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custom A-pillar & lower center dash Gaugepod build & install

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Old 11-09-2018
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custom A-pillar & lower center dash Gaugepod build & install

I decided to add 4 gauges to my 2006 B-series. oil pressure, fuel pressure, vacuum and voltage.

I bought some spare parts (2 drivers side a-pillars), and I went to a local junk-yard to see what I could do in terms of replacing the lower center dash insert. From the factory this came with an ashtray, and the "airbag deactivation switch" for the passenger side. I don't ever have passengers, and I could care less if this feature works or not. (I'm actually considering removing the airbag all together- but that's a different story.) I also don't need an ashtray (don't smoke). I brought home some similar panels from junk trucks.

I took a pod from a different car, cut it up and taped things together

Just trying to get a good alignment here.

Glued everything on, so I could start fiberglassing

final alignment

held things in place overnight

side view


 
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connector with resistors


slightly bent towards the driver (using PVC pipes)

gauge pod design
Here is the center portion for under the dash. I was replacing the airbag switch, so I needed to reverse engineer the way the RCM interprets the switch, and feed it a signal it was happy with. After looking at the tech schematic and taking some measurements, I went with 2 1000 ohm resistors. I wired them into the hard-shell so I could fool the RCM into thinking the switch was still there.
 
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I then started the fiberglass process. First felt to give it shape, then fiberglass for strength..

Lots of sanding and body work here....










 
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Next, after it was pretty smooth, I started with Bondo filler, and then I moved to the super smooth dolphin glaze filler....













 
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Next I took a brake to set up my sending units. I used a simple 90 degree street elbow to attach into the block and set it up so I could run both the factory oil pressure switch, and a 1/8ntp pressure transducer.



 

Last edited by Jp7; 11-09-2018 at 03:48 PM.
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next, I had to modify the fuel rail so I could get fuel pressure. I grabbed some of the end-caps from similar 4.0L fuel rails at my local junk yard. These are some sort of brass/bronze material with a plating. I used my tig welder to braze a nut on the end so I could read fuel pressure at the fuel rail. I replaced the factory shrader fitting.
 
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my first attempts at the brazing were pretty bad. I've never worked with brass or bronze before (I tig weld aluminum and stainless steel usually).










 
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I tested the fitting at 110 PSI in a bucket of water- I originally had a small pinhole leak, but I fixed it. I then installed the vacuum sensor (sorry no picture)

I then went back to doing the body stuff. I used a 2K urethane based activated primer. Several coats, sanding between each.




 
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Then I used a SEM texture spray on the a-pillar, and a dupont vinyl matching OEM finish paint.









 
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I painted the center lower dash piece with chromabase OEM exterial metallic (dark shadow grey) and then USC "glamour" urethane clear....
The small hole on the pod was so I could access the screw hole (you can't really see it when installed) I put a pvc pipe there as a guide when I'm screwing it down.









 
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Had to cut a hole and use a grommet to route the wires. (I have so many wires coming in now)
 
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Final results. I think the white LEDs match my re-designed LED cluster that I did in 2014. Everything is white with red needles.














 
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Great work man. Recently I've been thinking about adding aftermarket gauges since the factory dummy gauges are worthless for real-time info. Thanks for the post and the inspiration to get this done.
 
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Originally Posted by Fordzilla80 View Post
Great work man. Recently I've been thinking about adding aftermarket gauges since the factory dummy gauges are worthless for real-time info. Thanks for the post and the inspiration to get this done.
The insides of a 2003 cluster are a little busy, I assume you want to rewire the oil pressure gauge so it is is analog. This has been documented before.

I am trying to understand what I want to do with the lower center console next. I am thinking of fabricating a new one.
 
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Originally Posted by Jp7 View Post
The insides of a 2003 cluster are a little busy, I assume you want to rewire the oil pressure gauge so it is is analog. This has been documented before.

I am trying to understand what I want to do with the lower center console next. I am thinking of fabricating a new one.
I don't have any intention of messing with the stock gauge and the way it functions if I can help it. I would love to just run a "T" fitting so it still functions as normal and run an oil pressure sending unit for the aftermarket gauge.

If it's anything like the late 80's to early 90's Ford vehicles were, I should be able to handle it. But I need to dive into my factory diagrams to really see how Ford set this up in 2003.
 
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