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Betty Build - Jeep XJ Prop Car Build

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Ol'Betty is definitely going to have alot of "character" :)  The car gets her name sake from a Betty white zombie poster we have, so It looking a little hacked up I am ok with, but i want to make sure its rock solid on the trails.


Got the hole in floor patched. I would say rust repair is about 50%.  I have been doing a paint on rust converter -> rubberized rust sealer -> then a top coat of paint.  2 hours between each, so about 6 hours in total


This is what I had just behind the passenger seat:



Painted and Patched (Still working my way through this sign I have)



I basically did the same thing on the under side with the addition of a ton of this stuff:



And topped it off with some fine looking rubber:



I hope people appreciates how hard I am trying to maintain the factory look/finish ;)





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On the trip through Cottonwood with the group I discovered a few more issues with old Ms. White.  First and foremost, she was getting up to a pretty scary 230ish degree.   I have heard around 260 is when damage happens, but these engines like to be around 210-220 degrees. 


When I got the Jeep the Aux fan relay was removed and the fan was unplugged.  The connector for the fan was broken so I thought maybe that was why and reinstalled the fan I had originally removed with the connector repaired and relay replaced I waited for the truck to get to 220 degrees for the fan to kick in.  It made an awful sound, like "whap whap whap whap" so I shut the truck down.  I was pretty frustrated because you have to remove the full front grill to get the fan in and out due to the giant mechanical fan and shroud that does not even keep my engine cool.  I had to go....






Thats better... As it turned out the electric radiator fan from my buggy was a perfect fit, and since it was a "push" fan, I was able to tuck it in where the AC condenser used to sit.




After some test I found that she was idling about 2 degrees cooler then with the stock mechanical fan.  It was an improvement but not near as much as I was hoping.  I decided to add in a second electrical fan using the factory aux fan spot.  This was nice because the ECU will auto kick it on at 220.  The one I had was shot, and I thought that it would be hard to replace.  Turns out you can get one for 75 bucks at Autozone.  Without the mechanical fan and shroud it goes in with just two bolts and comes out just as easy.




The next problem from the trip was when my tire was stuffed it was hitting the fender hard.  I no bumpers in the coils so I guess thats no suprise.  I measured what I needed and was able to get 5 inch bumpers next day from amazon.  Crazy world.




Put one of my ramps on a pile of dirt at my dads house for a very scientific test. Now shes get just the perfect amount of stuff.




Cant wait to try the new changes out on the trails, here is the other side, just barley touching the ground.  My lower control arms are limited my droop.




Thanks for reading 👋





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quite the project!


fyi, the last image isn't loading for me

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Got some more project time in, and a couple more upgrades knocked off the list.


I had some really ancient (prob factory) battery terminals on there, and the negative was barely holding on.




After ignoring it too long, I ended up having to use some vice grips on the negative terminal to get it to start.  Gave everything a good cleaning, went with the screw down terminal style.  Pretty happy with the results so far.




Next was my lower control arms.   Two problems, first they where too short, second, they limited my droop.  Went with some rough country solid units. 


You can see on the old one where it was coming in contract with the bracket





Finally, with the fan changes I seem to have my coolant temperature completely under control, but my intake temp was still climbing over 210.   The jeep came with a ram style intake, and it sounds really good, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I gave old Betty some nostrils so she could suck in cold air and I could hear those sweet intake sounds. Hole saw + some trim did the trick and during my last run the intake temp stayed well below 190, an improvement of around 20 degrees. 






Temp, steering, and electrical are all in a better place, and the front has more flex then ever before. Pretty good for $130 worth of parts.




Until next time :)

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In the Jeep XJ there is a wiring harness for the cabin and one for the dash.  I had already went through and remade cabin harness to just have the tail lights and fuel pump wires.  The dash harness took quite abit longer, but I still managed to pull 3 pounds of wire out of the thing.  You have to appreciate my wife putting up with me working on my wiring harness in the bedroom but its the kind of work best accompanied by a movie.  I had put colored tape over everything I didn't need and remove it back to the fuse box, then pulled the fuse and clipped out the wire.




Down to the basics:



Did I forgot to rewire the cars horn? Yes.  Unrelated I have decided to put the horn on its own circuit.


The other issue I had to go after was replacing the cat.  I went to Autozone to buy one and the only thing they had local was $500, ouch.  I said no to that, and went with a universal 2.5 inch cat for $60 and with some help/parts from my dad, I got it welded together.  It ended up leaking after I had it in so I went with some wrap to seal it up.   I has a very satisfying crackle when it comes down from high revs now.  Forgot to take a picture of the weld, but just imagine something shamefully bad.




The fiberglass wrap gets really hard so its adds some structure and the pinhole leak is sealed up.  To be honest, I expect in 3-5 years it might start leaking again, hopefully I am a better welder by then.






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10 minutes ago, CharlesM4 said:

Did I forgot to rewire the cars horn? Yes.  Unrelated I have decided to put the horn on its own circuit.


homer simpson doh GIF 


even still, nice job on the harness simplification! the older electronics in those rigs are always acting up (corroded connectors, internal wire breaks but where the insulation stays intact, cracked solder joints on PCBs, etc.) - so having the harness simplified to only what is still in use will make troubleshooting any issues much easier when they creep up.

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