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Norm-L
08-09-2017, 10:33 PM
Last year, I decided to get a GPS/stereo to make it a bit easier to find car show locations. Against my better judgment, I picked a single din radio with a pop-up screen. T-Bird dashes are so sleek that I was sure I wouldn't like the radio sticking out over an inch even with the screen retracted. I was right. It didn't look the way I wanted it to. After seeing that a couple of people had modified their dashes to fit a double-din radio, I realized that it could be done without interference from the air ducts behind the dash, so I figured I'd take on the challenge. My goal was to make it so that people unfamiliar with MN12s would not even know there was a mod. I also wanted to keep my indicator lights. I got myself a Kenwood DNX573s, 2 junkyard dash panels to combine into one, some LEDS, and taught myself some plastic welding. This is what I came up with.

I cut out the divider and moved it up, which left just enough room for the new indicator lights.
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I mounted the LEDS, 2 per indicator, to the plastic radio/climate control mount
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LED test
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Cutting the dash frame was he only mod I needed for clearance.
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to be continued......

Norm-L
08-09-2017, 10:52 PM
Side by side. I didn't want to modify the original.
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I was able to use the empty space behind the radio to build some mounts for the relocated indicator circuit board. Luckily, after drilling a hole in the bottom of the radio mount, the original harness was able to reach the circuit board without having to do any electrical work. The only thing I needed to extend was the bundle of vacuum lines for the selector on the climate control unit. I ran wires through the original bulb sockets to feed power to the new LEDs mounted above the radio. This also makes the LED assembly easy to remove if needed. This whole LED/circuit board package can be easily removed for future repair. I had a local shop print a decal based on the style of 2 of the original indicators and applied it to a piece of a cell phone screen protector I attached to the back of the dash panel.
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The finished product
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It took some time to get this together, but it was worth it to me. It was nice that Kenwood accommodates custom backgrounds, so I was able to use a popular T-Bird logo as mine.
I also took this time to repair and strengthen all the mounts for the clips that hold these panels into the dash. This was definitely a weak point from the factory on these dashes. These were broken off of every panel I found.

Kurt K
08-09-2017, 11:26 PM
Awesome job!

I've done a little plastic welding myself. Not a horrible job, but not sure I'd be ready to tackle what you did.

TBirdJKC
08-09-2017, 11:41 PM
That looks incredible!!!

KMT
08-09-2017, 11:51 PM
Respect!

Thanks for sharing.

Ken

Norm-L
08-10-2017, 01:30 AM
Thanks guys. I appreciate it.

Creighton
08-10-2017, 01:29 PM
Outstanding. You just saved me a bunch of time. I had just starting working on how to save the VMM with a double din. Thank you sir!!
Creighton

Norm-L
08-10-2017, 10:14 PM
Glad I could help.

David Neibert
08-11-2017, 12:14 PM
Very nice job ! Hope to see you at the Shootout this year.

David

davec73
08-11-2017, 09:32 PM
very nice!

Creighton
08-11-2017, 10:19 PM
What plastic weld system and paint did you use?
Bad photo but need to move Traction Assist on mine. Close but should fit where the vent is. Appears destroy in place will be best option for the micro switch. Will be able to splice in and extend the extra length wire to new relocated switch. Any thoughts welcome. Thanks!!
Creighton

Norm-L
08-12-2017, 06:29 AM
I used a Craftsman soldering iron and cutoff pieces of plastic from the dash as welding rod. I tried to do some research to find the OEM paint used on the TBird dash, but no luck. I ended up taking the finished panel to an auto trim shop where they told me they had good luck with "Plasti-Dip" spray cans you can get at some local parts or hardware stores. I bought the cans at Lowes. You just have to be careful and don't be afraid to start a new can if the nozzle starts spitting. Plasti-Dip gives it that same rubberized feel.

Do you have room on the shifter panel for the switch? I can't remember exactly how the automatic's panel looks. When I originally installed the single din radio, I had a small accident. The radio slipped and the corner dug into my shifter panel. I was so mad at myself for not being cautious enough. I ended up finding some switches I could install there and the damage got cut out in the process (see the pic I attached). One switch interrupts the power for the courtesy lights so I don't kill my battery at car shows and the other is for the intercooler fan. The switches used to be in awkward places that were less than convenient. Some good came out of the little screw-up.

I don't have pics of this, but I have a performance computer I modified to fit where the vent goes. I replaced the back of the computer with part of another vent. I don't use it often, but when I want to, I just have to pop out that vent and the computer snaps into place.

