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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm hoping people who are having slow crank, poor charge, or other electrical issues will read this. Heck, it could even help people who aren't having any issues...and I apologize in advance for this long post about two upgrades which have made a dramatic difference on my truck.

Anyway, about five years ago I swapped out my battery terminals for the military style terminals, because I had so many wires to connect. I had an aftermarket HD alternator which really needs a large gauge wire added to the factory (plus its own separate ground), car audio which adds a power and ground, an on-board battery tender, and so on. Lots of cables. It worked. Nothing was negatively or positively affected....well, except for the fact I could now attach all the cables.

200706


A couple months later my starter went out and I replaced it with a cheapie from O'Reilly's w/lifetime warranty (got the lifetime knowing full well they go out a lot) and it worked same as the previous one....no faster, no slower. My alternator, being a 250 amp alt, got pretty darn hot after running for a while. It's what they do. This was all accepted knowledge based on my years of experience installing and running high end car audio and HO alts on a wide variety of vehicles. I've even worked on numerous other 6.0 trucks and everything seemed the same. Fast-forward a bit and I replaced the starter yet again, and still with the predictable result of it starting and spinning at the same rate of speed. (based on ear sound, not actual checking at that point) About a year ago I was curious, though, and checked. Engine RPM when cranking was barely above 150, and the starter sounded like it was struggling. Above the minimum needed to start, but not great. The funny thing is, it sounded just live every other 6.0 I have ever heard. The 6.4, obviously, sounded like they spun a little faster...and they do. The last time I replaced the starter was about two years ago, and again everything was the same.

Well, last month, in the middle of a slight cold spell, my truck just didn't want to start, and all that cranking basically killed the starter. Guess what happened when I replaced it? Same as before. Started, spun at same RPMs, etc. However, I'm under the truck, a little dirty, and I figured I was already doing some work, why don't I finally install that big starter cable and big engine ground I always wanted to do. See, I've had some 4/0 cable sitting around for a while and figured I'd use it for this purpose. I pulled the old cables, measured, added a little extra just in case (can always make em shorter, but it's a beyotch to make em longer!) and put the new cables on. First, just to kinda rule this out for you, the ground point was very clean and corrosion free when I pulled the old cable off. Second, if you decide to go this route, even with smaller cable, you will find that the lug may not fit on the starter. There's a plastic protrusion which helps hold the stock wire in place. Turns out, if you put the washer and nut from the old starter on and tighten them down, this gives enough of an offset that the new cable can achieve good contact....just make sure the old ones are clean. Oh, also, you may want to look into an "L" lug. I used a straight one. It worked, but makes the wire come off at a weird angle. Anyway, just this one change was very significant in improving starting ability. I gained a little over 20 RPM....it was now up to around 174 RPM. Sounded, and started, so much better...though it still sounded a little labored.

A week later I finally got around to installing some new battery terminals. Because I had so much coming off those military style terminals, I figured I would try using one of those fancy aluminum, multi-position terminals you see on some audio competition cars. I got the 7 position style with bolts vs set screw (never understood why that industry likes clamping down on wires with a small screw).

200707


I installed the new terminals with no other changes. I went to start my truck and nearly crapped myself. The starter was spinning WAY too fast. I thought maybe I had done something wrong somehow and accidentally had my batteries wired at 24 volts, so I quickly got out and checked things out. Nope, still hooked up properly. I scratched my head and went through everything, just in case. Nothing out of place, everything as it should be. Started it up and it still spun really fast....and it has every day since, no matter what the temperature is. I tried to see what the cranking RPM is, but I can't....the truck starts up before the app can register the RPMs. Seriously, it starts up in about 1/2 a second if it's warm, and even on the coldest of days (about zero F here) it still only takes a second. Last night I forgot to plug in the block heater and it still started up in barely over a second. It's insane how fast this thing spins. Clearly, these aluminum terminals conduct electricity so much better than those military style ones.

Something I didn't think about or anticipate, though, was the effect those new terminals would have on my charging ability. I installed the onboard charger because I do a lot of starting without enough driving time between to fully charge the batteries. After a day you could really tell the batteries were worn down. After two days, sometimes the starter wouldn't crank fast enough to start. By plugging that charger in every day, I solved my problem....and this is with the 250 amp alternator. Since I upgraded the terminals, I have not had to plug in the charger once, and my alternator no longer gets hot to the touch. The changes are just amazing for two very simple, and relatively inexpensive, upgrades. I highly recommend making these changes if you can.
 

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Trust me, I got this...
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Sweet that's really cool to know. Im definitely going to put those on my truck.

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Weather,

Perhaps I missed it in your post - Where did you get the aluminum terminals from? They look really nice.

Cj
 

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Project Shamu
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I've never liked the idea of military terminals, they seem like very little contact from the terminal to the actual attachment. Ive always been a good fan of the stock terminals, and factory battery cables (in good condition of course.) Ive always wanted to try the aluminum or copper terminals like these, but all the ones I found use the cheap set screw like you said, and rarely could you find them able to accept bigger than a 0AWG wire...

