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Wire gauge: Bigger always better?


Alex3000
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I am about to rip out all my stock wiring as well as all the hacked up wiring I've done over the past 4 years of racing.

 

OK, I have tried reading all the internet sites but I am still uncertain about "proper" wire gauges.

 

DISCLAIMER: I understand the wire gauge charts. Proper wire gauge in a 12v system is determined by length and required amperage, blah, blah, blah.

 

But look, I don't want to buy 10 spools of varying gauge wire and then measure every single piece I run. So aside from the obvious heavy duty items, can I just use 16 gauge for all my crap?

 

Is there a downside to having too large a gauge?  Lets say something only pulls like 1 amp, and would only call for a 22 gauge wire.  Would there be a downside to using a 16 gauge?

 

Finally.  Does the wire gauge matter for ECU wiring?  So for an 02 sensor to ECU, or Injector wiring, or whatever sensor to the ECU, would 16 gauge wire be fine?  or might that cause too much resistance? 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Alex3000 said:

I am about to rip out all my stock wiring as well as all the hacked up wiring I've done over the past 4 years of racing.

 

OK, I have tried reading all the internet sites but I am still uncertain about "proper" wire gauges.

 

DISCLAIMER: I understand the wire gauge charts. Proper wire gauge in a 12v system is determined by length and required amperage, blah, blah, blah.

 

But look, I don't want to buy 10 spools of varying gauge wire and then measure every single piece I run. So aside from the obvious heavy duty items, can I just use 16 gauge for all my crap?

 

Is there a downside to having too large a gauge?  Lets say something only pulls like 1 amp, and would only call for a 22 gauge wire.  Would there be a downside to using a 16 gauge?

 

Finally.  Does the wire gauge matter for ECU wiring?  So for an 02 sensor to ECU, or Injector wiring, or whatever sensor to the ECU, would 16 gauge wire be fine?  or might that cause too much resistance? 

One downside will be that the collection of wires will get quite bulky and hard to route. Also if you use ring terminals or spade connectors and such... the properly sized terminals may have a hole only big enough for 20 gauge wire, and in order to mate your 16 gauge wire with a 20 gauge terminal crimping end you will have to cut some of the strands of wire off or stretch the crimp opening with a nail (just takes more work and is messier).

From an electrical functionality point of view, there is no issue doing this. I have run many of our sensors and switches off of wire that was larger than required.

Edited by enginerd
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5 hours ago, Alex3000 said:

I am about to rip out all my stock wiring as well as all the hacked up wiring I've done over the past 4 years of racing.

 

OK, I have tried reading all the internet sites but I am still uncertain about "proper" wire gauges.

 

DISCLAIMER: I understand the wire gauge charts. Proper wire gauge in a 12v system is determined by length and required amperage, blah, blah, blah.

 

But look, I don't want to buy 10 spools of varying gauge wire and then measure every single piece I run. So aside from the obvious heavy duty items, can I just use 16 gauge for all my crap?

 

Is there a downside to having too large a gauge?  Lets say something only pulls like 1 amp, and would only call for a 22 gauge wire.  Would there be a downside to using a 16 gauge?

 

Finally.  Does the wire gauge matter for ECU wiring?  So for an 02 sensor to ECU, or Injector wiring, or whatever sensor to the ECU, would 16 gauge wire be fine?  or might that cause too much resistance? 

 

 

 

If you run in class A, run all wires using 8ga wire. LOL  This is an extreme, but the negative is weight. A lot of wires, even thin, over the length of the car add up to a lot of weight. So, don't go too large. Maybe 20 or 18ga. Use large only where needed, and use relays and fuses properly to protect your components and the car.

 

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I am an no groundhog expert, but I run 22 gauge wire for most of my engine harness.  I size properly for charging harness and fuel pumps and high amp draw items. 

 

I am also color blind blind and get frustrated wiring the car, my dad does most of it and does an excellent job.

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Do pay attention to the sensor wires that have shielding and reuse or get similar wiring that has sheiding.

If I was to rebuild with all new wiring I would use 20, 8, and 4 guage, plus sheilded wires for the Crank and knock sensors.

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Ok I mean I get wiring things properly.  I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing some sort of important electrical property and then not know why things don't work.

 

As it stands I still have the entire complete factory wiring, just flopping everywhere.  This in combination with wiring that was done at 2am trackside over the course of the last 5 years.  It all just needs a fresh start.

 

11 hours ago, 3G said:

Do pay attention to the sensor wires that have shielding and reuse or get similar wiring that has sheiding.

If I was to rebuild with all new wiring I would use 20, 8, and 4 guage, plus sheilded wires for the Crank and knock sensors.

 

Crank sensor? Knock sensor?... yeah I still have a mechanical distributor.  And rotaries don't knock, they just explode :)

 

My ECU is just for the EFI and it uses like 3 inputs

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Very true that a GSL-SE will run with very little in the way of wiring and sensors, if you have a tach signal from one of the coils, and the signal from the air flow meter you are good to go.

 

That said getting rid of all of the SE electronics and going to MS was some of the best money that I ever spent, I even did it when you had to pay 75 points for it . With the stock ECU and air flow meter system you end up hitting a wall of fuel on the top end you just can’t push through and make any power in the high RPM range.

IMG_20150322_185354.jpg

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45 minutes ago, mhr650 said:

Very true that a GSL-SE will run with very little in the way of wiring and sensors, if you have a tach signal from one of the coils, and the signal from the air flow meter you are good to go.

 

That said getting rid of all of the SE electronics and going to MS was some of the best money that I ever spent, I even did it when you had to pay 75 points for it . With the stock ECU and air flow meter system you end up hitting a wall of fuel on the top end you just can’t push through and make any power in the high RPM range.

IMG_20150322_185354.jpg

 

I just sent you a PM rather than turn this thread into an rx7 specific tangent :)

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