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How-To: Installation of the Big 3 Cruze Kit

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This installation guide applies to both the 1.4L turbo and 1.8L engines available in the Cruze. The 1.4T is covered first, followed by a slight variation that is found with 1.8L installation (thanks to Smurfenstein for the 1.8 info/pictures!)

This simple how-to illustrates how to install XtremeRevolution's Big 3 cable kit. For information on what the Big 3 kit is and where to purchase one, visit this link: http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/36-gen1-audio-electronics/200442-big-3-kits-f-s.html

While this tutorial is designed to be a pictorial how-to, here is a link to a Youtube video that Terry made on how he installed his: How to install your big three kit. - YouTube

TOOLS REQUIRED:
  • 14mm socket with ratchet or wrench of the same size
  • 13mm socket with ratchet or wrench of the same size
  • 10mm socket with ratchet or wrench of the same size
  • Side cutters/scissors
  • Small pair of regular pliers or needle nose pliers

Step 1:

Organize your parts. You should receive from XR:
  • Three (3) cables, of three different lengths.
  • Short bolt
  • Various cable ties

Step 2:

Remove ground cable from the battery using a 10mm socket or wrench. If you are unsure of which one it is, you may not want to attempt this modification.

Step 3:

Locate the three studs (RED arrow points at them below) on the front cross member, just behind the driver's side headlight:

Auto part Vehicle Bumper Engine Tire


Using 13mm socket, remove the nut as shown by the BLUE arrow in the pic below. Leave the existing wire on the stud. Grab the shortest of the three cables from the kit and put one end on the stud. Thread nut back on while making sure it sits flat on the other wire end on that stud:

Auto part Fuel line Vehicle Automotive fuel system Engine


Step 4:

Gently curve that cable up toward the ground post on the front end of the battery. There's plenty of cable, so no need to make it go tight. It looks to make a tighter bend in my pic here than it really does. Remove the 13mm nut from the post as indicated by the RED arrow below and connect the other end of the cable there. I then disconnected the entire cable from the post just let the system reset itself to the new settings, since the computer likes that:

Auto part Bumper Vehicle Automotive exterior Technology


Step 5:

Get the second longest cable (shortest remaining) from your parts and connect one end on the stud indicated by the BLUE arrow below. Again, make sure it doesn't conflict with the other wire on there. The nut is also 13mm:

Auto part Fuel line Engine Vehicle Car


Step 6:

Route the second longest cable toward the front of the engine. See pic below for how I routed it. Terry says you can go in front of the hoses, but I'm not sure, in order to make it bolt on straight. (Please excuse the dirty engine- will clean soon when weather cooperates) I think it's better like this:

Auto part Motor vehicle Tire Engine Vehicle


Step 7:

Connect the last end of the second cable to the threaded hole in the engine with the short 14mm bolt included with Terry's kit:

Auto part Engine
Auto part Engine


Step 8:

This is by far the trickiest yet. Stand on the right side of your car, leaning in over the engine/right fender. You'll see the alternator toward the back side of the serpentine belt trail. Reach around to the back of the alternator (toward left side of the car) and you should feel a stud/nut on the back there, toward the edge. It's also 14mm, but may be 13mm depending on the year of your car. Remove the this nut, while being careful that no wires fall off. I actually found it easier to use a ratchet wrench of the same size here instead of the socket due to reaching over like that and only having one hand down there. Put the end of the remaining (longest) cable on the alternator stud and reinstall the nut. I draped the other end of the cable over the top of the engine for the time being.

Alternator as found, without added cable. You will remove and reinstall the nut circled:

View attachment 259457

Alternator with cable attached, as circled:

View attachment 259458

This picture shows how to route the cable once installed. Note the circled nut in the lower right, view from the other way:

View attachment 259466

View going toward the battery:

View attachment 259473

View attachment 259449

Step 9:

Lift up the terminal bus cover on the positive side of the battery. Remove the 13mm nut as indicated by the BLUE arrow below. Grab the cable from on top of the engine, snake it a decent route to the area, and put it on the stud. Reinstall the 13mm nut.

In order for the cover to close, the there's no good way for the cable to enter this area. As indicated by the RED arrow below, there was a small plastic tab sticking up there between the two wire ends coming up there. I took a short pair of needle nose pliers and simply snapped this piece off easily, to give the wire space to travel through. Then snap the terminal bus cover back down:

View attachment 259481

Electronics Technology Electrical wiring Electronic component Electronic device


Step 10:

Since this positive cable does touch some very hot hoses, I saw the chance to cable-tie the cable to the wiring harness right there to keep it spaced out from the coolant hoses:

Auto part Engine Vehicle Fuel line Car


View attachment 259489

Step 11:

Reconnect the battery ground cable to the battery.

Step 12:

Record your mileage and other critical stats to enter on your service/modification log:

Electronics Technology Gadget Electronic device Audio equipment


Step 13:

Start it up to make sure everything works and reset your clock. I'm seeing about 14.4-14.5 volts at idle now.


