Head Grounds
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Head Grounds

  1. #1
    Boat Nut sleekcrafter's Avatar
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    Default Head Grounds

    Grounding Aluminum heads to iron blocks? I heard this from several sources as a must do item. Thing is I've never seen it done, soo is it urban myth or is there something to it?
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    Default ground

    When you run abunch of head bolts through it, I'd assume that would be a proper ground.

    Jerry

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    Senior Member stix818's Avatar
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    I've never done it.. The one thing I will do is run a ground wire from the block to where ever the main battery ground is.. Bad grounds can wreck havoc with MSDs..
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    Doesn't everyone use their motor as the main ground in a boat? Where else is there?...

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    Red Blooded American The Doctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billet racing View Post
    When you run abunch of head bolts through it, I'd assume that would be a proper ground.

    Jerry
    Agreed X the number of head bolts you have!
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  8. #6
    gn7
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    Quote Originally Posted by billet racing View Post
    When you run abunch of head bolts through it, I'd assume that would be a proper ground.

    Jerry
    Quote Originally Posted by The Doctor View Post
    Agreed X the number of head bolts you have!
    Not to say this in any way applies to alot of boats, but lets take mine as a example. Head studs set in lock tight or any kind if sealer. Not exactly conducive to the flow of electrical current, specially a low amp current draw like a ignition system, specially at low Rs. I am guessing less than 1 amp at idle for a MSD. Even less at the spark plug. Then throw on some FelPro MLS Stainless VITON coated head gaskets. Lets see, viton rubber coating on top of the worse metal imaginable for conducting electrical current. Mmmmm? Oh but wait, we still have the manifold, which the only contact with the block has a 1/4" of silicone between it.
    Now imagine trying to get one amp of current to flow thru that! Not saying it won't, but when you know how much a head dances around on a motor, and can see the brinelling on the head, I feel much better with a small little # 10 wire from even one head to the block. Its easy, and it elevates one possible problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by XClutchboy725 View Post
    Doesn't everyone use their motor as the main ground in a boat? Where else is there?...
    Nope. Never. Too much vibration going on. One large cable from the battery to the block for the starter only. EVERYTHING else back to the battery, or a junction lug on a seperate cable from the battery. Like this:


    Using the block as a junction block is not the best setup.



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    Using the block as a junction block is not the best setup.[/QUOTE]


    GN7, could using the block create a "ground loop" ??????????

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    gn7
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    The only time I have ever heard of that happening is with electronics like a data recorder, or a CPU/ECM for EFI, or something on that order. Never with plain electo-mechanical stuff. Possibly a tach, specifically a play back type, but I have never heard of it. All my electronic stuff like data recorders, or O2 sensor/recorder specify a seperate ground, even to a terminal strip. they don't even want you stacking grounds on a single lug.



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    It's what we do BDMarine's Avatar
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    Just for fun (must be bored), I went and checked resistance from head to block and there was 0 resistance.
    Alum heads, Cometic MLS, bolts with sealant.

    I would never use the head as the main ground, I just can't figure out why you would run an additional ground to the head? I have used the head as a ground for dual sync EFI distributors, solenoids, w/t senders, and intake manifold (obviously bolted to the heads with no block attachment other than the distributor) for IAT sensors, manifold surface sensors, etc. and never had a problem. Not saying under the right (or wrong) circumstance it couldn't cause a problem, just never seen it happen....
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    Boat Nut sleekcrafter's Avatar
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    Strange things happen when you apply current/voltage to poor conductors, that may otherwise seem ok. ARP black oxide studs, Cometic gaskets, ARP assembly lube, and teflon paste. Engine getting hot to cold, will do it's fare share of moving around. Galvanic corrosion
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    gn7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDMarine View Post
    Just for fun (must be bored), I went and checked resistance from head to block and there was 0 resistance.
    Alum heads, Cometic MLS, bolts with sealant.
    Like I said, it doesn't apply to alot of boats, and may never cause an issue. But it just to easy to run a single wire from the head to the block. Detroit did it on more than a few engines. Usually at the back of the head to the chassis.

    Black Oxide and anodize are by far the two most over looked barriers in a boat.



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    Last edited by gn7; 06-09-2011 at 04:57 PM.

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    Doing an ohm reading with no load applied means nothing, put a full electrical load on it and see what it does.
    Last edited by Oldelmn8tr; 06-09-2011 at 05:22 PM. Reason: can't spell!

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    gn7
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    Like putting the ground on the block and welding on the headers. Thats how I discovered it.



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  16. #14
    It's what we do BDMarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gn7 View Post
    Like putting the ground on the block and welding on the headers. Thats how I discovered it.
    Absolutely true..... Now compare the ground requirement of a 220 volt welder to a 12 volt negative ground system.

    You really did that???
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