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Deluxe Dash Console/Gauges/Heater Core Project
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:34 pm    Post subject: Deluxe Dash Console/Gauges/Heater Core Project Reply with quote

With my brown dash pad starting to crack badly, I decided several months ago to do something about it. I bought the Deluxe Dash Console from Eurocampers.com to cover it. I also wanted to move my extra gauges from their spot on the cluster cover to the face of the console and add LED's, as well as add an XM radio receiver. I also needed to rebuild the heater, clean up some wiring, and replace a failing subwoofer.

I decided to do it all at once, and have been planning and sourcing parts for a few months now.

Here's the dash before. Note the gauges on the cluster cover. The circular discoloration in the middle is from a metal ring that the p.o. had glued on, presumably for a magnetic coffee cup or something:
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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Cracked dash:
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The dash console would have looked better with a black dash, but I hadn't been able to find one. I decided to go black-on-brown, since my steering wheel is black, door handles are black, ebrake boot is black, etc... (the brown ashtray looks tacky, though. I'll be replacing that with black.)

Here's the console just sitting on top:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Adhesive-backed felt for squeaks, FatMat for sound deadening the dash and the nose of the Vanagon, various gauges, wiring, extra wire, hole saw, XM receiver, blower motor, blue LED's, and a bunch of other junk:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The teardown...I've done this a few times, so it wasn't a shock what was back there. It's really not hard at all to remove the dash, it just takes time. If you're afraid you'll forget something, LABEL IT or take lots of pictures:
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Heater out. Be sure to label the cables before removing them. 26 years worth of Kansas and Colorado dust, as well as the flashlight I dropped doing the Mullendore Port last year:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The heater box and core were in good shape, to my delight. There was a lot of nasty stuff in there, though. Mice had left their mark, even though I didn't find any carcasses:
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I cleaned everything up, put a cap on the blower motor bearing, and replaced as much foam as I could. Then I reassembled the heater box with its new fan and new wiring to the resistor (discussed in another thread.) All of the original clips were in great shape, so I reused them and sealed it with Ultra Black RTV.

While I had the heater out, I lubricated all of the wiper system moving parts. Then I cleaned all of the metal of the nose section good and put in several pieces of Fat Mat, some of which can be seen in this picture. I know that some folks coat every nook and cranny with the stuff, but as a vibration damper, I don't believe that it's necessary. I went through a tapped different areas, stuck on some Fat Mat, then tapped again. If it gave me a nice dull thump instead of a tinny tap, I called it good.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Dash reinstalled. It's a clumsy task for one person, but doable. The big ball of wire sitting up front is the XM antenna I pulled out of my wife's car before we sold it.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


On to the dash console. I wanted to add a couple of gauges to the large front face area. In order to have space behind, the driver's side cup holder would need to be cut out as well. I used a regular 2 1/16" hole saw blade for the gauges and a Dremel for the cupholder. I left the console in the house overnight for it to warm up, I didn't want it cold and brittle when I cut into it. The whole thing went suprisingly well, except for the one scratch below the right hole. Lose focus for one split second, and everything goes to hell.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Not the cleanest cut on the cupholder, but it'll be out of site, so no big deal:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I found a plastic disc (left over from a suction-mount GPS setup) that fits the cupholder hole perfectly...And I'll be able to use it as a suction mount, of course:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I mounted the gauges after adding LED's to them (per the Cabriolet DIY .pdf, awesome resource) and started test-fitting the console.

This part sucked. It just sucked.

I made a paper template of the shape of the dash and started cutting/sanding the sides of the console with the Dremel. I thought I'd done a good job with my template, but I didn't. I had to cut, test-fit, cut, test-fit, cut, test-fit...I think it took me three hours to get it right. I didn't want to screw this part up. You can see one of my two curved cuts (each of which are very different due to the curve of the dash) in the upper right hand corner of this picture.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I didn't get a lot of pics during this process because I was too busy cutting and fitting! They say that this console is not compatible with the padded dash, but that's not entirely true. Once I'd finally cut enough, I used 2 3/8" drywall-to-steel screws to attach the console using the attach indentations provided.

In the space next to the gauges, I used double-sided tape to adhere the XM Radio mount. I've always hated how the wires hang down from the thing, so I ran them up underneath the console. I ran the aux cable under the console, through the old ashtray hole, and brought it out above the heater cover. My stereo has a front aux input.

