Dash Light Dimmer Swith Install - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old October 20th, 2014, 09:26 AM
kgottehrer
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Kevin Gottehrer
1997 D-90 SW
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Dash Light Dimmer Swith Install

Hey,

Newb here. I've done some searching on this but couldn't find what I was looking for. I'm going to be installing some Hella 4000s on the front bumper of my 97 D-90 and to try and preserve the stock look, I was hoping to install a stock dimmer switch (like the one pictured) to control the Hellas on the dash on the left side of the steering wheel next to the existing stock dimmer switch. Any thoughts insight as how to best accomplish this from those who have added rocker switches in this are before? I guess my first question is how best to access the back area of that part of the dash to do the install. I started taking screws out last night to try and get back there but wasn't having much success, so thought I should tap into the Source wisdom before I took the whole dash off . . .

Thanks in advance for your help,

Kevin
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  #2  
Old October 20th, 2014, 10:36 PM
Lemonhead
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TB
1997 D90 SW
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Been there - Done that.

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At the time, best price/source for the switch was Rimmer Brothers - PRC7371 is the part number.

As for trim - previous owner put ugly oversized switch in the spot, so I bought one of these http://www.mudstuff.co.uk/products/e...ang-mount.html and cut the ends off (needed to do this because hole from ugly switch was too big). I may have had to adjust the mounting tabs on the switches themselves by bending them a bit.

As for taking the dash piece out - easy. Pop out AC vent and there's a screw in there. Then a couple trim screws along the bottom I believe and one or two on left hand side. Then wiggle the entire piece out. I'm recalling this from memory as I haven't done it in a couple years - so I may be wrong - but it was easy.

Looks like this.

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Also, make sure to run a heavy gauge wire under the hood for the lights and of course a relay - go for a waterproof relay set up. Make sure to fuse wire correctly and to use grommets when passing through metal! (previous owner didn't in my truck and had a slight battery box fire early on in my ownership).
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  #3  
Old October 22nd, 2014, 05:08 PM
kgottehrer
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Kevin Gottehrer
1997 D-90 SW
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Thanks very much for the very helpful information guys. Couple questions, when I ordered my Hella lights I also ordered, and planned to use, the Hella 4000 wiring harness (http://www.roversnorth.com/printItem...=CK&code=87202) and swap out the different switch, but in looking at both the PRC7371 Switch and the PRC3432 Column Switch something tells me it's not going to be a simple task for the not very electrically inclined (this guy)!

If the Hella wiring harness kit won't work what heavy gauge wire and relay setup would you recommend for this task?

Also, if I go the PRC3432 Steering Column Switch route, how difficult a task is it to get in installed? I see from some other posts that the switch is supposed to go on the right side of the steering column below the wiper switch like in the attached picture but I note that my steering column doesn't have an existing hole to incorporate the switch, so I am assuming I would need to cut a hole. How difficult a task is this? I'm relatively handy but wouldn't feel comfortable cutting up my steering column without pretty comprehensive instructions.
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  #4  
Old October 22nd, 2014, 10:06 PM
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Jon Ruti
'94 D-90, #20
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I did this project last summer. I used the LR genuine PRC7371 dash switch and ordered it from EE (the same place your image came from. I ended up scrapping the whole Hella wiring package and making my own with larger gauge wires, new relays and a blue sea fuse box but this is how you modify that Hella Wiring kit. The rear of the PRC7371 switch has 4 male prongs coming out of it. In Europe the female bullet connector terminals that slide onto those prongs are in abundance, but not so much over here. So you need to slightly modify an electrical terminal to slide over the male prongs.

