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Discussion Starter #1
As many Jeep owners do, I was looking for something to do to my Cherokee. One major issue with the Cherokee is mounting switches on the dash without looking too cheesy. Now I don’t have any lights mounted yet or any other uses for a switch for that matter but I knew I would eventually. I ended up skipping the dash and moving to the center console. I’m not sure if every Cherokee has this but just in front of my shifter (manual transmission) there is a small pocket to keep loose change and whatever else. Since I rarely use it I decided to cover it up to make a flat panel in order to mount a few switches.

The first order of things was to remove the black part from the console because it would make things a whole lot easier. There were 2 screws under the arm rest and 2 under the shifter boot, once they were out it wiggled it around the shifter and e-brake handle and it was free.


From there I fashioned a crude template out of cardboard to just sit on the lip of hole.

Next I decided on what to use to cover the hole. I knew it had to be stiff enough so regular plastic wouldn’t do and wood was too thick. I also searched for ABS plastic but couldn’t find any. I searched the house in order to find something suitable. I came across an old Ferrero Rocher chocolates box. It was made of 1/16” hard plastic. It was perfect. I traced the template onto the plastic and used a hobby knife to score the lines multiple times and snapped it out.

Made a few test fits and trimmed accordingly. I sanded the surface just so the body filler would adhere correctly. I did mess up one corner but I figured it would be OK.

Next I cut out the bottom in order to fit the wires that would eventually need to be run there. I opted to cut the whole bottom out instead of just a hole for easy of wiring when the time comes because all the wiring will have to be done from the back.

Then I used Loctite Super Glue Ultra Gel to run a bead on the rim and placed the plastic on top. While I was holding it there I turned it upside down and ran a bead on the inside edge also.


Next I mixed up some bondo and proceeded to fill the gaps around the edge and make it flow. This was my first time ever using body filler so it was quite an experience to say the least. I ended up mixing a second batch to fill in and cover my first job.

Sanded first with 80, then 120 and finally 320 grit.

Finally I laid down a few light coats of primer, and then a few coats of flat black topped with a coat of clear.

Unfortunately I rushed the sanding part and when I applied the black all the imperfections slapped me in the face (figuratively speaking). Maybe I’ll go back and re-sand it this summer.


Hope you enjoyed this write up and if you have any questions feel free to PM me.

Gnome
 

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Nicly done now mount a bunch of lights and post some pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Vey nice job, it's the first time I've seen that done.
Thanks, that's why i did a little write-up of it, in case anyone wanted to do something alone these lines.

I think i'm gonna grab a pair of lights for my front bumper tomorrow, when they're hooked up i'll take a few pics.
 

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Nice to see how you did it, would love to see it with the switches in, i plan on doing that where my ash trap is eventually.
 

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Finding suitable palstic

Great idea GardenGnome!

If you’re having trouble finding suitable plastic, if you can still find them, you might try a plastic case for VHS tapes (some are textured). In the past I've used them to cover up radio installs and they should be strong enough for switches. The black textured ones seem to match most interiors reasonably well.
 

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Great job,cant wait to see an update.
I might have to do something like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Sorry for the WAY LATE update. but i only installed one switch becasue i only have two extra lights.

I decided to use a switch with a light in it so i knew when it was on. haha. But the light is SO bright i'm regreting using this type. i might swap it out for onther kind when i need more swithces.
Oh and thanks for the links for materials. I might order some ABS for next time i do something like this.
 

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Sorry for the WAY LATE update. but i only installed one switch becasue i only have two extra lights.

I decided to use a switch with a light in it so i knew when it was on. haha. But the light is SO bright i'm regreting using this type. i might swap it out for onther kind when i need more swithces.
Oh and thanks for the links for materials. I might order some ABS for next time i do something like this.
You did a great job. I would like to see a pic with multiple switches but even the one with a single switch didn't show up, just the little x. Where did you mount the relay for the lights?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You did a great job. I would like to see a pic with multiple switches but even the one with a single switch didn't show up, just the little x. Where did you mount the relay for the lights?
Thanks. Yeah, I realized the myspace URL's do not work so I uploaded it to Photobucket.
I'm not totally sure what a relay is but I don't think there is one in my setup. There are 3 wires to the switch (battery, ground and out to the first light).
 

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Google Image Result for http://www.offroaders.com/info/tech-corner/reading/relay-diagram.gif

i relay is an electricly controlled switch. they can be used for many many things. what you would use them for would be to reverse polarity like on door pins for dome lights, or alarm systems, and increase/decrease of amprage/voltage.

there are 2 parts to a relay. terminals 85 and 86 are the posative and negative to a little electro magnet inside the relay. when the relay is turned on with 85 and 86 the magnet pulls a little metal lever from 87a terminal to the 87 terminal allowing whatever is connected to the 30 terminal to pass through. whne the relay is off 30 and 87a are connected.

most relays are designed to handle more current than switches so in a light situation, if the lights pull 10 amps of current when they are on but the switch cant handle more than 5 or 6, the switch would melt from the extra current.

to fix this with a relay, you would hook one side of the switch to ground, the other side of the switch to 85 on the relay. then put 86 and 30 to a high current 12 volt like the battery posative terminal or the accessory line at the ignition (always ALWAYS use a fuse as close to the 12v connection as possible). then send 87 to the 12v input of the light(s) and ground the ground on the light(s). 87a gets connected to nothing, but keep in mind when the switch is off and the relay turns off the 12v power going into the 30 terminal switches from 87 over to 87a so be sure to either pull the wire out of the relay entirely or tape it up so it doesnt touch anything.

if you want the lights to only be on with both the switch in the on position and the lights on, then send 86 to the parking light wire and 30 to the high current 12v. the relay pulls very very very little current to turn on so taping the relay in to the parking lights will not hurt the lights at all. if you just pulled power from the parking lights to power the new light it may over draw current on the parking light circuit causeing the cars curcuit to oferheat and fail like melting the factory light switch(which i have done)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I finished the overhead console. Unfortunately my camera is acting up, won't stay on with new batteries. I'll get some pics in soon.
I know it's been a while but ever get that finished?
 
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