FOR THE 1.8L NA ENGINE IN THE CRUZE LS:

Step 6 in the 1.4T procedure is slightly different. The bolt that goes into the front of the engine (holding the bracket in this case) requires a e12 6-point socket to remove and install the cable with. See pictures below:

Auto part Vehicle Bumper Engine Tire

Attachments

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Right, and the Alternator wire is a positive (power) wire, correct? Looks like it gets attached to the Positive on the battery, so I assume it is.
Not directly to the battery.
Look at step 8. It attaches to the same point that the stock alt cable attaches to on top of the battery on the distribution block.


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Ok, so just a couple of things I found while installing, on my 2011 Eco anyway:

  1. Awesome writeup!
  2. all bolts listed as 13mm were actually 10mm
  3. the bolt on the alternator was 13mm
  4. The 4ga wire does not fit with the cover closed on the battery without removing more than just the small tabs inside of it. I had to remove a piece from the side as well
  5. Here is a pic of the Alternator bolt, taken from under the car:


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Please let me know if anyone finds any discrepancies with the size of the wrenches/sockets needed. I did that all from memory and I have no idea if it's the same for all 2011-2013 1.4's.
Just installed these in my 2012 ECO. The 2 posts near the front grille and the one on the neg battery terminal are 10mm.

I'm showing an increase in voltage now, from 14.7V at idle to 14.9-15V. And they look great under the hood with the TECHFLEX wrapping on them.

My only problem was that no matter how hard I tried, I could not install the engine ground cable without it touching the hoses. Hopefully the heat will not affect it.
 

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My only problem was that no matter how hard I tried, I could not install the engine ground cable without it touching the hoses. Hopefully the heat will not affect it.
I had to route it around the back of the engine, along the wire loom running from the alternator, and then up to the back of the battery. I will try and get some pics of it this week.
 

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I had to route it around the back of the engine, along the wire loom running from the alternator, and then up to the back of the battery. I will try and get some pics of it this week.
I did the same with the alternator cable. I'm talking about the cable that bolted to the front of the motor, above the turbo heat shield.
 

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Anyone figure out if the headlight dimming went away? I installed my system and have the dimming so my next step is the big 3. And does anyone know how many amps our alternator puts out? Anyone with a system want to chime in? Thanks

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The big 3 will help greatly with the dimming, what is your voltage at full tilt, what is the fuse rating on your amp, and our alt is a 120 amp alt.


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Anyone figure out if the headlight dimming went away? I installed my system and have the dimming so my next step is the big 3. And does anyone know how many amps our alternator puts out? Anyone with a system want to chime in? Thanks

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Not 100% but it is still much better than it was. My dimming is hardly noticeable now.
 

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Great How-to. I used this to make and install JL Audio premium #1/0 this weekend. I will also add that my studs by the radiator were 10mm and the stud on the alternator was I believe 12mm.
 

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Who else has benefitted from this?

Thinking about making my own kit, of sorts. I've done mods like this with all my previous cars, adding grounding kits and upgrading stock wiring with thicker welding cable, soldering crimp ends on them and shrink wrapping.

What about battery terminals themselves though? There are lots... I used to use these on my last car: Electronics Product Technology Electronic device Electrical supply
 

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You could make your own, but IMO Terry's kit won't be more expensive. His kit is is already measured, he uses KNU OFC, solders the closed terminals, and cleans it up with shrink wrap. The amount of time it takes and the materials you'd need to source yourself wouldn't make sense from a cost perspective.

If you do this, make sure you are soldering closed-ring terminals and using shrink wrap to cover up the connection. You will have long-term issues if you don't.

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You could make your own, but IMO Terry's kit won't be more expensive. His kit is is already measured, he uses KNU OFC, solders the closed terminals, and cleans it up with shrink wrap. The amount of time it takes and the materials you'd need to source yourself wouldn't make sense from a cost perspective.

If you do this, make sure you are soldering closed-ring terminals and using shrink wrap to cover up the connection. You will have long-term issues if you don't.

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Is it the moisture that would cause it to have long term issues?
 

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You could make your own, but IMO Terry's kit won't be more expensive. His kit is is already measured, he uses KNU OFC, solders the closed terminals, and cleans it up with shrink wrap. The amount of time it takes and the materials you'd need to source yourself wouldn't make sense from a cost perspective.

If you do this, make sure you are soldering closed-ring terminals and using shrink wrap to cover up the connection. You will have long-term issues if you don't.

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Measurements aside, I already have all the materials to make this type of kit myself. I used to be an electrician, so soldering and crimping and heat shrinking are my thing ;) - definitely like this kit though, well thought out and clean looking.

I just was wondering, for everyone who is this concerned with battery voltage, etc, has anyone considered upgrading the stock battery terminals themselves?
 

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Thanks for this. I didn't use Terry's kit (wasn't sure how much hassle I'd have getting it cross-border), so I sourced some what appear to be decent cables locally (although they don't appear to be soldered ends (i'll redo that later myself)), this definitely improved things.

Without the pics, I would have been lost!
 

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One thing I'm not seeing in this write-up - I'm not seeing any caution to run any wires to the negative battery terminal though the current-measuring "doughnut". If that's not done, then the computer will get a false reading on the current going into the battery. That could lead to shorter battery life or other electrical problems.

Perhaps that's not on the earlier Curzes.
 
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