Here is a rough step by step guide:

1. Cut the goofy hella switch off.
2. Strip the two wires back that led into that hella switch and expose some wire
3. Source an electrical terminal like the one in the top right pic of my first attachment
4. Crimp this "female" terminal mentioned above in step 3 onto each end of the newly exposed hella wires that used to go onto that goofy hella switch.
5. A little finessing here: you will have to "collapse" the circular female terminal onto itself slightly so that it will fit snuggly onto the male prongs coming out of PRC7371 switch (The second attachment shows my female ring terminal ends that slid onto the back of the PRC7371 switch)
6. I used heat shrink everywhere I could.
7. I can't remember which prongs on the back of the PRC7371 activate the light, but just do a little trial and error and you will be fine

Done! It'll take longer than you think as does everything with these cars. I can't speak to the other column mounted switch as I like the dimmer switch look better. I will note that functionally the dimmer switch is rather hard to switch on and off so in theory the column mounted switch would be easier to flick on and off. Or you could get the LR genuine toggle switch that goes in the same area as the dimmer switch (Expedition Exchange sells those as well, but they are less conspicuous in my opinion).

Removing the panel to the dimmer switch is easy as well. As mentioned before you're probably not unfastening the screw inside the heater/ac vent.

Just note that you may run into problems with the length of the wires in the Hella kit depending on where you mount your relay. I remember the wires that lead out of the relay to the switch were relatively short.

Any more questions just ask...
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  #5  
Old October 22nd, 2014, 10:12 PM
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Jon Ruti
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Also, if you do end up ditching the hella wiring kit, here is a list of what I used.

1. Anchor Marine Wire (I used 10 gauge but that was overkill and presented problems as it was hard to manipulate through certain arrears). I literally took the Hella light apart and wired a thicker gauge wire directly to the lamp assembly, but would be much easier with 12 gauge wire.

2. Used all Hella Relays. Put them (I have other lights) into the Hella 4 relay mount)

3. A 12 terminal Blue Seas Fuse Box

4. Anchor Marine heat shrink

All available at West Marine, either online or at retail location.
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  #6  
Old October 22nd, 2014, 10:15 PM
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Jon Ruti
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Forgot to add some pics of the project as it grew...
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  #7  
Old October 23rd, 2014, 11:35 PM
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Robert Lynch
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Just a thought.. Mudstuff.co.uk has e switches that fit exactly into those slots and wire easy.
Crappy photo of it, but simple and easy

It's dark, I'm wearing sunglasses and drinking a beer before URE while throwing crap in the truck.. my only excuse
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  #8  
Old October 24th, 2014, 09:23 AM
kgottehrer
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Kevin Gottehrer
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Jon,

Thanks for the awesome insight Jon. I know I'm going to have some more questions as I move forward but for starters any insight into cutting the hole into the dash piece to insert the dimmer switch? The vinyl in the control panel are is bubbling/pulling off of the plastic and I'm concerned that if I just cut a hole to fit the switch, over time the vinyl will start peeling back around the edges. To help combat that, I was thinking about cutting an X in the area instead.

Thanks,

Kevin
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  #9  
Old October 24th, 2014, 10:11 AM
Roverlab
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Trevor Griffiths
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I'd like to suggest that the column switches are a better option.That rocker switch is a little fragile and pretty expensive.
The purpose of either switch is trigger a good quality relay- I use Hella's waterproof relay for many Rover projects; the relay's job is to handle the load of a large draw, ie: big lights.
How do you want to have the Hella's operate?
They could be live all of the time- flip the switch and they come on. ( Risk running the battery down if you forget that they are on during the daylight!)
Another option is they have an ignition feed- the lights are available only with the key on- engine running or not.
3rd option- they could be available when ever the side lights are active. Would also be available when the headlights are on, no matter which beam.
4th option- they are available whenever the high beams are activated.
#4 is my personal choice: I would use the H4k's when I want a lot of light on road or off, so logically one would use the high beams as well. If the 4k switch is on, they will come on with the high beams and more importantly switch off when you dip the high beams for on-coming traffic. With the switch on, they would also illuminate when you use the flash-to-pass feature, (or more likely flashing lights at other Rovers coming towards you.)
There are plenty of options and ideas from folks who have done this to suit their own needs. I like using Genuine parts to control quality aftermarket components, and making things look they are supposed to be there. There are companies that make the correct color wires for English cars- blue and white or blue and red for headlights, red with yellow for auxillary lamps, etc if you wanted to get fancy.
Post up pix as your project evolves!
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  #10  
Old October 24th, 2014, 10:19 AM
ezzzzzzz
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Mark Garrenton
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^ Not only is #4 the best option it is the law in most states.
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  #11  
Old October 24th, 2014, 10:43 AM
kgottehrer
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Kevin Gottehrer
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Trevor,

