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Old 12-16-2011, 11:49 PM   #1
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dash real estate for switches

I need to find enough real estate on my dash to mount at least 4 toggle switches. I'm thinking about removing the pull out ash tray (I'm a non smoker) and fill in that hole with a brushed aluminum pannel for mounting toggle switches for accessory lights. I'm right handed so it would be a natural reach to that location to activate a switch.

I need 4 switches now and would like to have spare room for a few extras as the need surfaces.
.
Switches needed
1-driving lights
2-fog lights
3-back up lights on rear bumper..3 way switch with one position on relay triggered with regular van back up lights. The other switch position hot all the time. We all know how nice it is to have a switch to flash people behind who don't dim.
4-Back up lights on trailer

Where have other Ford drivers placed their switches? Does anyone have pictures of their after market switches?


Thanks for the imput

John
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:40 AM   #2
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Re: dash real estate for switches

Though not on the dash, still very convenient up in the headliner cubby:


steve
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:30 AM   #3
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Re: dash real estate for switches

Steve

That's a nice clean look. I hadn't thought about an overhead switch pannel before. I guess I'll go outside, look up and see where that takes me.

Thanks for the idea


John
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:16 AM   #4
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Re: dash real estate for switches

John -

Our van's previous owner found plenty of real estate at the lower left of the steering column.



The switches run a bank of driving / fog lights, the compressor (green), 4 air pressure switches controlling a 4 wheel air bag suspension system (now disconnected and unused). There's also, I'm embarrassed to say, a couple of switches who's function I have yet to discover.

If I was starting from scratch, I would not put the light switches where they are. It's possible to bump them on with my knee getting out and walk away, possibly for hours, not knowing that the lights are on.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: dash real estate for switches

For my lighting, I went overhead as well. I used these:
Blue Sea

But I also have lower switches on the bottom kick panel that SMB did. If I had it to do over I would have uses the Blue Sea switch panel down there as well.

The only problem with them is you have to purchase the lables that go into the lighted section. I never did cause it's a bit hard to read where I have it mounted. The indicator show red as off and green as on. That's good enough for me.

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Old 12-17-2011, 02:11 PM   #6
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Re: dash real estate for switches

Be sure to read this thread about Toolman's switch layout : http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7179
His is one of the best I've seen.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:19 AM   #7
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Re: dash real estate for switches

I sat in the van and looked up this evening. I don't think an overhead switch pannel will work for me. The topper pretty much goes straight up at the windshield. Having 75" of stand up height at the steering wheel makes it easy to move around inside the van but limits my options for mounting a switch pannel up there. The thought of kneeing a switch on the pannel below and to the left of the steering wheel is a deal breaker for me also. At this point I'm still looking at the hole created by removing the ash tray and cup holder as my best option. If I had an ash tray it would just fill up with coins anyway. Might as well get rid of it and put that little bit of prime real estate to good use. Location....Location....Location

Thanks for the pics and the ideas.




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Old 12-18-2011, 02:16 PM   #8
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Re: dash real estate for switches

If you look at the Blue Sea panel I used you'll see that the switches are protected so you can't brush against them and turn them off or on. I'll post a better picture of the panel.

[Edit] if you look at these you'll see why your knee can't change the switches position if mounted at the kick panel:



They do light up fairly well but sunlight hitting it directly might make it difficult to see the indicator box.
Attached Thumbnails
sw panel 001.jpg   sw panel 002.jpg   sw panel 003.jpg  
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:01 PM   #9
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Re: dash real estate for switches

Thanks for the pics of that pannel. I like the looks of that thing.

I think I'll take a run down to West Marine later in the week and check those out.

Another concern I have is the amount of knee room I have. I'm a tall person and don't have a lot of legroom when I swing my legs in and out of the van. It also looks like that pannel fits a flat surface. I haven't gone outside to look at the kick pannel but I'm betting it isn't flat. I'd probably have to shim the pannel flat somehow. That would eat up a little more knee room. I'd hate to mount something there, then end up cussin it when I constantly jam my knee into it when I climb in and out of the van.

Moving the drivers seat back is on my short list of projects. That should help with the knee room issue.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:56 AM   #10
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Re: dash real estate for switches

I pulled the dash and found some open area where you could fit one. I don't remember the total layout anymore, but I am sure you could fit 4 switches in some where, If I were to go with a panel I do like the look and functionality of the Blue See.




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