Custom dash for RHD to LHD conversion - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 5th, 2013, 04:36 PM
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Custom dash for RHD to LHD conversion

As part of my general rebuild of my RHD D90 to LHD... plus a few other minor mods that are in my rebuild thread here http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ad.php?t=36827

I need to sort out a decent dash board... however, the lower LHD plenum box is in prity poor condition and to restore will cost quite a few $, also the heater output for our cold winters is at best marginal. So, got me thinking.... why not just ditch the lot & start from scratch again, I know there are a few threads around on building custom LHD dash's but thought I'd stick mine up for reference.

Starting point was a new heater/AC unit... might as well, whilst were at it

Found these : http://www.vintageair.com/index.asp

What I like about them is all the vent flaps are servo controlled so there are no restrictive control push/pull cables to have to worry about routing like the old LR heater. They also have a number of universal units of varying physical size.

Next to see if I can get the loan of the mock up cases they list from a local supplier in Vancouver, can work on the layout of the dash then.

Am rather fond of the Lara Croft dash... although it would look a lot better in crinkle finish black powdercoat
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  #2  
Old January 5th, 2013, 09:37 PM
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Interested to see how you go with this project. Sub'd
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  #3  
Old January 6th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landy_Andy View Post
As part of my general rebuild of my RHD D90 to LHD...
We have so many parts fabricated, have often thought about making a custom aluminum or steel dash complete with much more robust heat and AC.

When you consider that a stock LHD dash (costs something like $2,000) and 300TDI Style AC units cost about the same amount (give or take a few $100 here or there), the way I see it, you have a budget of around $4K to work with and the opportunity to create some real HVAC.

Black crinkle paint around the instruments would work with the rest painted or powder coated or you could fab the dash to take the genuine article Defender instrument cluster. A good upholstery shop could make up some padded panels with a metal backing strip complete with 6mm studs, for easy attachment in case you decide to have portions padded.

It will be an interesting project to follow as it evolves.
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  #4  
Old January 6th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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As someone working on the same issue, interested to follow this one.
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  #5  
Old January 6th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdavisinva View Post
When you consider that a stock LHD dash (costs something like $2,000) and 300TDI Style AC units cost about the same amount (give or take a few $100 here or there), the way I see it, you have a budget of around $4K to work with and the opportunity to create some real HVAC..
If it's up to the wife, I have a budget of about $400.... at the end of the day, as long as I can get a decent working heater that'll keep the screen demisted I'll be happy. Getting stuff made local is real hard, were 3hrs drive from the nearest large city, everything has to go by post or make it yourself.
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  #6  
Old January 7th, 2013, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the link...

As my truck is a bit of a hybrid & automatic, can someone measure the distance from the bulkhead (where the lower dash panel screws on) to the gear stick in it's most forward position.

Both units that look best fit are ~8" deep and will obviously stick out further than the old lower dash panel. So, want to see if that'd work on a stick shift.

Am also, 99% certain the wiring loom will have to be relocated from the hole in the middle of the bulkhead to a new one behind the fuse holders to leave a clear mounting area for the heater unit. Heater & aircon pipes are on the RHS for both units so having them pass through the old heater air hole seem sensible.

Only drawback (not too sure if it really is) that I can see at present is that all the Vintage Air units are recirc only & there is no provision for fresh air into the unit. I'm intending on sealing off the dash vent flaps to free up a bit more space.... thoughts ?
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  #7  
Old January 7th, 2013, 06:33 PM
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Had a good chat with the local VA distributor, have hired the mock-up box for the Gen-II Compac unit. It's slightly larger than the Mini but all the pipes come out on the top so I'm hoping it'll be able to hang down partially below the dash in the area of the fuse box. That'd leave space above I think for the fuses/relays if there all turned upside down & the bracket remounted. This would make install easier as you don't have to pull the loom out to install back into a new hole