I mounted the antenna at the metal front of the dash.

Here it is all together. I still have a few things to button up, but everything's been addressed pretty much. I have lots of spare space on the right side of the XM setup; I haven't decided what to do there yet. I also haven't come to a decision on where and how to do a phone mount. Lots of possibilities.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here it is at night (without any light in the tach area. Evil or Very Mad Very frustrating!)
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I wanted to figure out why my Tach light refuses to work, and I found my answer pretty quickly:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I tried soldering a jumper wire between the the speedo light and the tach light, but I just couldn't get it to work. I'm not sure what to do about that. It's almost impossible to find good dash pod foils anymore.

Overall it was a fun and involved project. I had to use a lot of different skills and I thoroughly enjoyed finally getting a weekend in the garage.

A few notes:

--I probably would have been better off going with and older steel dash (and I do have one in the garage) but I wasn't sure how I was going to add the map light and add the space for the rear heater fan. In retrospect, it would have been easier to cut those two holes than it was to constantly cut and fit the console like I did.

--The map table grazes the windshield when you open it (d'oh!) The console needs to be as far forward as possible.

--I was concerned about the thing rattling, but the console is tight as a drum and does not squeak at all. I didn't need to use any of the felt that I purchased.

--I thought about adding another 12v receptacle somewhere, but didn't get around to it. I'll add it later after I think about where I want to put it.

--XM reception goes in and out when I'm pointed north. Sad I think I'm going to mount the antenna up under the luggage rack and see if that works better.

--I do need to go back and adjust the steering column. It's a bit further down since reassembly, and the plastic covers don't fit. I'll get around to that this weekend hopefully.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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JDP
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job Exclamation
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purplepeopleeater
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice, i've been putting off this job.

what heatercore did you use? and blower? Question
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oreana123
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellant post! I have been venturing deeper and deeper into my dash, and I have decided to go all the way and remove mine. I, too, had the right half ofc the instrument cluster go dark. By very carefully turning the light socket in the correct direction I was able to get it to work. I have finally fixed my odometer, which is mainly the reason I have been going into the dash. Now I can track my oil changes and MPG.....
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

The original heater core was still in very good shape. There were no signs of leakage anywhere, so I reused it. The blower is from Van Cafe.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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bstein
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@joetiger Great post. I'm considering a near identical project. However, when I quickly put the console onto my padded dash, the rear seems to be far too long for the dash.

I pulled the front flush, but still appears the rear alignment is off more than I would expect. Did this change simply having a flush fit once you cut the front of the console to sit on the dash lip?

Any photos from the passenger side/rear of the console?

Brian[/list]
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bstein wrote:
@joetiger Great post. I'm considering a near identical project. However, when I quickly put the console onto my padded dash, the rear seems to be far too long for the dash.

I pulled the front flush, but still appears the rear alignment is off more than I would expect. Did this change simply having a flush fit once you cut the front of the console to sit on the dash lip?

Any photos from the passenger side/rear of the console?

Brian[/list]


Thanks Brian, you're correct--the alignment does change once you start cutting. I'll try to get a fresh photo or two when I get home from work.

One important thing that I need to add:

The front of the dash console needs to be almost flush with the front edge of the padded dash. I mounted mine too far back by about 1/8", and the folding table top wouldn't clear the windshield. Mad

I had to trim the corner of the folding top to allow it to clear. Pics this evening.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple more pics:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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bstein
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
Here are a couple more pics:


Thanks for the pics, worth more than 2,000 words! The part closest to the windshield looks as I expected after your last post.

I've read your "do-over" list and wanted to clarify the where your sat radio antenna was mounted. Was it on the metal at the windshield, but not under the console or underneath the console?

While I haven't gotten to a radio install, it's desperately needed and satellite radio is a must. So the antenna mount is something rattling around in the back of my head.

I'm considering a dual USB port charger vs. 12v port just so I don't loose track of the adapter. Once I get started I'll post (hopefully this year ... so many projects!).

Thanks for the additional photos ... personally I find those the most helpful.

Brian
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bstein wrote:


I've read your "do-over" list and wanted to clarify the where your sat radio antenna was mounted. Was it on the metal at the windshield, but not under the console or underneath the console?


