Wiring the alternator and fuse block input wires directly to the battery source is a disaster looking for a place to happen. A maxi fuse or a fusible link can be your savior if a major electrical malfunction occurs.

7. Cutting the wires too short during installation

Make sure to cut wires with a “little extra” so that they aren’t pulled too tightly. Pulling a little extra wire before cutting will make installation a lot easier and safer.

8. Routing wires around hinges and areas that move

Wiring for accessories like power windows, power locks, trunk lights, and underhood lights should be attached securely and wrapped in some type of covering to protect the wires from possible chafing. Aftermarket tubes and boots are ideal.

9. Routing wires through sheetmetal

When routing wires through an inner fender, firewall, or any sheetmetal, always use a grommet or other form of protection. The sharp edge of the metal will soon destroy the wire insulation and cause a short to ground.

10. Using wires designed for low-amperage on high-amperage circuits

Eighteen-gauge wire is designed to trigger a cooling fan relay. Using this wire to power the fan directly will cause the wire to get hot and will prevent the fan from running efficiently.

11. Substituting incorrect fuses

If you have a problem in a circuit, how many times have you heard the story, or done it yourself, by inserting a piece of foil to keep the lights or something else on? It’s only a matter of time until something starts burning.

12. Not reading the instructions

Contrary to popular hot rod wisdom, instruction manuals are a wealth of information and are meant to be read and absorbed. To prevent the possibility of routing wires to the wrong destination, not using a relay in a specified circuit or a host of many things can be avoided by simply doing the proper research ahead of time.

Charging an Absorbed Glass Mat Battery

In the world of hot rodding absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries have become common place. The following Optima Batteries tech tips will keep any lead acid battery performing at its best. These are all important factors to consider when maintaining any absorbent glass mat battery.

Alternators are not chargers: Do not rely on the vehicle alternator to do the work of a charger. An alternator is meant to maintain a vehicle battery, not charge it.

Newer chargers incorporate newer battery technology: Many newer battery chargers, or Smart Chargers, have microprocessors that collect information from the battery and adjust the current and voltage accordingly. Some have different settings for charging traditional wet cell (flooded), gel, and AGM batteries.

Sulfation limits battery performance: All lead acid batteries can experience sulfation, the formation of lead sulfate crystals upon discharge. Look for a charger with a de-sulfation mode to help condition the battery and keep it performing at its best.

All batteries eventually die: Batteries are a consumable product, meaning no battery will last forever. The goal is to consistently maintain your battery to get the highest performance and most life out of it.

Charging Considerations for AGM Batteries

Different chargers have different capabilities: Although under normal conditions most 12V automatic battery chargers will work on an AGM battery, the battery will only charge to about 80 percent of its full capacity. Many newer battery chargers have settings specifically for AGM batteries and some even have separate settings for Optima RedTop and YellowTop batteries.

AGM and gel technology differ: Remember the technology of an AGM battery is not the same as a gel battery, which has its own charging requirements. If the charger offers different modes, select the correct one for your battery. Using the gel setting to charge an AGM battery will not fully charge and over time will actually damage your AGM battery.

Lower is better: A low amp charger (1-10 amps) is always the best choice for charging any lead acid battery. It is faster to charge at higher amperage, but it generates a lot of heat, which reduces the life of a battery.