battery, some ground on the engine block.

      PS = passenger side
      DS = driver side

      Brian's photos are of his Digifant, so don't go looking for the same grounds. Cases in point: 1) The A/C compressor. Your factory ground is at the battery. 2) The ECU. CIS does not have an ECU in the rain tray, it has an ICU (ignition control unit) and does not have a ground strap. 3) The valve cover. CIS valve covers use the same type of hold-down strip in the back as is used in the front; use any nut for the ground strap on that rear strip you like (make sure it's clean).
      Ah, thanks for all of the clarifications... I was getting a bit worried there. I'll have to stop at a parts store on the way home and start with the valve cover strap. Good to know I'm not supposed to have that copper plate. I do have those hold-down strips though.

    14. Junior Member verger's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 05:27 PM #14
      Thank you very much for showing us!

      John
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      91 Etienne Aigner Mangrove Green

    15. Member
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      06-21-2011 06:08 PM #15
      Anyone have any luck to adding grounds above what comes from the factory?

    16. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-21-2011 06:21 PM #16
      Adding Grounds is only productive to your desired results. There is no Luck in proper grounding.

      For VW's adding grounds or redistributing the grounds is only gonna help you in the long run.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    17. Member vwtdiwagon's Avatar
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      06-22-2011 02:49 AM #17
      This should be in the DIY section...Sticky please admin.

    18. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      06-22-2011 03:41 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by vwtdiwagon View Post
      This should be in the DIY section...Sticky please admin.
      There is no DIY section in this forum, only an FAQ section which is, sorry to say, pure and utter useless hodge-podge. Hence: http://www.cabby-info.com/electrical.htm#Ground , which I just updated.


      Edit: URL changed since this post; link updated.
      Last edited by kamzcab86; 10-20-2011 at 12:07 PM.
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to the VW Cabriolets
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
      "Fashion is a waste of money that could be better spent on, say, maintaining your car." ~James May

    19. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      06-22-2011 08:15 AM #19
      The only way to know for sure is to check voltages. The worse looking cable may be fine. The good looking cable may be futzed. Get out the voltmeter and know for sure.

    20. Member Darter's Avatar
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      06-22-2011 10:19 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86 View Post
      There is no DIY section in this forum, only an FAQ section which is, sorry to say, pure and utter useless hodge-podge. Hence: http://cabby-info.com/electrical_system.htm#Ground , which I just updated.

      NICE!! Thanks Kammy! Between that chart and briano's pics, this consolidated info helps a lot!


    21. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      06-22-2011 10:31 AM #21
      The Hood Bonding wire "usually" on the Driver side hinge To the Fender is for RF shielding to the antenna, so that spurious noise "spark plug, and wire" are shielded from the antenna for those that listen to "AM" radio, or for those that have the really older cheap radios that didn't have the proper circuitry to shield the final amplifier in the " Amplitude Modulating Super Hetrodyne" radios. "FM" listeners didn't have that issue, and it isn't truely needed for proper grounding.

      With the Advent of Resistor wires and plugs most manufacturers eliminated the additional bonding wire, or others didn't care at all that you heard a "motor boat" through your radio.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    22. Member vwtdiwagon's Avatar
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      06-22-2011 07:09 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86 View Post
      There is no DIY section in this forum, only an FAQ section which is, sorry to say, pure and utter useless hodge-podge. Hence: http://cabby-info.com/electrical_system.htm#Ground , which I just updated.
      Ya...The thread at the top. Thats kind of what I meant....I guess thats what I should've typed.
      Thanks for updating it on your site. Its a great resource to all cabby owners.
      Do we even have an admin? I guess its because we all play nice and dont need as much supervison as other forums.

    23. n00b tomran's Avatar
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      10-20-2011 05:08 AM #23
      I am real new to my Cabby "Princess" and I just gotta' say that with out you guys and er, ah gal, I would be up fudge creek without a Pop-Cicle stick. Oh, she's a fickle one! My Cab, not, oh Gawd! Not you Kam! Puleeze!

      That bit of basting done, I came across this piece on "grounding" and thought I'd pass it on. http://www.gabma.us/elec/proper_grounding.pdf It applies to British motorcycles and may raise the specter of Lucas Electric, "The Lord of Darkness" as they were known by any one who had MG's, Jaguar's, etc. This is a fine explanation of the principal and history of grounding practice. It's pretty short and going on the theory that even though you needn't have knowledge of the workings of the internal combustion engine to drive a car, having it sure makes the ride more interesting and ya' meet so many nice people!

