StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 07-25-2016
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StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab

Hello all. I've decided to finally make a project log of my '99 2wd regular cab 2.5L 5spd. I bought this truck a while back and, while I love Rangers, this one was just a little plain for my tastes. Thankfully ranger-forums is packed full of inspiration so off to the junkyard I go.

The first thing I did was add a factory tach gauge cluster out of an explorer, simple enough but my OCD kept kicking in looking at the words "fuel door" & the 4wd markings that kinda show in the daytime...bugged me too much so back to the JY & grabbed some gauge face overlays from a Ranger this time (if you are doing this swap just start with a ranger & give your OCD a rest). Since I had the faces in my hand I decided to customize them using the write-up in the DIY forum here, scratched the old color off the back & got out the glass paint. I did a red/Amber motif & it came out pretty nice. I did the climate controls to match. Pulled the needles & installed new faces & BAM! it's red now but not in the daytime, at night everything lights up red, even the needles! That was planned but unexpected.

To change the color of your needles (only with cluster lights on) simply use glass paint on the clear semicircle portion on the back of the gauge overlay surrounding the needles base after sanding the stock blue or green away. Your needles will still be white but will light up with whatever color you choose, pretty cool huh?

Disclaimer: Changing the gauge cluster will also change your odometer reading. This is not good. I avoided any potential problems with vehicle registration by simply swapping my original odometer onto the junkyard cluster. This way the odometer is all original parts that have been on the truck since day one.
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Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 07-25-2016 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016
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Here's a pic of my gauges.Apologies for the poor image quality but rest assured the numbers are amber & the "archs" are red. Anyways what's next? Oh yes of course this 60/40 bench seat is in good shape but it's gotta go, there's nowhere to put my stuff & my poor dog (who is missing a leg) is slipping all over the place on this vinyl. Luckily ranger-forums is chocked full of threads on bucket seat/Expo consoles so away I go, off to the junkyard again. I scored a nice set of buckets out of a '04 sport trac & a console from a '94 Expo.

Now my plan was to use the tracks from the 60/40 but I couldn't bring myself to butcher a perfectly good seat so instead I gave it to a family friend whose rangers seat has seen better days and went back to the JY for tracks from a standard cab. Unfortunately I had to ditch the power drivers side tracks as the seats I chose are considerably taller than the stock bench. All & all this swap was fairly straightforward, although I did have to cut off 3 unused bracket from the ranger tracks to make them sit flush. The problem arose when figuring out how to make the seat actually move forward & tilt. Lucky for me on the Ranger tracks those controls are integrated into the track itself (forward/backward) while the mechanism for the seat back is built into the seat. So a couple hours of fiddling and a couple nice & fat self tapping screws for the console & BAM! Now I have a place to put my stuff & my dog doesn't slide around anymore. This was one of the 2 best mods I've done to this truck so far, the other being '06+ door mirrors.

About those mirrors. I found a brand new set of non powered '06+ door mirrors for $45. They need only a minor modification to get em to sit right. Simply remove the mounting screws from the base & dremel the base flush (I did all 3), clean up the plastic shavings & such then reinstall the screws & put that sucker on your door. I had the "flag" style mirrors before this swap & it has made a world of difference. You can see sooo much more with these style mirrors plus they look super cool. Bonus.

I have an idea to adapt the '06+ mirrors to include a hidden turn signal light. Basically the plan is to use a short strip of Amber led lights stuck to the back side of the mirror (inside the housing) running a wire through the door & tapping into the turn signal wire. This way the entire mirror should have a nice Amber glow between it and the housing. At this stage it's just an idea in my head, stay tuned for updates on that one.
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Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 07-25-2016 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016
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OK cool, at this point I'm feeling pretty good about my little truck. But man look at these tires, these little guys are ugly, not to mention bald. Plus I'm not too fond of these stock wheels. Luckily a quick search on ranger-forums resulted in a chart of tires sizes that fit on stock suspensions. Found a set of explorer alloys that had an OK set of 265 75 r16s mud terrains and bolted them up. Wow what a difference! I've had these tires on a couple of months now & they only rub on hard lock left or right. I can live with that, but wait, what's going on here?

