Just for clarification, is this poll asking about mk1 Cabriolets only, or also mk3/3.5s, or all cars in general?
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.
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.
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:
- Battery to the left frame rail
- Frame rail to the transmission
- Valve cover to the ignition coil (coil, or coil mount?)
- Fuse/relay panel (to...?)
- Steering column (to...?)
- Valve cover to raintray/firewall (same as above?)
- Main harness to ground donut near fuse box (same as above?)
- Rear harness DS panel near tailaights. (DS? driver's side?)
- Rear Defrost PS opposite other ground. (PS? passenger's side?)
- alternator to the engine block or valve cover (is one better than the other?)
- cold start valve (to...? CIS only?)
- hood to fender
- instrument cluster (to...?)
- ... 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.
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.
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:
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.
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...
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
--Blackadder III "Nob and Nobility"
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.
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!
Help save the Boobies!! Dub 'N Rub VW/Audi Show & Shine to benefit breast cancer research.
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!)
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?
The head on an 8v is aluminum also....I'm keeping that ground strap.
Aluminum conducts very well.
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.
so basically, unscrew and rescrew? major noob here when it comes to grounds. or am i replacing the entire wire?
my cabby "bebop"
My Scirocco "siegfried"
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.