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Old 07-12-2009, 11:29 PM   #1
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Location: Beaverton, OR
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Dash Factory Switch for Starcool

Ok, so this mod will only apply to those that have Starcool, although it may be of use to the newer Danhard owners. Sportsmobile made a mod to the original Starcool that enabled you to engage the Starcool while in the driver’s seat.

As long as you had the rear switch turned on to low, med, or high you turn the Starcool on or off. While certainly a good mod, the location is still difficult to get at while driving, and you can't change the blower speed. Doing some research I found that Ford does sell the van with on option to have a rear heater of cooling unit, so there is a stock control unit and switch available.

Before modification

After modification

It cost around $100.00 for all of the supplies, if you choose to go down that route make sure you order the knob, it doesn’t come on the switch and you pay as much to ship as you do for the knob.
Silverstate Auto Parts
Qty 1): Hvac, Controls, Blower motor switch, Blower motor switch, e150-350 vans, auxiliary Price: $11.25
Qty 1): Hvac, Controls, Dash control unit, Dash control unit, e150-350 vans, w/ac, w/auxiliary Price: $23.84
Qty 1) Blower Motor Switch (Knob) Part # F8UZ18513AA Price: $06.72
Qty 4) Relay Connector (panel) Stock # 75280 Price $0.6792 (minimal quantity 10) Total $06.79
Qty 4) Relay SPDT 12 Volt Stock # 75413 Price $4.40 (minimal quantity 2) Total $17.60
Qty 50) Relay Terminals ¼” push-on,, 16-14 ga. wire Stock # 31073 (min quantity 50) Total $06.63
Qty 50) Relay Terminals ¼” push-on,, 12-10 ga. wire Stock # 32074 (min quantity 50) Total $04.38
Misc 16GA wire Total $20.00
Total $97.21
The problem is that the original switch is a DP rotary switch and the new on is a Single pole. The existing switch has one pole Off & On, the second pole is Off, On,On, & On.

The new factory switch is a SP switch with On, On, On & On. To mimic the action of the existing switch I used 4 SPDT relays.

All off the relays have 12 Volts supplied by the existing 10GA red wire, this is used for both the output and the actual coil voltage. The relays also have the added feature of keeping the power wires short. The new switch just connects ground to the coli to pick the appropriate relay. The low, medium and high switch settings were a direct correlation to the relays Normally Open contact. To create the second pole of the existing switch I used the first position of the switch as it is labeled “off” I tied the 14ga black wire to the Normally Closed contact of the relay. So when the switch is in the “off position” the relay is picked and the 12 volt circuit is left open. When moving to low, med or high the relay is not picked the 12 volt input goes out the Normally Closed output. The existing Sportsmobile mod is still in place, when that is in the off position, there is no power to the relays. If you are dry camping or parked for long times you should leave that switch in the off position to eliminates any current being used to engage the relay to keep the Starcool off.

First I needed to wire up the relays, the 10Ga red wire was now shorter going from the Starcool panel to the new switch panel versus the old switch, so that wire was reused.

The Starcool relay panel is under my side mounted Gaucho, I actually mounted my relays on the other side of the divider for a clean and short run,

With the old switch removed, I coated a carriage bolt with black plastic coat and filled the whole left by the switch.

Old Switch

hole replacement

With that done now I had to run the wires up to the dash, I chose to tuck the wires behind the wall on the drivers side and under the step.

Now it was time to remove the dash panel. First you need to remove the light switch; next there are two bolts under the gauge display.

Ever so gently you need to start pulling the dash panel off, you will need to disconnect the lighter and pull the radio out also. If you have a stock radio you will need the Din removal tool.

Unfortunately this is where I ran out batteries for the camera, but once you get the dash off there are three screws to remove the HVAC control panel, you need to remove the knobs, and disconnect all the wires and vacuum tube connectors from the back

You will need to remove all the switches and stuff from the old panel and install it on the new panel. You also install the new switch for the rear unit.

