Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hyundai Matrix - Grounded

I've just got my Matrix grounded.

No, she didn't do anything wrong and i won't send her to her room.

Ok, corny jokes aside. what i did was, well, to be more precise, i've added more grounding points for the car.

The usual RM69.00 for 7 point grounding kit that comes with so called copper block sold in some car accesories shop just doesn't hack it.

The product is good, but to get a good installer to install it properly is hard.

So, when i came across what Drex Chan does, it took little convincing to actually go to him, eventhough the price is a little less than double for what i could get for.

Customised Grounding.

He call it C-Ground.

I call it personal service.

So, for Rm120.00, what did i get?

I get a solid 4 gauge OFC tin coated pure copper 1666 count of cables

Now, i've been taught that resistance is directly proportionate to the length and inversely proportionate with the area of the cable. It is also proportionate to the material's constant. Now, the material aside, what this custom grounding offers was a large area (5.189mm) and the optimum distance(or length). This would minimise the resistance of the cable and hence, provide more path for the electricty and current in the car to return to the battery's negative terminal.

Think of it as you are working in KL and you are constantly stuck in Jalan Sultan Ismail. If only you could build one dedicated road to return home, wouldn't that be great? Now imagine if you could do the same for 4 different places that you frequent. Now, that was what Drex gave me, a 5 point grounding.

Some accesories shop offer up to 7 points grounding, but shody work would make even 14 points useless. OK, it might make your car engine bay looked as if it was pimped, but that is besides the point.

Furthermore, the cables from these shop are mostly 8 gauge cable in thick rubber housing, thus, giving you an impression of, well, thick cable!

I reached Drex's place at about 2.30pm. A brief introduction (eventhough we've seen each other online via the Autoworld forum) and he proceed to check the engine bay for all the possible place he could ground the cables.

1. Engine block to Chasis (side nearer to battery)
2. Chasis to battery's negative
3. Alternator to Engine block
4. Engine block (far end) to engine block (near battery)
5. Engine block (far end) to chasis(near filter)

"Alternator will be tricky", he says.

Eventhough item 1, 4 and 5 seems to look redundant in writing, but when you view it in the engine bay, it does make sense. As there is two points where the engine block is meeting the chasis, there is also an existing point where the manufacturer grounded from the chasis to the engine. So, what we are doing is to create more path.

He then proceed to cut the cables and crimped it with the lug. Then he used the heatshrink wrap to wrap the connection.

Stock as it can be

The whole process took almost 2 hours. Definately you won't get this kind of installation if you go to the usual accesories shop. I've seen bad grounding routing done, usually bolted straight to the first nut these buggers can find. Shoddy work!

Now look at the picture below. This is what Drex has done after 2 hours. Compare it with the before picture above. Nicely hidden with no extra intrusive looking cables lying around, no?

Stock as it can be, still!

The after picture, you can clearly see item 1,2,3 and 4. But it appear as only 2 cables running parallel with the engine block and a hint of the cable sneaking/peeping out from the battery's negative terminal.

Here, more pictures

item 1 and 2. Notice how thick the cable is?

item 3 and 4. The cable is the same size as the engine breather hose!

Drex went on to make extra bracket to hold the cable running to the alternator. Nice touch. Look almost stock, isn't it?

Item 5 to complete the grounding

As he unplugged the battery terminal, the car's ECU has been reseted to factory setting. That also has the safety feature found in Matrix activated.

I tried starting my car after the work was done and couldn't start it despite the starter cranking.

A quick check by the both of us found a switch near item 2. There is a switch to reset the fuel pump. As a built in feature, this switch was switched off when the battery was removed or during collision to cut the fuel off from the car.

As this was Drex's first work on a Hyundai Matrix, this was indeed a learning experience for the both of us.

I didn't notice any improvement on torque or in horsepower after installation, it should have actually as the grounding does nothing more than allow the electronics in the car to function better.

But a test at night yesterday as i went to see a friend to pick something up, i did notice that my radio reception was much clearer, especially over a few spot i drive past everyday where the reception quality would be bad. The headlight too, surprisingly shone brighter. But these might just be my imagination.

pics taken in a total dark road in Mutiara Damansara

And of course, which modification will be complete until a sticker is stuck to tell the world you've just modded you ride?

"Damn ah beng man..." This was Drex's own words...

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