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1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Gentlemen,
I've been lurking here for a while now. I can't describe how invaluable this forum has been for me. Now its time I bare my ugly head and share what Ive been working on.
I know other members are interested in custom dashes and theres a shortage of information on previous builds so hopefully this thread can help someone else!

Over the last few months, I have begun building a custom dash for my 88 fsb. I wanted something that was more than a straight panel race dash but I also have a lot of limitations tool wise. First I pulled the entire OEM dash and wiring. after lizard skinning and bed lining everything, I figured out my mounting points ( the 4 along the windshield, a member that bolts the vertical brace above the tranny cover, and one on each A column using the factory clip nuts.
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From there I slowly built out until I had a frame that connected all my mounting points. I slowly bent a piece of quarter inch steel rod until it contoured the window mounts. The bottom portion is all 1/2" square tubing stiffened by gussets of 16g.
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Once the frame was built I began adding panels piece by piece.

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Once the Upper panels were tacked on I began fabricating the cowl for all my gauges.
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Registered
1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
Joined
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Heres another picture of the cowl mid fab.
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Once the cowl was built and a good portion of the dash was built I began working on the center console. Same approach as before, I started with my mounting points and built up from there, the reason I did this was so I can ensure everything fits with really tight tolerances during fabrication, then if anything warps from welding it all I have more room to add slop if I need to.

Here are a few pics of the center console frame fabrication. The goal here was to build it in such a way that it would be easy to remove the console from the dash.

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I then began cutting the side panels to contour the dash. Built the center storage box, and added the side panels.
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This is about where I am now, I have ripped the old harness out of the OEM dash and have begun welding all the tabs and mounting points in the new one for all the doo-dads.

My current struggle is figuring out all the hardware to order (stereo, electrical, latches, etc.) for the build.
I don't want to use the OEM washer switch as well as the OEM dimmer switch. I looked into swapping an OBS column into mine so I could have these features on the column but It proved to be a bigger hassle than I have time for this summer. I don't have much experience with 12v electrical systems so my approach has been to keep the OEM harness in one piece as much as possible. One thing I did consider was using an aftermarket fuse box to allow for more individually fused circuits inside the cab. keep in mind I plan on future-proofing by adding a switch panel to the dash/console and wiring it to a relay box in the engine bay for fun things down the line. I didn't have much luck finding options for aftermarket fuse blocks outside of the blue sea style systems and the painless systems so it seems like its probably more trouble than its worth so as it stands I plan on keeping it in the same location and fabricating some brackets for it.

As for the A/C control panel, the cables are broken on mine so I need a new one, which yields the decision of do I grab one from the junkyard, or is there a sexier option for flush-mounted controls. I've looked around and couldn't find anything but I know very little about A/C systems in general. All I really know right now is that I need to fabricate adapters for my factory airbox and run tubing from it to the various vents.


I'd love to hear input and ideas for where to go with it. Any suggestions for what switches to use, cool A/C vents, and control panels, or even systems I should add since I'm building from the ground up. I took a big bite out with this project and I'd love to learn from everyone's experience as to avoid any noobie mistakes!

Thanks all! Go easy on me it's my first post 馃槄
 

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1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks!
Right now Id say the dash weighs around 20-30 and the center console is probably around 40, I'll have to weigh it all when it's done!
 

ate lug
88 + 96 broncos, 96 F250
Joined
8,962 Posts
I use Carling switches for my accessories, you can get lots of good ones here. Ive ordered from them a few times now.

Id stay with the stock defrost-A/C system. You can probably fit an aftermarket defrost-a/c system in there, but youl still have to deal with the stock heater box, and IMO at that point it would be easier to just stay with the stock stuff. The HVAC system is mostly vacuum control, so it shouldnt be too hard to fit the controls into a custom dash, and then its just flex tubing to all the vents.
 