Oh crap, going from a 26in tire to a 31in tire really screws with your gear ratio. A quick check of my axle revealed a 3.73 open diff. Using the tire calculator on ranger-forums I determined it would be best to go up to 4.10 gears so I watched the junkyard until I came up with an '02 axle out of an edge, bigger drum brakes are good with me since an Expo axle with discs is out of my wheelhouse (no welding skills). Did a brake job, changed the fluid & shot a quick rattle can paint job & got to wrenching. A couple hours later I was cruising as Ford intended. 60mph is actually 60 on the gauge, a mile is actually a mile again on the odometer and takeoffs are much easier compared to the 3.73. Plus the '02 edge had axle code R7 so that means closed diff! It's something very noticeable when going from an open to close diff in a very good way.
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Old 07-25-2016
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At this point I'm fairly content although never satisfied. But enough of this silly cosmetic stuff, it's time to figure out why this thing shakes so bad on the highway. Well looky here, these tie rods are shot. Oh man these ball joints are garbage too. Oh well parts are cheap & life is precious. So I spent a morning in the driveway setting things straight, did the brakes while I was in there too. A trip to the alignment shop & I was ready to go fast. Before repairs the shaking was pretty violent from 65mph on. After repairs the shaking has subsided to a mere vibration and now comes in at 70mph. Hmm, that's a good start but now I am suspecting either the u-joints or the steering rack. But for now I can take solace in the fact that my wheels aren't going to fall off, I like that part. I've been there before and once in a lifetime is plenty for me when it comes to watching the tire that was just on your car careen through oncoming lanes of traffic almost rolling over a unsuspecting jogger, all the while grinding down the street on the chassis! Don't buy $200 cars is the moral here I guess.
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Old 07-25-2016
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OK now on to the little cosmetic stuff. These are in no particular order since they are smaller projects that sorta happen on a whim. On sunny day while coming out of a store I noticed my grill was pretty faded, so I got a couple rattle cans of duplicolor & got to sanding. Now my truck is paint code e4 (vermilion red) & this duplicolor stuff covers 4 or 5 different paint codes so needless to say it isn't an exact match but it's closeish. Decided to do the "gutter guard" MOD since I had my grill off, another shot of inspiration courtesy of ranger-forums, and since I don't want to be EXACTLY like everyone else I put a little twist of my own into it. A 1/4in aluminum rod running horizontally across the mid point of each grill "insert". I bent the gutter guard to have a more rounded/bumpy effect rather than it sitting flat behind the grill. Oh yeah I color matched my emblems with the left over paint! Sweet.

I bought the truck without a radio, so on one of my JY trips I picked up a stock CD/tape player. I should have picked up the stock CD5 I pulled from a focus but I didn't look like it would fit & I didn't feel like messing with it that day. On retrospect I should've gone ahead with the CD5 since the one I bought doesn't play cds, ugh. So I quickly grew tired of that setup and went to Walmart & grabbed a double din touchscreen DVD/radio with full intentions of adding a back up camera. For $100 I figured it would suit my needs just fine.

My truck has a topper on it and my windows are tinted all around (cab & topper) and reversing at night was hazardous to anyone behind me at night since I have to look through 2 tinted windows, the cab & topper rear/side window. So I found a backup camera and wired it to my el-cheapo double din 7in touchscreen radio/TV whatchamacallit. Now it's safe to walk behind the truck at night, you're welcome world.

On one of my JY visits I spotted a nice looking front bumper on an '02 Expo limited. That got the wheels in my head turning and after seeing it on multiple occasions I pulled the trigger. Now the bumper brackets on the ranger & the Expo look the same but they aren't. I had an issue getting this stupid thing to look decent but no degree of slotting is going to make it sit where I want it. The problem is the indention for the grill isn't as deep on the Expo as on the ranger so while the bumper is nice & tight against the grill there is a considerable gap between it and the turn signal lights. It's ugly and will still be ugly even if I put some sort of filler in there..but I do like the fog lights.

Speaking of lights, I got a set of led floods from eyeurlife for dirt cheap. Now where do I want to mount these? I considered mounting them on the roof rack I installed on my truck topper (another JY find) but instead decided to utilize the tow bar that came on the truck. Now I don't have the other half of the tow bar nor do I want to remove the thing from the truck so I fabbed up some brackets from some angle iron & bolted the lights to that. An interesting side note: I used a push-button spst switch that I mounted in the busted cig lighter hole using a nylon washer drilled out to accept the switch, painted black & super glued into cig lighter hole. Doesn't look stock but it's functional and no more hole in the dash. But I now have in my possession an Expo radio bezel and two factory fog light switches. The plan is to modify one of the fog switches to fit in the rear defrost position making 2 factory fog switches. I'll wire one to the fogs in my funky bumper & the other to my floods. As for the stupid 4wd switch it's gonna go away, I'll put the power port in its place like the factory does & fill in the half moon shape above the hole with jb weld plastiweld. Sand and paint it should look good. If not I'll get in touch with buggman since his bezel mods are top notch.

