Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2016, 10:09 am Thread Starter
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Location: Maryville, TN, USA
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Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade

I've read a ton of posts regarding battery cable issues and startup. My 06 ST3 had these symptoms: Slow motor turnover and after about 4 seconds the starter didn't want turn over the motor. The battery was less than a year old, so the first (and easiest) thing I looked at was the power feed cables to the starter.

As I read through post after post, the gist of guidance is to buy a cable kit. Since I'm a cheap red-neck from east Tennessee, I did it with home-made tools and repurposed wire for about $12. Bottom line is that after the project the ol' ST acted like it had a new battery. The starter speed improved somewhat, but the biggest difference is that the motor continued to turnover much longer with the new cables, which tells me that the circuit wasn't heating up and losing current.

First, some observations on the stock starter wiring. It's my opinion, the stock cable (looks like 6 gauge) should be adequate. The issue I have is that the crimped connectors are marginal and the crimp itself is exposed and susceptible to oxidation due to it's location. In fact, the ST had a loose fitting rubber cup cover that covered the starter connection upside down (like a tea cup). Any water that got in this area would collect and submerge the connection until it evaporated.

This is what I found when I removed the old cable:
Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2544.jpg

Not only was the post corroded, the crimp in this location had bad oxidation that made the original cable a lost cause.

First thing was to procure/repurpose/reuse/dig through the garage suitable 6 gauge (or 4 if you prefer) multistrand wire. I dropped by one of the local overstock stores (aka glorified indoor flea market) and picked up an oven/range wiring kit:
Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-electrical-cord.jpg

6 gauge multistrand - check; UL rated - (it can't hurt) check; rated at 250C temp - check. Heck, I had enough wire to fix a dozen Ducks... $8.00

However, that crimp connector had to go. Hardware store had the brass connectors ($4 for a 5-pack).

Well, now the issue is how to make an adequate crimp without the fancy $50 crimp tool for low gauge wire. I'll let the pics do the rest:

Cut a steel sleeve with an internal ID close to the connector OD -
Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2541.jpg

Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2546.jpg

Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2547.jpg

The crimp is solid. Hint: Don't overtighten the crimp and destroy the connector, the connector is soft metal.

I also took Mapp gas and some solder to the connection. Before any NASA scientists starts flaming about the use of solder in a crimp joint, I did it for two main reasons; to improve the mechanical integrity of the connection (vibration resistance) and to eliminate oxidation of the joint -
Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2548.jpg

Add some heat shrink, and the final result -
Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2549.jpg

Here is the installed look (battery - solenoid - starter) -
Low Buck Battery Cable Upgrade-img_2550.jpg

The result is that I went from having to jump the bike off if it sit for longer than a week to not having to worry about it. I could have added a ground from the starter, but wanted to try this first (this was good enough for me).

Hope this helps.

Scott L.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2016, 2:08 pm
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Well done - Thanks!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 18th, 2016, 6:18 am
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It's a smart move soldering the crimps. A way more reliable connection by far and less chance of failure from oxidation. I was looking at using aftermarket car stereo amp cable with the low oxygen content. Thanks for the write-up.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 2017, 4:15 pm
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Did you also do the first half of the connection (battery +ive to solenoid?)

Very nice work.

If things start to get sluggish again, do the same for the ground from battery to engine bolt.


2002 ST4s, Carrozzeria, Traxxion Dynamics, AL FW,
2003 ST4$ in second fastest color, Red !!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 2017, 4:39 pm
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I think many Ducatis could benefit from this type of upgrade. About 5 years ago I had this done on all the starter circuit connectors for my M900 Monster. I was having trouble getting it started in the winter, any time it was below about 35F (2C) out. I went the whole way in one jump, got 4-gauge wires throughout, and added a dedicated return ground. I also added a battery tender port, for keeping it topped up during the cold season.

This worked great, and since then it regularly starts up down to 20F (-7C), which meets my needs just fine. I've only tried it once at much below that -- it was 5F (-15C) that morning; it was a little reluctant, but it did start. That was just an experiment; I don't really want to ride when it's that cold. A 25-minute ride to work was enough to tell me I had exceeded the capacity of my riding gear (and desire).


1993 Ducati Monster M900, 259K miles (so far)
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 2017, 7:32 pm
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Exclamation $$$

well done-better than shelling out $100+ if one has the time. thanks for pics 2.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 2017, 8:54 pm
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I like your crimp tool ! I learned something useful from a redneck today !😏

'96 Ducati SS900CR, '07 S4RS, '06 Busa, '77 Bonny,
'00 Superglide, '85 Sportster, '78 SR500
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 2017, 9:24 pm
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Starter fussing

Welding cable sold by the foot at most any welding retail. 4 gauge is the common smallest although some places have it down to 12. Cheap, Good flexibility, rubbing resistant but not good in a fire or against something sharp. Military spec wire by the foot at any aviation shop at an airport or online A.C Spruce. Stiffer, takes a shape, High temp teflon insulation, 00 to 24 gauge. Completely different quality of wire than used in automobiles. 6 gauge is about $3/ft and you can get the right connectors at the same time. Two bolt cable crimpers are about $10. I've used one for 20 years with some moly grease on the threads. You can put a couple radial crimps on a 6 gauge wire. Put some dielectric grease under some shrink wrap and you are done. Soldering the connection isn't horrible but the risk is that the solder wicks beyond the connector and makes the wire stiff and brittle. So, be minimal if you must solder.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Mar 19th, 2017, 8:48 pm
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Thanks for the writeup. I'm positive this is an issue with a buddy of mine's Monster. Now I have the solution!
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