I mounted the antenna on the metal part of the dash closest to the windshield, but had reception problems. I ended up mounting it next to the poptop latch mechanism, running the cable from the radio, underneath the console, down to the passenger's side footwell, then up the B pillar. You'd never know it's there.


bstein wrote:

I'm considering a dual USB port charger vs. 12v port just so I don't loose track of the adapter. Once I get started I'll post (hopefully this year ... so many projects!).


Funny you mention that--The 12v adapter for the XM radio was clumsy and ugly, so I replaced it with a USB power cord and got one of these adapters so I can also charge my phone and/or GPS:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M7M4GLI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding that wire you tried to solder on the PCB. (You're probably already aware of this.)

GoWesty has a work around to the foil when it goes bad, they have a kit that reverts to life before pcb's and rewires the connections. It just costs another $230.00 ...sigh.
http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=24189&category_id=204&category_parent_id=

Have you got any images of the new console cover with the table opened?
This cover has been on my mind and really liking how you put the gauges into it.


Last edited by Steve M. on Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bstein
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
bstein wrote:

I've read your "do-over" list and wanted to clarify the where your sat radio antenna was mounted. Was it on the metal at the windshield, but not under the console or underneath the console?


I mounted the antenna on the metal part of the dash closest to the windshield, but had reception problems. I ended up mounting it next to the poptop latch mechanism, running the cable from the radio, underneath the console, down to the passenger's side footwell, then up the B pillar. You'd never know it's there.


Cheers.

joetiger wrote:
Funny you mention that--The 12v adapter for the XM radio was clumsy and ugly, so I replaced it with a USB power cord and got one of these adapters so I can also charge my phone and/or GPS:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M7M4GLI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1


I was considering this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0082CXEI8/ref=ox...WS4MSNTF2A

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Ultimately a tradeoff. I just know that the usb adapter moves around and I've bought more than we have cars at this point. Crying or Very sad Obviously it's the principle ...

Brian
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
Regarding that wire you tried to solder on the PCB. (You're probably already aware of this.)

GoWesty has a work around to the foil when it goes bad, they have a kit that reverts to life before pcb's and rewires the connections. It just costs another $230.00 ...sigh.
http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=24189&category_id=204&category_parent_id=


I finally got a jumper from the speedo LED to the tach LED to work. The problem with soldering, for me, is that I don't have three hands. Very Happy

Steve M. wrote:
Have you got any images of the new console cover with the table opened?
This cover has been on my mind and really liking how you put the gauges into it.


Here are a few more photos from today. I ended up mounting the XM radio to the dash itself. The poptop warning sticker was a gift from a smartass friend, after I drove out of Red Rocks with my top up.

The USB power wire from the radio snakes under the console, through the ash tray hole, then out of the space where the heater cover and dash meet. the aux input follows the same path. It's still not as clean as I'd like, but it works.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


My wife really likes the fold-out table on road trips. It's plastic, but surprisingly stable.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:

My wife really likes the fold-out table on road trips. It's plastic, but surprisingly stable.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


hey thanks, I know it can be a small procedure to post images!

How does your wife like the angle of the table? Is it easy to view or do you have to adjust yourself to see easier?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:


How does your wife like the angle of the table? Is it easy to view or do you have to adjust yourself to see easier?


She's 5'4" so she has to lean up a bit depending on what she's doing I guess. It's a good laptop base when we're parked.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bstein wrote:


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Brian


I have one of those as well, haven't installed it yet. It's going on the base of the bench seat as part of a pending project to move my batteries to the back. My kids need a USB charger back there.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Deluxe Dash Console/Gauges/Heater Core Project Reply with quote

My dash console keeps humming along nicely, but the occasional squeaks and groans have always bugged me. I finally got around to taking care of it today.

I ordered some 8x12 sheets of adhesive-backed craft felt from Amazon and added it to the squeak points under the console.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I also took off the folding shelf to see why it's such a prominent source of squeaks. The shelf is two pieces of plastic with wood inside, and the two pieces are bonded so I couldn't get it apart. Instead I ran a little 3-in-1 oil in the seams (you can see some dripping in one of the pics) and on the hinges and put all back together.

The van is still a symphony of squeaks, but none of them are coming from the dash.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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