      It occurs to me that grounding in the sense we are using it is very like the "common" in house wiring. The common and ground are for all intents and purposes the same. If your house were of steel stud construction FTSOA, you could in theory run a single "hot wire" and the return could be the framing. The problem lies in that the frame, uninsulated could actually become overloaded and begin to heat up, the whole thing about imbalanced loads yada, yada-- from the get go it's just inefficient. BTW there was one more commandment... #11...and God said,"do what briano1234 says, do it gladly, completely, with a cheerful heart! Oh, and Flapjack in the second at Hollywood Park, that's all, God out!"

      Buying my Cabbie has been a true eye-opener. As a hold-over sanity keeper when I owned an older Mercedes (vacuum goblins, Oy!), I keep a SNL sketch running in the back of my mind with the engineers at VW having little "off the cuff" contests, vying for the most confusing "cross-purpose-let's-blame-it-on-the-Italians" improvements (subtext: "Who rrreally von Vorld Var two? Hmmmm?} Clarity even late got is soooo welcome

      Call me greedy or an idiot... Okay, BOTH! Briano, I love your pics, but for the life of me I am not quite sure just what I am looking for... You get the jist. Is there a way to add some sort of photo editing function to the site? Circles, arrows, etc., in the same way we are able to underline, italicize, embolden or otherwise affect text in posts. Kam has spoken of doing a definitive ground wiring plan but it's a lot of work. I've seen her work as well as that of others on the vacuum distributor switch -- the HVAC control "thingy", it's sensational yet still a work in progress. As am I come to think of it. Am I asking for "unobtanium" here, I don't think I've ever seen this on a site; is it even possible?

      Just askin'. What with the economy tanking -- Lions and tigers and bears, Oh, my! 'N this schmeckle dances in askin' for circles and arrows, OY! Nich bein hock mein chinuk!

      Have a nice day y'all!



      PS Oh I have to mention this B1234, your patience. Some one, I forget exact context, posed the problem you responded, simple cure, he came back with a "NO, I'm simply certain it can't be that yada, yada". I think madrabbit got in at one point "b1234 has good history with this kind of thing you should try before disregarding..." as did several others. This went back 'n forth for a good bit. I kept waiting for a moderator to jump in an tell him to go fly up his own... You were so even handed, impressive. I would love to say this had a fab ending but I don't know, it was just the way you all rally, not so much to the aid but to the solution. I think the guy just took his Radio Flyer and went home, left the field to youse guys!
      I want to be young and wild, and then I want to be middle-aged and rich, and then I want to be old and annoy people by pretending that I'm deaf.
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    24. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      10-20-2011 06:19 AM #24
      My first car was a 58 bugeyed sprite, followed by a 67 MG midget, and a 1972 Rover 3500S, so I am well aware of Lord Lucas....and grounds.

      "Call me greedy or an idiot... Okay, BOTH! Briano,
      I love your pics, but for the life of me I am not
      quite sure just what I am looking for... You get the jist.
      Is there a way to add some sort of photo editing function
      to the site? Circles, arrows, etc., ....
      Am I asking for "unobtanium" "


      Yes, you are greedy, and I have circled a few items
      in posts before. So I have take the time to edit a few
      of the pics.

      You have to edit them prior to posting to your "bucket" account,
      or after you have them loaded there.

      "Oh I have to mention this B1234, your patience....

      You were so even handed, impressive. "


      Not always... I too have my bitchy days...be thankful
      you have your car type in the profile

      I Read http://www.gabma.us/elec/proper_grounding.pdf , and he is about 3 miles up the road from me.... He must of read some of my posts...
      Last edited by briano1234; 10-20-2011 at 06:37 AM.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    25. Member
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      10-20-2011 07:42 AM #25
      I haven't answered the poll because more than one of them apply. When daily driving my '82 I went through and cleaned all the main grounding points, as well as adding a few extras. I used 8ga stereo power wire and added 2 or 3 extras and never had electrical issues.

      I will add one of the worst and weakest ground points on (at least early) CIS cars is the ECM ground. On my '82 the ECM is mounted under the kneebar on the passenger side and the ground wire actually runs out through the firewall and connects to one of the cold start injector mounting bolts on the end of the intake manifold. This ground has been known to fatigue over time and break, or get down to only a few strands and will cause serious running issues. If it breaks completely, the car will not run. So be sure to check this ground carefully!