Good find!
 

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Native Texan
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I have the military style on my truck and love them i have had no issues with them

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Native Texan
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Heres mine

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Discussion Starter #7
It's funny how the mind works. Yesterday, when I wrote that post, I was going off of memory and I knew I was off a bit, but was pretty sure those numbers were accurate. But it was bugging me not knowing exactly how many RPM for sure. I woke up at 3AM because the dogs wanted out, and while I was standing there waiting for them a light bulb appeared above my head. To find out what the new RPM is, I could pull the FICM relay and could then read the RPM because the engine wouldn't start! This also then reminded me that when I was checking before, I had taken screen shots of the Torque app, so I was able to go wayyyy back in my pictures to find the actual RPMs. YAYYY!!!! It wasn't quite as impressive as I thought, but still a big improvement...and nearly the same jump in RPMS. I modified the original post, but here are the actual numbers. Prior to any changes, it was 151 RPM....pretty much bare minimum, and it was really struggling to just do that. After changing the wire, it was up to 175 and sounded like a normal starter with just a little bit of effort being put out by the starter.

So, this morning, when I pulled the relay, I was actually kind of shocked by what I saw. The RPMs didn't jump much after installing the different terminals. It was at a whopping 178. I think the biggest difference is that the starter is no longer struggling at all. I guess being able to pull all the amps it needs has changed the sound because it's not having to do the same work with less power. Either way, I still call this a win because the starter will run cooler and last longer....plus my engine starts faster. lol

As for where I found the terminals, there are different versions depending on your needs. Here are the links to the 5 LUG VERSION, 7 LUG VERSION, and 9 LUG VERSION. You may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere, but IIRC this place had one of the best prices when item cost and shipping are added together.
 

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I'm hoping people who are having slow crank, poor charge, or other electrical issues will read this. Heck, it could even help people who aren't having any issues...and I apologize in advance for this long post about two upgrades which have made a dramatic difference on my truck.

Anyway, about five years ago I swapped out my battery terminals for the military style terminals, because I had so many wires to connect. I had an aftermarket HD alternator which really needs a large gauge wire added to the factory (plus its own separate ground), car audio which adds a power and ground, an on-board battery tender, and so on. Lots of cables. It worked. Nothing was negatively or positively affected....well, except for the fact I could now attach all the cables.

View attachment 200706

A couple months later my starter went out and I replaced it with a cheapie from O'Reilly's w/lifetime warranty (got the lifetime knowing full well they go out a lot) and it worked same as the previous one....no faster, no slower. My alternator, being a 250 amp alt, got pretty darn hot after running for a while. It's what they do. This was all accepted knowledge based on my years of experience installing and running high end car audio and HO alts on a wide variety of vehicles. I've even worked on numerous other 6.0 trucks and everything seemed the same. Fast-forward a bit and I replaced the starter yet again, and still with the predictable result of it starting and spinning at the same rate of speed. (based on ear sound, not actual checking at that point) About a year ago I was curious, though, and checked. Engine RPM when cranking was barely above 150, and the starter sounded like it was struggling. Above the minimum needed to start, but not great. The funny thing is, it sounded just live every other 6.0 I have ever heard. The 6.4, obviously, sounded like they spun a little faster...and they do. The last time I replaced the starter was about two years ago, and again everything was the same.

Well, last month, in the middle of a slight cold spell, my truck just didn't want to start, and all that cranking basically killed the starter. Guess what happened when I replaced it? Same as before. Started, spun at same RPMs, etc. However, I'm under the truck, a little dirty, and I figured I was already doing some work, why don't I finally install that big starter cable and big engine ground I always wanted to do. See, I've had some 4/0 cable sitting around for a while and figured I'd use it for this purpose. I pulled the old cables, measured, added a little extra just in case (can always make em shorter, but it's a beyotch to make em longer!) and put the new cables on. First, just to kinda rule this out for you, the ground point was very clean and corrosion free when I pulled the old cable off. Second, if you decide to go this route, even with smaller cable, you will find that the lug may not fit on the starter. There's a plastic protrusion which helps hold the stock wire in place. Turns out, if you put the washer and nut from the old starter on and tighten them down, this gives enough of an offset that the new cable can achieve good contact....just make sure the old ones are clean. Oh, also, you may want to look into an "L" lug. I used a straight one. It worked, but makes the wire come off at a weird angle. Anyway, just this one change was very significant in improving starting ability. I gained a little over 20 RPM....it was now up to around 174 RPM. Sounded, and started, so much better...though it still sounded a little labored.

A week later I finally got around to installing some new battery terminals. Because I had so much coming off those military style terminals, I figured I would try using one of those fancy aluminum, multi-position terminals you see on some audio competition cars. I got the 7 position style with bolts vs set screw (never understood why that industry likes clamping down on wires with a small screw).

