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Thread: Carl's 20th Anniversary #8690 - The Build Begins 8/19/18

  1. #81
    Senior Member BadAsp427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardb View Post

    That dash is the "street" layout as you probably know. Traditionally the speedo is all the way on the left and the tach on the right. Check some vintage pictures. But do it the way you like.
    I guess it is all up to the builder. But it just seemed that all the dashes that were similar to mine had the spedo on the right and I guess I just got used to that idea. I just went to the FFR page and looked at the gallery of their Mk4s and all of them have the spedo on the right side of the tach. I think that if it is a "street" version, the Spedo is more important and if you were looking to race, the Tach would be best to be the most prominent.

    So question, using three diodes, do you think I could hook up "idiot light" wires to one light from all three circuits? Charging, Oil Pressure and Water Temp? I guess I would have to have separate sending units for the lights though.... Hmmmm

    Mk4 20th Anniversary #8690 ( #8 of 20 ) Purchased 8/18/18 Started 8/19/18
    Build Thread Click Here

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAsp427 View Post
    I was just looking at the most recent RF manual on FFR Instructions page. I think that the lights will actually dim with the headlight switch. At least according to page 55, 56 of the instructions. That would be kinda cool, but I'm not really that concerned as to how I dim them. They actually recommend to turn the small knob to full clockwise and zip tie it up with all the rest of the wires in the dash and just use the headlight switch.
    Well, that's nice but it's wrong. The backlighting on those gauges is AC powered panels. Speedhut has technical details on their website. It only dims with the inverter and the variable knob included with the gauges. The only thing turning the headlight knob does is vary DC voltage, which turns the Speedhut backlighting from full on to full off when it falls below a certain threshold. You don't have to take my word for it. You'll find out for yourself when you wire it up and see how it works. Pretty sure this error in the manual has been discussed before BTW.

    Speaking of the manual, I'd encourage again to be careful with that version of the manual. The harness you have with your kit is the earlier version, and I'd recommend using the harness manual that came with your kit. I received the new version of the harness and manual with my Gen 3 Coupe kit, and I've had the chance to compare the two side-by-side. There are differences.
    Last edited by edwardb; 09-22-2018 at 10:32 PM.
    Build 1: Mk3 Roadster #5125. Sold 11/08/2014.
    Build 2: Mk4 Roadster #7750. Sold 04/10/2017. #7750 Build Thread
    Build 3: Mk4 Roadster 20th Anniversary #8674. 03 of 20. 2015 crate Coyote, 2015 IRS. Legal 04/18/2017. #8674 Build Thread
    Build 4: Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe #59. Delivered 12/2/2017. #59 Coupe Build Thread

  3. #83
    Senior Member BadAsp427's Avatar
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    That makes sense... Thanks again Paul... you are the best!!!

    Mk4 20th Anniversary #8690 ( #8 of 20 ) Purchased 8/18/18 Started 8/19/18
    Build Thread Click Here

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAsp427 View Post
    I guess it is all up to the builder. But it just seemed that all the dashes that were similar to mine had the spedo on the right and I guess I just got used to that idea. I just went to the FFR page and looked at the gallery of their Mk4s and all of them have the spedo on the right side of the tach. I think that if it is a "street" version, the Spedo is more important and if you were looking to race, the Tach would be best to be the most prominent.

    So question, using three diodes, do you think I could hook up "idiot light" wires to one light from all three circuits? Charging, Oil Pressure and Water Temp? I guess I would have to have separate sending units for the lights though.... Hmmmm
    Clicked around just for grins looking at original Cobra pictures. For this dash layout, confirmed there are examples of both. Speedo on the right, speedo on the left. Same answer. Do it the way you want. As for adding idiot lights, the Speedhut gauges and sending units don't support them. There are aftermarket kits you can add, but require additional sending units, power, etc. Charging is relatively straightforward. Below a threshold voltage and light the light. But both oil pressure and water temp (especially oil pressure) can be all over the place, depending on engine temp, RPM, ambient temp, how hard you're pushing things, etc. IMO, there's no substitute for watching the gauges under various conditions and learning exactly how they operate "normally." You'll quickly become attuned to what that should be and should notice if something seems different. As far as lighting a single light from multiple sources, probably technically possible. But then you look at the gauges to see which one is causing the fault? Why not just watch the gauges? Personally, I kind of enjoy scanning the gauges while driving. Part of the whole experience seeing what's happening as well as making sure all is OK.
    Build 1: Mk3 Roadster #5125. Sold 11/08/2014.
    Build 2: Mk4 Roadster #7750. Sold 04/10/2017. #7750 Build Thread
    Build 3: Mk4 Roadster 20th Anniversary #8674. 03 of 20. 2015 crate Coyote, 2015 IRS. Legal 04/18/2017. #8674 Build Thread
    Build 4: Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe #59. Delivered 12/2/2017. #59 Coupe Build Thread

  5. #85
    Senior Member BadAsp427's Avatar
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    This entire weekend was pretty much devoted to the dash and the wiring for the dash. This morning started out with a little cool look into the future. I have the gauges installed in the dash and hooked up the lighting wiring and brought the gauges to life, at least the lights.... and 20th Anniversary #008 looks alive... It was pretty cool, even had the GPS connected... I actually got a good bit done, but it is too late to really post it all here, but I will say it is looking good. I'll post much more tomorrow...

