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Unread 08-26-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
southbound
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Radio delete plate / double switch panel install

About a year ago my YJ was broken into. The thief frantically tried to steal my radio, but couldn't quite figure it out (this amazes me because removing a dash mounted radio out of a Jeep YJ is about a 5 minute job at most...). The ***hole tore up my gauge bezel (ruined it) and ripped the face plate off of my radio (breaking the radio as well).

Needless to say, I was pretty pissed about the situation and what had been done to my beloved Jeep . I was determined to make sure this never happened to me again (or at least to my YJ). The Insurance company paid me well over what a new radio and gauge bezel would cost, so naturally I opted to use the extra cash in getting a Tuffy lockable center stereo console. I found a used one on eBay, and got an amazing deal on it. The console fit perfectly and secured my stereo, as well as a load of other stuff. But then I was faced with the question of what to do about that rather large black hole in my dash now that my radio was moved to the console...

I played around with several ideas, but one day it dawned on me- that space could be used to mount a winch toggle switch and dual battery controller. There was plenty of room for both and it would cover up that unsightly hole .

I began looking around on the web for a radio delete panel that would look good in my dash. I didn't want a cheap plastic one, but I didn't want to fabricate my own out of some sheet metal. I once again I found what I was looking for with Tuffy .

Stereo Dash Cutout Cover for standard DIN mount open cutout


Their radio delete panel was perfect for what I was planning on doing, and the black powder coated steel construction was perfect for the inside of my YJ. I knew it would have no problem holding my switches.

I then found a switch mounting panel that I liked the look of on Offroad Controls' website. The panel had two switch mounting holes along with one small hole at each corner for a fastener. It was exactly what I was looking for. I decided to get two and mount them side by side. One holding in-cab winch controls, and the other housing the dual battery controller.

www.offroadcontrols.com (The panel on the top of the list.)


To control the winch I went with Offroad Controls' In-Cab Winch Control Wiring Kit with a 15' wiring harness (I could have got away with a 12' harness, but the 15' was great because it allowed me to route the wires right and tuck them out of the way).

www.offroadcontrols.com


I then went with 12 Volt Guy's Dual Battery Kit and In-Dash controller. I opted for the dual color LED (red/green) because I was using a panel that only had two holes, so space was limited. I ordered the kit and simply used the panel I already had from Offroad Controls.

12voltguy.com - Dual Battery Kit-InDash


Once I received all the parts I had to begin the process of drilling holes for all three switches and the dual battery LED. Eight small holes were also drilled in the plate for the hex head machine screws I was planning on using. The Tuffy radio delete panel (or Dash Cutout Cover, as they call it) is basically two plates that sandwich together using two long machine screws at either end. The back plate has a large hole in the middle which gives the rear portion of the mounted switches in the face plate some clearance once the two were sandwiched. Unfortunately, the rear terminal area of my switches were too big, so I had to trim the inside of the panel a bit. This opened up the hole to give the switches plenty of clearance. I then heavily wrapped the upper and lower portions of the back plate with electrical tape, thus ensuring no shorts would be created from the metal touching the switch blade terminals. Below is an illustration of all the drilling and trimming.



I hit both plates with some Rustoleum rattle can black to cover up any bare metal left from all the drilling and trimming. I then wired up both the winch controls for my Warn M8000 and dual battery controller for my Optimas. Carlos over at Offroad Controls emailed me a set of instructions on how to correctly tap into the solenoids on a winch. He sent them to me almost immediately after I called him with some questions about which wires went where. He was great to deal with and very knowledgeable. Here are the instructions- I hope they can be of use to anyone here who is unsure of the connections that need to be made when doing this kind of in-cab setup. It is always easier to get electrical wiring done right the first time, believe me!






The instructions that came with the 12 Volt Guy's kit were very helpful as well. It took some time to make sure everything was right. I even called him to make sure the kit was functioning correctly after my install. He was a great guy and we ended up talking for about 15 minutes or so...

Now that all the wiring was done, I was ready to screw everything together and sandwich the two plates. The installation was pretty straight forward. I ended up going to ACE Hardware to find two stainless steel hex head machine screws that matched my switch panel screws and the threaded nutserts on the back plate. I also found some black flip up switch covers off of eBay for a few bucks and decided to get them because I liked the all black look. Offroad Controls and 12 Volt Guy have decals that can be placed on the switch covers and panels as well. I chose Offroad Controls because I liked the smaller font size (this was just personal preference). The decals add a nice professional touch and are functional as well. Once I got everything the way I wanted it, I tightened the screws down and locked the plates in place. The panel wasn't going anywhere.

Below are some pictures of the final installation. The look is very clean and it matches the interior very well. I'm trying to retain as much of the stock appearance of my YJ as possible, so this was a welcome addition. It's also nice to have my winch controls inside the cab for obvious reasons. And the convenience of placing the dual battery controller right beside the winch controls is great too. Everything is right where I need it and the look was exactly what I was going for!

