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DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

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DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by 1337 » Sun May 22, 2016 8:44 pm

I bought new positive battery cables. I got both the main one and the 4-wires one that runs to the fusebox.

I'm confused on how to install these. I pulled the air box part way out to try to get at the wire going to the fuse box. But, there are several wires under there, and it's hard to see how they connect to the fuse box.

The main cable (going to starter and/or alternator?) intersects an other cable and I don't really know what's going on with it.

Is there a DIY tutorial explaining what to do?
I searched a lot, but all I can find are tutorials on how to repair the ends of the already-installed cables.
Current: 2018 VW Golf 1.8T Manual
Previous: 1998 V70 T5 Manual, Subaru BRZ, Mini, Miata, etc.

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by erikv11 » Sun May 22, 2016 10:56 pm

The one from the battery to the starter, I have done a few times. Because the original cable merges into the main wiring harness, you (1) can't remove them and (2) have to route a new, independent cable. The old positive battery terminal end, and the ring at the starter, will no longer be used. Just zip tie the out of the way. You can also cut the cables. I like to route the replacement along the same harness, again with zip ties.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 165k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by 1337 » Mon May 23, 2016 1:17 am

Thanks!

What parts (if any) should I remove so that I can better reach the starter with my hands?
Current: 2018 VW Golf 1.8T Manual
Previous: 1998 V70 T5 Manual, Subaru BRZ, Mini, Miata, etc.

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by erikv11 » Mon May 23, 2016 8:33 am

On an NA you don't need to remove anything. On a 98 T5, you will want to remove the air intake tube from the front of the car to the air cleaner, and the top intercooler piping/hose from the intercooler to the throttle body.

That will give you enough access to the starter, there is a plastic cover over the battery-to-starter connection, just slip that off and you will see the single nut that holds on the cable end, here is a pic from an NA but the battery connection is the same, it is the shiny nut around the center of the pic, to the right of the red, air ratchet handle:

Image

That pesky PS hose will get in the way, you just need to work around it.

If you are still frustrated by the tight access then consider removing the fan, but you shouldn't have to. And you can get wide open access to the whole area by removing the intake manifold but that isn't necessary. However if it is time for a PCV job, then bundling this repair with the PCV efforts would make a lot of sense.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 165k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by abscate » Mon May 23, 2016 9:27 am

Remove Negative battery cable first - VERY IMPORTANT.

This is one of the few places where you work with unfused 12 VDC
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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by erikv11 » Mon May 23, 2016 10:53 am

Ah yes, actually I would start by just removing the battery altogether. That will also make your access, much, much easier overall, I should have mentioned that!
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 165k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by 1337 » Fri May 27, 2016 7:07 pm

erikv11 wrote:On an NA you don't need to remove anything. On a 98 T5, you will want to remove the air intake tube from the front of the car to the air cleaner, and the top intercooler piping/hose from the intercooler to the throttle body.

That will give you enough access to the starter, there is a plastic cover over the battery-to-starter connection, just slip that off and you will see the single nut that holds on the cable end, here is a pic from an NA but the battery connection is the same, it is the shiny nut around the center of the pic, to the right of the red, air ratchet handle:

Image

That pesky PS hose will get in the way, you just need to work around it.

If you are still frustrated by the tight access then consider removing the fan, but you shouldn't have to. And you can get wide open access to the whole area by removing the intake manifold but that isn't necessary. However if it is time for a PCV job, then bundling this repair with the PCV efforts would make a lot of sense.
Either I'm looking at my engine at a different angle, or our engine bays (your NA, my turbo) look quite different.
I can't tell, is your dipstick in a different place than mine?

Anyway... I think I need to take off the plastic cover that's directly to the right of my engine, and then I'll let you know what I find under there.
2016-05-27 13.48.20 copy.jpg
My 1998 V70 T5 engine bay
Current: 2018 VW Golf 1.8T Manual
Previous: 1998 V70 T5 Manual, Subaru BRZ, Mini, Miata, etc.

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by erikv11 » Fri May 27, 2016 7:25 pm

The yellow[handled dipstick in the first pic is the transmission stick not the engine oil (red/orange) one. Remove that plastic cover you mentioned, then peer down in that area, you will see the yellow handle.

In your pic you will want to remove that intercooler rubber hose bottom center, and rotate or remove the hard black metal pipe it connects to. Extreme bottom right corner is the air intake guide, remove that too. Don't forget to remove the battery at the outset. :) Then you will have a decent path to the starter, except you will be cursing that pesky cooling fan behind the radiator.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 165k
'99 Camry V6 :shock: 125k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by 1337 » Fri May 27, 2016 7:45 pm

I took a couple more layers of plastic off, and I think I've now located the shiny nut. I drew a blue oval around the nut where I think I'm supposed to attach the new power cable. Am I understanding this correctly?
2016-05-27 18.27.22 copy.jpg
The shiny nut
Before taking this picture, I removed...
- the plastic air intake leading from the nose of the car to the airbox
- the big plastic cover on the right side of the engine (the throttle linkage is inside here)
- the plastic cover over the starter (dangling right below the blue oval that I drew)
- the battery and its tray
Last edited by 1337 on Fri May 27, 2016 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current: 2018 VW Golf 1.8T Manual
Previous: 1998 V70 T5 Manual, Subaru BRZ, Mini, Miata, etc.

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Re: DIY tutorial on REPLACING positive battery cables?

Post by 1337 » Fri May 27, 2016 7:51 pm

erikv11 wrote:The yellow-handled dipstick in the first pic is the transmission stick not the engine oil (red/orange) one. Remove that plastic cover you mentioned, then peer down in that area, you will see the yellow handle.
Ah, that makes sense. My car is a manual, so I don't believe it has a trans fluid dipstick.
Current: 2018 VW Golf 1.8T Manual
Previous: 1998 V70 T5 Manual, Subaru BRZ, Mini, Miata, etc.

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