I decided to make it easier to get under the dash by removing the driver’s seat. These rusty bolts and two others just like them hold it in.
Three of the bolts yielded to penetrating oil and a big wrench but the last would not budge. I did not fool around. I went under the car with a torch and heated it up until I was afraid the seat would catch fire. That did the trick.
I anticipate many more moments contemplating rusty bits on this car…
The floorboards are a real mess. This is going to take some serious welding.
The big problem here (beyond 50 years of abuse) is that Jeep spot-welded reinforcement plates below the floor pan to support the seats. Salt and water got between the pan and the plates and rusted the hell out of them. The rust damage in the floor exactly tracks those plates.
Now I can get under the dash for real. This is a 20A circuit breaker mounted on the left side of the car near the firewall. It is hard to see in this picture but a wad of wires go in one end and another wad comes out the other. The far terminal is the “hot” side. All these wires are tied directly to the battery. To my mind there should be ONE wire here. Instead there are 4. That is not good since those wires are not protected at all. Any short there will be a bad thing.
Also notice the foam rubber insulation that Jeep used. That trapped moisture against the side panel and now that is all rusty too. Stupid. Anyway that is just more fun for later. There was some minor corrosion on the terminals and the battery side was a bit loose. I disconnected both sides and took out the breaker to clean it. Good thing too.
What fresh hell is THIS? Someone decided to run a new power lead to the under-dash courtesy lights. This end was tied to the unprotected side of the fuse block!!! And yes, this is two wires twisted together with tape wrapped around it. Here is the other end:
It is hard to see but the offending wire is the white one running up beside the light. That black thing it disappears into is another wad of electrical tape. I decided that I really don’t care about courtesy lights right now so I cut the white wire off. Now at least there are only three wires tied to the hot side of the breaker. The good news is that I now have continuity straight though to the battery from the ignition switch. I buttoned everything up, hooked up the battery, and the engine cranked when I turned the key. Success!