View attachment 200707

I installed the new terminals with no other changes. I went to start my truck and nearly crapped myself. The starter was spinning WAY too fast. I thought maybe I had done something wrong somehow and accidentally had my batteries wired at 24 volts, so I quickly got out and checked things out. Nope, still hooked up properly. I scratched my head and went through everything, just in case. Nothing out of place, everything as it should be. Started it up and it still spun really fast....and it has every day since, no matter what the temperature is. I tried to see what the cranking RPM is, but I can't....the truck starts up before the app can register the RPMs. Seriously, it starts up in about 1/2 a second if it's warm, and even on the coldest of days (about zero F here) it still only takes a second. Last night I forgot to plug in the block heater and it still started up in barely over a second. It's insane how fast this thing spins. Clearly, these aluminum terminals conduct electricity so much better than those military style ones.

Something I didn't think about or anticipate, though, was the effect those new terminals would have on my charging ability. I installed the onboard charger because I do a lot of starting without enough driving time between to fully charge the batteries. After a day you could really tell the batteries were worn down. After two days, sometimes the starter wouldn't crank fast enough to start. By plugging that charger in every day, I solved my problem....and this is with the 250 amp alternator. Since I upgraded the terminals, I have not had to plug in the charger once, and my alternator no longer gets hot to the touch. The changes are just amazing for two very simple, and relatively inexpensive, upgrades. I highly recommend making these changes if you can.
No apologies for a “long” post, my friend! Fantastic stuff. I’m a joyous owner of my first Powerstroke, going on 4 years now, and it’s been an awesome experience. I wanted a Powerstroke for better part of 20 years-true fact...since my first year at work at the Ford Proving Grounds in Yucca AZ, back in 95!! And my amazing son-in-law blessed me with a Bulletproofed, headstudded, gloriously upgraded 2004 silver long bed that I will never part with. Huge list of upgrades that the fella who sold it to him patiently and OBVIOUSLY lovingly made happen, and which I’d never in this lifetime be able to afford, in fact. Again, my blessings are ridiculous with this truck. I really like and appreciate getting to read of other folks learning and working on their own 6.0, thank you again!!
it’s a sad fact that straight from the factory they were pretty much cursed. A lot of “diesel guys” talk heavy crap on them... and unfortunately it’s justified too often. Dammit. Haha...
The potential that they have for greatness though is HUGE. The heads, rotating assembly, block, tranny and rear ends are pure dang gold, however!! And with way fewer mods and remedies than I’m blessed with having, have 500,000 mile potential. True fact. I say this with many years of greasemonkey experience, and as I said Proving Ground chops. As an extremely hands-on 6.0 owner and lover, I want to thank YOU in particular for this wonderful post. Please continue these!!
As I said, I am so very fortunate to have gotten this truck with everything pretty much done to it, not go super fast 1/4 mile racetrack crap, haha!—but everything I would’ve been doing to it myself for endurance and reliability had it been mine from the factory. I have put four cross country trips on it since I got it, 3 of those with a 38 foot loaded 5th wheel behind it, and in all weather conditions, and it’s never ever let me down.
I’m also, as you may have already figured out, one of only 2 women I even know with the diesel sickness, and learning about this truck inside and out, doing my own work and maintaining it has been amazing at every turn. Believe you me, I’m completely obsessed! I knew NOTHING of how to use a flash tuner..of parameters and numbers and the best mods for a Powerstroke that’d be so reliable and enjoyable. I’m still learning everything this vehicle is capable of—being as my prior daily driver is a 1965 Mercury Marauder. Bit of a change, indeedy!!
From experience now I can say that headstudding, EGR delete/cooling, cold air intake with an AFE or similar, twin Optima redtops, a FASS fuel system, oil filter bypass upgrade with a cold air kit/dual spin on filters, straight pipe exhaust and an SCT flash tuner are absolute GOLD. Gold. The money spent on these things is returned to you in the first 3 years, I swear it. Did I mention that even in my daily favorite “street/light tow” canned tune of 185HP/205 ft lbs of torque increase, that came installed on the SCT, I get 22-26 mpg?? Depending on if I’m running 65, or 70-& that’s empty or loaded. It’s phenomenal. And constant. There’s a few other things that have been done, but I’m running on stock injectors, rotating assembly, and pretty much all else concerning such. And I use just the 4 canned tunes that came with the SCT. That I haven’t even gone on the website to download any software updates for over 3 years.
So there ya have it!! All my changes are OLD, now, newest being 2011! And I have had to do a cam sensor. 3 injectors after my ignorance of what biodiesel does to an older diesel engine with over 300k on it, haaaa! But my baby STILL got me the last 900 miles in dead of winter—sucking 3 injectors. This I swear to you.
Bless your heart again for your posts!! Longer the better-because I believe that knowledge is POWER. Thank you, friend!!
 

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Six-0Lover,

Sounds like quite the truck.. One thing, though, search the forum for after market air filters... In the reading I have done the AFE and similar filters do not filter as well as the stock paper filters and long term they allow fine dust through. Look up Donaldson air filters in the forums.

Cj
 
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