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Old 06-15-2005, 05:01 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 71420
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Iceland
2002 Subaru APS WRX

Question Ground cable ?


I'm new to working on my own car, so please don't laugh

Why is it so important to disconnect the ground cable of the battery ?
I'm going to remove my headlights to take out the orange glass that's
around my turn signal bulb and my workshop manual tells me to
disconnect the ground cable.

Well any info would be great, I'm eager to learn

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Old 06-15-2005, 06:01 PM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 69343
Join Date: Aug 2004
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: 'tween Lewisville&Clemmons NC
1998 TransAm cnvrtbl


It keeps you from shorting out a circuit and blowing a fuse, like carlessly crossing wires when cuttin and splicing or droping and exposed hot wire on a bolt. It also protects sensitive circuits from intermitant connections. Some components don't want to see power and open circuit conditions switching rapidly back and forth. Like when you are tightening a ground wire on a seat-bolt (which I HATE to find when I'm working on other peoples cars. The seat bolt is a cruddy ground more often than not.) It's like taking a light switch and turning it on and off really fast when the bulb is about to blow. Only in this case, the bulb might be your airbag control module.

To work on the CPU I'd pull the neg term, and for replacing starters and alternators as you'll have a large gauge hot wire exposed.

For about anything else I don't bother, but I'm careful and have worked with 12v a long time. Anything with plugs, like radios and tail light bulbs and such, is almost fool proof. But if it isn't and you plug it in wrong with the battery unhooked you won't find out 'til the power comes back on anyway. I'd rather see the spark, hear the fuse pop, know the error and have a troubleshooting starting place.
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Old 06-15-2005, 08:26 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 71420
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Iceland
2002 Subaru APS WRX


Thanks for the great post

At first all this mechanical work seems a bit complex but I'm a
fast learner so hopefully I won't ruin to many things before I
know what I'm doing
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