I actually already have ordered both the column switch and the dash light dimmer switch so I could go in either direction with the project. All things being equal, I think I would prefer the column switch as well, and if I was to go that direction, Option 4 would be my preferred choice. What I struggle with on the column switch is that with my lack of electrical background I'm pretty intimidated by how to tackle that project. I'm what I would need to buy never mind how to go about installing it. As I mentioned above, I'm not even sure where to cut the hole in the steering column to incorporate the switch.

With the Dimmer Switch and with Jon's very helpful directions, that seems like something I could accomplish. But if someone is willing to give me some guidance on the column switch and convince me that I can handle the job, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Kevin
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  #12  
Old October 24th, 2014, 10:57 AM
Roverlab
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Trevor Griffiths
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Some basic keys: use an in-line fuse and make the electrical connections durable. Secure the harness and anywhere it passes through a metal surface, make sure it's properly protected from abrasion.
It isn't all that technical, but the effort put into quality connections pays off with trouble free operation.
There could be someone down that way who may work for food and could offer tools, guidance, and hands on assistance?
Of course you are welcome to come here, bring the family and spend the weekend at the Hotel Hershey and the Chocolate Spa, but that may not be practical.....
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  #13  
Old October 24th, 2014, 01:53 PM
ezzzzzzz
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Mark Garrenton
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Here's a simple wiring diagram using two 40 amp load relays. Only the second relay carries the serious current for the Hella's. Fuse should be equivalent to the Hella provided one to ensure proper lamp operation with overload protection.
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  #14  
Old October 24th, 2014, 04:40 PM
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Jon Ruti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgottehrer View Post
Jon, Thanks for the awesome insight Jon. I know I'm going to have some more questions as I move forward but for starters any insight into cutting the hole into the dash piece to insert the dimmer switch? The vinyl in the control panel are is bubbling/pulling off of the plastic and I'm concerned that if I just cut a hole to fit the switch, over time the vinyl will start peeling back around the edges. To help combat that, I was thinking about cutting an X in the area instead. Thanks, Kevin
No problem, Kevin! I understand your concern about the vinyl but not to worry as it isn't as pliable or flexible as you'd think.

Here's how you tackle this. Pull out the dash piece with the switch blanks and sit down with it at a table. Grab a beer and an Xacto knife.

Using the Xacto, cut from the INSIDE of the switch blank. You will see once you flip the part over that each switch blank has a thin metal outline around it. This will be your guide for the Xacto. Now, one caveat: every panel of ever rover is a little bit different, so to be smart don't cut exactly around the metal frame, cut a little inside of it, thereby making a smaller hole for the switch. Place switch around hole and see what edges could use a little shaving.

I gradually cut away the vinyl from the inside until the switch could work it's way in there. I wouldn't be worried about the vinyl popping out from under the switch because 1) you carefully trimmed with an Xacto, 2) that switch has a great lip on it that is larger than the hole you are cutting, and 3) although that bubbly vinyl looks cheap, once you cut into it you'll realize it's quite thick and won't move out from under the lip of the switch.

Trust me, once you get that switch through the hole you cut, it's in there super snug.

Cutting an "x" won't work as you'll never be able to push the switch through the vinyls and the hole. The vinyl is just too thick. You'll see that it'll work nicely when you cut out the vinyl using the metal outline as a guide.

I can't speak to the steering column mount but using to the technique described above is quite simple and will get you a really clean stock look. I used all 3 switch blanks and LOVE the way it looks.

Oh yeah, drink beer when finished with project.

Make sure to post some pics as we are all nerds and love looking at this stuff.
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