Premium Member
92 Bronco, 408 Stroker, 6R80, 4" lift, 9 inch, ARB lockers, 4.56 gears, Bassani exhaust
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698 Posts
Looks awesome. Great work.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Nice work Love the center console idea. I have napkin skibbled a design similar to your console that fits the factory 78-79 dash. It eliminates the factory ac controls and radio location.
Design uses a single DIN large screen (8-10 inches) mounted at the top for line of sight viewing. Aftermarket AC from RestoMod Air with control and double vents below the head unit . For armrest and storage compartment I will start with Tuffy Universal Console and add to it.

Idea is to have most often used items in line of sight without having to look down. Eyes on the road idea. Any switches will be mounted with easy access with the right hand, no having to reach except for head unit and AC controls. After a few times using switches muscle memory takes over and should be able to hit the correct switch without having to look. By organizing switches by group function it is easier to memorize. Headlights,Wipers, Interior lighting in one group and any exterior lighting in another.
 

Registered
1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
Joined
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@reptillikus Thanks for the link! That site is great! I think ill definitely be getting some switches and USB extenders from them!

@Hillbilly Heaven Ill keep the line of sight in mind when saying out the panels!
 

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Another vote for OTRATTW. I bought my switches from them. Get the plug connectors for the back of the switches with terminals, much better than individual crimp lugs. Makes for a nicer look on the backside plus no worries about vibrating loose.
This is the USB charger port I have. It is 2.4amps per port and fit is same as the Carling switches.

For USB data ports I went with some black anodized dual port billet mount to add a little dress to the console. These guys are great to work with and make some great billet parts.
 

Registered
1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ive run into a bit of a conundrum... I want to replace the factory rotary/push light switch and windshield wiper switch.
Im still trying to figure out what multifunction switch to use for the lights, but i've pretty much decided on this one for the wiper switch.
it comes with options for current ratings, voltage, and a number of relays in the system. I found this diagram on @Steve83's supermotors page.
it makes sense to go with 14v, but I can't find any information on what to choose for the other two options. Does anyone know how many relays are in the intermittent wiper control system?
 

Super Moderator
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28,220 Posts
Yo Kman,
Windshield Wiper Wiring Diagram in 87-89 & F Series;
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鈻犫枴鈻
BTW, I thought I had welcomed you awhile ago, but found my post never appeared!
Here it is;
Here's the 1988 Dealer Brochure by Ford via Edwin Storm @ Hot Cars

Register with VIN to see most Ford dealer maintenance/repairs done @ any dealership nation-wide @ Welcome to Ford Owner | Official Ford Owner Site

For any Bronco questions or to chat about it's planned modifications or build, it's better to post each seperately in Noobie Bronco Tech Questions. Flame free zone. This will get more attention and you can build up your post count to get into other sections such as Bronco and Ford Parts/Accessories (75 posts required to participate due to scammers who preyed on our members).

To save you time and for better responses, please fill out your Bronco info with location, year, engine size, transmission type, transfer case type (manual or electric shift), locking hub type (automatic or manual) info & major mods such as a Lift, etc. .
Bronco info is now able to be put under your user name.
Click your profile button in the top right and go to account settings.


On that first page, named Account Details, scroll down to "Vehicle Info" and type in up to 100 characters.

Now you can simply enter your information in the text editor and click save.

Our Forum FAQs includes for example, How to Use Search and more tips!

See Baba Looey's Favorite FSB Links (lots and lots of tech links)

Find time to Participate and VOTE in our currentbFull-Size of the Quarter Contest and later, Full-Size of the Year Contest @ Voting
You will get ideas by those competing. (AND SOME WILL LIKE YOUR DASH 鈿)
Also see the prizes! They are awesome as compared to other sites' "contests"!

Al
 

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615 Posts
Crazy fab skills, I don鈥檛 think you鈥檙e missing a single tool!
 

