Recap # 1: Defi Gauge Cluster, Center Vent Pod and HUD 6/6/2007 Part 3

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Interior, Toby Broadfield's S13
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Part 3:  Vent Gauges

Since I could only fit four gauges comfortably into the cluster, I had to find a place for the remaining three.  I am generally not a fan of A-pillar setups, especially on the S13, as they have skinny A-pillar trim.  I also don’t like them below the radio.  They just look too crowded and they are too low in my opinion.  Never mind the fact that I have a double DIN radio there.  So the only logical place was the center vent area.  Now this wasn’t some cool, new Broadfield idea.  It’s been done a hundred times, but for good reason:  it’s a great place to put gauges.  I don’t mind doing the same thing as others have done before if it works for me.  I don’t believe in doing something different just for the sake of being different…… it has to look good and fit the theme of the car most importantly.  So in the vents they are going.  However, I wanted to make sure it didn’t look like I simply threw some gauges in there.  So even though it was going to be similar to others, it had to have just a tad of my attention to detail.

I don’t have build pics of the vent gauges at all, but will add some in when I do the setup for Daoud Sangwa.  I plan to take a ton of pics of the entire cluster, HUD, center console fuel gauge and center vent pod.

UPDATE: Here is the link to his album, NOTE:  there are multiple pages.  Broadfield Gauge Package Build Pics

I started off with a sheet of ABS plastic that I rough cut.  I then cut, filed and sanded until it fit absolutely perfect.  Perfection takes a tremendous amount of time and patience…… and to think I was only going to throw away this piece anyway.  I then transferred this shape to a piece of 1/8″thick piece of aluminum.  I marked the holes for the gauges then cut those out with a hole saw.  I decided I wanted the gauges to be angled towards the driver…. easier to see and to give the panel a little character.  I found some ABS angled gauge trim rings from Summit…. they even come in a pack of three!  They are only $10 and almost ready to use out of the package.  I sanded them a little to knock off some of the mold edges…. I’m picky!

Test fitting the gauges with the rings presented the issue that a round gauge inserted at an angle, does not fit through a round hole.  So I simply used a file to make the round holes a little oblong.  Also, the silver U shaped mounting clamps pictured above had to be modified for these particular gauges.  The posts were too long and needed an angle cut on them also.  Once these were all modified, I assembled everything for a test fit.  Next up was the task of figuring out how I was going to mount this plate into the vent opening.  I wanted it to be mega secure and suck up into the hole.  Luckily, once the vent is removed, there is a little lip that the plate rests on.  However, there is no way for it to secure in there.  I think some people simply glue it in or try to use some double stick tape.  I didn’t see either of these options as good ones.  So I drilled out the center of each U shape mount to insert a threaded stud.  I drilled the hole so it was perpendicular with the plate.  I then tapped them out and inserted a short piece of threaded stud…. about 1 – 2 inches.  Next I made three strips of  aluminum about 3 inches longs that were 3/4″ wide.  These were to serve as “washers” on the back side. Back to the mounting in a bit.

Now we are ready for paint.  First though I wanted to give everything a texture.  I like to use a SEM product called Texture Coat, part # 39853.  Comes in an easy aerosol can.  So with everything disassembled, I textured the rings and back plate separately.  I then sprayed them with a final finish coat of SEM Landau Black, part # 15013.  It is the perfect black paint for interiors and many other uses.  Literally dries to the touch in minutes.  I then assembled everything and used some yellow OEM hot glue on the backside of the gauges to keep them from spinning on the plate.  All that’s left it to mount this sucker into the dash.  I removed the climate control so I could have easy access to the back of the vent area.  Simply stick the plate into the hole from the front and put the custom “washers” over the threaded studs on the backside.  Then take wing nuts and thread those bad boys on nice and snug.  The “washers” will keep the plate assembly from falling out the front, and the lip on the dash keeps it from obviously falling into the dash.  So essentially you are sandwiching everything together.  You could pretty much hang on this thing.  I also want to add, that for obvious reasons,  I blocked off the vent tube behind the gauge plate.  A lot of people ask what the heat and A/C are like with the main center vent blocked off.  Really it’s not that noticeable.  Because it essentially forces more air through the vents that are still left.  Done!  As stated earlier, I will come back and add build pics within a month or so.

Comments
  1. Damon says:

    What did you use to block of the heater venting behind the center gauge pod, Toby? I have yet to come up with a legitimate solution.

    • broadfield says:

      I honestly don’t remember what I used. I’m pretty sure I cut some wood that perfectly fit inside the vent. Then used good 3M black duct tape to keep it in there and to completely seal it off.

  2. Damon says:

    That’s better than mine… I think I covered it with duct tape “temporarily” and forgot about it until I saw this post, haha. Thanks man…

  3. Evan says:

    Hey broadfield want to do me a huge favor? lol can i get a copy of your templet or can u cut me a aluminum one i can pay for the metal and shipping and all that let me know thanks.

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