As most of you know I have been sporting the Saguaro Switch Panel and 5 Carling Technologies V-Series Contura II switches.
I love the switches and the panel is very well made, both fit and finish. However I never liked the placing. From the driver seat you can't even see them. To activate a switch you either have to lean way over or just do it by feel and memorize the order. I knew this when I first bought the panel, but it was the best option for me at the time. I did not want to go cutting into the dash, center console, or overhead at the time.
Well after 4 broken switch covers I decided it was time to move them. It seems that when you have to hop up into the Jeep, your knee will at times whack a switch causing the cover to break loose. I don't want to put all the blame on the wife, because I might have broken one of them, but it was just one more reason why they shouldn't be there.
So it was time to find a new home for my switches. I started looking into the overhead because that was where I originally wanted them. I noticed that Valpacer had his up there, but he apparently doesn't have the sunroof which makes things a lot more crowded. I decided to pull the overhead console out and see just what I was dealing with before making any final decisions. The first thing I noticed was that the sunroof drain ran right in the way of where I wanted the switch panel. The second was a piece of plastic that looked to be a brace between the console and the sunroof and if I cut that out the switches might just fit.
After the first cut.
After the final cut to get it out.
Then I slipped the new switch panel into the new void to check the fit. It was tight, but I thought I could make it work.
Back when I got the Gobi rack I also got a six slot switch panel made by Carling Technologies. It isn't the fixed piece (VM6-01), but the build your own one that snaps together. You can find both here. It consists of 2 end pieces and 4 center pieces. So that is what I decided to use.
The next step was the hardest. Measure out the opening needed for the panel and cut into the ceiling! After a few different measurement (measure twice, cut once ) I got just what I wanted.
So I grabbed my scalpel and slowly made the cut.
Then I borrowed some Fray Check from the wife and applied it to the freshly cut edge.
Now I know that most guys/gals would not cut into the ceiling. I will admit I thought a long time about it. And obviously in the end I decided to do it. It is a personal preference just like everything else on a Jeep.
Time for the wiring! Since I already had 5 switches in the dash all I had to do was extend them up into the overhead and add a couple wires for the additional switch. Time consuming, but easy! The only real complication was the fact that I decided to switch up the order and orientation of the switches. I started by pulling off the side panel on the dash, under dash panel, and the pillar panel. I did not want to run the 9 wires that were going up there one be one so I went to Lowe's to see what I could find. I came home with the best thing they had to do the job . . . a 40' extension cord that was on sale for $10 It was made of 3 strands of 16 GA. Not the best thing, but I did not want to drive around looking for something better. So this way I only had to run 3 wires!
I ran a wire hanger from the sunroof to the top of the pillar and looped it through the extension cord's jacket.
Then pulled it up through the ceiling.
After running 3 pieces I clipped the ends of the wires to be extended. What a mess!
I soldered the old wires to the new extensions, sealed everything up, and secured them in a tidy fashion. Then I moved up top. I reconnected the wires to their applicable extensions and modified the ones that needed it.
Then I tucked the wires into the overhead and ran the ends out through the new hole.
Now that the wires were in place I popped the switches into the new panel in their proper orientation and connected the wires.
Now for the tight part. As you can see there is not much space between the sunroof drain and the console.
The wires have to squeeze right up into that void. And as you can see, that is a tight fit!
After some gentle prying using the proper amount of leverage it went in!
The fit isn't perfect, but it works and doesn't look bad. Plus with it this tight it wont be going anywhere when I go bouncing around off road. Once I got the covers on their applicable switches it looked even better!
I mentioned before that I was changing the orientation of the switches. Now the larger window with the picture is illuminated when it has power and the bottom smaller window is illuminated when the switch is activated instead of the other way around like I had it before.
I am liking this set up a lot better than before! No more whacking the a switch and breaking a cover off! No more having to look around the steering wheel to activate a switch or count which one I need with my fingers! And now I have a cubby hole back!
I hope this helps anyone else wanting to find a better place to mount their switches
Yea I've seen the gauge pod. Doesn't look factory enuf for me, and I use the glasses holder. I may have to trim the gauge studs and even mod the backlighting stem to make it all work. I think I can get the gauge depth close to 1 inch. I guess I'll have to pull it apart and poke around.
You're killin' me though Nate. My wife complains that I spend too much time on the Jeep as it is. Then you come along and keep tempting me with all your ideas. I tend to stay up till all hours of the night working on projects (not just the WK folks), I can't just sit down and relax. Apparrently you're the same way.
As it is I might have to order some headlights to work on. (It was in the plans anyway, but you got me itching to start on them.)
Originally Posted by mattydipps
.... how does it feel reaching for a switch?
Originally Posted by omelet
Like I am getting ready to do something Awesome!!!
Buda I am here to inspire you I am on vacation right now so I have all the time in the world to complete all of my unfinished projects. They are all slow going because I am only doing a little bit at a time. The rest of the time is spent with the fam!
Chris I thought about that at well, but I use my garage door openers, sunglass holder, and sun roof controls. One of my next projects is finding a better place for my CB.