Other projects of note: I found a roof rack one day at the JY on a topper that tried to jump off its truck & crush me. Looked in good shape so I grabbed it. Turns out the rails are a Ford product although I have no idea about the towers or crossbars but its all nice & sturdy & only cost $20. I marked 1in increments on a few strips of masking tape and "measured" off of the side windows with that, worked like a charm as everything is nice & square with no restricted movement.

Um I've done more I'm sure but my brain hurts.

Climate control **** color change note: after changing my climate control colors my ***** still illuminated green. Great here goes my ocd again. This will not stand. I looked through every ranger & Expo at the yard & they all had blue or green plastic inserts which are unusable unless you want to go from green to blue or vice versa. But fret not because I have a solution, now I haven't seen this seen this yet so it's possible I'm the first & only ranger rolling around with red position indicators on my climate control! Anyways I found what I needed in an early 2000's expedition! The ***** were the same shape as mine so I peeked behind them to discover CLEAR plastic inserts where the light shines through. Sweet! That was the hard part. I sanded the color (white with green underneath) I broke out the glass paint I have left over from the gauge color change I did, painted the tip of the insert red then a coat of white over that (to keep stock appearance in the daytime) put it all together & wait for the sun to go down. Presto! Little red lights on my climate control *****. Go ahead, do it, just give me my props.

List of future projects: illuminate the bed with rgb led light strips, modify radio bezel to accept double din & 2 fog switches, find a powerdome hood, find '06+ grill/lights/header panel, find a better front bumper, and like 100 other things I haven't thought of yet. Thanks for checking out my truck and stay tuned for updates & tips.
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Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 07-25-2016 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016
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Oh geez I almost forgot about my subwoofer. This will be interesting for all you standard cab guys. There are a ton of threads on this subject but here is what I did. As we know there isn't a whole lotta room to work with, so I found a shallow truck box that fits a 10in sub, put a kicker comp in it & an amp under the passenger side seat then the fun began. Since I put in my buckets and console the armrest is eating up valuable real estate, so much so that I fear having to remove/relocate the console. Well that's a no-go for me since I just put it in and moving it forward would cause problems with the shift lever not to mention the forward bracket won't line up so I set my brain to "on" & devised a solution. I noticed the carpeting on the back wall under the window doesn't follow the lines of the metal underneath it, removing the carpeting allowed the sub box to sit in just right but left a big ugly scar where it's obviously missing trim/carpet. OK, halfway home. The backing the carpeting is glued to is just some fiberboard so I got out my measuring tape and a razor blade & cut out a small strip of the fiberboard being careful not to cut the carpet. This left a nice flimsy spot where the box will fit into and if I ever take it out the back wall will look untouched. Sneaky sneaky. Here's a pic after install, you can tell where I cut out the section if you look at the top, it sits "inside" the cutout. I also had to remove the sound deadening/ padding stuff that's glued to the back side of the fiberboard, that gave me just enough room to jam the box behind the armrest. The armrest rubs the top of the sub woofer itself though, I may remove the armrest then shave the foam down for clearance in the future, or not. I went with a single sub because I wanted to retain the stock rear speakers & couldn't find a box that would fit, plus a single sub has the added benefit of retaining a small spot of storage behind the seat & it sounds good too! It's only a single 10 so I'm not blowing anyone's wig off but it bumps in the cab & that's all I care about.
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Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 07-25-2016 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016
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Lots of great progress there.
I have to get some nicer rims for mine, they're OK, but the paint is peeling and they're a little rusty.
Someone has put these plastic hub caps over them to cover the mess up, but the chrome plated plastic on those is showing age.

A safety issue I should point out in one of your photos, one should never use concrete or any type of masonry blocks to support a vehicle.

Small hair line cracks or weak spots due to air pockets in the masonry can lead to sudden collapse, especially with your jack stands sitting on them creating pressure points.
Even if you're not underneath the vehicle, a sudden failure can cause the loss of fingers or your entire hand being crushed.

