1. Tip...
    If you hold most smartphones sideways
    you can bring up a more full featured version of the forum.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice



Register Today It's free! This box will disappear once registered!

Fab'd new switch panel, pics and how-to

Discussion in 'Modified Explorations!!' started by Buckshot, December 17, 2004.

  • Searches ExplorerForum.com
    1. Buckshot

      Buckshot Active Member

      Joined:
      August 14, 2004
      Messages:
      525
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      Indianapolis, IN
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '97 XLT
      So, I decided that I wanted to keep the interior of my X looking similar to factory but have added enough extras that I needed a switch panel.

      These switches will separately control the following:
      1. Brown wire mod (powered while car is on)
      2. LED lights in PIAA 525's (power available anytime)
      3. Fog lights in PIAA 525's (power while car is on)
      4. High Beams in PIAA 525's (power while car is on)
      5. Off Road PIAA 520's lights on roof (power while car is on)

      and will also provide a location to hard wire my cellular phone charger/cradle and CB which will also both receive constant power available.

      I didn't want the panel to look like an afterthought, and I didn't want to drill 1/2" switch holes into any existing dash panels (in case I screwed up, that gets expensive). After talking to a guy who creates custom stereo installs, I decided to use a plexiglass panel mounted to my center console in one of the "catch-everything-and-never-cleaned-out-holes" below the climate controls. Once the BACK of the plexiglass is painted black, the front looks glossy with similar depth to it as the factory radio displays.

      Here is what is needed:
      -$0.89 8x10 sheet of 1/8" clear plexiglass (better get 2-3)
      -5x$4.19 Hella 20A 12V LED flush rocker switches (20amp for the brown wire mod, otherwise these could be had cheaper with lower ratings)
      -electric sander
      -13/16th's hole saw
      -rotozip or dremel tool
      -flat black spray paint
      -time

      will update with pics as soon as they are uploaded....
       
    2. Support EF

      Join the Elite Explorers for $20

      Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself, and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no ads, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.


      to hide adverts.
    3. bmxking5

      bmxking5 Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      May 2, 2004
      Messages:
      4,797
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Monroe, GA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '93 Sport & '96 XLT
      Sounds awesome, I definitely want to see some pics.
       
    4. Buckshot

      Buckshot Active Member

      Joined:
      August 14, 2004
      Messages:
      525
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      Indianapolis, IN
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '97 XLT
      [​IMG]

      As you can see, I had several tries at this, with the final product at the bottome left.

      [​IMG]

      1. Rough out - Not only do you have to cut the plexiglass very slowly to avoid splintering, it is prone to snap with any pressure on the drill while doing pilot holes, or the final 13/16th's hole saw. Go SLOW and let the bit do the work. Do NOT try to push through the plexiglass.

      2. Adjusting to fit - Once the panel is rough shaped, you will need to use a sander and make several adjustments to get the curves to line up properly. When trying to check the fit, go SLOW with little force. The panel will need to be bent a little (the opening of this mounting location is not flat) but be gentle, too mush pressure and the plexi will snap at the weak spots until the switches are mounted in it. Notice how many I actually made on before getting it right?

      3. Fab the brackets - I used a rotozip to custom shape j-brackets (used these because the pre-drilled offset mounting holes made a perfect setup for the required 90 degree mounting screws. (2 in the top, one in the side to attach the panel to the inside of the opening - no overlap on the outside)

      4. Finishing - Cover the front of the plexi with scotch tape, flip it over and spray paint it. Do a couple of coats otherwise the spray pattern will be visible.

      5. Mounting - drill a hole about 1/8" below the surface mount on either side. (Find the right spot by driving a pin in through the custom mount block on either side. You may want to do this before painting so you can still see through the plexiglass to see what you are doing behind it.) Screw blocks into the sides, then CAREFULLY screw the panel to the blocks.

      6. Once mounted, there seems to be no danger of snapping as the slight outward bowing provides enough pressure to solidify the panel for normal switch use.

      [​IMG]

      In hindsight, this may best have been done on the filler plate underneath a replacement radio install, and if I change out the head unit to an aftermarket one, I may make a whole new panel. The good news is that with this modification, I can remove it and except for the two 7/64ths holes on the inside of the shelf and the one 1/2" in the top (not visible) for the wires, no one would ever know. I may also re-do the panel yet again, to completely cover the existing hole and make it look even better than the current half-panel look.

      P.S. Once the wiring is complete, the existing PIAA switch currently taped above the new switch panel will be removed.
       