The connector for the rear switch was there, I wanted to reuse the housing so I cut off the wires and sealed the ends with shrink tube, adhesive lined works well for that. Of course the connectors were a special kind to fit into the housing that I didn't have. I choose to use the same ¼ “ relay terminals. They would at least slide into the housing, when they were mounted on switch I filled it in with silicone. After replacing the old hardware on to the new panel it was pretty much in reverse from their. I also attached the ground wire to the new switch to a ground location under the dash. I now have full control of the Starcool from the dash.

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Starcool Switch Replacement.pdf (23.7 KB, 20 views)

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Old 07-13-2009, 06:13 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Re: Dash Factory Switch for Starcool

Excellent writeup!
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:52 AM   #3
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Location: Southern New Mexico
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Re: Dash Factory Switch for Starcool

I agree, this is an excellent, well documented writeup. Great idea too, and a very "clean" modification. I wish SMBw had taken this approach to control my rear 12V AC/heat system, rather than adding a rotary control into an already crowded driver's side kick panel.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:24 AM   #4
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Location: Clovis, CA
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Re: Dash Factory Switch for Starcool

Very nice work Greg! I agree that this would be a nice feature for SMB to offer as an upgrade to an already installed system, or on a new system.

Earlier model SMB's with Starcool had the Blower switch at the dash. It was moved to the rear so that when camping, you wouldn't have to get out of bed to control the Starcool. I suppose you could have an "on-off-on" switch at the current "on-off" switch location to select operation from either a front or rear switch...

You really did a nice job on this modification Greg, very clean work!

John K.
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: Dash Factory Switch for Starcool

The pre-'03 E-series rear fan switch also has a "Rear Control" position, so the rear switch could be retained. I'm guessing the "rear" position just provides 12v.
2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:13 AM   #6
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Re: Dash Factory Switch for Starcool

This is a great writeup. I'll need to bookmark this one for the future.
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Old 08-30-2022, 10:13 PM   #7
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Just a quick note for those that are looking to do this mod. I recently made this upgrade to my van as well. However, I have the 12V only Danhard AC, not the full Starcool package, meaning that my rear AC is tied into the factory AC system and only runs when the van is running. SMB only had a single rotary switch installed in the knee panel below the steering wheel, no switch in the back. This makes sense since my unit cannot be run while camping and the van is off.

My Danhard rotary switch only had 4 wires to it, yellow for low speed, red for medium speed, orange for high speed, and a red 12V wire. I believe this is a little different than Scalf's pre-modded setup, as his switch was supplying ground to the yel/red/or wires. I found a junkyard Ford HVAC controller that had the rear control switch on it and swapped it for the original one in my van that only had the single switch for the front AC. The rear switch has Off/Rear Ctrl/Low/Med/High as Carringb mentioned. Since the switch simply connects 12v to the low/med/high pins, I just connected my 12v wire and the yel/red/or wires to it and it works great. I did not need the relays for my setup.

Just thought I would toss it out there for anyone that might have the 12V only Danhard rear AC setup in their SMB.
New Van: 2000 Ford E350 SMB RB42
Old Van(sold): 1995 Dodge B3500 SMB RB33
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Old 06-12-2024, 09:47 AM   #8
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Location: Salem, OR
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How do you know which pins are which on the rear control switch? I have taken the shorepower portion of my starcool out (removed the compressor and bypassed it) and pulled the red orange and yellow wires up to the front and plan to add the rear stock rear controls at the console.
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Old 06-17-2024, 11:03 AM   #9
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I think I just brute forced it since there weren't that many pins. I used a voltmeter to check continuity between the pins on the rear control switch. In the off position there was no continuity between any pins, then in the low position there was continuity between two of the pins. Then I turned the switch to the medium position and found the pins that had continuity and then did the same for the high position. After doing that, I was able to identify which pin was the same for each of the switch positions, that would be the 12v pin, then I recorded the pins that had continuity for the low/med/high settings. Let me know if that doesn't make sense and I can try to clarify, it was harder to write down that I thought!
New Van: 2000 Ford E350 SMB RB42
Old Van(sold): 1995 Dodge B3500 SMB RB33
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Old 06-18-2024, 11:03 AM   #10
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That makes perfect sense. I got it! I tested straight off the battery and it works great!

I just need to figure out where to pull power from since I pulled all the starcool electrical stuff out.
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