    IMG_1729.jpg IMG_1731.JPG

    Mk4 20th Anniversary #8690 ( #8 of 20 ) Purchased 8/18/18 Started 8/19/18
    Build Thread Click Here

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  7. #86
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by BadAsp427 View Post
    This entire weekend was pretty much devoted to the dash and the wiring for the dash. This morning started out with a little cool look into the future. I have the gauges installed in the dash and hooked up the lighting wiring and brought the gauges to life, at least the lights.... and 20th Anniversary #008 looks alive... It was pretty cool, even had the GPS connected... I actually got a good bit done, but it is too late to really post it all here, but I will say it is looking good. I'll post much more tomorrow...

    IMG_1729.jpg IMG_1731.JPG

    Nice job on that dashboard. It looks awesome!

  8. #87
    Senior Member BadAsp427's Avatar
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    Dash Board Assembly and Wiring

    As indicated in the previous few posts I've been working on the dash board. To start off, I have the vinyl padded dash that came pre cut for the gauges. The only holes that I had to cut were for the turn & high beam indicator lights, the Turn & Hazard toggle switches and a hole for the Heater/Defroster control knob. I decided that I was not going to use the hidden fastener option and also had to drill the holes for the fasteners across the top of the dash into the dash hoop. Much like drilling into a completed paint job, it was a bit nerve racking to drill into this dash as there really isn't any easy fix for a mess up that can be covered so there was a lot of measuring and then just before I drilled, I measured a few more times. I guess the biggest thing about the dash is a lot of planning needs to go into this as there is a lot going on. Things like where the wiring harness is laying inside the firewall and where the connectors are at. Remember, that harness is not the most flexible and the less you have to bend it/them around the better and cleaner the area will look. (if there is such a thing as clean looking in there.) Also, the heater/defroster control cable is pretty stiff so I have not actually installed it just yet as I want to know exactly where my heater hoses and engine connections are going to be so I'm holding off on drilling into my firewall until my engine is here and I can either measure it or actually have it in place. But, all the wiring is ready.

    Blank Dash and Gauges as delivered:
    IMG_1707.jpg

    So to start my dash, I actually took a bunch of pictures of each indicator light that I mounted into a piece of black plastic. (in my case it was some of my glove box modification left over plastic) I would use these photos in "Paint" to create a photo of what I would want my dash to look like in final set up. I do not have photo shop, that would have been much easier, but I made due and it actually came out pretty good.

    This is the photo that I created by first taking a photo of the new dash with only the gauges installed in my desired location. And then using Paint, I inserted photos of all the other items. (note: I used text box to add the names, I will not be actually putting names on the finished dash)
    Dash Board Mock Up-v1.jpg
    My final version looks very similar, I only made a couple changes to this. I decided to mount my wiper switch under the dash (do not hope to use it very often) and I also decided against the idiot red light in the middle of the gauges. Here is the final actual dash photo. Only thing missing is the heater control knob, but the hole is drilled. (more on that below)
    Actual Dash Board Final Look.jpg

    So let's talk about a couple items in this install that has cause me some grief, perhaps this will help you avoid the same grief.

    First thing, at some point you will put your dash up on the dash hoop to "test fit" it. When you do this, be sure to mark the bottom of the hoop on the back of your dash so that you know where you can or better stated, can not put things. You will be surprised at just how far from the top of the dash back that you can not mount things. Now, I did NOT do that and paid the price in a couple small ways and got real lucky on a couple others.

    The first problem actually was not my doing. With the dash in position, as described in the build manual, my tachometer (furthest large gauge to the left) actually has zero clearance to the bottom of the dash hoop with my fasteners are installed. I had to lower my nutsert to the very bottom of the hoop. Fortunately I had only drilled a single 1/8" hole before I discovered this issue so all was good in the end. But even with that 1/8" move, I have to have the gauge mounting color turned just right so that the little grip bumps do not hit the hoop. Whew, glad this worked out as I had all ready drilled my mounting hold through the dash front.

    The second problem that I created for myself was that I mounted (epoxied) the small inverter for the gauge lights to the back of the dash board to help create a controlled/clean install. Well, when I did this, I put it on in an area that was "well below" the top of the dash. Actually, it was about 1/32nd of an inch too high and I have actually had to pry it off of the dash in order to mount it. But as it turned out, that is a good thing... (more on the in a minute)
    Guage Light Invertor Epoxy Attached.jpg

    Ok, those where the two ahhh S#@$ moments...

