2 days ago in Project Cars
After a catastrophic failure, our ramp truck gets towed home and we take stock of the damage.
So, my 17 year old set of jumper cables have called it quits. Doesn't any have a good idea what to look for in a replacement set?
I have always found that the best jumper cables are the ones that you actually have with you in the vehicle when you need them.
The ones that have the largest cables and strong clamps.
Local welding shop, buy the heaviest cable you can afford, should have cable ends on the shelf.
NAPA has some of the best. They're made overseas (like probably all others), but Balkamp, the importer for NAPA stays on top of the quality.
Spend some cash and get the good ones.
If the battery is a PITA to access, get a couple of cheap needle nose vicegrips for the jumper cable kit as well. Vice grip to terminal, then you have a big wrench to grab onto instead of a little terminal.
/goes out to buy two cheap needle nose vicegrips for his aggravating GM sidepost battery
DILYSI Dave wrote: If the battery is a PITA to access, get a couple of cheap needle nose vicegrips for the jumper cable kit as well. Vice grip to terminal, then you have a big wrench to grab onto instead of a little terminal.
Thanks for the idea.
TRoglodyte wrote: Local welding shop, buy the heaviest cable you can afford, should have cable ends on the shelf.
I have some jumpers made of welding cable, they're great plus they stay flexible in all temps. I have another cheapo set; at anything below 32 degrees F it's virtually impossible to uncoil them.
The biggest ones you can find lol
high amperage needs bigger wires so they don't pop
and damn thats a genius idea for sidepost batteries, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, those things are a pita
Get 2 sets. I have found that if you hook up one set and the dead machine still just clicks, hook up the second set as well and it usually cranks and fires off. That being said get the heaviest gauge wire .
Go to the auto parts store and buy the heaviest (by weight) set they have. My 20' set weighs about 20-25 pounds. I haven't found anything they won't start yet.
+1 to spending more for heavier gauge. I've also found getting the longest cables you can makes life that little bit easier. Nothing's worse than having cables that are 6" to short. My preference is to have cables long enough to reach to a car parked behind you.
$5 cables out of the bottom of a box of water damaged (and on sale) cables at napa auto parts.
Autozone "Duralast" 2-gauge are about $45. They're somewhere between the locomotive drive motor cables you guys are talking about and cables that'll be found wanting on a cold day.
I got the thickest ones available. They weigh a ton and are 25ft long so I don't have to even park next to the I'm jumping.
Mine are WalMart cheapies. They're really heavy (2 or 4 ga I think). and have great clamps on them. I think they're only 12' long, but that's long enough to be useful.
I won't say they're as flexible as welding cable, but they were plenty flexible last week when it was 25 degrees.
In reply to Grtechguy:
I have some really good ones. I have no idea what they are.
The welding cable is by far the best. I actually had a plug installed in the grill of my old truck that allowed me to just plug the cable in with out opening the hood. I think tow trucks have these as well. (at least the one I used years back did and ti is where I got the idea for it)
Another answer is to get one of those jumper battery packs. The new ones work very well.
I have wanted on that would plug in to the vehicle electrical system (say in an outlet in the back of my expedition) and charge / maintain the charge only when the vehicle was running. Thus I would in effect have another battery on standby as well as the ability to jump other cars and not be limited by cable length. This would be nice for those times my lawn tractor decides not start and it is on the back part of my property where I can not get my truck to.
Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!Learn More