A good way to reduce wiring and complexity in your car is to get rid of the alternator and the associated wiring. Hold on though-before you ditch the alternator, there are a few factors to consider. Do you run long races or have a ton of cautions? Do you need to run an electric fan or blowers? If so, an alternator may be right for you. If not, you can remove it, save some horsepower, and run a few less wires.

Running without an alternator requires some advanced planning. Turbo Start's Brian Turk recommends charging your 16V battery the night before for a minimum of 12 hours to have it fully charged for the racing weekend. Deep-cycle 12V batteries may also be able to survive the evening on one charge. Consult your battery manufacturer for recommendations. A voltmeter is beneficial for obtaining a snapshot of how much power is left in the battery. On a 12V battery, look for a minimum of 13.2 volts. You can mount a voltmeter in the car or simply use a multimeter when the car comes in the pits.

If you choose to run an alternator, there are a few things to remember. Converting to a one-wire setup will reduce complexity and possibly increase reliability due to having fewer wires in the car. Run the lone wire from the battery terminal on the alternator to the battery side of the disconnect, as we discussed earlier.

On the other hand, the old-fashioned three-wire alternators can provide some unique benefits. The "alt" light found on your street car can be an engine saver in the race car. If that light comes on, be sure to check your other gauges. The alternator belt usually runs via the water pump. If the light is on, your water pump may not be turning, and that can lead to a world of trouble. Some cars use a second belt to run the power steering. If you lose power steering, that's another indication you may have lost a belt. Better pull it in the pits.

Taking some time to consider your wiring as an important system of your race car can prevent headaches later. By selecting the proper high-quality components and installing them carefully, you can create a bulletproof wiring system that will serve you well for many races to come.

Brian Turk from Turbo Start offers this suggestion. If using a traditional plate-type battery, pay special attention to the way the battery is mounted in the battery box. On an oval track car, run the battery so the plates are facing side to side. In other words, the plates should run 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the main framerails. Most of the g-forces, which could damage the battery, are encountered during cornering. This orientation gives maximum protection against plate shifting, which can lead to battery failure.

Ramey Wormer grew up tinkering in his dad's garage. He spent many an hour thumbing through photos of his father's No. 36 racer wondering what it would be like to get behind the wheel. After graduating from Penn State University with a mechanical engineering degree, Wormer built a Pure Stock to race at the Clearfield Speedway. Some driving success and a thirst for knowledge led him to learn everything he could about what makes a car tick. Wormer excelled at Clearfield, collecting the 1995 Pure Stock Championship and later the 2000 Late Model Sportsman Championship.

While racing, he developed a knack for writing about his experiences as well as racing technology. His work has been published in local and national racing publications. Even so, Ramey says that his biggest accomplishment is winning 14 features with home-built cars and engines while on a shoestring budget. A season spent as a crew chief on a USAR Hooters team introduced him to the world of professional short track racing, where he currently works as a spotter for Aaron Will in the Hooters Pro Cup North Division.

When he is not writing, Ramey enjoys motorcycling and working on his Troyer dirt Modified. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife Carole and infant son, lead-footed future kart hotshoe, Sammy.

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