Use hard wood blocks of oak or maple _ fir's OK but pine is too soft.
You can use sandwiches of plywood too.
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Old 07-25-2016
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Nice cluster, nice truck!

I tried an explorer bumper myself, and yeah that didn't work. The bracket's slots need to be lengthened to allow the bumper to travel farther. If you want to swap bumpers, go for 01+ like i did.

The hvac ***** can easily be altered. Push the inserts out with something like a toothpick so you dont mark them. You can then wetsand the color off the tip and reinsert them into the *****.

If you want to, you could change the front clip out for the 95-01 expo look. This is much more involved than going to another ranger setup, but still straightforward.

Have you considered the overhead console or autolamps?
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Old 07-25-2016
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Thanks Jeff R 1 for the tip on the masonry and to be honest that is a pretty big safety concern. In my defense I unbolted everything with it on the stands and the wheels on. Then when it was ready I lifted the axle up, tires off, axle took a ride on the Jack, so as to minimize the danger to myself. Dropping a vehicle on myself doesn't sound good to me. At no point was I underneath the vehicle without the axle & wheels but still I'm gonna go get some nice wooden blocks for the future like you say.

And theArcticWolf1911 yeah no amount of slotting is gonna make my bumper look good. It's already touching the grill but a huge gap between the lights. The more I see the '01+ bumpers the more they grow on me, so maybe. And I was just trying to tell folks where to source clear, not tinted green/blue, plastic inserts so they can sand and paint. Mine were green throughout and others I found were blue. And I'm not big into the Expo roof console, I've passed over tons of em in all different color combos & I just don't see it happening for me. Plus idk if its possible to change the screen to a red display and I don't have a garage so therefor no opener. And the Expo front end doesn't look right in my eye plus, like you said, it's much more involved with cutting/welding & such. I'm thinking '06+ ranger if one comes up.

Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 07-25-2016 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 07-25-2016
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I've seen someone mod their display to red before, but I don't know how he did it.
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Old 07-27-2016
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Well this is happening. Radio bezel mod. I couldn't find one with two switches that was also for a 2wd so I grabbed myself an Expo bezel. The white spots in the pic are where I used jbweld plastiweld to fill in/form. I noticed Ford uses a kinda rubberized coating on these so I hit it with some plastidip I had laying around & it looks pretty good. Oh yeah, I finally found a fix for the stupid cig lighter that's always flipping broken, just get rid of it & replace it with a USB charging port. Yep that's right, built in USB charging!

OK OK I'm sure you noticed my "patch job" & I am aware that it looks like donkey turds. Don't worry I'm gonna make it look nice before I install the thing.
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Old 07-27-2016
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That looks pretty good, actually.

And yeah, they loved that rubberized coating. the radio bezel and the black parts on the full length center console both were coated in it.

The best way to get rid of it, is to use a heatgun (or hair dryer) and heat the rubber nice and hot, but not to the melting point of the bezel. Using either your fingers within a pair of gloves or some kind of cloth, then to rub on the bezel itself. The rubber will peal off leaving the plastic underneath it exposed.

I'd recommend doing so. Once that's done, giving it a quick scuff then some Krylon Fusion in Satin Black. That stuff is great.
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Old 08-10-2016
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Well here we are as promised, modified radio bezel. No more 4wd switch, the always busted cig lighter is also gone and in its place is a built in USB charging jack that's powered off the battery constant that used to power the lighter. The USB port is an idea that been kicking around in my head for a while and this was the perfect opportunity to implement it. All I did was gut an old car charger (the larger ones work best as they have longer wires inside, or solder your own wires) the housing came apart in 3 sections and I used the "face" of it to mold into the cig lighter hole. I then took the circuit board and JB plastiweld-ed in place from behind. The whole thing ended up being pretty sturdy & I'm happy with the outcome.

I mentioned above about using that plastidip spray, yeah I forgot there's a reason I had a can sitting around not being used-I don't like the stuff! Well I like the way it looks but not how it feels, plus it seems hard to keep clean, almost sticky kinda. Anyway I ended up using rustoleum satin black, says it bonds to plastic so that sounds good, oh I used primer too. For my first one I think it's OK, although I wanna start another one now haha.