It also draws all it's air through the front of the fan by the pipe connections so there is an opportunity to add a fresh air feed into this area once the cover is on. I was thinking that the optional hot water control valve could be modified to operate a simple flap valve in a 2.5" pipe, this would give a nice variable air feed.
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  #8  
Old January 7th, 2013, 10:09 PM
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Was hunting round for dash vents... found this kit from Mudstuff... nice if you want to mod your existing dash but 133 pounds will buy quite a few vents & ducting

http://www.mudstuff.co.uk/DefenderVENT.shtml
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  #9  
Old January 8th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Found this last night....

http://www.oldairproducts.com/catalo...er-p-4439.html

Might be a good way of introducing fresh air into the system.... ?
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  #10  
Old January 10th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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Andy,

I did a custom dash a while back (but still an ongoing project), and posted some pictures of it in a "custom dash" thread. I don't have any pictures of the dash on hand now, but i do have some pictures of the Oldair AC unit I installed.

Since the stock heater and stock AC didn't work very well, I wanted to replace both units with a comb unit that worked better and could be serviced. I also wanted to get some of the passenger foot well back (the stock AC took up a lot of real estate). I choose the Oldair because it looked like a nice compact unit that would fit the space the best. I fabed up the aluminum enclosure in the last picture so the unit sits half inside the firewall and half outside. I don't have any interior shots but it barely takes up any of the passenger footwell area.
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  #11  
Old January 10th, 2013, 11:15 PM
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Hi Matt,

Thanks for the input, I did look at the Oldair units but decided to go with the Vintage as it looked a better fit in the 'oh so roomy' cab...

Got the mock up unit in the post today and.... doh, they sent me the 'mini' and not the 'compac', at least I get to compare them back to back now for no extra postage

Do you have a dxf file for your dash panel that I could 'borrow'.... would save us a few hours measuring things up.

Cheers,
Andy

PS... you posted on one of my very old threads back in '04 when I was first building my 3 link setup. Buck gave us some real stick then about my centre link not lasting.... interesting to note I'm still on my first set of centre link polybushes....
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  #12  
Old March 18th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Any update on this would love to see some progress pictures? I am considering something similar? Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landy_Andy View Post
Hi Matt,

Thanks for the input, I did look at the Oldair units but decided to go with the Vintage as it looked a better fit in the 'oh so roomy' cab...

Got the mock up unit in the post today and.... doh, they sent me the 'mini' and not the 'compac', at least I get to compare them back to back now for no extra postage

Do you have a dxf file for your dash panel that I could 'borrow'.... would save us a few hours measuring things up.

Cheers,
Andy

PS... you posted on one of my very old threads back in '04 when I was first building my 3 link setup. Buck gave us some real stick then about my centre link not lasting.... interesting to note I'm still on my first set of centre link polybushes....
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  #13  
Old March 18th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Sorry... not yet, still rebuilding the rest of the D90... have the Vintage Air unit sat in a box waiting... hopefully in the next month or so I'll get onto the dash rebuild.
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  #14  
Old November 17th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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Thought I'd bring this thread back with a minor update.... so, have now got my Allisport rad sat in the truck & there is very little room in front of it (due to the 8274 winch) to fit the aircon condenser, let alone a aux fan on it.

Darn.... got me thinking a bit more logically, do I really need aircon on what is really at the end of the day a dedicated trail truck (that's road legal). I can see I'll be running it all summer with the door tops off at least or with some tube style doors for easy vision. In that instance aircon is going to be a bit pointless.

Now, I have the option of using the LHD heater I already have (with a minor mod to the fan hsg to clear the tubular wing) or just build my own that mounts in the cab using new parts. This got me looking at the 'universal heaters' available but I can't find any that have a fresh air / recirc option.

Spal make some very nice centrifugal blowers that can have the air input fed from a flex pipe, this gives the option of adding a servo driven 'blend door' to allow selection of fresh or recirc air or a mixture.

