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It was a couple of years ago when I first ran across the 12voltguy.com web site. I remember the first time I saw the web site. Lots of "stuff" for doing electrical projects on your vehicle. Since then, I've exchanged a fair amount of e-mails with Darren, the "guy" in 12voltguy.com. His business has grown from a basic parts supplier to one that delivers just about any type of electrical 12V panel you can think of.
Some time back, Darren released a great little in-cab winch controller that a lot of Jeepers have installed. I have one in my TJ and the install details can be seen here. It has served me well ever since I first installed it.
Darren is familiar with my site and had seen my home-made ARB
switch panel. I hope he wasn't taking pity on me when he asked if I
might want to try a new panel for the ARB switches. So I took him up on his
offer. Comparing his to
mine....well, it's just no contest. His panel put mine to shame and
then some. And the cool part was the new black finish that this panel
sports. No longer are you relegated to having your aluminum panels in
shiny aluminum finish.
This is the first test panel for the early model TJs. Before it gets installed, I'll have to remove some of my own handy-work to make room for this nice looking panel.
As you can see, Darren put his standard winch control on the panel along with a pair of cigarette lighter outlets. A switch on the bottom of the panel controls power to the outlets.
Center stage in the panel is home for the ARB switches that will be removed from
my panel and relocated to this one. But....before that happens, I need to
strip mine apart and modify my dash for the panel transplant. Let's get
Many years ago, when I had ARB installed in my TJ, I tossed the ash tray and recycled the space for the ARB locker switches. I had quit smoking some 10 years prior to that and didn't need the ash tray.
Across from the ARB switches are the factory hardtop switches for the rear window defogger and wiper. The factory fog lamp switch rounds out the threesome. Below those are the cigarette lighter.
The hard top has been hanging in my garage for a number of years and the factory fogs were removed long ago. While I use the cigarette lighter for charging my cell phone on road trips, getting an extra one when this one went away would be an OK deal.
It was decided....remove all of this to make room for Darren's new panel.
Before the factory switches could be removed, the center dash bezel must be
removed. The windshield defroster vent is popped up to reveal two Phillips
head screws that secure the top of the bezel to the dash.
I removed the screws that held my old switch plate in position and proceeded to remove the wiring harness connectors from the switch terminals.
With the switches out of the way, I removed the screw that secured the lower portion of
the bezel. With the screws top and bottom removed, the bezel was pried
off. There are four clips that hold the bezel in place. Two are
located near the lower part of the bezel and the other two are near the radio
area. Just carefully pry the bezel away from the dash and the clips will
Next, I removed the four screws that held the factory switch/lighter module in position. I had previously trimmed a bit of it in order to get adequate clearance for my ARB wiring harness.
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