Two fog light switches was a simple MOD, I didn't even get the dremel out I just snapped of the extra ridge with some pliers, came off clean too! Now the wiring I found confusing for some reason (way too many threads) but I finally figured it out and it's all pretty simple after all. I wired both the Expo bumper fogs & my aftermarket LED floods the same way so I know this works. I had no factory wiring whatsoever in my particular truck so I had to run my own. Two wires per circuit have to go through the firewall (ones the signal wire for the relay & the other is power for the on indicator) I mounted my relays close to the battery on the fender to avoid having a long run of "hot" wire to pin 30. This is how my truck is wired and it works perfectly.

*Always disconnect battery negative before performing any electrical repairs or upgrades* safety first

RELAY WIRING:
-Pin 30 to battery positive
-Pin 85 to switched or constant power
-Pin 86 to BL/BK or terminal 3 on switch
-Pin 87 to lights AND T/O or terminal 6 on switch

SWITCH WIRING:
-Terminal 6 -Tan/Orange to Pin 87 on relay
-Terminal 5 -Red/Black (or Light Blue/Black) to dash Illumination
-Terminal 4 -Black to good grounding point
-Terminal 3 -Blue/Black to Pin 86 of relay

EXPLANATION:
-Pin 30 on relay goes to positive battery post, fused very close to the battery itself. If that fuse blows the wire between the battery and the fuse holder WILL STILL BE HOT! Keep that fuse close to minimize fire/shock danger.
-Pin 85 is power & you have a choice of which kind, switched or constant. I chose to run constant power to Pin 85 for those times I need light but can't be bothered to turn the key. Again use a fuse on this wire close to your splice. This may be overkill as whichever circuit you choose will be fused from the factory but for under $5 it's worth adding some protection here.
-Pin 86 goes to the blue/black wire or terminal 3 on the fog light switch on the radio bezel. This is one of the two wires that penetrate the firewall, this wire is the "negative switching" you hear so much about. In this setup Pin 85 is the positive side of the relay making Pin 86 negative. All Ford did was put the switch here, making a connection to ground completing the circuit. Pretty clever really, in this setup if this wire shorts on the firewall or anywhere else the lights will simply come on, rather than sparks and blown fuses and stuff.
-Pin 87 goes to the fog lights themselves. I grounded each light on the core support close to each one but you may want to run the ground back to the battery itself, I didn't. Here's where we run that second wire through the firewall, splice into Pin 87 either on the wire or the terminal itself and connect the other end to the Tan/Orange or terminal 6 on the fog light switch. This wire provides power for the on indicator, since it's tapped into the same wire powering the lights it will only light up the little indicator when the lights are on.

That's it for under the hood, now it's time to finish wiring the switch.

-The Tan/Orange & Blue/Black wires are already hooked up leaving only two to go. The Black wire is, you guessed it, a ground! More like THE ground, remember negative switching? Here's that path to ground. I grounded mine to a bolt behind the stereo someplace, use a multimeter and make sure your grounding point is good.
-The final wire will either be Red/Black or Light Blue/Black depending on year, no matter, it's terminal 5 and performs the same function whatever color it happens to be, that function being dash illumination. I tapped into the LB/BK on the climate control since it was right there but you can use the same connection your aftermarket stereo does. This will illuminate the little picture of a light on the switch, if your bulb is still good that is. Mine were not-LED's in the mail.

And that's it, double check your connections, double check your wiring, put some 30 amp fuses in your new holders, hook up your battery and go push that button! Just don't blind yourself with all that new light.

Well all of the above is why I took so long between posts. It should be said that all of my wires are chunks I cut out of a main harness from a 94 Jaguar XJ6 (XJ40 if your not American haha) that I replaced a while back and saved the old one. It has been an excellent source of wires for me, it even had the relay holders I needed. Reduce Reuse Recycle.

I also got a wild hair and, using a red lid from a cup that the local gas station provided, I changed the color of the switch illumination to match my gauges. Now this ain't fancy but it works, I simply popped the "cap" off of the switch, cut a little square of red lid & dropped it into the switch. Did a little amber sliver for the on indicator too. Popped that cap back on so the lid piece is sandwiched between it and the clear diffuser inside and Presto! Free MOD. Now you can save up for that LED upgrade and be cool at the same time. I did all this and it turned out my bulbs are blown, verified power in with multimeter but no light. D'oh! No matter, I have some LED plug and play bulbs on the way.

Keen eyed observers will notice my 12v power port doesn't look quite right. That's because the opening for the 4wd switch is smaller than the one for the actual port. A fact I discovered after I had it all painted and ready to go, D'oh! I ended up having to place it sort of on the surface instead of it being recessed, a feat made possible by cutting an inch or so off of the threaded silver piece that holds the port on.