Looking around the GM HVAC servo is a stand alone unit only needing a 12v supply and a variable resistor to control it, there also cheap & plentiful on Ebay. Again, Ebay has a huge range of heater cores to choose from and there also available from some of the aftermarket universal heater manufacturers as spares. That's prob a better option as they tend to have straight pipes & you can work the approximate size out from the box dimensions.

So, my thoughts at present is to make a custom heater box to mount in the cab above the trans tunnel fed from a small plenum box with a blend door mounted over the original bulkhead heater hole.

That's about as far as I've got at present.... but I do have about 6mths of winter to work on it
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  #15  
Old December 12th, 2013, 12:03 AM
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Made a start today on the custom dash, decided to use the Vintage Air A/C unit as I already had it & they get good reviews. So, made up a small cradle from 3/4" 100 wall tube & some strip stock to mount the A/C unit just off centre on the bulkhead.



Here I have the A/C unit sat in the cradle.





Sitting in the drivers seat the unit doesn't intrude too much into the cabin and no more than the dash in a Puma from my trip back to the UK last month.

Next to get the heater & A/C pipes through the firewall and I'm thinking that I'll blank off the hole I cut for the LHD heater box, leaving a good sized space for a glove box. Current thoughts on the dash is to retain the top crash pad & my old RHD instrument binnacle. Above the A/C unit will be my switch and aux gauge panel with round vents on either side & at the end of the dash too, might be able to get some small side window defrost ones as well if the fan puts out enough flow.
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  #16  
Old December 12th, 2013, 12:07 AM
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Nice...
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  #17  
Old December 14th, 2013, 10:36 PM
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Finished off the motor mounting tab on the A/C cradle, makes it a lot more solid now.



Fitted the original RHD instrument binnacle on centre of the steering column, works well and doesn't look out of place.





I think now the new dash will be easier to make in 3 sections, two separate ends and a centre cover for the A/C unit. Looking at the relative sizes the centre section could also incorporate a dash top pod to hold additional gauges. There also looks to be enough room above the A/C unit fan motor to fit a single DIN radio.

Splitting the dash into 3 sections will also make fabrication easier as I can bend it all up myself on my small box/pan bender. Still undecided on material, alum would be best for weight but I don't have TIG so will have to sub out the welding & it also means I can't tack it together.
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  #18  
Old December 15th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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Like these vents from T7Designs -

http://www.t7design.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=67&products _id=186

They physically snap into the dash, rather than rely on the hose to hold them in place and fit both 2" & 2.5" hose

And these defrost vents too as there not very tall to fit under the dash top & leave room for the hoses -

http://www.t7design.co.uk/index.php?...roducts_id=317

Have started to work on the sheet metal now & teaching myself Solidworks at the same time.... bought a (legit) copy a few years ago and never really had a project to use it on (or it was quicker to do in ACad than start learning a new package) but this dash is an ideal learning tool.

Spent a few hours last night with on-line tutorials getting into the basics..... and man is it easy to create sheet metal parts
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  #19  
Old December 15th, 2013, 04:15 PM
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I bought the same swivel pop vents for my AC project.

I do a bit of hobbyist level 3D design. A custom dash has crossed my mind but its not in the cards right now.

I had envisioned 2 outer rib/ hand holds like the standard dash. 2 inner ribs slightly longer than the outer ribs and two inner ribs that were substantially longer and would go from dash to the fuse panel mounting point. ribs will be located by spars close to the bulk head and the rest is tabs and ABS plastic sheet. The ribs can be shaped to go around the AC unit and other random land rover designed bits.

Well either way with the holidays approaching I might find some time to do some pencil sketches I'll send them your way so you can get an idea of the madness that lives in my head.

Oscar
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  #20  
Old December 16th, 2013, 12:18 AM
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Was thinking more along the lines of formed sheet sections either bolted together or welded. If I make it out of alum then it'll prob be mostly bolted as I don't have TIG at present. Still learning the basics of Solidworks at present !
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