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AW-4 Manual Shifter

(more changes)

Update: 10/21/2006

The shifter has worked very well for the past couple of months.  It was used quite a bit on the Pyeatt Draw trail that Donna and I ran just last week. 

About 10 minutes after getting version 2 installed, I decided I was not satisfied with the shifter controls as they were mounted.  I didn't like looking down to see how many LEDs were lit.  Being located somewhere in my field of vision when I was looking at the trail would be a better setup.  I also decided that the physical shape of the control plate needed some attention as well.  I hate to use the words "ergonomically correct" but that pretty much describes it.  The ergonomic changes twill happen later on as I need to cut and weld the plate and I don't have the necessary tools for that in my garage.  However, I did get the LEDs relocated today and this part of the write-up will cover that.

As usual, I spent too much time trying to figure out where the LEDs should take up residence.  After kicking around some ideas with BobP, I decided on the dash bar.  Mounting them there would be them right in front of me and very easy to see. 


After determining how much space my LEDs would need, I selected a piece of scrap 1/8" aluminum plate for the LED mount.  After some cutting, drilling, and bending, I put a brushed finish on it using some 100 grit sandpaper.  Not sure if I'll powder coat it or not.....time will tell.  The front of the mounting plate has a 90 degree bend while the rear edge of the plate as a 45 degree lip.  The 45 degree lip looks better as the plate kind of wraps around the bar just a bit.

Bob and I folded the windshield down so I could drill a pair of mounting holes in the dash bar.  Using a 1/4"x20 tap, I threaded the dash bar holes to make it easier when it came time to mount the plate.


The 4 LEDs were mounted on the plate and the 5th hole received a small push on/off single pole switch.  These LEDs are brighter than those I had mounted down on the shifter.   Since these are directly in front of me, I decided to include the switch so that I could turn off the LED lights if they proved too bright during a night run.  (not sure if they would but having the switch there guarantees there won't be an issue)


The shifter switches the ground lead to turn on and off the LEDs so each LED has one wire going to it from the shifter box.  The +12V lead is daisy chained from the power switch (on the left) to each of the 4 LEDs on the plate.  This makes for a simple and easy way to power each of the LEDs.


Each of the 4 ground leads from the shifter were attached to the appropriate LED.  I used a couple of button Allen head screws to attach the plate to the dash bar.  The cable was routed down along the defroster vent and under the dash to the shifter. 



The LEDs as seen from the driver's seat.  There must be a reason that red LEDs show up as orange when the photo is taken with a digital camera.  My LED trail lights show orange too. 

I'm satisfied with the new location for the LEDs.  They are not blocking my view of anything but yet are right there in front of me.  I like this new setup. 

Next comes the plate on the tranny shifter....a bit of an ergonomic overhaul should have it feeling just right. 


Update: 11/12/2006

I had a chance today to address the plate on the tranny shifter.  The first plate I made with the control switches mounted on it ended up larger than I originally planned and now that the shift indicator LEDs are no longer on the plate, it could certainly stand to lose some of the surface area. 

I penciled in a rough sketch of what I wanted and started grinding away areas of the plate.  A little hear, a little there....I wasn't worried about it being symmetrical as I decided this was more about fit and function and less about looks.  However, the end result looked pretty good, in my opinion.....at least better than the first attempt.



As seen from the driver's seat, the switch plate is now a fair amount smaller than before.  In fact, it is a LOT smaller.  Click here for a comparison of how it was. 



A view from the driver's side of the console.  The two toggle switches were repositioned (one remained in the original mounting hole) to make use of some of the real estate that was directly below the shifter handle.  With the LEDs removed, about 1/2" was trimmed from the leading edge of the plate as well as the sides.  The suck down winch control switch remained attached to the plate but it was moved further forward and is now easier to manipulate.  The clearance issue that resulted from the plate hitting the console when pulled down into 1-2 gear range is no longer an issue.  I positioned the plate further down the shifter shaft which makes it easier to manage all of the switches (no more finger cramping). 

Easy enough to do....just needed an hour or two to unsolder the wiring, remove the switches, grind and sand the plate to size, drill a couple of new holes, and put it all back together.  Piece of cake! 


Good trails and remember to TREADLightly!




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