    5. explodr04

      explodr04 Active Member

      Joined:
      August 25, 2003
      Messages:
      157
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Duncanville, TX
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      98 FORD EXPLORER
      i have been wanting to do the same thing but where the tisue box hole is in the center console
       
    6. Jefe

      Jefe Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      January 7, 2001
      Messages:
      4,869
      Likes Received:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Clarksville, TN
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '00 XLT 4x4
      Looks good :thumbsup:

      . . .but mine looks better :p

      [​IMG]
       
    7. briwayjones

      briwayjones Manual Master

      Joined:
      December 11, 2003
      Messages:
      4,478
      Likes Received:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      48
      Location:
      Maryland, USA
      City, State:
      Eldersburg, MD
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2000 Ford Explorer XLS
      Yeah but his Explorer is cleaner. :)
       
    8. snowburns

      snowburns Active Member

      Joined:
      December 7, 2002
      Messages:
      511
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Anchorage, Alaska
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '96 XLT
      :nono:

      That switch panel looks sweet.
       
    9. NOTAJP

      NOTAJP Moderator Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

      Joined:
      February 7, 2003
      Messages:
      2,831
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Mountain Home AFB, ID
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      No more Exploder
      And Jefe's got a place for his purse! :eek:
       
    10. A Wise Guy

      A Wise Guy Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      January 14, 2003
      Messages:
      1,665
      Likes Received:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      48
      City, State:
      McHenry, IL.
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '06 Limited Dark Cherry
      But his comes with cammo and bullets. :eek:
       
    11. JEFF hILLYARD

      JEFF hILLYARD New Member

      Joined:
      July 29, 2004
      Messages:
      20
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      lakeland fl
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      97 Explorer 4x4 sport
      Brown wire mod

      I thought someone posted a picture showing the brown wire to connect to behind the radio in the dash.
       
    12. Buckshot

      Buckshot Active Member

      Joined:
      August 14, 2004
      Messages:
      525
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      16
      City, State:
      Indianapolis, IN
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '97 XLT
      I like it jefe... can't quite see how you mounted it though

      ..but more importantly - what the heck do you need 9 switches for? :eek:

      Off road lights, brown wire mod, elec lockers, and what? ....Oil slick, ejection seat, rockets...... :shoot:
       
    13. Jefe

      Jefe Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      January 7, 2001
      Messages:
      4,869
      Likes Received:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      Clarksville, TN
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      '00 XLT 4x4
      I swear its just the picture. It looks cleaner in real life. :eek:

      Hey now. . .its a PocketPC case. Gotta have my gadgets :)

      Uh huh. . .and mine comes with an Atlas :D

      Friction . . .its just sandwiched inbetween the 'fuzzy' pocket and the trim pieces. Its a 90* metal bracket covered in Engravo-ply with the 90* portion dividing the pocket and conceiling the wiring.

      Lets see, nine switches. I made the panel long ago and most of it was future at the time, but many are now in use, some have even changed use over time. I was going to engrave the panel with all the stuff, but i don't want to have to make another when i change switch functions again. Plus with the added LEDs there isn't much room. Besides, only I need to know what all of them do. ;)
      Row 1: indiglo gauges (between blue and green); fog lights; light bar lights
      Row 2: on board air compressor (future); front selectable locker; rear selectable locker (future)
      Row 3: lighting mode (floods w/ lows & light bar w/ highs; or all independant); CarPC power (w/ ignition or always on); O2 guage sensor pickup ([rotary knob] Bank 1; Bank 2; post cat; off)
      All the wires run out a 1/2" hole in the back and are wired to a DB25 so that its all easily removable and reconfigurable.

      Here it is a few years ago (better pic):
      [​IMG]

      And heres what it looks like underneath :eek:
      [​IMG]
       
    14. huskyfan23

      huskyfan23 Rah no Hans Bwix

      Joined:
      November 21, 2002
      Messages:
      6,744
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      WA
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1994 XLT 4x4
      Looks real good! Where'd you get those switches?
       
    15. ExplorerSportNu

      ExplorerSportNu Well-Known Member

      Joined:
      September 27, 2003
      Messages:
      1,633
      Likes Received:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      0
      City, State:
      St.Louis - MO
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      95 Sport/ExpeditionPkg
      DAMN sber, going balls to the wall on this one, looks real good, matches very well, I LIKE :thumbsup:
       

    Share This Page







    We Support Our Troops!