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Norm-L
08-12-2017, 06:45 AM
David,

I would LOVE to go to the shootout. Every year, since I did go, things have happened to make it impossible. I loved seeing so many MN12s in one place. I didn't get to meet enough members last time. I'm trying to make it happen for this year. I just don't have ready access to a trailer and I can't drive it in the rain. I know it may sound pathetic to some, but I don't have the time to address the damage the rain would cause the bare metal under the car. Once it starts rusting, it's pretty much screwed. I'm trying to get into the World Of Wheels in Indy in February. I'll have the same trailer issue then, especially being in winter.

I'm still trying to get to the Shootout, though.

David Neibert
08-12-2017, 09:55 AM
David,

I would LOVE to go to the shootout. Every year, since I did go, things have happened to make it impossible. I loved seeing so many MN12s in one place. I didn't get to meet enough members last time. I'm trying to make it happen for this year. I just don't have ready access to a trailer and I can't drive it in the rain. I know it may sound pathetic to some, but I don't have the time to address the damage the rain would cause the bare metal under the car. Once it starts rusting, it's pretty much screwed. I'm trying to get into the World Of Wheels in Indy in February. I'll have the same trailer issue then, especially being in winter.

I'm still trying to get to the Shootout, though.


I understand the need to transport it on a trailer. If you have a truck the easiest solution is to rent a trailer from Uhaul. Lots of people attending do that. Hope to see you there.

David

Norm-L
08-12-2017, 01:00 PM
I understand the need to transport it on a trailer. If you have a truck the easiest solution is to rent a trailer from Uhaul. Lots of people attending do that. Hope to see you there.

David

I have an Xterra, which can barely get out of its own way, and no trailer hitch, unfortunately. It doesn't mean I can't drive it there if the weather is going to be good. I'll do my best. I really want to go. I didn't even get to stay a full day last time. I never got to the track to see you guys run.

KMT
08-12-2017, 01:16 PM
I have an Xterra, which can barely get out of its own way, and no trailer hitch, unfortunately.

U-Haul rents trucks too, don't they ;)

potshotscott
08-12-2017, 01:45 PM
I absolutely love this modern modification. Makes me wonder if it would be possible to have this molded somewhere overseas. I'd be afraid to mulch good bezels. As for the traction control switch Creighton I'd love to see you put it where the audio label vent is. It seems to have a similar shape - I sometimes think that Ford might have wanted to use that for a switch. The slits don't seem to anything that I am aware of (as in feeding a temp sensor or the like).

KMT
08-12-2017, 01:48 PM
have this molded somewhere overseas.

Sure, I have a guy, no problem, very quick, just $$, but...the unit cost would be high unless you wanted a few hundred thousand of them ;)

Same thing as w/wiper cowls. 3D printing might be more realistic.

Norm-L
08-12-2017, 02:39 PM
I absolutely love this modern modification. Makes me wonder if it would be possible to have this molded somewhere overseas. I'd be afraid to mulch good bezels. As for the traction control switch Creighton I'd love to see you put it where the audio label vent is. It seems to have a similar shape - I sometimes think that Ford might have wanted to use that for a switch. The slits don't seem to anything that I am aware of (as in feeding a temp sensor or the like).

Behind those slits is a sensor that, I believe, reads the interior temperature as part of the automatic climate control. I think the air tube behind the sensor is connected to an air duct, drawing air over the sensor from the passenger compartment.

I thought about having a mold made, but I needed to make sure it fit first. Then, I would have to remove the air vent and clips I had just welded on in order to have a proper mold-ready part. Coolant had been slowly seeping out between the block and the timing chain cover so I ended up having the engine apart all winter, fixing the leak and smoothing out and re-powder coating all the supercharger components and misc parts and detailing and rewiring the engine bay to clean it up some more. When I finally got it done and spring came, I ripped into the dash. I just wanted to finally drive the damn thing. lol Now, the supercharger matches the new Enkei wheels, the bay looks simpler, I can find car shows and no more little puddles. :)

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A couple of before and after shots
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Creighton
08-12-2017, 06:11 PM
Wow! Car looks great.
Creighton

KMT
08-12-2017, 06:33 PM
Stunning bay - needs one of these, perhaps:

http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?134692-Billet-Coolant-Bleeder-Fill-Cap&highlight=billet+coolant

Not sure if he still makes them - only see the bolt.

Ken

Ira R.
08-12-2017, 09:32 PM
Stunning bay - needs one of these, perhaps:

http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?134692-Billet-Coolant-Bleeder-Fill-Cap&highlight=billet+coolant

Not sure if he still makes them - only see the bolt.

Ken

Really, try finding the damn 'O' ring so it seals! Mine's been sitting in my tool box since I got it.