And of course I went to the junkyard again, and no I didn't leave without my next project.
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StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab-imag0276.jpg   StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab-imag0269.jpg   StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab-imag0271.jpg   StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab-imag0279.jpg   StrangerRanger99's 2wd reg cab-1470872661343-10743720.jpg  


Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 08-10-2016 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 08-10-2016
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Stupid Junkyard. I know I've said that I don't want an OHC, but I got one anyway. My local yard is stocked full of expos with every option you can possibly want. OHC's in every color combo under the sun, consoles both short & long, bucket seats as far as the eye can see, silly things you never knew you needed like glove box lights, there's even an EATC or whatever the electronic climate control is called, but I digress. This time around a nice tan & black OHC caught my eye and after a bit of reluctance I decided it would be cool to know which direction I may be driving and how hot it is outside plus map lights would be handy I guess. I won't be installing this quite yet as I may price out some suede headliner material first since I'm gonna be messing with mine, that & a PO was a smoker & there's a single burn mark in mine, reasons enough to redo it in my opinion. Also the display color is currently either blue or green and that just ain't gonna work with my color scheme. So until I sort those issues out the OHC is just gonna sit there collecting dust.

I'm toying with the idea of making a silicon mold of the OHC displays lens and casting a new one with casting resin. Casting resin can be tinted whatever color you like so it may work, idk it's still just an idea. But one that has many potential applications, I was thinking of making molds of the fog light switch light diffuser & the ones in the climate control ***** too. A sort of color change kit. I read that rit dye works to dye plastics but I never tried and the parts would have to start out clear. My reasoning for casting a new lens comes from a another OHC I disassembled at the JY, it looks as if the LCD has a white lighting to the lettering, I'll go out & run power to it later to see for sure. I will keep you posted on my progress.
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Old 08-10-2016
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Your new bezel looks rather nice. I would have used glossy black or some sort of wrap, though. Carbon fiber, thin fabric, whatever.

If you try the casting thing, definately post about it. I want to make my OHC a really rich blue, not that teal stuff.
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Old 08-11-2016
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Hey TheArcticWolf1911 you should look into using the aforementioned RIT clothing dye. It's as simple as dropping the plastic lens into a concentrated dye solution that's been brought to a boil. It wouldn't work from blue to red but I bet it would work to go from bluish to dark blue. I'd try it out on a spare lens & see what gives.
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Old 08-11-2016
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I just might. I've got like four blue lenses lying around. Know where a guy could get some of that? Like a hobby store, maybe?
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Old 08-12-2016
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*

Last edited by StrangerRanger99; 08-12-2016 at 01:15 PM. Reason: Double post
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Old 08-12-2016
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Hobby stores, Walmart in the sewing section, grocery stores, it's pretty common stuff. I've seen it lots of places. Just remember to do some climate control diffusers in the same batch. Gotta keep things even.
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Old 08-12-2016
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I removed the diffiuser from my HVAC, so the raw color of my blue LEDs shines through unobstructed. had I left it in there, even though it was blue, it wouldn't have matched my cluster.
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Old 08-13-2016
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Soo...silicon molds. This is my very first attempt at anything like this so I'm still in the experimental stages here but...I've got myself a couple rather ugly but entirely useable silicon molds, one of the OHC lens itself & one of the light diffuser in the hvac controls. OK 1 3/4 molds, you have to paint this stuff on in many thin layers & since I had to do both sides of the lens & only one side of the diffusers the lens mold is still "working". But I couldn't help but to experiment, both with my new mold & also tinting the resin red. First I cast some wax & they came out great! Perfect little wax diffusers, useless for anything but to green light the next step. Picked up some some casting resin with a 50% off coupon (this stuff ain't exactly cheap, but I am) and a small jar of transparent red acrylic in the model car section, model master brand to be exact. Mixed up a very small (1 Tbsp) batch, dripped 4 drops of acrylic & mixed it up. Well it's gonna take a day to cure & by then the lens mold will be ready. When the experimental hvac diffusers are cured I will post a pic of what I end up with, but it's definitely red.
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Old 08-13-2016
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Well I might as well mention the since its been bugging me since I did it. My gauge faces are Red/Amber sure enough but my end goal was to use LED bulbs, even got 10 of the little guys. Well sanding & painting my gauges was all well & good the glass paint I used doesn't create a smooth appearance, I tried my LED bulbs but the whole thing looks like garbage with em in, so back to incandescent since they kinda mask any imperfections with their Amber glow. But yesterday while at the hobby shop I found what I wanted to use in the first place, sheets of tinted plastic the size of a sheet of paper. Looks like my gauges are gonna get an ocd do-over, the plastic sheet will disperse the light of the led more evenly than that glass paint does plus I can cut it to customize each icon 2 colors (my seatbelt light the belt is white & the little guy is amber). That & for some reason I sanded the green turning arrows & painted them green again (I know) which resulted in anything but green arrows at night, another detail that bugs me. Should be easy to do the hvac too using the old green diffuser as a template. I sometimes am envious of people who can just leave stuff alone, ugh.
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Old 08-14-2016
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Well guys I was a little productive, first thing I did today was mount my overhead console, not too bad of a thing once you get past the fact that you're about to chop up a perfectly good headliner & carve some holes in your roof. But mounting it wasn't all that bad really, I just drilled a couple holes for the elongated openings in the roof & dremeled those suckers out, I did however remove the headliner so as not to burn the thing with the sparks coming off the dremel, maybe an hour to install. But mounting is as far as I got, I had to chop the harness off of the donor at the base of the A-pillar because I couldn't be bothered to properly take that Expo apart that particular day, so I was forced to dig into my Jaguar parts harness. I love that friggin thing, I was able to color match every wire down to the stripes, less confusion. After brushing up on my soldering skills I tidied everything up & labeled each connection and I'm ready to go, probably finish it up tomorrow.

