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Ducato X250 2.3 Multijet Earth Strap


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I seek advice as to the proper specification and size of an earth strap for a 2013 Fiat Ducato X250 2.3 multijet: Amazon offer a range of straps by Auprotec and given adverse comments I have read regarding the quality of Fiat's own product I am guessing that I would do better purchasing an Auprotec strap.

Also, where in the engine compartment is the earth strap fitted?

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There is little wrong with the Fiat Earth strap failings that others don't also build into most of the replacements. In fact some of the replacements are worse.


The issue is the crimped on Steel eyelet connectors at each end, as they are made of different metal to the 'tinned' Copper Braid.


What happens is that salt water gets into the space between the Copper Braid and the Crimped on Steel Eyelets. This leads to Galvanic corrosion due to the dissimilar metals of Copper and Steel. The Copper under the Crimped on eyelet then corrodes. Usually looks perfect on the outside of each eyelet.


Only if you uncrimp the eyelet connector on a poor Earth lead by forcing it open, will you see the corrosion.

Therefore any similarly constructed replacement (like most of them) will eventually go the same way. Often in less time than the Fiat version.


The best replacement is to either fit a supplementary Earth Cable on the top of the engine out of the way of the Salt spray or buy a new Earth Lead that has a Copper Braid AND crimped Copper eyelets.


The issue was discovered in 1763, so baffled as to why they still construct all Earth Leads so badly now?



The Royal Naval Frigate HMS Alarm and Galvanic corrosion.

In 17th-century England, Samuel Pepys (then serving as Admiralty Secretary), agreed to the removal of lead sheathing from British Royal Navy vessels to prevent the mysterious disintegration of their rudder-irons and bolt-heads.


The problem recurred when vessels were sheathed in copper to reduce marine weed accumulation and protect against shipworm. In an experiment, the Royal Navy in 1761 had tried fitting the hull of the frigate HMS Alarm with 12-ounce copper plating.

Upon her return from a voyage to the West Indies, it was found that although the copper remained in fine condition and had indeed deterred shipworm, it had also become detached from the wooden hull in many places because the iron nails used during its installation "...were found dissolved into a kind of rusty Paste". To the surprise of the inspection teams, however, some of the iron nails were virtually undamaged. Closer inspection revealed that water-resistant brown paper trapped under the nail head had inadvertently protected some of the nails: "Where this covering was perfect, the Iron was preserved from Injury". The copper sheathing had been delivered to the dockyard wrapped in the paper which was not always removed before the sheets were nailed to the hull.


The conclusion therefore reported to the Admiralty in 1763 was that Iron should not be allowed direct contact with Copper in Salt water




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aandncaravan - 2018-03-07 11:17 PM


...The best replacement is to either fit a supplementary Earth Cable on the top of the engine out of the way of the Salt spray or buy a new Earth Lead that has a Copper Braid AND crimped Copper eyelets...



Fair comment, but if a Ducato X250 owner is going to replace the original earth strap with a copper-braid/copper-eyelet version of suitable dimensions, where does he/she obtain the replacement strap from?


When this has come up in the past, just in case I might want to replace the strap myself, I’ve browsed on-line adverts and it’s evident that there is a bewildering number of possibilities. Many of these won’t meet the ‘copper + copper’ speciification and (as you have said above) many will be inferior to the original Fiat earth strap.


Being realistic, I don’t see motorcaravanners having replacement earth straps made up locally, and buying on-line will be a lottery without informed guidance.


What’s needed is advice on where to buy from and details of what to order (type of strap, length/thickness, eyelet size, etc.)

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There are Auprotec, copper-copper straps available mail order via Amazon(which the OP is probably already aware of)..but as the OP and Derek say, the actual size/spec' required would be beneficial....