Straight on shot with the GREEN LED on (Normal Mode, is switched with ignition. Both batteries are connected with the motor on, and both charge)-


Straight on shot with the RED LED on (Emergency Mode, both batteries are in parallel. Useful for self-jump starting or when winching)-


Driver's side view-


Passenger's side view-



Let me know what you guys think. I've been wanting to do this write up for awhile, but have been too busy. This project was done about a month ago and took about 8 hours to accomplish. I had to do a little research along the way and watch paint dry ... This is just one method of covering up the hole left in the dash after moving the radio to the center console. I'm sure there are easier and cheaper ways of doing this (like screwing a piece of sheet metal over the hole), but this was my way of solving the problem. I hope this thread is both a help and inspiration to anyone who is contemplating a way to fill the vacant spot left from a radio relocation.

Thanks ,

-Stephen

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Last edited by southbound; 01-05-2010 at 05:44 PM..
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Unread 08-26-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
UltimatE
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I love that stereo delete plate. I've been meaning to cover mine up since I made a radio console in front of the shifter.

Going to order it now
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Unread 08-26-2009, 07:46 PM   #3
93jeepyj
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That looks awesome, looks like you really took your time putting it together too, everything looks really well thought out and neatly done.
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Unread 08-26-2009, 07:49 PM   #4
gottkts
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Looks great but I am not a big fan of those switch covers.
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Unread 08-26-2009, 08:12 PM   #5
southbound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottkts View Post
Looks great but I am not a big fan of those switch covers.
They look a lot better in person. The pictures make them look bigger and out of proportion with everything else. That's one of the things I noticed when I uploaded these to Photobucket. I do like the fact that they keep the switches from accidentally getting bumped and turned on.
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Unread 08-26-2009, 08:19 PM   #6
KRenegade
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Awsome write-up saveing to favorites until i have time to do it myself. Thanks
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
itsayjthing18
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Where did you get that black piece that goes from the heater controls to your deck location that is on the back side of your radio delete kit?
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:39 PM   #8
SimonTuffGuy
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Nice writeup and cool mod. About the only thing I would've changed would be mounting the control panel behind the plastic trim piece. Can you remove the trim piece without having to unbolt the switches? I know it's probably quick and easy (if you ever needed to do it), just seems unneceesary.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 07:37 PM   #9
Peter Nuss
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I think if you would have mounted the switch panel to the metal dash instead of the plastic bezel, you would have be able to remove the plastic bezel without messing with those switches. The plastic bezel would have also covered the mounting screws on the switch plate and it would have looked cleaner. Don't care for the allen screws, the rest of the instrument panel has phillips screws.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 07:57 PM   #10
hdfxrs91
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Cool. I just took my radio out and am looking for a means to cover the hole. I think I just found it.
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Unread 01-06-2010, 07:35 AM   #11
southbound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsayjthing18 View Post
Where did you get that black piece that goes from the heater controls to your deck location that is on the back side of your radio delete kit?
Yes, it's a two piece kit. The front is the delete plate itself, and the other piece is the back plate that the two outer screws thread into.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonTuffGuy View Post
Nice writeup and cool mod. About the only thing I would've changed would be mounting the control panel behind the plastic trim piece. Can you remove the trim piece without having to unbolt the switches? I know it's probably quick and easy (if you ever needed to do it), just seems unneceesary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nuss View Post
I think if you would have mounted the switch panel to the metal dash instead of the plastic bezel, you would have be able to remove the plastic bezel without messing with those switches. The plastic bezel would have also covered the mounting screws on the switch plate and it would have looked cleaner.
I understand completely, and I tried pinching the dash frame initially for the reasons you both mentioned. I had a very hard time getting the plate to "lock in" that way. It's been awhile since I did this mod, but I remember the stock radio cut out in the dash being a little too large for the two plates to grab. I could get one side to pinch, but not the other. So I just clamped it on the gauge bezel.

It's really not that hard to remove, just two allen head screws. And the wires in the back have about 4-5" of slack in them, it's not very tight. Maybe an extra 2 minutes of time if you were removing the bezel. I may come up with a solution in the future, but for now it will have to wait.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nuss View Post
Don't care for the allen screws, the rest of the instrument panel has phillips screws.
I'm in the process of removing all of the torx bolts on my Jeep and replacing them with either stainless steel hex heads or allen screws. The main reason I did this is the humidity and salt here do a number on any kind of hardware that isn't zinc-plated or stainless. The dash trim areas are my next project. The small Phillips head screws are starting to show signs of surface rust, so I will be swapping them out soon, so everything will match. I was unsure of the stainless steel hardware's look, but it really does look sharp when everything is switched over. The hex heads and allen screws give everything a machined and clean look.
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Unread 01-06-2010, 07:46 AM   #12
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Unread 01-06-2010, 09:22 AM   #13
SimonTuffGuy
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Wow... That's the same CB AND CD player that I run in my Jeep (well, the cd player got wet and was replaced with a cheaper unit, but it's still JVC).
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Unread 01-06-2010, 09:35 AM   #14
Fhajad
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@southbound Cool mod, just might make me move my radio into my center console!

@jeepster93A bit too cluttered for my tastes, but cool none the less, I love having extra switches for everything.
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Unread 10-28-2010, 05:57 PM   #15
southbound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsayjthing18 View Post
Where did you get that black piece that goes from the heater controls to your deck location that is on the back side of your radio delete kit?
I think you're talking about the bottom half of the gauge bezel. I just tape/painted the bottom part of the bezel with flat black Rustoleum to cover up some scuffs in the original paint and make it match the delete panel.
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