Another thing I did was check on my casted parts. The hvac diffusers were ready & they came out GREAT! So much so that I had been using this set as an experiment but they were perfect so they went in the truck. I've still got a day before the OHC lens is cured then it's gonna take some cleaning up but I'm hopeful it'll go smooth.

I also took the opportunity to repair my dome light, a MOD I did a while back but never mentioned. I searched long & long for the one that looks like bug eyes or something, found one, installed it & immediately broke it, D'oh! Pulled the back two mounting points clean off the housing, so I got some left over jb plastiweld & fixed it, I however have yet to put the cover on because I still have to remove it once more & I don't have confidence that I won't just rip the thing off like the hulk. I had originally bought a mustang dome but nobody ever mentions those things look like dog **** in a reg cab. Seriously, it's like twice as wide as the hump in the headliner & looks like its got wings, total garbage. I delegated that POS to my parts pile, never to shine again.

Also pulled my sub woofer out to troubleshoot the no sound problem it was giving me & decided to snap a pic of the cut out I created, you know, because pictures make the forum fun!

All & all not too bad for a lazy Sunday, although I now feel the need to install my glove box light as I'll have everything opened up for the OHC wiring & after that I don't wanna pull my dash apart for at least a week.
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  #24  
Old 08-15-2016
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Sweet silicone job, dude. Just wait until you see those that with white LEDs in there. Nice craftsmanship. I oughta make a blue set.....

EDIT: Wiring in an overhead console really won't take all that long. It's all about finding existing connections and tapping into them. Radio bezel and the lower shin panel on the driver's side are all that need to come out to wire it in, along with the driver's side A pillar to run the wires down. It can be done in a day if you know what wires you're looking for and know where to find 'em.

The glovebox light is dirt simple. All you need is one positive wire. You can grab it off the battery saver circuit (light green with orange) or a cigar socket. In my opinion it makes no difference. A 194 isn't going to drain your battery over night, let alone an LED bulb. The hard part is getting the latch aligned. All in all it should only take you 15 minutes for the glovebox light. Another great mod.

To spice up your interior, you ought to consider some XLT door panels. Plug and play swap. Crown victora ***** also look nice, along with their matching HVAC. I'll post pics if you'd like. I think I've already got one.....

EDIT2: Here it is.

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Last edited by TheArcticWolf1911; 08-15-2016 at 12:18 AM.
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  #25  
Old 08-15-2016
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Thanks theArcticWolf for the words of encouragement. I have already familiarized myself with the wiring process, have a guide bookmarked & my harness soldered & labeled, I'm ready. It should be said I like to be prepared before I start any project and always do way too much research.

Yeah those diffusers came out pretty nice, Led's are gonna wait still until I redo my gauges.

Xlt door panels are already on my list, just waiting on a set that's not trashed to come through my local yard. I want me some map pockets although I prefer the looks of the stockers.
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