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Ok I have a better switch for your wipers. It is a marine wiper switch and doesn't have that toggle that could be easily broken off. It fits in the same Carling mounting dimensions. It even looks like a Carling switch. No relays needed just direct wire. Looking for where I purchased it and the diagrams for it. It looks similar to this one, but this isn't the one I purchased.


I can also help you with the light switch and dash light dimmer in the Carling format just give me a day to dig out this information for you.
 

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Got your dimmer switch. One note though. You need to used a switched ground on all your interior lighting as this dimmer controls the positive side. Not a big problem as long as you plan ahead when buying your backlit switches. I buy all my switches with independent LEDS that way I can control the brightness with the dimmer and also I control all my relays with switched ground anyway. Caution this is a Carling format but the dimmer is a little thicker than a normal switch so you need to open up the mounting hole slightly. Measure it before trying to mount it.
 

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GEESH LOUISE!!! I found the wiper switch but I don't remember it being this pricing! Need to go dig out where I got mine.

Headlight switch coming up. It is from OTRATTW. It is hidden and hard to find in their switch listings.
 

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OK Headlight Switch.
Some explanation maybe needed. If you look at the diagram it says that you use Pin 5 for incoming power don't do that. Instead ground Pin 5. For parking lights and running lights use Pin 3 as a ground signal for that relay and also to ground one side of either LED you chose. Remember you can also use that signal to turn on all backlighting switches. Use Pin 6 as the ground signal for the headlight relay.
 

Registered
1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey guys! Sorry for the delayed response!
Sorry for posting that wiper question in the wrong spot, ill make sure to put my questions in the flame free zone from now on! Got the signature filled out too. Thanks for the advice and the diagram! its perfect @miesk5

I've gotten a bit farther into the build since my last update!
I ended up going with the carling wiper switch, I couldnt find the one @Hillbilly Heaven linked for a better price so I ended up picking up one from spemco.

Heres a few photos of the fabrication of the cluster and its install. The cluster panel attaches from the backside of the dash, this is so that I don't have to pull a bunch of wires through the firewall if I ever want to remove the dash. I can just unbolt the cluster panel and leave it with the rest of the through firewall stuff.
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The center console has gotten some more love, the compartment now has a very very beefy lid and latch, I used some piano hinge made out of 1/16" A36 mild steel. no bolts were used just welds. A 6 gang rocker panel slots nicely into the slot in front of the lid.
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My stereo came in so I could finally start working on the main panel of the center console that houses A/C controls, 2 two switch rocker pods, an E-stop of an old mill that will function as my emergency blinkers, a cobra LX29 CB radio, and the stereo. If anyone has any suggestions for a different A/C control panel to use other than the stock one I would love to hear them!
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(the second rocker pod goes into the small hole on the left and the big slot above the CB is where the A/C controls are going)

I don't have pictures of them (ill post some up later), but the A/C vents are now installed and I'm working on slotting out holes for defrost vents. Now I just need to track down a rare winters sidewinder so I can make the top panel for the center console and then I'll be able to weld it all together!

I also installed a pair of those aftermarket headlight housings, the only ones they make for OBD lel, those spoiled OBS boys should share some of the aftermarket goodies with us. Inside are a pair of DDM Tuning Halogen bulbs.

Now I really just need to put my big boy pants on and wire all the crap up.
 

Registered
1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here's the wiring diagram from the Carling wiper control module. They don't provide it with the switch, it took a lot of emails to get it from them XD. After comparing this to the one @miesk5 posted, It seems like I'm going to have to use a relay to power the motor, I'm not quite sure, I'm thinking about waiting until I have the rest of the wiring done and I can turn the ol girl over and get the angry pixies going before I wire this one up. Not sure though.
 

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1988, Bronco xlt, 302, aod
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I just saw your comment @KCD Thanks for the compliment man! Theres a LOT of tools I really wish I had for this project. Other than my Syncro 210 welder almost everything was cut using an angle grinder, and the panels were bent by beating them around a pipe with a dead blow and a rag. Not to mention a lot of cardboard mockups haha.
 
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