(the existing one could just be measured in situ or even removed.. but if I was going to scrat about under/in amongst the van to renew an earth strap, I'd probably want the new one(s) to hand before I started.. :-) )

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Hello Derek, I did post a potential very cheap long life, DIY solution in January 2016 which contained details on where to get the Braid, how to make it, suggestions on where to wire it under the bonnet, etc.

It was a permanent solution but not pretty.


We wrote :

"As well as Motorhome repairs and servicing, we restore Citroen vans that were made from 1947 to 1981, so corrosion is not an unknown problem. One issue that crops up again and again is with a cable that has a crimped connector over the end of the cable. Corrosion takes place where the crimp bites down on the cable and the Copper cable corrodes.


We had a Fiat Motorhome in with an Earth cable issue on Wednesday and replaced the strap with a new one and fitted a second strap higher up the Engine out of the worst of the road Salt/Spray.


It struck me that the Fiat Earth cable problem may have related issues to our Citroen vans. So I have just cut open the crimp connector at one end of the old Fiat Earth strap I removed.

Where the Copper Braid is 'clamped' by the Steel connector, it is really badly corroded. A mixture of Green and white mess. The Steel crimp is also badly corroded on the inside.


If you look really carefully at the photo in the link below (sorry can't post a photo here so stuck it at the bottom of one of the Citroen pages), there is no way that the design of the cable is going to stop Water/Salt getting down the cable strands and deep into the joint where the connector is crimped on.


All of the Earth straps may fail at some point, even the replacements from Halfords and the like, as they seem to use the same construction, except the possibly solution in the link below? The tinned braid type might last longer if the connector is quality?


See bottom of this page for pictures and more text : http://www.citroenhyonline.co.uk/6volt-to-12volt-conversion.php ".




The bottom of this webpage contains all the details : http://www.citroenhyonline.co.uk/6volt-to-12volt-conversion.php





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"Thanks - your website covers the issue well.

The Auprotec product you and pepe63 mention seems like the best off-the-shelf replacement".




Derek, maybe, but not found it easy to get a quote from them. The example on the webpage is £20 and it isn't clear on exactly what you are buying. I think it is undersized but the description details a wide range of power capability so hard to know.




Not seen this £6 + p&p product 'in the flesh' but it lists the right credentials and is all Copper :



If any body buys it will you please take better photos and report back on it?




I think the most cost effective option might be to buy the 1 metre length of Braid at £13 from www.copperbraid.co.uk and make two Earth straps up, as shown on the webpage.

One to replace Fiats own and a second on top of the engine, primarily for the Alternator.



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A different method of overcoming the poor earth strap connection, is to solder the ends of the strap when it is new and before corrosion has set in. I have done this with the aid of a fine torch, using a gas blowlamp for heat and suitable flux (Bakers Fluid). Heat the joint (to be done off the vehicle!) to around 250 degrees centigrade (not too hot as you don't want to lose the temper of the steel terminal) and flood the exposed copper wire of the earth strap with solder on both sides of the terminal. This will have the effect of sealing the joint against moisture and also slightly improve the conductivity of the joint. Repeat at the other end of the strap.


I did this 4 years ago and everything seems fine today, the cost to me was nil as I had all components to hand and it has proved a successful and quick solution. If the strap has been in situ for some time before trying to solder it, I doubt my method would be so good.


An alternative suggestion, which I have not tried, would be to soak the ends of a new strap in Waxoyl, well thinned down so as to get the maximum penetration and then coat the ends of the joint with thick underseal in order to prevent moisture getting in.



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colin - 2018-03-10 3:58 PM


I would note that the original earth strap on our 2011 x250 doesn't have steel ends. Nither does the supplementary one which was nothing special off the shelf from our local motor factors.


Whatever your strap's terminals are made of, if they are solderable then my first suggestion should work. If the strap is not solderable, then my second suggestion must be worth trying?


Adding additional earth straps has always seemed to me to be a bit of a workround, better if possible to make the original manufacturer's fitting do the job.


Four years on, my soldered strap is OK.

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