    One of the minor modifications I've had to make was for the hole that the heater/defroster knob is going to go through. This is a combo, turn switch with four positions, off-low-med-high fan speeds. And it is a push in and out for heat adjustment. This is a very stiff solid cable that will open and close the water valve to be attached later to the heater hose from the engine. So, on the vinyl dash it isn't the most conducive to this switch/cable combo. So I had to beef it up a little on the back. First thing to know is that the turning of the knob is actually pretty stiff between indents so they have a anti twist design with one edge of the attachment point flat. Ever drill a hole with a flat edge?
    IMG_1733.JPG

    To prepare for the mounting of this, I drilled the hole in the dash a little smaller than what my final size would be. Then I fabricated a backing plate out of aluminum that I epoxied onto the back of the dash. I then used my drimel tool to open the vinyl dash up to match. My hope is the combination of the dash and the aluminum will hold it all in place. Now, for whatever reason, the threaded area on the switch is only about 3/8" deep so it made it difficult to get a bite with the nut on the front side, but I got it to bite and was able to compress the dash padding and tighten it down. I think this will work ok and I'll have to mound a dash to fire wall support just under the switch location to prevent the dash from moving in and out as the heat is adjusted. In the photo, I had all ready used a razor blade to remove the excess epoxy that had "squeezed" out the holes I drilled for that purpose. The switch has a large flat body that those bumps interfered with. And another, I got lucky moment. I had not put the head light switch in before I measured and drilled the hole hole for the heater switch. I was very luck, it had room as the headlight switch is rather large. My saving grace was that I had just measure the distance between the factory holes for the horn, ignition and headlight switch and kept that distance the same between the headlight switch and my heater switch hole.
    Heater Switch Back Plate - Next to headlight switch.jpg
    Heater Switch Hole location.jpg

    So onto the wiring. Back in 2015 when this kit was originally ordered, the version of the Ron Francis Harness was not designed for the new style gauges and did not have the correct plugins. So I had to install connectors on each of my gauge sending unit wires a connector that would allow me to connect to the RF harness. Not a difficult task, just a bit time consuming as I did solder each of those connections as well as put heat shrink tubing on every one. Once my engine is here, I will get to do a similar task for each of the sending units. Here is what that wiring completed and zip tied/cleaned up looks like.
    Wiring Completed Close Up.jpg


    Ok... so I eluded to a problem earlier in this post with the location of the gauge lighting inverter box that I had to remove to clear the dash hoop. After I had completed the task of actually hanging my dash in place, installing all the braces, fasteners and admiring my work from a distance, I put battery power to the RF wiring harness. (simulating connection to the starter and ground.) Great... no sparks... or smoke... I turned the key on and every thing looked good. The GPS Spedo acquired satellite, the volt gauge went up to correct voltage and the rest of the gauges made there little start up bump movement. All looks great. Then I pulled out the headlight switch to turn on the gauge lights. They came on, and looked great... Here is where I ran into a problem. When I tried to adjust the brightness of the gauges with the gauge control knob, they did not dim. They did nothing... but they sure looked good.
    IMG_1731.JPG
    When I fiddled with the wiring going to the back of the Potentiometer I found there was a bad factory connection internally. I found that if I held my left foot in one direction and put my finger in my right ear, the knob would then properly dim and control the lights. Bottom line, Speedhut is sending me a complete new harness assembly for my gauges. The bad news, I get to take the back of my dash / wiring apart and re-due it with the new harness... the good news, I get a second chance to epoxy the inverter to the back of my dash in a location that is about 1/8" lower then I had it in the first place....

    Final installed photo:
    IMG_1782.jpg

    I'm so glad that this part of the build is 85% completed and out of the way. I actually enjoyed it, but I guess part of my problem was that I was a bit tired both days that I was working on it so I had a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around some aspects. Once I got to work on it with a fresh / clear, non fatigued brain, it wasn't that bad. I hope something in this post can help someone in the future...

    Mk4 20th Anniversary #8690 ( #8 of 20 ) Purchased 8/18/18 Started 8/19/18
    Build Thread Click Here

  9. #88


    Not a waxer
    Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    I'd advise against making the inverter installation too permanent by means of epoxy, etc. As you've already found out they are prone to failure and this may not be the only one you'll have to replace (this is the voice of 3 bad ones speaking).

    Jeff

  10. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAsp427 View Post
    This is the photo that I created by first taking a photo of the new dash with only the gauges installed in my desired location. And then using Paint, I inserted photos of all the other items. (note: I used text box to add the names, I will not be actually putting names on the finished dash)
    Dash Board Mock Up-v1.jpg
    My final version looks very similar, I only made a couple changes to this. I decided to mount my wiper switch under the dash (do not hope to use it very often) and I also decided against the idiot red light in the middle of the gauges. Here is the final actual dash photo. Only thing missing is the heater control knob, but the hole is drilled. (more on that below)
    Actual Dash Board Final Look.jpg
    In the spirit of learning from others, I have my turn switch mounted on the left side as well and I'm going to move it over to the center at some point.
    The gymnastics involved with steering with the left hand and shifting with the right hand becomes unsafe when you have to switch steering hands to flip the signal switch. Keeping the left hand dedicated to the steering wheel is my advice.

    Also, the left hand side of that dash gets very small and angled/tucked up under the body/door. You might consider dropping the body on to see how it fits over there.

    Looking good!

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