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June 2013 Randy’s Electrical Corner

Posted in How To: Electrical on June 1, 2013
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Even I, who know nothing about Jeeps, have to admit that these flatties are pretty cool. You guys loooove the flatfender Jeeps. You give them nicknames and everything. Heck, you guys even love driving the things and taking them off-road, although I’ll never know why. They are too small to drive for any person who is of normal height, much less if you are tall. I mean, unless you like driving or riding with your ears around your knees. Most of them have no heat, and why even put A/C in them? The tops leak more than a chicken-wire top would, and good luck putting a back seat in the things. You would basically have to chop people off at the knees to get them back there. Heck, even Mr. Turtle doesn’t like riding back there (Editor’s note: Maybe don’t put him in a pot of water next time).

The kit includes an electronic brain. Since I was putting it in a flatfender that would almost never have a top, I was worried about water. Flaming River tells me the thing isn’t submergible. I told them I was going to hide it up under the dash, and while it might see spray from time to time, going underwater wasn’t that likely. The company suggested that I try to seal it better if it was going to get fully submerged, but that it might take an occasional dunking. Since the place under the dash where it is going to be mounted is higher than the engine intake, I’m not going to worry about it too much. All the wiring that’s needed is included, too.

So how does this deal with electrics? Well, glad you asked. The thing I liked about the early flatties was that there were no confusing keys. I never could figure out how the janitor knew what key went to what door. The old flatties had a simple “on/off” switch and a button on the floor to engage the starter. Easy. Want to crank the engine, step on the button. No keys, and none of the VATS or whatever they call it that the new Jeeps have. So why not put a button in a flatfender to start it?

Well, I’ll tell you why not. You can’t trust anyone today, so the old switch and floor button just won’t work. Sure, every teenybopper who comes by might not be able to figure it out, but give enough monkeys enough time and they can write great books or music or something. So when I found the keyless system from Flaming River, I almost jumped for joy. Not Joy, the mean blonde lady, but I was happy. Then it was a matter of finding a flattie to try it out on.

The “key” to the whole thing is this switch. It fit in this flattie dash with no problems, almost like it was made to be there. Okay, great, so how does it work? Yeah, I wondered that, too. The instructions have you run a wire to the brake. So to start the Jeep, you need to hit the brake and just push the start button and violi! To shut it off, hit the brake and push and hold the button for two seconds. That is wired up like the instructions. I plan on rewiring it somehow later. Trasborg didn’t like this setup because of the brake thing. But you see, to turn just the acc part on, you need to push the button but not the brake. The button tells you by flashing what it is doing. It took me a few times playing with it to get it, but it’s really easy.

Yeah Flaming River is the steering company, but this kit is cool. I liked the idea of the push button starter in an old flat fender. But things like “programmable” and “RFID” scared me. Like most spaceman tech, this isn’t that cheap, but all the parts are very well made and wiring is mostly done for you.

Well, you guys know me, nothing like trying to put something together and make it work to figure out how it works. Or taking something apart…but anyway, I got one of these new kits and gave putting it in a ’51 CJ-3A a shot. It worked out better than I thought it would, and now the flatfender has a push button like it always should have.

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Flaming River
Berea, OH 44017

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