    26. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      10-20-2011 12:30 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by tomran View Post
      Call me greedy or an idiot... Okay, BOTH! Briano, I love your pics, but for the life of me I am not quite sure just what I am looking for... You get the jist. Is there a way to add some sort of photo editing function to the site? Circles, arrows, etc., in the same way we are able to underline, italicize, embolden or otherwise affect text in posts. Kam has spoken of doing a definitive ground wiring plan but it's a lot of work. I've seen her work as well as that of others on the vacuum distributor switch -- the HVAC control "thingy", it's sensational yet still a work in progress. As am I come to think of it. Am I asking for "unobtanium" here, I don't think I've ever seen this on a site; is it even possible?
      Work in progress? Put a fork in that HVAC diagram 'cuz it's as done as it's gonna get. Just need to put the link to it back on the site since it somehow got left out during the upgrade.

      FYI: The previously-provided link to the ground points changed; I just now updated it in my previous post: http://www.cabby-info.com/electrical.htm#Ground .

      FWIW, here is what the factory battery-to-frame-to-trans cable looks like:

      (disregard the cut section; I cut the cable rather than removing the air box/fuel distributor to get the cable out)

      If your ground cable(s) look like this:

      ...replace it/them! Consider putting the new cables inside wire looms to protect them from grease and other contaminants.

      I just got through replacing the main grounds on my Vanagon (they were disgusting), and cleaning up all other ground connections, as well as the alternator connections (van spent its life along the CA coast; every metal thing in it has a bit of corrosion on it). Took it for a drive yesterday and noticed that the dash lights are brighter! Moral of this story: Head to your local paint department, grab a wire brush or two and get to cleaning your electrical connections! (Disconnect battery first!)
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to the VW Cabriolets
      Old Blue's Blog -- The adventures of a 1990 Westfalia
      "Fashion is a waste of money that could be better spent on, say, maintaining your car." ~James May

    27. Member yellorado's Avatar
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      10-22-2011 08:49 PM #27
      quick question for y'all: i have a 9a engine swapped in, now i still included the cowl to valve cover ground strap but im questioning myself as if its actually doing any good since the valve cover and head on a 16v is aluminum...

      so, is it serving a purpose? or should i just ground on steel, ie: block or trans?

    28. Member CajunSpike's Avatar
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      10-22-2011 09:20 PM #28
      The head on an 8v is aluminum also....I'm keeping that ground strap.
      Aluminum conducts very well.

    29. Member teknikALLEN's Avatar
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      10-26-2011 09:47 PM #29
      Having a hard time finding these....
      Quote Originally Posted by briano1234 View Post
      I am missing a few pics, Inside the Cabin on the firewall there are Star connectors that are riveted to the Frame.
      The have the majority of grounds. Don 't have a pic.

    30. Member briano1234's Avatar
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      10-27-2011 06:24 AM #30
      They are behind the dash, if you take out the Fascia and the instrument cluster you will find them.
      Grounds, Grounds, Grounds Replace them things.
      Divorces, Great Coffee, and Electrics, all start with GOOD Grounds.

      Where are my grounds ?
      I am a Commodian. I tell really Crappy jokes.

    31. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      10-27-2011 09:27 AM #31
      The ground stars behind the dash are important. The main one next to the fuseblock has the fuel injection system grounds and the dash grounds on it. The failure of this ground is the main reason for your dash voltmeter reading poorly. When our cars were new this ground point was fine but over the years the heavy current flow combined with whatever leaks you might have from the rain tray make this connection to the frame/chassis somewhat poor. It's a pain to deal with as well. .I've polished the spades on mine and redone some of the connections. I've yet to remove the star and make sure the bolt-to-firewall connection is not corroded etc. If you want to simply make your interior voltmeter read more accurately run a separate ground for it. The voltage circuit it's on isn't overloaded, its the ground.

    32. Member teknikALLEN's Avatar
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      11-01-2011 08:33 PM #32
      How about low voltage at the fuel pump?

    33. Member
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      11-01-2011 10:39 PM #33
      so basically, unscrew and rescrew? major noob here when it comes to grounds. or am i replacing the entire wire?

    34. Member
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      12-26-2011 08:01 AM #34
      How about the alternator ground? I have a spare alt for my wife's 83 cabby and it has a large ground strap coming from a threaded stud on the alt body (lower right side when looking at it positioned on the car with A/C. But the one in the car just has the spare threaded stud with no ground strap attached.

    35. Member s2kvondeutschland's Avatar
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      12-26-2011 10:28 AM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by Quanofonic View Post
      so basically, unscrew and rescrew? major noob here when it comes to grounds. or am i replacing the entire wire?
      You want to replaced the whole wire.
      "Zed's dead, baby, Zed's dead."

      RooflessVW

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