Norm-L
08-13-2017, 02:47 AM
I agree Ken. I saw the aluminum cap at Tbscshop. I really liked the black one with the white lettering, but I got the white plastic one with the stainless bolt. After I received it, I got second thoughts and went back to the site for the black one. It was no longer listed. I didn't see the one you showed in the link. I will say though, I thought it was weird that the cap came with one o-ring. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to go on top or under the cap. I'm not sure it mattered. The cap and bolt weren't o-ring friendly. The o-ring wouldn't seat properly. Part of the o-ring would fall into the hole and I couldn't seal it. To stop the slow leak I had to remove the o-ring. The plastic made a great seal on both the goose neck and the bolt. My original cap didn't have any o-ring either.
I assume you guys have had no leaking problems with the aluminum cap? I would still love to find the black anodized/white lettered cap, but I would hope it was built for 2 o-rings.

Btw, have any of you ever used one of these coolant re-fillers? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001QFDRS0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 OMG!!!!!! It was my first time using one for filling coolant. It was the most unbelievably easy way to refill one of these engines. It was flawless!!! It took about a minute for the coolant to completely and efficiently fill the system.

I also highly recommend these seals to anyone who's had a tough time sealing oil pan or 5-speed drain/fill plugs. Best ones I've ever used. They torque and seal perfectly.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014S1J4TE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Ira, maybe a pair of these would seal that cap.

KMT
08-13-2017, 09:53 AM
I assume you guys have had no leaking problems with the aluminum cap?

I have two - polished, w/no white lettering, and black w/white lettering (currently installed) - neither has ever leaked. Single (small/thin) o-ring on top. Ran the factory bolt w/the polished cap...running his bolt w/black. This is with a rehab'd thermostat housing that included decking the top/end of the bleed standoff.

Ken

Norm-L
08-13-2017, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the info. I'm still interested in finding one, so it's good to know it's reliable.

Norm-L
08-13-2017, 01:03 PM
Outstanding. You just saved me a bunch of time. I had just starting working on how to save the VMM with a double din. Thank you sir!!
Creighton

Keep us updated as you progress.

KMT
08-13-2017, 02:47 PM
I'm still interested in finding one...

Make me an offer on the polished spare I have?

I got it first and then waited for the black, which looks great under the hood of my '90 Anny.

What about the billet sills? Did you get in on those?

Creighton
08-13-2017, 07:19 PM
Thanks! Auto doesn't have room for extra switches there :-(.
Playing with my new WiFi Endoscope. Fine tool.
Does anyone know if this switch is normally-open. This is Traction Control that will need extending.
Thanks!
Creighton

KMT
08-13-2017, 07:53 PM
Does anyone know if this switch is normally-open.

Ford loves to make/break circuits thru a ground, so yes, I believe so. Checked your EVTM?

Creighton
08-13-2017, 08:23 PM
My bet as well. Didn't think EVTM went inside assemblies. Will look. Thanks!
Creighton

potshotscott
08-13-2017, 08:32 PM
Are those bulging capacitors on the left of that image?

Creighton
08-13-2017, 09:35 PM
No. Still sorting this camera. Not what I'm used too.
Creighton

Norm-L
08-13-2017, 09:51 PM
Ford loves to make/break circuits thru a ground, so yes, I believe so. Checked your EVTM?

Very true. I learned the hard way when I tied in my new indicator lights. I made the wrong assumption that the individual circuits were the switched 12v feeds to the bulbs and the common on the bulbs would be the ground but the common fed 12v to all the bulbs. The new LEDs were doing strange things. I was able to fix it when I realized the switches were on the ground side. I

Norm-L
08-13-2017, 10:34 PM
Make me an offer on the polished spare I have?

I got it first and then waited for the black, which looks great under the hood of my '90 Anny.

What about the billet sills? Did you get in on those?

Tell ya what...how much would you like for the polished one?

I know nothing about any billet sills. This is the first I've heard of them.

KMT
08-13-2017, 11:00 PM
I know nothing about any billet sills.

See this thread:
http://www.sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?133850-Aluminum-Door-Sills-Round-2&p=1077742#post1077742

I have two pair, again, one set polished NIB, and one set black, which are installed in my Anny now - same as in the original thread.

I'll PM about the cap.

Ken

Norm-L
08-16-2017, 10:19 PM
U-Haul rents trucks too, don't they ;)

Things are looking better. By buddy agreed to let me use his truck and trailer. Barring any unexpected issues with that deal, I should be able to make it to the Shootout. :D

Creighton
08-16-2017, 10:58 PM
Very nice of him. Hope photo's for those of us 2200 miles one way from the event. Thanks!!
Creighton