Recap # 1: Defi Gauge Cluster, Center Vent Pod and HUD 6/6/2007 Part 2

Posted: February 25, 2010 in Interior, Toby Broadfield's S13
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Part 2:  HUD

As stated in part 1, Defi doesn’t make a speedometer.  So I ordered up the new Defi-Link VSD X HUD.  This unit displays an image on a piece of plexi that is angled off the backside.   It is simply meant to be mounted on top of your dash.  My intention was to ditch the plexi and display it on the windshield.  I bought a piece of film from the old original Defi HUD VSD setup.  The old Defi HUD setup was basically the same as the new one, only it displayed on the windshield.  This was going to be perfect because I had sourced an OEM S13 HUD pod for the top of the dash.  My plan was to retrofit the Defi unit into the OEM pod.  Well, come to find out, there was no way I could get the angle correct to display on the windshield.  So I quickly came up with the idea to mold it into the top of the steering wheel shroud.  I felt it would be perfect for a couple of reasons:  1) The plexi is obviously clear, so I would still be able to see the main gauges in the cluster through it. 2) The top of the shroud has a natural notch in it where it comes up to the cluster.  So I would be able to simply extend the backside up to make room for the HUD module….. all the while keeping the overall OEM shape of the shroud.

I don’t really have any pictures of the process.  Since I do this type of stuff for a living, I usually just rock through it as fast as I can and don’t bother with pictures.  Although I am trying to get better about taking pictures of all of my custom work.  So I will try to briefly describe how I did it.  I wanted to keep the profile as low as possible, so I ditched the bottom plastic casing of the unit.  Here is a picture of the unit in it’s stock form for reference,

I then hacked a rectangular hole in the top of the shroud where I wanted the unit.  I took the guts out of the top half of the plastic casing, including the thin plastic film that the image shines through on the top.  The piece of plexi was simply bolted to the back of the casing.  I then super glued the top plastic casing onto the top of the shroud exactly where I wanted it.  I roughed up all of the surrounding plastic(the shroud and plastic casing) with some 36 grit sandpaper.  This would allow the bondo to adhere better.  I then simply slapped a bunch of kitty hair(bondo with fiber glass strands) onto the sides and front to build up the shape I wanted leading up to the plastic casing.  I basically faded the front edge of the shroud all the way to the front edge of the plastic casing.  Then filled in the sides and sanded it to have a natural curvature and OEM look to it.  Next up is a texture coat.  I love a product called SEM Texture Coating.  I use it on projects at work all of the time.  Depending how far away you spray the project, it will yield different textures…. big, small etc.  After that it’s time for a final finish coat.  I chose SEM Landau Black.  It is a very OEM’ish black.  Not too glossy and not too flat.  Simply reassembling the guts and reattaching the plexi to the back was all that was left.  As you can see I chose to do without the black rubber edging on the plexi.  I realize this writeup is very vague, but custom work is hard to put into words.  Some finished pics from different angles,

Stay tuned for part 3:  The center vent gauges and the digital fuel gauge in the center console area.

Comments
  1. danny says:

    Hey dude i love how u have designed ur interior. is ther any tips or hints can give me on trying something similar in design to ur gauge setup

  2. Mike A. says:

    What did you use to clean the wiper/signal switches? Or are they new?

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